Want to make a trip down memory lane and take your kids or loved ones out to see holiday lights? There may truly be nothing so extraordinary as discovering just how much time and talent can be put into a decorating a home, but also to find that there are residences out there that are not just flashy, but elegantly done.
In case you're at a loss for where to head out to, here is a list to get you started:
- Check out the Light Show Bro at 5555 Junction Peak Drive in Sparks. Here, you'll find a 13-minute synchronized music show – be sure to listen for the short clip of "Eye of the Tiger" in there – timed to flashing lights. The yard is not flashy, or overdone, but does have candy canes and trees that light up. A light in the front yard lets viewers know they should tune to 89.3 FM to hear the music. Expect quite a few cars parked in front, but simply stick around until the next show, which starts every half hour until 9:30. For more details, click here.
- On your way to the Light Show Bro, it may be worth it to pull in to the court at 800 and 805 Baxter Pass, in Sparks. These two homes are just beautifully done, with one having red lights under the eaves and green lighting illuminating the face of the home. Truly gorgeous! Did Martha Stewart visit here? Right next door, the house is equally well-illuminated with decorations and red and green coloring also used throughout. As you pull out of the court, you'll even notice that 815 Baxter Pass is subtly done with flashing lights streaming down the front of its garage.
- 1004 Sunset Mountain Road will be hard to miss if you are headed up Old 395 north of Reno. It's up on a hillside, which explains why it is so very noticeable. To say this home and yard is a burst of color is an understatement. It is brilliantly, brilliantly strewn in lights. From a large inflatable Mickey Mouse to Santa headed down an inflatable chimney, this home will provide your eyes with lots of fun. You may find yourself humming some Corey Hart tune about sunglasses at night as you leave, but be aware this is perfectly normal.
- 5556 Santa Rosa Court, in Spanish Springs, can be quite a drive from central Reno, but totally worth it for its unique take on the nativity scene. Themed "A Whale's Tale of a Christmas," neighbors told us the homeowners have been putting this scene up in their front yard for at least 15 years. Find cutout seahorses, crabs and starfish along the blue and green illuminated ground and two whales looking over their newborn whale child. Stay long enough to take in this unique concept and you'll discover that another whale in a pod to the left of the tree actually spouts "water" (steam) out from its blowhole on an ongoing basis.
- 7540 Gold Drive, off the Golden Valley exit, truly gives the Light Show Bro a run for its money. With a sign telling listeners to turn to 89.5 FM, families can again find synchronized music, but with more classical tunes than at Junction Peak Drive. This house also has many more light decorations, including a classical-looking snowman, reindeer and trees. In fact, this house really is an all-around classic. There's a lit train in the front yard, a small flat tree outlined in green against the roof and, of course, a sleigh and reindeer on the top of the house. There also is a small collection box for donations to the SPCA located near the right front side of the driveway.
- Finally, Hidden Valley, in southeast Reno, continues its annual holiday decorating contest. There are houses lit up with lights all around, and sometimes it's best just to drive to the next house that is spotted by the kids rather than to have an actual driving plan since the area is so large. However, it is totally worth it to check out the first-prize winner at 7155 Pebble Beach Drive. The house is lovingly illuminated with the words "Merry Christmas" in red on the roof, a vast number of inflatables, including a large polar bear, dog, a train, and tree and -- toward the front of the yard -- a shivering Santa. Kids who love dinosaurs will be thrilled to see a small inflatable T-Rex and Spinosaurus, also near the front of the yard. To the side of the driveway, be sure to catch Santa and Mrs. Claus driving an old wooden cart pulled, not by a reindeer, but a moose. The Abominable Snowman is close by. What is so delightful about this house is how elegantly all the working pieces come together and the little surprises that can be found.
- Many people are familiar with the Lights of Tanea in south Reno – down near Wedge Parkway and what many people refer to as the "orange" library. The Lights of Tanea typically feature a street full of participating illuminated homes along Tanea Drive, but the show has been cancelled this year with plans to return in 2016. Click here for information about next year's show.