In order to summon the Christmas spirit, we toured a certain number of houses lit up and decorated in the true American tradition! From San Francisco to Walnut Creek, here are a few examples of must-see places. A seasonal family activity, open to all and free (except the last one on the list).

In San Francisco: of course, our list is not exhaustive, and for a more complete tour we invite you to follow the Instagram account of Michael Victor aka The415guy. He has also put up a map of the houses on his website and very often shows them to you in his Instagram stories. He inspired part of our journey. Photos by ©MerciSF. And we remember with warm thoughts the famous Tom & Jerry’s house which is not in this list this year.

  • The most “loaded is the house in the Castro. Day or night, this house is definitely a must see in San Francisco
    68 Castro Street (x Duboce street)

christmas house

  • The most eternal: at each seasonal time of the year, the house which is at the crossroads at 45 Upper Terrace, is decorated in the seasonal theme. Around Christmas, the majestic Nutcrackers lining up the staircase and Santa in the garden is really worth the trip. Also, try to spot the electric train in the vestibule if the door is open.

45 upper terrace

  • The most collective: Not to be missed, this little dead end street which is adorned with an illuminated Christmas scene, created by the neighbors; especially for the photo in front of this Golden Gate Bridge all lit up with its sleigh. Address: Dellbrook (x Glenview)

Golden Gate Bridge

  • The most “swinging”: it is not really a house but a swing suspended between two luminous trees and located at the end of Cherry Street. A golden photo opportunity!

balançoire Cherry Street


East Bay: we collaborated with Virginie, a French resident living in the East Bay in Walnut Creek. She took a little tour of the craziest houses in her surroundings. A great family moment of which you can find the best moments as well as videos of the houses on her Instagram account Somewhere Over The Bridge. She tells us about her selection and shares her photos.

  • 219 Rock Oak Road, Walnut Creek
    “The house of a teacher from our school. For years they have decorated their home in honor of the children and grandchildren of the family. Each car on the train is named after a child”

219 Rock Oak Road WC

  • 771 Terrapin Ct, Concord
    Certainly the craziest house in the area, which in fact creates huge traffic jams. Even at 9:30 pm, there were still people. People flock to admire this castle and its 400 illuminated characters. More than two months are needed to install everything according to the father of the family. And behind the castle, there is a space dedicated to Star Wars. More information in this East Bay Times article

771 Terrapin Ct, Concord

  •  5390 Aspenwood Ct, Concord
    The house and its Christmas radio station. Just sit in the car in front of the house car and watch the central luminous figure dancing to the sound of music.5390 Aspenwood Ct Concord
  • 4408 Grays Ct, Concord
    Nice decoration with a giant stocking for each child in the family.
    4408 Grays Ct Concord

In the Peninsula

  • Filoli Gardens: the historic House and its garden remain open for outdoor activités only (and the shop). Book a ticket for their evening hours showcasing all their Holiday Season lights installation throughout the gardens. (photo © Filoli )
    Reservation only, click here


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