Things To Do
The Short List: Holiday light displays
TBO.comWelcome to The Short List. Each week we'll pick a topic and share our favorite — or, in some cases, maybe our least favorite — things about the Bay area.
Published: December 8, 2011
Published: December 8, 2011
Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit like multicolor strands of twinkling filaments and Styrofoam snowmen (especially when someone else is paying the electric bill). So stuff the family into the car and dig out that Mannheim Steamroller tape — we're looking at holiday lights!
1. The Oakdale Christmas House. The Oakdale Christmas House, an overdose of holiday decorating, covers a half-acre yard and home near downtown St. Petersburg. The more than 500,000 lights, model railroad set, inflatable characters, bubble machines and animated characters put Clark Griswald's efforts to shame. The house is at 2719 Oakdale St. (off Fourth Street near 22nd Avenue).
2. Chick-fil-A on Waters Avenue. An attraction since 1997 is the Chick-fil-A at 6299 W. Waters Ave. in Tampa, which gets lighted displays surrounding the parking lot. Lights on the restaurant are synchronized to holiday music. There's also live music and carolers some nights and a snow machine blowing soapy flakes. This year, "Snack With Santa" on Friday nights until Christmas.
3. The Florida Botanical Gardens. The Florida Botanical Gardens has walkways lined with 500,000 lights that illuminate the 30 acres of trees and plants. Santa is there, along with live music nightly. It's open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are accepted. The gardens are at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Call (727) 582-2100.
4. Huseman family home. What started as a modest display has grown into a major production in New Tampa. Since 2007, their display has grown to 68,000 lights, set to 23 songs. The family spends about 300 hours setting it up. Last year, there were more than 6,000 visitors. The family is accepting canned food donations for Metropolitan Ministries this year. The home is at 18928 Nest Fern Circle, Watergrass Subdivision in West Meadows off New Tampa Boulevard.
5. Hyaleah/Rawls Road. These neighborhoods can teach us a thing or two about teamwork:
Holiday lights sparkle along Hyaleah Road in Tampa when the neighborhood puts on the spectacular light show down Hyaleah between Serena Drive and Poinsettia Avenue East near Busch Gardens.
Rawls Road Lights in Northdale have been a tradition for 16 years with nearly 70,000 lights that twinkle to the beat of synchronized Christmas tunes. Visit 5118 Rawls Road in Tampa.
Yeah, we know. You think we're clueless because we didn't include your favorite place on our list, right? Tell us about it at TBO.com, search: Short List