The best Christmas gift we could had this year was a Covid-free environment to host gatherings, attend events, and celebrate the holidays. Unfortunately, the Delta and Omicron variants have spoiled that hope, and in the past week we’ve seen an uptick of cases in Los Angeles that mirrors rapid spread happening in many other parts of the county.
The development has forced several L.A.-area venues and team sporing events to either cancel or go crowd free. Now we hear that Grand Park’s New Years Eve gathering has been nixed and the L.A. County Holiday Celebration will be performed sans audience. Things are moving, and they’re moving pretty fast.
This is all to say that we want you to be safe (again) for the holiday this year. But if you’re vaccinated and feel like you still want to do some Christmasy-stuff or eat out, we get it. To that end, below you’ll find a rundown of holiday-themed activities for the week/weekend of Christmas, followed by a few highlights from our 2021 Christmas dining guide.
Whatever you decide, we think it’s worth keeping an eye on community spread, especially in regards to possible cancellations or updated restrictions. Hopefully we can quickly return to writing caveat-free guides soon, but in the mean time, we wish you all a very safe and happy holiday.
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Holiday-Themed Events for This Christmas Week in L.A.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 A Christmas Story 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.
Christmas Dining Options
We have an entire guide of where to eat in L.A. for Christmas Eve/Day for this year, but if you want a few quick highlights, check out some of our favorite options below:
Lunetta -> Before Lunetta, Chef Raphael Lunetta and his team had JiRaffe, and this Christmas Eve guests will be treated to a “best-of” list of JiRaffe’s past dishes. For $125 per person the menu starts with a Mushroom Cappuccino amuse with black winter truffles and a three course meal with choices like a JiRaffe Classic Duck Confit, Hand cut New Zealand Red Crab Gnocchi, Jiraffe Classic Bouillabaisse and Sticky Toffee Pudding. The meal can also be ordered for take out if that’s your preference. More info here.
Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air -> The restaurant will host a ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas multi-course menu that ends with a ‘Beignet’ Christmas Tree, as well as a Christmas Day three-course brunch menu, including a dessert buffet and a seasonal cocktail and during Christmas dinner a three-course menu that includes a grand dessert buffet will be offered. Each holiday menu cost $225 per adult and $85 per child under 12. More info here.
Yardbird -> A Christmas feast with Yardbird’s family package includes your choice of Rosemary Herb Crusted Prime Rib or Meyer Lemon Roasted Chicken both accompanied with Mac & Cheese, Whipped Mashed Potatoes, Charred Broccolini, Caesar Salad, Buttermilk Biscuits and Pecan Pie. Orders can be placed through Wednesday, Dec. 22 for Christmas Day pickup. More info here.
Caldo Verde -> Suzanne Goin and Caroline Stynes’ latest restaurant Caldo Verde located inside the Downtown L.A. Proper is offering a family style prix-fixe menu ($95 per person) for Christmas Eve serving a Portuguese meets Californian menu with Porco à Alentejana (braised pork and clams) as the main course. The restaurant will also be open on Christmas with a four course prix-fixe menu that includes Potato Gnocchi with Maine Lobster, Liberty Duck Breast with duck cracklings and a dessert “extravaganza” that includes cookies, macarons, chocolates and other sweets. The Christmas menu cost $125 for adults and $65 for kids 12 and under. More info here.
Hank’s -> Enjoy a Glazed Ham Prixe Fixe Dinner for $36 that includes four sides, an assortment of sauces and a seasonal fruit tart for dessert. More info here.
Randy’s Donuts -> Donuts are always a hit, especially paired with a cup of coffee, this season consider picking up Randy’s festive donut flavors for any gathering. Featured donuts include a Peppermint Candy Cane Twist with glaze topped with vanilla or red icing, red drizzle and crushed peppermint candies and a Holiday Sprinkles Raised Donut topped with sprinkles and glazed. Both are priced at $3.15 and are available at all Randy’s Donuts locations the entire month of December. More info here.
Any notes or corrections? Want to suggest an event we should add to an upcoming list? Hit us up at [email protected].