A great activity during the holidays is to get in the car with the family and travel to neighborhoods to go holiday lights watching. Go to these neighborhoods and make it a worthwhile trip.

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The Roads/Brickell

Instead of going north and south in this neighborhood situated between the Brickell and Coconut Grove neighborhoods, The Roads goes diagonal, and has some of the most expensive houses in Miami-Dade County. At Christmas time, these houses come alive with varying light formations and decorations which make for wonderful sightseeing. The feeling of the neighborhood makes people reminisce about small towns up north that hold a special identity and character, which enhances the holiday light spectacle to give people an escape for a bit from the usual urban landscape and lifestyle.

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Pinecrest/Palmetto Bay

Two villages bordering US 1 have quiet neighborhoods where creative families decorate their spacious properties with amazing light displays. Passersby can marvel at the work these families put into their great holiday decorations, take pictures and sit for awhile in their cars and let their eyes do the rest of the work. A well-known family in this area is the Weidmans whose holiday light display has been well reported in the local news. Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay are small villages that offer holiday events for children, also welcome to outsiders.

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Las Olas Isles

“Bigger is better,” which bodes well for passersby looking at the expensive houses in the neighborhood of Las Olas Isles. Whether by water or car, watching the holiday light displays of these houses will make people feel as if they are in a tropical winter wonderland. The Winterfest boat parade is an anchor in this area, therefore viewing the holiday lights by boat is key for anyone who is interested. The cool, crisp sea air with a hot drink of cider or hot chocolate will make the experience seem as if out of a Norman Rockwell painting. There is nothing like seeing spacious houses used as a canvas to create beautiful works of art with various light patterns and/or exhibits whether of a nativity scene and/or Hanukkah menorahs.

Related: Top Spots To See Christmas Decorations

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The neighborhood of Plantation is home to the famous Hyatt family’s Extreme Christmas display which has been documented and reported around the nation. Other families in the area also put up holiday lights and give the suburban neighborhoods of Plantation an extra allure which increases the population for the 25 days of December until Christmas Day. Traffic can be a problem to view displays, so awareness is key.

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Escape the city lights of urban and suburban Miami and drive down the Turnpike to Exit 2 to drive around the neighborhoods in the City of Homestead. The stars come out more in this area and combined with holiday light displays, give the South Floridians a special feeling of identity in being from this area. One view of the lights make the journey down to this area worth the effort.

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Eric L Labrador is a freelance writer covering all things Miami. His work can be found on Examiner.com.