The people of Tacoma have apparently decided that the antidote for everything awful in 2020 is Christmas lights—lots and lots of Christmas lights (or inflatable yard decorations in at least one case).
People went bonkers this year so we made an all new list* to highlight some of our favorites. There are still some fantastic houses from years past so you’ll want to check the lists from 2017 and 2018 to get the Super Sized Mega Sparkle Tacoma Christmas Experience.
So grab some hot cocoa and a fuzzy hat, get the kids in the car, and pop this map into your phone for a hands-free holiday cruise around the city. While you’re driving, though, please remember to watch out for selfie-snapping pedestrians. If you’re walking, watch out for rubbernecking drivers. Christmas lights are kinda meant to be distracting.
These driving directions will take you from South Tacoma up to Ruston. Google Maps will want you to take the main roads whenever possible but if you have time to take the neighborhood streets instead, you’ll definitely find some more good stuff along the way.
5901 S. Montgomery St.
This is a good “all of the things all over the place” kind of house. The trailing lights along the fence are nice touch too. Definitely worth a stop. Heads up—there’s a really good one from our 2018 list two blocks south of here.
1413 S. 42nd St
The LED display on this house is synched to music so try setting your radio to 88.7 FM when you’re about a block away from this house. If you can time it just right to hit the crescendo of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s squealing electric guitar, all your passengers will think you’re super cool.
3844 S. D St
Most of the radio-synched houses around Tacoma have sleek LED strings tracing the contours of the house and lighting up structures around the yard. This ain’t one of those. The same basic technology was applied but in a much more home-made fashion. Throw in an a cappella version of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Pentatonix and you’re in for a perfectly weird treat. You’ll hear it on 88.3 FM.
1517 S. I St & 1318 Earnest S Brazill St
If you have any kids who are into the Frozen movies, you’ll want to show them these two houses. They’re not the most extravagant points on the list but they have some definite Elsa vibes going on.
2019 S. 10th St
Overheard at every Home Depot in Western Washington in early December: “What do you mean you’re out of inflatable Christmas yard decorations?”
1026 S Trafton St
Wicker snowman? Check. Giant flashing snowflakes? Check. Candy canes in various sizes? Check. Parrot? Check. If you’re playing Christmas decorations bingo, you’re bound to fill in a lot of boxes at this house.
1021 & 1017 S Steele St
These two houses are nice to look at on their own for very different reasons. But the fact that they’re right next to each other is just wonderful. The owner of the house on the right has been collecting lights and decorations for over 20 years. The people on the left moved in relatively recently. As conflicting as the styles may be, though, the competition is entirely friendly.
2107 N. Huson St
Ever wonder what Christmas in Florida looks like? Yea, OK, neither have I. But something about the palm trees in the yard and the leg lamp in the window makes me think this is the closest thing we’ll find in Tacoma.
5936 N. 31st St
If you miss the good old days before the advent of inflatable yard decorations but you still appreciate ornamentation beyond twinkling lights, you’ll dig this house. The gigantic yard is full of North Pole nutcracker nostalgia.
5304 N. Winnifred St
If you only have time to hit one spot, do a lap through Ruston. The house at this address probably accounts for 25% of all the power drawn by the city of Ruston in the month of December but it’s not the only show in town. *This address was on our previous lists too but there are a few more houses on the same street this year that really upped their game.
4002 N. 25th St
Right next to Metropolitan Market at the intersection of lazy and clever lies this perfectly efficient display. Well done, you. Enjoy all those hours you didn’t spend hooking up a bajillion Christmas lights.
Somewhere in Tacoma
The owner of this house preferred to remain anonymous but this is one of the most creative Christmas displays in Tacoma. Bravo, stranger.
If you know of any good ones that we missed, feel free to share in the comments below.