If there has ever been a year when we could all use a lot of holiday cheer, it’s this one! Fortunately, spectacular light displays and decor are here to brighten the season in a big way. Whether you want to drive through local neighborhoods filled with sparkling lights, stroll though bedecked business districts (while staying socially distanced, of course), or snag tickets to a holidays-in-your-car event, there are loads of opulent opportunities for families. Keep reading for our complete guide to where to all the best holiday lights in Los Angeles.
Spectacular Streets & Private Homes
Lilley Hall – Toluca Lake
Tucked away in a quiet pocket of Toluca Lake stands a 1927 Tudor revival home named for musical composer/arranger/director Joseph J. Lilley. This house really goes all out on the Christmas cheer and kicks off the season with a toy soldier tree lighting Thanksgiving night! Word on the street is that actress Morgan Fairchild is even going to be there to help with the lighting. This neighborhood is pretty festive in general when it comes to holiday lights so definitely worth a drive-by if you’re looking for a piece of ho-ho-history to show the kids.
Dates: Thanksgiving night – Christmas Day
Time: After dark
10104 Moorpark St.
Upper Hastings Ranch: Pasadena
This Pasadena area neighborhood will be a sure hit with your tiny tots. Going strong since 1951, this time-honored tradition features each block with its own special theme, from Santa’s Toy Shop to a snowy Winter Wonderland, and is truly a festival of lights. This is a large neighborhood with a ton to see, so driving is recommended. Most drivers go slowly so you can enjoy it as if you’re walking.
Dates: Dec. 12 – Jan. 2
Times: 6 p.m.-10 p.m.
Sierra Madre Blvd., Michillinda Ave., Hastings Ranch Blvd. and Riviera Pasadena
Candy Cane Lane: Woodland Hills
This little West Valley neighborhood at the intersection of Oxnard St. and Lubao Ave. in Woodland Hills is a couple of blocks where the residents collectively decide each year to put on an amazing holiday display of lights and decorations for all to enjoy. This year, however, a visit to Candy Cane Lane should be a stay-in-your-car adventure, and because there probably won’t be many people out walking it’s best to drive through this dazzling display early in the season to avoid a long wait.
Dates: Second Sat. of Dec. through the end of the year
Times: Nightly after dark
Oxnard Street and Lubao Ave.
Christmas Tree Lane: Altadena
Purported to be the oldest large-scale Christmas light display in the country, Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane is sure to get you in the spirit. This year is extra special and marks the 100th anniversary of the first lighting of the Lane! To honor this milestone, the organizers will be providing a new app, “The Christmas Tree Lane app” which is meant to enhance your “in-the-car” Lane experience and features an audio guide with music and different recorded offerings explaining the history of how it all began. Stay tuned to their social media pages for more information on when this app will be available as well as when the lights are all up and ready to be seen!
Dates: Dec. 1 (or sooner so check the website and social media pages) and the lights stay up through Dec.
Times: 6 p.m.
Santa Rosa between Mariposa and Mendocino
Saint Albans Road: San Marino
Saint Albans is lined with tall majestic pines that are all bedecked in colored lights for the season. This old San Marino neighborhood will delight munchkins and grownups alike with its stately old California architecture all dressed up for the holidays. This is a short trek, so if the crowds are light it’s best to bundle up, park the car and take a stroll (don’t forget your masks!). If, however, the crowds are too thick, drive slowly through this holiday ‘hood to soak in all of the seasonal splendor.
Dates: Typically up in early Dec and runs through the month
Times: After dark.
Saint Albans Rd. and Huntington Ave.
Yolanda Lights: Reseda
Located on the 7300 block of Yolanda Ave south of Valerio, this holiday light tunnel is ideal for those who want to walk, bike, blade, or take a stroller through a beautifully lit tunnel. Beginning after Thanksgiving, it runs down both sides of the street, so there’s plenty of room to distance if you choose to experience the sights on foot (masks encouraged if you’re out of your car). Don’t forget to sign the photo guestbook with a selfie at the end of your walk.
Dates: Typically begins after Thanksgiving and runs through the end of the year
Times: Nightly after dark
7300 block of Yolanda Ave.
Bedecked Business Districts, Botanical Gardens & More
Via Rodeo – Beverly Hills
Stay socially distanced and safe as you stroll this posh cobblestone stretch Beverly Hills. Kids will love the life-sized Nutcrackers, sparkling wreaths and more. Be sure to also check out Beverly Canon Gardens, Christmas tree and ornament tunnels. The best part? It costs absolutely nothing—though we can’t say the same for designer fashions and luxe baubles you’ll find inside the boutiques along the way.
Dates: Now through Christmas
Winterlit at the Third Street Promenade – Santa Monica
For a way to brighten your holiday experience while stretching your legs at the same time, check out Winterlit in Downtown Santa Monica. Tens of thousands of colorful lights and decor will illuminate the Third Street Promenade’s outdoor establishments, storefronts will shine as re-imagined art installations, and a new interactive holiday-themed mobile app will allow guests to experience this open-air space in a whole new light. Throw in a 24-foot holiday tree and you’ve got yourself a fun opportunity to mingle-all-the-way with your festive family! Face coverings are required when visiting the Third Street Promenade and all guests are encouraged to practice physical distancing.
Dates: Nov. 27 – Jan. 3
Time: After dark.
Third Street (3 blocks between Broadway and Wilshire)
Santa Monica, 90401
Glow at South Coast Botanic Garden – Palos Verdes
GLOW is a visually stunning art installation that will transform the South Coast Botanic Garden’s lush botanic oasis into an oceanic experience for our Garden Lights & Ocean Waters theme using thousands of lights and set to a specially designed musical soundtrack. Your merry band of elves will get a lot of walking in with this experience and masks are required for everyone over the age of 2 so make sure to prepare accordingly! Best to purchase tickets now as these dates are selling out fast (and they won’t be admitting anyone at the door without an advance reservation).
Dates: Nov. 21 – Jan. 10
Times: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Cost: $34.95 per person (for non-members). Children 4 and under are free.
26300 Crenshaw Boulevard
Palos Verdes Peninsula 90274
Holiday Decor and Lights on the Water – Ventura Harbor Village
Sea-sons greetings abound at Ventura Harbor Village where the glittering Pacific will shine even brighter with the Harbor’s display of ocean-inspired holiday decorations decking the halls from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. You and your sugarplums will enjoy whimsical colorful trees, bountiful wreaths, stunning holiday decor, lights on the water, seasonal sweets, a shopping passport, and more
Dates: Nov. 20 – Jan. 3
Times: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Cost: Free to visit the Village
1583 Spinnaker Dr.
Reflections at Descanso: La Cañada Flintridge
Descanso had to cancel their beloved seasonal “Enchanted Forest of Light” event but has replaced it with Reflections at Descanso which is meant to be a celebration of all that’s hopeful and peaceful in this world (and boy does that sound lovely right about now!). While this is not a nighttime event, the daytime festivities are sure to inspire festive feelings and will include art pieces, special seasonal plantings, self-guided activities, and a beautiful Wishing Tree created by an acclaimed artist. Tickets must be purchased in advance and pricing is the same as general admission. Masks are required to enter and everyone is asked to adhere to socially distant pacing as you stroll through the grounds.
Dates: Nov. 14 – Jan 10
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Same as general admission – $15 per person, $5 per child, Children under 5 are free.
1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge, 91011
Spectacular Drive-Thru Events
Hikari – A Festival of Lights
Tanaka Farms is hosting a special holiday drive-through. Hikari, which means shine in Japanese, is taking over the farm, with more than a mile of twinkling lights. As you drive through the 30-acre farm, you’ll see light-covered scarecrows, tractors and more. Added bonus: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Santa will make an appearance. More details.
Cost: $49 per vehicle (Mon. – Thurs.), $59 per vehicle (Fri. – Sun.)
Dates: Nov. 27 – Jan. 10
5380 University Dr.
Dodgers Holiday Festival
The 2020 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers are hosting a drive-thru Holiday Festival, complete with a light show, LED video displays, fake snow and interactive displays honoring the Dodgers World Championship and celebrating the holidays! More info.
Cost: Admission starts at $55 per vehicle.
Dates: Nov. 27 – Dec. 24
Location: Dodgers Stadium (enter through Stadium Way Downtown Gate E)
1000 Vin Scully Ave.
LIT: A Drive-Thru Hanukkah Experience
Celebrate the Festival of Lights at LIT, a fully contactless drive-thru Hanukkah experience. Enjoy a blend of synchronized lighting displays and projection installations set to a curated soundtrack. The experience also includes a screening of The Broken Candle, an animated short featuring the voices of Tiffany Haddish, Mark Feuerstein and more.
Cost: $75 per vehicle
Dates: Dec. 10 – 20
Stephen Wise Temple
15500 Stephen S Wise Dr.
The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey
It was only a matter of time before the elf got off the shelf and showed up in this larger-than-life theatrical experience, with performances kicking off on Nov. 6 at the Fairplex in Pomona. The hour-long drive-thru adventure takes you through a series of magical, holiday dreamworlds, including a Toy Repair Workshop, candy-covered Gingerbread Village, Arctic Winter Wonderland and more. More details.
Cost: Starting at $19.95 for children and $24.95 for adults (prices vary based on dates)
Dates: Now – January 3 (closed on select Mondays)
1101 W. McKinley Ave.
Six Flags Magic Mountain: Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru
The rides may not be open, but the lights are on and twinkling at Six Flags Magic Mountain, where the Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience lets you weave your way through the 125-acre theme park from the safety of your car. Roll down the windows and hear the sounds of the season while you cruise by a host of festive characters and beneath millions of synchronized lights. With eight immersive areas, it’s one of the largest drive-through events in SoCal. More details.
Cost: Tickets start at $25 per person (ages 3+); varies by date.
Dates: Daily through Jan. 3, beginning at 6p.m. each night. Limited reservations will be available each night and will be required by all guests in advance using Six Flags’ online reservation system.
Location: Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy.
From the same group that brought us Haunt ‘O Ween comes a drive-thru winter wonderland, complete with millions of lights (synchronized with music), magical sets, a holidays around the world display and more. Of course, Santa will be there too, along with Mrs. Claus and all the elves. More details.
Cost: $70 per vehicle of up to 8 passengers; $80 for nine or more passengers.
Dates: Nov. 30 – Dec. 23; Dec. 26 – Dec. 30
Location: 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Santa’s Speedway Christmas Lights Spectacular
Rev up your engines and head to the Irwindale Speedway & Event Center for this immersive drive-thru holiday experience. Designed to make Christmas a little bit brighter, Santa’s Speedway Spectacular will transport families into a winter wonderland as they drive along an actual NASCAR track and discover Santa’s Village, along with a series of jaw dropping Christmas vignettes and lighting displays, including the world’s largest free standing Christmas tree (made up of more than 2 miles of lights). More details.
Cost: $75 per vehicle
Dates: Nov. 25 – Jan. 10
Location: Irwindale Speedway & Event Center
500 Speedway Dr.
Night of Lights OC
Cruise through a mile-long course featuring over one million lights, themed holiday scenery and characters including Santa (through Dec. 23rd). There will also be animated light shows and tunnels and a spectacular Christmas tree lighting. More details.
Cost: Starting at $50 per vehicle (prices increase.)
Dates: Dec. 3 – Jan. 3
Christmas in Color at Raging Waters – San Dimas
Rockin’ around the road trip anyone? Throw your fa-la-la-la-family into the car and head down to Raging Waters where, instead of water slides, an extensive drive-through light spectacle awaits! Here you pay per vehicle and drive through millions of lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. Pass by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways, and more. Take your time enjoying this lighting extravaganza – we won’t judge you if you join the kids with your face pressed against the window! A portion of all proceeds from this event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation making this even sweeter.
Dates: Dec. 4 – Jan. 3
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Cost: $35 per vehicle
111 Raging Waters Dr
San Dimas, 91773
Holidays in Your Car
Located little further away, at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, this drive-thru event boasts more than one million LED lights, holiday holograms and laser light animation. The spectacular displays will be projected all around for a fully immersive experience. More details.
Cost: Starting at $49 per vehicle (plus $8.59 service fee)
Dates: Nov. 22 – Jan. 2
Location: Ventura County Fairgrounds
10 W. Harbor Blvd.
WildLights – Palm Springs
The Living Desert’s WildLights Holiday Festival in Palm Springs is celebrating 28 years of dazzling guests by transforming the Zoo into a sparkling winter wonderland. Come to this festive, annual tradition and marvel at more than a million colorful, sparkling holiday lights where guests will encounter a herd of life-size, luminescent animal lanterns, explore newly added pathways, and stroll through the popular tunnel of lights flashing to holiday music. In true WildLights tradition, the festive G-scale model trains with more than 3,300 feet of track will be decked out for the holidays. Delicious food and beverages will also be available for purchase. Light up your holiday and join us! Advanced reservations are required, and tickets are limited to accommodate health and safety precautions.
Dates: Select nights Nov. 25 through Dec. 27
Times: 6–9 p.m.
Cost: Adults $14, Children $10, Children 3 and under are free.
47900 Portola Ave.
Palm Desert, CA
–Melissa Heckscher & Jenifer Scott
Originally posted at https://redtri.com/los-angeles/where-to-see-the-coolest-christmas-light-displays-in-los-angeles/slide/22