A California Christmas: Christmas Lights to Dazzle and Delight

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When the night sky lights up with a miasma of rainbow colors, you know it’s Christmas. Whether it’s a yearly tradition that stopped when you got older or a tradition you have never taken part of before, here’s some Christmas light extravaganzas that are hopefully near you.

Newport Beach Boat Parade

Preview cruises: Dec 15-19th, $13 Adult, $9 Child

In order to board the boat personally and to “participate” and “be a part of the parade,” the boat parade offers boarding passes costing $30 to $35.

If you have any questions at all, the organizers would be happy to answer, just call 979-675-0551.

Word to the wise: the Newport Beach Boat Parade is known as one of the top ten lighting events in the country. Plus, it’s not only a boat thing: the whole neighborhood gets into decorating, turning it into what they call a “Wired Wonderland.”  “Homes, yachts, docks, whole landscapes are transformed into a magical holiday experience. Newport Bay begins its holiday decorations after Thanksgiving and by the first of December Newport Harbor is richly illuminated with thousands of lights and hundreds of themed estates.” (Boat Parade Site) Get a feel for the neighborhood at this site created by a local resident.


Similar Seaside Shows

  1. Huntington Harbor Cruise of Lights
  2. Dana Point Parade of Lights.
    Dec 10-11 and 17-18, 2010, 7:30 pm
  3. Naples Christmas Boat Parade – Dec 11, 2010 6PM

Neighborhood Glitz


As it sounds, neighborhoods, blocks, and sometimes whole cities get together to put up Christmas decorations, sometimes to a theme, sometimes just as a regular tradition started up some time ago. The basic protocol is park nearby, take an hour to stroll and take pictures, (sometimes led by a neighborhood tour), and enjoy a Christmas night lit bright with good cheer and elaborate lights. Some neighborhoods turn on their lights at 5:30 PM, others, say the best time is between 7:00PM to 9:00 PM, but most request that visits do not begin past 10:00 PM.

  • Fountain Valley @ Mile Square Park

      See a map of the typical area here:  Major Cross-streets Brookhurst/Sycamore and Heil


        • Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills

          Lubao Avenue and Oxnard Street

          From the 101 freeway in the west part of the San Fernando Valley in Woodland Hills exit at Winnetka Avenue

              Also home to Balian House, an ice cream maker estate spanning 3.5 acres and decorated with 10,000 colored lights and numerous holiday depictions. Call (626-795-9311)

                • Alto Loma Thoroughbred Lane

                  Exit 210 Carnellian St go North.  Make a left on Thoroughbred St.

                    • Naples Island in Long Beach

                      Brings the gondola rides and Firenze flare from Italy to locals. You can go to enjoy the lights or reserve a ride on the river.

                          Most of the above are neighborhoods pulling out all the stops, but in this case, it is one particularly avid Christmas-rabid family; they’ve released a 2010 list of songs that they have synchronized their lighting to and there is a LED Display where you can text a message that will usually appear in 60 seconds. Talk about going all out!

                          There actually seems to be quite a lot more than this, but these are the most famous. For the less reputable, there has been mention of a Sleepy Hollow in South Torrance as well as a few lights at the corner of Bolsa Chica and Westminster or Birch & Starflower in Brea.  The famous lights in Griffin Park (DWP Light Festival) is at the moment, cancelled.

                          One Orange County visitor’s site does a pretty good job of conglomerating the various events held by OC’s cities, so take a gander; from what I could tell there’s multiple free admission lighting events, a $15 symphony concert in Huntington Beach as well as a $16 Nutcracker showing at Goldenwest, and then some.

                          As for the whole of SoCal, Santa Clarita County is doing a pretty good job of keeping track.

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