Things To Do

Things To Do This Pre-Christmas Weekend in L.A. [12-22-2023 to 12-24-2023]

December 21, 2023 by Brian Champlin and Christina Champlin
House Tours at Street Food Cinema’s Yuletide Cinemaland. Photo courtesy of Street Food Cinema.

As we tiptoe our way toward the year’s biggest holiday, it looks like the rain will stop just in time to enjoy the weekend before Santa invades chimneys around the world. So how are you going to spend it?

This December 22-24 in Los Angeles, you’ll find Christmas Karaoke at Grand Central Market, Cocoa & Carols at Runway Playa Vista, the L.A. County Holiday Celebration at The Music Center, Arturo Sandoval’s Swinging Holiday at Disney Concert Hall, a Weekend In Hogsmeade Movie Night, and more.


Make Metro Part of Your Weekend

Ovation Hollywood Holiday Programming -> This weekend, Ovation Hollywood is running special holiday activations from Friday to Sunday, including afternoon performances by the Jingle 5 Carolers, Candy Cane Stilt Walkers, songs from Holly Belles Holiday Singers, meet-and-greets with Nutcracker characters and Santa’s Head Elf, plus free photos with Saint Nick himself. Times vary on each day, so be sure to check Ovation’s events page for details.

Go Metro: Take the B Line to Hollywood / Highland.

More Things To Do This Weekend

M = Less than .5 miles from an L.A. Metro Station, FA = Free Admission, TP = Top Pick

Yuletide Cinemaland M > Street Food Cinema’s annual holiday screenings series continues this week with festive outdoor events at Heritage Square Museum. Each screening includes holiday inspired cocktails, a Yuletide Market, live piano sing-along, guided Victorian home tours and more. This week the series wraps with a Die Hard and Krampus double-feature on Friday, and Elf on Saturday. Tickets cost $39.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids 6-11 years-old. More info here.

Christmas Karaoke and D.I.Y Ugly SweatersM FA > This Friday, Grand Central Market hosts an evening of free holiday karaoke to celebrate the season, plus a do-it-yourself Ugly Holiday Sweater station. The event is free to attend, but the sweater kits will cost you $30 for the supplies (including the sweater you get to keep). Runs from 6 to 9 p.m. More info here.

Cocoa & CarolsFA > Runway Playa Vista’s Cocoa & Carols series continues this Friday, offering guests a chance to grab a complimentary cup of gourmet hot cocoa (along with plenty of toppings) while they enjoy performances from acapella carolers. Epic Mega Cookie Co. will be on hand with a specia l treat offering. All free to enjoy/attend, but supplies are limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Runs 6 to 8 p.m. More info here.

Deck the Hall Holiday Concerts at The Walt Disney Concert HallM TP > There’s something for everyone at LA Phil’s annual Deck the Hall series, which continues at Walt Disney Concert Hall this week with a Friday screening of Home Alone, presented with John Williams’ score conducted live-to-screen by David Newman; then on Saturday catch Arturo Sandoval’s Swinging Holiday performance, which begins at 8 p.m. More info on both shows here.

Netflix Family Nights at Ice Santa Monica M FA > Netflix Family Nights at Ice Santa Monica offers free skate sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays through December 26. The sessions begin at 5:30 p.m., but admission is first-come, first-served. More info here.

Weekend In Hogsmeade Movie NightFA > This Saturday, Lawndale’s Far Field Beer Co. becomes “Hogsmeade Brewery” for one special night, highlighted by family-friendly screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, ornament making activities for kids, special brews for the event (such as Sorting Hat Seltzer), and discounts for those who come dressed for the occasion. The screening begins at 6 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

The Chinese Music Association of Southern California Performs at Candy Cane LaneFA > Get in the holiday spirit at the famed Candy Cane Lane in the San Fernando Valley as The Chinese Music Association of Southern California presents a cross-cultural free performance of Christmas carols on rare Chinese instruments. Join conductor James Chiao on Saturday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 5812 Lubao Avenue, Woodland Hills, 91317. More info here.

Santa’s Secret -> Voss Events presents Santa’s Secret, an adults-only Christmas experience at the Beverly Center. Visitors will journey through immersive and sassy holiday installations, encountering dancing Nutcrackers, sultry gingerbread ladies, rugged lumberjacks and an ice queen in a snow globe. The experience concludes with the revelation of Santa’s best-kept secret: a vintage speakeasy featuring a five-piece band and holiday-themed libations. Each night guests are treated to dazzling performances, including ballet, burlesque, and an X-Mas Barbie extravaganza, all hosted by Drag Queen superstar Asia O’Hara. Santa’s Secrets runs Wednesday through Sunday this week. Tickets start at $58 on select nights. More info here.

Lights on DisplayFA TP > One of the most elaborate home lighting displays of the holiday season is back in Sherman Oaks. Resident Mike Ziemkowski has a brand new edition of Lights on Display for 2023, but per usual you’ll find an elaborate mix of computer controlled lighting, DMX controlled intelligent light, and a bevy of animatronic characters synched to a pre-programmed playlist of holiday tunes. The experience is free to check out, and will run Wednesday to Sunday (weather permitting) through New Year’s Day. More info here.


Astra Lumina: An Enchanted Night Walk Amongst The Stars – > ​​Every Wednesday through Sunday evening, the South Coast Botanic Garden morphs into a multi-sensory celestial pathway where guests will walk amongst the stars thanks to brilliant lights, cosmic visions, and astral song. The seasonal attraction runs on select evenings through December 31. Adult tickets start at $35 and there’s an additional fee for parking. More info here

L.A. County Holiday CelebrationM FA > This Sunday the 64th annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration returns live to The Music Center with a diverse lineup of L.A.-based artists performing holiday favorites. If you can’t make it out for the show, remember the performance will also be broadcast on PBS SoCal and streamed live on Runs 3 to 6 p.m. More info here.

Miracle, a Christmas Themed Pop Up Bar -> This holiday season, gather some friends and head to Miracle, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar located inside Neighbors at Runway in Playa Vista. Guests can indulge in seasonal craft cocktails within a festive setting that embraces maximalist aesthetics. Throughout the pop-up, exclusively at Neighbors, you can purchase Miracle mugs and glassware – the SanTaRex is a personal favorite. Reservations for Miracle are now open, and the pop-up will run daily through the first week of January 2024.

Lightscape at The L.A. Arboretum -> The L.A. Arboretum lights up the holiday season with a one-mile trail of installations and twinkling displays, taking place at the garden after-hours on select dates. This week they are open Friday through Sunday. Lightscape runs through January 2, 2024. GA adult tickets range $29-$35, depending on the date selected for purchase. Get more info here.

Dining & Drinking

(picks by Christina Champlin)
OTOTO Japanese Fried Chicken. Photo credit OTOTO Instagram.

OTOTO’s Kentucky Fried Chicken Tribute -> OTOTO’s JFC night returns December 21-23 for a Japanese Kentucky Fried Chicken inspired dinner. The meal includes a whole fried chicken (cut into pieces) along with sides of shrimp macaroni gratin, cabbage slaw, Japanese sweet potato salad, biscuits baked by All Day Baby and honey vinegar, truffle creme fraiche. The meal ends on a sweet note with a chocolate cake. The JFC dinner cost $100 and serves two to three people. Reservations will not be taken for this special, so plan accordingly.


Christmas Eve at Momed -> Ditching the traditional Christmas Eve prix fixe, Chef Vartan Abgaryan of Momed in Atwater Village introduces a lineup of special dishes for the occasion. Dive into an array of spreads paired with house-made sourdough pita, move onto a tantalizing selection of small plates, and enjoy distinctive entrees such as Roasted Pheasant, Venison Shish Kabobs, and Squid Ink Bucatini with crab, uni, and roe. Cap off the festive feast with an array of delightful sweets, with the Baked Alaska Tart stealing the spotlight. Secure your spot by making reservations through Open Table.

Free Kids Meals at THICC Burger -> Running until Christmas Eve, THICC Burger at The Original Farmers Market is offering complimentary kids meals (for ages 12 and under) when you purchase an adult combo. In contrast to the popular smash burger trend, THICC Burger specializes in heartier patties adorned with a variety of tasty toppings, ranging from the traditional lettuce and tomato to pepper jack and grilled jalapeños. The Little OG’s, also known as the kids meal, include options such as beef sliders with or without bacon, as well as grilled cheese. More info here.

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