Christmas lights

These Holiday Displays Are Twinkling Into Early 2022

A few local light installations are free to see, others are ticketed, and all boast bulbs, beauty, and seasonal charm.

What to Know

  • Several outdoor displays and events will continue into early January 2022
  • Some are free, others require an advance ticket; check ahead of time and purchase before you go, if admission is required
  • Lightscape at LA Arboretum sparkles through Jan. 16, 2022; adult tickets are priced from $32-$30

Christmas carols come in all flavors, but when you pause to think about how quickly a seasonal song wraps up, after it has said what it intended to say, you realize that these peppermint-scented ditties truly do boast plenty of differences.

For example? There's the tune that promptly concludes, with a bell-bright flourish, and then there's the carol that goes on and on, giving us a long-lasting sense of Christmas cheer.

A number of local seasonal events, especially those built around night-bright lighting displays, follow this second model. The people behind the installations don't flick the switch to "off" on Dec. 26, but rather keep the illumination lit for several more days, often into early or even the middle of January.

If you're fretting that you've missed some of Southern California's most festive sights, worry not: Trees, shrubs, tunnels, and sculptures are still glowing, and charming visitors, at outdoor locations around town.

Some are free to see, like Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena, while others have a fee, and will require an advance ticket.

Here are six that are keeping the visual joy bright and brilliant into the first chilly days of January:

Christmas Tree Lane, that venerable California State Landmark, turned 100 in 2020. Volunteers work for months to weave the many strings of bulbs through the high branches of the thoroughfare's deodar cedars, and the result? A colorful soft glow, one that can be enjoyed by driving by at a stately place. See it from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, nightly, through Jan. 9, 2022.

Festival of Lights, the long-running display at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, is regularly featured in top ten lists, of the national variety, the sort of rosters that spotlight the very over-the-top-iest Christmas lights in the country. And talk about going over the top: There are, quite famously, over 5,000,000 bulbs adorning the castle-like hotel, as well as animatronic carolers, angels, and other yuletide-inspired characters. It's free to see, and it is sparkling through Jan. 9, 2022 (extended from Jan. 6).

Sparkle DTLA, another free-to-see dazzler, is adding bulb-tastic brightest to The Bloc through Jan. 2, 2022. Look for "18 million hues of lights" during a light show that happens several times each evening, starting at 5 p.m. Several of the displays are perfect for a quick selfie, too, if you didn't have time to get your holiday pictures done. (This event is now over.)

GLOW at South Coast Botanic Garden includes several spectacular areas that have distinctive themes, including the leafy corner that seems as though it could be underwater, thanks to some creatively placed lights. GLOW, in fact, stands for "Garden Lights & Ocean Waters," so prepare to see a number of features that have a bit of sparkly splash to them. Tickets for the stroll-through shimmer, which glimmers through Jan. 17, 2022, start at $34.95.

LA Zoo Lights, a ticketed event, is known for its illuminated animal sculptures, a pretty twinkly tunnel, an enormous pop-up storybook, and other incandescent sights, like gargantuan snowflakes that glitter. There are value nights, with adult tickets running $22, but you can check out the full schedule, which glimmers on through Jan. 9, 2022. Getting your ticket in advance? You'll want to do it, while also reviewing the animal park's vaccine policy.

Lightscape at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is full of art-forward illuminated installations, including conical trees that almost have a neon vibe, trees that "sing," and a forest brimming with, wait for it, mirrored disco ball. This will be one of the last local lighting events to conclude, with a final date of Jan. 16. It's all outdoors, so be sure to grab a coat, and a camera, too, for the offbeat installations aren't quite like anything else around town.

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