Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights is back, but there’ll be no switch-on ceremony this year due to COVID health concerns.
For the last 29 years, the historic Riverside hotel and spa has been dazzling visitors with an incredible spectacle of lights and holiday displays. It’s one of the largest holiday light collections in the country and has been voted “Best Public Lights Display” by USA Today, so it’s no surprise it’s one of our favorite holiday traditions and draws roughly 75,000 people each year. As with last year’s event, this year the festival will be scaled back and the switch-on ceremony canceled to limit any public health risks posed by the Delta variant.
The experience will commence on November 26, 2021, running through January 6, 2022. Unlike last year, you won’t need to be staying at the hotel to see the best of the glittering collection. This stunning hotel’s castle-like towers, Mediterranean domes, sprawling arcades and cascading balconies will be decorated with 5 million twinkling holiday lights for a five-week extravaganza. You’ll be greeted by two giant nutcracker figures flanking the entrance with towering palm trees draped in meters of fairy lights. Along with that, there’ll be 200 animated figures and the world’s largest man-made mistletoe to steal those giant covid-friendly smooches under.
Many of the usual activities had to be canceled, like live performances, rides, food vendors, and horse-drawn carriages. However, there’ll be more than enough oversized ornaments, bows, and garlands on lights and bridges to add that signature touch of fairy tale magic. The festival is completely free and there’ll be plenty of photo ops to immortalize the moment so you can spread the joy on social media.
The inside of the hotel will only be accessible to hotel guests and restaurant patrons, which is worth considering with the array of award-winning restaurants available. Not to mention seeing every inch of the great Rotunda and vast courtyards covered in illuminating decor.
Location: 3649 Mission Inn Ave, Riverside, California