Altadena's Illuminated Icon, Christmas Tree Lane, Glows On

The sparkly centenarian, a free-to-see California State Landmark, is one of Southern California's stateliest spectacles.

Karol Franks

What to Know

  • Santa Rosa Avenue at E. Woodbury Road in Altadena
  • Through Jan. 9, 2022; 5:30 p.m. to midnight
  • The drive-thru lighting display is free to enter

So your 100th birthday was last year, the festivity for your fabulous first century, the acknowledgment of ten dazzling decades, a milestone among milestones.

How do you approach your 101st, knowing that you're 12 months past the major moment, the moment you officially became a centenarian?

Christmas Tree Lane has the uplifting, move-forward, party-on answer: You continue to sparkle, and glow, and stand tall, the wonderful and whimsical way you did for a hundred years, plus one.

And the illuminated Altadena thoroughfare, which is lined with magnificent deodar cedars that are both sizable and venerable, is sparkling on, all to give the early days of its second century plenty of glitter-a-tude.

The legendary lane, which fills out a good portion of Santa Rosa Avenue north of Woodbury Road, is one of Southern California's most celebrated holiday destinations, one that has delighted multiple generations.

Historical images tell us that the Chrismas Tree Lane experience hasn't changed too much over the decades, though, no surprise, the look of the visiting cars has significantly changed.

The deodar cedars always seem so timeless, even a bit storybook-y, and the colorful bulbs that grace their branches enchant.

Call it a moving drive back to Christmas Past, no ghost required.

And with any trip back into the past, you'll want to slow your roll, to soak it all in. Organizers advise all visitors to "drive carefully" and mind "all traffic laws and signs" while soaking in the splendor.

Splendor, by the by, that is only possible due to the amazing efforts of the volunteers that give their numerous hours to making sure the lights look just right. (Fans of the festive event are invited to donate or help out, if you'd like to make one or both plans part of your 2022 resolutions.)

"Every Christmas season for more than 80 years, the majestic deodars on the 'Mile of Christmas Trees' are strung with 10,000 lights," is the impressive word from the team behind the dream.

A California State Landmark, Christmas Tree Lane is also found on the National Register of Historic Places.

Beholding it is an incandescent exercise in sheer bewitchery. The large deodar cedars are distinctly different from the trees we usually see wearing festive frippery come December, and the lights lend the stately shrubs almost old-fashioned illumination, the sort of soft shine you might spy while watching a silent film, one that takes place during some long-ago yuletide.

It's all free, too, to see. See and sigh over, if you're given to sighing over seasonal spectacle, which plenty of people readily and gladly do.

But wait: There's an app, which was introduced in 2020, just in time for Christmas Tree Lane's centennial. Want to maximize the merriment? Let this Tannenbaum-inspired tool lead the way.

Contact Us