December 1, 2020

The Ultimate L.A. Holiday: Festive Drive-Thrus

Covid or not, Angelenos spend a lot of time in their cars. So it’s no surprise that getting in the holiday spirit will mostly come from behind the wheel this year. Everything about 2020 is different, but you can still find a little festive fun for the season. Here are a bunch of ways to see lights, meet Santa (from a safe distance), and even celebrate the Dodgers win with giant bobbleheads. Don’t forget: All of these events are BYOB hot cocoa. 

Photo courtesy MLB Dodgers

Dodgers Holiday Festival

Consider the safe, festive, extremely kid-friendly celebration of the Dodgers World Championship win this year. The drive-thru event features a light show, fake snow, interactive displays, and Dodger Elves in the stadium parking lot. Bring a donation, like new or gently-used baseball or softball equipment, toys, or pairs of socks — all unwrapped and ready to offer without getting out of your car. Open nightly through December 24th; prices start at $55 per car.

Photo courtesy Socal Wonderland

SoCal Wonderland

This Woodland Hills show promises millions of lights and holiday-themed decor, plus menorahs, giant candy canes, a huge lit tree, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and even the elves. The drive lasts about 20-25 minutes, but the kids (and those kids-at-heart) will reward you with oohs and ahhs. Runs through December 23. Tickets are $65-$90 depending on how many in your car, date and time.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm/Unsplash

The Lights of Hastings Ranch

Homes in the lovely Pasadena foothill community of Hastings Ranch have been putting on their own light show since the 1950s, a quaint show of holiday spirit that can be enjoyed from your car. Starts mid-December. PS: Since you’re in the area, take a swing by Christmas Tree Lane in Pasadena to get a peek of the historic twinkle lights dangling from big pines along East Mariposa Street and Santa Rosa Avenue. Through December.

Photo by Pro Church Media/Unsplash

The Bite LA’s Winter Holiday Drive-Thru Experience

This car-friendly street crawl features edible stocking stuffers, a “sno-ball” fight, gnome village, safely distanced stories and songs with Santa, and even an ugly car sweater contest (get creative!). The best part: You don’t leave your car. Masks are mandatory as you’ll roll down windows at various points. Runs December 3-27 at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in El Monte. Tickets start at $98 per vehicle.

Photo courtesy Six Flags

Six Flags Magic Mountain Holiday in the Park

The Valencia theme park has become one giant pathway of illuminated displays for the holidays. Expect dancing lights and happy seasonal songs, 30-foot-tall ornaments, fake snow, a cool car show, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Tickets are $20-$25 per person. Go on an off-night (i.e. not a weekend) for the best chance of entry. Through January 3.

Courtesy Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Bob Baker Marionette Theater Peek-a-Boo Stroll-Thru

Ok, this is a walk-thru, not a drive-thru, but a worthy mention. The quick and charming 20-minute timed visit allows you to see the puppets in all their festive glory at the quirky Highland Park theater. Plus, the theater is on the brink of having to close the curtains for good. Every little bit helps. Tickets are $60 groups of six. Through January 3.

Featured photo by Tim Mossholder/Unsplash