The Oakland Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple is perched high above Oakland on Temple Hill and is visible from many parts of the East Bay. Whether you’re a member of the church or not, their gardens are open to everyone, and a must-see all lit up for the Christmas holidays.
Their gardens are all the adjectives: exquisite, extraordinary, impeccable. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. Not only are there flowers, but are also fountains and music. Music, you say? Yes, calming music peacefully plays from discrete, rock-shaped speakers so you can enjoy the garden, and be in the moment. While I love the flowers and just blissing out walking the property, my young daughters enjoy examining their ever-rotating varieties of flowers, roaming the sidewalks, walking across the bridges, and of course climbing up close to the impressive fountain waters (there are three). There are two levels of gardens, and winding pathways throughout the whole property.
Keep in mind, the temple grounds are a sacred place. We love to laugh, smile, and have fun. We ask that the temple grounds be treated with kindness and respect. For more information about expected behavior and policies.
But truly the best time of year to visit is after Thanksgiving, when the temple gardens are lit up with thousands of Christmas lights.
I’m telling you not a single tree is missed! The lights are as impeccable as the gardens and the whole effect is spectacular. In previous years, they would open the Visitor’s Center for guests to explore with hot chocolate and cookies, but in COVID times, the Center will be closed. However the lights and pathways stand on their own. So add the LDS Oakland California Temple to your list of East Bay Christmas lights to visit, or at the very least as a stay-in-your-car drive by visit.
Plan your visit to Oakland Temple Hill Gardens
When: Nov. 27-early Jan, decorations will be up all day, and lit in the evenings.
Hours: During the holiday lights, the gates will be open 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm every day! The grounds are usually open to the public 7 am to 7 pm.
Where: 4770 Lincoln Ave, Oakland, CA 94602
Keep in mind: There are no bathrooms open on-site or nearby, so use the restroom before you leave home. Bring jackets and hats, it’s breezy up there. Masks and social-distancing required. No groups outside of households, or gathering.
There will be virtual tours, too.
If you’re not comfortable with a socially distant outdoor visit, there will be virtual tours of the holiday lights and of the inside of the Visitor’s center for Christmas. There will be special YouTube broadcasts of that the first weekend of December.