All the Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Los Angeles

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We may not have snow in Los Angeles, but our city certainly lights up in all its sparkling glory during the holiday season. After most of 2021 was in lockdown, it’s a true holiday miracle that most of the holiday light attractions are back and better than ever. Get ready to stroll through magnificently-decorated neighborhoods, visit dazzling business districts featuring glistening boat rides, gardens, and festivals, and hop in your car for spectacular drive-thru events your whole family will enjoy. Below are the best places to see the most magical holiday lights in Los Angeles.

 

Luminous Streets & Private Homes

Upper Hastings Ranch: Pasadena

This expansive Pasadena neighborhood gets transformed to a Winter Wonderland with block after block having its own holiday theme. Established in 1951, every year this neighborhood dazzles with its light displays and adorable wooden figures. We’d recommend driving through as there is lots to see. Drivers allow for cars to pause and admire the beauty surrounding them. No trip to Hastings Ranch would be complete without visiting the Harbeck Christmas Light Show featuring an animated Christmas light show synced to fun tunes on 99.1 FM. Check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Dates: Dec. 12-Jan. 2
Time: 6 p.m. 
Cost: Free

Sierra Madre Blvd., Michillinda Ave., Hastings Ranch Blvd. & Riviera Pasadena
Online: upperhastingsranch.org

 Lilley Hall: Toluca Lake

In the heart of Toluca Lake on a quiet street you will find the most enchanting 1927 Tudor revival home named for musical composer/arranger/director Joseph J. Lilley. This festive home pulls out all the stops with holiday decorations galore, including the most magnificent toy soldier tree lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving! Once in the neighborhood, venture around with your family to explore the surrounding streets as they all get into the holiday spirit with an extra dose of merry.

Dates: Thanksgiving night—Christmas Day
Time: After dark
Cost: Free

10104 Moorpark St.
Toluca Lake
Online: instagram.com/lilley_hall_toluca_lake/

 

Brea Eagle Hills: Orange County

If you’re searching for a neighborhood as excited as you are that Santa Claus is coming to town, then visit the Brea Eagle Hills neighborhood in Orange County to get all the holiday feels. This neighborhood is packed with glistening homes and plenty of Christmas cheer to drive through or to take a leisurely stroll. It is a popular destination so plan for larger crowds and some traffic navigating through the neighborhood. Parking is available at the Brea Sports Park just east of the lights on Birch Street.

Dates: Dec. 2-Dec. 30
Time: Sundown-10 p.m.
Cost: Free

2960-2970 Primrose Ave.
Brea
Online: brealights.com

 

Christmas Tree Lane: Altadena

This Altadena community comes together to light up their neighborhood for all to rejoice in the holiday season. Set among the historic, 135-year old Deodar trees that line Santa Rosa Avenue (Christmas Tree Lane) in Altadena, this tight-knit community just celebrated the Centennial lighting of Christmas Tree Lane last year. In fact, in 1990, Christmas Tree Lane was included in the National Register of Historic Places and became a California State Landmark! The details of viewing the lights have yet to be revealed, but no matter if you are in your car or walking, you will be immersed in a festival of lights. Follow them on Instagram for updated event information and hours.

Dates: Lighting ceremony Dec. 2
Time: 6 p.m.-12 a.m.
Cost: Free

Santa Rosa between Mariposa & Mendocino
Altadena
Online: christmastreelane.net

 

Newburgh Lights Show: Glendora

There are some houses that are just worth the drive to visit because they’re that spectacular. This Newburgh Lights Show House in Glendora is a single home that puts on a majestic display of lights and sound. With over 20,000 lights meticulously choreographed to traditional holiday music, you and your little ones will be enthralled with the light show while you enjoy the 14-song concert. The website lists the complete playlist so you listen on your drive to Glendora and jam out holiday-style!

Dates: November 26 through Christmas
Time: Opening night, the show lights up at 7:00 p.m. after that, the show starts at 5:00 p.m.
Cost: Free

609 E. Newburgh St.
Glendora
Online: newburghlights.org

Saint Albans Road: San Marino

These glorious pines trees are adorned with bright lights along one block of San Marino St. Albans’ Avenue. The neighborhood has gorgeous stately homes with plenty of room to walk on the sidewalk with your little elves holding your hand. If you fancy staying in your car, the traffic flows nicely so you can get a nice view while you cruise by.

Dates: The entire month of December
Time: After dark
Cost: Free

Saint Albans Rd. and Huntington Ave.
San Marino

 

Yolanda Lights: Reseda

Located on the 7300 block of Yolanda Ave south of Valerio, this unique celebration of lights features an expansively-lit tunnel shining on almost the entire block on both sides of the street. The kids will love to walk (and run too!) through the arch to soak in all the beauty of the holiday-decorated neighborhood. 

Date: Typically after Thanksgiving until the end of the year
Time: After dark nightly
Cost: Free

 

7300 block of Yolanda Ave.
Reseda
Online: yolandalights.com

 

Shimmering Business Districts, Botanical Gardens, Festivals, & More

LA Zoo Lights: Los Angeles

Your munchkins will be dazzled by the glow around every part of the L.A. Zoo. Now entering its seventh year, L.A. Zoo Lights transform the day-time zoo into a parade of colorful light displays which will enchant your littles all night. Beyond seeing the glowing animals, guests will experience the world’s largest illuminated pop-up storybook, a magical disco ball, shiny snowflakes, and a bedecked tunnel guaranteed to provide memory-making adventures for your children. Added bonus: there is weekend entertainment and activities for the whole family to participate in.

Date: Nov. 19-Jan. 9
Time: 6-10:00 p.m.
Cost: Adults (13+) $22.00, Children (2-12) $16.00, Members $15.00

5333 Zoo Dr.
Los Angeles
Online:
lazoo.org

 

Photo: Erin W. via Yelp

Griffith Park & Southern Railroad: Griffith Park

What’s even more fun than a train ride? A glowing train ride with thousands of lights and plenty of festive details to make your holidays extra merry. The Holiday Light Festival Ride takes passengers on a one-mile loop for approximately ten minutes at Griffith Park and Southern Railroad. Your kids will enjoy making choo-choo and ho-ho-ho noises as they embark on this night train ride! Tickets are not sold online or via the telephone, but instead can be purchased for specific dates at the Griffith Park and Southern Railroad ticket booth.

Dates: Nov. 26-Jan. 7
Time: Mon.-Thurs. 5-8 p.m.; Fri.- Sun. 5-9:00 p.m.

4400 Crystal Springs Dr.
Griffith Park
Online: griffithparktrainrides.com

 

Via Rodeo: Beverly Hills

The iconic Rodeo Drive transforms itself into a holiday-themed paradise filled with brightly decorated wreaths, life-sized Nutcrackers, and plenty of lights to brighten your night. Visit the Beverly Canon Gardens, Christmas tree and ornament tunnels for some extra merry fun. The beauty of Beverly Hills is even more breathtaking as it is decked in all the boughs of holly and lights.

Dates: Now through Christmas
Cost: Free 

Beverly Hills
Online: 2rodeo.com

 

Tanaka Farms Hikari Festival: Irvine

Tanaka Farms has become the holiday family destination in Southern California and during the month of November and December it does not disappoint with the ultimate festival of lights. The festival is named “Hikari” which loosely translates in Japanese to mean “shine,” and Tanaka Farms has made a literal manifestation of this world with over a million twinkling lights on display! This year, they have two options for family joyful engagement. The first is a Holiday Wagon Ride and Gingerbread Forest that takes guests on a wagon ride through a sea of lights to then get off the wagon and wander through the light displays to end by exploring the Gingerbread Forest. The second option is the Gingerbread Forest only where you can immerse yourself in all the holiday festivities which include live music, arts and crafts, barnyard animals, and even an opportunity to meet Santa! No matter what you choose, your night will be bright and joyful.

Dates: Nov. 26-end of holiday season
Time: 4:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. (entry gates close at 8:30 p.m.) 
Cost: Parking pass $10/daily; Admission prices range from $10-$25 per person

5380 ¾ University Dr.
Irvine
Online: tanakafarms.com

Winterlit Holiday Lights & Festivities: Santa Monica

Watch Third Street Promenade become a one-stop-shop for bright lights, holiday activities, and your favorite shopping and dining destination all in one! Your family will have a grand time strolling the promenade amongst the Santa Monica 24-foot holiday tree as well as viewing the nightly menorah lightings to celebrate the Festival of Lights during the Hanukkah season. Nearby Santa Monica Place will have an extra special guest in a red suit throughout the entire holiday season so get your family photo-ready! Included in the Winterlit celebration is festive dance performances, a pop-up artisan market and live holiday music throughout. Added bonus is a dedicated “pet night” for your furry friend to also have a photo op with Santa!

Dates: Nov. 19-Jan. 3
Time: After dark
Cost: Free

Third Street (3 blocks between Broadway & Wilshire)
Santa Monica
Online: santamonicacentric.com

 

Turtle Bay Exploration Park: Redding

A truly immerse experience for all the senses, this Garden of Lights festival was designed by renowned light artist Tres Fromme and features over one million twinkling lights. Participants can stroll through Turtle Bay’s curated gardens and explore the winding paths featuring illuminating displays which celebrate the nature and wildlife specific to the region. Guests can experience holiday-themed food and cheer at the Holiday Village, bump into some reindeers and larger-than-life glowing garden animals, and walk through nearly 200-feet light tunnels. The Sheraton Redding at Sundial Bridge is offering special overnight packages for guests who want to extend the holiday cheer for more than one day. 

Dates: Nov. 19-Dec. 31
Time: 5-9:00 p.m.
Cost: Adults $17-$20, children 5+ years old $11-$14 ($4 more at the gate)

844 Sundial Bridge Dr.
Redding
Online: reddinggardenoflights.org

 

Lights at Sensorio: Paso Robles

The New York Times featured Lights at Sensorio as #6 in the “50 Places to Visit in 2020” and there is a glowing reason why. This garden made of bright bulbs is home to two installations by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. With a 15-acre immersive walk-through experience, this Field of Light contains more than 58,000 stemmed spheres lit by fiber optics shining colorful lights on the expansive landscape that one has to see in person to believe. Additionally, there are 69 illuminated Light Towers composed of more than 17,000 wine bottles all nestled in the vibrant vineyards combined with a musical score.

Dates: now - Jan. 2
Time: Opens at 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $40 adults and $21 children

4380 Highway 46 East
Paso Robles
Online: sensoriopaso.com

Snow N Glow: Ventura & Del Mar

Offering two different experiences at two separate locations, this holiday festival has something entertaining for every family. Instead of making the drive to the local mountains to find some snow, Snow n Glow brings tons of snow to two beachside communities of Ventura and Del Mar. While frolicking in the snow and making your snowman, guests can enjoy over one million-plus holiday lights on display. For those seeking some thrill, they even have a 20-foot snow slide that the little ones will never want to get off of! They even have your own private igloo where you can sip on hot chocolate and roast some delicious s’mores. For the Del Mar location, guests have the opportunity to have a merry drive-thru in 1.5 miles filled with one million dazzling LED lights and holiday images projected on surfaces synchronized to your favorite holiday tunes.

Dates: Nov. 26-Jan. 2 (Ventura) & Dec. 4-Jan. 2 (Del Mar)
Time: 4:00- 10:00 p.m.
Cost: $15 for kids; $20 & up for adults

2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Del Mar

10 W. Harbor Blvd.
Ventura
Online: snownglow.com

 

Descanso Garden’s Enchanted Forest of Light: La Cañada Flintridge

Last year, Descanso Gardens had to cancel their Enchanted event, but they’re back and already sold out opening night! Enchanted Forest of Light has an interactive one-mile walk among its glowing garden areas that will enchant all with its colorful glowing art installations. This year, there is a newly-added stunning stained glass creation by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin. They’ve also brought back the extraordinary Flower Power on the Promenade and the festive lighting effects in the Ancient Forest. This lush garden provides all the bright lights to bring joy and tranquility during this season of giving and receiving.

Dates: Nov. 21-Jan. 9
Time: 5:30- 10:00 p.m.
Cost: Non-member tickets: $32–$35 each

1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge
Online: descansogardens.org

Lightscape at the Arboretum: Arcadia

A light extravaganza like no other, Lightscape brings sound, color and art to the beauty of the Arboretum. This is a fully-walkable event for your little elves to get up close to the lights and be mesmerized by all the color displays. Make sure you visit the breath-taking Winter Cathedral and the exquisite Fire Garden to get the full Lightscape experience. Originally from London, this fully-immersive glow experience will bring smiles and lots of oohs and ahhs throughout the night.

Dates: Nov. 12-Jan. 16
Time: 5:30-10:00 p.m.
Cost: Peak time Adults: $32; Child (3-12) $20; Off Peak Time Adults: $30; Child (3-12): $18

301 N Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia
Online: arboretum.org/lightscape

 

Marina del Rey Boat Ride: Fisherman’s Village Marina del Rey

For a different take on the traditional light display, check out these shimmering boats at the Marina del Rey boat parade. Get nice and cozy, bring a picnic blanket and some hot chocolate in thermoses so you can kick off the night by watching the spectacular fireworks show. Proceeding the pyrotechnics is the boat parade featuring 70 boats adorned with holiday lights. They are all vying for the top categories which include Best Power, Best Lights, Best Spirit and Best Yacht Club.

Dates: Dec. 11
Time: 5:55 p.m. 8:00 p.m.
Cost: Free

13737 Fiji Way
Los Angeles
Online: mdrboatparade.org

 

 

Dodgers Holiday Festival: Los Angeles

If you attended this event last year, you’re in for a treat because it’s a completely transformed event with no longer a drive-thru experience, but instead a fully walkable holiday extravaganza at the Centerfield Plaza, warning track and bullpens. There is lots to do and plenty of time to do it since it’s not a timed event. Take your time looking at the light installations, take a photo of Santa at the bullpen and hop on the ice rink on the outfield to skate the night away.

Dates: Nov. 26-Dec. 31
Time: 5:00- 10:00 p.m. (weekdays); 3:00-10:00 p.m. (weekends)
Cost: $16.00 admission; $12.00 to park

1000 Vin Scully Ave.
Los Angeles
Online: mlb.com/dodgers

Spectacular Drive-Thru Events

The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Elf Journey: Pomona

This walk-thru event brings back the magic of the endearing Elf on the Shelf to life all through the convenience of your car. Pack the kids in and let them know Christmas spirit is running low and it’s up to all of you to help Santa’s scout elves save Christmas! Shrink down to elf size as you immerse yourself in a magical Winter Wonderland. Bonus for this year: there are optional walking paths, an outdoor skating rink, and a Christmas Village to explore.

Good to Know: Get $5 off select tickets* with promo code REDELF

Dates: Nov. 5-Jan. 2
Time: 5-8:30 p.m.
Cost: $40 (adults); $35 (children)

1101 W. McKinley Ave.
Pomona
Online: elfontheshelfjourney.com

 

Magic of Lights Angel Stadium: Anaheim

Drive through a dazzling light show showcasing your favorite holiday scenes and characters to give you all the Christmas feels. Through LED technology and digital animations, you will accelerate the holiday spirit into epic levels!

Dates: Nov. 19-Dec. 26
Time: 5:00-10:00 p.m.
Cost: $24-$45

2000 E. Gene Autry Way
Anaheim
Online: magicoflights.com

 

 

Santa’s Speedway Christmas Lights Drive-Thru: Irwindale

Drive through Santa’s magical village containing 5 new light displays, twice as many lights as last year and 3 full light tunnels in the comfort of your own car. You’ll discover giant-sized holiday treats, a ginormous teddy bear, and of course you get to see Santa himself in all his ho-ho-ho glory. One of the highlights of the ride is driving by a 100’ tall tree of lights. It will be a Merry Christmas for all! 

Dates: Nov. 26-Jan. 2
Time: 5:30- 10:00 p.m.
Cost: $75.00

500 Speedway Dr.
Irwindale
Online: santasspeedway.com

 

 

photo: World of Illumination

Reindeer Road: Arcadia

Hop in your car with your family and prepare to head to the North Pole in this merry-filled ride where you will encounter a mountainous terrain, glacial peaks and ice caves to finally make it to your destination: Santa’s workshop! Along the way, you will see reindeer, snowmen and tons of toys. And, of course, the moment everyone is waiting for is seeing the big guy himself working hard with his elves to bring Christmas to all the good little boys and girls. The festive music and lights galore will have you singing Christmas carols all the way back home.

Dates: Nov. 19-Jan. 2
Time: 6-10:00 p.m.
Cost: $89

285 W. Huntington Dr. Gate 1
Arcadia
Online: worldofillumination.com

 

 

—Melissa Heckscher & Carmen Garcia-Shushtari

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