With the holiday season upon us discussions and careful strategic planning of what day, time, and place we will be celebrating Christmas with all the assorted family members that our average modern family consists of has brought on some thoughts of other, less stressful holiday traditions. Like “Christmas Lights!!!” as my daughter would holler from the back seat of the car with every glimmer of those twinkling decorations. I can’t wait to see how she and her new sister enjoy them this year. I want to share with you my three favorite places to take the family that are completely free. All three neighborhoods are located in Lexington County, South Carolina. My first and favorite light display is the West Metro Holiday Parade of Lights. This is by far the best free thing to do during the holiday season. Who doesn’t like Christmas lights? Who doesn’t like parades? If you put those two together you can’t go wrong…especially with kids. Starting at 5:30 pm on December 6th the parade travels down 12th Street in Cayce spreading holiday cheer. Most of the floats will be decked out in lights and decorations. Get there early for a good seat along the route because there will be candy and other goodies being handed out. Prime seating can be found at the intersection of 12th Street and B Avenue. This is a great family event that is sure to please everyone. Remember to bring a chair and dress warm. For an added bonus swing by Cayce City Hall for the Lights of Cayce display at 1800 12th Street extension. (Down 12th Street going the direction the parade travels.)
My next favorite neighborhood Holiday light display is located in Lexington, SC. This has to be the single largest residential display of Christmas lights known to mankind, or at least in the Columbia area. I bet that you can see this display from space on a clear night. Located on Hope Ferry Road just off Hwy. 378 in Lexington the display consists of two to four houses displaying thousands of lights and hundreds of lighted yard displays. It may not seem like much reading this, two to four houses, but be prepared to wait on other onlookers clogging the roads, pulling over to have a closer look, even getting out of their cars to stroll along the side of the road. Believe me when I say that you too will be pulling over and saying to yourself “WOW…that’s a lot of lights!!!!” You can get to this awe inspiring show by heading off I-26 or I-20 onto Hwy. 378 toward the town of Lexington. Just past the Target shopping center turn right onto Hope Ferry Road and you cannot miss the lights.
My last favorite neighborhood for Christmas lights is located not far away from the Hope Ferry Road location. It is on a road named Crepe Myrtle Circle just off Oak Drive near the intersection of Oak Drive and Cromer Road. This is a small neighborhood consisting of ten to twelve houses on a simple loop. What the little community lacks in size it makes up for in cooperation. All the houses will be displaying coordinated lights that make the whole block sparkle. Enjoy a nice slow circuit taking in all the sights to be seen.
While there may be other more well known(and costly) places to see Christmas light displays in the area, including Riverbanks Zoo and Saluda Shoals Park, there is just something to be had in getting in the car for a little free family fun. Theoretically you could make a night of December the 6th and catch all three displays. In this age of GPS and MapQuest it’s not too hard to map out a route that will take you from the parade in Cayce to the two residential displays and back home in one night. Start at the parade, maybe a little Zesto’s chicken afterwards, and then hop in the car for the short trip down Hwy. 378 to see the others.
I personally have been going to see the two neighborhood displays since I was a young and my wife added the parade to the family tradition. Overall all three stops make for a great night of light displays that my family loves and I am sure will become a favorite for yours too.