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.
On Nov. 13, Santa will land at Beverly Center and into a modern, Art Deco inspired set, perfect for photo opportunities throughout the holiday season. The unique, custom designed set is complete with an oversized gold Santa chair with an iconic Los Angeles skyline backdrop. Visit Center Court on level 6 to capture your Santa portrait from Nov. 13 to Dec. 24. Throughout the holidays, Beverly Center customers can enjoy a complimentary cup of delicious Nespresso coffee or espresso while shopping by visiting the Guest Services desk adjacent to the Santa set (promotion ends Feb. 28, 2015). Holiday pet portraits will be available at Beverly Center every day during Santa hours.
From Monday, Nov. 17 to Wednesday, Dec. 24, Celebrate the Season at The Grove features magical snowfall, The Grove’s spectacular 100-foot Christmas tree, Santa's Cottage and more. Starting Nov. 17, snowflakes fall from above every night at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Enjoy the merry melodies of holiday brass and other joyous music from Eddie Wakes and Jake Simpson. Plus, performances from the Top Hats every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:50 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. Pet Night is every Tuesday through Dec. 16. Various photo packages are available for Santa’s Cottage, 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. Gifts aren’t just for humans this holiday season – the zoo’s animals will also partake in the festivities with special behavioral enrichment, including presents to unwrap for the enjoyment of all. Each weekend, dozens of species around the zoo will receive decorated boxes, pine cones and peppermint stick-looking treats. Reindeer will be on view every day from Nov. 28 to Jan. 4. NOTE: The Zoo is closed on Christmas Day.
Indulge in an incredible holiday shopping entertainment experience at the Pomona Harvest Festival, taking place Dec 5-7 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 Sister Swing and Captain Jack Spareribs, while strolling performers add to the holiday cheer, including Mama Claus and Eddie the Elf, WC Willy Stilt Santa, Fables of the West and the Hyjinx Duo.
Grinchmas returns to Universal Studios HollywoodSM for a lively holiday celebration throughout the world-famous theme park. Grinchmas takes place on select dates from Saturday, Dec. 6 to Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015. 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. 6, 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.
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus as they bring holiday cheer to Beverly Hills on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 6-21. Santa Claus will appear at The Paley Center for Media from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for delicious cookies, hot cocoa and a screening of classic holiday television specials, including "Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol," "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and the "I Love Lucy Christmas Special." 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 can hop off and visit Santa or stay seated for a return to Rodeo Drive. Entrance to the Paley Center 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 →
This year’s Hanukkah Family Festival at Skirball Cultural Center highlights two major themes of the holiday, light and freedom (luz y libertad), through the lens of Latin American culture. Enjoy live performances, storytelling, art making, and a host of other family-friendly activities. Families of all backgrounds are welcome to the festival, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14. 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.
Now in its 19th year, Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys is taking place on Saturday, Dec. 20 at The Forum in Inglewood. 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. Tickets to the benefit concert are priced from $49.50 to $159.50.
At last year’s event, Wonder performed his masterpiece, Songs in the Key of Life, in its entirety for the first time ever. Wonder will once again perform the landmark album from start to finish. 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 →