Holiday Lights

A Bright Bounty of Beautiful Bulbs Will Illuminate The Mission Inn

We're not just talking about a simply shiny string or two; rather, the colossal castle will be fully decked out in pure, magic-making dazzle.

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

What to Know

  • Festival of Lights at The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
  • Nov. 25, 2022 through Jan. 6, 2023
  • Free to see; stay-over holiday packages are available

WE MAY COUNT... the number of delicious peppermint meltaways occupying our plate, and the wee marshmallows in our cocoa, and the gifts under the tree, and the reindeer that lead Santa's sleigh, but attempting to add up the lights that line the turrets, loggias, balustrades, and stairways of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa? We'd never dare, perhaps because, first and foremost, there isn't time enough, not even during a holiday season that stretches over several weeks. For the history-laden landmark is absolutely awash in illumination, and all of that twinkle emits from millions — yes, we typed "millions" and firmly meant it — of bulbs covering all sorts of spaces around the spectacular Riverside hotel. So the best plan is to leave your counting proclivities to marshmallows and reindeer, and simply arrive at the annual Festival of Lights with one glorious goal in mind: bask in the big, big glow.

LIGHT THE NIGHT: The switch at the storied destination, which rambles over a goodly chunk of downtown Riverside, is always flipped on the day following Thanksgiving. In 2022, that's Friday, Nov. 25, and the bulbs, bows, trees, and Victorian-style animatronic figures will delight visitors nightly through Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. The 30-year-old event requires no admission, and you can linger on the sidewalk outside of the hotel to get a glimmery glimpse, if you wish, or stop in for a bite or beverage. But snoozing at the vintage hotel during the Festival of Lights? That's the charming choice of many people, and there are seasonal stayover packages made for the occasion. Those include the Mistletoe Magic package, which includes an overnight stay for two people and other goodies, like an Irvine & Roberts Vineyard Bottle of Wine. For everything dazzlingly doing during the fest, call upon this bright site now.

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