Brighten Up Your Holiday Season with Light Shows

By Michael Berick

holiday events in LA

Descanso Gardens hosts an enchanting display of holiday lights. PHOTO BY JAKE FABRICIUS

Lovers of holiday light shows can find electrifying experiences at the L.A. Zoo and Descanso Gardens this season.  

Illuminating L.A. nights from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 17-22 and Nov. 24-Jan. 7 (closed Dec. 24-25) will be L.A. Zoo Lights (5333 Zoo Dr., L.A.; www.lazoolights.org). Since its 2014 debut, this light display has earned nationwide attention and is listed as one of the “Best Zoo Lights 2016” in the USA Today’s Readers’ Choice travel awards. The animal-themed show will be even more brilliant this year thanks to new attractions, including a water show featuring music and lasers and a “Wild Wonderland” finale. The 60- to 90-minute self-guided walk boasts 3D projections, lasers and thousands of LED lights and photo opps with Santa Claus in a snow-covered “North Pole” setting on select dates. Prices vary, and range from $10-$19.95. 

“Enchanted: Forest of Light” returns to Descanso Gardens from 5-10 p.m. Nov. 19-Dec. 24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 7. Along a one-mile route through the gardens (1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada-Flintridge; www.enchantedla.com), visitors can view a variety of large-scale light displays that are often interactive and illuminate such favorite Descanso locations as the Camellia Forest and the Japanese Gardens. New audio and lighting effects have been added to popular displays such as the “Flower Power” and the “Ancient Forest.” Also new this year is “Aqueous,” an interactive landscape by Jen Lewin that presents meandering pathways of light. Admission is $28-$30.

For more ideas to experience holiday lights in SoCal, read our previous piece “Light Up Your Holidays.”

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