clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Manhattan Beach Pier.
Shutterstock

The best Christmas light displays in LA

Get into the holiday spirit

View as Map
Manhattan Beach Pier.
| Shutterstock

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.

Read More

Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo

Copy Link

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.
Shutterstock

Christmas Tree Lane

Copy Link

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.
Shutterstock

Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens

Copy Link

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

A post shared by Martin Ma (@martinmaproduction) on

Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel

Copy Link

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.
Shutterstock

Manhattan Beach Pier

Copy Link

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.
Shutterstock

Naples Canal

Copy Link

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.
Shutterstock

Rodeo Drive

Copy Link

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.

A post shared by FollowMe (@eznotte) on

Sleepy Hollow Christmas Light Extravaganza

Copy Link

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.

The Christmas tree at The Grove

Copy Link

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.
Shutterstock

Upper Hastings Ranch Christmas Lights

Copy Link

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.
Shutterstock

Loading comments...

Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo

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.

Candy Cane Lane.
Shutterstock

Christmas Tree Lane

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 Lane.
Shutterstock

Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens

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

A post shared by Martin Ma (@martinmaproduction) on

Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel

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.

Mission Inn Hotel.
Shutterstock

Manhattan Beach Pier

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.

Manhattan Beach Pier.
Shutterstock

Naples Canal

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.
Shutterstock

Rodeo Drive

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.

A post shared by FollowMe (@eznotte) on

Sleepy Hollow Christmas Light Extravaganza

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.

The Christmas tree at The Grove

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.

The Grove.
Shutterstock

Upper Hastings Ranch Christmas Lights

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.

Upper Hastings Ranch.
Shutterstock