Kaleidoscopes of Christmas lights

Admire these Christmas light displays and parades around different Southern California neighborhoods and parks.



Jehn Kubiak, Writer

The Christmas season would not be the same without colorful lights adorning houses in different styles. Go on an adventure this December and check out these different light displays and parades in locations across Southern California. Before embarking on this journey, create a map of locations to explore and stop to grab a cup of hot chocolate to stay warm.

San Diego county and Inland Empire

Inland North County holds many great light displays. One neighborhood in Carmel Mountain Ranch, Fairway Village has a Christmas light display every year filled with characters from popular movies like “Frozen.” Another display, “Christmas Card Lane” lies close by on Oveido Street — the display runs from Dec. 10-31 and starts after dark.

Another popular San Diego location in East County is “Jingle Bell Hill” off Pepper Drive, which is open Dec. 7-26 Friday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This display contains various colors of lights and decorations such as santas, nativity scenes, and blow-up characters like the Grinch.

The San Diego Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights is an annual favorite among San Diego residents. This display showcases over 80 boats and is held on Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, starting at 5:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Christmas Lights Around the World.”

Riverside hosts the “Riverside Festival of Lights,” a display of over 3,000 Christmas lights, each year on Main Street Riverside. The display opens at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 27 with a ceremony and runs through Dec. 18. Hours vary depending on the day. The festival also features an outdoor ice rink and an artisans market.

Candy Cane Lane in Corona is another popular attraction, which hosts a show animated to radio station 90.5, and starts the first weekend in December each year.

Orange County

Newport Beach holds a free Christmas Boat Parade each year featuring boats, kayaks, canoes and yachts decked out with extravagant lights and accompanied by festive music. Some boats also featured animated scenes or carolers. The parade centers around a different theme each year, and this year’s theme is “Seas the Holidays.” The event runs from Dec. 16-20, starting around 6:30 p.m. and lasting until 9:00 p.m. each night. Fireworks on the opening and closing nights make the experience even more magical.

In addition to the parade, residents and businesses around Newport Beach decorate their homes for the “Ring of Lights” contest, where judges select winners to receive prizes.

In addition to the boat parade, quality light displays lie in other neighborhoods close to campus, including Eagle Hills in Brea, which has live music and nativity scenes.

The Snoopy House Display in Costa Mesa appeals to any “Peanuts” fan. The display remains open from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Dec. 12-23. A presentation kicks off the opening evening, and live music fills the brisk December air each night.

The Fullerton Lights Show is another location nearby. This show presents lights synced with 15 musical selections — which change each night — and a new song is added to the mix every year.

Parks and museums

Neighborhood residents are not the only ones stringing Christmas lights during the holiday season — parks also hold colorful light displays. Knotts Berry Farm holds “Knotts Merry Farm,” from Nov. 21- Jan. 3 with a nightly Snoopy’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. Disney will host their final year of “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights,” a show synced to music that begins at dusk and ends when the park closes.

The Los Angeles Zoo features animal-themed LED lights, 3D projections and a light-and-water display. In addition, the event has live reindeer exhibits adding to the holiday spirit. The exhibit is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3. Tickets must be purchased for entry. Adult tickets cost $13 on weekdays and $16 on weekends. Late-night, group and early-bird tickets are available for a discounted price online.

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