The Best Holiday Events and Activities in Los Angeles

Christmas events, concerts, outdoor ice skating, dazzling lights and more

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 ice 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.

Disco Ball Forest at LA Zoo Lights
Disco Ball Forest | Photo: LA Zoo Lights

Holiday Lights in LA

During holiday nights, dazzling light displays throughout Los Angeles bring the city to vibrant life with traditional lighting ceremonies and festive decorations.

Santa Claus and his reindeer at the Hollywood Christmas Parade
Photo: Hollywood Christmas Parade, Facebook

Los Angeles Holiday Parades

Everyone loves a parade! In Los Angeles you can welcome Santa Claus when his sled lands on Hollywood Boulevard, watch a procession of colorfully decorated boats, and experience the world-famous Rose Parade.

Holidays 2019 at Universal Studios Hollywood
Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood

The whole family can get in the festive spirit with spectacular holiday experiences at Universal Studios Hollywood! Celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, join in the most Who-tacular Grinchmas™ celebration ever, and end the day at Universal CityWalk, where you can enjoy holiday shopping, the 40-foot Christmas tree, and fantastic dining.

Universal Studios Hollywood The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle
The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood
Holiday Frog Choir at Universal Studios Hollywood
Holiday Frog Choir | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

The quaint wizarding village of Hogsmeade™ is transformed with merry decor to celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Stroll through the village while sipping a delicious Hot Butterbeer™, dine on savory festive fare at Three Broomsticks™, and shop for exclusive keepsakes like personalized ornaments, garlands, scarves and stockings. Enjoy delightful a cappella performances of holiday favorites by the Hogwarts Frog Choir.

Beginning at dusk each night, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle dazzles visitors with stunning imagery and animation that illuminates Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and infuses the land with music from the Harry Potter film series.

Family photo with The Grinch at Grinchmas in Universal Studios Hollywood
Family photo with The Grinch™ at Grinchmas™ | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

The Who-tacular Grinchmas™ celebration returns in festive fashion as park-goers gather around the topsy-turvy 65 foot-tall Grinchmas tree at Universal Plaza, adorned with hundreds of ornaments and thousands of LED lights. A dazzling tree lighting ceremony and snowfall flurry will take place every evening, bringing season’s greetings from The Grinch, his faithful dog Max, and the Who-ville Whos, who will be performing on select nights. Themed sweet treats such as hot cocoa will be available for purchase.

Holidays Made Here - Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Holidays Made Here | Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Celebrate the Holidays at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Holidays Made Here at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood returns as a special feature included as part of all Studio Tours for a limited time from December 22, 2022, through January 1, 2023 (closed December 25). The special feature will be centered around Midwest Street Backlot, known by Gilmore Girls fans as the set location for Stars Hollow from Warner Bros. Television’s beloved series. Many photo opportunities will be available, including in front of the iconic gazebo, the official Stars Hollow town sign, Luke’s Diner, Lorelai’s house, Mrs. Kim’s Antiques, the Bjork Snowman, and Doose’s Market. Take time to sip on hot coffee and Pop-Tarts® and other delectable treats available for purchase throughout Stars Hollow. Enjoy holiday-themed trivia, guided tours of Stars Hollow, and behind-the-scenes stories from Gremlins, Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and many other holiday fan favorites.

LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE
LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE | Photo: LA Kings Insider

LA Kings Holiday Ice

“Skate like a King” this holiday season at the annual LA Kings Holiday Ice, located at L.A. LIVE's Xbox Plaza across the street from STAPLES Center. Featuring four daily sessions of outdoor ice skating, LA Kings Holiday Ice offers several ticket options. General Admission is $25 per person and available on-site only, no online sales. Discounted $20 tickets for children (age 6 and under), seniors (62 and over), military with ID (up to 4 guests), and LA Kings Season Ticket Members with STM ID (up to 4 guests, 5 tickets total).

A limited number of Fast Pass tickets are available daily for each session. Fast Passes are $45 and only available online. Group Tickets (25 or more guests) and Private Rentals (non-public hours) are also available.

After your ice skating session, show your ticket stub and enjoy Supper & Skate discounts at participating L.A. LIVE restaurants like Fleming’s, Katsuya and Lucky Strike.

Santa's North Pole Journey at Westfield Century City
Santa's North Pole Journey | Photo: Westfield Century City

Westfield Century City, Topanga & Santa Anita

The holidays are in full swing at Westfield Century CityWestfield Topanga & The Village, and Westfield Santa Anita! All three locations are hosting visits with Santa and festive events to go along with your holiday shopping.

LA Master Chorale 37th Annual "Messiah" Sing-Along at Walt Disney Concert Hall
"Messiah" Sing-Along at Walt Disney Concert Hall | Photo: Los Angeles Master Chorale, Facebook

Holiday Events at the Music Center

Located in Downtown Los Angeles, The Music Center is home to four of LA's most iconic venues: the Ahmanson Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall. From concerts and 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.

Property of Discover Los Angeles
Las Posadas at Olvera Street | Photo courtesy of current events, Flickr

Las Posadas at Olvera Street

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.

Will Ferrell in "Elf" (2003)
Will Ferrell in "Elf" (2003) | Photo: "Elf," Facebook

Yuletide Cinemaland - Heritage Square Museum

Presented by Street Food Cinema, Yuletide Cinemaland is a series of outdoor movie screenings at Heritage Square Museum. Tickets to Yuletide Cinemaland are now on sale and include Victorian Home Tours, a twinkling light tunnel, Santa Meet & Greet, the Tinsel Tavern Bar, piano sing-alongs, food trucks and more.

Gleampunk District at Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Gleampunk District at Holiday in the Park | Photo: Six Flags Magic Mountain
Snowy Nights at Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Snowy Nights at Holiday in the Park | Photo: Six Flags Magic Mountain

Holiday in the Park - Six Flags Magic Mountain

Renowned as the “Thrill Capital of the World,” Six Flags Magic Mountain lights up the season during its annual holiday extravaganza, Holiday in the Park. Experience the park’s record-breaking 19 roller coasters (aka “Santa’s Sleighs”), such as CraZanity, the tallest pendulum ride on the West Coast; West Coast Racers, the world's first single-track quadruple racing coaster; and X2, the world’s first 4th Dimension coaster.

More than two million lights will transform the park into eight holiday-themed Winter Wonderlands: Gleampunk District, Holiday Square, the new ‘50s-inspired HollyRock, Merry Lane, Peppermint Path, Polar Point, souvenir photos in Santa’s Village, and Snowy Nights.

A Taste of the Holidays features a variety of festive eats in the Winter Wonderlands, including Holiday Poutine (turkey and chicken), Enchilada Soup, Tamales, Holiday in the Park Churro Dip, Snow Balls (powdered Asain donuts), and adult beverages like Hot Toddy, Frosty's Elixir and Cranberry Mimosa.

Nightly entertainment includes crafts with Mrs. Claus, S’mores Fire Pits, a traveling toy soldier troupe, choreographed light entertainment, and live holiday music and dancers.

Guests can take home Holiday in the Park gifts and souvenirs, such as novelty apparel, ornaments, and soft plush toys. For every Holiday Friend plush toy purchased, Six Flags will donate five dollars to the Special Olympics.

"The Nutcracker" at Bob Baker Marionette Theater
"The Nutcracker" | Photo: Bob Baker Marionette Theater

The Nutcracker - Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Located at its new home in Highland Park, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater presents its adaptation of The Nutcracker, one of its most beloved shows. More than 100 handcrafted puppets will take the whole family on an enchanting holiday adventure - meet the Sugarplum Fairy and her Promenading Cakes; dance with the Waltzing Flowers, cheer for the Nutcracker band, The Go-Go's; and marvel at the wonders beyond the Mysterious Door. Guests are invited to partake in the theater's post-show tradition: ice cream for everyone! Tickets are now on sale with two options: theater seating, or "Criss-Cross-Applesauce" floor seating.

Hanukkah Festival - Skirball Cultural Center

Get in the holiday spirit at the annual Hanukkah Festival, taking place from 2pm - 6pm at the Skirball Cultural Center on Sunday, December 18. Beloved klezmer rockers Mostly Kosher headline this year’s festival with support from Dublab DJ Callie Ryan and dance leaders Bruce Bierman and Gilberto Melendez. Plus, the Skirball Storytellers bring the Hanukkah story to life with a theatrical performance featuring puppetry. Share a plate (or two) of latkes and jelly doughnuts, strike a pose in a holiday-themed photo booth, and light up the night with a handcrafted torch-making activity. At sundown, join in for a joyous community candle lighting. 

Playing with "ice blocks" at the Kidspace Winter Frolic
Playing with "ice blocks" at the Kidspace Winter Frolic | Photo: Jamie Pham, Kidspace Children's Museum

Winter Frolic - Kidspace Children's Museum

The Winter Frolic transforms the Kidspace Children's Museum into a joyful land of wonder and delight. The seven-week Winter Frolic is a fairytale come to life - little ones can feel free to explore, create, and celebrate with their families (and a few new fantasy forest friends). The Kidspace Winter Frolic offers a flurry of experiences and programs, including the no-ice Sock Skating Rink; “ice fishing” in the Kidspace Interpretive Arroyo Stream; winter sculpture building with special "ice blocks"; and snowflake decorating at the Kidspace Winter Craft Station.

Rose Parade 2022 Grand Marshal LeVar Burton
Rose Parade 2022 Grand Marshal LeVar Burton | Photo: Tournament of Roses

Tournament of Roses

Founded in 1890, the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena is 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.

Snowboarder on a downhill run at Mountain High
Photo: Mountain High, Facebook

Surf & Ski in the Same Day in LA

Angelenos and visitors alike have heard that in Los Angeles, you can surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon. With Downtown LA as your home base, we’ll show you several options that will make you the envy of your surfing and skiing friends and family. Whether it's during the holidays or any time of year, you can start your day in the beautiful Pacific Ocean and finish your adventure at the stunning mountains above LA County.