Culture, Sponsored, Things To Do

Free Things To Do for the Holiday Season in Los Angeles [2023]

November 22, 2023 by We Like L.A. with L.A. Metro
union-station-tree-santa-claus
Union Station Tree Lighting ceremony with Santa. Photo by Christina Champlin.

This past Monday, Los Angeles Union Station hosted their 8th annual Tree Lighting ceremony, and we were there to experience the holiday cheer! As we sipped hot cocoa and witnessed the countdown to light up the 30-foot tree at the station’s South Patio, we couldn’t help but think, “Isn’t it nice to see the community come together like this, and all at the county’s biggest transit hub?”

But it also got us wondering: Is it possible for us to replicate a bit of the holiday goodwill for those who weren’t in attendance? Can we corral a list of holiday ideas that are both free and Metro-accessible? You bet your candy cane we can.

Ready to brave a chilly night for some family movie time? We’ve got options for outdoor holiday screenings. Need markets for one-of-a-kind gift ideas? We’ll point you in the right direction. And if all your heart desires is a two-story tree adorned with all the trimmings and backed by seasonal carols… well… we know more than a few places.

The rundown starts below. Now all you need to do is circle a date (or three).


M = Metro Accessible

Seasonal Celebrations & Activations

November 25: M Santa’s Grand Arrival at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall includes a toy giveaway, live musical performances, and a special reading by Santa’s elf. Go Metro: Take the K Line to Martin Luther King Jr Station.

November 26: M The 91st Hollywood Christmas Parade returns on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Go Metro: Take the B Line to Hollywood / Highland OR Hollywood / Vine station.

November 27: M L.A. County hosts a tree lighting ceremony with special holiday festivities at The Music Center’s Jerry Moss Plaza. Go Metro: Take the B or D Lines to Grand Park / Civic Center station OR take the A or E Lines to Grand Ave Arts / Bunker Hill Station.

November 28: M The 9th annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Downtown Long Beach will offer live music, food trucks, fireworks, and mini train rides. Go Metro: Take the A Line to 1st St. Station in Long Beach.

November 30: M The Holiday Tree Lighting Sled-tacular brings snow, sledding, games, and free cookies to Downtown Culver City. Go Metro: Take the E Line to Culver City Station.

December 1: M The annual Pasadena Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony features. Go Metro: Take the A Line to Memorial Park Station.

December 2: M The Valley Cultural Foundation’s 2023 Holiday Arts & Music Festival comes to Warner Center Park. Go Metro: Take Lines 150/169 to Topanga Canyon / Marylee.

December 2: M The Holidayfest on South Lake Ave in Pasadena offers a day of family activities, shopping deals, holiday music, and a Santa’s Village. Go Metro: Take Lines 177/267/662 to Del Mar / Lake.

December 2: M The Holiday Kickoff Party at One Colorado. Go Metro: Take the A Line to Memorial Park station.

December 5: M The City of San Gabriel hosts a Holiday Tree Lighting featuring photos with Santa, mini train rides, and live entertainment. Go Metro: Take Line 487 to Ramona / Main.

December 9: M The Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade returns for the 61st edition, offering musical entertainment, food trucks, and a pre-parade fireworks display. Go Metro: Take Line 108 to Mindanao / Lincoln.

December 9: M The 68th Compton Christmas Parade runs along Compton Blvd from Bullis St to Alameda. Go Metro: Take Lines 60 or 127 to Long Beach / Compton OR Take Lines 125/127/28 to Compton / Alameda.

December 9: M The Echo Park Community Parade returns with a route on Sunset Blvd running from Vin Scully to Park Ave. Go Metro: Take Line 603 to Alvarado / Sunset OR take Line 4 along Sunset Blvd.

December 10: M Museum of Latin American Art hosts a children’s Make Your Own Holiday Ornament workshop. Go Metro: Take the A Line to 5th Street station in Long Beach.

December 10: M A Celebration of Hanukkah at Ivy Station includes a giant menorah lighting, live klezmer music, face painting, games, hot latkes, donuts, chocolate gelt, dreidels, arts and crafts, and a free raffle. Go Metro: Take the E Line to Culver City Station.

December 10: The El Segundo Holiday Parade returns with guests as the Grand Marshals… the 2023 El Segundo Little League World Series Championship Team!

December 10: M Museum of Latin American Art hosts a children’s Make Your Own Holiday Ornament workshop. Go Metro: Take the A Line to 5th Street station in Long Beach.

December 11: M The Hanukkah Celebration at the Beverly Center will offer an evening of live entertainment, arts and crafts, traditional treats and more. Go Metro: Take Line 14/105/617 to La Cienega / Beverly.

December 16-17: M Shogun Santa makes his annual appearance in Japanese Village Plaza. Go Metro: Take the A or E Line to Little Tokyo Station.

December 24: M The 64th annual LA County Holiday Celebration offers an afternoon of L.A.-based artists performing holiday favorites at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Go Metro: Take the B or D Lines to Grand Park / Civic Center station OR take the A or E Lines to Grand Ave Arts / Bunker Hill Station.

December 30: M Ovation Hollywood hosts a Kwanzaa Celebration featuring a performance from the Ujima dance & drum troupe, free cookies, crafting, and more. Go Metro: Take the B Line to Hollywood / Highland.

Holiday Movies Screenings

November 24: M Ovation Hollywood hosts a Friday Movie Nights screening of The Year Without a Santa Claus (1976). Go Metro: Take the B Line to Hollywood / Highland

December 2: M Ivy Station hosts a Holiday Movie Night screening of Elf. Go Metro: Take the E Line to Culver City Station.

December 2: M Runway Playa Vista screens The Grinch as part of their Movie Under The Stars holiday series. Go Metro: Take Line 110 to Jefferson / McConnell.

December 8: M Movie Fridays on Third Street Promenade presents a screening of Die Hard. Go Metro: Take the E Line to Downtown Santa Monica station.

December 9: M Runway Playa Vista screens Elf as part of their Movie Under The Stars holiday series. Go Metro: Go Metro: Take Line 110 to Jefferson / McConnell.

December 16: M Runway Playa Vista screens Home Alone as part of their Movie Under The Stars holiday series. Go Metro: Take Line 110 to Jefferson / McConnell.

Pop-Up Markets & Shopping Events

November 25: M El Segundo’s outdoor mall The Point celebrates Small Business Saturday with a Sun & Sea Collective Pop Up Market. Go Metro: Take Line 125 to Rosecrans / Sepulveda OR Line 232 to Sepulveda / Rosecrans.

November 26: M Mayumi Market pops up with a holiday event at Common Space Brewery in Hawthorne. Go Metro: Take Line 209/210 to Crenshaw / El Segundo.

November 26: M The Los Feliz Flea heads to the The Autry Museum for four consecutive Sundays of shopping pop-ups heading into the holiday season. Go Metro: Take Line 96 to Autry National Ctr.

December 2: M Conscious Market brings local, curated vendors to Santa Monica’s Third Street Market Promenade every first Saturday of the month, and come December they’ll be hosting a special holiday edition of the pop-up. Go Metro: Take the E Line to Downtown Santa Monica station.

December 2: M The San Fernando Outdoor Market hosts a holiday edition of their monthly pop-up. Go Metro: Take Line 224, 234, or 294 to Truman St. / Brand Blvd.

December 3: M Truly LA, Angel City Brewery, and Makeshift Muse team up for a Holiday Block Party in the Arts District. Go Metro: Take the A or E Line to Little Tokyo Station.

December 9: M The December edition of the Canoga Park Block Party features 50+ vendors, including special holiday programming. Go Metro: Take Line 162 to Sherman Way / Owensmouth.

December 9: M Creative Communal brings it’s brand of holiday market to Runway Playa Vista on two Saturdays in December. Go Metro: Take Line 110 to Jefferson / McConnell.

December 9: M Pawliday Market at PetSpace offers an array of pet-focused vendors plus sweet photo ops for you and your four-legged friends. Go Metro: Take Line 108/110 to Jefferson / Inglewood.

December 9: The Goddess Mercado brings 50+ vendors and live music to the East L.A. Civic Center: Go Metro: Take the E Line to East LA Civic Ctr Station

December 9-10: M Jackalope Indie Craft Market brings 175 vendors to Downtown Burbank over a two-day event. Go Metro: Take Line 92 to Magnolia / San Fernando OR Take Lines 154/165/294 to 1st / Magnolia.

December 10: M The Los Feliz Flea heads to the The Autry Museum for four consecutive Sundays of shopping pop-ups heading into the holiday season. Go Metro: Take Line 96 to Autry National Ctr.

December 10: M Filled Market brings a Filipino Holiday Market & Celebration to Smorgasburg with local artisans, brands, body artists, DJs, and more. Go Metro: Take Line 53, 60 or 62 to Central / 7th.

December 16: M Creative Communal brings its brand of holiday market to Runway Playa Vista on two Saturdays in December. Go Metro: Take Line 110 to Jefferson / McConnell.

December 16: M The Queer Mercado brings queer vendors, live music, food, and drag performances to the East L.A. Civic Center every third Saturday. Go Metro: Take the E Line to East LA Civic Ctr Station

December 17: M The Los Feliz Flea heads to the The Autry Museum for four consecutive Sundays of shopping pop-ups heading into the holiday season. Go Metro: Take Line 96 to Autry National Ctr.


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