Throughout the holiday season, spectacular light shows brighten up botanical gardens and arboretums across the country. Instead of spring flowers, visitors find twinkling holiday lights, often accompanied by a range of other festivities. Check out these 5 places that will literally brighten your holidays!
We’re always told to reach fo the stars, but what if the stars could reach for us?
The stars are descending from the night sky. Set off across mysterious grounds to discover a celestial pathway of lustrous light, cosmic visions, and astral song. Immerse yourself in illuminating encounters of lighting, projection and sound, and connect with the stars before they return to the sky above.
Astra Lumina at South Coast Botanic Garden is the 17th experience in the Lumina Enchanted Night Walk series.
When: Nov. 9-Jan. 1 @ 5:30-10 p.m.
Where: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd, Palos Verdes Estates
Tickets: Starting at $28-$38 at astralumina.com
Experience a winter walk on the dark side of the garden and let your imagination soar with the new sights and sounds along the Serpent Trail and Forest Path. The reimagined Lightscape merges nature and art in the mesmerizing Fire Garden, awesome Arch of Light, eye-catching Feast of Light, exotic Dancing Palms, and other spectacular installations. Fan favorite, the magnificent Winter Cathedral, returns! Food trucks every night and a full bar too. Pssst–Santa is coming to Lightscape on select nights. Arboretum members save up to $6 a ticket.
When: Nightly Nov. 17-Jan. 2 @ 5:30 p.m.
Santa Nights: Dec. 7-9, 15-17, 20-23
Where: The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is at 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia
Tickets: $14-$18 for children, $29-$35 for adults, at arboretum.org. Save 20% on Value Packs!
Enchanted Forest of Light
Shimmering nocturnal wonderland
Descanso’s Enchanted Forest of Light is an interactive, nighttime experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles, featuring a one-mile walk through unique lighting experiences in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens.
Returning favorites and fresh delights
Don’t miss popular returning illuminated favorites, including an entire town of magical “stained glass” creations on the Main Lawn by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin; sparkling geometric installations from HYBYCOZO in the Rose Garden; Flower Power on the Promenade; and exquisite lighting effects in the Ancient Forest.
A magical route through the garden
Click here to see the Enchanted Forest of Light path through the most beloved parts of Descanso.
Rain or shine – Enchanted lights up the night
Enchanted is a rain-or-shine event. Tickets are non-refundable, have timed entry, and must be purchased in advance.
Dates: Nov. 19–Jan. 7 (closed Nov. 23, Dec. 24–25)
Entry times: 5:30pm, 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, & 8:30pm
Where: Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge
Tickets: $25-$30 for children, $35–45 for adults at descansogardens.org
Come find your glow this winter during Luminaria Nights at California Botanic Garden. This holiday lights experience is like no other in Southern California, featuring peaceful luminaria- and string light-lined paths between beautifully illuminated musical venues. With at least three live performers each night, art installations, and food, sweet treats, and drinks available for purchase, Luminaria Nights highlights the quiet evening beauty of CalBG’s unique native plant gardens. New this year: Members Only Preview Night on Friday, December 8th! Become a CalBG member today to purchase tickets for this special night. Join at or upgrade to the Acorn or Family Plus membership level to gain access to our December 8th VIP reception with exclusive treats, drinks, and music.
When: Dec. 9-10, 15-16 @ 6- 9 p.m.
Where: California Botanic Garden, 500 N. College Avenue, Claremont
Tickets: $15 for students; $20 adults at calbg.org
Night of 1000 Lights
It’s Candy Land!
The Gardens’ holiday décor will be reminiscent of the vintage board game we all remember as children.
Stroll along the Rainbow Trail, past the Lollypop Woods and the Gumdrop Mountains, through the Peppermint Stick Forest, and the glistening light tunnel, on your way to the Candy Heart Carnival, featuring carnival games for kids of all ages.
Visit the Molasses Swamp, the Old Peanut Brittle House, and the Candy Land Express Train on your way to visit Santa in his workshop. Then head to the fire pit and whip up your own batch of s’mores. The Garden Shop will be open and is a must-see for unique holiday gift ideas. Make a wish at “The Wishing Tree” and create lasting memories with friends and family celebrating the holidays at Sherman Library & Gardens.
When: Two Member Nights on December 6 & 8
General Public Nights on December 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22
6 pm – 9 pm each night with three entry times each night: 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm & 8:00 pm.
Where: Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar
Tickets: $35 for general admission; $25 for members at thesherman.org