Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the lights, nativity scenes, and Santa and his crew. And Christmas in L.A. wouldn’t be the same without seeing a stunning display of homes all decked out for the holidays. The annual tradition of “light seeing” is back, and there is no shortage of places to go. And even with fake snow (i.e. sheets of cotton) on the ground, there is a feeling of a winter wonderland in the air.
Folks in Inglewood can find plenty to see right in their own backyard. The area referred to as "The Avenues" is bordered by Century Blvd. on the South, Crenshaw Blvd. on the West, Manchester Ave. on the North, and Van Ness Ave. on the East, and is famous for its holiday-themed decorations. In fact, in Southern California, it is a must-see experience.
Inglewood Councilman George Dotson, whose district houses the area, has lived on a highly decorated block for 30 years. “The decorations started many years ago. It’s been a tradition in The Avenues since I’ve been here. It used to be so bad you could not even get out of your driveway. As time moved on, some of the older people moved out, but it’s still very nice and people come from all over.”
Make it a point to check out the Christmas decorations at night if you can. And be prepared for slow moving traffic. It is a drive-by tour, and you’ll want to catch every sight. After you drive down one block, turn around and look at the houses on the other side. Then drive to the next block and repeat.
The section of Torrance known as Sleepy Hollow is another South Bay favorite. The homes located on Calle Mayor, near Pacific Coast Highway, are nicely lit, displaying just about every Christmas theme imaginable. It’s best to park and make it a walking tour. You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes and dress warmly for the occasion. Residents sell hot cider, cocoa and dessert to appreciative spectators.
*Here is where you can find other festive holiday decorations:
Christmas Tree Lane
Santa Rosa Ave. between Altadena Drive and Woodbury Road. Call for directions.
Turn off your headlights and drive through three very long blocks of large trees sweeping over the street, highly decorated with colored lights. Those who have made the drive say it is well worth it.
1960 Mendocino Lane
Altadena, CA 91001
Close to Christmas Tree Lane, this mansion is home to the famous ice cream manufacturer, and sits on 3.5 acres decorated with 10,000 colored lights and numerous holiday depictions. Lots of photo opportunities.
Christmas Tree Lane
Daisy Avenue between Willow Street & Pacific Coast Highway
Celebrating Daisy Avenues 23 lighted and decorated Christmas trees. Musical entertainment is featured on weekends.
L.A. Zoo Lights
5333 Zoo Drive. Call for directions.
Dazzling nighttime winter wonderland of awe-inspiring animal escapades rendered in led lights, lasers, 3d projections, spectacular sets and interactive displays. Light shows begin every hour between 6 and 11pm. Tickets are between $11 and $13 each. Children 2 and under are free.
Third Street, just east of Fairfax Ave.
Here you’ll find a 100' tall Christmas tree, a magical snowfall, Santa's Cottage, and holiday entertainment at the trendy outdoor mall next door to Farmer’s Market in L.A.’s Fairfax District.
Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel
(310) 275-5200 or (800) 545-4000
On Wilshire Blvd. & Rodeo Drive
Twinkle lights and red ribbons adorn the trees, lavish holiday displays decorate the shop windows, poinsettias are planted in the center divider, and the infamous “Pretty Woman” hotel, The Regent Beverly Wilshire, is bejeweled with lights and interior decorations. Make a day of it and stop in for Afternoon Tea at the Regent.
*Use Google Map or Mapquest for directions.