During the holidays, dazzling light displays throughout Los Angeles bring the city to vibrant life at night. From traditional lighting ceremonies to festive decorations at popular attractions and local neighborhoods throughout the city, here are the best holiday light displays in L.A.
The Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden invites you to experience the Moonlight Forest, an unforgettable evening of art, culture and discovery. Presented in partnership with Tianyu Arts & Culture, Moonlight Forest celebrates the time-honored tradition of lantern art. Master artisans from China’s Sichuan province have crafted a dazzling array of lanterns - beautiful animals, shimmering exotic flowers, and intriguing figures from Chinese legends beckon you into the gardens. The lanterns reflect three themes: Nature, Children’s Garden, and Chinese Culture, all of which embrace the mission and communities of the Arboretum. The exhibition route is a gentle one-mile walk and takes about an hour.
Since its debut in 2014, L.A. Zoo Lights has grown into a can't-miss nighttime holiday light experience. Glowing animals welcome you on an unforgettable night time journey that includes giant illuminated snowflakes, a disco ball forest, a whimsical herd of animated elephants, and a twinkling tunnel filled with dynamic swirls of color.
- Take a self-guided 60- to 90-minute tour of a large area of the Zoo featuring creative animal-themed light displays – including 3D projections, lasers, and thousands upon thousands of LEDs.
- New features for the 2018-19 season include an all-new area and reimagined favorites like the animated elephant herd, Santa’s outpost, and the dramatic water show, now with new music and laser projections.
- On select dates, capture your holiday memories in a photo with Santa Claus in a charming new “North Pole” outpost.
- Get a glimpse of real reindeer and learn fascinating facts from expert reindeer keepers.
- Warm up with hot cocoa and other holiday treats available for purchase.
- Become part of the show with glowing merchandise available for purchase.
- Free parking every night!
Admission for this all-ages evening program is separate from daytime Zoo admission. No live animals other than reindeer, the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles) and Asian elephants will be on display during evening events.
L.A. Zoo Lights is open nightly at 6 p.m. Guests may enter any time after 6 p.m. until 9:15 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit www.lazoolights.org.
Enchanted: Forest of Light is an interactive, nighttime experience that features a one-mile walk through ten lighting displays in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. While guests usually take about an hour to walk through Enchanted - Descanso Gardens recommends allowing at least 90 minutes to enjoy the experience. Evenings in La Cañada Flintridge can be chilly, guests are encouraged to wear walking shoes and bring a jacket.
Enchanted: Forest of Light runs daily 5:30 -10 p.m., from Sunday, Nov. 18 to Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. The event is closed on November 22 (Thanksgiving), December 24 (Christmas Eve) and December 25 (Christmas Day).
Tickets are timed and must be purchased in advance. Tickets range from $28–$30 for the general public, and $23–$25 for Descanso Gardens members. Enchanted ticket with dinner reservation at the on-site restaurant, Maple is also available (food not included). To purchase tickets, visit the Enchanted website.
Hosted by TV and social media personality Dawn McCoy, the Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Celebration featured a mix of holiday classics and decades hits performed by Svet and a 20-piece band. The festivities included the unveiling of a new holiday social art installation, as well as the debut of artist Alexa Meade’s solo exhibition at 262 N Rodeo Dr, which will be open to the public daily (closed Thanksgiving Day) until December 23.
The Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Celebration kicked off BOLD Holidays in Beverly Hills, featuring stunning lighting displays and special photo opportunities along Rodeo Drive, North and South Beverly Drive, Canon Drive, at Beverly Canon Gardens, Beverly Gardens Park and throughout the city. Shop during extended holiday hours on Friday and Saturday evenings from November 16 until December 22 and enjoy holiday-themed menu items at local businesses and restaurants.
All the magic of the holidays glistened at the annual Light the Night at The Village at Westfield Topanga on November 25. Hosted by DJ Lance Rock, the event included a mesmerizing performance by iLuminate. This event was free with an unwrapped toy donation for Toys For Tots.
The official lighting of L.A. County's Christmas tree took place at Grand Park on November 27. Music performances helped to celebrate the light and love of the holidays, and guests enjoyed hot chocolate.
The landmark Millennium Biltmore kicked off its holiday season with a festive tree lighting ceremony on November 28. Highlights included a dance performance by Folklore la Morenita and a ballet performance by the City Ballet of Los Angeles. Guests enjoyed a festival dessert station and of course photos with Santa.
The landmark Union Station in Downtown L.A. is hostedthe annual Tree Lighting & Cocoa Concert under the stars on November 29. Taking place on the station’s south patio, the family-friendly holiday celebration featured performances by the award-winning Grand Arts Chamber Singers and the acclaimed Los Angeles Symphonic Winds. The Tree Lighting kicked off a month-long series of free “Cocoa Concerts” at Union Station (Fridays, December 7, 14 & 21).
Union Station will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring thousands of glistening lights surrounding a towering white Christmas tree, a “Cocoa Bar” with Elftenders, a Holiday Craft Zone for gingerbread house and ornament decoration, a Kids Zone with a Reindeer Toss and Snowball Slam, and selfies with Santa and the Snow Queen.
The famed Confetti Project will make an appearance with an immersive pop-up studio offering guests a unique opportunity to celebrate the season with their own personal photo session as they're doused in confetti.
Grand Park’s Winter Glow is a new month-long, immersive nighttime experience that's taking over Grand Park in celebration of the holidays. Families will make new holiday memories strolling through this 12-acre art, projection and light display, exhibit and installation. Experience the wonder of Grand Park like never before - iconic elements of the park, including the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, will shine in new and exciting ways. Familiar pathways will lead to exciting new discoveries as Grand Park is transformed by the latest in light and projection technology.
At Heritage Square, the past becomes the present at the annual Holiday Lamplight Celebration, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. Guests experienced the wonder of the holiday season in the beautiful glow of Victorian homes at Heritage Square’s festive holiday event. Tickets included admission to the Lamplight Celebration program and the festive wine & cheese reception and desserts.
This program is not suitable for children under 6 years old. During the evening tours, guests need to be aware of dimly-lit conditions, walking on uneven surfaces, up-and-down steps, and long periods of standing.
Each year, The Abbey Food & Bar in West Hollywood commemorates World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 with its Tree Lighting Ceremony. The 9th annual event took place 6-8 p.m. on December 1 in collaboration with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. The tree lighting was hosted by Alex Blue Davis from Grey’s Anatomy, with a special holiday performance by the amazing Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.
The Venice Sign Holiday Lighting has become a beloved tradition of changing the lights of the famous Venice Sign from white to red and green for the holidays. Each year, Windward Avenue east of Pacific Avenue is closed for the event, which took place on December 1 and included live music, a poster contest and activities for the whole family.
Marina Lights will cast a festive glow on Burton Chace Park from 4–10 p.m. nightly in December. Make it a fun family outing with dinner at one of the Marina’s waterfront restaurants, then a walk around the park and enjoy the light displays. Select Saturdays feature free entertainment, a warming station and refreshments for purchase. Highlights include Holiday Music by The Wonderelles and The Voices of Christmas; Holiday Movies, including the Frozen Sing-Along; Snow Wonder, featuring tons of real snow (Dec. 8); Holiday Boat Parade (Dec. 8) and Glow Party NYE. For more info, check out the Visit Marina del Rey page.
The 98th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Lighting Ceremony and Winter Arts & Crafts Festival took place on December 8. Located just north of Pasadena on Santa Rosa Avenue in Altadena, Christmas Tree Lane is the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the United States. Every Christmas season since 1920, the majestic deodars on the "Mile of Christmas Trees" are strung with 10,000 lights. The festive lighting ceremony attracts thousands of revelers from around the area, as well as local choirs, marching bands, solo performers, and of course - Santa Claus. Christmas Tree Lane was added to the National Register of Historic Places in September 1990 and is designated a California Historical Landmark.
Every year, an eight square-block area of the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Woodland Hills is transformed into Candy Cane Lane, a dazzling celebration of lights, figures and artificial snow. Candy Cane Lane is an informal group of Woodland Hills homeowners who collectively put on an amazing holiday display of lights and decorations each year. Candy Cane Lane has been a Woodland Hills tradition since 1952, and participants try to outdo each other with their light displays. Santa is often seen posing for photos with children and some of Santa's elves have been glimpsed roaming the neighborhood. The annual event begins on the second Saturday of December and lasts through the end of the year.
Candy Cane Lane is located at the intersection of Lubao and Oxnard Streets in Woodland Hills. Visitors drive slowly down the street with their headlights dimmed so that everyone can enjoy the lights. The closest exit is Winnetka, off the 101 freeway. Residents ask that visitors drive by no later than 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends.
Its name sounds more like a place you’d visit on Halloween, but the Torrance neighborhood of Sleepy Hollow has been embracing the Christmas spirit for decades with spectacular holiday light displays. Begin your visit to the Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza from Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance, then slowly drive or stroll along Robert Road, where every house is decorated and the tree-lined street is glittering with lights. Local kids will often sell hot cocoa to visitors as they pass by their houses. The Sleepy Hollow christmas lights start brightening the holidays the first full weekend of December and last until the first week of January.