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.

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 Monday, Dec. 24 until 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 25. Metro Rail and Metro Bus systems will operate on a Monday schedule on Christmas Day.

Silent Skate Party at the Bai Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square
Silent Skate Party at the Bai Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square | Photo: Holiday Ice Rink DTLA, Facebook

Outdoor Ice Skating (Through January 2020)

One of LA's most popular holiday traditions is skating at the various outdoor ice rinks throughout the city. Take advantage of the beautiful Los Angeles winter weather and get a tan as you skate on a sunny afternoon. Or bundle up and enjoy the crisp night air while skating under the stars. Just remember the rules of the rink and enjoy the holidays.

Moonlight Forest Shark at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Moonlight Forest | Photo: Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Holiday Lights in LA (Through January 2020)

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 (December 2019 - January 1, 2020)

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 (Through Dec. 29, 2019)

Get in the festive spirit with spectacular holiday experiences at Universal Studios Hollywood! Surrounded by holiday decor, you can celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, enjoy the most Who-tacular Grinchmas™ celebration ever, and end your day at Universal CityWalk, where you can enjoy world-class shopping, dining, and movies at the state-of-the-art Cinema.

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

This holiday season, Hogsmeade™ is transformed with festive décor to celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Experience The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle with dazzling lights and music cast against the majestic backdrop of Hogwarts. Hear holiday favorites performed by the Hogwarts student choir accompanied by their giant throaty frogs. Shop for holiday ornaments, stockings, tree toppers and figurines, then enjoy seasonal food and beverage offerings at Three Broomsticks™, including a Holiday Dinner and hot Butterbeer™.

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

This holiday celebrate with The Grinch™, Max and all of Who-ville, during the most Who-tacular Grinchmas™ celebration ever. Snap a selfie with The Grinch and Max for holiday memories that last a lifetime, then enjoy the spectacular lighting of the spectacular 60-foot Seussian tree. Listen to cheery Christmas carols from the Who-ville singers, then decorate ornaments – prepare for messy fingers! Enjoy Martha May Who-vier and the Who-Dolls’ big holiday revue before settling in for story time with Cindy Lou Who.

Winter Nights at Westfield Santa Anita
Winter Nights at Westfield Santa Anita | Photo: Eventbrite
Holiday Skating Rink at Westfield Century City
Holiday Skating Rink | Photo: Westfield Century City

Winter Nights & More at Westfield (December 2019)

Westfield is sharing the joy of the holidays at their shopping, dining and entertainment hubs in Century City, Santa Anita, and Topanga & The Village. The spirit of the season is in full swing at each location, with special events that you’ll want to add to your calendar alongside your holiday shopping.

Lorelai and Rory Gilmore's house at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Lorelai and Rory Gilmore's house | Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Gilmore Girls Holiday - Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood (Dec. 21, 2019 - Jan. 5, 2020)

Starting December 21, fans of Gilmore Girls can explore the Warner Bros. backlot as it transforms into Stars Hollow for Gilmore Girls Holiday. Imagine lunching in Lorelai’s yard, peeking inside Luke’s Diner, and standing on Sookie’s front porch as you relive your favorite moments from the show. Gilmore Girls Holiday runs Dec. 21, 2019 - Jan. 5, 2020 as part of Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood.

  • Enjoy a holiday-themed lunch filled with Lorelai’s favorites, and of course, Luke’s coffee available for purchase. Even though Sookie won’t be preparing them herself, Emily Gilmore surely would approve of these culinary treats!
  • Pose with the actual Stars Hollow sign from the show as you enter the town.
  • Stroll through the town square and take a picture in the Gazebo where Rory, Lorelai, Luke, and their neighbors gathered during the festive season.
  • New for 2019: Pose for a picture in front of Luke’s Diner and reminisce about the many “life changing” coffee chats that were shared inside.
  • Explore the town square and walk up the stairs of Stars Hollow High School just like Rory, Lane, and Dean.
  • Take the Gilmore Girls Holiday experience home with you with exclusive merchandise – available for purchase only at the Warner Bros. Studio Store.


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 (December 2019)

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 (Dec. 16-24, 2019)

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.

Holiday Light Path at Snow Day LA
Photo: Snow Day LA

Snow Day LA (Through Dec. 29, 2019)

Snow Day LA is an outdoor winter wonderland in Elysian Park featuring winter tubing, the new Enchanted Crystal Winter Garden with 30+ giant glowing crystals, an interactive light show (guests control the lights with musical instruments!), animated penguin holiday light path, and a giant glowing mountain light show. There's also food trucks, snacks and hot drinks.

Snow LA is taking place at The Old Lodge at Montecillo De Leo Politi Park, located on Stadium between Scott Road & Academy Road. Tickets start at $12, with optional Penguin VIP Pass (Very Important Penguin) which includes fast pass, access to the Beer & Wine Cash Bar, and a take-home penguin or snow owl onesie. Tickets are now on sale at the Snow Day LA website.

Photo with Santa at the LA Zoo Winter Wild Weekends
Santa at Winter Wild Weekends | Photo: LA Zoo

Winter Wild Weekends - LA Zoo (Through Dec. 22, 2019)

Winter Wild Weekends at the LA Zoo feature hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind items available for purchase, eco workshops and kids’ craft activities, live music, snow flurries twice daily, treats for select animals, and, of course, photos with Santa (for an additional fee). All activities except Santa photos are free for Zoo members and with paid admission.

Winter Wild Weekend activities (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

  • Gift bazaar featuring 15 expertly curated local crafters
  • Two 30-minute sustainable living workshops per day (time TBA)
  • Live music throughout the day
  • Eco crafting station
  • Holiday treats for the animals (full schedule)
  • Snowfall twice daily in the Holiday Village at Eucalyptus Grove, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Photos with Santa (for an additional fee) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Holidays at The Original Farmers Market
Holidays at The Original Farmers Market | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Original Farmers Market (Dec. 18-24, 2019)

As it has for decades, The Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax will celebrate the holidays with Yuletide decor, globally-inspired seasonal music, arts & 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 popular Market tradition returns with carolers strolling the aisles in Dickensian costumes. There's also a Hanukkah Celebration from 2:30-5:30pm on Sunday, December 22 with the lighting of a giant LEGO menorah, music, and arts & crafts.

Holiday events and activities at The Original Farmers Market are free, check the online flyer for the full schedule.

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

Holiday Movies (December 2019)

From beloved classics like "It's A Wonderful Life" and "White Christmas" to modern favorites such as "Elf" and "Home Alone," holiday movies will be screening throughout December at movie theatres and outdoor venues across Los Angeles. Many screenings include special guests, sing-alongs and interactive experiences with the price of admission.

Hermey the Elf and Rudolph in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964)
Hermey the Elf and Rudolph in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964) | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

"It's Holiday Time in PaleyLand" - The Paley Center for Media (Through Jan. 5, 2020)

The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills celebrates the joy of the season with a special family-friendly experience. "It’s Holiday Time in PaleyLand" features screenings of beloved classic holiday TV programs from the Paley Archive, along with family holiday activities and a visit with Santa. Playing continuously on the big screen Wednesday-Sunday from noon to 5pm are classics like Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Rugrats Kwanzaa, Elmo’s World: Happy Holidays, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.

Visit with Santa and take a photo on weekends and select weekdays from 11am - 5pm. Families can also enjoy special holiday activities like arts & crafts, dreidel games, plus free hot cocoa!

Hanukkah Festival - Skirball Cultural Center (Dec. 15, 2019)

Celebrate the Jewish festival of light at the Skirball Cultural Center while enjoying music, dance, storytelling, art making, and tasty treats! Get in the holiday spirit at the annual Hanukkah Festival with musical performances by Klezmer Juice, hear classic Hanukkah tunes and folk music by fiddler and accordionist duo Zingarella, and be dazzled by capoeira performed by Dana Maman and Friends. Take a little bit of the festival home with you by creating a one-of-a-kind art project or making a delicious treat with Maite Gomez-Rejón (ArtBites). Be inspired as Noah’s Ark storytellers recount the age-old tale of Hanukkah in both English and Spanish, and join a special Hanukkah sing-along. Then listen to author Alan Silberberg read his book Meet the Latkes.

Visit the temporary exhibitions Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs and El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer, or check out the Hanukkah lamps on display in Visions and Values. And explore Noah’s Ark at the Skirball™ (limited one-hour tickets available on site only on a first-come, first-served basis).

Enjoy special Hanukkah dishes, such as latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), and grab-and-go items, including fresh salads and sandwiches. Before you go, head over to Audrey’s Museum Store to pick up unique holiday merchandise.

Six Flags Magic Mountain Holiday in the Park
Holiday in the Park | Photo: Six Flags Magic Mountain

Holiday in the Park - Six Flags Magic Mountain (Through Jan. 5 ,2020)

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. With more than two million lights and seven uniquely themed areas, the park will transform into a spectacularly lit winter wonderland for guests to enjoy this holiday season. The event has expanded to 44 nights— the most its ever presented— through January 5. Holiday in the Park begins each day at 5 p.m., signaled by the first falling snow of the evening.

In addition, Six Flags Magic Mountain is bringing back the popular holiday themed food festival, Taste of the Holidays, December 14-29. Guests will enjoy a wide variety of specialty holiday foods, from traditional culinary delights to unique non-traditional treats.

Park guests will experience seven Holiday in the Park themed areas:

  • Located in METROPOLIS™, Merry Lane features thousands of twinkling lights synchronized to holiday music and a 30-foot brilliantly lit walk through ornaments. To add to the festive mood, families can roast marshmallows over a fire pit.
  • Santa’s Cottage is home to the jolly man with the white beard and red suit, along with crafts with Mrs. Claus and her merry elves. Visit Santa in his new home next to Bugs Bunny World every Holiday in the Park operating day beginning at 1pm until December 24.
  • Take a step back in time to the 19th century in the Gleampunk District: A Steampunk Holiday experience. Thousands of lights will illuminate the tree-lined streets and planters of the largest themed area of Holiday in the Park. At the Gearworks Theater, revelers will take a video journey into the inner workings of the Steampunk Candy and Toy Factory. Be sure to take a photo in the iconic steampunk sleigh!
  • The Six Flags Plaza area will be transformed into Holiday Square, featuring hundreds of thousands of lights on trees and buildings while snowflakes delight guests as they enter Holiday in the Park.
  • Snowy Nights is a live holiday show featuring contemporary music and themed dancers on the Full Throttle stage.
  • Spiced-up holiday treats, falling snow and larger-than-life toy soldiers will be the focal point in the Winter Wonderland area, beginning on the midway past Viper and extending up through the Mining Town area.
  • DC UNIVERSE™ comes to life as Rockin’ Universe, one of the largest programmed light shows on the West Coast, featuring three dancing light shows customized to contemporary holiday music.

Merry & Bright in Marina del Rey (Through Dec. 31, 2019)

Enjoy the holiday season in Marina del Rey with signature winter events. Burton Chace Park is the place to be for festive fun, including nightly Christmas lights throughout December, as well as the Snow Wonder festival and Holiday Boat Parade.

MARINA LIGHTS (December 2019)
Enjoy the festive glow at Burton Chace Park nightly from 4-10 p.m. Make it a fun family outing with dinner at one of the Marina’s waterfront restaurants, then walk around the park to enjoy the holiday light displays.

On select Saturday nights, enjoy live holiday music in Burton Chace Park from 4-6 p.m. After each performance, a film will be shown from 6 to 8 p.m. (see below) Admission is free. Hot cocoa and refreshments are available for purchase.

  • December 21 & 28: The Voices of Christmas are strolling carolers who will sing acapella holiday classics.

Watch free Saturday night screenings of holiday films, starting at 6 p.m. Admission is free. Hot cocoa and refreshments available for purchase.

  • December 21: Elf
  • December 28: Avengers: Endgame

On December 14, Burton Chace Park was transformed into Snow Wonder, featuring tons of real snow and a sledding hill, crafts, music, face painting, and food booths. After Snow Wonder, everyone stayed in the park to view the fireworks show that kicked off the 57th annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade.

Santa Claus in the Captain's Quarters at Queen Mary Christmas
Santa Claus in the Captain's Quarters at Queen Mary Christmas | Photo: The Queen Mary, Facebook

Queen Mary Christmas (Through Jan. 1, 2020)

The Queen Mary invites one and all to embrace the holiday spirit at Queen Mary Christmas, taking place on select dates through January 1. Start your adventure at the outdoor North Pole Village with ice skating at the True North Ice Rink circling a 26-foot Christmas tree, then jump aboard the QM Express Train or the Grand Carousel for more festive fun. Enjoy strolling performers, gingerbread house making, stocking decorating, or a sweet treat or libation as you watch live entertainment on the outdoor stage before climbing aboard the Queen Mary to take in the dazzling decor.

The merriment continues aboard the ship, where you’ll find Mrs. Claus reading stories to little ones and Ol’ Saint Nick hosting meet-and-greets in the Captain’s Quarters. The Queen Mary’s 4-D Theater will screen a special 4-D version of The Polar Express movie, complete with hot cocoa smells and snow flurries for a magical movie experience.

Tickets to Queen Mary Christmas start at $29 for General Admission ($22 for kids 4-11), with options for VIP Admission, Date Night Package, Reideer Peak Cabanas, Breakfast with Santa, Ghosts of Christmas Passed, and Holiday Dinner Show.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater at Holiday Cheer on the Pier
Bob Baker Marionette Theater | Photo: Holiday Cheer on the Pier

Holiday Cheer on the Pier - Santa Monica Pier (Through Jan. 6, 2020)

The landmark Santa Monica Pier presents Holiday Cheer on the Pier, a month-long art installation and event calendar to celebrate the holiday season. Highlights include the beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater, photos with Surfer Santa, Holiday Story & Craft Time, and the annual Holiday Market on the Pier.

The historic merry go-round windows come to life with a whimsical holiday installation by renowned Australian artists Pip & Pop. Thousands of tiny handmade sweet and sparkly objects will create a hyper-colored dreamscape - a place of fantasy, utopia and magic. 

LA's beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater is bringing the holiday spectacular back to the Pier for three nights of puppetry, singalongs and cheer. The final free performance of the season will take place on the Merry-Go-Round Deck at 6pm and 7pm on December 19.

Enjoy holiday carols on the Merry-Go-Round Deck from the most festive all-female doo-wop group, The Noelles. The free performances are taking place on December 21-22 at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm.

Tournament of Roses 2020 Grand Marshals Laurie Hernandez, Rita Moreno and Gina Torres
2020 Grand Marshals: Laurie Hernandez, Rita Moreno and Gina Torres (L to R) | Photo: Tournament of Roses

Tournament of Roses (December 2019 - January 2020)

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.