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This December’s Best Holiday Events in Los Angeles

Holiday Road

Stroll across the grounds of King Gillette Ranch as the Santa Monica Mountains hideaway is illuminated during Holiday Road, which this year flips from a drive-through into a 2/3-mile walking trail. The event, which comes from the same team as Nights of the Jack, includes festive decor like a treetop canopy of icicle lights, a small Christmas village, freestanding oversized decorations and archways of lights. Unlike last year’s per vehicle pricing, tickets are now available per person (and the price fluctuates depending on the day).

LA Zoo Lights

The L.A. Zoo is staying open after dark every night through January during this light-up holiday tradition, which returns for 2021 after having to take last year off. Many of the lighting displays are inspired by the zoo’s wild residents: think elephant statues with whimsical projections, mosaic-like multicolor giraffes and twinkling butterflies. Tip: Buy your tickets (available in three sessions nightly) in advance to avoid the worst of the entry lines. Also, tickets are a typically a few dollars cheaper during the first week of Zoo Lights.

Enchanted: Forest of Light

Discovery and wonder have once again inhabited the illuminated installations in Descanso Gardens’ holiday tradition. The botanical garden’s nighttime experience masterfully mixes hands-on art installations with atmospheric, luminescent forests, all against a background of uplit trees and shimmery sound effects. For the 2021 edition, sculptor Tom Fruin’s kaleidoscopic stained-glass–inspired house has now multiplied into an entire village of structures, including one that you can walk through, in the rose garden. HYBYCOZO’s dizzying kaleidoscopic pendants have jumped over to the main lawn alongside stationary polyhedrons, including one you can pose inside of. That does mean, however, that the serpentine Candy-land-like path that used to be there is gone (the color-changing oak grove should still satisfy all of your stomping-on-lights needs, though).


Moonlight Forest has made way for another holiday tradition at the L.A. County Arboretum this year: Lightscape. Uplit trees line the mile-long pathway, with about 10 or so installations spaced out along the way. The Winter Cathedral’s peaked tunnel of lights pinches toward the end to give the effect of a cathedral. The oversized lilies floating in front of the Queen Anne Cottage are serene, the main lawn’s carpet of pulsating lights are energetic and the spheres full of torches in the Fire Garden will have you wishing you could roast the event’s DIY s’mores skits over their open flames.

South Coast Botanic Garden’s GLOW

Take a twinkly walk through South Coast Botanic Garden during the return of this illuminated, after-hours installation. GLOW will mark its second year with the addition of themed nights and some new lit-up areas, including the lavender garden, koi pond, fuschia garden and lower meadow. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on October 18, with a member presale during the two weeks prior. It takes about 45 minutes to leisurely walk through GLOW, including semi-frequent stops to snap the photos.

Text & Photo by Timeout | Read More Here

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