Christmas Lights in Los Angeles: Where to Go

Christmas Lights in Los Angeles: Where to Go

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  1. My whole family used to pile into the station wagon every December so my dad could drive us all over the neighborhood to gawk at all of the displays of lights, candles, candy canes and plastic Santas erected in scattered yards throughout the community. My wife and I still do this every year, but it seems that as the years go by, fewer families make the effort to do up their house and/or yard like they did in years past. If you drive long enough, you’ll see plenty of dazzling lights and fanciful displays, but they are few and far between.


    Of course, there’s always the Festival of Lights up in Griffith Park on Crystal Springs Drive… except for this year (2012). As part of the major infrastructure repairs being performed throughout the park, they had to close the part of Crystal Springs Drive where the festival normally takes place to replace water lines. LA’s DWP (Department of Water and Power) sponsors this annual extravaganza; they also maintain water lines, so he who makes it happen isn’t making it happen for this one year. It’s a complete lack of foresight that they felt obliged to do this now as opposed to sometime after the Christmas Holiday, but let’s keep in mind that the city government runs the Parks Department and the DWP, and we really shouldn’t expect common sense from the government.

    While I still enjoy touring neighborhood after neighborhood to see the scattered dazzling displays, the less patient of you may benefit from knowing where to go to see a lot of displays in a small area, preferably an area through which you can walk. And I’m here to help. Unfortunately, none of these places is actually within Los Angeles, though they are all fairly close to certain parts of the city.


    Torrance                          Within the metro LA area, there’s the Sleepy Hollow display in the Seaside Community of Torrance. I wish I could give an exact location, but as I have never seen this display I have to go on hearsay. My best advice is to park near the intersection of Anza Ave and Calle Mayor and follow the crowd.


    Long Beach                                                                                                                                    Daisy Avenue in Long Beach has been dubbed “Candy Cane Lane,” like 90 percent of the other neighborhood Christmas displays around the country. This four block stretch just off the Pacific Coast Highway is a community event, like the others, where neighbors all decided some time ago to try to outdo one another with lighting displays and it turned into something wonderful for everyone. This is one of the few displays of its kind that you can enjoy without having to leave your car, but it’s best if you do because you’ll want to spend more than a few seconds admiring each house—not to mention the additional displays erected in the street’s center island.

     And if you go to Naples Island while in the area, you won’t be disappointed: many of the island’s residents go to great lengths to make their homes a spectacle, and this is one of the best places to view the annual boat parade, which sails directly past the island.


    Altadena                      Santa Rosa Avenue in Altadena is an interesting street any time of year, as the mile long stretch between E. Woodbury Road and E. Altadena Drive is lined with nothing but deodar cedar trees. Every year, the residents brighten these shaggy, somewhat creepy-looking trees with over 10,000 lights, calling it “Christmas Tree Lane.” Many decorate their houses and yards as well. This is the longest display in the LA area that I know of, but I still recommend that you walk it.


    El Segundo                                                                                                                                    Although this is the smallest of the three mentioned here, this “Candy Cane Lane” is my favorite, partly because I happen to know one of the residents, but mostly because of the trains. Every year, the cul de sac of the 1200 block of Acacia Avenue (the extreme NE corner of the city) comes alive with fanciful displays that usually follow a theme. Somehow, a couple residents manage to work their running train models into this theme… or not, but who cares? Who doesn’t love toy trains? This is a walk-through strictly display, but it’s only a block long; hardly enough to get your feet sore. And if you bring kids, they’ll want to linger for a while, so bring your own drinks and snacks, because the last I checked, street vendors hadn’t caught on to this display yet.

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