Christmas lights make the holiday season even more magical, with the Pasadena area home to many historic places to admire them. Driving through or visiting the displays is a great way to create warm memories for years to come.
Whether enjoying the charms of a neighborhood banding together to put on a show along Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane, or Pasadena’s own Upper Hastings Ranch, or the official tree lighting at Pasadena City Hall, there are plenty of ways to light up your spirit this holiday season.
Pasadena kicks off the season with the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at City Hall, located at 100 N. Garfield Ave. The event will feature festive holiday music, light refreshments, arts and crafts and holiday-themed family fun, with the tree lit at 6 p.m. sharp.
For those wishing to experience more than one tree lighting in Pasadena, the Langham Huntington Pasadena hotel will light its own huge tree from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday in its Lobby Lounge, located at 1401 S. Oak Knoll Avenue. The ceremony includes hot cocoa, cider, holiday treats and the festive tree lighting, and costs $15 without food and beverages, and $45 with refreshments and treats included.
The Pasadena Playhouse will host its own tree-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 in its square, located at 39 S. El Molino Ave. The historic theater will provide complimentary hot chocolate and coffee, live music, a performance by the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre.
La Pintoresca Park also puts on its 18th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 30, located at 1355 N. Raymond Ave. The evening will feature holiday caroling, storytelling and craft making in addition to the lighting at the free event.
Christmas Tree Lane
The most elaborate holiday lights in the Pasadena area – which is also the oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas display in the world — are found just north of the Crown City, as Altadena presents its spectacular 98th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Lighting Ceremony, Winter Arts & Crafts Festival on Dec. 8 on Santa Rosa Avenue from Altadena Drive to Woodbury Road. The festival, which features plenty of holiday gift items for sale in addition to gourmet food trucks and vendors, runs from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Altadena Public Library, 600 E. Mariposa Street.
The lane lighting ceremony starts at 6 p.m. along Santa Rosa Avenue (aka Christmas Tree Lane), which will close between Mariposa and Mendocino streets at 4 p.m. between Mariposa Street and Woodbury Road after 6:30 p.m.
Placed on the National Register of Historical Places and designated a California State Landmark, Christmas Tree Lane rose to fame because it combined two of the greatest phenomena of the 20th century: the modern outdoor electric light and the mobility of automobiles. More than 135 deodar cedar trees are lit up along the street.
Traffic will be stopped along Christmas Tree Lane from 7 to 8 p.m. to allow pedestrians to enjoy walking freely under the impressive blanket of sparkling lights while the John Muir Alumni Drum Corps plays festive seasonal music. The road will then reopen at 8 p.m. to vehicular traffic, kicking off a bustling season that draws more than 50,000 cars to observe the spectacle annually.
For more information, email christmastreelaneassociation @gmail.com or call (626) 403-1123.
Altadena is also home to one of the most distinctive homes at any time of year, the Balian Mansion, but the esteemed residence becomes even more stunning during the holiday season. Nativity scenes and life-sized holiday characters fill its network of gardens and walkways. The Balian family pioneered their neighborhood’s flashy displays, which have become legendary far and wide. The Balian Mansion is at 1960 Mendocino Lane (Mendocino Lane and Glenview Terrace), Altadena.
Glendale won’t be left out of the holiday fun, as it hosts its Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Cram-A-Classic Toy Drive from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 29. The tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. and feature the lighting of the City Hall tree, a special visit from Santa, a holiday movie and food trucks, all at City Hall Perkins Plaza, located at 613 E. Broadway.
The Cram-A-Classic Toy Drive will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at the city Police Department, 131 N. Isabel St. The Glendale Fire Department and ABC 7 invite people to bring a new unwrapped toy to the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony. The goal is help them cram a Cruise Night classic car with toys, as Glendale firefighters collect and distribute toys to underserved children in the community.
Free parking is available at the Civic Center parking structure on Wilson Avenue. Call (818) 548-2792 or email PBetancourt@glendaleca.gov.