Deerfield’s holiday light tradition started as a contest. When the Northwest Plano neighborhood of 735 single-family homes was first built, it was surrounded by undeveloped fields and farmland owned by founding Plano families. At the time, Deerfield was considered remote. To get prospective homeowners interested, the builders launched a holiday light contest with big cash prizes. The first prize winner could get $5,000. 

Immediately, it was a hit. One longtime Deerfield resident remembers people dressing up in costumes and handing out candy to passersby, covering their lawns with cotton. 

“I remember one house had their teenage daughter get dressed in an angel costume and would stand in the front window and act like an animated figure,” they wrote on Deerfield’s website. “You had to look closely to realize it was a real person.”

The tradition has endured. Year after year, Deerfield residents deck the halls, and the competition grows more diverse and creative. Deerfield remains the standard in Plano for neighborhood light displays. Around 75 percent of Deerfield residents participate.  

Naturally, Deerfield evenings are incredibly busy. Especially in 2020, when life has already been thrown into some amount of chaos, it’s nice to get a little help planning your trip. Plus, see these other local neighborhood displays.

Be advised: there are no public restrooms. These are people’s houses, so use the restroom before you visit.

Home on Turnberry Court in the Deerfield neighborhood, Plano

The Route through Deerfield

It’s best to avoid the crowds, otherwise the line of cars trying to enter the neighborhood can clog up Legacy Drive. Go on a weeknight, either early in the evening or late (5:30-7 or 9-10 p.m.)

We’ve tested the following route. This guide will get you to the most amazing displays.

  1. Enter Legacy Road: Enter at Archgate Drive off Legacy Drive. 
    1. Note that Archgate is by far the busiest entrance to Deerfield. It’s not your only option. You can also enter off of Ohio Drive, by Courtyard Trail (loop around Ebony Court, and skip down to step four.), Adrian Way, Sundance Drive, or Quincy Lane (turn right down Bettye Haun Drive). 
    2. From Preston Meadow, enter on Jenkins and work your way south. 

2. From Archgate, turn left down Hallmark Drive  

3. Turn left down Ebony Court. At the junction of Ebony and Hallmark look out for the house on your left, there’s a hidden Santa hanging upside down. 

4. Loop around the Ebony Court cul-de-sac and back up straight to Courtyard Trail. Make sure you take a good look at the house on the north junction of Ebony and Hallmark, where there’s a full menagerie, including a panda, polar bear and flamingos. They also have sneaky gnomes hiding on top of the fence.

5. Turn right down Courtyard Trail

6. Turn left up Colonnade

7. Turn left on Adrian Way

8. Turn right up Interlude 

9. Turn right along Penbrook Court. The house at the corner of Penbrook Court and Parchment Trail has fairytale-inspired decor, and a photo op: there’s a sleigh for pedestrians to take pictures in. (Do not park here, this is only for people who are doing a walking tour.)

10. Turn left up Bettye Haun Drive

11. Take a right along Old Pond Drive, and complete the cul-de-sac loop to see one of Deerfield’s famous attractions, the Zephries’ house. See their 104,000 lights with synchronizing music which is broadcasted on FM station 92.3.

12. Turn right up Pathway Lane (this will take you on a loop around the Deerfield central park/square).

13. Turn left down Staten Island (continue down and loop around the cul-de-sac). Look out for the dancing Santas and the sleigh flying over the street.

14. Right down Crape Myrtle Lane. Look out for the gigantic Rudolph at the house right at the end of the street (at the junction to Old Pond).

15. Turn left on Old Pond.

16. Turn right on Archgate.

17. Turn left on Turnberry Court and loop the cul-de-sac. On this street, 16 Deerfield houses have synchronized their displays.

17. Turn right back onto Archgate 

18. Turn right along Deer Run/Hitching Post and loop around the cul-de-sac.

19. Turn right back onto Archgate.

20. Turn left down Southgate Drive and exit via Preston Meadow Drive OR carry on down Archgate. Then turn left on Hallmark, loop round that cul-de-sac and turn left back onto Archgate and exit.

Pick Your Method of Transportation

How you traverse the Deerfield neighborhood is up to you. Driving is absolutely the safest way to travel in quarantine. Plus certain homes time their lights with music, meaning you can tune your radio to their display. Please use caution on the busy streets and remain in your car to keep traffic moving.

However, this year, Deerfield has been especially busy, and on the most crowded nights, there have even been issues with gridlock. For that reason, we suggest packing some hot cocoa, parking above the neighborhood, and walking.

There are a few benefits to walking Deerfield. Some Deerfield displays are slightly interactive. One house on Penbrook has a sleigh for photos to be taken, reserved only for travelers on foot. However, walkers must use caution and courtesy to make it a safe event for all visitors.

Walkers, please park north of the Clubhouse, where there is less traffic, wear masks, and practice social distancing guidelines. When you park, please don’t block the alleys. Residents still need access to their own homes. Additionally, Residents request that guests abide by the state’s social distancing guidelines.

Deerfield lights

Holiday carriage rides, provided by North Star Carriages weather permitting, have always been a beloved part of the Deerfield experience, both carriages and wagons with up to 20 seats. The horse-drawn carriage rides typically take a little under an hour.

This year, carriages will be available, but because of COVID-19, Deerfield residents say they “are not endorsing this service.” North Star Carriages highly recommends making reservations at dfwcarriages.com.

The Deerfield 2020 holiday light season runs until December 30 from dusk to 10 p.m. on weekdays and dusk to 11 p.m. on weekends, with the exception of Christmas and New Year’s Day, and weather permitting. For more information, visit deerfieldplano.org

Alexandra Cronin

Alexandra Cronin is Local Profile's senior editor. She has been with the company since 2016. She loves great coffee, good food, and average wine.