Visiting the Bagwell Lights on Cambridge Street is a tradition for many families. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Touring holiday light displays is a season staple in our family. It started when our boys were small: We’d cozy up in comfy sweats, swing by a drive-thru for peppermint mocha and cocoas, listen to festive tunes and marvel at the Griswold-like efforts of Christmas light aficionados.

Our sons grew up and moved away, but that didn’t end the annual tradition — only now it’s a tour for two. For the young and young at heart, a night of touring lights is a budget-friendly way to spend time with people you care about.

To help you plan your own fabulous light tour, I’m sharing our favorite Springfield-metro home stops, plus a roundup of walk- and drive-thru displays that cost $7 or less — or nothing! — per person.

Click on the drop-downs below for walk-through and drive-thru spots and/or residential homes to expand each list for locations and details, depending on your interest. Every address links to Google Maps directions, and you’ll find a handy interactive map with this story.

Ready to be wowed? Grab your coffee or cocoa – Let’s go!

Walk-through and Drive-thru Displays

The J.R. Martin Park in Republic features a walk-through display. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

For a festive outing with friends or family, visit one — or all! — of these six drive-thru or walk-through holiday light displays. Five are in public parks; one is at a private home. All are low- or no-cost excursions. Some displays are limited events, so check the details for each before you head out.

Click here for the dropdown list
Gardens Aglow is at Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Gardens Aglow

Mode: Walk

Where: Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 9-11, 16-23, 26, 30-31

Cost: $5 online, $7 at gate for ages 13 and older; $2 online, $3 at gate for ages 3-12; ages 2 and younger are free

Facebook: Gardens Aglow event

YouTube video: Gardens Aglow 2021

What started four years ago has grown to include more than 175,000 lights in festive displays all over the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden at the Springfield Botanical Gardens. Gardens Aglow is a delight. As you wander paths, free-standing displays (including selfie-butterflies!) are accented by light-wrapped trees, a glowing tunnel, lighted bridge and so much more. There’s something delightful everywhere you look. Plus, you’ll find firepits for colder nights, and snack and hot drink vendors. This event has become a Springfield holiday must-do!

Festival of Lights is a walk-through display at Jordan Valley Park. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Festival of Lights at Jordan Valley Park

Mode: Walk

Where: 635 E Trafficway St, Springfield

When: 5-9 p.m. daily through Dec. 31

Cost: Free

Take a stroll through Jordan Valley Park for a short, sweet outing filled with lighted displays and kid-friendly characters that blink in time to music. You’ll find penguins, snow people, animals, Santa and his reindeer, a small tunnel, lighted trees and lots of snowflakes. A dancer and drummer boy are next to the Creamery Arts Center, one point of entry (and parking). You can also enter the park from the corner of Sherman Avenue and St. Louis Street or near Jordan Valley Ice Park. (Tip: The music is easier to hear around the plaza near the Ice Park.)

Bonus: Also drive around Park Central Square to see the Mayor’s Christmas Tree or park near the square to walk and view animated holiday windows at the History Museum on the Square.

Walk through holiday blowups at the B Highway Christmas Display. (Photo courtesy of the homeowners)

B Highway Christmas Display

Mode: Walk

Where: 2874 State Highway B, Rogersville

When: Nightly through Christmas Eve (depending on wind/weather)

Cost: Free

Facebook: B Highway Christmas Display

This holiday blowup extravaganza appeals to kids and kids at heart. The spacious grounds of Kevin and Valinda Bradley’s country home in Rogersville, about 20 minutes east of I-65 and James River Freeway, features a walk-through display set to music with dozens of holiday blowups. The family also hosts several fun extras, including a memorial tree to decorate on behalf of a loved one, Santa letter-writing and mailbox, holiday films, and perhaps most popular, a bake shop where visitors can purchase treats. Do note: If weather is bad or too windy, the display won’t be open. Check the family’s Facebook page, which is updated nightly between 5:30-6 p.m.

The J.R. Martin Park in Republic features a walk-through display. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

J.R. Martin Park

Mode: Walk through

Where: 300 E. Hines, Republic

When: Nightly through December

Cost: Free

This 24-acre urban park in Republic makes a colorful stop and a fun place for taking photos with holiday lights. Plus, it’s a nice addition if you go see the Steinerts’ synchronized home show (see details in our dropdown). Turn into the parking lot next to the Republic Early Childhood building on Hines Street. You can’t miss the lights. Walk through a lighted tunnel and enjoy an animated light show set to music on loudspeakers, with dancing arches, a singing Santa head, light-wrapped trees and more. A little farther into the park, there’s a Christmas tree and more lights, including light-wrapped tree trunks.

Candy Cane Lane is a drive-thru display at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park. (Photo courtesy of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board)

Candy Cane Lane at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park

Mode: Drive through

Where: 3825 W Farm Road 146, Springfield

When: 5-9 p.m. Dec. 9-11, 16-18

Cost: $5 per vehicle

Facebook: Candy Cane Lane 2022 event

Online: Parkboard.org

The annual drive-thru event is back at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park. With more than 10,000 lights, your kids will love the farm-themed displays and the excitement of discovering them as you roll through the park. As long as you’re in the area, check out nearby festive private home displays (click our drop-down list and look for the “West Springfield” group).

Drive through a one-mile light display at Finley River Park in Ozark. (Photo courtesy of Ozark Parks and Recreation)

Christmas Lights of Ozark

Mode: Drive through

Where: Finley River Park, 891 N. Riverside Road, Ozark

When: 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Dec. 31

Cost: Free; donations accepted

Facebook: Christmas Lights of Ozark event

YouTube video: Christmas Lights of Ozark

Another annual tradition, the Finley River Park light display event is back in Ozark. The one-mile drive-thru features kid-friendly characters, holiday themes, a lighted tunnel and much more. Best of all – it’s free! As long as you’re in the area, drive through the Ozark square and over to the Waterford Christmas Cottage, a private home with an impressive synchronized light display (find details in our dropdown list below).

Best Springfield Homes Holiday Lights

Bagwell Christmas Lights, 2008 E. Cambridge St., Springfield. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

The Griswold spirit is alive and well around the Ozarks, and we especially admire the skill of light lovers who make their holiday displays dance to music. Who doesn’t know about the famous Bagwell lights? They’ve got a growing body of competitors — but in this case, everybody wins! We love the holiday spirit at every house we visit, whether synchronized or not. To help you plan your own tour itinerary, homes are grouped by location.

Viewing tips: To be considerate when visiting home light displays, park close to the curb, and don’t block neighbors’ driveways. Some homeowners include an option to donate toward lights or a worthy cause; take a few dollars cash if you want to participate. Also: If the weather is bad or too windy on a given night, some displays may not be running, especially if they feature blowups.

Click here for the dropdown list of houses

Christmas Lights in South Springfield

Tour tip: These homes are south of Sunshine Street and east of Campbell Avenue. Plan your light night to include driving down Primrose Street past Ferrell-Duncan Clinic and CoxHealth Medical Center South which are beautifully lighted for Christmas. Bass Pro Shops and Wonders of Wildlife at Campbell Avenue and Sunshine Street are also festive.

Bagwell Christmas Lights, 2008 E. Cambridge St., Springfield. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Bagwell Christmas Lights

Where: 2008 E. Cambridge St., Springfield

Facebook: bagwelllights

Synchronized to music: Yes

Easily the most visited extravagant light display set to music in the Springfield Metro area, the Bagwell Christmas Lights have become an annual tradition for many. So much so, expect to wait in line if you go on or close to a weekend. (Tip: Go Monday or Tuesday for fewer crowds. We barely had to wait.) Through Christmas, the display runs 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Dec. 26-31. Tune your radio to 105.5 FM for music.

Viewing tip: Given this home’s popularity, plan ahead. Turn east onto Cambridge Street from Stewart Avenue to drive on the house-side of the road, or turn west onto Cambridge from Luster Avenue for the opposite side of the road (which moves a little faster). Either way, the Bagwells implore visitors to hug the curb so their very patient neighbors can drive down the middle and get into their homes.

LaSalle Street Lights at the corner of LaSalle Street and Jefferson Avenue. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

LaSalle Street Lights

Where: LaSalle Street and Jefferson Avenue

Synchronized to music: No

This bright display is a favorite we visit every year. Located near Kickapoo High School, we love all the little lighted trees that blanket the lawn. Very festive!

This house and others light up Deerfield Street just west of Fremont Avenue. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Deerfield Street Lights

Where: West on Deerfield Street at Fremont Avenue

Synchronized to music: No

Another longtime favorite, one house in particular (at 1324 as the street curves south) has lots of lighted characters and light-draped trees and shrubs. But neighbors are in the spirit too, so it’s a festive street overall.

Christmas Lights in West Springfield

Tour tip: The location of these homes work nicely with a visit to Candy Cane Lane at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park.

The Lights at 4739 W. La Siesta (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Lights on La Siesta

Where: 4739 W. La Siesta St.

Facebook: Lights on La Siesta  

Synchronized to music: Yes

A festive display, the Lights on La Siesta is a good place to start when touring this group of west Springfield homes. A reminder of the reason for the season covers the garage door, and a host of lighted trees, candy canes, snowflakes, wreaths and more make the yard twinkle. Donations are collected to benefit Willard Care to Learn. A sign in the yard says, “Tune your car stereo to 88.9.”

Bonus stop: On your way to the next location, travel west on La Siesta to see another festive house a few houses down; continue past Foster Avenue until the street curves onto South Dove Valley Avenue. About midway down, pause for another home that synchronized its lights.

The Phillips Family Lights are at 4261 W. Madison St. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Phillips Family Lights

Where: 4261 W. Madison St., Springfield

Facebook: Phillips-Family-Lights

Synchronized to music: Yes

One of our new favorites, this bright, cheerful display set to holiday tunes will surely bring a smile. A twinkling lighted tunnel, candy canes, tall Christmas tree, blue-wrapped yard tree and so much more make this stop a delight. Look closely to spot your favorite North Pole resident peeking out the front window – he must visit the Phillips family early! The display runs 6-10 p.m. nightly; tune into FM 94.1 for synchronized music.

The Hoods Family Lights are at 4268 W. Madison St.

Hoods Family Holiday Lights

Where: 4268 W. Madison St.

Facebook: Hoodsfamilyholidaylights

Synchronized to music: Yes

We discovered this small but fun display by accident: It’s across the street from the Phillips Family Lights. It’s so close, at first we thought it was part of the Phillips’ display until we realized it was blinking to a different beat. With a tall blue light tree, lighted tunnel and Santa blowups (including one with a Tracker boat), you get a two-for on Madison! Tune into FM 105.5 for their synchronized music.

The Underwood Lights are at 349 S. Mahn Ave. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Underwood Lights

Where: 349 S. Mahn Ave.

Facebook: Underwoodlights

Synchronized to music: Yes

Less than 10 minutes from Madison Street, the Underwood Lights display is a well-planned, colorful show featuring two large light trees with changing hues, small characters including Snoopy, Santa and reindeer, small trees, dancing arches, a “Rejoice” sign and twinkle lights everywhere. Tune into 94.1 FM for music; the display runs 5:30-10 p.m. nightly.

The Josh Street Lights cover front and side yard at 5631 W. Josh St. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Josh Street Christmas Lights

Where: 5631 W. Josh St.

Facebook: Josh Street Lights

Synchronized to music: No

A wonderland of whimsey covers nearly every inch of yard at this festive corner house. Be sure to drive or walk around to see the side yard too or you’ll miss half the fun. Multicolor lights cover trees, roof and lawn where cartoon characters reside, including the Peanuts gang, Grinch, snowmen, Elf, Rudolf and friends – and of course, Santa. According to their Facebook page, the family makes and paints their own cutouts, and have added a few more each year for the last 16 years. It shows!

Christmas Lights in Southwest Springfield

Tour tip: These homes are all west of Campbell Avenue and south of Republic Road. Start in Battlefield and work your way east — or vice versa depending on your location. (Houses are listed in the order we do them heading west to east.)

 A light display on Mesa Street, between Morning Glory and Tanager avenues in Battlefield, extends into three yards. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Mesa Street Lights

Where: West Mesa Street between Morning Glory and Tanager avenues, Battlefield

Synchronized to music: Yes

This kid-friendly light show includes funny holiday songs in its music playlist, illustrated by a variety of characters, including a rock band, holiday singing heads with moving mouths and more. This fun display is centered at one home (4032) but expands into neighbors’ yards. Tune into 107.3 FM for music.

 Jaxon’s Lights are at 4938 S. Tujunga Dr. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Jaxon’s lights

Where: 4938 S. Tujunga Dr., Springfield

Facebook: Jaxonslights

Synchronized to music: Yes

This dancing display just off Farm Road 178 has a heartwarming story. It started when Jaxon — now an older teen — was only 9, helping his mom with lights. As he aged, he took over the display, growing it each year. Today it includes a Nativity scene, Santa and his reindeer on the roof, blowups, stars, dancing arches and more. Turn your dial to 97.1 FM for the music.

(Note: As of this story’s publish date, the Jaxon Lights Facebook page hasn’t been updated for 2022, but the lights are up and running.)

 The light display at 5633 S. Meadowlark Lane is so large, one photo can’t capture it. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Meadowlark Lights

Where: 5733 S. Meadowlark Lane

Synchronized to music: No

Another new discovery! (And a contender for my growing list of favorites.) McBride Elementary School kids probably know this house already since one of its owners is McBride’s principal, Dr. Lael Streight. We met as she and husband Sean were adding a few extra touches to the display that’s so big, one photo can’t capture it all. They said they love sharing holiday lights with the community and even put a Santa’s mailbox out front for kids. An old-fashioned Nativity scene in one corner is the first thing they put up. The rest of the display is a wonderland of blowup characters, twinkling multicolor lights and trees, and clips of a couple holiday movies playing. Roll down your car windows: music is playing too. Best of all, paired with the Gray Rock lights, just around the corner (listed below), you get a twofer — and more — in this southwest neighborhood.

 The lights at 3217 W. Gray Rock Drive are around the corner from the Meadowlark lights. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Gray Rock Lights

Where: 3217 W. Gray Rock Drive

Synchronized to music: No

Already a popular stop for light-seekers, this joyful home sparkles in the night. Multicolor lights drape the house and roof and line the lawn where lighted trees, candy canes and more add to the whimsey. Bonus: Another lovely lit home with a Nativity scene is right across the street. Plus, this house just around the corner from the Meadowlark home, listed above.

These lights at the corner of South Cox Avenue and Cantebury Street are near Wanda Gray Elementary (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Cantebury Lights

Where: South Cox Avenue (FR 190) and West Cantebury Street

Synchronized to music: No

You can’t miss this corner house near Wanda Gray Elementary — its huge yard explodes with twinkling lights and holiday displays in the front, side and back. An American flag display on one front shrub mirrors the flag on a tall pole. Plus, there are three delightful lighted homes nearby: One is a red and white display next door on Cox Avenue; another can be found by continuing west on Cantebury Street, and the third (listed below) can be found by continuing east on the road, which oddly becomes Nottingham Street.

The Collins Family Lights are at 1956 W. Nottingham St. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Collins Family Lights

Where: 1956 W. Nottingham St.

Facebook: Collins Family Lighting Display

Synchronized to music: Yes

Youtube: One song from 2021

This home near Wanda Gray Elementary features a large lighted cross and a snappy animated show set to three musical sequences. It’s a nice addition to your southwest Springfield itinerary because it’s just a few houses down the street from the Cantebury lights. Tune your radio dial to 96.1 FM for music. The show runs 6-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 6-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

 Michigan Street, south of Farm Road 182, is brightly lit by many houses, especially the one at 5497. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Michigan Street Lights

Where: Michigan Avenue, south of Farm Road 182

This festive street was suggested and it didn’t disappoint. Several homes are lit up, with one corner abode in particular (5497) catching our eye with its explosion of lights and whimsey.

Nixa & Ozark Holiday Lights

Tour tips: We added three Nixa homes to our personal light tour this year, all 2021 winners of the Nixa Tour of Lights competition. More homes on the 2021 tour are listed on the “Experience Nixa” app (another way to see local lights), and Nixa is doing the competition again for 2022. Pair the Nixa homes with a drive into Ozark for the Waterford Christmas Cottage lights and public lights at Finley River Park and the downtown Ozark square.

The Spellman Family Light Show is at 733 E. Gallup Hill Road in Nixa. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Spellman Family Light Show

Where: 733 E. Gallup Hill Road, Nixa

Facebook: SpellmanFamilyLightShow

Synchronized to music: Yes

This polished synchronized light show is a bit different than some others we saw, with the way lights ebb and flow in rhythm to the music, a nice mix using the theme music from “Harry Potter,” a Tom Hanks song from “The Polar Express,” plus holiday music from Toby Mac and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This house took third in Nixa’s 2021 Tour of Lights competition. Tune your radio dial to 96.1 for music. Show hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30–11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

This Grinch-themed home by the Marsh family is at 900 E. Welch St. in Nixa. (Photo courtesy of the Marsh family)

Marsh Family Lights

Where: 900 E. Welch St., Nixa

Synchronized to music: No

The Marsh family won first place in the 2021 Nixa Lights Tour competition and this year’s light design looks like a contender too! The fun display is themed “Merry Grinchmas” and includes several Grinches, multiple lights and more. 

The Burky Family Lights are at 933 E. Ozark Jubilee Road in Nixa. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Burky Family Lights

Where: 933 E. Ozark Jubilee Road, Nixa

Synchronized to music: No

Last year’s second-place winning home — just a few streets away from the Marsh home — features a whimsical display of lights, lollypops, snowmen, candy canes, reindeer, and a lighted tunnel that visitors can walk under.

The Waterford Christmas Cottage display is at 602 E. Falls Cir. in Ozark. (Photo courtesy of the Stoffregen family)

Waterford Christmas Cottage

Where: 602 E. Falls Cir., Ozark

Facebook: ChristmasLightShow

Synchronized to music: Yes

This Ozark house makes many holiday-light lists for good reason. Delayed a bit for health reasons (as they explain on their Facebook page), the show is scheduled to start the week of Dec. 11 and will run through Jan. 6. Hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. It’s located in the Waterford Subdivision on the north side of Ozark (about 1.5 miles east of Lambert’s Café). The whimsical animated show features a Whoville theme with more than 20,000 pixels synchronized to modern and classic holiday tunes that go more than an hour before music repeats, according to the Stoffregens.

Republic Holiday Lights

Tour tip: These homes are less than 10 minutes from the J.R. Martin Park walk-through light display. Also, it’s less than a 20-minute drive from the West side Josh Street lights to the Steinert house in Republic.

The Steinert Family Lights are at 752 W. Apache St. in Republic. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Steinert Family Lights

Where: 752 W. Apache St., Republic

Facebook: SteinertFamilyLights

Synchronized to music: Yes

This festive house in Republic features a tall Christmas tree, lots of dancing stars and thousands of lights set to music. Less than 15 minutes from West Bypass and James River Freeway, it’s a pretty display we enjoy every year. There are other lighted homes in the neighborhood too. The lights can be viewed 6-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 6-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Tune into FM 88.1 for synchronized music. The Steinert family will host a free Hot Cocoa Night for visitors, 6-8 p.m. Dec. 17.

This lighted home is at the corner of Primrose Lane and Hampton Avenue in Republic. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Primrose Lane Lights

Where: Corner of Primrose and Hampton Avenue, Republic

Synchronized to music: No

We discovered this delightful lighted home just five minutes from the Steinert house and an easy stop while heading to J.R. Martin Park. The drive between all three is under 10 minutes.

Rural Outskirts Holiday Lights

Tour tip: Both the Shine Bright Light Show and the Highway B Christmas Display (listed below) are in rural areas and take a bit more of a drive.

The aptly named Shine Bright Light Show is at 7094 N. FR 171 in north Springfield. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

Shine Bright Light Show

Where: 7094 N. FR 171, Springfield north

Facebook: Shine Bright Lighting Show

There’s a reason for this display’s name: Lights really pop in the complete darkness of rural roads in north Springfield. The 12-minute, four-song show on a big yard makes a fun stop. Tips: Be aware this house is on a two-lane farm road without a curb to pull off (you have to stop in the road), but no other cars came while we were there. It’s a little way out — use your phone map to help you get there and back in the dark — but from the north edge of Springfield near Glenstone Avenue and I-44, it’s 12-15 minutes. From Park Central Square it’s 20-25 minutes. The show runs 6-10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 30.

Walk through holiday blowups at the B Highway Christmas Display. (Photo courtesy of the homeowners)

B Highway Christmas Display

Where: 2874 State Highway B, Rogersville

Facebook: B Highway Christmas Display

We are repeating this home with the private list — it’s also under “walk-through” displays. The spacious grounds of Kevin and Valinda Bradley’s country home in Rogersville, about 20 minutes east of I-65 and James River Freeway, features a walk-through display set to music with dozens of holiday blowups. The family also hosts several fun extras, including a memorial tree to decorate on behalf of a loved one, Santa letter-writing and mailbox, holiday films, and perhaps most popular, a bake shop where visitors can purchase treats. Check the Facebook page, updated nightly between 5:30-6 p.m., to be sure the display isn’t down because of wind.

Sony Hocklander

Sony Hocklander is a freelance journalist, video storyteller and photographer who produces creative content through her small solo business, Sony Hocklander Creative LLC. When she’s not telling community stories, she loves wandering the Ozarks outdoors with a camera in hand. You can follow her on Twitter @SonyHocklander and on Instagram @shocklander or email her at: sonyhocklander@gmail.com More by Sony Hocklander