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Nightlife Things To Do

The Best Places To See Festive Lights Around L.A. This Holiday

By Ashlyn Davis

Let it glow! Let it glow! Let it glow!

We don’t need to remind you that this year’s festive events are going to look quite different from previous years. However, despite cancelations of some of the most anticipated lighting displays, there are still a surprising amount of twinkling lights, glittering decorations and festive lighting projections illuminating L.A. this year—and no, they don’t all require a car. Of course, there are some changes and it will require a little bit of planning but the glowing holiday displays are still happening in some areas.

While some of our favorite neighborhood displays like Candy Cane Lane may still go ahead in some capacity, access may be limited or restricted. However, here are some of the best festive lights to get you in the holiday spirit that will be going ahead.

1. ‘Glow’ at the South Coast Botanic Garden

Instead of the usual array of snowmen, snowflakes and other seasonally-themed displays. The Palos Verdes botanic garden is shining the light back on nature. This 87-acre coastal haven will be transformed into an “oceanic experience” allowing guests to experience nature in a whole new way—a multicolored, multisensory way. Bring a jacket and surf through this glowing wave of light. Find out more here.

2. Christmas Tree Lane

We’re used to driving down streets lined with Palm trees, but once a year visitors travel far and wide to catch a glimpse of Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane. Rally up your household and cruise down this sparkling hill–and don’t forget to drive with your headlines on! Keep updated on any changes by following their social media pages.

3. Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza

Torrance’s Seaside neighborhood (a.k.a. Sleepy Hollow) absolutely glows at this time of year. Every possible surface is covered in a sea of festive lights and it never fails to dazzle. It starts on December 11, the city will have additional health and safety measures in place.

4.  Mission Inn

Riverside’s insanely beautiful Mission Inn Hotel is worth a visit any day of the week. But during the festive season, it really steals the show with 4.5 million sparkling lights and over 400 animated figures for its annual Festival of Lights. This event usually spans six weeks and is completely free. However, this year, there won’t be any lighting ceremony and only hotel guests will be allowed on the main pathway. For more updates on the festival you can check the City of Riverside’s updates here.

5. ‘Sparkle DTLA’ at The Bloc

At The Bloc in Downtown L.A., you can get all your shopping done while wandering through a cheerful display of 18 million hues of lights. ‘Sparkle DTLA’ will also be putting on nightly shows where the giant tree twinkles in time to festive tunes.

6. ‘Wildlights’ at The Living Desert

You can stroll through illuminated wildlife lanterns that reflect the natural inhabitants of the Palm Desert. The new paths offer vantages of the new habitats like the emus of the new Australian Adventures. There’ll also be a holiday-themed G-scale model train display and light shows synchronized to music throughout the zoo. For an additional fee, guests can toast s’mores around a campfire, take a spin on the carousel and get a photo with Santa on his sleigh. Find out more here.

 7. Dana Point Harbor

The 46th Annual Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights has been canceled but the annual Dana Point Harbor holiday light displays are in full swing. The harbor walkways and area will be illuminated with merry archways, wreaths, glowing whale sculptures and more through January 3. It’s a charming night out and it will add a whole lot of cheer to your month.

8. The Grove

At Christmas, The Grove pulls out all the stops and the shopping destination transforms into a magical wonderland. Expect nightly “snow” nightly, the iconic installation of Santa and his slap with holiday music filling the air. There are also two of the tallest trees on the West Coast’s tallest trees that glitter with 25,000 lights and ornaments.

9. Buena Vista Street

Buena Vista street reopened outdoor dining and shopping to visitors around a week ago, move means 200 furloughed employees will be back at work and fans can look forward to a festive lighting display that will illuminate the quaint boulevard with all 20s and 30s nostalgia. There’s nothing quite like this surreal old-world charm to remind you why this is the most wonderful time of the year. However, with the recent changes and order that went into place, this may be limited to just shopping and is subject to change.

10. Old Pasadena

This charming historic district an incredible place to shop and dine for the holidays, plus it comes with the reward of knowing you’re helping preserve this vibrant neighborhood and the families that depend on it. The alleyways and courtyards are draped with dozens of fairy lights and during the winter season, they have festive projections lighting up every corner. Pasadena also happens to be the one city that has chosen not to enforce the outdoor dining. Either way, you can wander through these old streets and buildings to soak up the atmosphere—and you can always shop online or order takeout from local shops and eateries too.

[Featured Image: The Mission Inn]