Festival of Lights: Early Bird Package

Planning on doing it up at the Mission Inn this holiday season? Secure your stay by the end of September.

THE FA, LA, LAS... aren't yet filling the air — we're still waiting on spooky spine-tingling sound effects — and the tinsel isn't shining from the store aisles (that's reserved for plastic pumpkins and bats, at the moment). But many a holiday-loving vacationer is turning at least partial attention to the close of the year, when the biggest spectacles and extravaganzas unfurl at some of California's best-known spots. One is that castle-stout structure, the one standing tall in the middle of Riverside, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a place that has a lot of pomp throughout the year but really does it up, pomp-wise, when the Friday after Thanksgiving arrives. That's when the...

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS... opens, and if you're trying to remember if that's where like a zillion lights cover a single hotel, well, you're almost entirely correct. True, it isn't a "zillion" but the number of bulbs twinkling around The Mission Inn is impressively massive: "over 4 million dazzling holiday lights" is the count given by the historic destination. This means a lot of people want to see them, and a lot of people want to stay over, the better to enjoy the illumination later in the evening. If this is just your plan, best ponder booking soon, for the Festival of Lights...

EARLY BIRD PACKAGE... is now available. You'll need to plan your visit on a Sunday through Thursday during the lights run, which lasts from Nov. 27, 2016 through Jan. 7, 2017, and you'll need to reserve by Sept. 30. It all starts at $278 for your deluxe room and breakfast for two. Eager to see if you can count every bulb, up to 4,000,000? Best get early-birding now, yuletiders.

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