Weekend: Outdoor Sights to Nighttime Garden Lights

Find effervescent experiences in Arcadia, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Lake Arrowhead, and our national parks, too.

Maria Fuchs

What to Know

  • Two holiday light shows, GLOW and Lightscape, are entering their final days
  • "Winter Wonderland" is opening at SkyPark at Santa's Village
  • Entry to the national parks will be free on Jan. 17 in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

"GLOW": It's always a bit poignant when something that glows has to go, and yet this popular garden-based spectacular, which has shimmered at South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Peninsula over several November, December, and January weeks, must do just that. It's provided plenty of after-sunset panache, in the form of dazzling light displays, and a few fun theme nights, too (as well as complimentary entry, on specific dates, for teachers and first responders). There's still time to slip on a cozy coat and saunter through the bulbage, but be sure to purchase your ticket to the happening ahead of time. The last date of this delightful alfresco affair? It's Monday, Jan. 17.

"Lightscape": Gardens and glowful doings have been quite the heady and happy thing in recent years, and we're all about it. After all, bracing evening air, creative installations, and pretty hues can raise the spirits at the holidays and pretty much any other time, too. This inventive dream of a display flowered at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in early-ish November 2021, and it has been charming visitors with singing trees, fanciful starbursts, and, oh yes, a much-talked-about forest of disco balls. It bids us adieu on Sunday, Jan. 16, and, like other major outdoor events, you'll want to book your admission before you go, and not when you arrive, to make sure you have a spot. Bundling up? Even if the days are nice, there's a chill by moonlight.

Big Sunday MLK Clothing Drive: The Melrose Avenue-based organization is known for its give-back opportunities, including this one, which will happen outside on Monday, Jan. 17 in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Be there at 10 a.m. to help "count, sort, and fold clothes," items that will be donated to those in need. If you can't make it, the group is collecting clothing, including socks, scarves, and other much-needed wearables, like sweatshirts. There's an Amazon registry, and the chance to sponsor kits, too, so do check with Big Sunday to see how you can help. "This beloved Big Sunday project exemplifies a key focus of the organization — working to find common ground," shares the group.

Enter a "Winter Wonderland": The yuletide vibes may have concluded at SkyPark at Santa's Village, but it is still the coldest season at the Lake Arrowhead-close attraction, and there are still North Pole-style sweetnesses to savor. To keep the cute, family-fun, get-outdoors adventures going, there's a new happening at the mid-century destination, one that celebrates the chilly cheer of wintertime. Ice skating, scavenger hunts, cool opportunities to learn about the natural world, and treats and sips for sale, too, are all a part of this wintry, weeks-long lark. It all melts away on Feb. 27, 2022 (as always, do check road conditions before driving up, and book your ticket in advance).

Free Entrance Days: As a tribute to the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the National Park Service will waive the entry fee at all fee-charging national parks on Monday, Jan. 17. True, a number of NPS locations, like Redwoods National Park, never charge an entrance fee, but those places that do will wave people on in while waiving admission. If you're thinking of spending the day on a contemplative hike, or taking some time to reflect by a pretty stream or mountaintop, Jan. 17 is the first of the national parks' free days (there are five in all). The next one? It is up in April, so consider getting outside now, as a way to connect with nature, your thoughts, the community, and a hope-filled year ahead.

Contact Us