Bask in the Glow of 5,000,000 Lights

Can you count them all? No need: Just visit the Mission Inn in Riverside and savor the sparkle.

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What to Know

  • Riverside
  • Free
  • Through Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018

Ever untangled a string of lights, the same string you carefully wrapped and stowed a year ago but which mysteriously became betangled, seemingly without the aid of human hands?

It's a common experience this time of year, but also common, at least among Southern Californians with an affinity for huge lighting displays? The knowledge that however light strings you untangle, the Mission Inn in Riverside will have gone far, far beyond.

As in, 4,999,900 lights beyond, if you hung a string containing 100 lights at home. For the famous, 5,000,000-light Festival of Lights at the landmark hotel pretty much out-bulbs every bulb-filled structure in the near vicinity, and in the far vicinity, too, making the Mission Inn a regular entry on national lists that feature the brightest holiday displays in the country.

The switch-flick? It always happens the Friday after Thanksgiving, so Nov. 24 is the date to watch in 2017. The party starts to sparkle around 4:30 p.m., ahead of sunset, but people won't just be assembling to see all of the illumination: Some 200 animated figures also provide panache and cheer to the exterior decorations (think angels, elves, and more).

And one major rocking bonus for 2017? Kenny Loggins is set to croon at the famous festival's opening night. Yes, lots of fans are expected.

If you can't be in Riverside for the splashy kick-off to the free-to-see display, keep in mind that the lights'll be on through Saturday, Jan. 6, each and every night.

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