November 29, 2014

Photo Essay: Riverside's Festival of Lights at Mission Inn

I am the rare Angeleno who, in conversation with someone visiting from Riverside, can namecheck that person's hometown sights and attractions – the university, the art museum, the folk art taco place,  the tiny mountain, and such. But, unlike many Angelenos, I get around.

I just, however, discovered the Mission Inn: though not a mission or even built on the site of a mission, one of the Historic Hotels of America, and home of Riverside's annual Festival of Lights.

With humble beginnings as a two-story adobe guest house in 1876, the Mission Inn is now a sprawling property...

...where over four million lights are hung every Christmas... what they call a "Dickensian" celebration of the holidays...

...but much more lavish.

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate all year, and not just during the holidays...

...since the historic property was saved from demolition by its current owners in 1992.

Their annual decorations are as diverse as the architectural styles of the hotel itself...

...which is generally considered Mission Revival...

...but incorporates other influences as well, including Spanish and Moorish.

The lights are turned on during a ceremony with music, vendors, carriage rides...

...a skating rink, Santa...

...and a huge crowd.

The hotel conducts daytime docent-led tours for its guests and visitors alike, so I look forward to returning to see the inside in all of its (reportedly haunted) splendor.

Just when I thought I'd almost run out of places to explore, the Universe wags its finger at me.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Making a Mountain Out of a Hill
Photo Essay: A Robot Christmas Nightmare at Robolights
Photo Essay: Cactus Lights
A First Time for Everything

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