It is no secret that Orange County is a beautiful place, but at night, this beauty is elevated to a whole new level. Whether it’s projection shows, fireworks, or simply some beautiful lighting fixtures as you browse, the brilliant lights & light shows Orange County has to offer can not be missed.
World Of Color
Disney’s California Adventure
1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA
Over twenty minutes of water and lights are displayed in Disney California Adventure Park’s World of Color. Featuring music from a number of beloved Disney movies, you can catch the show every night of the week, with an additional late show on Fridays through Sunday.
1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA
You’ll never forget seeing the beautiful colors rain down over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle during Disneyland’s fireworks. Throughout the year, there are a variety of themed fireworks displays that your entire family can enjoy.
1580 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA
When Downtown Disney is lit up after dark, it looks stunning. No matter what you have in mind for your evening out, whether it be shopping, bowling, or grabbing a meal at one of the many great restaurants along Downtown Disney, you’ll be sure to enjoy the vibrant evening scene as you enjoy your time there.
Bolsa Chica State Beach
17851 pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA
The beach after dark? Yes. Bolsa Chica is one of our favorite night-time beaches for a number of reasons — the paved beach path is lined with lights, there’s often the glow of flickering flames from the bonfire pits, and you get views of the lights from the oil platforms, the ships, the city of Long Beach, and the Port.
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing Knott’s Berry Farm illuminated with dazzling colors after the sun sets each night. Even more dazzling lights are displayed during some of the park’s special events, such as Summer Nights and Knotts Merry Farm.
Orange Hill Restaurant
6410 East Chapman Avenue, Orange, CA
Perched on a hilltop in the city of Orange, this restaurant and event venue offers indoor and outdoor dining with perfect views overlooking the surrounding Orange County Area. Take in the sunset, then enjoy the view of city lights glittering in the darkness.
See Our List of Rooftop Bars & Restaurants for More Spectacular City Views
Orange County Great Park
8000 Great Park Blvd., Irvine, CA
The Orange County Great Park has a number of attractions for visitors to explore both when the sun is out and after dark. When the lights go down, the park is illuminated in certain areas. You can enjoy the lights of the carousel, and often they will have the hangars lit to view the historic planes. Bonus if they have the Great Park Balloon lit up.
When the sun is shining, Laguna Beach is the perfect place to soak up the rays. However, when the sun goes down, it takes on a whole new feel – as all of the shops and cafes light up, you’re treated to a beautiful glow all around you. And if you want an extra special touch, the summer months often bring beautiful bioluminescent waves.
For the best after-dark view of city lights, head to Crescent Bay Point Park. Located just off PCH on Crescent Bay Drive, this park is an easy spot to stop and take in views of the ocean and the coastal city lights.
2000 E Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, CA
During the baseball season, it is not uncommon for the Angels Stadium to be lit up by fireworks after home games, which is truly a special treat for baseball fans. Regardless of where you sit, you’re treated to a truly beautiful spectacle before you head home. And to be honest, there’s something about the lights of a baseball game that are the best, whether there are fireworks or not.
Pacific Coast Highway
Pick your starting point and head north or south. My favorite path was from 2nd Street/Westminster Blvd. at PCH and head south. As a teen, we’d climb into my ’64 Nova and cruise PCH past Sunset Beach, Huntington, Corona Del Mar, Crystal Cove, and turn around when we hit the end of Laguna. Even as adults, we still sometimes hop into the car and take our late night drive to reminisce. Popular points of interest along this path are the Sunset Beach water tower, Downtown Huntington and the HB Power Plant, and the tranquil darkness of Crystal Cove.
Orange Coast College
2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA
For a light show that’s truly out of this world, stop by the OCC Planetarium! It is possible to explore the cosmos all from Orange County thanks to a number of different shows that are held most Fridays and Saturdays. Be sure to catch their Lazerdome special events, where light shows are created to accompany classic rock albums.
Irvine Spectrum Center Giant Wheel
670 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, CA
A spectacular sight to behold can be found at the Irvine Spectrum Center’s giant Ferris Wheel. With over 50,000 LED lights, the view from the bottom of the tower might even be more spectacular than what you see from the top.
401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA
While Fashion Island has an absolutely breathtaking view during the day, you will be amazed to see how some of its many fountains and greenery come alive at night when they are lit up beautifully. Whether you’re looking for the perfect background for photos, or simply to shop in a beautiful ambience, Fashion Island is the perfect place.
21010 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA
The Huntington Beach Pier is just across the street from this beautiful two-story outdoor mall with exceptional shopping and gorgeous night lights. During the spring and summer, it’s great to sit outside and sip coffee while enjoying the beautiful weather and light displays.
Balboa Peninsula Boardwalk
Balboa Fun Zone
600 E Bay Avenue, Newport Beach, CA
There are some truly beautiful nightlife spots on the Balboa Peninsula Boardwalk, whether it’s along the walkways of gorgeous houses with elegant lights or the rides and attractions of the Fun Zone itself, the way the Peninsula lights up at night is absolutely stunning.
Center Street Promenade
205 W Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, CA
Located in the heart of Downtown Anaheim, the Center Street Promenade is a gorgeous strip to go shopping at night. Featuring a host of trendy local spots, you’ll be sure to find delicious food and unique home goods in the brightly lit-up shops along the Promenade.
Dana Point Harbor
34571 Golden Lantern Street, Dana Point, CA
In any season of the year, the lights that surround the Dana Point Harbor are absolutely captivating. Besides the beautiful lights surrounding the harbor, there is also a stunning reflection of the boats. Dana Point Harbor also hosts a variety of seasonal light displays including Holidays at the Harbor, plus they have prime viewing of the Christmas Boat Parade of Lights.
Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center
2626 E Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA
Even though it may seem odd at first glance, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center is worth a visit in itself just for the way it lights up in so many gorgeous colors at night. It’s also close enough to Disneyland to get a gorgeous view of the fireworks before you head to your next destination.
400 Disney Way, Anaheim, CA
There are plenty of things to see and do at Anaheim GardenWalk, a gorgeous outdoor shopping complex a short walk from Disneyland. After the sun goes down, the GardenWalk lights up overhead and the night continues on with a gorgeous ambience all around.
The Lab Anti-Mall
2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA
Aside from being home to many wonderful small businesses, The Lab Anti-Mall also features a number of art installations located throughout, including a gorgeous CD tunnel that is perfect for photos. In the evening, the beautiful string lights overhead illuminate these sculptures and give them a completely different look. When you’re done here, venture across the street to The CAMP for more to explore and enjoy.
Bonus: SeaWorld Illuminight
SeaWorld San Diego
500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA
SeaWorld San Diego hosts a nightly light show at the front of the park featuring a canopy of laser beams set to music. The light show may be tailored to special events and holidays.
If you visit any of these Brilliant Lights & Light Shows, let us know by tagging us on Instagram at our handle @enjoyorangecounty or use the hashtag #EnjoyOC to be featured on our page!
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Morgan Mulac is a freelance writer who has spent years on the road as a nomad and now has settled back in California with her family. Some of her favorite spots to travel to in California are in Orange County and the many beaches along the coast. She’s an avid writer about her journeys and enjoys sharing the beauty California has to offer.