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 and enjoy this festive time of the year! There are so many fun holiday events listed here, there’s sure to be something for everyone in your family to love. And check for discount ticket links to many of them!! (This post contains affiliate links.)

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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

Hanukkah Festival: This Little Light of Mine
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

The Skirball invites families to celebrate Hanukkah on Sunday, December 2nd from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. (The museum will open at 10:00). This year’s Festival “explores the themes of justice, courage, and persistence at the core of the Hanukkah story and the current exhibition Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Festivities include live musical and dance performances, hands-on workshops, storytelling, 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). 

 

LA Zoo Lights and Reindeer Romp
Los Angeles Zoo
5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Click on our affiliate link here to see discount tickets to Zoo Lights on Goldstar

LA Zoo Lights is a yearly holiday light extravaganza. Each night from November 16th through January 6, 2019, between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, families will marvel at the “wild wonderland of light” featuring animal-themed displays, fantastic lights and projections, visits with Santa on certain dates, and more. In addition, the Zoo is also hosting Reindeer Romp. Stop by Reindeer Village for photos, enjoy holiday music, make holiday-themed crafts, and much more. The Los Angeles Zoo is the only place in Los Angeles to see live reindeer. Check the website for a complete schedule. Reindeer Romp is included in general Zoo admission; separate admission fees are required for LA Zoo Lights. (The Zoo is closed on December 25). 

 

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

Click our affiliate link to find discount tickets to Enchanted: Forest of Light on Goldstar

Enchanted: Forest of Light returns to Descanso Gardens beginning on Sunday, November 18th and continuing through January 6, 2019 (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 discover twinkling tulips, spinning polyhedrons, and “trees aglow in technicolor light.” Tickets must be purchased in advance and 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 23rd through December 18th, 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 1-2 and December 8-9). 

 

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 2nd from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm. Families will also enjoy music and arts and crafts at this annual event. Additionally, from December 19th 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
2002 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. At Snow Day LA, families can “hop on a tube and fly through twinkling light archways, decorated trees, and falling snow!” New this year will be an interactive light show. This winter wonderland also offers food trucks and snacks (including hot cocoa and hot cider). Tickets are available online. Check the website for days and times. 

 

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!” Tours begin at Union Station and conclude at Pershing Square. Tour highlights include The Broad Museum, Grand Park with its illuminated fountain, and icicle sheets in the Old Bank District, among others. Check the website for ticket information. 

 

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. 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 17-25 and December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15-30. Tickets are available online.

The Mission Inn Festival of Lights is one of the fun things you can do with families in Los Angeles for the holidays

26th 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 23rd. The six-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. 

Discover New Ways to Celebrate the Holidays and Enjoy Los Angeles this season! Check out our list of Holiday Happenings!

Science of Gingerbread
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 91342

From November 23rd through December 31st, families can visit the Discovery Cube and learn about the Science of Gingerbread. This annual event includes hands-on activities including building a candy car out of holiday treats. Lots of festive activities are planned including visits with Santa on certain days. You can also participate in the annual Science of Gingerbread competition; find more details online.

 

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. The Christmastime Celebration is happening from November 15th through January 6th, 2019. There is lots to see and do in this magical spot including writing letters to Santa, visits with Santa, and 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
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802

For the first time ever, the Queen Mary invites families to board the legendary ocean liner for an all-new adventure filled with fun holiday festivities starting November 23, 2018 through January 6, 2019. From bow to stern, holiday revelers can explore the beautifully decorated decks and ballrooms for a vintage holiday celebration aboard the Queen Mary! You’ll find holiday entertainment, libations and treats, ice-skating onboard the Queen Mary’s Sports Deck, a Gingerbread Village, Stocking Shop, vintage-dressed carolers, light shows, and much more! Check website for more details and ticket prices.

 

Las Posadas
Olvera Street, 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. 

 

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 175 artists creating a variety of different art media including ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, woodwork, painting, and more. In addition, you’ll find live holiday entertainment, outdoor cafes, art and craft classes, Santa Claus, and more. You can visit on weekends (November 17-18; November 23,24,25; December 1-2; December 8-9; and December 15-16 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm each day). The Community Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for November 17th, and Breakfast with Santa Claus is happening on December 8th. Tickets are available online.

 

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and
Grinchmas
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 from November 17th through January 6, 2019. 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 (December 1,2,8,9, and December 14-30). Festivities include musical performances, photo opportunities, the chance to send The Grinch a postcard, and more. Ticket information is available online. 

 

 

Aquarium Holidays
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Click our Goldstar affiliate link to find discount tickets to the
Aquarium of the Pacific

Celebrate the holidays with the marine animals at the Aquarium of the Pacific. This special event begins December 1st 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). Going in the afternoon?  Click our Goldstar affiliate link for Discount Tickets for afternoon admission. 

 

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

Click our Goldstar affiliate link to find discount tickets to WinterFest OC 

From December 20th through January 6th, 2019, families can enjoy WinterFest OC. 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. 


Hollywood Train  Rides
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 several train ride options including the new Sugar Plum Express, a 3-hour train adventure; the North Pole Express, a 1-hour train ride to visit with Santa at the “North Pole”; and on December 26th, families can Return Santa to the North Pole on a special 1-hour train ride. Trains run from November 24th through December 23rd. Check the website for departure time information and tickets.

 

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

Head downtown to Grand Park this holiday season. Families will enjoy a festive setting as they stroll through Grand Park. Enjoy the 45-foot tree, the colorful holiday decorations, and more. And get the camera ready for some great photo ops! Decoration go up December 1st and stay up through December 26th.

 

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.” 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.

 

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. Enjoy Marina Lights each evening in December from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Enjoy caroling, outdoor movies (on select days), and Snow Wonder (on December 8th). Check the website for details. 

 

Holidayfest
345 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA

Families are invited to enjoy Holidayfest in Pasadena on Saturday, December 1st from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. This special event features horse and carriage rides, carolers, visits with Santa, crafts for kids, a scavenger hunt, in-store promotions, and much more. Check the website for details.

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 19th through the 23rd. The Naples Island Annual Holiday Boat Parade is happening on Saturday, December 8th. This year’s theme is “Star Spangled Christmas.” And Marina del Rey is also hosting their annual Holiday Boat Parade on Saturday, December 8th. A fireworks show will get the festivities started and then the parade will begin at 6:00 pm. This year’s theme is “Holiday Water Wonderland.” 

Santa Claus 

The Grove
189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90036 and
The Americana at Brand
889 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210

For many families, a yearly photo with Santa Claus is a tradition. Among the more popular places to visit with Santa are at The Grove and The Americana. At the Grove, appointment times are available online to save families from waiting outside Santa’s charming, but busy, house.  At the Americana at Brand, you can also visit Santa spontaneously or book an appointment ahead of time. Check the websites for details on days, times, and booking an appointment.  Click here for more locations to visit Santa Claus

Outdoor Ice Skating

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 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.

Neighborhood Holiday Lights

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. 

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