31 Fun Things to do This Week in L.A. [12-13-2021 to 12-17-2021]

Urban Light at LACMA
Urban Light at LACMA. Photo Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

Pop-ups, puppetry, holiday experiences, and a little side of horror. With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, that sounds about right to us!

This week in Los Angeles, from Dec. 13-17, features a free day at LACMA, Queer Radio Hour at Dynasty Typewriter, free performances by the Bob Baker Marionettes, an artist walkthrough at CAAM, Season’s Screamings in Pasadena, and a nuclear flashback from the 1960s.


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Monday / Throughout the Week

1. The Art and Science of Rare Jewels -> The Natural History Museum’s latest exhibition, Brilliance: The Art and Science of Rare Jewels displays the largest green diamond in the world, one of the world’s largest pink diamonds, and over a hundred other necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and unmounted gems. Learn how gems play a role in scientific research, why they’re important to help understand the earth’s past, and how they end up at your jewelry store. On view through Feb. 21, 2022. NHM general admission tickets are $15. More info on the exhibition here.

2. Kumihimo Exhibition at Japan House LA –> Now through March 6, 2022, Japan House LA is hosting the first exhibition in the United States to explore the history and art of Japanese silk braiding, which over the past centuries has been an important stylistic and practical element for usage in religion, music, military, and politics. Free to visit at the Japan House gallery. More info here.

3. Dodgers Holiday Festival -> Think blue this Christmas season by checking out a new holiday-themed fan fest taking over Dodger Stadium. Guests can explore the newly-renovated Centerfield Plaza and enjoy nightly entertainment options including ice skating rink, light displays, Santa photo-ops, plus holiday-themed treats and drinks. Tickets start at $16. Runs nightly through Dec. 31. More info here.

4. Enchanted Forest of Light -> Descanso Gardens’ annual illuminated, night-time experience is now open for the holiday season, offering an array of vibrant light displays and installations over the course of a one-mile walk at the garden grounds. Special for 2021, an entire town of stained glass creations has been erected in the Rose Garden by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin. Standard tickets run $32-$35, depending on weekday or weekend reservations. Get more info here.

5. LA Zoo Lights -> The L.A. Zoo’s signature holiday experience is now open, featuring a plus special attractions including a pop-up storybook, the magical disco ball forest, giant glittering snowflakes, and a twinkling tunnel filled with dynamic swirls of color. Run nightly through Jan. 9, except for closures on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Adult tickets start at $22. More info here.

6. House of Gucci at FIDM Museum -> The House of Gucci exhibition at the FIDM Museum showcases a mix of never-before-seen photographs, footage from the film, and costumes curated by costume designer Janty Yates. Free and open to the public during normal museum hours. Runs through Dec. 4. More info here.

7. Winterlit -> Winterlit transforms the Third Street Promenade into a festive experience featuring tens of thousands of colorful lights, decor and garland, all extending on to 2nd and 4th Streets. illuminating convenient shopping and cozy outdoor dining experiences. More info here.

8. SPARKLE DTLA-> This holiday installation at The Bloc in DTLA feature 18 million hues of lights synchronized to festive tunes alongside a 32-foot Christmas tree and a 16-foot holiday ornament. Runs nightly every hour from 5 to 9 .m. Free and open to the public. More info here

9. Santa’s Speedway -> Now through Jan. 2, the Irwindale Speedway is hosting a nighttime drive-thu experience offering visitors a host of holiday treats for the eyes, including stables filled with illuminated race cars, Christmas Trees and Snowmen made from tires, a 200-foot long illuminated red Christmas bow, plus a massive tree over 100-feet tall, adorned with 100,000 programmable LED lights. Tickets start at $59 per car. More info here.

10. L.A. Kings Holiday Ice -> The city’s largest outdoor ice rink has returned to L.A. LIVE for the holiday season, with daily hours now through Jan. 22. General admission, which includes skate rental, starts at $25 per adult. More info here.

11. Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter -> Just in time for the holiday season, the village of Hogsmeade™ at Universal Studios Hollywood gets a special Christmas makeover, along with several seasonal entertainment options. The highlight is a nightly performances of “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts™ Castle,” a dazzling projection display and musical performance. More info here.


12. Free Tuesday at LACMA -> The Los Angeles County Museum of Art offers free admission every second Tuesday of each month. If you go this week, be sure to catch the museum’s latest exhibition Mixpantli: Space, Time, and the Indigenous Origins of Mexico. The new exhibition look backs on the conquest of the Aztec empire and establishment of Mexico through the works of indigenous artists, mapmakers, and storytellers, and in so doing flips established historical narratives on their head. Mixpantil will run through May 1, 2022. If you can’t make it on Tuesday, general museum admission for L.A. County residents start at $20.

13. Queer Radio Hour -> Queer Radio Hour is a live variety show that imagines what the Golden Age of Radio would’ve been like if the Queer Community had hosted the programming. This Tuesday, catch a special Christmas edition of the in-person show at Dynasty Typewriter. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 on day of the show. More info here.

14. Holiday Cheer on the Pier -> Starting on Monday, Dec. 6, The Santa Monica Pier gets a seasonal makeover that including festive window display installations, plus a month of programming (on select dates) that includes a Bob Baker Marionette Theater performance on Dec. 14, a holiday story time session, and roaming carolers. More info here.

15. Love Actually at The Wallis >  A multimedia adaption of the the holiday classic Love Actually is playing onstage at The Wallis on select dates, now through Dec. 31. Tickets run between $39 to $125 per person. Get more info here.

16. Elf on the Shelf Magical Journey ->  Elf on the Shelf is back at the Pomona Fairplex, offering newly upgraded scenic displays, a Christmas village, ice-skating rink, and of course the signature walk-through journey of Christmas from an elf’s perspective. Tickets are $19.95 for children and $24.95 for adults. Runs on select dates through Jan. 2, 2022. More info here.


17. OH Snap: A Holiday Experience -> Create Something Amazing presents “OH Snap: A Holiday Experience,” featuring a pop-up holiday gallery with live music, photo moments, holiday inspired cocktails, and more. All toy donations and a percentage of proceeds from the event will go to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Runs Wednesday through Sunday for the rest of the month.  More info here

18. Lightscape at the LA Arboretum -> For the winter season the LA Arboretum has created an illuminated nighttime attraction called Lightscape. The mile-long, self-guided walk features thousands of twinkling lights in various themed attractions including a Winter Cathedral, Star Tunnel and Fire Garden. Adults tickets start at $32. Runs on select nights through Jan 16, 2022. More info here.


19. April Bey: Atlantica, The Gilda Region Exhibition Walk-Through -> This Thursday at the California African American Museum, join artist April Bey for an in-person tour of her immersive installation, Atlantica, The Gilda Region. The one-hour tour and discussion starts at 1 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.


20. Bob Baker Holiday Show in Old Pasadena-> This Thursday, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater will perform a special holiday show in the courtyard of One Colorado in Old Pasadena. Scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Early arrival suggested. More info here.

21. RUNWAY Wonderland: Holiday Movie Nights -> For the first three Thursday in December, head to Runway Playa Vista for a night of free Christmas movie screenings and complimentary popcorn. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, friends, family, and furry friends. The schedule features The Grinch on Dec. 2, Elf on Dec. 9, and Home Alone on Dec. 16. Events start at 6:30 p.m. on each Thursday. More info and RSVP here.

21. The Nutcracker Suite -> The American Contemporary Ballet is performing an immersive, one-of-a-kind version of the Tchaikovsky classic on Thursdays to Sundays through Dec. 24. Tickets cost between $25 to $140. More info here.


22. Season’s Screamings -> Beginning Friday, the creators of Midsummer Scream are back with a dose of horror for the holidays at this weekend’s Season’s Screamings at the Pasadena Convention Center. Expect three days of haunted house and yard displays, panels with experience creators, spooky shopping, special talks, and fun trivia. One-day general admission is $30 for Friday night, or $35 for Saturday or Sunday. More info here.

23. Playhouse 90: “Alas, Babylon” -> This Friday at The Hammer, the UCLA Film & Television Archive will present a special screening of Playhouse 90: “Alas, Babylon”, a CBS television special aired in 1960 that depicted life for Americans in the aftermath of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The free screening takes place in the Billy Wilder Theater starting at 7:30 p.m. Get more info and register to attend here.

24. Luminaria Nights -> The California Botanic Garden in Claremont lights up for the holidays over two special weekends (Dec. 10-11, and Dec. 17-18). Live musicians will provide a serene soundtrack as guests walk the garden trails and enjoy unique sculptures from the (Re)place exhibition created by Brandon Lomax. The evenings of art and nature run from 6 to 9 p.m. each night. Tickets are $15 for adults More info here.

25. Holiday Festivities at the Original Farmers Market -> Beginning this Friday, Dec. 17, the Original Farmers Market will offer daily holiday-themed entertainment, including live performances, kids crafting, carolers, and more. Activities continue through Christmas Eve. Check the full schedule of activities here.

26. Seaside Cinema -> This weekend, the Seaside Cinema & Santa’s Workshop series continues at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel with screenings of Elf on Friday and The Grinch on Saturday. Activities also include special culinary treats plus letter writing to Santa for the little ones. Events run from 6 to 8 p.m. The series continues through Dec. 25. More info here.



27. The Common Good -> The Common Good in Hollywood is a pop-up offering globally-inspired comfort food with a few spicy twists. Highlights include a crunchy Korean fried popcorn chicken, corn meal crusted cast iron pizzas, and creamy southern shrimp and cheddar grits. It plans to run through at least January.

28. ‘Naughty or Nice’ Cocktail Pop-Up -> There’s a ‘Naughty or Nice’ cocktail pop-up at Hotel Figueroa from Friday, Dec. 17 through Christmas Eve. Angelenos can stop by Bar Magnolia to enjoy a week-long holiday cocktail menu featuring a selection of cocktails and botanical spirit-based mocktails.

29. Cento -> Chef Avner Levi’s (Mignon; Bestia) pasta pop-up Cento officially opens a permanent spot in West Adams this Wednesday, Dec 15. Guests can expect regionally-inspired Italian fare such as Chicken Liver Crostino, Sweet Corn Carbonara and Squid Ink Paccheri with ‘nduja, prawns and serrano. 

30. Tel Aviv Night at Piccalilli -> Piccalilli in Culver City will transport diners to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 5 to 10 p.m. with dishes inspired by the restaurant’s Israeli-born sous chef, Liyam Ezer. Highlights on the menu include a Seafood Kabab with fish, shrimp, spices, amba and charred scallions; and Lamb Malfoof a slow roast lamb wrapped in cabbage, matbucha and herbs.

31. Winter Wonderland Holiday Pop-Up at The Green Room  -> The Green Room will debut a Winter Wonderland holiday pop-up Dec. 9. Here you’ll find seasonal holiday sweets like “Whoville Holiday Cream Puffs” and festive cocktails like “Drink up Grinches.” The pop up is open Thursdays through Sundays from 6 to 11 p.m. through Jan. 2. Reservations are not required but are recommended. 

Any notes or corrections? Want to suggest an event we should add to an upcoming list? Hit us up at [email protected].


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