"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
My fondest holiday memory is jumping into our Oldsmobile the week before Christmas and driving to Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills (Take the 101 freeway, exit at Winnetka, drive one block north, turn right to lights) to see five blocks filled with holiday lights. Since 1952, residents have tried to outdo each other with lights, music and decorations. It's a tradition I have continued with my children. For those who enjoy holiday sights and sounds, here are some of my favorites in the greater Los Angeles area:
DWP Light Festival is a free event located in Griffith Park near the Los Angeles Zoo. From Nov. 22nd to Dec. 30th, lights are on display from 5 to 10 p.m.
A special preview night for bicyclists is set for Nov. 20th from 6 to 8 pm. Families can ride in a special bike lane open to tricycles, bicycles and non-electric scooters through a one-mile display of twinkling lights. The LA City Fire Dept. and the Dept. of Rec. and Parks will sponsor a toy drive for children in need. Visitors can bring unwrapped toys to the entrance of the light festival.
LA County Holiday Celebration will take place on Dec. 24th from 3 to 9 pm at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. This free event features 45 musical ensembles, choirs, and dance companies, reflecting the diversity of cultures found in Southern California. Parking is free under the Music Center. For additional information, go to www.holidaycelebration.org or call 213-972-3099.
In the Pasadena area, there are three holiday-light viewing locations from mid-Dec. to Jan.1, 2007. For over 50 years, the Upper Hastings Ranch neighborhood has had amazing holiday light displays, with each block competing with a common theme. Take the 210 Freeway to Michillinda Blvd, then north to the lights.
Altadena offers Christmas Tree Lane, with three blocks of trees decorated in over 10,000 multi-colored lights. Santa and Christmas carolers may be at the corner of Santa Rosa and Mariposa streets. Drive north on Lake Ave. between Woodbury and Altadena Drive. The Balian House (Balian Ice cream) displays thousands of colored lights and holiday decorations covering the front and side lawns of the 3-acre property. From Christmas Tree Lane, turn right on Altadena Drive, right on Allen Ave, and then left on Mendocino.
North Park in Valencia is a community effort with planning and painting beginning in September and construction in November. Visitors can observe this holiday display by taking the I-5 and exiting Magic Mountain Parkway. Drive to McBean Parkway, then turn left and drive 2.5 miles to Copperhill, turn right and drive to North Park, and turn right onto Angelica.
Go see the tallest public Christmas tree in Los Angeles at The Grove next to the Farmer's Market and CBS studios. Over 15,000 lights adorn a tree touted as "taller than the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City." Keep the magic of the holidays alive in your family by visiting one of these holiday sights.
If you know of a great Holiday Light Display area, email Jill Weinlein at firstname.lastname@example.org.