This week marks the beginning of the yearly “Festival of Lights” in downtown Riverside. Every night for 5 weeks between Nov. 27 and Jan. 3 (excepting Christmas), several blocks of the newly refurbished Main Street pedestrian mall come alive for the holidays.
The centerpiece of the Festival is the historic Mission Inn hotel, which will again be adorned with over 3.5 million holiday lights and hundreds of animated figures.
Along with the lights are an ice rink, carriage rides, carolers, shopping, food, entertainment — and Santa Claus. Nearby shops and restaurants usually offer extended hours during the festival.
Friday, Nov. 27th is the event’s official kick-off, which includes a special “switch on” ceremony and fireworks show that begins just after 6:00 p.m.
Parking for the nightly event is available in 4 municipal parking garages and on nearby streets (with free parking at all locations after 5 p.m. and all day on the weekends/holidays).
What originally began in 1993 as a hotel-only event has since grown. It has become one of America’s largest holiday light displays.
- KABC-TV – Festival of Lights kicks off in Riverside (Nov. 28)
- InstantRiverside.com – Festival of Lights begins in downtown Riverside (Nov. 28)
- Riverside Press-Enterprise – Mission Inn lights up the night in Riverside | Photo Gallery (Nov. 28)
- City of Riverside – Festival of Lights
- Mission Inn – Festival of Lights
- InstantRiverside.com – Riverside’s Festival of Lights Friday evening (Nov. 25) | 2009 Downtown Riverside Window Decorating Contest (Nov. 16) | Festival parking guide
- Riverside Press-Enterprise – The historic Mission Inn begins Festival of Lights preparation (Oct. 19)