Los Angeles Holiday Events and Activities

The Music Center Holiday Sing-Along
The 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. 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. 

Outdoor Ice Skating (November 2016 - January 2017)

LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE
LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE I Photo courtesy of L.A. LIVE

Holiday Lights in L.A. (November 2016 - January 2017)

Photo courtesy of avilon_music, Flickr

CELEBRATE THE SEASON - THE GROVE (Nov. 14 - Dec. 25, 2016)

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

From Sunday, Nov. 14 to Sunday, Dec. 25, 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 6:50 p.m. and 7:50 p.m.

REINDEER ROMP - LA ZOO (NOV. 18, 2016 - JAN. 8, 2017)

Reindeer Romp at the Los Angeles Zoo
Reindeer Romp | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Zoo

Reindeer Romp is back at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, featuring the festive Reindeer Village and daily visits with real reindeer. Weekend Romps at the Snowflake Stage include Swazzle’s Holiday Extravaganza Puppet Show, ice carving, crafts, holiday songs by The Beverly Belles, and photos with Santa (additional fee). The reindeer will be on view 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Nov. 18, 2016 through Jan. 8, 2017. Note: The zoo is closed on Christmas Day.

Los Angeles Holiday Parades (Nov. 27, 2016 - Jan. 2, 2017)

Photo courtesy of sfPhotocraft, Flickr

Holiday Events at the Music Center (Dec. 3-24, 2016)

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

Grinchmas - Universal Studios Hollywood (Now Through Jan. 1, 2017)

Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood
Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

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."

Santa Claus & the Jolly Trolley - Paley Center for Media (Nov. 26 - Dec. 18, 2016)

Santa and Mrs. Claus at Two Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
Santa and Mrs. Claus at Two Rodeo Drive | Photo courtesy of Love Beverly Hills, Facebook

Join Santa and Mrs. Claus as they bring holiday cheer to Beverly Hills on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 26 - Dec. 18. Santa Claus will appear at The Paley Center for Media from 11 a.m. to 5 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 3 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.

Las Posadas at Olvera Street (Dec. 16-24, 2016)

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.


This year’s Hanukkah Family Festival at the Skirball Cultural Center honors the light of creativity and hope that helps the whole community achieve great things together. The celebration features live music performances, dance, printmaking, storytelling and 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. 18. Limited one-hour tickets to Noah’s Ark will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Museum doors and Will Call open at 10 a.m. General Admission is $12, $9 for seniors and full-time students, and $7 for children ages 2-12. Free to Skirball members and children under 2.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As it has for decades, The Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax will celebrate the holidays with Yuletide decor, a multicultural variety of seasonal music, arts and crafts, Christmas Karaoke and more. The Market’s holiday music line-up offers an eclectic range of musical styles, from Latin jazz to Calypso and mariachi. A favorite Market tradition returns with carolers strolling the aisles in Dickensian costumes. Holiday events and activities at The Original Farmers Market are free. For the complete lineup and schedule, check the holiday event flyer.

Tournament of Roses (Dec. 27, 2016 - Jan. 2, 2017)

City of Los Angeles float in the 2014 Rose Parade
City of Los Angeles float in the 2014 Rose Parade | Photo courtesy of Prayitno, Discover L.A. Flickr group

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

New Year's Eve Events

Photo courtesy of Ben Chaney, Flickr

From elegant black-tie affairs to massive dance parties, Los Angeles is ready to ring in 2017 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 2016 and welcome the new year. Read More → 

Surf & Ski in the Same Day in L.A.

Snowboarder at Mountain High
Photo courtesy of Mountain High, Facebook