Saturday, December 19, 2020

Brighten Your Nights with Holiday Light Art

BOTANIC WONDERLAND, Quail Gardens Drive, photo courtesy SDGB

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt 

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s been hard for me to get my ho-ho-ho on this holiday season. So I really appreciate the folks who have been brightening our nights with their lighthearted Christmas displays. 

Here’s some of what my husband and I saw on an early-evening drive-by around our Encinitas neighborhood. There’s probably light art in your neighborhood too; just ask friends for recommendations or check online. This year, it’s best to stay in your car, taking in the sights slowly and safely, though we did notice a few families standing quietly on the sidewalk, admiring the artistry for awhile. If you plan to do that, wear a mask. And wherever you go for enlightenment, here’s wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Village Run West & East, off Gardendale Road, Encinitas.

Plenty of inventive displays to be found on this circling street! Here are two of our favorites—a block apart—on Village Run. The Nativity scene is just part of a large-scale installation, and what you see as two different views of a House of Blue Lights is in fact a constantly changing program of colors, patterns and tempos, so you may have to hang out and wait for the Blues. For musical accompaniment, tune your car radio to 88.3.

Gitano Street, off Chapalita Drive, Encinitas.

There’s a grand show of light art and community spirit on Gitano, with strings of colored lights linking imaginatively decorated homes on both sides of the street. Look for the animated dragon, spreading his Christmas wings, and go on to even more lights as you round the corner onto Olmeda Street.


BOTANIC WONDERLAND, Quail Gardens Drive.

For a really special evening, combine nature and art on a De-Light-Full stroll through San Diego Botanic Garden. Advance reservations and masks are required, but once you’ve got your tickets and arrive in the Garden, you can stay until closing time. The month-long light-up started December 2, but you can still visit Wonderland from now through December 23 and 26-30, from 5–8:30 p.m. (SDBG is closed December 24 and 25.) Tickets are $7-$18, with reservations available at


 Photo by Rachel Cobb, Courtesy SDGB


Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has written about arts and lifestyle for the La Jolla Light and other local media for over a dozen years. You can reach her at 

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