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) covering the dry lawns, there’s a hint of 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 more than 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.
*Here is where you can find other festive holiday lighting:
Sleepy Hollow -Torrance, CA.
The section of Torrance known as Sleepy Hollow, south of Inglewood, is another South Bay favorite. The homes located on Calle Mayor, near Pacific Coast Hwy., 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.
Beverly Hills (Facebook page)
Posh Electricity: Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
For a more glamorous excursion, check out the brightly lit storefronts and street displays on Rodeo Dr. Grab a hot chocolate and stroll south down Rodeo Dr., starting at South Santa Monica Blvd. Make sure you make it down to Rodeo Two, a pedestrian street between Dayton Way and Wilshire Blvd., where you can catch Santa, the Mrs., a jazz band or some carolers, depending on the night.
The Grove on Third St., just east of Fairfax Ave., is home to 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.
Additional neighborhood light seeing sites include: Altadena Christmas Tree Lane, (626) 403-1123, on Santa Rosa Ave., between Altadena Dr. and Woodbury Rd.; and Long Beach Christmas Tree Lane, 562-570-4450, on Daisy Ave. between Willow St. & Pacific Coast Hwy.