If you’re looking forward to a warm getaway destination this winter, California is the place to go. Many beautiful California vacation rentals are situated just a stone’s throw from stunning holiday decorations, as well as entertaining Christmas attractions and vibrant light displays illuminating popular landmarks. Take a trip to Disneyland to see gorgeous artificial snow covering the resort, or take a stroll through the Orange County Winter Fest to enjoy ice skating, live performances, and delicious food. Check out these five places in California featuring phenomenal Christmas lights.
1. L.A. Zoo Lights, Los Angeles
To experience L.A.’s brightest light show, visit the L.A. Zoo to see thousands of vibrant holiday lights decorate animal habitats, trees, and walking paths. Illuminated by LED lights and giant glowing snowflakes, this magical holiday attraction features 3-D projections and a beautiful laser display along the self-guided tour of the zoo. Enjoy the disco ball forest or animal-themed light displays featuring animated elephants wearing holiday sweaters and snowboarding lizards cruising down the hillside. After taking a mesmerizing walk through a gorgeous sparkling light tunnel, snap a photo with Santa Claus while a shimmering snow-covered North Pole serves as the backdrop. With the chance to get a glimpse of real reindeer, you are sure to get into the Christmas spirit. The entertaining water show pairs holiday music with bright lasers to keep you engaged before the Wild Wonderland finale.
After your magical journey through the L.A. Zoo, check out other nearby L.A. holiday attractions, including a walk through The Grove to see a 100-foot Christmas tree, Santa’s cottage, and a magical snowfall.
2. Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn, Riverside
With more than 4 million holiday lights creating a magical glow along Main Street, Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn is sure to take your breath away. One of the premier holiday light shows in California decks out the beautiful Mission Inn Hotel in dazzling Christmas decorations. This cheerful attraction places animated holiday characters on full display, while bright lights create a wonderful Christmas ambiance throughout the courtyards and passageways. Enjoy singing along with carolers as they stroll through the lobby spreading holiday cheer, or grab a horse and carriage ride circling this beautiful landmark. Artificial snow inspires your holiday mood, while a small ice skating rink delivers a fun activity to interact with little ones. Festival of Lights is completely free to enjoy, but shopping for Christmas presents and snacking on holiday treats delivers a surge of Christmas spirit.
When you leave The Mission Inn, take a short walk from the hotel to enjoy rides on a beautiful carousel or Ferris wheel. Check out the Gingerbread Shop for some tasty holiday treats.
3. Disneyland Resort, Anaheim
Visit The Merriest Place on Earth to experience a truly beautiful winter wonderland. Thousands of magnificent decorations and lights transform the resort, while your favorite Disney characters highlight your tour of this magical place. The Believe-in Holiday Magic fireworks show features bursts of vibrant colors in the sky complemented by falling snow to create a memorable Christmas experience. With more than a half million shimmering lights, the Christmas Fantasy Parade showcases striking holiday decorations and Christmas figures. Enjoy the holiday-themed nighttime shows for a one-of-a-kind experience only Disneyland’s popular characters can deliver. Popular rides and attractions throughout Disneyland receive a holiday-themed makeover to warm your heart and ensure you feel Christmas cheer.
Check out the It’s a Small World attraction to delight in an enchanting Christmas atmosphere. Decorated with more than 300,000 twinkly lights along the exterior, the rides lets you listen to your favorite Christmas songs performed by the 300 animated Children of the World characters.
4. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Newport Beach
For a distinct holiday light show and over-the-top decorations, enjoy the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Watch as masterfully decorated yachts, boats, canoes, and kayaks sail down the harbor. These vessels showcase stunning holiday decorations such as Frosty The Snowman, Santa Claus, reindeer, Santa’s sleigh, and Christmas trees. With more than 100 decorated yachts and boats parading around a massive 14-mile stretch of Newport Harbor, this event lets you catch a glimpse of personalized decorations illuminating the gorgeous water. This free parade lasts five nights and features several public viewing spots where you can soak up striking views of brightly decorated holiday vessels.
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade route includes a Dine & Watch waterfront option and a Dine & Walk option to give you diverse ways to enjoy this popular holiday festivity.
5. Candy Cane Lane, Woodland Hills
Homeowners within an eight-square-block area put on a captivating holiday display of Christmas lights and decorations. Starting after Thanksgiving, homes on Lubao & Oxnard Streets in Woodland Hills become the center for a massive celebration of vibrant lights and Christmas figures. Friendly competition fuels homeowners to compete with one another over who can boast the most extravagant Christmas displays. From animatronic Christmas figures to giant roof-top busts of Santa Claus, this holiday attraction pulls in thousands of visitors each year with elaborate, and sometimes outlandish, decorations highlighting the streets of this quaint neighborhood.
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