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The best Christmas light displays in LA

Get into the holiday spirit

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It’s December, and there’s no fighting it: Christmas is here, even if the gifts have yet to be purchased. Amid the holiday frenzy, it’s nice to detour to a place where the only thing there is to do is be dazzled by your surroundings.

To help with that, here are 10 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. Some are free, others are ticketed, and they’re all underway now. End dates are noted for those displays that have announced closing dates.

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1. Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo

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1200 E Acacia Ave
El Segundo, CA 90245

This display takes up the 1200 block of East Acacia with bright lights and occasional visits from Santa. The street is closed to car traffic, so bundle up, park the car, and explore the faux wintery wonderland on foot. It’s going to be busy here, so plan for that too—police have stepped up their presence in response to growing crowds.

Candy Cane Lane.
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2. Christmas Tree Lane

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Christmas Tree Ln
Altadena, CA 91001

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 in lights each year and opened up to the public. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for December 14, but it’s also magical to see without the throng.

Christmas Tree Lane.
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3. Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens

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1418 Descanso Dr
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

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 through January 7.

#enchantedforest

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4. Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel

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3649 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501

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 millions of twinkling lights. There are also  200 animated figures, horse-drawn carriages, food vendors, live entertainment, and a ferris wheel—all totally free. Since the crowds can get big, try visiting during the week. Regardless of the day of the week, dusk seems to be the best time to visit.

Mission Inn Hotel.
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5. Manhattan Beach Pier

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100 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Here, it’s not about the volume of lights but the location. What says Christmas in California more than a pier along the beach all dressed up with lights? Not much. Manhattan Beach is a walkable, fun town. Go out to dinner, then walk the picturesque pier after the sun sets.

Manhattan Beach Pier.
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6. Naples Canal

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Naples Canal
Long Beach, CA 90803

Long Beach’s Naples neighborhood is pretty any time of the year, but it shines in December, when the fancy waterfront houses are decked out in lights and other kitschy and crazy Christmas decorations. One house is even known to look like the set of the best-ever Christmas movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. As with the other light displays, the canals draw big crowds, so prepare to feel like you’re standing in line for a ride at Disneyland. But don’t let that deter you. The decorations are worth it.

Naples Canal.
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7. Rodeo Drive

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Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA

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 at 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.

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8. Sleepy Hollow Christmas Light Extravaganza

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Off Pacific Coast Highway and Robert Road, this Torrance neighborhood’s Christmas decorations are a sight to see. In the past, residents have suggested that the smoothest way to enjoy the lights is to park on PCH or nearby Calle Mayor or Prospect Avenue, then walk in to the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, though driving through is also a possibility.

9. The Christmas tree at The Grove

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189 The Grove Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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.

The Grove.
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10. Upper Hastings Ranch Christmas Lights

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3725 E Sierra Madre Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107

Several blocks of this Pasadena neighborhood coordinate to go all out for Christmas in a big way. This year, visitors might see a giant clocktower that plays music and maybe even catch a glimpse of Santa. The “light up” begins December 7.

Upper Hastings Ranch.
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1. Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo

1200 E Acacia Ave, El Segundo, CA 90245
Candy Cane Lane.
Shutterstock

This display takes up the 1200 block of East Acacia with bright lights and occasional visits from Santa. The street is closed to car traffic, so bundle up, park the car, and explore the faux wintery wonderland on foot. It’s going to be busy here, so plan for that too—police have stepped up their presence in response to growing crowds.

1200 E Acacia Ave
El Segundo, CA 90245

2. Christmas Tree Lane

Christmas Tree Ln, Altadena, CA 91001
Christmas Tree Lane.
Shutterstock

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 in lights each year and opened up to the public. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for December 14, but it’s also magical to see without the throng.

Christmas Tree Ln
Altadena, CA 91001

3. Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

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 through January 7.

1418 Descanso Dr
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

4. Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel

3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501
Mission Inn Hotel.
Shutterstock

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 millions of twinkling lights. There are also  200 animated figures, horse-drawn carriages, food vendors, live entertainment, and a ferris wheel—all totally free. Since the crowds can get big, try visiting during the week. Regardless of the day of the week, dusk seems to be the best time to visit.

3649 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501

5. Manhattan Beach Pier

100 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Manhattan Beach Pier.
Shutterstock

Here, it’s not about the volume of lights but the location. What says Christmas in California more than a pier along the beach all dressed up with lights? Not much. Manhattan Beach is a walkable, fun town. Go out to dinner, then walk the picturesque pier after the sun sets.

100 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

6. Naples Canal

Naples Canal, Long Beach, CA 90803
Naples Canal.
Shutterstock

Long Beach’s Naples neighborhood is pretty any time of the year, but it shines in December, when the fancy waterfront houses are decked out in lights and other kitschy and crazy Christmas decorations. One house is even known to look like the set of the best-ever Christmas movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. As with the other light displays, the canals draw big crowds, so prepare to feel like you’re standing in line for a ride at Disneyland. But don’t let that deter you. The decorations are worth it.

Naples Canal
Long Beach, CA 90803

7. Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA

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 at 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.

Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA

8. Sleepy Hollow Christmas Light Extravaganza

Torrance, CA 90505

Off Pacific Coast Highway and Robert Road, this Torrance neighborhood’s Christmas decorations are a sight to see. In the past, residents have suggested that the smoothest way to enjoy the lights is to park on PCH or nearby Calle Mayor or Prospect Avenue, then walk in to the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, though driving through is also a possibility.

9. The Christmas tree at The Grove

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Grove.
Shutterstock

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.

189 The Grove Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90036

10. Upper Hastings Ranch Christmas Lights

3725 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107
Upper Hastings Ranch.
Shutterstock

Several blocks of this Pasadena neighborhood coordinate to go all out for Christmas in a big way. This year, visitors might see a giant clocktower that plays music and maybe even catch a glimpse of Santa. The “light up” begins December 7.

3725 E Sierra Madre Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107