Updated for 2020
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!
We’re also letting you know about some of our favorite events that have been cancelled this year. We hope they’ll be back in 2021!
Featured Holiday Events in SoCal
Pawliday Kids Party at Annenberg PetSpace
12005 Bluff Creek Drive, Playa Vista, CA 90094
Are your kids ready for holiday cheer, Annenberg PetSpace style? Join us for a special Pawliday Kids Party on Saturday, December 12! If your child is crazy for cats, critters, and dogs, they won’t want to miss this hour of online holiday fun, featuring puppets, games, and fantastic pets. Pawliday Kids Party is a festive online event geared towards children of all ages, allowing an engaging experience to help ring in the holiday season. Attendees simply need to log on via Zoom and get ready for a good time.
Virtual guests will enjoy a full hour of activities, including:
• Visits from our PetSpace puppet friends: Watch Wally the Dog’s latest adventure
• “Cooking” segment: Learn to make holiday dog treats
• Pet Encounters: Virtually meet adoptable pets and fascinating critters
• Games and activities: Discover the space and learn about the human-animal bond
Register now to take part in the festively fun-filled afternoon!
Annenberg PetSpace is an advertising partner.
Holiday Road Drive-through
From the team that brought you Nights of the Jack, welcome to Holiday Road, the newest and most exciting DRIVE-THRU holiday experience in the country located at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas, CA! Running December 4th – January 10th. You can expect to see larger than life holiday installations, tons of Christmas lights, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, countless candy canes and all your favorite holiday cheer!
Holiday Road is an advertising partner.
Christmas and Holiday Events in SoCal
Holiday in the Park Drive-through
Six Flags Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia 91355
For the fist time ever, you can experience Magic Mountain from your car as you drive through the park and get a great view of their winter wonderland light display. There are treats to be had and beloved characters to see.
Dodgers Holiday Festival 2020
Get your tickets now for the only World-Series winning Holiday Drive-through you’ll find anywhere! The 2020 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers are hosting a drive-thru Holiday Festival, complete with a light show, LED video displays, fake snow and interactive displays honoring the Dodgers World Championship and celebrating the holidays!
Christmas on the Farm
Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Rd., Moorpark, CA 93021
Celebrate the holiday season at Underwood Family Farms. From November 27th through December 20th, you can purchase (or simply enjoy) fresh-cut northwest trees, mistletoe, and wreaths. In addition, Distant Visits with Santa will take place (December 5-6th and December 12-13th).
Theatricum Carol Sing-Along – Virtual
December 20th at 4pm on Zoom
The holidays are a time for family and friends, even though this year looks quite different. At Theatricum, we’re gathering together on Zoom for a FREE afternoon of festive carol-singing and a very special screening featuring our founder, Will Geer. In 1977, Emmy award winning television broadcaster and historian Keith Berwick embarked on an interview unlike any other. In a three part conversation he speaks with Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas and actor Will Geer about the historical origins of Christmas, the state of humanity, and the fate of the world moving forward. This rare glimpse into Geer’s personal essence is delightful and thought provoking. It reminds us, as an organization, where our roots began and solidifies our mission to elevate, educate and entertain. Please join us for some heart warming caroling and then settle down to watch this exclusive master class in historical, improvisational performance all as a part of Theatricum’s Holiday Fundraiser. Donations for Theatricum are gratefully appreciated during these uncertain times. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.
Holiday Events on Pico Blvd and Montana Ave. in Santa Monica
Festive photo moments will be in full swing along the holiday-trimmed streets of Pico Boulevard and Montana Avenue. Shop, dine, and make a wish for the season at Pico Boulevard’s nine-foot-tall festively lit Wishing Tree on the corner of Virginia Avenue Park beginning Saturday, November 21 and the Pico Pop Up decked out in festive decor and a spectacular window display. On Montana Avenue, children can drop off a letter to the North Pole at one of Santa’s mailboxes along the street.
Free Holiday Events at the Shops at Montebello
2134 Montebello Town Center Drive, Montebello 90640
Free fun this holiday season with Drive-in movies, Black Friday shopping scavenger hunt (with prizes), Drive-in Holiday concerts, Contactless photos with Santa (and pet photos), Virtual Kids Club cookie decorating Kits, and more!
Holiday Cheer – The Collection at RiverPark
2751 Park View Court, Oxnard, CA 93036
Throughout the holiday season, shopping center visitors will have the opportunity to experience a variety of festive fun. The Collection’s team will be surprising guests at random by handing out gifts to enjoy this holiday season. In addition, local musicians will be strolling through the center and playing classic holiday songs and twists on popular tunes. Plus, you’ll find Photos with Santa, Pet Photos with Santa, Story time with Mrs. Claus, and a Toy Drive.
A Los Angeles holiday tradition presented in conjunction with The Music Center since 1959, the 61st Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration takes on a vibrant new format for 2020. Filmed on location at both The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Jerry Moss Plaza and at sites around Los Angeles County, the beloved three-hour showcase of 22 L.A.-based artists will air on PBS SoCal starting at 3:00 p.m. PST on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2020) and simultaneously stream on pbssocal.org/holidaycelebration, kcet.org and Holidaycelebration.org. The Emmy Award-winning holiday show features choirs, music ensembles and dance companies representing the many cultures of Los Angeles.
Santa Speedway Christmas Lights Drive-through
500 Speeday Drive, Irwindale, CA 91706
Designed to make Christmas this year a little bit brighter, the experience which will run nightly from November 25, 2020-January 10, 2021 will transport families into a Christmas wonderland as they drive along an actual NASCAR track and come face to face with Santa’s Village, and a series of jaw dropping Christmas vignettes and lighting displays, including the world’s largest free standing Christmas tree (made up of more than 2 mi of lights).
Happy Place – The Drive Through
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90067
Happy Place, the immersive “happy experience” that debuted in 2017 in DTLA is returning to Los Angeles November 20th. But this time — it’s been totally reimagined in the time of Covid. Guests will enter a 50,000 square foot drive-through experience with over 18 unique exhibits — including a drive-on piano, a nightclub for your car, a rainbow road and a ton more fun things. Everything will be totally Covid-safe, experienced from your car, every precaution followed. Not technically a Holiday event, but who doesn’t want to go to their Happy Place right about now?
Holidays at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629
The Ritz-Carlton has many plans for a festive holiday season, starting with an Open House and Tree-lighting ceremony on November 21 and 22. Enjoy massive sand sculptures in the Sand-Sational Extravaganza taking place November 21 – January 2. Holiday storytelling will take place December 4&5, 11&12. Bring your family to make a Gingerbread house and decorate cookies on December 6th and 13th. Click to see even more events to choose from.
Winter Season Celebration @ Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Enjoy the 30th annual Lighting of the Bay beginning at dusk on Friday, November 27 and continuing through the holiday season. New this year, guests will have the opportunity to celebrate responsibly while dining fireside or hosting private holiday drive-in movies and events with the stunning backdrop of the bay illuminated with festive floating lights.
See Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker from the best seat in the house; your living room! On Saturday, November 19th at 8pm EST. Tickets begin at $24.99. Take this opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and experience the smash-hit Holiday tradition in this ground-breaking debut. Take a trip backstage with the cameras for a look at how the magic is made. Hear it first-hand from world-class artists, designers, and the creators of this cherished production. See the full performance as captured on stage plus an up close look at the behind-the-scenes action.
6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Brought to you by the people who created Haunt-o-ween, this is a brand new drive-through experience for the Holidays, opening November 30th.
Dana Point Harbor – CANCELLED for 2020
46th Annual Boat Parade of Lights
Dana Point Harbor’s 46th Annual Boat Parade of Lights will take place on December 4, 5, 11 and 12. Dana Point boaters will be decorating their vessels to the theme of “Fiesta Holiday.” The Boat Parade of Lights is subject to change based on public health restrictions and recommendations.
Holidays in Your Car
Ventura County Fairgrounds and Del Mar Fairgrounds
Holidays In Your Car invites families to buckle up and make lasting memories from the comfort and safety of their own vehicles. With headlights turned off, attendees will drive through an enchanting mile-and-a-half display of over one million dazzling LED lights, accompanied by uplifting holiday music. Awe-inspiring holograms, laser light shows and impressive multi-colored projections casting festive images of the season onto sets – some standing over 40 feet tall – will all contribute to an unforgettable experience celebrating the most magical time of the year!
During this celebratory time, the Park’s Fun Town turns into a winter wonderland as buildings are trimmed with twinkling lights and holiday décor. Guests will look picture perfect in front of the LEGO Christmas tree, standing 30-feet tall and constructed out of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO®bricks. Kids may even run into their favorite LEGO® characters such as Santa, Toy Soldier and Gingerbread Man for a friendly socially distanced meet-and-greet. Guests can also enjoy seasonal treats and live music performances, walk around a newly themed Miniland U.S.A and enjoy building LEGO ornaments among other building activities. The fun doesn’t stop there! Families can shop at the largest LEGO retail store on the West Coast, with LEGO ornament sets and other items available at The Big Shop.
Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Journey
Fairplex in Pomona
Get ready for an all-new, one-of-a-kind immersive experience with The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey, all from the safety of your own car! This year Christmas Spirit is running low, so during test flights Santa’s sleigh had to make an emergency landing at Fairplex in Pomona. Now the Scout Elves have assembled there, and they need your help! Join them on a drive-thru quest to build more Christmas Spirit, as you and your elf-loving crew magically shrink down to elf size and embark on a fun expedition to help repair Santa’s sleigh.
Reflections at Descanso
this holiday season Descanso Gardens invites you to take a moment to reflect and enjoy the beauty that’s all around us with Reflections at Descanso, a celebration of all that’s hopeful and peaceful in this world. Running from November 14th to January 10th, the daytime festivities will replace Enchanted Forest of Light (cancelled this year due to COVID) and will include art pieces, special plantings, self-guided activities and a beautiful Wishing Tree created by Artist Kaz Yokou Kitajima. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train
1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869
Tis the season for Irvine Park Railroad’s annual Christmas Train. Come with family and friends and take this enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park. The train will depart from the brightly-lit train station and stop at the North Pole. This year, passengers will remain seated on the train at the North Pole. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet passengers from a safe distance as passengers remain seated.
Christmas Parade – Santa Hits the Road
Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District, Camarillo
Santa will be hitting the road in style on a big red fire engine. He will make his way slowly through a number of neighborhood streets in Camarillo. We invite you to come out onto the sidewalk and wave to Santa as he passes by to spread good cheer and holiday spirit.
Citadel Outlets Holiday Happenings
100 Citadel Drive, Los Angeles 90040
Citadel Outlets transforms into a holiday wonderland beginning November 14 with the lighting of a 100-foot-tall live-cut Christmas Tree in Los Angeles and the debut of a new nightly show-stopping experience, “Snowy Nights and Holiday Lights.” You’ll get the chance to see the world’s largest Holiday Bow, Santa will be visiting (and remain socially distant), and there will be an opportunity to donate to a Toy Drive and a Food Drive as well.
Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru
Toyota Arena, 4000 Ontario Center, Ontario 91764
Journey into a one-of-a-kind, contactless experience where the world of Hot Wheels comes to life right outside your windows! Drive through this LARGER THAN LIFE showcase of everyone’s favorite Hot Wheels Monster Trucks, specialty Monster Trucks, Garage of Legends vehicles, robots and more! Every ticket purchase includes a Hot Wheels 3-Car Pack and a digital photo.
Mission San Juan Capistrano
26801 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Capistrano Lights returns to Mission San Capistrano this holiday season beginning December 3rd and continuing through January 3rd, 2020. 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!
Christmas in Color
Raging Waters, San Dimas 91773
Drive through acres of more than 1.5 million lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. You’ll drive by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more. It’s like being immersed in another world. In fact, we won’t judge you if you join the kids with your face pressed against the window.
112th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Watch beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail along the harbor in the 112th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. This year’s parade will be held Wednesday through Sunday, December 16-20, 2020 and is once again hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Our Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) Celebration
Forest Lawn Glendale, 1712 S. Glendale Avenue, Glendale, CA 91205
Forest Lawn—Glendale will commence the holiday season with its celebration of the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), one of the most celebrated and significant Mexican holidays. The free, family-friendly community event will be filled with pageantry that honors the patron saint of the Americas. Virtually, on Sunday, December 6, 2020, the authentic ceremony will transport attendees to rustic Mexico with a bilingual religious service, Mariachi music, a Ballet Folklorico Internacional dance performance, rosary giveaways, face painting, and traditional religious breads and refreshments.
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Kicking off with an official tree lighting ceremony on November 30th, the hotel will unveil a whimsical forest made up of 52 upside down Christmas trees that will suspend from the lobby’s atrium along with other holiday décor throughout the property. During this public event, guests will have access to festive activities and activations, including pictures with Santa, live music from a toy soldier band, gingerbread decorating stations, ice sculptures, a holiday photo booth, tastings of select seasonal beverages and other fun surprises throughout the evening, as well as weekly holiday happenings.
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 27th. 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. Access to the inside of the hotel is reserved for guests of the hotel and restaurants.
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.
Knott’s Taste of Merry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA 90620
While the theme park remains closed, Christmas spirit still shines bright this year with holiday charm brimming out of every corner of the park, as Knott’s wondrously transforms with enchanted décor, thousands of twinkling lights, miles of festive garland, and a variety of picturesque holiday settings, all serving as a backdrop to the tastiest holiday foods around. With over 60 unique food and drink items offered on the tasting card, guests can choose from popular flavors of the season like Fully Loaded Turkey Dinner Tater Tots and Comet’s Cinnamon Bun with a Maple Glaze and Candied Pecans, plus options for all dietary preferences. Taste of Merry Farm runs on select days November 20th through January. Tickets are available online.
OC Fair and Event Center
88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
From December 17th through January 3rd, 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.
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.
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 their Facebook page for details.
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.
2nd & PCH Holiday Fun
6400 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach 90803
Long Beach’s new destination retail center will host Santa for Selfie Time, and Mrs. Claus will be there for story time, as part of their holiday activities, which includes a tree-lighting ceremony, musical performances, and more, kicking off on November 22nd.
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. Dana Point Harbor will hold their 45th Annual Holiday Boat Parade December 6-14. 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
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.
Christmas Events Cancelled for 2020
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
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.
MomsLA is your source for Things to do with Kids in Los Angeles.