Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

Ten Holiday Light Displays For Last-Minute Seasonal Cheer

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

If you're still in Los Angeles for the holidays and looking for some cheer, perhaps you might want to wander to gaze upon some seasonal lighting displays.

DESCANSO GARDENS' ENCHANTED: FOREST OF LIGHT

Descanso Gardens' Enchanted: Forest of Light is a truly magical place, and it lacks the overt Christmas packaging that some other seasonal displays have. Instead of red and green and candy canes, expect to take a scenic walk through glowing blue and purple trees, fields of illuminated tulips, and interactive platforms that change colors when you hop on them. The experience is fully immersive, with an ambient score and plenty of pathways to wander in awe. Plus, you can also make a reservation for Maple, where Chef Mark Salazar is serving a holiday menu including a tender osso buco and a creamy crab and artichoke dip. Finish it off with one of their Moscow Mules, which they make with maple syrup.

Support for LAist comes from

Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Dr. in La Canada Flintridge. Enchanted: Forest of Light runs through January 8, closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Timed tickets are $28.

5b2c33254488b300092700aa-original.jpg


(Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)

MISSION INN'S FESTIVAL OF LIGHTSA trek to Riverside—which you can take via a $7 train through the holidays—will place you near the historic Mission Inn, which has, for the past 24 years, gone all out for the holidays with their Festival of Lights spectacle. This year, Mission Inn boasts over 4.5 million lights, 400 animatronics, carolers, vendors peddling seasonal treats, and illuminated horse-drawn carriages to create a festival wonderland both inside and surrounding the hotel.

The Mission Inn is located at 3649 Mission Inn Avenue in Riverside. The Festival of Lights runs through January 7 in downtown Riverside.

Support for LAist comes from
5b29aeae0161a1000dd5b0b1-original.jpg


(Photo by Jamie Pham)

L.A. ZOO LIGHTSThe zoo lights are back, featuring a disco ball forest, live reindeer, laser and water shows, and glowing trees, tunnels and animal sculptures. In the LAIR area, guests enter a space lit with black lights where 'insects' crawl over the rock walls, which sounds both suitably creepy and cool. Photo opps abound, and treats including hot chocolate and churros are available for purchase.

L.A. Zoo Lights runs through January 8, closed Christmas Eve and Christmas. $11-18.

Support for LAist comes from

CHRISTMAS TREE LANE

Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena has been going strong since the 1920s, save a few dark years in the 40s. The trees were planted by real estate mogul John P. Woodbury in the late 19th century, as he once hoped they'd line the driveway to his estate. The mansion was never built, but the trees endured and residents have continued to string them up with twinkling lights each year—a tradition that has earned the Lane a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. It's a scenic drive about a mile or so long.

Christmas Tree Lane is located on Santa Rosa Ave. between E. Woodbury Rd. and Altadena Dr. in Altadena. It runs from dusk until midnight through January 2, as well as January 6 & 7.

5b29aeaf0161a1000dd5b0b5-original.jpg


(Photo by Tod Seelie/LAist)

Support for LAist comes from

ROBOLIGHTSArtist Kenny Irwin, Jr. has been turning his childhood Palm Springs home into a holiday/sci-fi extravaganza every Christmas for the last 30 years. Using recycled or donated materials, Irwin has crafted brightly colored sculptures of cyborgs, trains, aliens and animals. In one area of the installation, which he calls Microwavo Land, guests can find various electronics that have been warped via a microwave. There are tunnels of lights, shelves of pink skulls and dancing yellow mannequins. While these pieces are up all year long, it's during the holidays that he enhances them with millions of lights and invites people to stop by and wander the property. (See more pics here.)

Robolights is located at 1077 Granvia Valmonte in Palm Springs. Robolights is open to the public daily from 4-9:30 p.m. through January 1, 2017.

5b29aeb50161a1000dd5b0c3-original.jpg


Westbound's Miracle on Santa Fe (Photo via Instagram)

WESTBOUNDIf the holidays are driving you to drink but you still want to feel festive, Westbound in the Arts District still has a few more days of their Miracle cocktail pop-up. Their staff will be in costume, the sidewalk is subject to 'snow' flurries,' the front half of the space is full of Christmas cheer, while the back is done up in blue lights to celebrate Hanukkah. Expect performances throughout the evening from carolers, Manischewitz Punch Pong and an unending holiday soundtrack. Miracle is a holiday cocktail pop-up that originated in New York. This is its first L.A. iteration, featuring Santa mugs of creamy vanilla eggnog and the Clove Actually—made with vodka, fino sherry, clove syrup, lemon and gingerbread beer—served in a shiny gnome-shaped flask.

Westbound is located at 300 S Santa Fe Ave. in the Arts District, 213-262-9291. Miracle on Santa Fe runs through December 31.

RODEO DRIVE

Beverly Hills' palm tree-lined drag has come alive as each towering tree has been wrapped in twinkling lights, not to mention Santa's sleigh and his fleet of reindeer suspended overhead. Festive storefronts and street side decor make for a pretty merry excursion.

LIGHTS ON DISPLAY

Mike Ziemkowski has returned with his fully automated light and music show, which you can find on the front lawn of his Sherman Oaks home. Snowmen sing, an animatronic DJ spins holiday turns, elves dance, and you're left wondering how much his electric bill must be. Take note: the display can only run in good weather, so check Lights on Display's Facebook page to make sure its up and running before you head out.

Lights on Display is located at 3901 Longview Valley Rd. in Sherman Oaks and runs now through January 1 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

NAPLES CANAL

Though the annual boat parade has come and gone, this Long Beach neighborhood is still a festive affair through the duration of the holiday season with plenty of its residents going all out on the Yuletide cheer. Everything Long Beach recommends parking in the Mothers' Beach lot then taking a walk around the island. See more directions on how to get to Naples here.

5b29aeb60161a1000dd5b0c8-original.jpg


The Americana (Photo via Facebook)
THE GROVE/THE AMERICANA

It'll be crowded, but if you're willing to brave a mall around the holidays, these two sister open-air malls will offer a high amount of seasonal joy. The Grove has its massive tree, flying Santa and fake snow, while Glendale's Americana boasts its own Christmas tree, shimmering red bows and an onslaught of lights. Get a coffee (or a cupcake from the Sprinkles cupcake ATM) and bask in the unending rotation of piped-in holiday tunes. And then maybe go see Rogue One.

The Grove is located at 189 The Grove Dr in Los Angeles. The Americana is located at 889 Americana Way in Glendale.