Take a driving tour of city's Christmas lights

Dec 18, 2015 By Robert H. Peck, Staff Writer

This route requires about an hour, so have a healthy supply of Christmas cookies along for the ride.

In this column last week, I wrote about my enthusiasm for Christmas decorations. This week, I bring you a carefully-devised driving tour of Riverton that showcases many of our city's beautiful holiday lights.

This tour begins at Main and Federal, and takes around an hour to complete. It is best undertaken after dark, with a healthy supply of Christmas cookies along for the ride. Drive safely, and write in if I've missed any big displays.

Starting from the intersection of Main and Federal, head south and take a right on Jefferson. Follow Jefferson west as far as S. 3rd East, making sure to watch out for the lovely lights at the S. 5th intersection. At S. 3rd, take a right.

Follow S. 3rd across Main until you reach Park St. Take another right there to see several good garnishings, and stay on Park until you reach N. 6th East. Turn left and follow N. 6th all the way to its northern terminus at E. Roosevelt Ave. for an out-of-the-way display that's worth the extra distance.

Take a right on Roosevelt, and then a quick left on N. 7th St. to reach E. Pershing. Turn right here and stay on Pershing for a while to enjoy its many well-decorated homes. Travel east until you reach N. 16th St, and turn left.

This area is a bit bare until you reach E. Sunset Dr. some blocks to the North. When you hit Sunset, you can turn left there for a shorter drive, or continue north to Timber Ln. for a more scenic route. I chose the latter, but if you turn up Sunset now, rejoin these directions two paragraphs below.

Follow Timber west and then north until you reach Beech Dr. The only option here is a left, so take it, and then take another left at Pinecrest St.

Make sure to take your time on Pinecrest--there are lots of lights in this area, including some that you might miss. Drive carefully, but enjoy the views. Follow Pinecrest south until you reach N. Forest Dr., and keep going straight until you can take a right onto E. Sunset.

Follow Sunset west until you reach Valley Circle, and turn left here for several eye-catching bedeckings. Follow the circle as it weaves all the way around to N. 1st St, then take a quick right and left to rejoin Sunset going west.

Take a right in about a block on Sierra Dr., which you can follow north for a while without turning. It will wrap around west and become Cascade St., then south at Sherry Dr. Go south on Sherry and cross sunset onto N. 2nd St., a street that was long a staple of my childhood light walks. Although some in the area have abandoned the large, coordinated wreaths that used to adorn nearly every home, there are still plenty of wonderful sights here. Stay on N. 2nd until you reach W. Pershing, and turn right.

Follow Pershing west until you reach N. 8th, turn right, and head north past the always-spectacular U.S. Energy lights--as good as ever this year. Keep going north to Gasser Rd. and turn left, watching out for another great display just north of the intersection.

Follow Gasser west to Major Ave. and turn left. Follow Major south to Pioneer and turn left to drive through the Homestead Living area, which features many modest but pleasant decorations. Careful here: when I went through, the roads were much icier than I expected. Take any route you like east through this area until you reach N. 9th W. on the far end, and follow it south.

Cross Park on N. 9th and turn right on W. Fremont Ave, then right again on N. 10th St., then left onto W. Park Ave. Trust me on this--it's convoluted, but you'll miss several nice places otherwise. Follow Park west until Big Bend Ave., and take a right here.

This neighborhood has some of the nicest lights in the city. Drive north slowly along Big Bend and follow it all the way around as it becomes Prairie Rd., continuing west and then south until Prairie ends at W. Bend Ave. Take a quick right and then a left to follow College View Dr. going south.

When you reach W. Main, decide how much longer you're willing to commit to this. If you've had enough, turn left and continue down Main until you reach City Park, enjoying the view of E. Main from atop High School Hill on your way. You're done!

If you're still game, though--and I hope you are--take a right, and then a left down Hill St. Turn right onto Riverview Rd. at the bottom of the hill. Watch for deer here!

Follow Riverview west to Country Club Dr. and turn left. If you like, take a swing down through this neighborhood; there are several displays worth seeing, but it's out of the way. Otherwise, turn left quickly again onto Windsong Dr. and follow it around to rejoin Riverview going the other way. Turn right here, and then right again at Village Dr.

I was reluctant to include this section because it's so far out of the way, but the trip up and down Village Dr. is among the best. Follow Village south to Valley Green Circle, take a right, and follow the loop around. When you're done, turn left back onto Village Dr. going north, and follow it back up to Riverview. Turn right.

Follow Riverview east all the way past Hill St. and Major Ave. until you reach Spire Dr. Turn right here and then quickly left onto Hillside Ave. Take Hillside east to Summit Dr. and turn right, following Summit south to W. Monroe. Another right here. You should be able to follow Monroe all the way out to the west until it reaches Major Ave., past the site of the new elementary school. Turn right here.

Follow this road north across Riverview and up Major, then turn right onto W. Main--the last official turn of this tour. Continue down Main until you reach City Park, enjoying the view of E. Main from atop High School Hill on your way. You're done!

Editor's note: Riverton native Robert Peck graduated recently from Yale University. He is a first-year graduate student in the Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.