It’s December, and there’s no fighting it: Christmas is here, even if the gifts have yet to be purchased, the season is here! As much as we love this season, it can get a bit hectic with all the planning, gifting, cooking and so on, which is why I’ve picked out ten spots across the region where an array of holidays lights can be seen—from a mile of towering cedars lit up like Christmas trees to neighborhoods where locals go all out to show their Christmas spirit.
A Christmas Cottage
The Christmas cottage is all lightened up and ready for the season. It’s opened in the evenings between 6 pm and 9 pm, starting December 16th until 25th.
Where: 6511 Yarmouth Ave. Reseda 91335
We won’t get into which city is better in the NY vs. L.A. fight (hint: L.A.), but we will admit that Los Angeles has no true holiday counterpart to New York’s 5th Avenue. That said, we do have Beverly Hills. Plenty of neighborhoods modestly decorate their main drags for the holidays, but nobody has quite as much pomp and spectacle as Beverly Hills. Lights swirl around the palm trees that line Rodeo Drive, up the steps of Via Rodeo, over the span of Wilshire Boulevard and onto the extravagant Beverly Wilshire.
Where: Rodeo Dr, between Santa Monica Blvd and Wilshire Blvd (Beverly Hills)
Candy Cane Lane
We all like showing off to our neighbors, but the homeowners behind Candy Cane Lane take it to the extreme. For over 60 years, these eight blocks—centered around Lubao and Oxnard Streets in Woodland Hills—have been blanketed in lights. The displays light up starting the second Saturday in December and last through the end of the year.
Christmas Tree Lane
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and advertised as “America’s first large-scale Christmas light display, Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane is a tradition that dates to the 1920s.
The mile-long row of huge deodar cedars trees is festooned with lights each year and opened up to the public. Opening ceremonies have passed, but it’s just as magical to see without the throng.
Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Garden
Enchanted, the one-mile-long path in the Descanso gardens public gardens meanders through eight, large-scale light displays, three of them interactive. Food and drinks are available for sale along the route.
Tickets are for sale online, starting at $28, and are timed for entry. The show is up until January 7.
Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel
The historic Mission Inn in downtown Riverside is a gorgeous and massive hotel, and around this time of year, it gets an extra boost of beauty as it’s adorned in five million twinkling lights. There are also horse-drawn carriages, food vendors, live entertainment, and a Ferris wheel, all for free.
Since the crowds can get pretty big, try visiting during the week if you’re able. Regardless of the day of the week, dusk seems to be the best time to visit. The lights are up through January 6. The ritzy, world-famous shopping icon is decked out this time of year, offering live holiday entertainment on weekends and occasional visits from Santa. There’s no fake snow like in The Grove, but cruising a shopping district to enjoy the lights also presents the opportunity to pick up a last-minute gift along the way. Lights are up through January 6.
L.A. Zoo Lights
Though most of the animals will be asleep, you will be able to see reindeer and sit for a photo with Santa. Standout displays include elephant statues animated with projection mapping, a twinkly light tunnel and festive interpretations of L.A. landmarks. Open until Sunday, January 7, 2018
Where: Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park
The Christmas tree at The Grove
The Grove’s Christmas tree usually soars at least 100 feet, taller than those at Grand Park and the Music Center in Downtown. But it’s not just the fir that’s lit up. The entire shopping mall is aglow, and there’s a plastic Santa on a sleigh pulled by reindeer taking flight near the fountain. Nightly “snow” at 7 and 8 p.m. through December 25 complete the wintry feeling.
Upper Hastings Ranch
Several blocks of this Pasadena neighborhood coordinate to go all out for Christmas in a big way. The sloping grid of ranch-style homes in Upper Hastings Ranch is a scenic spot in its own right, but its legacy rests in the decades-old holiday display coordinated among homeowners. Each block of the Pasadena neighborhood decorates according to a different theme; one street might be lined with light-up candy canes while another is flanked by an army of inflatable Santas. After an official lighting in early December, you can cruise around the twinkling foothill community until the new year. This year, visitors might see a giant clocktower that plays music and maybe even catch a glimpse of Santa. The lights run through January 2, and lights are on nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: North of Sierra Madre Blvd and east of Michilinda Ave – Pasadena
Free of the boardwalk’s grunge and Abbot Kinney’s pretense, the Venice Canals are an idyllic slice of L.A. living made all the more charming by the Christmas lights that line its bridges each year. Leave your car a few blocks away to avoid the narrow, one-way Dell Avenue, and take a stroll through the shimmering neighborhood. For a more offbeat holiday, make sure to come out for the canals’ long-running and gleefully irreverent boat parade (Dec 10 at 4 pm).
Where: Dell Ave – Venice
If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.