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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 and enjoy this festive month! 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: LA/LA
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

The Skirball invites families to celebrate Hanukkah on Sunday, December 10th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. (The museum will open at 10:00). This year’s Festival “explores the themes of Hanukkah through the traditions of Los Angeles’s rich and diverse Latin American communities.” Festivities include live musical and dance performances, hands-on workshops, storytelling, and more. (General admission is $12, 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

>>Get discount tickets for the LA Zoo Lights using our Goldstar Affiliate link.<<

LA Zoo Lights is a yearly holiday light extravaganza. Each night from November 17th through January 7, 2018, between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, families will marvel at the holiday “wonderland of light” featuring seasonal treats, 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 (a family complete with two babies!) Check the website for a complete schedule. Reindeer Romp is included in general Zoo admission; separate admission fees are required for LA Zoo Lights. (Closed on November 23, December 24, and December 25).

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

>>Get discount tickets for Enchanted: Forest of Light using our affiliate link.<<

Descanso Gardens invites families to an enchanting, beautiful nighttime experience. This special interactive event features a one-mile walk through “unique lighting experiences in some f the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens.” Timed tickets are available online. Enchanted: Forest of Light runs nightly beginning November 19th from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm through January 7th, but is closed on November 23rd (Thanksgiving Day), November 27, December 4, December 11, and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets 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 24th through December 17th, 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 2-3 and December 9-10 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm).

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

Celebrate Chanukah and participate in a special menorah lighting ceremony on Sunday, December 17th at 2:30 pm. Additionally, from December 17th through December 23rd, 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, you’ll find over 10,000 square feet of synthetic snow across 9 acres. Families will enjoy a winter wonderland complete with food trucks, snow tubing lanes, hot cocoa and hot cider, and much more. 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. Families will view downtown L.A. as they don’t usually see it. Marvel at the lights and decorations as you walk along during the tour. A few of the tour’s highlights include the illuminated fountain at Grand Park, the Broad Museum, and Icicle sheets in the Old Bank District. 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 decorated with more than one million lights and six themed areas. Enjoy holiday treats, shows, rides, and more at the “Thrill Capital of the World.” 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

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 24th. 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.

Winter Wonderfest
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 91342

From December 16th through January 7th, families are invited to Discovery Cube Los Angeles for a Winter Wonderfest. Learn about the science behind weather, learn why you move fast as you sled down hill, and more. It’s science fun in the snow without leaving Los Angeles! Tickets are available online. (Closed December 18-21).

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

From November 24th throughDecember 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 9th through January 7th. There is lots to see and do in this magical spot including rides, games, storytelling, crafting workshops, visits with Santa, and much more. Tickets are available online.

CHILL at The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802

>>Get discount tickets to CHILL at the Queen Mary using our Goldstar Affiliate link.<<

Families can experience an “International Christmas Expedition at the all-new CHILL.” The fun includes a 38,000-square foot Ice Adventure Park with ice tubings, ice skating, ice bumper cars, and lots more. You’ll also enjoy international food, live entertainment, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus! You can experience CHILL from December 13th through January 7th, and tickets are available online.

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 and begin at 6:00 pm each night. Check the website for a schedule of nightly events.

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

Get discount tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm using our Goldstar Affiliate link.

Knott’s Merry Farm is all ready to welcome your family from November 17th through January 7th, 2018). You’ll find a Snoopy ice show, holiday food, thousands of lights, holiday music, a crafts village, falling snow, live entertainment, and much more. You can purchase tickets 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, Santa Claus, and more. Tickets are available online. You can visit on weekends (November 18-19; November 24,25,26; December 2-3; December 9-10; and December 16-17 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm each day).

Universal Studios Hollywood Grinchmas
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Families who are familiar with the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss will enjoy Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood (December 2,3,9,10, and 15-December 31). Festivities include carols performed by Who-ville singers, photo opportunities,ornament decorating, and lots more. Tickets are available online.

Aquarium Holidays
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

>>Get discount tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific with our Goldstar Affiliate link.<<

Celebrate the holidays with the marine animals at the Aquarium of the Pacific. This special event begins December 2nd and continues through December 24th. Families are in for a lot of special treats including holiday music, a display of gingerbread houses, a snow play area, 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. See the website for details and schedules.

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

From December 21st through December 31st, families can enjoy WinterFest OC. You’ll find ice tubing, ice skating, rides, nightly fireworks, snow flurries, and much more. Tickets are available online.

North Pole Express
364 Main St., Fillmore, CA 93015

The Fillmore and Western Railway Company invite you to get into the Christmas spirit aboard their trains. Take your family on a one-hour ride to the North Pole to pick up Santa Claus. While you ride, enjoy cookies and milk, sing carols, and listen to a Christmas story. Children are encouraged to dress warmly in their pajamas. Trains run from November 25th through December 23rd. Check the website for departure time information and tickets.

Grand Park Lights Up the Holidays
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 November 26th and stay up through December 26th.

Holiday Magic at Disneyland and
Festival of Holidays at 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.

Marina Lights
Burton Chace Park
13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, CA

Burton Chace Park invites families to experience Marina Lights. This new attraction will “cast a festive glow” from December 9th through December 31st. Stroll through the park, enjoy the light displays, and more. (As the dates get closer, more information will be available regarding additional activities including outdoor films and carolers).

Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
Westfield Topanga
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91303

>>Get discount tickets to Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel by using our Goldstar Affiliate link.<<

The Westfield Topanga is the current site for the touring exhibit, Up Close: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. This special exhibition features 34 near-life-size reproductions of the frescoes adorning the Sistine Chapel. Families can visit now through December 31st. Tickets are available online.

Holidayfest
345 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA

Families are invited to enjoy Holidayfest in Pasadena on Saturday, December 2nd from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. This special event features live musical performances, horse and carriage rides, visits with Santa, crafts for kids, and more. Local merchants will also be offering special promotions as well.

Holly Jolly Day
JW Marriott Los Angeles
L.A. Live
900 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015

It’s an festive holiday celebration, L.A.-style. Holly Jolly Day is happening on Saturday, December 16th from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm. The fun includes ice skating, lots of holiday sweets and treats, photos with Santa inside the hotel’s life-sized gingerbread house, and more! Tickets are available online.

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 109th Boat Parade featuring festively decorated boats, kayaks, yachts, and canoes. The event happens December 13th through the 17th. The Naples Long Beach Boat Parade is happening on Saturday, December 9th. And Marina del Rey is also hosting their annual Holiday Boat Parade on Saturday, December 9th. A fireworks show will get the festivities started and then the parade will begin at 6:00 pm. And before the parade, you can spend time in Marina del Rey by visiting Snow Wonder at Burton Chace Park (available from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm). Kids will love playing in over 60 tons of real snow!

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 the Jolly Man are at The Grove and The Americana. At the Grove, appointment times are available online to save families from waiting outside Santa’s house. Santa is available from November 13th through December 24th.  At the Americana at Brand, you can visit Santa spontaneously or book an appointment ahead of time. Santa is happy to see you from November 17th through December 24th.  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, Westfield Topanga, 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 street in Altadena is celebrating their official Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, December 9th. 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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Wendy Kennar (410 Posts)

Wendy is a freelance writer who finds inspiration in her nine-year-old son and from her experiences from her twelve-year teaching career. Her writing has appeared in several publications and anthologies, both in print and online. She prefers sunflowers to roses and thinks chocolate is okay at any meal. You can find her at wendykennar.com.


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