With the calendar ticking closer toward 2023 and the holiday season about to overtake everything, it’s time to turn on the lights—millions of them, twinkling all across the Southland, summoning revelers to flock to the many magnificent displays in L.A. and beyond.
From the 30th Annual Festival of Lights out in San Bernardino County (deemed the best by USA Today) to the stunning mile-long stretch to stroll through at Descanso Gardens Enchanted Forest of Lights, SoCal is one of the best regions for holiday light displays in the nation—which is why LAMag compiled 16 of the very best to see in 2022.
Friday, Nov. 18-Sunday, Jan. 22 | L.A. Zoo
Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my, you must swing by the L.A. Zoo to become immersed in a colorful world of nature and wildlife. The self-guided tour–showcasing gigantic lanterns, interactive features and of course, many photo opportunities–will take up to 90 minutes. The Butterfly Garden, Sloth Forest, and Kola Grove are among our favorite sites. On select dates, the Zoo will offer happy hour events, a Pride celebration and sensory inclusive accommodations.
Astra Lumina Los Angeles
Thursday, Dec. 8-Sunday, Jan. 15 | South Coast Botanical Garden
Walk among the stars at Astra Lumina, a place where sky and nature collide. Advanced lighting effects and sound work together to create an engulfing environment of cosmic visions.
Saturday, Dec. 3-Friday, Dec. 30 | Mission San Juan Capistrano
Celebrate peace and goodwill this holiday season at the Capistrano Lights. The event will feature everything from carolers and Santa Clause to a tall Christmas tree and lovely decorations. Prayer candles will be available, the Serra Chapel will be open and the Ruins of the Great Stone Church will hold a nativity.
Friday, Nov. 4-Sunday, Jan. 8 | 123 Farm
Looking for a wholesome holiday Instagram post? 123 Farm has you covered. Spanning from their lavender field to their olive grove, the farm decorates the dark with over a million twinkling lights, described as, “a truly unique experience to see in Southern California.” Christmas Nights are also loved for the farm’s horse-drawn carriage rides, s’mores pits, a gingerbread house cafe, hot cocoa, and fun events for the family going on nearly every day.
Christmas Tree Lane
Saturday, Dec. 10 | Altadena Public Library
The 100th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Lighting Ceremony and Winter Festival will take place Saturday, December 10. Santa Rosa Avenue–also known as Christmas Tree Lane–is home to nearly a mile-long stretch of 135-year-old Deodar trees that are lit up entirely by a team of community volunteers.
Enchanted Forest of Light
Sunday, Nov. 20-Sunday, Jan. 8 | Descanso Gardens
Rain or shine, visit Descanso Gardens Enchanted Forest of Lights. The one-mile path will walk you past beautifully lit stained glass sculptures and installations.
Festival of Lights
Friday, Nov. 25-Friday, Jan. 6 | The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
Voted as the Best Public Lights Display, by USA Today, the 30th Annual Festival of Lights is sure to wow you and yours. Each year, the event attracts over 500,000 guests and hosts millions of glittery lights on the property.
Holiday Light Festival Train Ride
Friday, Nov. 25-Friday, Jan. 6 | Griffith Park & Southern Railroad
A classic holiday tradition you won’t want to miss: The Holiday Light Festival Train Ride loops passengers along for a 1-mile trip through Griffith Park. All aboard should expect to see thousands of lights decorating holiday scenes along the winding tracks.
Friday, Nov. 25-Friday, Dec. 30 | King Gillette Ranch
There’s no better way to ring in the holiday season than taking a stroll through the decked-out Holiday Road. Perfect for the family, this trail would be incomplete without “larger-than-life” lights, candy canes, and elves. Visitors will also be able to enjoy food truck bites and holiday cocktails.
L.A. Tree Lighting Ceremony
Monday, Nov. 28 | Jerry Moss Plaza
Celebrate the start of the season gathered around a 75-foot tree with your loved ones, a cup of hot chocolate, and live music performed by Urban Voices Project.
Friday, Nov. 11-Sunday, Jan. 8 | The Arboretum
Lights, art, and music transcend the Arboretum into a beautifully unique and internationally lauded experience. Visitors will be stunned by illuminating installations and numerous photo-opts throughout the mile-long trail.
Magic of Lights
Friday, Nov. 18–Sunday, Jan. 1 | Empire Polo Club
Cruise through the Coachella Valley this winter to see a twinkling spectacle of holiday lights. This comforting drive-through experience will showcase timeless holiday scenes and beloved winter characters with lights and advanced LED technology.
Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza
Thursday, Dec. 1- Sunday, Dec. 1 | Roberts Rd. off Pacific Coast Highway
Feel at home this holiday season while walking or driving through a quintessential neighborhood in South Torrance. Houses will be decked from yard front to rooftop in lights and decor galore.
Friday, Nov. 11-Monday Jan.2 | The Bloc
SPARKLE DTLA at The Bloc is home to a 32-foot Christmas tree, a 16-foot holiday ornament, and 18 million hues of lights illuminating the downtown L.A. sky. Set to festive tunes, the light shows start on the hour, every hour between 5-9 p.m. It is free for all and perfect for selfie lovers.
Venice Holiday Sign Lighting
Saturday, Dec. 3 | The Corner of Windward Ave. and Pacific Ave.
The 11th Annual Holiday Lighting of the Venice Sign has quickly become a fan favorite. Starting at 8 p.m., the lights will change from white to red and green.
Tuesday, Nov. 22-Friday, Dec. 30 | The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Although it is a bit outside of L.A., this list would be incomplete without noting WildLights. This event was included in USA Today’s Top 10 Best Zoo Lights of 2019, and it is nominated again this season. And we understand why! This holiday light extravaganza features illuminated sculptural lights that are sure to brighten up the night.
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