Descanso Gardens Enchanted Evening

Enchanted: Forest Of Lights Experience

Hanging out at a museum after dark has been a first for me here in Los Angeles.  The last museum I visited at night was the Garden Of Morning Calm in Korea.  To keep the holiday cheer and apple cider going my sister and I decided to check out the Descanso Gardens, Enchanted Forest Of Light experience.  The garden is located in Pasadena, California and the enchanted lights are held from Nov. 18 – Jan. 06th this year.

Before heading to the Descanso Gardens we went to Old Pasadena and visited the outdoor mall area.  Old Pasadena has more than 300 restaurants and shops spread out over several blocks.  It’s convenient if you’re looking for a variety of shops in one location.   *Tip: If you’re heading to Old Pasadena don’t forget to check out the 90-minute free parking garages.

Because of the cold weather we didn’t do a lot of window shopping and headed to a nearby bakery.  For dinner, we decided on a more healthier option because we started our New Year’s weight loss resolutions early.  With so many restaurants in one location, we decided on soup and sandwiches.

Le Pain Quotidien is a bakery and communal dining eatery.  The bakery serves soups, sandwiches, and hot beverages and specializes in botanical/ vegan menu items.  I ordered the roasted turkey club and caesar salad. It turns out the restaurant was out of soup and Caesar Salad for the day so my order was slightly varied.  The only downside of going to a bakery towards the end of the day is your options can be limited.

The sandwich consisted of turkey, bacon, arugula with chipotle aioli on soft brioche bread.  To complete the meal I choose a hot chocolate as my beverage option. I didn’t really like the arugula and salad dressing, however, the sandwich and hot cocoa were perfect.  It gave me just enough energy to go back out into the cold weather.

Learn more about Le Pain Quotidien menu and bakery locations on their website.

Our entry time was for 5:30 p.m. so we drove about fifteen minutes away to the Descanso Gardens location.  Luckily, the rain stopped and we were able to leave our umbrellas and raincoats behind.

The Enchanted Lights is lit with ten different lighting experiences centered around the gardens botanical collections.  First up was the Flower Power display where the lights are synchronized to soft relaxing music. The lights change from a soft white, green, then to a brighter blue and finally a hot pink/red.  It resembled a small lake of color that rolled with the music as if playing in a symphony.

Descanso Gardens: Enchanted Lights

The next display was of starry lights and beautiful white roses.

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My favorite display would have to be the spinning lights ornaments.  You were able to see the different designs on the ground in various light forms.

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Another part of the enchanted lights evening is the beverage service of ordering a hot beverage or snack along the garden pathway.  A fun addition for adults is being able to spike your drink with your favorite liquor.

Being the designated driver I didn’t sample the spike, however, I was told the apple cider with a shot of bourbon tasted really good.  *Garden Tip: Hot drinks can be hard to manage as you walk along the garden path if you’ve time check out the outdoor dining area.

We continued on to the garden path and visited the tree displays.  It was too dark to snap a really good picture, but I loved looking at the twinkling lights go all the way up into the branches.  The sparkling lights reminded me of a really tall Christmas tree.

A helpful employee guided us to the correct path for the eight through ten light displays.  As you stepped on each circle that surrounded the tree, the light underneath lit up and changes color as you walk.  It reminded me of the floor pianos that plays music inside large department stores.

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The red lanterns garden pathway has a wood cottage area and a bubbling rock pond outside.  I especially liked the bubble chandeliers pictured above.  *Tip: Bring a light stick or glow wands as it will help you navigate through the Enchanted: Forest Of Light evening.  There’s also light sticks available for purchase inside the gift shop area.

Before we concluded the evening we decided to grab a snack at the Winter Cafe.  That’s located near the entrance of the Descanso.

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We choose chicken tenders and beignets (sweet donut) for dessert.  The chicken tenders were hot and crunchy and a good choice if you’re looking for a grab and go snack. I didn’t care for the beignets as it was a little too much dough for my liking.  *Tip: Make a reservation ahead of your trip if you want to dine at the Maple Restaurant.

Overall, the evening was a very festive event for the holidays.  The parking and garden staff were really helpful throughout the entire tour.  Definitely, worth a visit if you’re in the area during the holiday season.

Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011.  If you would like more information call (818) 949-4200 or visit Enchanted Descanso Gardens.

If you like this story check out similar stories on South Korea’s Top Attractions, and Apple Picking and Farm Activities.

What are your holiday plans for this season?  I would love to read your comments down below.

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