97 years later, Christmas Tree Lane still lights up Fresno

Move aside Mariah Carey. In Fresno, Christmas season begins when Christmas Tree Lane lights up for the year.

It’s December, and that means Christmas Tree Lane is open once again in Fresno.

The historic-attraction opened Tuesday with the first of two walk-only nights. The other walk-only night will be Wednesday, Dec. 11.


Every other night is open to vehicles, although visitors are still welcome to walk if they would like to.

Christmas Tree Lane runs on a two-mile stretch of North Van Ness Boulevard between Shields Avenue and Shaw Avenue in central Fresno. It will be open through Christmas day, Dec. 25.

The street has 140 homes and 300 trees that are decorated with nearly 2.5 million lights.

There is no cost to visit Christmas Tree Lane, though donations are accepted.

On Sundays through Thursdays, it is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The tradition started in 1920 with a single Christmas tree to honor a child that passed away, and each year residents decorated more lights and houses as it grew.

This year is the 97th year the neighborhood’s light extravaganza has been up and running. Christmas Tree Lane only closed twice: 1941 – due to wartime restrictions – and 1973 because of the then on-going energy crisis.

On walk-only nights Christmas Tree Lane hosts live music from a number of local musicians.

The scheduled performers for Dec. 11 include various high school bands and the Fresno City Brass Ensemble and City Singers, among other groups. 

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