Updated for 2022
If you’re looking for something safe to do with your family this holiday season that has proper social distancing in place, then this list of The Best Drive & Walk Thru Holiday Light Displays in Southern California is for you. There’s a new way to do the slow-roll-by-lights tradition, and it involves the same pop-up drive-thru that concluded the Halloween season.
From drive thru Christmas light displays to drive thru Nativity scenes, SoCal Field Trips has the best events of the season right here. One piece of advise though; order your tickets now because these drive thru holiday events in Southern California will sell out fast.
Best Christmas and Holiday Drive Thru Light Displays in Southern California
Magic of Lights, Empire Polo Club, Coachella Valley (Drive Thru)
Magic of Lights at The Empire Polo Club in Coachella Valley is a vibrant drive-thru, holiday themed light display coming this holiday season, beginning on November 18, 2022 through January 1, 2023. Tickets are affordably priced throughout the season, at one price per carload.
Produced by Family Entertainment Lives, “Magic of Lights” will make its yearly Southern California debut at, The Empire Polo Club, featuring dozens of displays, illuminated canopies, and digital animation, all constructed with thousands of individual LED lights.
Holiday Road, King Gillette Ranch, Calabasas (Walk Thru)
Holiday Road at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas is the premiere holiday attraction. Expansive grounds filled with eye-catching, twinkling lights and festive installations will welcome visitors as they meander through the winding trail in each city. Guests will be transported into a winter wonderland complete with everything from the North Pole, Elf Village, Gingerbread Lane, light tunnels, Christmas tree forests, and much more!
The trail itself is a walking trail and it is self-guided. Visitors are welcome to experience the attractions at their own pace. Most guests spend one to one and a half hours in total on the grounds engaging in both our pre show area and the walking trail. Enjoy a variety of food and beverages, capture those instagrammable moments, join in the fun with interactive experiences or visit holiday bars for a seasonal cocktail to take with you on the trail!
Holiday Road takes place from Nov. 25 – Dec. 30, 2022 and is open daily from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Christmas in Color, San Dimas (Drive Thru)
Load up your friends and family into the van (or car, or truck) and experience Christmas like never before at Christmas in Color in San Dimas! Drive through acres of more than 1.5 million lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio.
You’ll drive by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more. With so many incredible attractions and acres of land to view, you’ll want to take your time driving through this Winter Wonderland. And starting at $35 per car, this is sure to become an instant family Christmas tradition. The price does not increase by the number of people in your car, so the more the merrier!
This year bring the party to your car and purchase their Christmas Party Pack! Every pack includes: (2) Light up wands, (4) Glasses, (2) Lightbulb necklaces, (2) Rudolph noses, and (1) Air Freshener.
Christmas in Color takes place from Nov. 25, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023, and is open daily from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
Hikari Light Festival, Tanaka Farms, Irvine (Walk Thru)
Attend a rather new holiday celebration called Hikari Festival of Lights at Tanaka Farms in Irvine! Literally translated, Hikari means shine in Japanese, and this holiday season Tanaka Farms will shine with over a mile of twinkling lights!
Grab a hot cocoa and take a cozy Wagon Ride around the festively lit farm that will take you to the “Land of a Thousand Lanterns!” After the wagon ride, make your way down to the Festival Grounds where you can visit with the Barnyard Animals, grab some food from the Tanaka Grill, take advantage of lots of photo ops, games, Arts & Crafts, meet Santa for a photo, and, of course, more holiday lights! (all activities are priced individually.)
Enjoy live music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights! Parking passes are required and cost $10.
Santa’s Speedway Christmas Lights Drive-Thru, Irwindale
Opening on December 1, Santa’s Speedway is a 30-45 minute safe yet, riveting experience designed to transport families of all ages into the magical world of Christmas as they witness first-hand a series of jaw dropping Christmas scenes and holiday themed vignettes from Mobile Illuminations (the company responsible for The Grove, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers’ Christmas Extravaganzas).
As families enter Santa’s Speedway between a pathway of California’s largest color changing display of palm trees, they will experience the exhilaration of driving on an actual NASCAR racetrack as they come across Santa’s Village with at elves hard at work, a land filled with Christmas sweets including 20ft tall illuminated lollipops, Rudolph’s Enchanted garage filled with Racecar Reindeers, a 100 ft long lit Christmas bow and light display, plus a scene worthy of grabbing Santa’s attention – the world’s largest free standing light tree, measuring 110ft and made up of over 100,000 LED lights.
Last year they added 5 new displays, twice as many lights and three full light tunnels. The show concludes this year with a visit to Santa and his 40’ long train!
Snow N Glow, Ventura County Fairgrounds and Event Center, Ventura & Del Mar Fairgrounds, San Diego (Walk Thru)
Snow N Glow is the perfect winter playground: you can build a snowman, enjoy s’mores, drink hot chocolate, and so much more. Gather your friends and family and celebrate the holidays in Southern California’s very own Winter Wonderland.
Make your holidays bright! Take a stroll through a beautiful and immersive light trail with over 1 million twinkling lights. You and your loved ones will be surrounded by the sparkle and glow that makes the holiday season so special.
You’re never too young or too old for snow tubing! All you have to do is sit down, hang on, and experience the exhilaration of pure winter fun. The whole family will have a blast!
Illuminate Silverlakes, Silverlakes Sports Complex, Norco (Walk Thru)
If you’re seeking family holiday fun or a festive night out with friends, you’re invited to join us for an evening at ILLUMINATE SILVERLAKES in nearby Norco, a new family-friendly world of delightful nighttime holiday enchantment featuring live entertainment, dining, holiday shopping, Santa, and Mrs. Claus, and much more.
Join us on select nights from November 25 – December 30, 2022, from 6:00 pm to 10 pm. It’s a festive Christmas party every night!
WildLights, Living Desert, Palm Desert (Walk Thru)
Recognized in the Top 5 Best Zoo Lights by USA Today, WildLights is a magical winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights, dazzling light displays, and holiday fun. It is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and make lasting memories with friends and family. Taking place Nov. 23 – Dec. 24 from 6-9 pm in Palm Desert.
WildLights’ pathways will take guests on an illuminated journey around the Zoo with endless awe-inspiring sights and festive photo opportunities. Guests can go for a spin on the carousel, enjoy themed treats, take a free, souvenir photo with Santa, and much more. In true WildLights tradition, the record-length G-scale model trains, with more than 3,300 feet of track, will be decked out for the holidays.
Happy Holiday Field Tripping!