Mission Accomplished

Riverside’s historic The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa flips a switch on holiday merriment.

If you get that festive feeling watching the fireworks light up the Manhattan Beach skies each year, we’ve got another holiday tradition right up your alley. Every year, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside celebrates the season with Festival of Lights, a convergence of lights, art, history and cheer. 

Imagine 4 million twinkling lights adorning an already gorgeous hotel spanning an entire city block. Throw in 10 weeks of prep, more than 400 animated characters and 300,000 annual visitors, and you’ve got the biggest holiday event in neighboring San Bernardino County.

Festival of Lights first started in 1992 as a gift to the city of Riverside from owners Duane and Kelly Roberts, who saved the historic landmark from destruction. Duane is a Riverside native who grew up visiting The Mission Inn with his mother. 

Additional highlights of Festival of Lights include appearances by Santa Claus, the world’s largest manmade mistletoe, horse-drawn carriage rides, fresh snow, an elaborately decorated Christmas tree in the lobby, and delectable holiday confections at the original Casey’s Cupcakes location within the inn.

If you want to extend your stay and enjoy the festival for a whole weekend, the inn offers the “Feliz Navidad” package, with two-night accommodations in a luxurious junior suite, valet parking, dinner for two at Duane’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, a bottle of the hotel’s private label vintage, Roberts Reserve, and two decadent Casey’s Cupcakes—all for $649. Sweet deal!

The Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights kicks off the day after Thanksgiving and runs through January 6, 2015. Free and open to the public. 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside,
951-784-0300, missioninn.com

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