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9 spots around Los Angeles to see Christmas lights

Beautiful and sometimes over-the-top

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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. In the midst of the holiday frenzy, it's nice to take a break, a detour to a place where the only thing there is to do is enjoy the scenery.

To help with that, we've picked out a handful of spots across the city 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, with the exception of Altadena's Christmas Tree Lane, which kicks off this weekend, they're all underway now.

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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.

A photo posted by Tiia Taponen (@tiltu_) on

2. Christmas Tree Lane

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Santa Rosa Avenue
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 back to the 1920s.

A mile-long row of huge deodar cedars trees is festooned in lights each year and opened up to the public. This year, the first lighting will take place Saturday, December 10, and be accompanied by an arts and crafts festival.

3. Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens

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1418 Descanso Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 949-4200
Visit Website

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 ($24-28) and are timed for entry.

A photo posted by Shu-Wei Ho (@howard0317) on

4. Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel

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3649 Mission Inn Ave
Riverside, CA 92501
(951) 784-0300
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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 lights. There are also horse-drawn carriages, food vendors, live entertainment, and a Ferris wheel—all totally free.

Since the crowds can get pretty big, the Riverside Press-Enterprise suggests visiting during the week if you're able. Regardless of the day of the week, dusk seems to be the best time to visit—"right when the lights come on for a magical effect as the sun sets."

A photo posted by Michelle (@missnakaji) on

5. Manhattan Beach Pier

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100 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 546-2117
Visit Website

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.

6. Naples Canal

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Spot the parachuting Santa! #Naples #LongBeach #California #ChristmasLights #holidays #Santa

A photo posted by Emanuelle (@emangalvan) on

7. Rodeo Drive

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Rodeo Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The ritzy, world-famous shopping icon is decked out this time of year, offering regular live holiday entertainment and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

There's no fake snow like at The Grove, but one benefit of cruising a shopping district to enjoy the lights is the opportunity to pick up a last-minute present along the way.

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.

A photo posted by Johnny Ly (@harluon) on

9. The Christmas tree at The Grove

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189 The Grove Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 900-8080
Visit Website

A photo posted by JohnJohn (@jawilmesjr) on

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1. Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo

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.

A photo posted by Tiia Taponen (@tiltu_) on

1200 E Acacia Ave
El Segundo, CA 90245

2. Christmas Tree Lane

Santa Rosa Avenue, 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 back to the 1920s.

A mile-long row of huge deodar cedars trees is festooned in lights each year and opened up to the public. This year, the first lighting will take place Saturday, December 10, and be accompanied by an arts and crafts festival.

Santa Rosa Avenue
Altadena, CA 91001

3. Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Drive, 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 ($24-28) and are timed for entry.

A photo posted by Shu-Wei Ho (@howard0317) on

1418 Descanso Drive
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

4. Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel

3649 Mission Inn Ave, 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 lights. There are also horse-drawn carriages, food vendors, live entertainment, and a Ferris wheel—all totally free.

Since the crowds can get pretty big, the Riverside Press-Enterprise suggests visiting during the week if you're able. Regardless of the day of the week, dusk seems to be the best time to visit—"right when the lights come on for a magical effect as the sun sets."

A photo posted by Michelle (@missnakaji) on

3649 Mission Inn Ave
Riverside, CA 92501

5. Manhattan Beach Pier

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.

100 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

6. Naples Canal

Long Beach, CA

Spot the parachuting Santa! #Naples #LongBeach #California #ChristmasLights #holidays #Santa

A photo posted by Emanuelle (@emangalvan) on

7. Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The ritzy, world-famous shopping icon is decked out this time of year, offering regular live holiday entertainment and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

There's no fake snow like at The Grove, but one benefit of cruising a shopping district to enjoy the lights is the opportunity to pick up a last-minute present along the way.

Rodeo Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

8. Sleepy Hollow Christmas Light Extravaganza

Torrance, California 90501

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.

A photo posted by Johnny Ly (@harluon) on

9. The Christmas tree at The Grove

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036

A photo posted by JohnJohn (@jawilmesjr) on

189 The Grove Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90036