Venues to Put You in the Holiday Mood

Photo courtesy of avilon_music, Flickr

It doesn't have to feel like winter to feel like the holidays in Southern California. These spaces go big with festive decorations that will get you humming a holiday tune. And the best part? Visiting them now counts as research for your next event!

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L.A. Zoo Lights | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Zoo, Facebook

Los Angeles Zoo

The Los Angeles Zoo sits on 133 acres in Griffith Park and boasts more than 1,100 animals. But during the holidays, LA Zoo Lights transforms the space into a winter wonderland with a self-guided tour that features animal-themed light displays, 3D projectors, laser lights and thousands of LEDs, as well as live reindeer, hot cocoa, carousel rides and a visit with Santa. While you’re there, take note of the variety of natural, outdoor locations for parties which can accommodate anywhere from 20 to 2000 guests. Learn more about meeting space options at this venue.

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Photo courtesy of Griffith Park Train Rides Facebook page

Griffith Park and Southern Railroad

Griffith Park is one of the nation’s largest urban parks, spanning over 4,200 acres. Nestled within that area is the Southern Railroad which offers holiday train rides–-a one mile track takes you over the river and through the woods on a 1/3 scale reproduction of a classic American train. The miniature villages you pass through are decked out in lights and decorations and the trains run daily after 5 pm. This area, as well as the adjoining Travel Town Museum, are great locations for family-friendly events within the park.

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Photo courtesy of The Grove, Facebook

The Grove

The Grove and Original Farmer’s Market is already a popular destination for shopping and picturesque outdoor dining. But during the holiday season, the Grove boasts the largest Christmas Tree in Los Angeles (nearly 100 feet). Combined with a water fountain light show, holiday music and visits with Santa, this outdoor mall is a must-see in December. While you’re there, check out 189, the new restaurant by Dominique Ansel (of Cronut fame). The beautiful second floor space is just the latest addition to private event spaces in this convenient location.

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Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at The Entertainment Capital of L.A. as Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk which will both be offering interactive holiday experiences. The all-new “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” experience transforms the iconic HogwartsTM castle into a dazzling light projection spectacular, and the quaint town of Hogsmeade village has uniquely themed decorations for each individual storefront. The “Grinchmas” exhibit is also returning with a towering 60-foot tall “Grinchmas” tree and live musical performances by an a cappella boy band, The Who-liday Singers. Universal Studios does it best when it comes to entertaining groups with everything from private tours to events at the Globe Theater. Learn more about meeting space options at this venue.

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

L.A. LIVE Microsoft Square

Microsoft Square is a sweeping 40,000-square foot open area with stunning views of the STAPLES Center, over 20,000 square feet of LED signage, and easy access to numerous hotels and more than 20 restaurants. It’s frequently used for private events and activations of all shapes and sizes (up to 4,000 for a reception). But during the holidays, the LA Kings sponsor a holiday ice rink right in the middle of this concrete jungle. Check out their Supper & Skate packages to sample one of the nearby restaurants. What better way to get a taste of winter and imagine the possibilities for your next event all at the same time?

unique party venues los angeles - westfield century city
The Atrium | Photo courtesy of Westfield Century City, Facebook

Westfield Century City

Century City’s new kid on the block is offering a Thursday night holiday concert series during December with live performances at The Atrium, a 1,000-seat outdoor auditorium designed with concerts in mind. There’s also Cocoa with Santa on Saturdays with photo ops, entertainment, snacks and gifts for a more interactive experience than just waiting in line. A special Hanukkah celebration will also take place on December 13 with a public menorah lighting. Check their full events calendar for a complete list and details on tickets and RSVPs. The newly redesigned mall includes three other distinct event spaces aside from the Atrium, including the Oasis, the Cabana and the Terrace, each located on a different floor of the complex.

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Photo courtesy of Decanso Gardens web site

Decanso Gardens

Decanso Gardens is a 160-acre urban oasis just a short drive away from Los Angeles. It offers everything from indoor meeting spaces for groups of 20-200 to multiple outdoor gardens for 50-200 guests. This time of year, they are most well-known for their Enchanted Forest of Light exhibit. It is a 1-mile, interactive walk through a beautifully-lit, nighttime forest. With a glass of wine in hand, you can take a stroll through this whimsical display and still call it research. Learn more about meeting space options at this venue.


As true destination experts, L.A. Tourism offers award-winning experience, personalized service and seamless convenience. Want to learn more about Los Angeles or ready to plan your next event? Contact the L.A. Tourism Sales team to make your planning and decision-making easy, simple and stress-free.