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The top 5 neighborhoods for holiday lights

(MoneyWatch) One of my favorite holiday traditions is piling the kids in the car, cranking up the holiday tunes and heading out in the snow to check out the lights in the neighborhood. Our town and the surrounding 'burbs have some pretty good decorations, but they're nothing compared to Redfin's top five neighborhoods for light displays.

Grab a glass of warm apple cider, put on your warmest coat and head to one of these neighborhoods to soak in the holiday spirit.

The top 5 neighborhoods for holiday lights

Redfin

5. Neighborhood: South Philadelphia
South 13th Street
Philadelphia, Pa.

The lights that adorn the 1600 block of South 13th Street have become a legendary draw for locals and out-of-towners alike. The tradition started in the late 1990s and snowballed from neighbors helping one another into a holiday destination. Lights run from house to house, across the street and down the block. All the curbside trees are decked out in holiday colors, and lifelike Santas wave from windows down to residents on the street.

The top 5 neighborhoods for holiday lights

Redfin

4. Neighborhood: Hyde Park
37th Street
Austin, Texas

Between Guadalupe and Home streets, just blocks from the University of Texas campus, is the most famous light display in the Lone Star State. Each year, residents deck their halls and homes with thousands of lights. Residents have even been known to drape themselves and their pets in lights and stand in their yards, greeting the holiday crowds as they walk the block.

The top 5 neighborhoods for holiday lights

ca. 1990-2002, Portland, Oregon, USA --- Christmas lights shine on a house on Peacock Lane, a neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, known for its Christmas displays. --- Image by Redfin

3. Neighborhood: Hawthorne
Peacock Lane
Portland, Ore.

The lights on Peacock Lane between SE Stark and SE Belmont streets are a holiday tradition in Portland. Neighborhood residents have been draping their homes in lights since the 1920s, and each year the display has gotten bigger and better. The lights are such a big draw that the block has implemented pedestrian-only nights to keep traffic to a minimum, and horse-drawn carriages are available to bring residents to Peacock Lane.

The top 5 neighborhoods for holiday lights

Redfin

2. Neighborhood: Hampden
34th Street
Baltimore, Md.

Christmas 2012 marks the 65th year for what is affectionately known as "the miracle on 34th street." The tradition began when two residents, a couple named Darlene and Bob, encouraged neighbors to join together and light up the street for the holidays. It's become such a popular attraction that scam artists have emerged. The website warns pedestrians to ignore anyone posing as a 34th street resident asking for donations toward electric bills, as real residents do not ask for donations and are responsible for 100 percent of their electric bills.

The top 5 neighborhoods for holiday lights

25 Dec 2011, Brooklyn, New York City, New York State, USA --- Holiday Decorations in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn --- Image by © Andria Patino/Corbis Redfin

1. Neighborhood: Dyker Heights
11th Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The homes from 11th to 13th Avenues and 83rd to 86th Streets showcase some of the most extravagant light displays in the U.S. Some of the displays are done professionally, and they feature everything from twinkle lights to inflatable decorations and motorized displays. Some displays are up by Thanksgiving, but the neighborhood is in its full glory in mid-December. Cars are discouraged, so visitors should take the subway. But bundle up -- the nearest stop is almost a mile away.

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