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Top Drive-Through and Walking Christmas Lights in Southern CA


With the winter solstice approaching fast, the days are growing shorter and the nights longer. So what better way to take advantage of the darkest days of the year than with a fantastic holiday light show? These incredible events across Southern CA take holiday light displays to the next level. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, you’ll love these walking and driving light events around Los Angeles, Temecula, and more. 


Christmas in Color

Christmas in Color offers an incredible drive-through, animated light show at locations across the country. Our personal favorite is, of course, in Southern California. This event has all the charm of a drive-in theatre. By syncing the light display to a radio station, you can enjoy the incredible show from the comfort of your car. This drive-through display includes massive candy canes, arched pathways, and glittering snowmen. If you’re looking to awaken your childlike wonder this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with Christmas in Color. Check their website for more details, including ticket availability and driving guidelines. 


Enchanted Forest of Light

While this isn’t technically a drive-through light experience, you won’t want to miss this light show. If you’ve ever dreamed of stepping into a fairytale, you’re in luck. Enchanted Forest of Light takes place each year from the end of November to the start of January. Descanso Gardens transforms from a botanical paradise to a world of wonder. This walking trail includes bright flowers, eye-catching trees, and more. Members get admission to the garden all year round and a discount on Enchanted Forest of Light tickets, which is a win-win in our book. 


Astra Lumina

Another botanical garden light show, Astra Lumina, may not be a driving light show, but it’s well worth stepping off the driven path. South Coast Botanic Garden in Los Angeles used to run a light show called GLOW, but that experience soon outgrew its name. So with some help from Moment Factor and Fever, GLOW transformed into Astra Lumina, a light show almost out of this world. Astra Lumina is sure to brighten up your holiday thanks to a combination of incredible lights and original sound design.


Brea Lights at Eagle Hills

Brea Lights stands out among the corporate-run light events on this list. While we’re always a fan of an organized holiday celebration, the residents of Eagle Hills have been putting on a show for 20 years, all of their initiative. This light show is free and has the down-to-earth holiday feel that only home decorations can bring. Remember that this isn’t an event; it’s simply a neighborhood that loves celebrating the holidays and bringing some light to the darkest days of the year. Check out their website to find out more or get driving directions. 


Capistrano Lights

Mission San Juan Capistrano is the only Mission in Orange County, and as such, it takes its commitment to seriously brightening the lives of residents. From December 3rd to December 30th, this mission celebrates the holidays with tree lighting of epic proportions. From a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree to a 10-foot-tall holiday wreath, this is one light event you won’t miss. They also feature religious-themed holiday celebrations, including a candle-lighting ceremony to pray for peace in the coming year. The perfect combination of classic holiday celebrations and modern flare, this is one holiday celebration that’s perfect for the whole family. 


Christmas Tree Lane

Christmas Tree Lane celebrates 100 years of tradition this holiday season. On December 10th, this winter festival kicks off in Altadena, California. With a lighting ceremony early in the evening, followed by the festival, you’re sure to love this classic holiday celebration. This event is entirely run by volunteers and donations and is a great way to experience the heart of Altadena as you’ve never seen it before. Check out their website if you’re interested in donating, volunteering your time, or learning more about this annual event. Keep in mind that road closures for the event start as early as 9:00 AM, so be sure to park early and plan to walk to see this holiday event. 


Holiday Light Up at Upper Hastings Ranch

Starting in 1951, this drive-through holiday celebration began with a few families decorating their driveways to guide Santa and has grown to an entire illumination festival. What began as paper bags with candles to show Santa the way developed into a parkway display event. This event takes local decorations to a new level, from home decorations to parkway competitions. Whole streets adhere to a theme, while various homes enjoy the Christmas spirit with creative light displays you’ve never seen before. For driving directions to Upper Hastings Ranch, check out the linked website. 

Holiday Road

While most people would balk at the idea of walking a mile in the winter, we promise Holiday Road is worth the effort. This holiday event is at King Gillette Ranch and features a gorgeous walking trail. You can enjoy this incredible holiday display, from a canopy of icicle lights to a Christmas village and everything in between. Plus, Holiday Road has its bar and food trucks, so there are plenty of holiday goodies to fuel your jaunt down Holiday Road. To find out more, check out the link above. 

If you’re looking for a great way to explore Southern California this holiday season, check out Best Coast Tours. Our guided tours take you through classic Southern California locations, from the heart of LA to a guided tasting tour of Temecula wineries. Contact us today to find out more or schedule a tour with a personalized pickup location.