With gorgeous weather and endless entertainment options, the holidays in Los Angeles are like no other city in the country. From classic Christmas music concerts to dazzling light displays and outdoor skating, read our guide to some of the best Los Angeles holiday events and activities that will keep you busy – and joyfully warm.
In keeping with tradition, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) once again offers free rides on Christmas Eve to provide safe transportation and reduce holiday traffic congestion. All Metro Rail and Bus lines are free starting at 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24 until 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 25. Metro Rail and Metro Bus systems operate on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Day.
To get you in the holiday spirit, enjoy the first-ever LA County Holiday Celebration lip dub video, presented by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission!
The Grove’s tenth annual tree lighting on November 11th kicked off its season of Holiday Cheer, Santa and snow. Beginning on November 12th, snowflakes float from above every night at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Enjoy The Grove’s 100-foot tall white fir, featuring more than 15,000 lights and 10,000 festive ornaments. Santa's Cottage is open during center hours from November 12th to December 24th. Pet Night is every Tuesday evening from 6 p.m. to close through December 18th. Various photo packages are available.
Indulge in an incredible holiday shopping entertainment experience at the Pomona Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show. Taking place in Building 4 at Fairplex in Pomona, the Harvest Festival features more than 24,000 handcrafted originals, live music, culinary chef demonstrations, contests, specialty foods, and more. Enjoy all-day stage entertainment featuring Scott Land Marionettes and the Doo-Wah Riders. Plus, keep an eye out for our strolling performers, Mama Claus & Eddie the Elf, WC Willy Elf, Fables of the West and the Smartfellers.
Enjoy holiday entertainment at the members-only Winter Wild! Morning at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, on December 1st, from 8:30-10 a.m. Members of all levels are invited to a free festive event featuring a strolling Santa and his elves, carolers, face painting, holiday music and crafts, and a 20% discount in the International Marketplace. Be sure to bring your camera for photo opportunities with Santa and his elves. Please call (323) 644-4770 to R.S.V.P. for Winter Wild! Morning.
For an additional fee, enjoy a special breakfast during the Winter Wild! Morning. Included in the ticket price is a breakfast buffet (served from 8-9:45am), unlimited rides on the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel until 10am, and an exclusive engagement with Santa from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. Space is limited. Ticket purchases are non-refundable. Tickets to the breakfast are $17 for adults and $13 for children ages 2-12. Children under 2 are free.
Jolly old St. Nick pays a visit to Beverly Hills again this year. Both he and Mrs. Claus will captivate children and adults on Saturdays and Sundays from December 1st to December 23rd. Get into the holiday spirit on the Beverly Hills Trolley, where Mrs. Claus will delight all with holiday stories and songs throughout the tour, which departs at the top of the hour (11 a.m. - 4 p.m.) from Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way. Along the way, the trolley will stop at The Paley Center for Media, where visitors can hop off and spend some one-on-one time with Santa (11 a.m. - 3 p.m.). Afterwards, enjoy holiday beverages and sweet treats before heading into The Paley Center's theater, where holiday television classics are featured on the big screen throughout the afternoon. Tickets for the trolley run $5 per adult and $1 per child (age 12 and under). Visits with Santa at The Paley Center are free. For detailed information on Joy to the Hills events, please visit Love Beverly Hills.
Celebrate freedom, justice, and democracy at the Skirball Cultural Center’s annual Hanukkah family festival. The Skirball’s commemoration of the Jewish holiday is a time for gathering with friends and family and a celebration of the importance of religious freedom and justice. This year, the festivities take inspiration from the exhibition Creating the United States. Families of all backgrounds welcome. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $10 General Admission, $7 Seniors and full-time students. Free to Skirball members and children under 12.
For more than a century, the Tournament of Roses is a festival of flowers, music and sports celebrated by a parade and college football game. But the Tournament is much more: it's America's New Year Celebration, a greeting to the world on the first day of the year, and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry. Beginning with the BCS Selection Sunday Party on December 2nd, to the pre-bowl game tradition of Lawry’s Beef Bowl (Dec. 27-28), and on New Year’s Day, the spectacular Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game, the Tournament of Roses is a festival of flowers, music and sports unequaled anywhere in the world. Read More →
Located in Downtown Los Angeles, the Music Center is home to the Ahmanson Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall. From sing-alongs to the city’s largest holiday celebration, visitors can spend the entire season at the Music Center and never see the same event twice. Read More →
Beginning the weekend of December 8th and 9th, “Grinchmas” returns to Universal Studios Hollywood for a lively holiday season with The Grinch, his faithful dog Max, tons of fresh snow, and nightly celebrity readings as part of the vibrant “Whobilation” tree lighting celebrations. After its opening weekend, “Grinchmas” continues daily from December 15th to the 31st. Best of all, “Grinchmas” is included in the price of theme park admission. At the heart of the winter wonderland is a 60-foot tall “Grinchmas” tree surrounded by The Grinch, Max and a colorfully costumed Who-ville choir, caroling and spreading holiday cheer with their “Whobilation” performances. Prior to select “Whobilations” and tree-lightings, celebrities from the worlds of film, television and music will join the festivities and read entertaining interpretations of the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Throughout the event, The Grinch, Max and the Who-ville Whos will meet fans and pose for holiday photos, while families can enjoy traditional winter fun in a playground of fresh, real snow. During the world-famous Studio Tour, “Grinchmas” will also provide fans of How the Grinch Stole Christmas a close-up view of the original Who-ville film sets from the blockbuster film. As the tram rolls to a stop, guests will experience a one-of-a-kind performance by a Who’s Who of Who-ville re-enacting favorite scenes and songs from the film.
Join Chabad of the Valley for the 11th annual Chanukah concert at Universal CityWalk Hollywood, taking place from 6-9 p.m. on December 9th, the second night of Chanukah. This free event features the lighting of Southern California’s largest menorah and performances by 8th Day, Piamenta - "The Next Generation," Pini Cohen, the LA Cheder Boys Choir and more.
Join Active Arts for its first ever outdoor Ukulele Christmas Orchestra, taking place from 6:30-8 p.m. at Grand Park in Downtown LA. Bring your festive cheer and play along to your favorite holiday songs – as one big happy ukulele orchestra under the starry sky. The event is free, but sign-up is required by December 10th to guarantee your spot. Exclusively for beginner and/or intermediate amateur musicians 18 years and older. Limited seating capacity. All sizes of ukuleles are welcome – soprano/standard, concert, tenor or baritone. Kindly provide your own music stand. Please note that this is not a recital. Come early at 6pm for an optional 30-minute beginner lesson.
Now in its 17th year, Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys will take place on December 15th at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Downtown LA. Each year the legendary musician and special guests raise funds to provide toys for thousands of children in orphanages, hospitals, and shelters all over the country. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the all-ages concert starts at 8. Tickets are priced from $45 to $149.50. The Live Access Now Diamond Package includes a reserved ticket in the front orchestra sections, preferred VIP parking and check-in, and VIP Lounge access with open bar and buffet.
Each year from December 16th until Christmas Eve, Olvera Street merchants and their families walk through El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in a ceremonial re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s nine-night search for sanctuary. The tradition features a procession with sing-alongs and piñata breaking, and is one of the oldest events in the city.