The Biggest Tree: The Grove, Los Angeles
Complete with Santa and his reindeer streaking across the sky, The Grove shopping center in Mid-City is a great spot to see beautiful holiday lights. With Los Angeles’ largest Christmas tree and the fountain’s water show set to holiday tunes. Even if you miss the lighting ceremony, the trees all twinkle through Christmas.
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 the closer you get to Christmas, the longer it can take (up to two hours), so plan on going early. Several houses sell hot chocolate and holiday snacks. This is a baby-friendly spot with lots of families walking with baby carriers and strollers.
Thematically, Spot On: Hastings Ranch, Pasadena
This Pasadena area neighborhood will be a sure hit with your little elves. Starting the first weekend of December, each block has its own theme—from Santa’s Toy Shop to a snowy Winter Wonderland. This is a large neighborhood with a ton to see, so driving is recommended. Most drivers go slowly so you can enjoy it as if you’re walking.
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 get you in the spirit. If you head out this way be sure to visit the Balian House, a 4-acre property and mansion with over 10,000 holiday lights and Christmas decorations.
Balian Mansion in Altadena, CA
There are several things to do in Pasadena and Altadena during the holidays. One of which is a visit to the Balian Mansion in Altadena. Located just East of Allen Avenue on Mendocino (located North of New York), the Balian family has an incredible display of lights and figures throughout the yard.
Wikipedia says: “Among Altadena’s Christmas lighting attractions is the Balian Mansion, which collects worldwide tours for its Christmas lighting display. The Balian Mansion has been lighted since 1955 and is arguably the pioneer of home holiday lighting. The Balian Mansion is located at the 5-point junction of Mendocino Street, Mendocino Lane, Allen Avenue, and East Glenview Terrace.”
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 trek, so bundle up, park the car and take a stroll.
Posh Electricity: Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
For a more glamorous excursion, check out the brightly lit storefronts and street displays on Rodeo Drive. 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.
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. Beginning November 28, 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 the photo guestbook at the end of your walk.
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 this 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.
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.