The Gondola Getaway holiday lights near The Crest apartments in downtown Long Beach

Light Up The Season In Long Beach

Long Beach is all about living near the water, and this season our waterfront is all aglow with holiday lights. Drive by the Terrace Theatre at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center and behold the 50-foot tree, decked out with colorful ornaments and lit by 160,000 bulbs. Take a gondola tour of spectacular holiday displays as you cruise Naples bay, and while you’re in the neighborhood, visit Snowy Enchanted Village, an festive display created to raise funds for charity.

A short distance from The Crest, you’ll discover dazzling drive-thru holiday experiences that you can enjoy from the comfort of your vehicle. We also found some great opportunities to shop local and give back to the community. The possibilities are endless when you light up the season in Long Beach. Check websites for health guidelines and updates.

Gondola Getaway  5437 E. Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90803

The Islands of Naples become a fairytale setting for the month of December. Gondola Getaway invites you to celebrate the holidays with Sleighs on the Bay, a holiday cruise like no other, where you can experience the beauty of Christmas as you cruise the bay of lights. The 55-minute experience is safe and socially distant-friendly, following a strict set of protocols the company enacted shortly after pandemic shutdowns in spring. Sleighs on the Bay runs nightly through Dec. 30.

Snowy Enchanted Village in Naples

Members of Steel Magnolias are hosting a “Snowy Enchanted Village” in Naples to raise money and holiday spirits this year. The elaborate display, made exclusively of recycled materials, has been created at the Rivo Alto Canal home of the Gesner family. People can walk through the village for free, and guests can also picnic in the village at a table of four for $100 a group. Steel Magnolias is a nonprofit group dedicated to raising money for the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center and other local charities. For reservations and more information call 562-209-5099.

City of Long Beach Christmas Tree  Terrace Theatre 300 E  Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90802

On December 2, Mayor Robert Garcia flipped the switch for the 6th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Drive by the Terrace Theatre at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center to see the 50-foot tree, decked out with dazzling ornaments and lit by 160,000 bulbs. This year, the ceremony was virtual and was aired live on LBTV and the city of Long Beach’s official social media platforms. You can watch the Long Beach Virtual Christmas Tree Lighting HERE

Winterfest OC Night of Lights  OC Fair & Event Center 88 Fair Dr. Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Experience a magical interactive drive through a winter wonderland of lights. In the safety of their own vehicle, guests will enjoy a one mile drive-thru event that includes over one million lights, all while following the mandated Covid-19 safety social distancing restrictions. Currently all food and merch must be purchased online when you’re buying your ticket. Your order will be available for pick up prior to entering the event. 

Hikari – A Festival of Lights  5380 3/4 University Dr. Irvine, CA 92612

Support your local farm. Since 1940, family-owned Tanaka Farms has served the community with market stands, U-pick fruit, a seasonal pumpkin patch, and educational tours. Loosely translated, Hikari means shine in Japanese, and this holiday season Tanaka Farms is shining with over a mile of twinkling lights. As you drive through the 30-acre farm, you will be dazzled by farm-themed lighting from trees to tractors. After the Drive-Thru, visit the Holiday Market Stand to purchase Christmas trees, holiday decor, and souvenirs  Reservations required.

GLOW  South Coast Botanic Garden 26300 Crenshaw Blvd. Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274

South Coast Botanic Garden is proud to present GLOW, a visually stunning art installation that transforms the lush botanic oasis into an oceanic experience for their Garden Lights & Ocean Waters theme, using thousands of lights designed by California Outdoor Lighting. The walk is set to an artistically curated soundtrack featuring a little something for everyone, including original music created for GLOW by Jerzy to baja surf music and Vivaldi. Let the colors wash over you like a wave, guiding you through this unique and unforgettable after-dark walk.

Fourth Street Retro Row

Stretching between Cherry Avenue and Junipero Avenue, Fourth Street Long Beach is a celebration of independence and diversity – a community for everyone, by everyone, welcoming all lifestyles and ideas. The most unique pocket of Long Beach, Fourth Street boasts nearly 100 independently owned and operated stores that offer goods, foods, and experiences you simply won’t find anywhere else.  A destination for budget-conscious shoppers and Hollywood designers alike, you’ll find something for everyone when you shop Fourth Street Long Beach Retro Row.

MAKE Collectives  430 E 1st St. Long Beach, CA 90802

Support your community and shop local. MAKE Collectives brings together carefully curated and unique handcrafted goods from over 50+ local artisans, including mens and womens clothing and accessories, vinyl records, home, and local goods to create a compelling shopping experience that makes you feel inspired and connected.

Holiday Happenings at The Pike Outlets  95 S Pine Ave. Long Beach, CA 90802

Enjoy holiday fun all season long at The Pike Outlets. Festivities include Snowflake Lane Light Display & Snowfall, Festival of Trees, and Strolling Holiday Carolers. Visit the Christmas tree display on Bay Street and vote for a local charity to win a $1,000 donation from The Pike Outlets. You can also donate to Toys for Tots. Drop off an unwrapped toy for local children in need at various locations. Please visit store and restaurant websites for hours, curbside pick up and delivery.

Long Beach Fire Department Spark of Love Toy Drive

Around 1955, LBFD firefighter Murray Cohn started collecting toys for needy kids in the area surrounding his assigned fire station. Now over 60 years later, the LBFD continues to carry on this tradition, helping hundreds of needy families each year. Donations should be new unwrapped toys, sports equipment, school supplies, and items for teens. Gifts can be dropped off at any Long Beach area fire station. Toys should be placed in boxes located outside the station. Monetary donations and store gift cards are strongly encouraged.

Photo credits:

Photo #1: The Gondola Getaway

Photo #2: Photo by Thomas R. Cordova

Photo #3: The Gondola Getaway

Photo #4: Photo by Harry Saltzgaver, Grunion Gazette/SCNG

Photo #5: Photo by Tracey Roman, Contributing Photographer, Long Beach Press-Telegram

Photo #6: Winterfest OC Night of Lights

Photo #7: Tanaka Farms

Photo #8 : South Coast Botanic Garden

Photo #9: Fourth Street Retro Row

Photo #10: MAKE Collectives

Photo #11: The Pike Outlets

Photo #12: LBFD Spark of Love