9 Holiday Spots That Sparkle and Shine in So Cal

‘Tis the time of year to visit different multi-sensory venues to hear Christmas tunes, bright lights, and holiday cheer. Here are 9 of my favorites to visit during the holidays.

Enchanted Forest of Light

Enchanted Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens is an interactive, nighttime one-mile stroll through unique lighting experiences. Popular installations include beautiful “stained glass” creations built in the Rose Garden by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin. The sparkling geometric installations from HYBYCOZO on the Main Lawn reflect patterns on the ground. The beloved colorful Flower Power on the Promenade has a choreographed tulip show. Don’t miss the exquisite sound and lighting effects in the Ancient Forest, and hundreds of bright red lanterns in the Japanese Garden. Open now through Jan. 8, tickets are available from 5:30 to 10 p.m., and must be purchased in advance. Tickets will not be sold on-site. 1418 Descanso Drive, (818)949-4200.

Holiday Road is open

Bring the family to an immersive holiday experience to see larger than life holiday installations, thousands of Christmas lights, live carolers, Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves and countless candy canes. Holiday Road is open now through Dec. 30. Dine from one of the food trucks and cocktails, wines and beers are offered. Tickets start at $24.99. tixr.com/groups/holidayroadusa. 26800 W. Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas.

Universal CityWalk dressed for the holidays

Walk among spirited decor at Universal CityWalk and see the 40 foot-tall Christmas tree featuring more than 200,000 LED lights. Voodoo Doughnuts is making festive seasonal treats. Admission to Universal CityWalk is free.There are a variety of quick service and full-service restaurants offering an array of international cuisine. 100 Universal City Plaza, (800)864-8377.

Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood

Come enjoy holiday inspired cookies, funnel cakes and cupcakes at Universal Studios Hollywood. As night falls on the snowy town, Hogwarts Castle, “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” offers an impressive light projection show with stunning imagery, animation and music from the Harry Potter film series. Sip holiday-themed fare including hot butterbeer at Three Broomsticks. Meet and greets with The Grinch, his dog Max and a roster for Who-ville Whos near the topsy-turvey Grinchmas tree. It twists and turns at over 65 feet in height. Nightly tree lighting ceremonies at Grinchmas begin at 5:30 p.m. Afterwards there is a snowfall flurry falling down on guests. universalstudioshollywood.com/web/en/us. 100 Universal City Plaza, (800)864-8377.

Lightscape opens for the holidays

The internationally acclaimed Lightscape is back in the greater Los Angeles area with a laser garden, Winter Cathedral and 15 other new displays. Take a walk through the Los Angeles County Arboretum on select dates through Sunday, Jan 8, 2023. The L.A. Arboretum produces Lightscape in association with Sony Music, and is creatively produced by Culture Creative. Purchase tickets at arboretum.org/lightscape-2022/. 301 N. Baldwin Ave., (626)821-3222.

Grand Central Market ‘Holiday Wonderland’

Stroll through the lively snowcapped chalet at the historic culinary market in downtown Los Angeles. Showcasing local artisans, craftsmen and holiday treats from Dec. 3 through Dec. 31, 2022. Savior Agency crafted the daily family-friendly extravaganza including seasonally-inspired programs. Besides Santa ‘Meet & Greets’ and Ugly Sweater Karaoke, foodies can observe the Charcuterie LA board making class, The Very Best Cookie decorating, and Get Caked LA pancake breakfasts. Delectable culinary offerings include Broad Street Oyster Co., Shiku and Lucky Bird. Grand Central Market’s ‘Holiday Wonderland’ is free for all ages. 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles.

Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Come see a dazzling winter spectacular with millions of twinkling lights, seasonal music, and a visit by Santa and his elves at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Savor the flavors of this holiday season with exclusive holiday-flavored fudge, peppermint bark, and white chocolate candy apples. Guests can enjoy a holiday feast and roast marshmallows over an open fire pit at one of four locations throughout the park. Merry holiday-themed merchandise, gifts and souvenirs are available at select retail locations. 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia.

Roger’s Gardens Bright & Beautiful

Come into the Bright & Beautiful Christmas Boutique for decorating ideas outdoors and indoors.Experience the magic of the season with rooms of embellished, jewel-toned and sparkling ornaments, European artisan décor, Christmas trees, beautifully designed garlands and wreaths. Be sure to visit the gardens on-site Farmhouse Restaurant before, during or after your visit for farm to table menu items that offer fresh flavors of the season. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 301 San Joaquin Hills Rd., Corona del Mar. (949)640-5800.

Hotel del Coronado

 EPIC Entertainment Group lights up the iconic Hotel del Coronado for the holidays. Step into the lobby of the Hotel del CoronadoVictorian Hotel to see beautiful bows, glittering garland, and 23 foot holiday  theme Christmas trees with thousands of lights and unique ornaments. They also decorated 20 other trees ranging in size from 8 feet to 25 foot tall tree. Many of these one-of-a-kind ornaments can be purchased in the gift shops on the property including the Hotel Del Coronado collectable ornament, specifically made for the 2022 season. In the evening be sure to attend the free ‘At First Light’.  It’s a dynamic immersive light show displayed on four 100-feet-tall, 130-year-old trees with snow flurries. Be sure to skate on the beachfront Frosted by the Sea through Jan. 1, 2023. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado Island, (619)435-6611.

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