Published on Dec 17, 2018 by Tom Owen

With short days and long nights, the holiday season is a perfect time to enjoy the multitude of holiday light displays and shows brightening up California’s night skies. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to witness the spirit of the season in unique, California style.



1.    L.A. Zoo Lights

The L.A. Zoo goes all out for the holidays, transforming their entire landscape into an LED winter wonderland. Walkways and paths around the zoo are illuminated by thousands of magical light tunnels and snowflakes and animal-themed displays and projections. On select days, Santa Claus makes an appearance to meet with young animal lovers, and there’s even a chance to see real reindeer and learn about them from an expert. For more information about nightly performances, ticket prices and more, visit




2.    Christmas Tree Lane

For an incredible 96 years, a small neighborhood in Fresno has decorated a two-mile stretch on Van Ness Avenue with decorations, lights and remarkable Christmas displays, attracting onlookers from miles around. The 140 homes of Fig Garden glow each night in December with millions of lights and over 300 Christmas trees, creating a winter wonderland unlike any other in the area. The event is free to the public. Visit for directions and more information.




3.    Festival of Lights

With an ice skating rink, a variety of food vendors and live entertainment, the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa Riverside Festival of Lights is more than a light show, it’s an on-going celebration of the holidays. The Southern California event runs through January 6th, 2019 and is a perfect place to meet Santa, pick up festive gifts or take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around the grounds. Schedules of events, tickets and more can be found at




4.    Robolights

Looking for something a little different this holiday season? Check out the weird and wonderful Robolights in Palm Springs. Artist Kenny Irwin has created a quirky and fun display featuring 8.4 million lights, robots, aliens, spaceships and more, all made from donated junk. The four-acre, out-of-this-world attraction has been an ongoing project of Irwin’s since he was 12 years old. Look for Robolights on Facebook for details.




5.    Candy Cane Lane

Create a new family tradition by visiting Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. For over 60 years, the community adorn the homes with over-the-top decorations, lights, and inflatables and welcomes the public to either walk or drive through to enjoy. Each house has a different theme, so there’s bound to be something for everyone to enjoy. You can find directions, tips and more by visiting


 6.    Enchanted: Forest of Light

Descanso Garden’s holiday light installation is one of the most awe-inspiring and popular experiences in the Los Angeles area. The botanic gardens and incredible oak trees highlight the one-mile interactive walk through the ten lighted areas, which takes about an hour and a half to complete. Be sure to arrive with dinner in mind as Maple, Descanso Gardens’ restaurant, is open exclusively for Enchanted ticket holders. Check ahead on to make sure tickets are available on your date of choice because this event can sell out.

About the Author

Tom Owen

Tom Owen is a cycling writer who has worked with some of the cycling world's biggest media brands, covering everything from the top levels of the professional sport to bikepacking adventures in the Balkans.