Christmas in Southern California doesn’t require snow angels, bobsleds or frostbite when the best decorated neighborhoods for the holidays bring to life characteristics of a winter wonderland made of dreams. Sure, it may be a little on the tropical side with the warmer climate and all of the twinkling palm trees, but the festive generosity of some of the most spirited neighborhoods with the best holiday lights in Los Angeles will surely make it feel like Christmas.
Christmas Tree Lane, Long Beach
Cross Streets: Daisy Ave. and Hill St.
Every December, the residents of Long Beach’s Wrigley neighborhood transform the streets of Daisy Avenue into the season’s Christmas Tree Lane. The tradition started at least 60 years ago and has continued to bring the community much joy and holiday cheer as one of the most popular neighborhood holiday lights displays around. An old set of railroad tracks that used to lie at the center of Daisy Avenue has since been transformed into a strip of grass that is now home to different holiday vignettes every season. The homeowners along this strip have been known to go all out for the home decorating contest, especially north of Hill Street.
Naples Island, Long Beach
Cross Streets: Appian Way and Bay Shore Ave.
Located along the canals of Naples are some of the most enchanting displays of holiday lights in Los Angeles. The private homes of Naples Island glisten in the moonlit water for stunning views of the bay against the backdrop of the open night sky. Park near Mother’s Beach, or in a nearby marina parking lot, to get to the waterfront walkways that hug the island. The best way to enjoy the sights is on a gondola ride with a nice cup of hot cocoa. It’s a quiet and intimate way to bask in the beauty of the holiday lights.
Upper Hastings Ranch, Pasadena
Cross Streets: Sierra Madre Blvd. and Michillinda Ave.
This scenic spot features ranch-style homes with each block of the neighborhood decorated to a different theme. One block might feature Peanuts cartoon characters while another may display traditional Christmas decorations like reindeers, candy canes and snowmen. The homeowners in the neighborhood take great pride in their Christmas lighting displays. Located in the northern part of East Sierra Madre, the holiday lights in this neighborhood usually stay up until the first of January.
Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Cross Streets: Rodeo Dr. and Wilshire Blvd.
For a glamorous kind of Christmas filled with Hollywood glitz, cruise through Rodeo Drive where you’ll find a neighborhood of shops glowing with nearly 150,000 lights. Featuring picturesque holiday banners and 16 full-size Baccarat chandeliers adorning the meridian of Rodeo Drive between Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards, Christmas makes for the perfect time of year to visit this shopping oasis blossoming with lights, flowers and festively dressed storefronts. For out-of-towners from colder climates, there’s nothing quite as bedazzling as the frost-colored lights that cover palm trees of Southern California.
Winter Wonderland, Burbank
Cross Streets: Florence St. and Clark Ave.
This sight for sore eyes goes over the top with its holiday decorations, inspiring the rest of the neighborhood to follow suit. With homeowners starting to set up their holiday lights display as early as October, people from all parts of Los Angeles drive to Burbank just to see this house alone drawing attention from record crowds. Park your car on Florence Street and get an up-close look accompanied with music and sound effects for your enhanced enjoyment. This winter wonderland can be found nestled between the 5 and 134 freeways in Magnolia Park.
Niki Payne is a freelance writer covering all things Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.