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20+ Things To Do on Christmas Day in Los Angeles 2023

Updated for 2023

There’s no rule that says you have to spend Christmas Day inside. In fact, Christmas Day might be the perfect time to get out and explore. You’ll generally find fewer crowds, less traffic, and more parking! Heck, you’ll probably find FREE parking that day!

Here are some suggestions for what to do on Christmas Day in LA — some free, some not; some requiring tickets and reservations, some not. Have fun and Happy Holidays!

giant Christmas Tree at the Grove

Things To Do on Christmas Day in Los Angeles (and SoCal)

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

“Winter Fest OC is a celebration that brings the magic of winter to Southern California, creating an immersive experience that will leave you captivated and filled with wonder.” Families will enjoy a winter wonderland featuring over a million lights, a snow play area, a 150-foot ice tubing slide, holiday market, festive food, and much more. And, tickets are available for Monday, December 25th. (If you can’t make it on Christmas Day, the experience continues until Sunday, January 7th, 2024.) Tickets are available online. 

LA Kings Holiday Ice
L.A. Live – Peacock Place
800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015

The annual LA Kings Holiday Ice is open on Christmas Day, with four sessions available beginning at 4:00 pm. The rink’s location means you’ll find other things to do in the general area, including going to a movie and/or getting something to eat. Ticket information is available online. 

the Santa Monica Pier star
The Santa Monica Pier is always open!

Pacific Park
Santa Monica Pier

Pacific Park is open on Christmas Day from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, so get outside and enjoy the sights and sounds. Go for a ride on the Pacific Wheel, a solar-powered Ferris wheel that “gives visitors a panoramic view of the Southern California coastline from more than 130 feet above the Santa Monica Pier,” play some games, and have a delicious meal. You won’t run out of things to do!

Double Feature: A Night at the Opera and Go West
New Beverly Cinema
7165 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

New Beverly Cinema is screening a Marx Brothers Double Feature on Christmas Day, Monday, December 25th. There is a 2:00 pm screening of A Night at the Opera and a 4:00 pm screening of Go West. Ticket information is available online.  

Wheel Fun Rentals – Echo Park Swan Pedal Boat
Echo Park
751 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90026

When was the last time you rented one of those iconic Swan Pedal Boats in Echo Park? Guess what? They’re open on Christmas Day and available for daytime or evening rental. At night, the Swan Pedal Boots are illuminated with LED lights, creating a magical feel to the experience. Reservations must be made in advance and are available online. 

Related: Where to find the Best Tamales in Los Angeles.

Santa Barbara Zoo
500 Niños Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Go for a drive — traffic will most likely be light — and head up to Santa Barbara because the Santa Barbara Zoo is open on Christmas Day! Tickets are available online. Zoo hours are 9:30 am to 3:30 pm on Christmas Day.

la brea Tar-Pits-seeing-tar-and-elephants
La Brea Tar Pits

La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

While the Museum is closed on Christmas Day, families are still able to stroll around the famous La Brea Tar Pits. “Witness ‘tar’ bubbling to the surface, discover our iconic Lake Pit, and walk through this amazing natural phenomenon and active dig site.”

Related: Restaurants Serving Christmas Dinner in Los Angeles

Christmas Night Skate
Moonlight Rollerway
5110 San Fernando Rd., Glendale, CA 91204

From 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm, families are invited to Moonlight Rollerway for Christmas Night Skate. All ages are welcome to participate. Skates are available to rent if you don’t have your own. All details are available online.

Family-Friendly Hike

Spend some time outside, enjoying the sights and sounds of our city. Think about the age and abilities of your family members, and then check out our post LA County Hiking Trails for Outdoor Fun for some fun ideas.

kid coming down a sand berm on a sled
The sand berms are really fun to go sledding

Sand Sledding
Dockweiler State Beach
12000 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA

Yes – that’s how families in Southern California sled in the winter. At the beach! Sand berms are generally constructed in November and remain until February. A saucer or boogie board is all you need! (Other sand berm locations include Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Venice Beach, and Zuma Beach.)

Sunset Ranch Hollywood
3400 N. Beachwood Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90068

What better way to get a sense of our city than on horseback? And on Christmas Day, you’ll enjoy a quieter, more relaxed L.A. Three tours are offered on Christmas Day — the Mulholland Trail Tour (one-hour tour through Griffith Park with great views of the Hollywood Sign), the Mt. Hollywood Trail Tour (a two-hour tour providing 360 degree views of all of L.A.), and the Evening Mt. Hollywood Trail Tour (a two hour evening tour taking riders up to Mount Hollywood for stunning views of the city). (A few rules — Children must be at least 8 years old. Maximum weight allowed is 240 pounds.) Reservations may be made online. 

a Chinese Food Feast photo courtesy of Genghis Cohen
Here’s a Chinese Food Feast you could have for Christmas, photo courtesy of Genghis Cohen (find them in our list of Restaurants Serving Christmas Dinner in Los Angeles

A Visit to Chinatown
LA Chinatown Central Plaza
943-951 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

When was the last time you played tourist in your own city? What about spending some time exploring Chinatown, “a neighborhood steeped in culture and history.” Be sure to bring your appetite! After all, eating Chinese food is a long-standing tradition for many families on Christmas Day. Check the website for information, including a map and directory of stores and restaurants. (Plus – you could also try a restaurant in the San Gabriel valley.)

Related: Get Christmas Dinner To Go in Los Angeles

Arlington Garden 
275 Arlington Dr., Pasadena, CA 91105

Arlington Garden is a “climate-appropriate, habitat garden offering learning, inspiration, and enjoyment for all.” This three-acre garden, on Caltrans-owned land, is Pasadena’s only public garden. As you stroll through the garden, you’ll encounter the Citrus Grove, the Pine Forest, the Olive Allee, and more. The Garden is open seven days a week, every day of the year, from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free and does not require a ticket. 

Catalina Express
Three ports – Long Beach, Dana Point, San Pedro

Maybe you’re looking to do something really different this Christmas. Why not spend the day in Catalina? Catalina Express operates daily ferry trips to and from Catalina Island every day of the year. They operate out of three mainland ports – Long Beach, Dana Point, and San Pedro. Reservations may be made online.  

See Christmas Lights in Los Angeles 
Multiple Locations

Go for a drive and check out the amazing holiday light displays all around southern California. You can also go for a walk, venturing into some hotels and admiring their festively decorated lobbies. Or, you can make it easy and stay in your neighborhood, admiring both the simplicity and the lavishness you’re sure to see.

You can find Winnie The pooh’s Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Christmas Day

Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 

Another fun way to play tourist. Park the car and get out and explore the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Take some pictures near your favorite stars’ “stars,” put your hands in their handprints in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre, visit the Hollywood Wax Museum (they’re open on Christmas Day), and more! 

See a Movie in a Movie Theater
Multiple Locations around SoCal

Sure, we can all stream movies at home these days, but if you’re up for it, why not head out to a movie theater and see a movie as a family? Get some popcorn, maybe try one of the fancy theaters with reclining seats, and have a ball! If you’re not feeling like being indoors, try one of the cool Drive-in Movie Theaters in SoCal.

Spend the Day at a SoCal Theme Park

We are lucky in SoCal to have several fantastic theme parks to choose from on any given day, and most are open on Christmas Day. The Holidays at Disneyland is quite magical, so reserve tickets early because they have been known to sell out. Universal Studios Hollywood is super fun at the Holidays, and is a terrific way to spend the day with your family. Though Knott’s Berry Farm is not open on Christmas, lucky for us, LEGOLAND and Six Flags Magic Mountain are! And don’t forget about Southern California’s newest theme park — A Very Furry Christmas Celebration is happening at Sesame Place, and they’re open on Christmas Day!

San Diego Zoo Safari Park
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA and
San Diego Zoo
2920 Zoo Dr., San Diego, CA

Why not take advantage of the lighter traffic and head down to San Diego. Both the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and San Diego Zoo are open on Christmas Day. Tickets may be reserved online. 

Pershing Square Holiday Ice Skating
532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90013

Pershing Square Holiday Ice Skating is open on Christmas Day from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm. Get ready for lots of smiles and laughter! “Surrounded by art, lively activity and the impressive city skyline, our outdoor ice rink lets you enjoy entertainment and ice skating in Los Angeles under the sun and stars.” Ticket information is available online. (The rink will be open daily through January 7th, 2024.)

Angels Flight Railway
California Plaza
350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90071

Angels Flight has the distinction of being “the world’s shortest railway.” Enjoy a short ride between Hill Street and Grand Avenue on a method of transportation that is more than 100 years old. Angels Flight is open seven days a week, every day of the year, from 6:45 am to 10:00 pm. The fare is $1 each way.

Ice at Santa Monica
Arizona Ave. and 5th Street, Santa Monica, CA

Ice at Santa Monica is a “winter adventure that combines the magic of the holiday season with the beauty of California’s coastline.” The seasonal ice rink is open on Christmas Day (and remains open until January 15th, 2024). You’ll find more than “8,000 square feet of shimmering ice with a 400-square foot tot rink for the little ones.” Details are available online.  

Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers Arena
1111 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90015

It’s one of the classic sports rivalries — the Celtics and the Lakers. On Christmas Day, these two teams meet again in a 2:00 pm game. Tickets are available online. 

Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).

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

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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