Scarves, coats, and hot chocolate are secured in our car before heading out on one of my favorite family traditions…the holiday light tour. Each year, we set out across Thurston County to see the best and brightest displays we can find while Christmas tunes blast from our radio speakers. With our map highlighted and GPS marked, we set out into the dark in search of familiar, glistening illuminations to put us in the holiday spirit.
1. The Cottage Treehouse
This year, our first stop on the tour is The Cottage Treehouse. Located south of Tumwater, this display boasts 100,000 lights. This is not a drive by slowly stop but instead, you will need to park. Once you’ve exited the car, explore the acres of brilliant beauty in this park-like setting. This location even has a gift shop with hot cider and treats. Donations are accepted for the Union Gospel Mission. The Cottage Treehouse is turned on Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
2. Christmas Island Maytown
Lovingly known as the Bethlehem of Thurston County, Christmas Island is Maytown’s show stopping display. With a magnificent star and accompanying lights, the nativity scene is shown through the eyes of Pastor George of Maytown Assembly of God. What started as a small scene in 1998 has outgrown several locations as it has become a more visual sign of Christmas. Lighting begins every evening at 5:30 p.m.
3. The Cove
From Maytown head northbound to hit one of the most cheerful neighborhoods around, The Cove. Situated on the edge of Henderson Boulevard, just past the South Sound YMCA, this loop of homes brings Christmas cheer for the whole community. From the front yard to the rooftops, every inch of these homes are covered with twinkling lights. If you’re driving through on a weekend, some of the homeowners can be found handing out cookies and hot cocoa to visitors.
4. Christmas Comics
Drive down Henderson and turn head toward San Francisco Street. Christmas Comics, also known as “The Snoopy House,” whisks families away to celebrating the holidays with some of the most beloved characters in history. From Sesame Street to SpongeBob, children of all ages will recognize someone dressed up in lights from their childhood. The lights turn on daily at 5:30 p.m.
Tucked away in the woods near The Evergreen State College sits a neighborhood blanketed in lights. Cedrona is located off of Evergreen Parkway and houses an array of light shows. Many of these displays include synchronized music and projected holiday films. With surrounding homes competing to be the best on the street, this stop can’t be beat.
6. Huntamer Park in Woodland Square
Lacey’s Huntamer Park is always the grand finale on our family light tour. It isn’t the biggest or the brightest. No, in fact, it’s actually pretty simplistic but the view of Santa’s sleigh flying through trees against the night sky is magical. It instills a sense of awe and wonder that sets the scene for the holiday season.
7. Individual Homes
Many homeowners put a lot of effort into decorating their home. Even though their neighborhood may not be quite as festive, these homes, like the animated, musical show at 6708 Prairie Ridge Drive NE in Olympia, are worth a visit. And, don’t stop there. ThurstonTalk readers report that the there are many homes that impress on this winding road.
Check out 5410 – 66th Ave NW in Olympia, 2612 Bethel Street NE also in Olympia and 6615 Miner Drive SW in Tumwater. Columbine Court SE in Lacey is also reported to impress. Share more addresses with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Christmas Light Tour Map
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at email@example.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.