Go: Willow Glen Lights

Willow Glen, please accept my apology: I'm ashamed to admit I'm a Silicon Valley native and tonight was my first experience of your Christmas splendor. WOW is the only appropriate word—I've been missing out. Every December, the charming San Jose neighborhood of Willow Glen transforms into what the North Pole must look like (assuming they have electricity). What a collaboration! I'm still in awe of the sparkle and the teamwork.

First off, there's a motif. Since the 1950's, residents have kept a tradition of staking similarly-sized Christmas trees in their front yards, decorated with matching lights; after a few blocks you'll lose count. And that's just the beginning. One street is themed with enormous lighted snowmen flanking the sidewalks, another with lighted sidewalk arches shaped like Christmas trees, another with snowflakes suspended over the street. And then, of course, there are the individual homes, decking the halls in their personal style. Just be careful of the bike gangs: I encountered quite a few groups of family cyclists cruising the narrow, dark streets, taking in the lights—one bike even had Christmas light wheels.

I felt like I'd been transported to another world. The cherry on top was seeing Santa's Sleigh, in person. I arrived at the intersection of Glen Eyrie Avenue & Camino Pablo and there it was: four reindeer and a sleigh that stood taller than the homes and spanned five lawns. JAW-DROPPING.

Believe it or not, Willow Glen has another special tradition: a Christmas Cable Car that takes you on a tour of the neighborhood lights. All the tickets seem to be sold out. Thankfully, Willow Glen Realtor Holly Barr posted the driving map for a car parade she organized this past weekend. I used the map tonight to ensure I didn't miss out on anything spectacular. Turns out all I was missing was an adult navigator, I recommend bringing one of those. Enjoy!

Willow Glen has a great downtown strip with restaurants and shops. I'm eager to dine at The Table and Siena Bistro. After our Christmas light tour, I bought myself a slice of sanity and dropped $15 on to-go slices at Pizza My Heart. It's my children's favorite dinner, their individual-slice triangle boxes make it extra fun (like a Happy Meal box), and their Frequent Muncher card makes me happy.

Norman Rockwell Christmas Town
Willow Glen Christmas Lights Map