A+E: The Best Places To View Christmas Lights This Holiday Season

by Ryan Dwyer

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic having tremendous ramifications on the way people have lived, the joyous spirits of the Christmas season are still present to shed some light on people’s lives in what has been an otherwise grim, dark year.

Christmas lights at a home in Hastings Ranch in Pasadena.

This past weekend I took a ride around parts of LA County and Orange County to look at Christmas lights. With Covid-19 keeping us mostly in lock-down, I wondered if many homes would decorate their houses and yards with Christmas lights and decorations. I also wondered if Covid had killed the Christmas spirit, or if it made people want to decorate their homes to bring some joy back into their lives.

What I found this weekend was a mixed bag.

I noticed that there were lots of businesses that normally would decorate their properties for the holidays not putting out any decorations this year. However, I also noticed that most people were still decorating their homes, and in some cases, full streets or neighborhoods were getting things decorated to celebrate the season. If you like driving around looking at Christmas lights, here are my top 5 picks for you to choose from.

1. Hastings Ranch in Pasadena, CA.

Within the borders of Sierra Madre Blvds, Rivera Dr, and Michillinda Ave, Hastings Ranch lights run from Dec. 12th – Jan 2, 2021, 6pm to 10pm nightly. Although there were some homes in the Hastings Ranch area that have not gotten their decorations out, there were still plenty of homes to drive by and enjoy the lights.  Each street had a theme from snowman to penguins. Setting up Christmas lights and decorations have been a tradition in Hastings Ranch since 1952. You’ll see everything from blow-up Santas and snowmen, to nativities, to simple light icicles hanging under the eaves of homes.  

2.  Christmas Tree Lane, Altadena, CA. Christmas Tree Lane (on Santa Rosa Avenue between Altadena Dr and Mariposa St.) Download the app: https://christmastreelane.glideapp.io/

Not far off from Pasadena is Altadena. Here, I found a mile long stretch of avenue lined with cedar trees that were decorated with lights. According to socalfieldtrips.com, this is “the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the United States.” There are over 10,000 lights decorating these trees, making it look like you were going through a tunnel of lights. Because the street is so heavily lit by the lights, you should be able to drive down the street with your car lights off. The cars get backed up a bit so don’t expect to get in and out of there in a few minutes. Along with the lit trees, many of the homes were also decorated, so there’s a lot to look at.

Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena, California.

3.  Northwestern Way, Westminster, CA. Major intersection of Bolsa Chica & Westminster Blvd.

Not to be outdone by LA County, Orange County has some spectacular lighting as well. My first stop was in Westminster, CA, right off the 405 on Bolsa Chica St. There is a little enclave that has been decorating their street and homes with lights. Northwestern Way is the major street that has the most lights. Here, you’ll see homes decked out with lights and an assortment of decorations such as a ferris wheels with stuffed animals going around and around, and a projection of Santa in one of the windows of a house. There are even a couple of houses that have snippets of Christmas movies projecting onto the garage doors. 

4. Fountain Valley near Mile Square Park (Brookhurst between Heil & Endinger;Tract behind Denny’s).

Not far off from Westminster is the city of Fountain Valley. Right across of Mile Square Park is a little neighborhood with Christmas lights to see. The lights are truly a sight to see, and truly give off a sense of the joyous holiday spirit.

5.  Eagle Hills, Brea, CA, on Primrose Ave off of E Birch Street and S. Starflower st. 

Eagle Hills is another little neighborhood that has a tradition of decorating with lights. The major street is Primrose Ave, but the other adjoining streets have as much Christmas spirit. Another great option in the Orange County area, the friendly environment also gives off a huge christmas spirit vibe while having a beautiful display of christmas lights.

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