The phrase “tree-lighting” understandably conjures motifs of Christmas. But there’s another instant classic of the season that brings a whole new meaning to those words and has nothing to do with Santa. Now open at Descanso Gardens is the beloved winter-season classic, Enchanted: Forest of Light — a mile-long pathway of singing flowers, magic lanterns, interactive walkways, hypnotic lasers and flickering fairy lights that winds through the site’s intimate expanse of groves, fields, and forest canopies.
Most of the installations are abstract, chromatic and pattern-based, activating natural locations with light and sound. Some especially engaging exceptions are the mesmerizing shadow-casting lanterns, the illuminated park benches and a beguiling stained glass house straight from a storybook, seeming to float on a pond (new this year). As always, the installation both includes and expands on the most popular sites of past years, while adding brand-new components to discover.
Timed entry tickets keep the crowds to a minimum and well-placed adult beverage stations dot the meandering, self-guided sequence. Kids are, so to speak, enchanted and excited, but it is absolutely possible to have a meditative, low-key or even romantic experience. Tip: It sells out every year, so act fast.