While the holiday season is expected to look a little different this year, many West Coast cities have adapted their usual Christmas events to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. Here are some of Southern California’s best holiday attractions to enjoy this year:
Los Angeles County
Reflections at Descanso
The public garden is replacing its usual event with the daytime “Reflections at Descanso,” which will run daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m from Nov. 14 through Jan.10. The walk-through experience will include a Wishing Tree created by Artist Kaz Yokou Kitajima, multiple floral arches and a tree outfitted with mirrors that reflects the daylight as well as several holiday-themed paintings and sculptures throughout the venue. For more information, visit descansogardens.org.
The grounds of the South Coast Botanic Garden will transform into a winter wonderland this holiday season with a walk-through art installation called “Glow” that mixes music, lights and an underwater vibe. The experiential event will take place nightly from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the garden from Nov. 21 through Jan. 10. For more information, visit Southcoastbotanicgarden.org.
There will be no tree lighting ceremony this year but there will still be a holiday tree on the Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center beginning Monday, Nov. 30. The entire 12-acre park, located in Downtown Los Angeles, will be decorated with lights and other holiday decorations. For more information, visit grandparkla.org.
The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Journey
The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Journey is a drive-through event at the Fairplex in Pomona that runs from Nov. 12 through Jan. 3 where people can experience elves coming to the aid of Santa Claus as they drive through toy workshops, gingerbread villages and other seasonal scenes. For more information, visit elfontheshelfjourney.com.
Dana Point Harbor Lights
Dana Point Harbor’s holiday light display will take place from Nov. 11 through Jan. 3 around the harbor and will include themed light exhibits such as Candy Cane Lane and the Merry Kiss Me arch. For more information, visit danapointharbor.com.
Taste of Merry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm’s run of food, beer and wine events will get a holiday twist with a Taste of Merry Farm on selected dates Nov. 20 to Jan.3. While the park waits to fully reopen, the holiday event will include food and drink items such as an Ode to Santa eggnog with candy cane cookies, Blitzen’s Christmas tree bundt cake, Comet’s maple-glazed cinnamon bun and Scrooge’s spicy wings. The park will be decked out in holiday decor with thousands of lights and garland while shops and craft booths will be open for holiday shopping. Tickets are $20 to $40. knotts.com.
Mission Inn Hotel & Spa Festival of Lights
With a “Winter Wonderland” theme, the lights will be turned on from Nov. 27 through Jan. 6. But due to health restrictions, the lights will be on the exterior of the front of the hotel only and people will not be permitted to walk the main walkway this year. And the popular “Switch-On” ceremony, when the hotel is instantly lit up with more than 5 million holiday lights followed by fireworks, will not happen this year. For more information, visit missioninn.com/about/festival-of-lights.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens holiday attractions will include tunnels synchronized with seasonal music, illuminated animal lanterns and model trains that roll through more than 3,300 feet of track. Timed entrances will be implemented this year to keep crowds smaller, and Santa will be on the back of his sleigh for photos so instead of jumping on his lap kids can jump on the front of his ride for a picture. For more information, visit livingdesert.org.
Historic Nativity Scenes
Ontario’s annual Christmas on Euclid Experience will still feature 12 life-size nativity scenes that are still on display along Euclid Avenue from C to G streets. The scenes first went on display on the Euclid Avenue median in 1959 and have been displayed every year during the holidays. For a self-guided tour, start on W. C Street and Euclid Avenue and head north to see the scenes in order. For more information, visit gocvb.org.
Ho Ho Car Parade
The Ho Ho Car Parade returns to San Bernardino this year but with a few changes due to the pandemic. As per usual, the cars will cruise along a different route each night from 6 to 8 p.m from Dec. 7 through Dec. 10. This year, however, people will only be able to see the cars drive by and not get up close since there will be no car show or pictures with Santa at the end of the parade. For more information, visit hohoparade.com.