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Los Angeles knows how to dress up and put on a good show any time of the year. But the City of Angels really steps up its game at the holidays. Christmas in LA features holiday-themed family activities and events in downtown and at theme parks, beaches, malls and attractions. Festive sing-alongs, seasonal ice rinks, holiday lights and Santa visits are among the many family-friendly holiday events in the Los Angeles area.
Whether you’re an Angeleno or visiting Southern California, treat yourself to seaside ice skating and other unique Christmas in LA activities. From free events in downtown Los Angeles to holiday-themed attractions, there’s something for all ages and budgets. L.A. is an exciting city to visit year-round, but especially during the holidays when streets, malls, beaches and parks are festively decorated.
Christmas in LA at the Los Angeles Zoo
L.A. Zoo Lights features a self-guided 60 to 90 minute stroll through a large illuminated pop-up storybook. The holiday display takes place from 6 – 10 p.m. November 15, 2019 to January 5, 2020 at the Los Angeles Zoo.
At the entrance, a 90-foot-long shimmering wall of lights features snowflake displays set to music. For example, the light show features a high-tech interactive display where dancing lights respond to guests’ voices. In addition, the light show features giant glowing animals, and wildlife-inspired displays. More festivities include holiday treats, food and visits with Santa.
Winter Wild Weekends
The zoo is unveiling a new attraction this year: Winter Wild Weekends. The holiday market place runs every weekend from November 30 through December 22. Visitors will find hand-crafted items available for purchase, eco-workshops and kids’ craft activities. In addition, enjoy live music, snow flurries twice daily, and treats for select animals. For an additional fee, take a photo with Santa. All activities except Santa photos are free for zoo members and with paid admission.
Santa Monica Holiday Shopping and Festivities
Slather on sunscreen for the daytime, but bring a scarf for chilly evenings while shopping for gifts on Main Street near the beach. At Santa Monica Place, scoop up trendy and luxury items. Winterlit celebrates the holiday season with various family activities through January 20, 2020.
City of Santa Monica Official Tree Lighting Party
Holiday festivities begin with a special tree lighting ceremony on Third Street Promenade at 6 p.m. December 5. Free and open to the public.
Main Street Holiday Party
Stroll Main Street and hop from shop to shop for goodies and good times December 7. In addition, there will be music, photo ops with Santa, a tree lighting and a candle light walk on Main Street. Plus, Christmas lights and carolers are sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
Menorah Lighting on Third Street Promenade
Join local synagogues and community groups as their members celebrate the Festival of Lights Hanukkah at 6 p.m. December 22 – 30. Lighting the menorah will begin shortly after sundown each evening.
Christmas in LA at the Santa Monica Pier
Holiday Story & Craft Time
Hosted by the Santa Monica Public Library, kids can enjoy crafts and holiday music at 4 and 5 p.m. December 13. Located on the Merry-Go-Round deck at Santa Monica Pier.
Urban Ice Skating
Christmas in LA means swapping out flips flops for skates at outdoor ice rinks set up for the holidays through the New Year.
ICE at Santa Monica
Every holiday season, Downtown Santa Monica brings ice skating to the beachside community through January 20, 2020. The corner of 5th Street and Arizona Avenue is transformed into ICE at Santa Monica, a premier outdoor ice skating rink. The 8,000-square-foot rink offers Angelenos and visitors a little taste of a White Christmas in Los Angeles. Cost: $15 admission and skate rentals.
Downtown on Ice
Skate under the sun and stars at the 22 Annual Downtown on Ice in Pershing Square in Los Angeles. It’s L.A.’s biggest outdoor rink, located in the heart of the city at 532 South Olive, Los Angeles. Open daily (including holidays) through January 20, 2020. Tickets start at $5.
The annual LA Kings Holiday Ice
The LA Kings Holiday Ice Rink brings outdoor ice skating to L.A. LIVE’s Xbox Plaza. The ice rink will be open November 30, 2019 – January 12, 2020. Tickets: $22 adults, $17 kids.
Christmas in LA at Universal Studios Hollywood
The Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood features themed activities November 28 through December 29. The special events are included in the price of theme park admission.
Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter transforms the quaint town of Hogsmeade into an enchanting holiday village. Seasonal décor is uniquely themed to each of the individual storefronts. In addition, a dazzling light projection spectacular brings the iconic Hogwarts castle to life.
As night falls, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle illuminates Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with colorful imagery. There are also dimensional animations that dance across Hogwarts castle in tandem to a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies. Musical performances from the a cappella Frog Choir entertain with their harmonized holiday themed songs.
Shoppers will delight in the selection of custom-made Christmas ornaments created especially for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And, of course, holiday-themed fare and hot butterbeer further complement the overall experience.
An all-new 55-foot tall Grinchmas tree is adorned with ornaments and LED lights choreographed to music for the annual Who-lebration. Dazzling Grinchmas tree lighting ceremonies take place every evening, accompanied by a snowfall flurry. The festival features The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Who-ville Whos.
Universal CityWalk’s 40-foot tall Christmas tree sparkles with 200,000 LED icicles choreographed to the lights and sounds of the season. Feel the magic of the holiday in the “5 Towers” outdoor plaza along with a slate of free concert performances and an eclectic ensemble of talented street performers. Admission to Universal CityWalk is free but there’s a parking fee.
Original Farmers Market
Not just any market, this fun venue is a gathering place for meals and holiday fun. Celebrate the holidays with music, arts and crafts, variety shows, and carolers from December 18 – 24.
In addition, celebrate Hanukkah with the lighting of a giant Lego menorah, music and arts and crafts 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. December 22.
Christmas in Downtown L.A.
Raise your voices with holiday classics during the Holiday Sing-Along from 6 – 7:30 p.m. December 16 at the Music Center Plaza in Downtown L.A. Free admission, donations welcome. Tickets are distributed beginning 30 minutes prior to the event, while supplies last. One ticket per person to those waiting in line. First come, first served.
The annual Holiday Sing-Along with the L.A. Philharmonic takes place at 11:30 a.m. December 21 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave.
The 60th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration is the city’s largest multi-cultural celebration. The free event takes place from 3 – 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The three-hour show features numerous musical groups and nearly 500 performers, representing the diverse cultures and holiday traditions of LA County.
Count on posh Beverly Hills to ring in the holidays in style. During the third annual BOLD holidays, Rodeo Drive sparkles with light displays and seasonal activities from 5 – 8 p.m. through Dec. 22. The event features holiday decor, hip hop dancers, and elves on stilts. In addition, there’s live music, seasonal entertainment and interactive art. Plus, visitors can enjoy Jolley Trolley rides with Mrs. Claus, and photos with Santa. Also, new this year is an interactive photography pop-up. Families can take free, professional-quality photos in full-scale sets.