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Festival of Lights: How to get to Riverside by Metrolink and Road Closures

It’s the time again for the bright and colorful event in Riverside, the Festival of Lights. If you’re from Mission Viejo and want to witness such a spectacular event this holiday season, you’re going to be pleased with this great news from Metrolink.

Metrolink is said to be expanding their service to Riverside on weekends to get visitors to the Festival Lights starting November 23 with its switch-on ceremony until January 6. It will take place at the Mission Inn and Spa just like the previous years. This event will surely bring hundreds of thousands of spectators to the city’s downtown area between Black Friday to the last day of the event.

The City of Riverside works with mass transit agencies to make it convenient for people to travel and witness the show without having to bring their cars.

The expanded service will be available on 91/Perris Valley Line from Union Station and Perris and the Inland Empire/Orange County Line. The scheduled dates are Nov. 23-24; Nov. 30-Dec. 1; Dec. 7-8; and Dec. 14-15.

Adults and seniors will get a discounted round-trip fare of only $7. Riders 18 below are free of charge. This discount is only applicable for those who get their thickets through Metrolink’s mobile app and Metrolink vending stations.


*Metrolink will run trains at 3:03 and 3:35 PM from Los Angeles’ Union Station on Fridays. On Saturdays, it will run at 3:03 and 3:15 PM. It will be a 90-minute ride. Stops in Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs, Buena Park, Corona, Fullerton, and Riverside’s La Sierra are expected before reaching the Riverside downtown area.

According to Metrolink’s Festival of Lights schedule, return trains are at 8:15 and 9 PM.

*The Perris to Riverside is a 40-minute ride at 3:55 on Fridays and Saturdays. There will be stops at Perris South, Perris Downtown, Moreno Valley/March Field, and Riverside — Hunter Park, UCR. The schedule for return trains leaves at 9:30 PM.

*The Orange County Line will run at 3 PM on Fridays and Saturdays from Mission Viejo/Laguna Niguel to downtown Riverside. It will be an 80-minute ride with stops at Irvine, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange, Anaheim Canyon, Corona (West), Corona (North Main), and Riverside (La Sierra). The schedule for return trains leaves at 9:15 PM.

For those who wish to catch this year’s switch-on ceremony and rides to Riverside on Black Friday, the return trip will give them a few hours to get back to Riverside’s downtown train station after the event. The event will take place at dusk on Nov. 23. Robert Thicke’s 45-minute set will grace the show as well as fireworks.

The Riverside Transit Agency already arranges a free shuttle from the station to the festival. The agency will also run ten bus routes to the festival from starting points as far away as Anaheim. Metrolink suggests riders to allow 45 minutes for the return ride from the festival to the Riverside station.

The Metrolink station is festively decorated with wreaths and holly berries for the yuletide season.


Following the Festival of Lights, there will be downtown road closures with the event expecting heavy traffic and special vehicles like horse-drawn Cinderella coaches.

According to the city of Riverside, the Black Friday street closures will run from 4 AM until midnight. Here are the roads closed on the switch-on ceremony day:

  • Mission Inn Avenue connecting Market Street and Lime Street
  • Orange Street connecting University Avenue and Sixth Street
  • Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets
  • University Avenue connecting Market Street and Orange Street
  • Sixth Street between Orange and Main streets
  • The Fifth Street connecting the alley behind the Hyatt Hotel and Orange Street

Ninth Street will also be closed between the alley nearest to Market Street and the driveway closest to Orange Street starting November 23 until January 10.

During the duration of the festival, Sixth Street, Mission Inn Avenue, and Orange Street between the two will be closed from 3 PM until midnight on Thursdays through Sundays. Other streets closed are Main Street between Sixth Street and the Riverside Convention Center and a stretch of Ninth Street near City Hall.


For visitors who brought their cars with them, there are several parking lots in the city. Some parking spaces cost $10 per vehicle available from Fridays to Sundays. Car owners can reserve slots in advance at two lots on Orange Street near Ninth Street.

Near City Hall and Market Street parking spaces are free on weekends and weeknights after 5 PM.

The Festival of Lights has a parking map on its website at

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