Viewing holiday lights is a tradition for my family and there is no shortage of ways to enjoy these displays in the Los Angeles area. Whether it be strolling through a garden or driving through a neighborhood, Los Angeles provides ample opportunities to get into the holiday spirit.
Moonlight Forest at the Los Angeles Arboretum
Moonlight Forest was a new addition in 2018 to the L.A. holiday light options. Now in its second year, this is a stunning display of lanterns set among the beautiful grounds of the L.A. Arboretum. This display runs from November 9th – January 12th from Wednesday – Sunday. Purchase timed entry tickets on the L.A. Arboretum’s website.
Enchanted at Descanso Gardens
Enchanted at Descanso Gardens is certainly worth a visit. I went for the first time a couple of years ago with high expectations and was not disappointed. As you stroll along a mile-long path in the gardens you’ll pass through various light displays, some interactive and others just beautiful to view. There are various food options available in the garden, everything from hot chocolate to the dinner package offered at Maple which must be pre-purchased. Entertainment is provided on certain nights. Wear comfortable shoes and plan to bundle up as it can get chilly. Tickets are $23 and up for members and $28 and up for non-members. These are for timed entry and must be purchased in advance. The display runs through January 5, 2020.
Zoo Lights at the L.A. Zoo
Zoo Lights at the Los Angeles Zoo is another popular holiday attraction. Like Enchanted, this is a self-guided walking tour through a holiday light display, much of which is naturally animal themed. They offer hot cocoa as well as other holiday treats and visits with Santa on certain days. The experience takes approximately 60-90 minutes with ticket prices ranging from $11.95 – $21.95 per person depending on which night you attend. Zoo Lights runs from November 17th – January 5, 2020.
Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena
The area of Northeast Pasadena and Altadena offers a great drive for viewing Christmas lights. Beginning in Altadena is Christmas Tree Lane (Santa Rosa Ave. between Woodbury and Altadena Drive). This almost mile-long stretch of deodar trees was planted in 1885 by Altadena’s founder John Woodbury to line the driveway of his mansion (which was never built). In 1920 the 134 trees were lit for the first time, a tradition that is carried on by a group of volunteers who maintain the 10,000 lights for all to enjoy each Christmas. According to the Christmas Tree Lane Association, the lane holds the distinction of being the oldest large-scale lighted Christmas display in the world. The 99th annual lighting ceremony takes place on Saturday, December, 14th at 6 pm and the lights are illuminated throughout the holiday season.
Hastings Ranch Light Display
From Christmas Tree Lane it’s a short 5-mile drive to Upper Hastings Ranch in Northeast Pasadena (East of Michellinda Blvd. and north of Sierra Madre Blvd. This neighborhood light display dates back to 1957 with each block having its own theme. The light display usually begins in mid-December and lasts until the New Year.