Los Angeles offers the perfect winter getaway for people from colder climates who seek a bit of sun. Residents and tourists alike can get in the spirit of the season in a multitude of ways.
The perfect climate invites outdoor exploration, which is ideal for viewing festive lights. The vibrant city comes alive with festivals and shows that make the region unique. This year, if you find yourself in sunny California for the holidays, check out these events.
1. See Santasia: A Holiday Comedy
Are you tired of the overly sentimental holiday cheer? Lighten things up a bit with this uproarious comedy along the lines of Saturday Night Live. The event takes place at the Whitefire Theater on Ventura Blvd. If you’re a fan of shows like, In Living Color and Kids in the Hall, you’ll have a gut-busting time. You’ll also enjoy recollection of holidays past.
2. Visit Abbot Kinney for the Snow Day Block Party or Beverly Hills for the Jolly Trolley
Rodeo Drive might get all the celebrity press, but another party happens in Venice on Abbot Kinney Boulevard for the annual snow day block party. This uber-hip fashion and arts district is only a short walk from Venice Beach and this is the perfect event to bring alive the holiday spirit for kids.
But it’s hard to not feel festive in the 90210. Beginning November 14, lights swirl around palm trees that line Rodeo Drive and meander up the steps of Via Rodeo, Wilshire Boulevard, and Beverly Wilshire Hotel. More lights don Beverly Drive plus a dripping bedazzled gold sparkling light willow tree and grand sized light gift package are just some of the Christmas cheer at Beverly Canon Gardens. http://lovebeverlyhills.com/boldbh
On select nights from November 15 through December 21, join Mrs. Claus for a complimentary scenic tour of the city’s holiday lights on the Beverly Hills Trolley. Boarding is at the southeast corner of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way (280 North Rodeo Drive). Trolley rides welcome all ages and are handicap accessible. The Jolly Trolley runs on select BOLD Holiday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m.
3. Stroll Through Descansos’ Gardens Enchanted Forest of Light
Amid all the celebrating, it’s important to remember to get some exercise for your physical and mental well-being. What better way to do so than by strolling hand in hand through an enchanted garden at night? Can you say trés romantic?
Now through January 6, the gardens come to life with festive hues. You’ll follow a one-mile path wandering among trees done up in every color of the rainbow. The best part of all? You won’t get a frostbitten nose while you enjoy the holiday lights!
4. See the LA Zoo’s Zoo Lights
Who can get enough of the holiday lights, especially when the weather’s so lovely for viewing them? Free your inner wild animal by going to see the L.A. Zoo’s Zoo lights this season. This year’s event promises more illuminated animals than ever, so get your tickets early.
5. Stay at the Alpine Inn
Who says you can’t recreate the magic of a Swiss chalet in sunny California? Stay at the Alpine Inn, and you’ll feel like you’re in a winter wonderland. But don’t worry — you can still unwind poolside and work on your tan during the day.
The Inn lies within walking distance of Disneyland, and park-hopper tickets come included in the package. You’ll have a blast whether you’re coming from out of town or enjoying a staycation.
6. Go to Disneyland
Is there anything better than going to Disneyland? Yes! You can visit the Magic Kingdom during the holidays and drink in the atmosphere and decor. You can pay Santa a visit at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and tell him what you want under the tree. You can also learn about how the Latino culture celebrates this time of year. From specialty meals to enchanted rides, there’s fun for the whole family to enjoy.
7. Get Your Feast at the LA Farmer’s Market and stay for the snow flurries
Do you want to serve the freshest seasonal organic produce at your holiday festivities? Head over to the L.A. Farmer’s Market for the best in locally grown goodness. You’ll find exotic new flavors like Manzano peppers, which are hotter than a jalapeño but feature the sweetness of an apple. During the holidays snow is blasted into the air to make you feel like you are in a wintry wonderland – SoCal style.
8. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow – on the Malibu Pier + Annual Malibu Woodie Christmas Parade
You may want to eat fresh farm produce atop the Malibu Pier at the restaurant Malibu Farm, but stay for the artificial snow flurries often blasted on the pier from 6 – 7 pm. Your pictures will draw shock and awe as snow is unheard of in the Bu.
The 16th Annual Malibu Christmas Woodie Parade took place on Sunday, December 15 at Malibu Village but don’t miss next year. Admire the classic woodie cars while listening to live music by The Hodads. This year guests enjoyed a seafood clambake feast by Broad Street Oyster Co., coffee from Cafe Luxxe, and wreath- making fun with The Unlikely Florist. Kids and adults loved designing their own woodie ornament too.
9. Sip Holiday-themed Cocktails at a Pop-up Bar
Los Angeles has escalated in festive bar themes for wintertime. Don’t miss Melrose Umbrella Co with its new Miracle Pop-Up Bar decked to high heaven in giant ornaments, massive nutcracker statues, a mini Christmas village over the bar, and even a lit-up Christmas tree forest in the back courtyard.
Here and Now in Downtown LA is bringing the holiday merry drinks to the Arts District through December 31 with a special 15 drink cocktail menu. Consider the large scale Get Blitzen’d served in a ski boot with Altos Tequila, Lustau Fino Sherry, Lillet, lemon, falernum, and bubbles.
A festive tiki car can be found at Runway Playa Vista in Playa del Rey til the end of the month. Enter into the North Pole surrounded by elves, presents, lights, snow, and tributes to classic holiday movies and music. Order up a festive tiki cocktail!
Check out Preux and Proper and The Nomad Hotel both in Downtown LA for more holiday cocktail cheer.
10. Watch the Annual Boat Parade in Marina del Rey or Newport Beach
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is not to be missed. Over 100 light wrapped yachts and ships parade around a 14 miles circuit in the Newport Harbor. To watch for free, stand from any bay-facing point along the harbor during each of the five nights. There are also reserved seats, dining packages, and cruises available for purchase to get up close to the boating action. Learn more about Marina del Rey’s yachting spectacle.
11. Book The Nutcracker Ballet
Each year the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) hosts a Holiday Gala dinner and an exclusive performance at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The one-night-only performance by the Company features Principal Dancers Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, Christine Shevchenko, Cory Stearns, and Devon Teuscher, performing scenes from the Company’s extensive repertoire. A cocktail reception is followed by the show with dinner, and dessert with the dancers. Jennifer Garner is the Honorary Chair of the 2018 and 2019 Holiday Gala. Proceeds support American Ballet Theatre and its educational programs.
If you can’t make this extravagant night, the American Ballet Theatre annual engagement of The Nutcracker occurs from December 13 – 22 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. This beloved classic brings a cast of more than 100 performers to the stage, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s timeless score.
12. Stroll through a fancy hotel lobby
The Four Seasons in Westlake Village or Beverly Hills is a good place to start. Hotel Bel Air, the Beverly Wilshire, and The Mission Inn in Riverside may blow your mind.
13. Ice skate in Santa Monica
A few blocks from the ocean, ice skate in Winter Wonderland at Ice at Santa Monica. Learn more HERE.
14. Spend Quality Time with Friends and Family
No matter where you are in the world, the holidays are all about spending time with those you love most. You want to get out and about, but don’t forget to spend time with your nearest and dearest. Since you’ve got all the lovely weather to yourself, why not invite the entire gang to L.A. to celebrate with you?
Get in the Holiday Spirit the LA Way
You can get seasonally festive even when it’s still bikini weather. The City of Angels offers perfect activities at any time of year.