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The Best Christmas and Holiday Events In And Around Los Angeles

LA Zoo Lights is one of the many fun holiday events in Los Angeles in December (photo by Jamie Pham courtesy of the LA Zoo)

The holiday season is officially here, and Southern California is ready to celebrate. Families have a variety of ways to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah in Los Angeles during this festive time of the year! There are so many fun Christmas and holiday events in Los Angeles listed here, there’s sure to be something for everyone in your family to love.

Looking for: Las Posadas, outdoor Ice Skating, where to see Santa Claus, Hanukkah celebrations, Christmas Boat Parades? We’ve got those and more!

MomsLA is your source for Things to do in Los Angeles With Kids

LA Zoo Lights is one of the many fun holiday events in Los Angeles in December (photo by Jamie Pham courtesy of the LA Zoo)
photo by Jamie Pham courtesy of the LA Zoo

LA Zoo Lights
Los Angeles Zoo
5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027

LA Zoo Lights is a yearly holiday light extravaganza. Each night from November 15th through January 5, 2020, between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, families will marvel at the “world’s largest illuminated pop-up storybook, a magical disco ball forest, giant glittering snowflakes, and a twinkling tunnel filled with dynamic swirls of color.” Santa Claus will be available for photos on select days. Check the website for details and ticket information. (Closed November 28, December 24, and December 25). 

The Polar Express Train Ride – Southern California
Fillmore and Perris, CA

The Polar Express™ Train Ride is coming to Southern California for the first time this holiday season, with two locations to choose from: Fillmore, CA and Perris, CA. Departures will begin Nov. 14 and continue select dates through Dec. 29. The magical story comes to life when the train departs for a round-trip journey to the North Pole led by a cast of professional actors. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on The Polar Express™ for a magical one-hour trip to meet Santa. Tickets are on sale now. Chris Van Allsburg (author of The Polar Express) will take part in two special book signings on Dec. 4 (Fillmore, CA) and Dec. 5 (Perris, CA).

Enchanted: Forest of Light
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Enchanted: Forest of Light returns to Descanso Gardens beginning on Sunday, November 17th and continuing through January 5, 2020 (5:30 pm to 10:00 pm each night). If you’re not familiar with it, Enchanted: Forest of Light is an “interactive, nighttime experience.” This one-mile walk is a rain or shine event. Stroll through and and marvel at the “variety of large-scale light displays, many of which are interactive, allowing visitors to manipulate the lights and sounds.” Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available  online. 

Christmas on the Farm
Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Rd., Moorpark, CA 93021

Celebrate the holiday season at Underwood Family Farms. From November 29th through December 15th, you can purchase (or simply enjoy) fresh-cut northwest trees, mistletoe, and wreaths. In addition, Santa will be visiting the farm for two different weekends (December 7-8 and December 14-15). 

Holiday Festivities
The Original Farmers Market
6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90036

Celebrate Hanukkah and participate in a special menorah lighting ceremony on Sunday, December 22nd from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm. Families will also enjoy music and arts and crafts at this annual event. Additionally, from December 18th through December 24th, families can enjoy the cheer and good will of the holiday season at the Original Farmers Market. Different festivities are planned for each day, and details are available online. You can expect live musical entertainment, strolling carolers, festive decorations, holiday crafts, and more. 

Snow Day LA
The Old Lodge – Montecillo De Leo Politi Park
2010 Stadium Way, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Here in Los Angeles, it may not snow in the traditional sense, but that doesn’t mean families can’t play in the snow. Snow Day LA allows families to experience multiple winter themed synthetic tubing lanes built directly onto the giant hills of The Old Lodge at Montecillo De Leo Politi Park! New this year is the Enchanted Crystal Winter Garden featuring “over 30 giant glowing crystals, some as tall as 10 feet!” Families will also enjoy an interactive light show,  food trucks, an animated penguin holiday light path, music, and more. The fun happens on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays beginning November 8th and continuing through December 29th, 2019. Ticket information is available online. 

Here’s our list of places for Snow Play this Winter!

Downtown LA Holiday Lights Walking Tour
meets at Union Station
800 Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Downtown LA Walking Tours offers a special two-hour holiday-themed walking tour of downtown Los Angeles. “Lights, decorations, festivities and holiday cheer abound as we stroll through the central city during the most joyous time of the year!” The tour begins at Union Station and concludes at Pershing Square. Tour highlights include The Broad Museum, Grand Park with its illuminated fountain, and Walt Disney Concert Hall, among others. Check the website for ticket information. 

Las Posadas
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Los Angeles, CA 90012

This yearly event is a nine-night re-enactment of the journey of Mary and Joseph. Each night families will enjoy singing, a candlelight procession, and a children’s piñata breaking. Las Posadas is scheduled for December 16th through December 24th from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. 

See our list of Las Posadas for more!

El Pueblo Tree Lighting Ceremony
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Los Angeles, CA 90012

The El Pueblo Tree Lighting Ceremony is happening on Friday, December 6th from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. This special event is a festive way to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. The evening includes live entertainment including folkloric dancers and mariachi singers. There will also be a children’s workshop, vintage cars on display, face painting, and of course, the official lighting of the Plaza Christmas tree. 

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and
Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Families are invited to Universal Studios Hollywood to celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Enjoy a holiday spectacle complete with festive decor, nightly snowfall, lights, and music. Additionally, families who enjoy the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss will enjoy Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood. Festivities include musical performances, photo opportunities, the chance to send The Grinch a postcard, and more. Ticket information is available online. 

Grand Park’s Winter Glow
Grand Park
200 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Grand Park’s Winter Glow is a “nighttime public art display, offering an immersive experience that will span two county locations this holiday season.” Stroll through “this illuminated and interactive art installation” transforming spaces on The Music Center Plaza and in Grand Park. Grand Park’s Winter Glow begins December 6th and continues through December 25th. 

Holiday Events in the Marina del Rey
Burton Chace Park
13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, CA

Burton Chace Park invites families to experience the holidays throughout the month of December. Holiday music and an outdoor film on December 7th, 21st, and 28th. Enjoy Marina Lights each evening in December from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Snow Wonder is happening on December 14th (from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm) – a day when Burton Chace Park is transformed into a winter wonderland with real snow! Check the website for details. 

Christmas Events Worth Driving For

Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355

Magic Mountain is ready to celebrate the holidays with your family. Enjoy “thrilling rides, tasty treats, and exciting family entertainment for the holiday season.” The amusement park is “transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of colorful lights, carolers,”and more including special holiday treats and snacks. Holiday in the Park is happening November 23-30 and December 1-3. Tickets are available online.

27th Annual Festival of Lights
The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA 92501

The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa invites families to its annual Festival of Lights. This year the festivities begin on Friday, November 29th. The free, five-week long “holiday extravaganza” features “one of the nation’s largest holiday light collections of its kind.” The Hotel will be illuminated with 5 million holiday lights! In addition, the Festival of Lights features more than 200 animated figures, the world’s largest man-made mistletoe, horse-drawn carriages, and more. 

Visit Santa’s Village
28950 CA-18, Skyforest, CA 92385

While a trip to the North Pole may be out of the question, you can visit Santa’s Village here in southern California. “A Nostalgic Christmas at Santa’s Village” is happening from November 21st through January 5th, 2020. There is lots to see and do in this magical spot including writing letters to Santa, visits with Santa, workshops with Santa’s Elves, entertainment, and so much more. Tickets are available online. 

The Queen Mary Christmas is one of the fun things to do in Southern California to celebrate the holidays. #losangeles #holidays #familytravel #christmastree
Queen Mary Christmas

Queen Mary Christmas
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach 90802

Beginning November 29th, on select nights, the Queen Mary will host their annual Queen Mary Christmas celebration. They will construct a North Pole Village, put up a tall Christmas tree, even create an Ice Skating rink. There will even be onboard festivities, including a chance to visit Santa and a 4D screening of the Polar Express. Tickets and more information on their website.

Knott’s Merry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA 90620

At Knott’s Merry Farm, you’ll find a Christmas Crafts Village, festive food, holiday decorations, live entertainment, nightly snow, and much more. The Christmas celebration runs on select days November through January. Tickets are available online.

Winter Fantasy Sawdust Art and Craft Festival
935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Laguna Beach invites families to its Winter Fantasy. The Sawdust Festival grounds will resemble a winter wonderland featuring 180 artists creating a variety of different art media including ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, woodwork, painting, and more. In addition, you’ll find 3 stages of live holiday entertainment, outdoor cafes, holiday-themed festival classes, art demonstrations, visits with Santa Claus, and more. You can visit on weekends (November 23-24; November 29-30; December 1; December 7-8; December 14-15; and December 20, 21, 22 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm each day). Tickets are available online.

Santa underwater at Aquarium of the pacific
Santa Diver at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium Holidays
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Celebrate the holidays with the marine animals at the Aquarium of the Pacific. This special event begins December 7th and continues through December 23rd. Families are in for a lot of special treats including holiday music, a display of gingerbread houses, snow fall in the Great Hall, a scuba-diving Santa, costumed characters, a holiday menu offered in Cafe Scuba, and more. On weekends, the Aquarium will also have a snow play area, photos with Santa, children’s crafts, Hanukkah storytelling, and much more. (General admission fees apply).

WinterFest OC
OC Fair and Event Center
88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626

From December 19th through January 5th, 2020, families can enjoy WinterFest OC, “SoCal’s Ultimate Winter Festival.” You’ll find ice tubing, snow play areas (with separate areas for toddlers and bigger kids), ice skating, nightly Christmas tree lighting celebration and fireworks, snow flurries, a new Alpine Village, more than 20 carnival rides and attractions, live entertainment, visits with Santa, food, and so much more. Tickets are available online. 

Holiday Train  Rides
Filmore & Western Railway Co.

364 Main St., Fillmore, CA 93015

The Fillmore and Western Railway Company invites you to get into the Christmas spirit aboard their trains. You have a few train ride options including the Sugar Plum Express, a 1-2 hour train adventure, and the Polar Express Train Ride, a 1-hour train ride to visit with Santa at the “North Pole” and featuring the sounds of the film soundtrack. Check the website for details including departure days and times and information on how to reserve your tickets.

Traditions at Terranea Resort
100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

Among the many traditions at Terranea, you can celebrate the start of the season with their annual tree lighting ceremony on December 8th at 5pm. Enjoy music from local entertainers and holiday crafts for all ages. The resort will accept donations of unwrapped gifts for Toys for Tots, and the little ones can decorate holiday cookies, and visit with Mrs. Claus. And on Sunday, December 15 you can enjoy Breakfast with Santa: Santa journeys from the North Pole for a magical breakfast and photos in the ballroom. Tickets required. More information on their website.

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort and
Disney California Adventure Park
1313 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, CA 

Families can celebrate this holiday season at the “happiest place on Earth” beginning on November 8th and continuing through January 6th, 2020. Special festivities are planned for both Disney California Adventure Park as well as Disneyland. You can expect to enjoy parades, shows, fireworks, festive decor, music, food, and much more. Tickets are available online.

345 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA

Families are invited to enjoy Holidayfest in Pasadena on Saturday, December 7th from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. This special event features holiday characters, photos with Santa, a scavenger hunt, holiday crafts, carolers, in-store promotions, and much more. Check the website for details.

capistrano lights christmas tree
Photo courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano

Capistrano Lights
Mission San Juan Capistrano
26801 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Capistrano Lights returns to Mission San Capistrano this holiday season beginning Sunday, December 8th and continuing through Monday, January 6th, 2020. Opening night is on Saturday, December 7th and is a ticketed event. Families will enjoy “30 days of festive programming and a nightly tree lighting.” Additionally, get some great family photos under the 10’ wreath, take pictures with Santa on selected weekended, and more.  Check the website for details and ticket information , and keep in mind there will be no Capistrano Lights Program on December 24, December 25, and December 31. And don’t forget to drop off canned food donations when you come!

Candy-Making Demonstrations
Logan’s Candies 
125 W. “B” St., Ontario, CA 91762

This year, make buying candy canes an event! Visit Logan’s Candies in Ontario, where they’ve been making candy “the same way since 1933.” Get your candy canes straight from the factory! And you don’t have to just settle for traditional peppermint flavor (red and white). This year you could be adventurous and try a root bear flavor (brown, orange, and yellow in color). Also, their candy canes range in size from 6 inches to 6 feet! Check the website for details.

Hanukkah Celebrations

Here’s our entire list of Hanukkah Celebrations in Los Angeles

Hanukkah Festival
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

The Skirball invites families to celebrate Hanukkah the Jewish festival of light, on Sunday, December 15th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. (The museum will open at 10:00). Festivities include live musical and dance performances, hands-on workshops, storytelling,  tasty treats, and more. (General admission is $12; seniors and children over 12 are $9; children 2-12 are $7, and children younger than 2 are free). Advance tickets are recommended and are available online. 

Ice Skating in Los Angeles

While the weather may be too cool for some of your usual outdoor activities, it’s a perfect time for the family to go ice skating. There are several rinks around southern California, including ice skating in Downtown LA’s Pershing Square Holiday Ice Skating Rink; LA Kings Holiday Ice at the Pike Outlets in Long Beach and L.A. Live; Ice at Santa Monica; The Rink in Downtown Burbank; and many more throughout southern California. See our list of great places to go Ice Skating in Los Angeles.

Holiday Boat Parades

Here in southern California, we can celebrate the holidays at the beach and the mountains (even on the same day). Families can enjoy several holiday boat parades that are scheduled throughout the month of December. Newport Beach is planning its Annual Boat Parade featuring festively decorated boats, kayaks, yachts, and canoes. The event happens December 18th through the 22nd. Long Beach’s Annual Parade of 1000 Lights is happening on Saturday, December 14th. And Marina del Rey is also hosting their annual Holiday Boat Parade on Saturday, December 14th. A fireworks show will get the festivities started and then the parade will begin at 6:00 pm. This year’s theme is “Kids Make Holidays Bright.” 

Where to see Santa Claus in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, a visit to Santa can be an only-in-LA experience. Take a seflie with Santa, bring your pets, schedule an appointment or visit his cottage. To find out about all of the cool Santa Experiences, click here to see our post about the best places to visit Santa Claus

Where to See Holiday Lights in Los Angeles

Here’s our list of all the places to see Holiday Lights in Los Angeles!

While you can see holiday lights in every neighborhood of Southern California, you’ll want to make sure to stop by and see those on Christmas Tree Lane. This popular street (with the perfect name) shouldn’t be missed. Be sure to also check out the lights on Candy Cane Lane. Candy Cane Lane is located in Woodland Hills near Pierce College. Their lights begin on the 2nd Saturday of each December and continue through to the end of the year.


Things to Do in Los Angeles with Kids palm tree image

Disclaimer: MomsLA has made every effort to confirm the information in this article; however, things can often change. Therefore, MomsLA makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy of the information published here. MomsLA strongly urges you to confirm any event details, like date, time, location, and admission, with the third party hosting the event. You assume the sole risk of relying on any of the information in our list. MomsLA is in no way responsible for any injuries or damages you sustain while attending any third party event posted on our website. Please read our Terms of Use which you have agreed to based on your continued use of this website. Some events have paid to be listed on MomsLA.



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