32 Fun Things to do This Weekend in L.A. [12-17-2021 to 12-19-2021]

Grand Central Market. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Three days of sunshine, and lots to do. Just like every other city in America during December, right?

This weekend in Los Angeles, from Dec. 17-19, features Season’s Screamings in Pasadena, the Santa Monica Pub Crawl, a Makers Festival at CAAM, a Patches and Pins Expo at GCM, a Japanese Christmas-themed KFC tribute, and the last Smorgasburg of 2021.


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Friday / All Weekend

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Luminaria Nights -> Starting this Friday, The California Botanic Garden in Claremont will light 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.

5. Seaside Cinema -> This weekend, the Seaside Cinema & Santa’s Workshop series continues at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel with screenings of The Grinch on Friday and A Muppets Christmas Carol 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. Lightscape at the LA Arboretum -> On Friday, Nov. 12, the LA Arboretum opens an illuminated nighttime attraction for the winter season 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. Snowglobe Groundlings -> The Groundlings’ annual holiday show runs on Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 18. Tickets are $25. More info here.

15. Hypercars at The Petersen -> The latest exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum brings guests into the world of hypercars, the fastest and most exclusive cars money can buy. Over the coming months Hypercars: The Allure of the Extreme will rotate up to 30 vehicles within the exhibit space, with the roster including the Aria FXE concept, Bugatti Veyron 16.4, Caparo T1, Devel Sixteen, Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta, and more. The new exhibit opens this Saturday, Dec. 4. GA tickets to the museum run $17. Get more info here.


16. LA Phil Holiday Sing-Along-> This Saturday, the LA Phil hosts their annual holiday sing-along this Saturday, featuring the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s massive pipe organ, a choir, and a jazz combo lead a cheerful selection of classic holiday songs. Tickets currently available from $35 to $92 per seat. More info here.

17. Holidays at Malibu Country Mart -> The Malibu Country Mart is hosting a seasonal celebration this Saturday offering guests the chance to snap pics with Santa & Mrs. Claus, enjoy live carolers, or have the little ones write letters to Santa then drop them off in a special “North Pole-bound” mailbox. Plenty of s’mores and hot cocoa to go around. Activities runs noon to 4 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

18. Santa Monica Pub Crawl -> This Saturday, The 13th annual Santa Monica Pub Crawl hits up dozens of SM area bars and lounges, with a portion of the proceeds from ticketed guests going to raise money for the Westside Food Bank. Each guest receives one free drink, plus access to food and drink specials and free entry to an after-party at The Victorian. General admission tickets start at $25 per person. More info here.

19. Kuumba Makers Festival 2021 -> On Saturday, the California African American Museum celebrate Kuumba, the Kwanzaa principle of creativity, with a special festival highlighted by artist-led collage workshops and a one-hour family yoga session with Constance Hartwell. Mats will be not provided, so be sure to bring your own. Activities runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.


20. Skid Row Christmas Benefit Concert -> Tradecraft Farms is teaming with cannabis delivery service High Times Delivery to host a special concert hosted at Arts District Brewing, with benefits going towards supplies and gifts for the less fortunate. IDK and Fatlip (formerly of Pharcyde) will headline the entertainment, and the event also features DJ sets, live art installations, and a silent auction. General admission tickets start at $25. Event goes from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday. More info hre.

21. Shogun Santa -> Santa Claus will be appearing at malls and shopping spaces throughout Los Angeles now through Christmas Day, but as far as we know the Shogun Santa will only be appearing at Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo this Saturday and Sunday. Snap a photo with the Shogun Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. More info here.

22. Pawl’idays at Sofitel -> On Saturday, Dec. 18, the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills will host a special “Pawl’idays’ events where guests are invited to bring their furry friends in for portraits with Santa Claus taken under a giant Christmas Tree. There will also be a Christmas-themed outfit contest (for pets) plus hot apple cider and holiday treats. Photo donations of $10 will benefit Wagmor Pets. Runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the hotel lobby. More info here.

23. Patches & Pins Expo -> Do you loves patches and/or pins? Head to Grand Central Market this Saturday for a vendor-filled gathering of pins, patches, art, toys, vintage fashion, pop culture collectibles, retro nostalgia, sneakers and more. Admission is free. Runs noon to 8 p.m. More info here.

24. Yuletide Cinemaland -> Street Food Cinema’s holiday-themed movie series combines a slate of classic Christmas films with special activities at Heritage Square Museum. Tour Victorian homes, visit with Santa, check out a light tunnel, or sample from on-site food trucks before enjoying the feature presentation. This weekend the series continues with a screening of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on Saturday, and It’s a Wonderful Life on Sunday. GA tickets start at $40 per person. More info here.


25. Final Smorgasburg of 2021 -> This Sunday is the final Smorgasburg of the year and that means it’s the last time to feast on vendors like Bridgetown Roti, Smoke Queen BBQ, Los Dorados, Bungkus Bagus all in one place. Smorgasburg’s Holiday Market and Record Fair will also be there for last minute gift shopping and streetwear shop Bodega will join the market to host their first ever Holiday Bazaar featuring pop ups by independent vendors. Bodega will also be hosting a Toy Drive for Believe in Giving, and a Coat Drive with LA Mission during the market.  

26. Skyline Sound + Cinema Holiday Edition -> This Sunday, Head to the rooftop garage at The Bloc for an evening screening of Elf while you take in skyline views and scenery. Tickets start at $10. More info here.

27. San Fernando Valley Master Chorale -> On Dec. 18, “Holidays in the Valley” comes to the Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park for an afternoon of holiday favorites, including a complete performances of Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols with harp and Chanukah Suite by Jason Robert Brown Concert starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for GA. Kids under six are free. More info here.


28. Free Sundays at MOLAA -> The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach offers free admission every Sunday. Get more info on how to reserve your ticket here.


29. OTOTO’s Kentucky Fried Chicken Tribute -> OTOTO’s “JFC Set” pays homage to traditional Japanese Christmas dinner of Kentucky Fried Chicken (yes, that’s a thing). The set includes a five piece bone-in buttermilk sansho fried chicken (breast, thigh, drumstick), along with sides of shrimp macaroni gratin, daikon salad with ume dressing, cabbage slaw with sweet potato vinegar and one large biscuit baked by All Day Baby Pastry Chef Thessa Diadem. The meal ends on a sweet note with a Strawberry Roll Cake from Konbi. The JFC Set costs $58 and serves two people. Limited quantities will be available for dine-in and takeout pre orders can be made on Tock for Dec. 22-23.

30. Gusto Green -> Gusto Green will open to the public on Saturday inside of the Green Street Building in Downtown Los Angeles. A unique concept that’s focused on redefining what it means to eat “healthy,” the dishes are mostly plant-based and supported by humanely procured fish and meat. The restaurant will also showcase the use of hemp leaves (no THC) in their culinary program partnering with the only federally approved purveyor of hemp leaf for food, Ziese Farms. Chef Michael Magliano (Animal and The French Laundry) will lead the progressive menu which starts each guest with a crispy, chickpea-battered whole hemp leaf amuse-bouche. 

31. TATEL Beverly Hills -> Spanish gastronomy newcomer TATEL Beverly Hills will debut an all new expanded outdoor patio space this weekend alongside a lunch and Sunday brunch menu. Lunch service features a three course prix fixe menu that includes a starter, main and dessert for $30 per person, available Monday – Friday from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday Brunch takes place every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

32. Feast of the Seven Fishes Themed Pasta at L’antica Pizzeria da Michele -> Hollywood’s L’antica Pizzeria da Michele adds a new twist to the traditional ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ dinner with a themed pasta that captures the essence of the traditional Italian Christmas time custom. Available throughout the month of December the restaurant will feature a Spicy Arrabbiata di Mare Pasta with branzino, scallops, calamari, shrimp, clams, and mussels for $35.

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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