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Where are the best neighborhoods to see Christmas lights in the Wilmington area?

Cassie Foss

Christmas lights at a house in Leland. StarNews file photo.

I like the kind of Christmas-light display that’s a little like entering a holiday twilight zone.

For those who, like me, crave more than the standard white luminary display, thousands of twinkling colored lights and a few well-placed inflatable Santas, snowmen or reindeer are must-haves.

Over the years, a few Wilmington-area communities have earned reputations for wholeheartedly displaying their holiday enthusiasm.

Below are a few neighborhoods where decorators don’t shy away from showcasing their spirit – and aren’t afraid of a few extra decimal points on their energy bill.

For those thrill seekers looking for an extra bit of holiday pizzazz, the Kings Grant neighborhood always delights, and is the one place locals agree can be counted on for quality displays year after year. (Motorists should enter through Kings Grant Road off North College Road just before it becomes 1-40.)

Next, head back into town and take a leisurely drive down 17th Street. The blocks between Dawson and Market feature yards overflowing with decorations.

Sunset Park, off Carolina Beach Road across from Legion Stadium, also has earned a reputation as a must-see neighborhood for light displays.

In the past couple of years, Bedrock Court, a cul-de-sac off Stoneybrook Road off of Middle Sound Loop Road in Ogden, has grown into a holiday display destination.

Folks also have been buzzing about the Tyndall community off Masonboro Loop Road. Some have pointed out that a homeowner in the neighborhood dresses up as Santa Claus and hands out candy to passers-by on Christmas Eve.

A hidden little gem of a display near the Cape Fear River is on Beattrice Street off of River Road just north of Independence Boulevard. One house features a fence made entirely of lit gingerbread men.

For more neighborhood light displays and locations, visit wilmingtonchristmaslights.com. The website, which is maintained by a so-called local “light enthusiast,” aims to provide residents with updates on when and where to find the biggest and brightest offerings.

For those interested in making an evening of it, the Wilmington Trolley Company hosts a 45-minute holiday lights tour beginning on Dec. 14. The guided trolley tours feature historic homes, museums and some movie and TV filming locations, according to the company’s website.

The tours depart from Water Street between Market and Dock Streets at 6 and 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit wilmingtontrolley.com.

Enchanted Airlie is another organized display. The area’s most beloved outdoor light show runs from Dec. 1-22, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Airlie Gardens, 300 Airlie Road. For details, visit Airliegardens.org.

And for those who are willing to travel a little farther, the granddaddy of holiday displays – Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland – is not far from the state line in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The “land” of Christmas at Myrtle Beach Pelican’s Ball Park at 1251 21st Avenue features:

– Santa Claus

– Children’s inflatables

– A S’mores station

– Pony rides

– Camel rides

– A petting zoo

And, of course, a boatload of lights.

Did we miss any good neighborhoods? Let us know in the Comments section below.


When was the last time Wilmington had a white Christmas?

Whatever happened to the Christmas Festival of Trees?

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4 Responses to “ Where are the best neighborhoods to see Christmas lights in the Wilmington area?”

  1. On December 6, 2012 at 11:08 am Steven Schardien wrote:

    The picture you posted is of my parents house at 833 Brunswick Place in Leland!

  2. On December 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    They did a beautiful job of decorating that year.

  3. On December 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm kevin batson wrote:

    My neighbor and I go all out at 4714 Carya Drive in Silva Terra area off Carolina Beach Rd.Here is a link to a photo and a video of my house.


  4. On December 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm daniel wrote:

    I drove through the King’s Grant neighborhood last night. It was completely underwhelming. Maybe one in 10 or 20 houses had lights up. Some were very nice, but the neighborhood was no different than any other in Wilmington. Definitely not worth a drive across town to see the lights.

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