The holiday season is upon us. But if you’re not returning home for the holidays, renting a cabin at Big Bear, or hiding from Mariah Carey, what can you do to get in the spirit? Fortunately, we have a whole slew of Christmas events Los Angeles locals can enjoy without leaving the city limits. Or at least not traveling too far outside the city limits. LA has a few unique holiday traditions making the list as well as some new favorites. So throw on your P-22 Christmas sweater, read through, and start planning!
Robbyn Battles’ FREE Photos with Santa and Snow
Our very own real estate superstar Robbyn Battles is personally hosting her 2nd annual holiday celebration (FREE Photos with Santa and Snow) on December 11th from 4 to 7pm at the JohnHart Campus. This is bound to be a Christmas event Los Angeles residents love based on the photo opportunities alone.
Families will have the chance to strike a pose with the man himself, Santa Claus, with free photos being printed onsite and emailed immediately. That’s right, Robbyn knows Santa. And you thought you were connected!
She’s also promising sixteen tons(!) of snow, live music, two hills for sledding, and plenty of hot cocoa and other treats. If you’re looking for some classic Christmas cheer, this event just can’t be topped. Grab your free tickets here!
LA Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow
The zoo transforms into quite a different place when the sun goes down. This holds especially true during the holiday season when the LA Zoo is set alight by their annual LA Zoo Lights celebration. This year’s theme, Animals Aglow, promises even more luminous creatures worthy of your marvel. Out of all of the Christmas events Los Angeles offers, Zoo Lights is easily the wildest. The celebration is already underway and runs through January 22nd.
Yuletide Cinemaland at Heritage Square
What’s the best Christmas film? Street Food Cinema implores you to decide amongst yourselves before joining them at the historic Heritage Square in Montecito Heights for their Yuletide Cinemaland series. For several evenings in December, they’ll be hosting screenings of holiday classics like Home Alone, Edward Scissorhands, and A Christmas Story amidst the collection of authentic Victorian homes.
You can also expect some piano singalongs, home tours, and mulled wine or hot cocoa to warm up at one of the classiest Christmas events Los Angeles offers. Programming runs for select dates from December 3rd until December 23rd.
Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square
Have you been putting in your practice hours at Moonlight Rollerway this year? Well, it still might not help much when the Holiday Ice Rink returns to Pershing Square for the first time in 3 years. If you think watching Angelenos drive in rain is bad, wait until you see them attempt to skate on ice!
Joking aside, there are quite a few locals who know their way around the rink. So, even if you’re afraid to step onto the ice, it can still make for a mesmerizing spectator sport.
Admission includes skate rental if you’re feeling daring. So, if you want a challenge from the Christmas events Los Angeles presents, you’ve got one! The rink opens from November 23rd through December 31st.
Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens
Descanso Gardens holds a natural magic any time of the year. But during the holiday season, the floral gardens get a little help from immersive uplit installations as part of Enchanted: Forest of Light.
Wander in wonder down a mile stretch of gently twinkling lights, artfully sculpted stained glass, and ethereally glowing shapes. Easily the most subtle of the Christmas events Los Angeles residents flock to, Enchanted is perfect for all ages and backgrounds. The radiant fun runs from November 20th through January 8th.
Holiday Time at Disneyland
Though Disneyland may have slipped a bit in guest experience post-pandemic, for many Angelenos, it’s still the happiest place on earth. And it gets even happier as they decorate for the holidays. That’s why, despite its home in Anaheim, Holiday Time at Disneyland still makes our list for Christmas events Los Angeles residents love. After all, Anaheim is just a hop, skip, and a jump down the 5 freeway.
And it’s worth the trip just for that moment when your gondola exits “it’s a small world” right as its thousands of Christmas lights illuminate for the evening. But there’s also the legendary Tim Burton-approved The Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion makeover that even gives the original a run for its money. The festivities are already underway and run until January 8th.
Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
If you’re looking for theme park thrills a little closer to home, Universal Studios’ accommodates with Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Wizarding World already has an inherent festive feeling with its hot butter beer and snow-capped sleepy village, but Universal still manages to up the ante.
As night falls, the theme park uses state-of-the-art projections to transform the already mystical Hogwarts castle into a winter wonderland. If that’s not enough to get you into the spirit, spill on over into the rest of the park for their annual Grinchmas celebration. Holiday time at Universal Studios Hollywood kicks off November 25th and runs until New Year’s Day.
The Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
If you’re not totally sold on a classic Christmas but still want to be festive, head on down to the Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade on December 10th. There you’ll find a seafaring celebration as around 70 highly decorated boats parade through the marina for guests at Fisherman’s Village. It’s a little saltier than your average holiday event, but that’s how some Angelenos like it.
The parade itself is also a competition, pitting light-strewn schooners against each other to determine the best theme, best lights, and more. The whole thing kicks off at 5:55 with a fireworks display. Because nothing says “holiday season” in LA quite like explosions.
The L.A. County Holiday Celebration
If you’re bursting with civic pride, stop in to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at 3pm on Christmas Eve. The Music Center is putting on the 63rd annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration which promises a variety of performances offering the county’s diverse cultures.
Expect plenty of singing, dancing and general revelry that gives you an absolutely free place to be on Christmas Eve. And if 20 choirs sounds like an endurance challenge, rest assured you can come and go as you please.