Christmas in Los Angeles - Lights in the Venice Canals

We discovered a new area filled with Christmas cheer, the Venice Canals! I start my hour long commute most mornings through the Venice Canals and love watching the ducks and boats float in the water as I drive by. I noticed last year that a few houses looked decorated during the day, but never really saw them in all their glory lit up at night. After dinner one night, we decided to walk through the canals to check out the Christmas spirit and we were pleasantly surprised to find there is a light competition among the houses for the best in show!


History of the Venice Canals (per Wikipedia)

The Venice Canal Historic District is a district in the Venice section of Los Angeles, California. The district is noteworthy for its man-made canals built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as part of his Venice of America plan. Kinney sought to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy, in Southern California.

The canals are roughly bounded by Eastern Court on the east, Court A on the south, Strongs Drive on the west, and Court E on the north. There are four east-west canals (Carroll Canal, Linnie Canal, Howland Canal, and Sherman Canal) and two north-south canals (Eastern Canal and Grand Canal). The lit canals with gondoliers and arched bridges drew widespread publicity and helped sell lots in the development.

Celebrities such as Lenny Kravitz have lived in the Venice Canals.

Venice Canals Map and Parking

Location & Parking for the Venice Canals

There is a parking lot located at the end of Venice Blvd (just before Pacific Ave). If you walk southwest you can enter on the walking paths on the sides of the canals off of Canal Street.

Venice Canals Association - Best Dressed Homes Contest

Apparently there is an annual contest among the homes in the neighborhood for “Best Dressed.” All the homes are very different in design, color and shape, and so are their holiday decorations. This house was the first place winner of 2018, second year in a row!

Christmas Lights in Los Angeles Venice Canals-22.jpg

Yup, that was all on one house! My personal favorite was the house with the flags that matched the bridge with the Eiffel Tower:

Christmas Lights in Los Angeles Venice Canals

We found the third place winner around the corner with a lovely bright display!

Christmas Lights in Los Angeles Venice Canals 3rd place winner

We fell in love with so many of these charming homes!

Bridges in the Venice Canals

Most of the bridges had a specific theme to them, Peace, Wish, Flags, all relating to the overall theme of “It’s a Small World” and “Peace on Earth.”

Boats with Christmas Decorations

There were a couple of the paddle boats decorated but I like the big boats in Marina Del Rey better!

Even the ducks decorated the boat! How cute! I’ve see the neighborhood library book exchanges where you take a book/leave a book but I’ve never seen it on a boat with a bench to enjoy your book on:

Christmas Lights in Los Angeles Venice Canals-library

There is also an annual Venice Canals Boat Parade, which had a theme this year of “It’s a Small World” see more here.

Other great places to go see Christmas displays in Los Angeles:

Descanso Garden’s Enchanted Forest of Light

We first went to this beautiful display 2 years ago and it has definitely become more popular! Waltz through the one-mile garden and enjoy the fabulous lights! 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. Tickets $30. See more in our post: 5 Reasons to Visit Descanso Gardens: Forest of Light

El Segundo Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane lights up on the second Saturday in December, and has been known to have the flashiest neighborhood displays in SoCal. El Segundo police have been known to block off street during prime times to create a safe, pedestrian-only viewing experience, and you may even spot Santa posing for photos with kids. East Acacia Avenue and California Street, El Segundo 

Woodland Hills Candy Cane Lane

Going strong since 1952, the home-owners of this Woodland Hills neighborhood are known for going crazy with Christmas decor! I used to go every night during the holidays as a kid. Nowadays there can be tons of traffic as visitors are encouraged to drive slowly and safely through the area. Lubao Street and Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills

Or there is ALWAYS Disneyland! :)

Christmas lights in Los Angeles - Disneyland castle

Here are some more posts about Los Angeles: