While after-sundown sparkle is all around us throughout the year, from neon signage to household lamps, it is just around Christmastime when we long to see lots of illumination, as in thousands of bulbs all in the same place.
Finding those bulbs can be a matter of either strolling down your street to admire a neighbor's yard, or heading for a super-bright spot like The Grove or Descanso Gardens or the LA Zoo, or finding an area that's known for especially all-out, everything's-aglow yards.
No shocker here: These lanes and cul-de-sacs and neighborhoods tend to see some traffic, both of the car sort and those on foot, when the yuletide draws near. Knowing this, and keeping a modicum of patience, and perhaps a Thermos of cocoa, are two commendable ways to venture forward.
Local news from across Southern California
Where will you see the lights of 2016? Gaze upon the glowful ways of...
Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights: It's a Torrance treasure, and has been for years, and just about everyone who likes their joy at least partially expressed via sparkly reindeer and inflatable snowmen has taken in the sights at least once. And don't fret if you forget the cocoa; better yet, leave it at home. You can find it for sale in the area.
Christmas Tree Lane: If you're in Altadena's neck of the woods, and you want to see some incandescent action that has the spirit of the woods at its holiday-happy heart, look to the huge deodar cedars that line this historic thoroughfare. Christmas Tree Lane will soon celebrate its first century, making it one of the most venerable seasonal light locations in all of the Golden State.
Candy Cane Lane: Searching out Woodland Hills-style whimsy is a snap if you make for the immediate area around Lubao and Oxnard Streets. The West Valley-Warner Center Chamber of Commerce advises an earlier arrival, especially on weeknights, where residents have asked visitors to "drive by no later than 10pm." Have you seen this display ever year since its 1952 start? Better add another annual visit to your list.
Upper Hasting Ranch: The Upper Hastings Ranch Holiday Light-Up is on through the first day of January, so you have a bit of time post-Christmas should you have too many things to do. What will you encounter at this handsome neighborhood? Snowmen, Snoopy, and glittery snowflakes are some of the photo reveals from the 2016 extravaganza.
Wakefield Winter Wonderland: This Santa Clarita favorite is all a-sparkle with oversized candies, festive figures, and tons of lights lining eaves and doorways. Call upon this Saugus-sweet neighborhood for a dose of dazzling, light-up-the-night cheer.
Conejo Valley: Doing it up around Thousand Oaks? Check out the "Sparkle Up!" map from Conejo Valley, which lists specific houses (and note, not full neighborhoods) that are looking particularly full of season-ready panache.