Nothing says holidays quite like a house all decked out in twinkly lights and decorations. But when you don’t live near a Clark Griswold type, it can be overwhelming to guess where the best holiday light displays are. Rather than drive around aimlessly, here’s a guide to the best local areas to see holiday light displays, as well as some ideas for what to do after you’ve seen the lights.
East Sacramento/Fabulous 40s
East Sacramento, and the Fabulous 40s in particular, is a great place to spend some time looking at pretty houses all dressed up in holiday décor. In fact, if you only have time to go to one area, this is where you should head, since the houses are beautiful and, when they are adorned in festive lights, they are truly something to behold. Head up and down 40th through 48th streets, between J Street and Folsom Blvd., and you’re bound to see some impressive light displays. Once you’ve done some admiring, head over to Roxy or Bandera for late night drinks, appetizers or dinner.
Roxy Restaurant and Bar
Mon – Wed 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Thurs 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sat 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.,
Sun 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Mon – Thur, Sun 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Fri – Sat 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Land Park/Curtis Park
Both Land Park and Curtis Park boast grand homes and large trees, which make for the perfect staging of holiday decorations. (Insider tip: It’s pretty much an unspoken requirement that the houses along Land Park Drive just south of Broadway go all out for the holidays, so anywhere along Land Park between Broadway and Vallejo you’re guaranteed to see some amazing displays; ditto for East Curtis Drive and West Curtis Drive, the streets facing Curtis Park.) After you’ve cruised Land Park and Curtis Park to see the lights, head to Tower Café, Pangaea Two Brews Cafe or Riverside Clubhouse to get your late night fill of drinks, food and, in the case of Tower Café, some killer desserts.
Mon – Thur 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. (desserts & drinks only 10 p.m. – 11 p.m.), Fri – Sat 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.
(desserts & drinks only 11 p.m. – 12 a.m.), Sun 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. (desserts & drinks only 10 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
Pangaea Two Brews Cafe
Tu – Sat 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Mon – Wed 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Thur – Fri 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sat 9 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sun 9 a.m. – 10
Every year in early December, the California State Capitol is home to a grand holiday tree that’s brought in annually and decorated impressively. Last year’s tree, a 55-foot white fir, was donated by the U.S. Forest Service, Institute of Forest Genetics, and lit with 9,000 ultra-low-wattage LED lights. This year’s tree is sure to outdo the last. After you’ve marveled at the magnificently lit tree at the California State Capitol, head to 4th Street Grille, Mikuni or Cafeteria 15L for a late night bite or beverage.
4th Street Grille
Mon 11 a.m. – 9p.m., Tu – Thur 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri – Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. (closed Sunday)
Mon – Thur 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sat 12 p.m. – 12 a.m., Sun 12 p.m. – 9
Mon – Wed 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Thur 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sat 5
p.m. – 12 a.m., Sun 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
River Park is a lovely neighborhood located off H Street near CSUS. There’s really only one way in and out (Carlson Drive) and most houses on the main streets (Carlson and Sandburg) get into the festive spirit with decorations and displays. After you’ve made your way through the River Park loop, head to nearby Tupelo Coffee House or Old Soul at Weatherstone for a late-night pick me up of the caffeinated variety (Old Soul also has beer and wine!).
Tupelo Coffee House
Hours: Daily 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Old Soul at Weatherstone
Hours: Daily 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Juliet Farmer was born and raised in Sacramento, where she resides with her husband, two cats, and rescued greyhound. She is a freelance writer who regularly writes about food, pets, health and wellness, entertainment, and more.