Electrify Your Christmas with These Dazzling Light Displays

Your tree has plenty of twinkling lights, but one darn bulb keeps shorting out the whole strand.   Your block has a house or two with a tree hit here, and some eaves dripping with lights there, but you want to see a spectacular display that will give make Times Square look dim.  You’re craving the sight of a street or home that looks like it might short circuit a whole city block or two (forget about saving the earth for a minute – it’s Christmas!).  You want to dazzle your kids and celebrate the season with some serious holiday wattage.  Bundle up, fill the thermos, and head to one of these bright spots.

The Biggest Tree: The Grove, Los Angeles
Complete with Santa and his reindeer streaking across the sky, The Grove is a great spot to see some beautiful holiday lights. With the Los Angeles’ largest Christmas tree and the fountain’s water show set to holiday tunes, this place is sure to elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” from your little ones. While you’re there you can try to catch Santa in his gingerbread-themed workshop.

Not So Sleepy: Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza, Torrance
One of the more popular light displays on this list, the entire neighborhood comes out with lights, Christmas icons, and tons of holiday cheer. You’ll find this California winter wonderland at Robert Road off Pacific Coast Highway North of Calle Mayor. This neighborhood comes out in full force for the holiday with groups touring the area in golf carts and local kids selling hot chocolate. Park and walk – traffic moves at a turtle’s pace.

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A Beachy Display: Naples Island, Long Beach
If you are looking for a beachy Christmas vibe, check out the canals of Naples. Nestled in a Long Beach inlet, this tiny island provides some really splendid private home light displays, a Christmas Boat Parade on December 21, and a stunning view of the bay dotted with floating lighted Christmas trees. A great spot for an evening stroll, the waterfront walkways are child friendly, and not adjacent to traffic.

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Drive By Lighting: Candy Cane Lane, Woodland Hills
This little West Valley neighborhood is a couple blocks, centered on the intersection of Oxnard Street and Lubao Avenue in Woodland Hills. It’s more of a stay-in-your-car adventure, but roll down the windows and crank up the carols for some sure-to-delight Christmas magic. Not for night owls: most of the neighborhood turns their lights off around 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on the weekend to discourage people from driving through late at night.

Posh Electricity: Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
For a more glamorous excursion, check out the brightly lit storefronts and street displays on Rodeo Drive. Grab a hot chocolate and stroll south down Rodeo Drive starting at South Santa Monica Boulevard. Make sure you make it down to Rodeo Two, a pedestrian street between Dayton Way and Wilshire Boulevard, where you can catch Santa, the Mrs. or some carolers, depending on the night.

Thematically, Spot On: Hastings Ranch, Sierra Madre
This Pasadena neighborhood will be a sure hit with your little elves. Each block has its own theme, from Santa’s Toy Shop to a snowy Winter Wonderland. Displays can be seen all throughout this large neighborhood, so driving is your best bet.

Oldie & Goodie: Christmas Tree Lane, Altadena
Purported to be the oldest large scale Christmas light display in the country, Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane is sure to delight. If you head out this way be sure to save time to visit the Balian House, a 4-acre property and mansion with over 10,000 holiday lights and Christmas decorations.

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A Majestic Stroll: Saint Albans Road, San Marino
Saint Albans is lined with tall majestic pines that are all bedecked in colored lights for the season. This old San Marino neighborhood will delight munchkins and grownups alike with its stately old California architecture all dressed up for the holidays. This is a short trip, so bundle up, park the car and take a stroll.

Tunnel of Lights: Yolanda Lights, Reseda
Located on the 7300 block of Yolanda Ave south of Valerio, this holiday light tunnel is ideal for those who want to walk, bike, blade, or take a stroller through a beautifully lit tunnel. It runs down both sides of the street, so there’s plenty of room for your little ones to go zooming through. Don’t forget to sign their photo guestbook at the end of your walk.

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There’s Light at the Inn: Mission Inn, Riverside
The Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel features one of the nation’s largest holiday light displays of its kind. The castle-like, historic hotel is illuminated nightly with nearly 4 million holiday lights. There are also visits from Santa Claus, the world’s largest man-made mistletoe, horse-drawn carriage rides, freshly fallen snow, an elaborately decorated Christmas tree in the hotel lobby and tasty holiday confections at Casey’s Cupcakes in the Inn.

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Do you have a favorite neighborhood spot to see festive lights? We want to hear about it!

-Kate Felton

Photo Credits: The Grove facebook page, Kris S. via yelp, Naples Island facebook page, Love Beverly Hills facebook page, Jen S. via yelp, Wikimedia Commons andyolandalights.com

For more holiday season events and activities in Los Angeles, click here!