No doubt, many residents (some dressed as Santa) will be sitting around their fire rings and waving at the holiday lights admirers. A limited number of cars are allowed through, but it's slow going; one can only hope that no one is waiting for a pizza delivery guy. Rumor has it that there are also hot cocoa and candy cane stands dotting the streets.
Parking options are best on either Pacific Coast Highway or Prospect. Inside tip: you can also park near the Seaside Elementary School.
The eastern block of Acacia Avenue is announced by a Candy Cane Lane sign, marking a tradition of more than 60 years. Houses are alight with trains, reindeer, giant characters, and music—plus frequent appearances by Santa Claus in a covered sleigh at the end of the cul-de-sac.
The lights are typically on by 7pm (though most turn on at dusk). If you're looking for the most holiday lights per square foot, Candy Cane Lane is your destination. The street itself is closed to cars, making for a delightful, one-block family stroll, and parking is available throughout the rest of the (well-decorated) neighborhood.
This Wrigley area neighborhood always kicks off the season with a parade. This year, the Christmas Tree Lane Parade is on Saturday, December 9, 2023, and starts at 5pm. With more than six decades of experience in the Christmas lights business, this neighborhood knows how to do the holidays.
Sure, you've heard of the Venice Canals, but the canals at Naples Island are not to be missed in Long Beach dressed up in Christmas lights. Walk past the houses on the canals to admire all the sparkling Christmas lights. Grab a hot chocolate and stroll around the canals in December. Try to go on a weeknight when there are less crowds. The Naples Island holiday lights boat parade also takes place on Saturday, December 16, 2023.
RELATED: Must Do Christmas Events and Holiday Activities in Los Angles for Kids
Polar bears and elves make their home on Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills. Photo courtesy of F. Bara, Tripadvisor
Holiday Light Displays That Dazzle in the Valleys
The Valley's version of Candy Cane Lane can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car, but be prepared for traffic as the holidays draw closer. Visitors are encouraged to dim the headlights on the eight-block stretch so that everyone can enjoy the lights. Brace yourself for slow-moving traffic—so slow that most cars end up with kids poking their heads through the sunroofs and waving at each other. Visitors are also welcome to park on side streets and walk the blocks. On weekends, food trucks, hot chocolate stands, and even toy and flower salespeople often gather to sell their wares at this holiday hotspot.
6. Yolanda Lights — 7300 Block of Yolanda South of Valero, Reseda
Yolanda Lights is a unique spin on the typical Christmas light setup. All along the 7300 block of Yolanda Ave. in the center of Reseda, a series of incandescent arcs straddle the sidewalks to create mesmerizing tunnels of warm light. The neighbors along Yolanda Avenue want you to park your car, admire their handiwork, and donate some canned food items or blankets for the local homeless. The lights come on at sundown and stay on until midnight. If this video featuring drone footage of the display doesn't get you excited, we don't know what will!
Altadena's famous Deodar cedar trees have been lit with festive strings of holiday lights every year since 1920 in what is recognized as the oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas display in the world. Some of the houses are decorated, but the trees are the main attraction here, which create a colorful 0.7-mile pathway. There isn't a sidewalk, so driving is easier than walking. Be a good neighbor and dim your parking lights while viewing to help other drivers enjoy the lights more. If you decide to walk, a great place to park is by the Altadena library. The lights stay on until early January, giving you plenty of time to see this unique display.
The Christmas Tree Lane lighting ceremony and winter festival takes place this year on Saturday, December 9, 2023.
The Altadena and San Marino versions of this lighted holiday pathway are twinsies. The towering trees lining the road get decked out like giant Christmas trees, and the estate homes behind them don't look too shabby either.
Since 1951, each block in this neighborhood has decorated its homes to a theme. The neighborhood is large enough that one evening's drive probably won't catch everything; the pride this neighborhood takes in the collective project merits a visit. Choose a route, and let the oohs and aahs begin; opening night is December 9, 2023, and the displays run nightly, 6pm to 10pm. When we polled our Facebook and Instagram followers for holiday light recommendations, this one was an overwhelming crowd favorite.
RELATED: Mission Inn Festival of Lights: Riverside's Legendary Holiday Lights Display
Families in this cul-de-sac don't mind the traffic. Photo courtesy of Wakefield Winter Wonderland
The double cul-de-sac of 41 houses in the Saugus neighborhood of Santa Clarita offers an elaborate annual light display that includes a ceiling of lights strung across the street from house to house. Each house has a portion of "The Night Before Christmas" on display, and if you start on the right side of the cul-de-sac, you can follow along with the story as you admire the lights. Wakefield Court is off Copper Hill Drive and Courtland, and the lights switch on nightly from 5:30pm to 10:30pm, usually by December 1 each year.
Families sit outside their homes by fire pits, and many neighborhood kids pass out candy canes to passersby while raising donations for charitable organizations. Park on a nearby street and walk the loop, or see the displays from your car (just expect some slow traffic). Ash Court and surrounding streets in Saugus continue the holiday cheer if you want somewhere to go after wandering Wakefield.
11. North Valencia Northbridge Area — Streets such as Clearidge Drive, Essex Place, and Woodfield Place
After touring the Wakefield Winter Wonderland, take a short drive into North Valencia for more enchanting, themed houses. The streets listed above are all guaranteed to have some incredible light displays—the locals in this neighborhood truly get into the spirit of the season with themed houses and thousands of twinkling lights.
12. Timberdale & Pinedale — Moorpark
This isn't one of those neighborhoods with a Facebook page, a special street sign, or even a kitsch name, but if you're on a search for holiday eye candy, this is a sweet spot to check out. The neighborhood is across from Moorpark High School (head east on Countrywood Drive until you hit Timberdale), and it's just house after house of sparkling delights in a clear spirit of "I can make my house more visible from space than yours."
13. Newburgh Lights — 609 E. Newburgh St., Glendora
A landscape lighting designer in Glendora puts on quite the show for visitors every holiday season. This year, the show will light up for the first time on November 24, 2023, at 7pm. After that, it will ignite the residence nightly, starting at 5pm. This isn't just a few twinkling lights timed to music—this is a 15-song light spectacular set to familiar Christmas tunes by Mariah Carey, Gene Autry, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (to name a few holiday favorites).
Norton's Winter Wonderland has been a fixture in Burbank for years, but the festive family recently moved to Valencia. They've assured fans that more information on their new Valencia light display will be available on the website, so keep checking back. However, the Norton home was not the only one on Florence Street that got decked for the Christmas season. A few doors down, Keith's Winter Snowland is filling some of the void left by the Norton's with a spectacular light display with his own over-the-top ensemble.
You're bound to see a few favorite characters, a lot of inflatables, and thousands of lights if you head to Highland Road and take a peek at the Simi Valley Winter Wonderland. This single-house display opens every Christmas season to spread some Christmas cheer. Dog lovers will appreciate the "dog land" section, where light-up canines (including a boxer and a sleigh-riding dachshund) lend some ruff appeal to the Christmas cheer. Be sure to check the Facebook page for the schedule.
While Winter Wonderland is free, the owners gladly accept donations for Relay for Life (American Cancer Society), Casa Pacifica, and For the Troops (FTT). Last year, lights were on from 5pm to 10pm on weekends and 5pm to 9pm on weekdays.
16. Lights on Display — 3901 Longview Valley Rd., Sherman Oaks
Lights on Display is the name that Emmy Award-winning video editor Mike Ziemkowski has given his magnificent Christmas decoration display show. Ziemkowski mixes his film industry expertise and a love of Christmas to produce a display whose fame extends far beyond the San Fernando Valley. This house was the 2015 winner of the national reality show The Great Christmas Light Fight. The display goes way beyond lights; the timed show with music and motion is the sort of thing some places would charge admission for.
Located in Sherman Oaks on Longview Valley Road, the new 2023 show premieres on November 24 and runs through New Year's Day. Shows run Wednesdays through Sundays from 6pm until 9pm. If you're not up for the drive to the Valley, you can always check out videos of the shows on the website.
17. Harbeck Lights — 1215 Tropical Ave., Pasadena
This one was a 2022 The Great Christmas Light Fight contender (and spoiler: winner). Locals get to enjoy their incredible display for the rest of the Christmas season. Tune your car radio to 99.1 FM to catch the soundtrack for this wonderful house. The show runs on a 16-minute loop and features a giant LED screen that features favorite characters like Grogu, Pac-Man, Mario, Hello Kitty, and more.
Not only does this house do the classiest holiday display around, but it is also a piece of history named after the musician Joseph J. Lilley, who resided there from 1954 to 1971. This Tudor-style home draws massive crowds every year and has even been featured on the local news. Keep tabs on the Lilley Hall Instagram page for updates.
Your kids will be entranced by this singing house in Sylmar that croons through 55 minutes worth of Christmas melodies from 5:15pm to 11:15pm nightly. The home features two light-up faces that sing back and forth to one another on different portions of the house. Tune in to the music at 104.1 FM.
Best Holiday Lights on the Westside
20. The Holiday House — 3547 McLaughlin Ave., Mar Vista
We featured this elaborate home in our Halloween house display round-up as well, but they always pull down the scary and put up the merry when December rolls around. The display typically stays up until right after Christmas.
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas, Overland Avenue has light displays in abundance. The Herman family does their home up with dreidels, Jewish stars, and all things Hanukkah, and surrounding homes also deck their halls with flare. Six houses in a row time their lights to music, making this one of the biggest residential light shows in the state.
22. Venice Canals — Venice Beach
The waterfront properties on the famed Venice Canals get festive for the holiday season. Walk along the canals and cross the many beautiful bridges that span the historic waterways to take in the views of holiday lights. Even the bridges get spruced up with sparkling light displays.
Christmas Lights Displays Worth a Drive
If you live closer to Orange County, the Eagle Hills Christmas Lights is a great place to capture some Christmas spirit. This light display, which is located in the neighborhood of Eagle Hills, has been dazzling locals for more than 20 years. The lights are typically on nightly from 6pm to 10pm. As a hillside neighborhood with narrow roads and many cul-de-sacs, traffic can be very rough. If you want to park and walk, park at the Brea Sports Park and walk into the track.
24. Montgomery Road and Janss Road — Thousand Oaks
This home doesn't have a fancy name or a flashy website, but our friends in Thousand Oaks love to drive by this family's extravagant display every year. It's just one house, but no corner goes unlit, and the decorations are generally up and flashing their seasonal cheer by Thanksgiving weekend.
With additional reporting by Matt Matasci, Kylie Williams, Gina Ragland, and the whole MP LA team!
Originally published December 5, 2011