The Best Holiday Lights in Los Angeles

Enjoy spectacular displays throughout the holidays

Photo courtesy of avilon_music, Flickr

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.

L.A. ZOO LIGHTS (Nov. 17, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018)

L.A. Zoo Lights at the Los Angeles Zoo
L.A. Zoo Lights | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Zoo, Facebook

Since its debut in 2014, L.A. Zoo Lights has grown into a can't-miss nighttime holiday light experience. Come explore a wild wonderland of light, where fantastical glowing animals welcome you on a magical tour of the Zoo that includes giant illuminated snowflakes, a disco ball forest, glittering light tunnels, a spectacular water and light show, and much more. Your journey’s final destination is a kaleidoscopic savanna featuring animals that are shining examples of the L.A. Zoo’s important work to save species here at home and around the globe.

  • 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 2017-18 season include a reimagined entry plaza, Santa photo op, water show with exciting new music and lasers, and an all-new “Wild Wonderland” finale.
  • On select dates, capture your holiday memories in a photo with Santa Claus in a glittering snow-covered “North Pole” setting.
  • Get a glimpse of real reindeer.
  • Warm up with hot cocoa and other holiday treats.
  • 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 and animals in the LAIR 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. 23), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit www.lazoolights.org.

RODEO DRIVE HOLIDAY LIGHTING CELEBRATION & FIREWORKS (NOV. 16, 2017)

The annual Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Celebration kicks off the holiday season in Beverly Hills on Thursday, Nov. 16. Beginning at 5pm on world-famous Rodeo Drive, attendees will be treated to an incredible show hosted by Vanessa Lachey, with entertainment by singer/songwriter Robin Thicke and an amazing fireworks display. With Rodeo Drive lit up by stunning Baccarat chandeliers, guests will be able to enjoy delicious treats from food trucks lining the 200 block, take holiday photos in Rodeo Drive's newest photo installation and much more.

ENCHANTED: FOREST OF LIGHT - DESCANSO GARDENS (Nov. 19, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018)

Enchanted: Forest of Light is an interactive, nighttime experience that features a one-mile walk through distinct 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 from 5:30 -10 p.m., from Sunday, Nov. 19 to Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The event is closed on Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving), Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve), and Dec. 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. Special combos include: Enchanted ticket with dinner reservation at the on-site restaurant, Maple (food not included); and Enchanted + Dinner With Santa, available on select dates. To purchase tickets, visit the Enchanted website.

GRAND PARK LIGHTS UP THE HOLIDAYS (Nov. 26 - Dec. 26, 2017)

Holiday lights at Grand Park
Photo courtesy of Grand Park

At the annual Grand Park Lights Up the Holidays, Downtown L.A.'s popular Grand Park will magically come alive with park-inspired holiday décor for the holidays, featuring a 45-foot Christmas tree as a highlight. Decorations will be up from Sunday, Nov. 26 through Tuesday, Dec. 26.

L.A. COUNTY CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING - GRAND PARK (Nov. 27, 2017)

On Monday, Nov. 27, usher in this festive time of year at the official lighting of L.A. County's Christmas tree at Grand Park. Enjoy chamber music performances and join coworkers, friends and family to celebrate the light and love of the holidays. Plus there's hot chocolate for everyone! The tree lighting ceremony is free, open to all ages and takes place at 5 p.m.

Tree Lighting Ceremony - The Abbey Food & Bar (Dec. 1, 2017)

Photo courtesy of The Abbey Food & Bar, Facebook

Each year, The Abbey Food & Bar in West Hollywood commemorates World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 with its Tree Lighting Ceremony. The annual ceremony takes place in collaboration with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. 2017 info TBA.

Venice Sign Holiday Lighting (DEC. 2, 2017)

Venice Beach sign at sunset
Photo courtesy of kay’s kamera, Flickr

Now in its sixth year, 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. Windward Avenue east of Pacific Avenue will be closed for the event, which takes place on Saturday, Dec. 2 and includes live music, a poster contest and activities for the whole family. There will also be a collection of new, unwrapped toys for the annual Muscle Beach Toy Drive (in conjunction with the LAPD Pacific Division & Pacific Area Boosters). The festivities start at 6:15 p.m. on Windward Avenue and the holiday lighting of the Venice Sign is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Holiday Lamplight Celebration - Heritage Square (DEC. 2-3, 2017)

Cast of Holiday Lamplight Celebration at Heritage Square
Cast of Holiday Lamplight Celebration | Photo courtesy of Heritage Square

At Heritage Square, the past becomes the present at the annual Holiday Lamplight Celebration, taking place on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3. Experience the wonder of the holiday season in the beautiful glow of Victorian homes at Heritage Square’s festive holiday event. Tours begin at 4 p.m., advance reservations are required. Admission price is $30 for adults, $15 for children over 6 years. Members get 20% off tickets - limited and incremental to their member level.

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.

Christmas Tree Lane (Dec. 9, 2017)

Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena
Christmas Tree Lane | Photo by Sylvia Carlos, courtesy of Christmas Tree Lane, Facebook

The 97th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Lighting Ceremony and Winter Arts & Crafts Festival is taking place on Saturday, Dec. 9. 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. The Winter Arts & Crafts Festival starts at 2 p.m. and the lighting ceremony is at 6 p.m. Christmas Tree Lane was added to the National Register of Historic Places in September 1990 and is designated a California Historical Landmark.

Candy Cane Lane (December 2017)

Photo courtesy of Lydia Marcus, Flickr

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.

Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza (Dec. 2017 - Jan. 2018)

Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza in Torrance
Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza | Photo by Fransisca B., Yelp

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.