[Photos: Heather Frey]
REJOICE! It’s the most wonderful time of the year – to check out some Christmas lights in Los Angeles and try your very best to enjoy this odd, but *still festive* holiday season. It only took us 67 months to get here but we’ve made it, and we are still going to have some fun and embrace that holiday spirit this December, ok? Ok. Pandemic or not, no one does Christmas on the West Coast like LA. There’s no denying we know how to throw one helluva light show – or in this case, several.
Christmas is most certainly not cancelled and LA’s lights still shine bright! The experiences might look a little different this year but you gotta hand it to these organizers for being so creative with how they’ve managed to still pull off some of the city’s most wonderful holiday traditions. Want to see what I mean? Grab the kids/family members/co-quarantiners and hop in the car because we’ve got some Chirstmas lights to see! Here is a list of the best places in LA (and of course neighboring SoCal counties) to see spectacular Christmas lights right now:
WHERE TO SEE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN LA
Besides The Grove being a great shopping destination, they are well known for their ability to take Christmas light displays to the next level. I mean, find yourself there at 7PM or 8PM during the week or weekend and you will walk around in a faux winter wonderland as speckles of snowfall around you. The elves and Santa himself have a little house in the middle of it all, and he even makes nightly appearances to take pictures with your little ones. Lastly, enjoy their larger-than-life tree that will have you affirming that everything is bigger in LA all the while getting some of your Christmas shopping done – a win-win for everyone involved.
Looking for lights and decorations that you can enjoy from the comfort of your car? Rodeo Drive is the perfect locale! The road is turned into a Winter Wonderland by way of regular and 3D lights. The real world blends in with the virtual world on this strip and with a simple drive, you can enjoy it all.
Altadena is home to cedar trees that will make your Christmas dreams come true if you’re looking for that quintessential look and smell of the season. This mile-long driveway transforms into a sea of lights, deeming it quite worthy of its name. Usually, the tree lighting happens around the second Saturday of December. But keep an eye out for updates amid the ongoing pandemic.
A holiday-themed drive-thru is what makes seeing Christmas light displays In LA a possibility this wintertime and WonderLAnd in Woodland Hills is no exception. Head to the parking lot of the former Westfield Promenade through the end of December to enjoy light runners and a holiday tree forest bound to put a twinkle in the eye of even scrooge himself. Expect company as elves, toy soldiers and even Santa himself may make an appearance outside your car window. $70 per vehicle.
Now through January 3rd, 2021 you can experience an interactive journey with Elf on the Shelf, as he and others embark on a quest to help fix Santa’s sleigh. You’ll simply have to download an app to follow along with the narration and music that goes with his story. Starting at $24.95 per person.
My beloved Dodgers are hosting a drive-thru Holiday Festival and you know after the year they’ve had, they’re going big. Expect a beautiful light show made more spectacular with LED video displays, fake snow and the best part: displays honoring their World Championship that are interactive and the perfect way to celebrate the holidays with them! Happening now through December 24, 2020 from 5PM to 11PM. Tickets are $55 per vehicle.
The beautifully historic Mission Inn gets into the holiday spirit with a cool 4.5 million lights for their annual Festival of Lights. It’s kind of a big deal and even better, completely free. Due to pandemic restrictions, if you’re not a patron, you won’t be able to stroll the main walkway, but still something to behold if you’re in or around the area looking for a specular view.
A beautiful part of LA that feels like a world away, made better by wonderfully lit bridges and gorgeous million dollar homes. It would make for a perfect post dinner walk to see the decorations and enjoy some fresh air. It’s normally accompanied by the Marina Del Rey Boat Parade, but due to the pandemic, it was unfortunately canceled for this year.
Located in Torrance, right by the coast, this little area sure does put on an Extravaganza. Find lights strewn across every tree, wrapped around every home. And the grass on every lawn covered in something bright and festive. Robert Rd. is the place to be to see a light show and runs through New Year’s Day. Find it lit from 6 PM to 10 PM and consider enjoying it as a walk. Parking can be found on the PCH, Calle Mayor or Prospect Ave.
Six Flags is transforming their park into a driveway of Christmas cheer for you to enjoy the lights. The event, which happens after hours, will allow you to drive your car into the park and follow a festive path of lights and illuminated displays. Just as theme parks go big, they don’t disappoint when it comes to the holiday theme of Christmas. Expect snow, your favorite holiday songs, displays bigger than your homes and visits from characters of the season. Experience it December 4th, 2020 through January 3rd, 2021. As low as $25 per person.
With plenty of reasons to visit the Ventura County Fairgrounds, it’s only fitting that they add a holiday themed, car-friendly event to its roster. Enjoy music, lights (in the millions) and projections that will have you zipping through the 1.5 mile-long route in a snap. Experience now through January 2nd, 2021. Tickets between $49 – $64.
Christmas light displays on a NASCAR race track? Yes, please! Another drive-thru experience by lighting experts Mobile Illuminations, this event can be enjoyed by the entire family. Enjoy a peak in to Santa’s village, amazing lighting displays. And, the best part, the world’s largest free standing Christmas Tree. Enjoy now through January 10th, 2021. $59 per vehicle.
The South Coast Botanic Garden is already a zen way to experience some nature during this stressful year, but add this beautiful art installation into the mix and you’ve hit gold. It’s an after-hours event where there are stunning lights set to music that isn’t overly Christmasy, but can be enjoyed by everyone. Open now through January 10, 2021. $24.95/members, $34.95/non-members, Children 4 and under are free.
Fright Farms’ DEED Entertainment is transforming its space into a holiday drive-thru light show experience in Norco (Riverside County) called Electric Noel. The experience is completely conactless with prompts and storylines facilitated through FM transmission to vehicle stereo. “Upon arrival, vehicles will begin at Santa’s command center and the elf village, weaving through Main Street and down Mistletoe Lane while discovering the neon glow of lights along the way. The joyful storyline and musical tracks ranging from Reba McIntyre to Frozen is fun for the whole family and its magical, high-tech spectacle of lights is truly a sight to behold, complete with a surprise at the end that can’t be missed.” Electric Noel is open Tuesday-Sunday from 5 – 10 pm December 3rd – January 3rd and admission is $39 per car.
From the folks who brought us Night of the Jack, we now have Holiday Road! Holiday Road is a DRIVE-THRU holiday experience located in Calabasas at the King Gillette Ranch. “You can expect to see larger than life holiday installations, thousands of Christmas lights, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, countless candy canes and al of your favorite holiday cheer!” Holiday Road is open December 4 – January 10th. You can purchase tickets for $75 a car and pick time slots each day between 5 – 9:30 pm.
[Photo: @wenwensong via Instagram]
The Bloc in DTLA is putting on their annual “Sparkle DTLA” light show, that is free to check out! “Experience the season of joy with a magical holiday light show as 18 million hues of lights illuminate the night and synchronize to festive tunes. Sparkle DTLA at The Bloc will take you through an unforgettable nighttime journey that includes one of LA’s largest multi-colored interactive holiday displays. Safely capture your perfect photo-op moments at this ultimate holiday experience”. The nightly night show happens on the hour every hour starting at 5pm and ending with the last show at 9pm, and will be on display until Jamuary 3rd.
CANCELLED FOR 2020, BUT ADD TO YOUR LIST FOR 2021!