Must-see holiday lights: Alameda’s Christmas Tree Lane

For years I’d heard that the best place to see holiday lights in the East Bay is in Alameda.  I knew that Santa Claus would be sitting on the median, and I knew that every house on the block would be decorated. Somehow I just wasn’t sure it would be worth the drive. Well, it is.

It’s not just the lights that make the 3200 block of Thompson Ave feel so special; it’s the people milling about, the Girl Scouts selling treats, and the sweet and nostalgic displays of decorations.


Plan to park and walk the length of the block and back again. My 6-year old sat on Santa’s lap in the median of the street, available to anyone who wants to stand in line. Donation suggested; take your own picture; Santa hours are 6:30 to 8:00 through December 23rd, weather permitting.

Neighborhood children gave out small candy canes. We spied so many favorite characters, from an oversized Grinch to Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster. These are homemade wooden cut-outs that you cannot buy at Target, people. One house has a light show timed to music with a Nightmare before Christmas theme. Another house is completely covered with pink, um, shingles?


We were lucky to be standing by as the Black Knight Motorcycle Club drove through, each bike decked out with lights and holly.

Several photos from this post are courtesy of Oaktown Art, who has many more on her website.

The lights will be on through New Year’s Eve from 5:30 – 10:00pm. Bring your camera and your Christmas spirit!

Fans of this ignited form of Christmas cheer can follow special announcements on the Christmas Tree Lane facebook page.