What there is to know
- Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside
- The Festival of Lights begins at sunset on Friday November 26
- Free to see; the hotel also offers stay packages
HERE IS A HAPPY MATHEMATICS PROBLEM: If you were to add up each bulb that brings ethereal illumination to the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa during its famous Festival of Lights, and you had six weeks to count them all, how many bulbs would you need to count per hour? We would need to spend a few minutes with our mint scented pens to figure out this festive number, but let’s all agree that the final number would be mightily impressive. There are well over four million lights, and we typed “million” there, which makes sense, as the scenic landmark fills a significant portion of downtown Riverside. But those millions of lights don’t just need to cover the walls of the Mission Inn; there are turrets and nooks and comfy nooks and balconies to swell, giving this seasonal scene a storybook-like shimmer.
THE BULBS FLASHING ON … on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is November 26, 2021. They’ll be shining every night, for six weeks, and here’s something packed with holiday cheer: You don’t need tickets to see them, because that visual splendor is completely free. It can get a little crowded, with visitors, especially as Christmas approaches, so you might consider the hotel’s Festival of Lights stay package. Good to know? There have been major lighting ceremonies in the past, but the hotel will not host any in 2021. The oversized nutcrackers “guard” the property, animatronic singers dotting various ledges and arches, trees and gewgaws that invoke a Christmas character.
WORLD FANTASY: This particular light display is not only popular in the Inland Empire or California; he regularly makes national Top 10 lists that hail holiday decorations. It is, in fact, “… one of the largest collections of Christmas lights in the country” and a must-see traditional visit for many families in the region and beyond.