A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Let’s Get Lit: Christmas Lights Tour with A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours



Our love of the holidays is no secret. From Halloween through New Year’s Eve, we’re down with anything this incredible city can throw at us. And New York City? Well, FUHGETTABOUDIT! It’ll throw a little bit of everything at you, from the conventional to the kitchen sink. So when our friends over at A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours recently invited us to check out their Christmas Lights Tour, we jumped at the chance. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a holiday staple in our household, we had to do it for the Griswolds.





“250 strands of lights, 100 individual bulbs per strand for a grand total of 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights!”
-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
That’s a 15-foot Santa!

Billed as “the most extravagant Christmas lights display in the country” (eat your heart out Clark Griswold!), the tour covers not only the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights (or “Dyker Lights” as it is affectionately referred to locally), but also surrounding neighborhoods such as Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst. As with all of A Slice of Brooklyn’s tours, the rendezvous point is Union Square. From there, you’ll be transported to Brooklyn in the comfort of a spacious bus while listening to Christmas music and watching old Christmas specials on viewing screens.

Once in Brooklyn, you’ll get to view decorated homes from the bus, but you’ll also get to wander the streets and snap pictures of the spectacular lights. It’s a sure-fire way to light up your Instagram feed! The amount of walking is minimal, so it’s really suitable for all age groups (and in all types of weather, since the heated bus is never too far away!). Among the gems are the Spata house, where it all began, and Sammy the Greek’s three-story, Vegas-meets-Brooklyn, 300,000-light extravaganza. Since you get to visit multiple neighborhoods on this tour, you get to experience a really broad range of the spectrum, not just the extremes.



“Is your house on fire, Clark?
No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.”
-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Throughout the tour, your guide (Angela, in our case), will regale you with obscure facts, entertaining anecdotes, and general commentary–even offering to take that perfect shot for your annual Christmas card. One of the best features of A Slice of Brooklyn tours is that their guides have the inside scoop: they are Brooklynites through and through. Angela told us who lived in which home, what’s changed over the years, and even who’s inside the Elmo costume at the Spata house. (Spoiler alert: it’s Lucy Spata’s nephew and he’s collecting money for charity!)

Each year, driven by a mixture of overdeveloped Christmas spirit and good-natured neighborly competition, the displays grow in size and complexity. More and more homes and adjacent neighborhoods get in on the act. For many, a visit to the neighborhood has become an annual tradition–to get ideas for their own displays, to see the newest additions, or just to get in the Christmas spirit. Indeed, if the Christmas Lights Tour with A Slice of Brooklyn doesn’t get you pumped for the holidays, nothing will.



“I still have a couple hundred more bulbs to check. Meantime, I can light the Santa…and the eight tiny reindeer…and the ‘Merry Christmas’ sign. That should look good.”
-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
We may have picked up some Brooklyn Popcorn from a truck for our bus ride home 😉

Dyker Heights is such a big attraction that you can find trucks selling food and holiday trinkets parked throughout the neighborhood. But it’s important to remember that Dyker Heights is not an amusement park or a carnival; it’s an active residential neighborhood. Whether you decide to join a tour or go it alone, be respectful. Don’t be noisy. Don’t litter. Keep streets and driveways clear. Pay attention to parking rules and regulations. We were horrified when, late on a Sunday night, we were passed by a tour group in which the guide (wearing gaudy reindeer antlers) was using a loudspeaker to play obnoxious music and communicate with his group. We’re happy to report A Slice of Brooklyn’s guides were consummate professionals.

You can find out more about the Christmas Lights Tour at A Slice of Brooklyn’s website here. You can read about our Pizza Tour experience with them here. We’ll leave you with this classic scene:

Christmas Vacation GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thank you to A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours for partnering on this post.

Pair it with:

Dinner or drinks at Rolf’s German Restaurant

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Can you overdose on holiday spirit? We think not. Which is why you should pre-game for your Christmas Lights Tour by paying Rolf’s a visit. Preparing to write up this post, we spoke to a lot of people about Rolf’s. Without fail, they all had stories–not about their experiences at the restaurant, mind you, but about their experiences trying to get in. As one poor soul related, “I waited for nearly three hours one year and just finally gave up. I’ve never been back.”

Okay, so why is Rolf’s such a big deal? Well, perhaps because it’s been a neighborhood staple for nearly 40 years. Perhaps it’s because they serve traditional German cuisine. Perhaps it’s because of the over-the-top Christmas decorations that go on display starting in September. Okay, it’s definitely that last one. And I’ll be the first to admit that the decorations are everything advertised and more. If you’ve ever wondered what $60,000 worth of Christmas ornaments and lights would look like, Rolf’s kindly answers that question. Believe me when I say it’s ba-na-nas.

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Slice of Brooklyn Christmas Lights Tour Dyker Heights - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Know before you go:

Rolf’s reservations fill up early during the holiday season. If you’d like to dine there, you’ll need to plan very far in advance. Check their website for availability.

When you get to Rolf’s there are two lines: one for those with dinner reservations and one for the bar (no food–drinks only). It’s best to ask which is which when you arrive. The bar line moved relatively quickly, and we found ourselves inside within twenty minutes (wait times can vary, of course). But note that they fill it to the brim, so it was like drinking with 150 of your closest, loudest friends. Fifteen minutes, a pricey drink, and a lot of pictures later, and we were on our way again.

Location:
281 3rd Ave

Hours:
Daily 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Like it? Pin it!

– L. & J.

Leave a Reply

16 Comments on "Let’s Get Lit: Christmas Lights Tour with A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
JAM
Guest

Love this! I have been wanting to go – shoulda known there would be a tour. I’m checking on it NOW!

Chris
Guest

Wow! That is awesome. Love the pictures. Sensory overload but really neat.

Dippy Dotty Girl
Guest

Loved your photos (the tour sounds lovely) and the bits of humour from National Lampoon 🙂 Especially the Aunt Bethany one.

Stef
Guest

WHAT!!! This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen! That bus all of those lights and those houses! I am obsessed with Christmas lights so this is a dream!

Tim & Marcella
Guest

Holy smokes! Rolf’s looks crazy!!! Our dream is to visit NY during Christmas and we will make it happen. I guess this needs to be on our itinerary Thanks for scaring the *bleep out of us with Christmas goodness. Never thought that would happen! Peace

Cathy
Guest

So much Christmas beauty! I love nutcrackers and have a collection- the house with lots of them was my favorite.

Kath
Guest

Awesome post! Can only imagine what these houses look like in real life! We did the pizza tour two years ago and loved it! Hoping for at least a quick day trip to NYC to see the lights in the city!

wpDiscuz