With gorgeous weather and endless entertainment options, the holidays in Los Angeles are like no other city. From classic Christmas music concerts to dazzling light displays and outdoor skating, read our guide and learn about some of the best Los Angeles holiday events and activities that will keep you joyfully warm throughout the season.
In keeping with tradition, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) 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 Tuesday, Dec. 24 until 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 25. Metro Rail and Metro Bus systems operate on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Day.
From Sunday, Nov. 15 to Thursday, Dec. 24, Celebrate the Season at The Grove features a spectacular 100-foot Christmas tree, Santa's Cottage, magical snowfall and much more. Snowflakes float from above every night at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Enjoy the merry melodies of holiday brass and other joyous music performances and entertainment. Plus, live outdoor performances from The Top Hats every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:50pm and 7:50pm. Various photo packages for Santa’s Cottage are available, starting at $25.
Reindeer Romp is back at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, featuring a one-of-a-kind holiday wonderland with activities such as visiting real reindeer, making holiday crafts and photos with Santa. The girls - Jingle, Belle, Noel and Velvet - will be on view 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Nov. 27, 2015 through Jan. 3, 2016. NOTE: The L.A. Zoo is closed on Christmas Day.
Indulge in an incredible holiday shopping entertainment experience at the Pomona Harvest Festival, taking place Dec 4-6 at Fairplex. Dazzling in its full holiday splendor, Building 4 puts Santa’s workshop to shame as hundreds of artisans and craftspeople gather to offer more than 24,000 unique handmade original works. Many items can be personalized for that special someone. With live music, contests, specialty foods and a Kidzone, it’s a full day of pure shopping bliss for the entire family. The center stage features Hyjinx Band and Captain Jack Spareribs, while strolling performers add to the holiday cheer, including Mama Claus and Eddie the Elf, WC Willy Stilt Santa and Fables of the West.
Grinchmas returns to Universal Studios HollywoodSM for a lively holiday celebration throughout the world-famous theme park. Enjoy photo ops with The Grinch and his dog Max, story time with Cindy Lou-Who, cookie and ornament decorating at Universal Plaza, and standing beneath the 60-foot Grinchmas tree. Join the Whos as they sing and dance through Who-ville during the Studio Tour Backlot Grinchmas "Who-bilation."
Enjoy holiday entertainment at the festive Winter Wild! Morning, taking place at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 8:30-10 a.m. Winter Wild! Morning features early zoo access, carolers, face painting, holiday music and crafts, as well as a 20% discount in the International Marketplace. Be sure to bring your camera for photo opportunities with Santa and his elves. This free event is only open to members of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), the nonprofit corporation created to support the Los Angeles Zoo.
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus as they bring holiday cheer to Beverly Hills on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 5-20. Santa Claus will appear at The Paley Center for Media from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with delicious treats and a screening of your favorite holiday television specials. For an extra special treat, meet Mrs. Claus at the top of the hour between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way for a scenic tour of historic Beverly Hills sites and landmarks, special songs and stories. The Jolly Trolley ends with a stop at the Paley Center, where guests will have the option to hop off and visit Santa or stay seated for a return to Rodeo Drive. Entrance to The Paley Center for Media is free. Tickets for the Jolly Trolley are available for purchase on board; pricing is $5 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under.
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 →
The light of hope, courage, and perseverance that burns in each of us makes it possible to achieve amazing things together. This year’s Hanukkah Family Festival at Skirball Cultural Center celebrates this theme with music, dance, art making, storytelling, and a host of other family-friendly activities. Highlights include Grammy-nominated pop star Lisa Loeb, West African dance and drum collective S.H.I.N.E. Mawusi, and a Family Finale with the acclaimed Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. Families of all backgrounds are welcome to the festival, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13. General admission is $10, $7 for seniors and full-time students. Free to Skirball members and children under 12.
Each year from Dec. 16 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.
At the annual Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys, the legendary musician and special guests raise funds to provide toys for thousands of children in orphanages, hospitals and shelters all over the country. At last year’s event, Wonder performed his masterpiece, Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety for the first time ever. Considered by many to be Wonder’s signature album, the Grammy Award-winning Songs in the Key of Life was added to the National Recording Registry in 2005 and was listed at Number 56 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
For more than a century, the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena has been a festival of flowers, music and sports celebrated by a parade and college football. 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. From the pre-bowl game feasting at Lawry’s Beef Bowl, to the spectacular Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day, the Tournament of Roses is a Southern California tradition that is unequaled anywhere in the world. Read More →
From elegant black-tie affairs to massive dance parties, Los Angeles is ready to ring in 2016 with some of the best New Year's Eve events in the country. Read our round-up of L.A.'s top events to say farewell to 2015 and welcome the new year. Read More →