Los Angeles Holiday Events and Activities

Music Center Holiday Sing-Along | Photo courtesy of John McCoy

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 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24 until 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 25. Metro Rail and Metro Bus systems operate on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Day.


Outdoor Ice Skating (Nov. 1, 2013 - Feb. 17, 2014)

LA Kings Holidays Ice | Photo courtesy of L.A. LIVE

Holiday Lights in LA (Nov. 17, 2013 - Jan. 2014)

Photo courtesy of avilon_music, Flickr


From Nov. 7 to Dec. 24, visitors to the Beverly Center are transported to a winter wonderland when they step inside the Ice Palace. This spectacular free exhibit features a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow, a light show and interactive fun for all ages. The Ice Palace will delight the whole family with its 360-degree arctic immersion, via breathtaking video footage from BBC Earth and its award-winning program, Frozen Planet. Visitors can also marvel at the larger-than-life snow globes and sit on the chilly Ice Throne. The icy adventure culminates with a visit to Santa and a special gift.


Holiday music at The Grove | Photo courtesy of 1 Johnny, Flickr

From Monday, Nov. 18 to Tuesday, Dec. 24, Celebrate the Season at The Grove features magical snowfall, The Grove’s spectacular 100-foot Christmas tree, Santa's Cottage, and much more. Starting Nov. 18, snowflakes float from above every night at 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. Enjoy the merry melodies of holiday brass and other joyous musical performances and entertainment. Santa's Cottage is open during The Grove’s holiday hours from Nov. 18 - Dec. 24. Pet Night is every Tuesday evening from 6:00 p.m. to close through Dec. 17. To save time and skip the line, visit Santa's Cottage and take a ticket. Shop and dine while you wait and come back when it’s your turn to see Santa. Various photo packages are available, starting at $20.

Holiday Events at the Original Farmers Market (Nov. 25 - Dec. 24, 2013)

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Grinchmas - Universal Studios Hollywood (Select Days, Nov. 28 - Dec. 31, 2013)

The Grinch is set to deck the halls at Universal Studios HollywoodSM as "Grinchmas" returns to The Entertainment Capital of L.A.SM with "Whobilation" throughout the theme park. The Universal Plaza, an elaborate grand piazza at the heart of the theme park, will serve as the new venue for the towering "Grinchmas" tree - a whimsical centerpiece twisting and spiraling 60 feet above visitors below and providing the ideal location for warm, holiday memory-making. Enchanting "Who-Carolers" will harmonize and entertain guests while The Grinch and his adorable dog Max will be ready for fun-filled photos. Aboard the world-famous Studio Tour, fans of the blockbuster film, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, will have the chance to enjoy a close-up view of the original Who-ville film sets with a one-of-a-kind performance by a Who's Who of Who-ville re-enacting memorable scenes and songs from the family favorite. "Grinchmas" begins on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, and continues on weekends through Dec. 15, then daily from Dec. 20 through Dec. 31 and is included in the price of theme park admission.


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 exhibit every day from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2. Santa Claus photos, holiday crafts, and animal behavioral enrichment presents will take place at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30 - Dec. 22.

Los Angeles Holiday Parades (Dec. 1, 2013 - Jan. 1, 2014)

Photo courtesy of sfPhotocraft, Flickr

Harvest Festival - Pomona Fairplex (Dec. 6-8, 2013)

Indulge in an incredible holiday shopping entertainment experience at the Pomona Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show. Taking place in Building 4 at Pomona Fairplex, 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 strolling performers: Mama Claus & Eddie the Elf, WC Willy Elf, Fables of the West and the Smartfellers.

Winter Wild! Morning - Los Angeles Zoo (Dec. 7, 2013)

Enjoy holiday entertainment at the festive Winter Wild! Morning, taking place at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardenson Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8:30-10:00 a.m. This free event is only open to members of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), the nonprofit corporation created to support the LA Zoo in its mission to nurture wildlife and enrich the human experience. GLAZA membership includes free unlimited admission to the zoo for one year, free docent-led walking tours, discounts, and special members-only events like Winter Wild! Morning. Numerous membership levels are available, for more information and to join GLAZA, visit www.lazoo.org/membership.

Winter Wild! Morning features 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. Call 323.644.4770 to R.S.V.P. for Winter Wild! Morning.


Holiday Events at the Music Center (Dec. 7-24, 2013)

Photo courtesy of John McCoy

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

Santa Claus at Paley Center for Media (Dec. 7-22, 2013)

Beverly Hills holiday banners | Image courtesy of Love Beverly Hills, Facebook

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 Dec. 7 to Dec. 22. 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 (11:00 a.m. - 4:00 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 (11:00 a.m. - 3:00 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 are $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, visit Love Beverly Hills.

Las Posadas at Olvera Street (Dec. 16 - Dec. 24, 2013)

Las Posadas at Olvera Street | Photo courtesy of current events, Flickr

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.

Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys (Dec. 21, 2013)

Photo courtesy of Stevie Wonder, Facebook

Now in its 18th year, Stevie Wonder’s House Full of Toys is taking place on Saturday, Dec. 21 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. This is the seventh consecutive year that Wonder is hosting his benefit concert at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE. 

For the first time ever, Wonder will perform his landmark album, Songs in the Key of Life, in its entirety. Songs in the Key of Life is widely regarded as a masterpiece, a critical and commercial success that’s considered by many to be Wonder’s signature album. It was the first double album by an American artist to debut at Number One on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart and won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. In 2005, Songs in the Key of Life was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, and was listed at Number 56 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” In a 2003 article for Rolling Stone, Elton John wrote, “For me, it's the best album ever made, and I'm always left in awe after I listen to it."

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the concert starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are priced from $49.50 to $149.50. Live Access Now packages offer numerous VIP options, from prime seats to VIP parking, separate entry, and VIP Lounge access with open bar and buffet.

Tournament of Roses (Dec. 27, 2013 - Jan. 1, 2014)

Photo courtesy of Ver Latorre, Flickr

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