20+ Best Christmas Lights in Los Angeles [2024 Holiday Guide]

Reviewed by Suneel Jain
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TL;DR: For the best Christmas lights in Los Angeles, visit Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo and Upper Hastings Ranch for free.

We also loved the light installations at the LA Zoo Lights and Enchanted at the Descanso Gardens, which are family-friendly and perfect date night outings.

LA decorates for the holidays like no other, so I’ve created a list of the best Christmas lights in Los Angeles to help you see it all.

From DIY home displays to entire streets fully decorated for the holidays to Disney characters and boat parades, Los Angeles has some of the best holiday lights in all of America. 

Many of the Christmas light displays in Los Angeles are free of charge to view, especially the neighborhood celebrations. 

Bundling up and taking a drive through the city’s most festive neighborhood is a favorite activity for LA locals during the holiday season.

Wherever you are in the LA area, you’ll have lots of holiday light displays to see. The best Christmas lights in Los Angeles are spread all through the city. 

Take a look through this list, and then head out to witness the magic for yourself. They only get better each year.

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Where to See Christmas Lights in Los Angeles

To find the best Christmas lights in Los Angeles, check out our map of LA Christmas Light Destinations below:

Best Neighborhoods to See Christmas Lights in Los Angeles

The most impressive lights can be found at Candy Cane Lane in El Segundo, Upper Hastings Ranch, and Torrance Candy Cane Lane.

Candy Cane Lane – El Segundo

Candy Cane Lane – El Segundo

Where: 1200 E Acacia St, El Segundo, CA
When: Nightly throughout December, 6pm – 10pm

El Segundo’s Candy Cane Lane is our favorite spot, and it’s no wonder—they’ve been going strong for 100 years! 

The street is blocked off, making it very family-friendly and safe to walk between houses. The absence of cars also creates a slower-paced experience. 

What really stands out, though, are the fun and funny lights around this neighborhood, like a pup pulling Santa’s pants off, Christmas pigs and hippos, and a very Star Wars-themed house. 

Some yards look like school dioramas because they’re so detailed and depict such vivid scenes. It feels like walking through a Netflix Christmas movie.

El Segundo Candy Cane Lane is also very LGBTQ-friendly and inclusive, with rainbow Christmas trees and Coexist signs around the neighborhood. 

If we had to choose one neighborhood to visit for Christmas lights in LA, this one would be it. 

Pro Tip: If you’re heading to the area for Christmas lights, time it with the El Segundo Holiday Parade to make a whole day of Christmas cheer.

Upper Hastings Ranch, Pasadena

Upper Hastings Ranch, Pasadena

Where: Upper Hastings Ranch community in Pasadena, CA
When: Nightly throughout December, 6pm – 10pm

This Pasadena tradition began over 70 years ago, and it continues to grow with more festive holiday lights each year. 

UHRA kicks off with an annual Holiday Light Up and Santa Driving through the ranch. 

Lights stay up throughout the entire holiday season, and there are hot cocoa sales on the weekends.

Each block has its own theme, so there is quite a variety of decorations, lights, and characters to be seen. 

Tune your car radio to 88.9 FM for Christmas music that plays in sync with our favorite house light show. And keep an eye out for the larger-than-life St. Bernard dog and the Christmas llama. 

The neighborhood also gives out awards each year for categories such as “Humor and Fantasy,” “Best Use of Lights,” and “Best Religious Display.” 

Pro Tip: While you’re in the area, drive down Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena. Giant cedar trees lining Santa Rosa Avenue are strung with colorful lights. There aren’t many house decorations, so this is a quick drive-thru display.

Torrance Candy Cane Lane

Torrance Candy Cane Lane
Torrance Candy Cane Lane

Where: Seaside Ranchos, Torrance, CA
When: Nightly throughout December, 6pm – 10pm

For over 40 years, the Torrance Candy Cane Lane in South Torrance has been a holiday attraction full of Christmas cheer. 

This neighborhood is known for its impressive sprawl and stunning elm trees, strung with lights all the way down the street.

Torrance Candy Cane Lane was one of our favorite neighborhood light extravaganzas because of the sheer number of participating houses. We were awestruck by the scale and grandeur. 

Most other candy cane lanes are a block or two, but Torrance is one of the largest neighborhood light displays in the country.

Pro Tip: Park and walk through these lights. The car line is very long and moves slowly. If you want to stay in your car or avoid crowds, go to El Segundo and Upper Hastings Ranch.

Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Celebration

Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Celebration
A Rodeo Drive Christmas Tree lit up at an intersection with decorated palm trees, strung lights, and another lit Christmas tree in the background.

Where: 200 Block of Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
When: 2023 celebration date TBD, but installations are viewable November – December

The Holiday Lighting Celebration on Rodeo Drive has become quite the tradition in Beverly Hills. 

Grammy-winning performers, and crowds in the thousands, come out for this magical holiday show right on Rodeo Drive. 

One of the main attractions is the “Beverly Hills Express” train car, covered in glitter and lights. See it at Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. 

You might even see the Mayor when the lights come on at 5pm, and you’ll definitely get to see Santa greeting the crowd. 

Stick around on celebration night and witness the fireworks at the end of the evening. This celebration rings in the Christmas season with a bang!

Winterlit Holiday Lights, Santa Monica

Winterlit Holiday Lights, Santa Monica
The Ferris wheel, rollercoaster, and Santa Monica Christmas tree all lit up on the pier, which extends into the ocean in front of the last rays of sunset.

Where: Downtown & Third Street Promenade, 3rd St Promenade, Santa Monica, CA
When: Mid-November through mid-January, 12pm – 10pm

Santa Monica’s brightest holiday tradition returns each year with its annual Winterlit Festival all through the season. 

The 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica lights up with tens of thousands of colorful lights, along with endless other Christmas decorations and garlands.

Local vendors selling unique Christmas gifts and special art installations add to the Christmas cheer.

The festive glow during Winterlit is contagious throughout downtown Santa Monica; there’s even an ice skating rink. 

Get your photo with Santa, do some holiday shopping, enjoy the live entertainment, and attend the holiday tree lighting. Winterlit is lit during Christmastime!

Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills

Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills
Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills

Where: Lubao & Oxnard Streets in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, CA
When: Throughout December, dusk – 10pm (weekdays), dusk – 11pm (weekends)

Anyone who came here as a child will say that Candy Cane Lane at Lubao and Oxnard isn’t as decked out as it used to be. 

We recommend going here if you’re in the area, but nowadays, it’s not as consistent as it used to be. 

The Lubao and Oxnard tradition began in 1952 and looked like something out of a Hallmark movie. Even three years ago, it seemed to be going strong, but most houses don’t go all out anymore.

The highlight when we visited, was a dedicated house handing out free hot chocolate—thank you for making out night!

Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane, Long Beach

Where: 2000 Daisy Avenue, Wrigley Neighborhood, Long Beach, CA
When: Nightly throughout December (2023 parade date TBD)

The holiday lights display on Daisy Avenue launches with the annual Daisy Lane Christmas Parade each year. 

The Christmas parade draws hundreds of locals out with lawn chairs and blankets to line the streets. 

Everyone wants to see Christmas characters, floats, and the lighting ceremony. 

You can also expect live entertainment on weekends around Wrigley and Christmas lights throughout the season. 

Pro Tip: If you miss the Daisy Lane Parade, try to make the nearby Long Beach boat parade or ride a gondola through the Naples canals.

Best Houses for Christmas Lights in Los Angeles

Lilley Hall

Where: 10104 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake. CA
When: Nightly, Thanksgiving night to Christmas Day

This 1927 home in Toluca was originally owned by musical composer and director Joseph J. Lilley, and continues to host one of the LA region’s most stunning home holiday displays to date. 

Starting with a toy soldier tree lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving, this house is full of holiday spirit all through the season. 

The unique thing about this house is that most of the decorations are vintage and, therefore, quite unique. 

Lots of them are considered collectibles, as far as holiday decorations go, so embrace the nostalgia. 

You can also take a little stroll through the surrounding streets and see lots more gorgeous holiday light displays.

The Holiday House

Where: 3547 McLaughlin Ave., Mar Vista, CA 90066
When: Nightly throughout December

The Holiday House in Mar Vista is known for its wicked Halloween displays as well as its magical Christmas extravaganza. 

The folks at this home love all things festive. Their amazing holiday display on both holidays is always the talk of the town. 

Christmas trees are decorated on the front lawn, and there will be thousands of holiday lights adorning the entire house. Santa Claus might even be visible up on the roof.

This house is always the holiday eye candy of my dreams, so make sure to bring some hot chocolate and check it out. 

Herman Family Festival of Lights

Where: 10803 Overland Ave., Culver City, CA 90230
When: Nightly throughout December, 5pm-10pm (weekdays), 5pm-11pm (weekends)

The Herman Family Festival of Lights is a Hanukkah celebration for everyone, regardless of their religion. 

Dreidels, Stars of David, gorgeous lights, a giant bear, Jewish holiday music, and all things Hanukkah complete this unique light display. Did I mention the 18-foot Menorah?

There are over 40 animations amidst the thousands of lights. You’ll be pressed to find holiday lights in Los Angeles with more holiday cheer. 

Best Places to Look at Christmas Lights in Los Angeles

Of the paid experiences, LA Zoo Lights and Descanso Gardens are our favorites.

LA Zoo Lights

LA Zoo Lights
LA Zoo Lights

Where: The LA Zoo, 5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA
When: Nightly throughout November & December, 6pm – 10pm

LA Zoo Lights are like no other. I’ve never seen so many light art installations of animals. I wanted to take photos of everything—it was so unique, bright, and impressive. 

Glowing light animals, spectacular lantern sculptures, interactive light installations, and illuminated palm trees will knock the socks off the whole family. 

I’ll never forget the technicolor glowing flower tunnel, perfect for Instagram pictures. We also had way too much fun on the circular glowing swings.

LA Christmas isn’t complete without witnessing the magnificent lights at The LA Zoo. Zoo lights definitely live up to expectations.

 Pro Tip: There are also lots more festivities at the LA Zoo for the holidays; be sure to check their website for what’s going on.

Enchanted, Descanso Gardens

Enchanted, Descanto Gardens
Enchanted, Descanto Gardens

Where: 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA
When: November 19th – January 7th (Closed Nov. 23, Dec. 24 & 25), 5:30–10pm

Enchanted at the Descanso Gardens is a one-of-a-kind holiday experience in Los Angeles. 

The one-mile walking route through an interactive light display winds around the exceptionally beautiful gardens. It feels truly “enchanted,” lit up and set to holiday songs that play as you walk. 

Visit The Labyrinth at The Rose Gardens, with 3-D light sculptures and glowing meadow grass swaying in the breeze. 

Don’t miss one of the main attractions: Tom Fruin’s stained glass houses on the garden’s Main Lawn. The colorful dwellings form their own interactive village. It’s quite an adventure.

We had a lot of fun with the interactive displays, from walking through them to actually changing the display based on our actions. 

There are a lot of photo/Instagram opportunities here, so dress accordingly.

Pro Tip: There’s a snack bar at the start of the walk through the gardens. We got a warm pretzel and hot cider; it was perfect for a chilly night in LA.

Holidays at Universal Studios

Holidays at Universal Studios
A whimsical Christmas tree reaches for the sky, but has a curvy posture, and stands beside signs that say "Merry Grinchmas."

Where: Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA
When: Select dates throughout the winter
Cost: Check ticket prices online

If you’re in Hollywood for the holidays, I LOVE visiting Grinchmas and Christmas In The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.

There’s nothing like walking through a snow-covered Hogsmeade village, butterbeer in hand. 

And while Grinchmas is more geared toward kids, we had a blast. 

There were live reenactments of the Grinch story, complete with a huge leaning Grinch Christmas tree, fake snow, and character photo ops for kids. 

Both of these events are straight out of a dream–it’s no wonder thousands of visitors flock to Universal Studios from around the world.

Check the Universal Studios website for specific event dates and times. 

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the enormous Christmas tree at the Universal City Walk. With so many decorations, it feels like walking through an old holiday film.

Griffith Park Holiday Train

Griffith Park Holiday Train
Griffith Park Holiday Train

Where: Griffith Park & Southern Railroad, 4400 Crystal Springs Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles CA
When: November 24th – January 5th, 5 – 8pm (weekdays), 5 – 9pm (weekends)

The mile-long holiday train route through Griffith Park lasts about 10 minutes and chugs along a path illuminated by thousands of Christmas lights. 

We loved the light tunnels, but even though the holiday train is advertised for all ages, the Christmas displays felt geared toward kids. 

Build out the experience by stopping at the Griffith Park Cafe for food and drinks. We also recommend going to the LA Zoo Lights on the same night since they’re nearby. 

Pro Tip: We made the mistake of buying same-day, general admission tickets and waited in line for an hour. The holiday train is great, but not as worth it unless you buy priority tickets in advance to skip the line.

Sparkle DTLA

Where: The Bloc LA, 700 Flower St, Los Angeles, CA
When: November 17 – December 28, Hourly 5pm – 9pm

Sparkle DTLA transforms The Bloc into a holiday light extravaganza. 

Positioned in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, this holiday installation runs right up to Christmas Eve, and features millions of LED lights with a dance floor to boogie to the holiday beats. 

Several light displays are also available all day long. 

Pro Tip: Check the Bloc LA calendar of events early in December to catch one of their holiday film nights and the Sparkle DTLA at the same location.

Knott’s Merry Farm

When: November 17th – January 7th
Where: Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA
Cost: Starting at $59.99

Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the best places for any holiday in the LA region, and they do not disappoint with their Christmas lights display. 

The entire farm in Orange County is illuminated with thousands of colorful holiday lights and decorations. 

As usual, Knott’s offers activities for the whole family to enjoy. 

And they have Christmas sweets and food trucks to satisfy your holiday cravings.

Knott’s also hosts an annual tree lighting ceremony – check their website for this year’s dates.

Astra Lumina Nightwalk Experience

Astra Lumina Nightwalk Experience
Astra Lumina Nightwalk Experience

Where: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
When: Select dates throughout December, 6pm-10pm

“A celestial pathway of lustrous light,” Astra Lumina is an out-of-this-world holiday light extravaganza that strives to bring the light from outer space to earth. 

This event is part of the Lumina Enchanted Night Walk event series. It’s a combination of light, projection, and sound installations in the South Coast Botanic Garden. 

We liked it, but not nearly as much as we enjoyed the interactive installations at Descanso Gardens and the LA Zoo Lights. Plus, it’s about an hour’s drive from Central LA.

If you’re in the area, Astra Lumina makes a great date night and inspires you to think about the bigger life questions.

The LA Times, NBC, and Time Out even reviewed Astra Lumina. It’s definitely one of the most enchanting holiday-light experiences in LA. 

Holiday Road

Holiday Road
Holiday Road

Where: King Gillette Ranch, 26800 West Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA
When: Throughout December, 5pm – 10pm

Holiday Road is an immersive “larger than life” holiday experience at King Gillette Ranch that features all of the best of the festive season. 

You’ll see Santa and Mrs. Claus accompanied by lots of their elves and reindeer, giant candy canes, snowmen, and everything else that comes with the North Pole. 

Not to mention the millions of holiday lights that illuminate the entire walking path. 

There’s also a holiday bar with holiday-themed cocktails and a holiday market with unique gifts for holiday shopping. 

Holiday Road features endless Instagram-worthy holiday scenes and light displays to spread holiday cheer on your feed.

Other holiday lights in Los Angeles, take notes from this one!

Pro Tip: Wear your Christmas hats and go here if you’re in the mood for classic cheesy Christmas decor.

Holidays at Disneyland

Holidays at Disneyland
A giant Clydsdale horse with bows French braided into it's main and bells on it's harness, stands in front of the green, red, and gold trolly car that the horse is hooked up to using thick leather straps.

When: November 10th – January 7th (including Christmas Day)
Where: Disneyland, Anaheim, CA

If you’re seeking LA’s most elaborate Christmas displays and holiday lights, Disneyland has you covered. 

Disneyland is also one of the only attractions open on Christmas Day. 

December is magical at Disneyland. The entire park is illuminated nightly with millions of festive holiday lights, Christmas displays, and Christmas characters roaming around. 

Disneyland also hosts live performances by your favorite Disney icons, elaborate holiday feasts, contests, games, crafts, and access to rides. 

The lights are just one reason why Disneyland is a must during the holidays. If anyone does the holiday season with magic, it’s Disney.

Marina Lights at Burton Chace Park

Where: Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina Del Rey, CA
When: Nightly throughout December, 4pm – 10pm

This 10-acre park in Marina Del Rey is an enchanted sight during the holiday season. 

Guests stroll leisurely throughout the park, which is bathed in warm light nightly. 

Carolers, face painting, food trucks, and lots more add to the Marina Lights experience every December. 

Annual Marina Del Ray Holiday Boat Parade

Annual Marina Del Ray Holiday Boat Parade
In the mostly black image, a yacht decorated in white lights, snowflake lights, and glowing Christmas light animals, sails across dark waters with it's reflection in the lower half of the image and buildings in the distant background.

Where: Marina del Rey Harbor, Marina Del Ray, CA
When: Saturday, December 9, 5:55 pm – 6:00 pm (Fireworks Show), 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Holiday Boat Parade)

The annual Marina Del Ray Holiday Boat Parade began as a Los Angeles tradition in 1963, and continues to grow in extravagance. 

Boat owners in the area decorate watercrafts of all shapes and sizes to partake in this large parade. 

There is no denying that these nautical holiday displays are some of the best Christmas lights in Los Angeles. 

Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel

Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel
Two larger-than-life nutcracker decorations guard the entrance to a building that is so overrun by beautiful golden Christmas lights, that it's hardly recognizable, surrounded by palm trees decorated all the way to the tips of the fronds.

Where: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA
When: Opening night on November 18th, and festivities nightly, November 18th – January 7th

Since 1992, The Mission Inn has transformed the entire hotel into a winter wonderland with one of America’s largest collections of holiday lights. 

They were voted “Best Public Lights Display” by USA Today, and only continue to get better. 

Giant nutcrackers greet you at the entrance, and entire buildings covered in shimmering lights will enchant you as you move through the hotel grounds. 

The palm trees are even covered in lights, as an LA Christmas tree ought to be. 

Lights on Display, Sherman Oaks

Where: 3901 Longview Valley Rd, Sherman Oaks, California
When: November 24th to January 1st, Wednesday – Sunday at varying times

This Lights Display at Sherman Oaks isn’t your average light show. 

Mike Ziemkowski took up decorating for Christmas when he was in high school. 

From childhood into adulthood, he spent his spare time building animated Christmas characters to enliven the display. 

Now, Ziemkowski’s holiday display features over a million twinkling lights set perfectly to festive tunes. 

In 2022, his animated light show included a chorus of giant snowmen singing as DJ Jingles set the beat. 

It’s no surprise that Ziemkowski won ABC’s 2015 The Great Christmas Light Fight – this event takes the cake.

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Mimi McFadden
Founder & Editor-In-Chief

Mimi McFadden grew up in Santa Cruz, California, and started The Atlas Heart in 2013. What started as a blog to keep her family up-to-date on her travels is now a full-time website where she shares her love for her home state of California and the outdoors. When Mimi’s not hiking and exploring new places in California, she loves to travel abroad, eat paneer, play basketball and guitar, sing karaoke, and connect with friends and family over board games or a good escape room. Over the 28 years that she has been in California, she has lived in Santa Cruz, San Diego, San Francisco, and most recently, Berkeley, California.

Taylor Neal

Taylor is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, yoga instructor, and frontline worker who spends most of her time in her van (Vannigan) winding through the coastal and mountain roads of California where she feels most at home. From navigating the realities of van life to the fluctuations in diverse climates and landscapes, Taylor is excited to bring everything she’s learned about California to fellow wanderers seeking beauty and adventure.

Additional Expert Contributors: Suneel Jain

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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