The Best Holiday Lights in Los Angeles You Need to See

Los Angeles has always been a town of lights, but during the holiday season, the displays get even brighter. From Marina del Rey to the OC and as far east as Indio, here are the most dazzling holiday light displays around LA that are worth your time and money

There’s something about twinkling lights that gets us in the holiday spirit—that is, after we’ve picked up the best Christmas tree and made an initial pass through LA’s best toy stores for gifts. And while Los Angeles may not have the winter weather charm of those cities that actually see a white Christmas, our palm trees sure can prop up Christmas lights just as magically as their evergreen cousins can. From the sprawling sea of bulbs at Descanso Gardens to festive local neighborhoods layered in all things merry and bright, LA’s got its share of impressive holiday light displays.

Where to See the Best Holiday Lights in Los Angeles

Marina del Rey Boat Parade

Marina del Rey Tourism Board

For a different take on the traditional light display, check out the shimmering boats of the Marina del Rey boat parade—a moving spectacle that kicks off with a spectacular fireworks show!  Be sure to bring a blanket and some hot chocolate so you can get nice and cozy while you take it all in. The boat parade features 70 boats adorned with holiday light, all vying for top categories, which include Best Power, Best Lights, Best Spirit, and Best Yacht Club. Recommended viewing areas are Burton Chace Park (3650 Mindanao Way) and Fisherman’s Village (3755 Fiji Way).

Good to Know: Marina Lights will cast a festive glow on Burton Chace Park throughout Dec., nightly 4–10 p.m., and the family-friendly GLOW party returns to Burton Chace Park on Dec. 31, from 7 p.m.-midnight along with fireworks over the water at 8:59 p.m.and 11:59 p.m.

Dates: Dec. 9 from 5:55-8 p.m. Fireworks kickoff at 5:55 p.m.; the boat parade is from 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free

13737 Fiji Way
Marina Del Rey.


Winterlit Santa Monica

Walk beneath a canopy of lights as you make your way through an illuminated Third Street Promenade to admire the 24-foot Christmas tree. Santa Monica’s annual “Winterlit” celebration lights up the street of downtown Santa Monica with tens of thousands of colorful lights and holiday decor. The celebration also includes a special tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 with Santa…and snow! Add to that a pop-up ice rink (located at Fifth & Arizona Ave.) that’s open through Jan. 15.

Dates: Nov. 10- Jan. 15
Cost: Free to walk through the display; ice rink is $20 for skate rental and all-day admission

Third Street Promenade (between Broadway & Wilshire)
Santa Monica

L.A. Zoo Lights

Your munchkins will be dazzled by the glow around every part of the L.A. Zoo. The annual light show transforms the daytime zoo into a parade of colorful light displays, which will enchant your littles all night long. Guests will experience spectacular lantern sculptures of animals as well as flowers and trees adorned with lights. Go on a weekend for additional entertainment and activities for the whole family.

Good to Know: For sensory-sensitive guests, the zoo offers a “Sensory-Inclusive Night” on Dec. 5 that will feature smaller crowds, quieter music, available sensory bags with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads (supplies limited, first, come, first served), and an online Social Story (coming soon) that provides a preview of what to expect while enjoying the event.

Dates: Nov. 17-Jan. 7; 6-10:00 p.m.
Cost: Tickets start at $29 for adults (13+); $18 for children 

5333 Zoo Dr.
Los Angeles

Related: Our Updated Insider’s Guide to the LA Zoo

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