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Let There Be Light: Best Holiday Displays in LA

We’re just a few weeks away from the Winter Solstice–the shortest day of the year–which falls on December 21 this year. As the late afternoon sun fades to early darkness, it’s time to flip the switch and lighten up!


Drive through an ancient grove of decorated cedars, stroll down a field of twinkling tulips, take a tour of illuminated DTLA landmarks, or just shop ’til you drop beneath a starry sky.


From the whimsical and magical, to simply enchanting, LA’s spectacular holiday displays have it all.


LA Zoo Lights

5333 Zoo Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90027


Take a self-guided stroll through a large expanse of the LA Zoo, filled with animal-themed displays, dynamic lights and projections, and seasonal cheer. Glowing animals welcome you on a magical nighttime 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. L.A. Zoo Lights is a not-to-be-missed nighttime holiday light experience that has glowed brighter each year since its debut in 2014. Tickets here.


Enchanted: Forest of Light

Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Drive

La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011


Enchanted: Forest of Light is an interactive, nighttime experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles, featuring a gentle one-mile walk through unique lighting experiences in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens. Highlights include thousands of twinkling tulips at Flower Power, spinning polyhedrons at Celestial Shadows by HYBYCOZO, and trees aglow in technicolor light in the Ancient Forest. Tickets to Enchanted: Forest of Light must be purchased online in advance. Tickets here.


Moonlight Forest – Magic Lantern Art Festival

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

301 N Baldwin Ave

Arcadia, CA 91007


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. 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. Free parking. Tickets here.


Downtown LA Holiday Lights Tour


Lights, decorations, festivities and holiday cheer abound as you stroll through the central city during the most joyous time of the year! This Holiday Lights Special 2-hour tour witnesses the beauty of Downtown LA at night to celebrate the seasons of Christmas, Hanukkah and many more! Tour highlights include Union Station decorations, “Las Posadas” at Olvera Street, Grand Park’s lighted fountain, Winter Glow Festival, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Broad Museum, Pershing Square, and return trip via Metro Rail to Union Station (rail fare not included). Starting Point: Los Angeles Union Station (between the Information Booth and Traxx restaurant). Tickets can be purchased in advance.


Photo: Yelp

Christmas Tree Lane

Santa Rosa Avenue (between Woodbury Avenue and Altadena Drive)

Altadena, CA 91001


Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena is the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the United States. In 1885, real estate magnate John P. Woodbury of the Woodbury Family, the founders of Altadena, planted 134 deodar trees (broad conical cedars) as a grand mile-long driveway entrance to the mansion he would build. Woodbury’s mansion was never built, but the trees thrived and the “driveway” became Santa Rosa Avenue. Every Christmas season for more than 80 years, the majestic deodars on the “Mile of Christmas Trees” are strung with 10,000 lights. Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 8th, for the 98th Lighting Ceremony & Winter Arts and Crafts Festival.


BOLD Holidays

City of Beverly Hills


Beverly Hills is alive with 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. Enjoy extended holiday shopping hours at select retailers on Friday and Saturday evenings until December 22 and holiday-themed menu items at top restaurants. Complete list of BOLD festivities here.