Things To Do

45 Totally Fun Things To Do in L.A. This Week You Need to Know About [12-17-18 to 12-21-18]

December 17, 2018 by We Like L.A. Staff

Every week in Los Angeles there are tons of great things to do (even before the weekend gets started) that we think you ought to have on your radar. With that in mind, we put together a list every Monday through Friday morning to keep you in the know about what’s happening in the city you love (or maybe just like).

This week, from Monday, December 17 to Friday, December 21, features 38th Annual Messiah Sing-Along, Griffith Observatory Sunset Walk & Talk, The California Wildfires Benefit Concert, Ya Filthy Animals pop-up bar, Yuletide Cinemaland, A life sized gingerbread house bar pop up and MUCH more.


Remember you can always go to our L.A. events calendar page to get an updated rundown of what’s happening around the city.

Hope you find the rundown useful and, as always, enjoy your week!

Winterfest OC 2015

Winterfest OC 2015. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

Keep in mind that while we retain complete editorial control of our content, for some of the ticketing options provided we utilize affiliate links and receive a commission if you purchase through our links.

Monday December 17th, 2018

1. Head down to The Walt Disney Concert Hall for the 38th Annual Messiah Sing-Along, with you as the performer! The event invites the audience to participate and sing along to the performance with the LA Master Chorale.

2. McCabe’s Annual Holiday Show & Party is this Monday at McGabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. FREE

3. Monday is Trivia Night at Saved By The Max, the Saved By The Bell Pop Up Shop Diner & Bar.

4. Alexa Meade’s pop-up installation, Immersed in Wonderland allows you to step into her 3-D paintings that when photographed, present the illusion that you’re actually inside the painting. The exhibit is part of Beverly Hills’ BOLD Holidays programming, which also includes live music, art, ice sculpting, holiday art walks, and more. Open now through December 23. FREE

5. Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted: Forest of Light returns for another installment with a host of interactive displays and nighttime activities from November 18 through January 6, 2019 daily. This seasonal event runs daily. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

6. Grand Park’s Winter Glow is a free immersive art experience covering 12 acres of Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles. The art, projection and light displays will illuminate paths and play off of the park’s most iconic elements, including the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain. The holiday-inspired event will run nightly from December 1 to 25. FREE 

7. One of L.A.’s most magical holiday traditions, L.A. Zoo Lights returns November 16, 2018 through January 6, 2019 with thousands upon thousands of LED lights illuminating the zoo. This seasonal event runs daily. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

8. Rooftop Cinema Club returns with holiday themed screenings at their Los Angeles venues at LEVEL in Downtown LA and Hollywood location, NeueHouse. The spaces will turn into a Winter Wonderland with holiday decorations, snow and festive food. This weekend they will screen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Holiday and more.

Tuesday December 18th, 2018

9. Father John Misty in collaboration with Goldenvoice will team up for The California Wildfires Benefit Concert this Tuesday. Happening at The Theatre at The Ace Hotel, the concert will include performances from Father John Misty, HAIM, Jonathan Wilson, Lucius, Mac DeMarco, Rivers Cuomo, Rostam and more.

10. Celebrate the holiday season during a Queen Mary Christmas (daily Nov. 23 – Jan. 6) The special occasion will see Christmas spirit lining the famous Long Beach vessel including an 80-foot Christmas tree, a variety of holiday activities, an outdoor staking rink, musical performances, a 4D showing of The Polar Express, and dinner shows on select dates.  Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

11. For The Record presents the world premiere production of Love Actually Live at The Wallis. The musical will bring one of the most beloved holiday movies to life through an all-star cast and 15-piece orchestra. Playing December 4-31. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

12. Gingerbread House-Off at Tripli-Kit’s pop-up store in Playa Vista will bring together DIY enthusiasts both adults and kids for an evening of gingerbread house building. Supplies for the gingerbread house, wine, cider, and light snacks will be served.

13. The Foodie Space (Nov. 21- Dec. 30) is the latest interactive pop-up museum designed for serial foodie photo-taker’s. Located in Pasadena the museum claims to poke fun at society’s obsession with social media and #foodporn. Food-themed exhibits include a giant bowl of phở, glitter fries that you can marry and more. Happening Tuesdays through Sundays.

14. Shop Just One Eye’s winter warehouse sale starting Dec. 10 through Dec. 24. The boutique carries edgy luxury brands with collections from ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories up to 80% off during the sale.

15. Free museum day: Los Angeles County Arboretum , South Coast Botanic Garden and Descanso Gardens

Wednesday December 19th, 2018

16. Griffith Observatory offers a Sunset Walk & Talk one evening a month led by a Park Ranger and museum guide. FREE

17. Ya Filthy Animals is a pop-up bar inspired by holiday movies including Bad Santa, A Christmas Story, and, of course, Home Alone. Expect themed drinks, photo booths, movie-themed installations, an outdoor ice rink, falling “snow,” a Christmas tree farm, food trucks and a fire pit. Open now till January 6, 2019 on Wednesdays through Sundays. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

18. The folks behind the Museum of Failure presents The Disgusting Food Museum (Dec. 9, 2018 through Feb. 17, 2019.) Some of the ‘delicacies’ include maggot infested cheese, bull testicles, and sheep eyeballs. If you’re brave enough, visitors will also get to smell and taste some of the creations at the end of the exhibit over at a tasting bar. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

19. The Super Serious Show is a comedy event produced by CleftClips featuring both established and up-and-coming talent performing an array of stand-up, sketch and musical comedy. Happening at The Virgil.

20. IHEARTCOMIX presents LA GIVES BACK a benefit concert that aims to address Los Angeles’ growing homeless crisis. Together with local record labels, bands, event creators and even Adult Swim the one night event will benefit the Downtown Women’s Center and My Friend’s Place.

21. The Paley Center for Media celebrates the holidays with family-friendly experience PaleyLand. Guests can enjoy daily screenings of classic holiday TV programs, a Candy Cane Forest , arts and crafts, dreidel games, and free hot cocoa. No reservations are required. Open Wednesdays through Sundays till January 6, 2019. FREE

22. Stop by Salazar every first and third Wednesday from November to February for a Mezcal Tasting Series with select mezcal brands. You’ll hear the history and culture of each brand and taste different expressions paired with snacks.

23. The annual LA Kings Holiday Ice happening at L.A. LIVE’s Microsoft Square is a daily outdoors holiday skating rink. Open November 10, 2018 through January 6, 2019.

24. The Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden presents Moonlight Forest, where crafted lanterns line the garden grounds, some depicting animals, shimmering exotic flowers, and figures from Chinese legends. Happening Wednesdays through Sunday. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

Thursday December 20th, 2018

25. Every first and third Thursday of the month Brennan’s in Marina Del Rey hosts their famous turtle races. Since 1974, this tradition brings these little speedsters out of their sanctuary (located in the bar) for an exciting game that support charities. Race starts at 9 p.m.

26. Get fully immersed in the holiday spirit during Winter Fest happening at the OC Fairgrounds from December 20, 2018 through January 6, 2019. A festival of lights, outdoor ice skating, ice tubing, snowfall, a candy wonderland and Santa Claus are just a few of the magical things happening.

27. Enjoy a special performance of The Nutcracker (Dec. 1 – 24.) by the American Contemporary Ballet on the 18th floor of California Plaza in downtown. After the show, guests are invited by The Fairy for a celebration with live music, champagne, and more.

28. The Pacific Opera Project presents “La bohème,” or “The Hipsters” throughout the month of December. Set to current times the show follows the story of several Los Angelenos during a cold SoCal winter as they tackle the city’s housing crises, love, jealousy and more. Happening on select days this month at Highland Park Ebell Club. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

29. Winterfest at Santa Anita Park kicks off the holiday season in style. This family-friendly event includes a visit from Santa Claus, horse drawn carriage rides a Santa’s Village and petting zoo, carolers, seasonal foods, 80+ vendors and much more. Winterfest continues Thursdays through Sunday from November 23 through December 23. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)


30. Since 1969 Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater’s adaptation of the Nutcracker has been warming hearts and delighting kids and adults during the holidays. The show includes over 100 handmade puppets at the Pasadena Playhouse. Running now until Dec. 30 Thursdays through Sundays.

31. NoMad Los Angeles gets in the holiday spirit with a Holiday Spectacular cocktail pop up every Thursday through Saturday evening from 5-11 p.m. in the Coffee Bar. Guests will enjoy “Naughty” and “Nice” cocktails from the NoMad team as well as guest bartenders from some of the best bars around town.

32. Party With is Los Angeles’ new Instagram-ready experience. Opening it’s doors on Friday Nov. 16 in Westfield Santa Anita Mall, folks can expect 15 premium photogenic installations like an infinity rainbow and a room filled with sparkling disco balls. Party With runs through January 27 and is open Thursdays through Sundays. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

33. Sherman Oaks resident Mike Ziemkowski’s elaborate Christmas themed animatronic characters will return once again with Lights on Display a dazzling light show with a playlist of holiday tunes. Free to the public, the 13-minute show runs nightly 6 to 10 p.m. from November 23 through January 1, 2018. FREE

34. Head down to The Fairplex at Pomona for the Chinese Lantern Festival where the theme is “The Wild,” featuring animals represented in lanterns from five different areas of the world, Antartica, Asia, Oceania, Africa and America. Some of the larger pieces stand all the way up to 23 feet tall. The festival run every Thursday through Sunday from Nov. 15 – Jan. 16.

35. Free museum day: Japanese American National Museum (from 5 to 8 p.m.), MOCA Grand & MOCA Geffen (from 5 to 8 p.m.), Skirball Cultural Center (noon to 5 p.m.) and Long Beach Museum of Art (3 to 8 p.m.)

Friday December 21st, 2018

36. Street Food Cinema and Heritage Square Museum team up for Yuletide Cinemaland. Enjoy a festive outdoor movie screening experience in a Victorian town square surrounded by Christmas carolers, food trucks, hot chocolate, mulled wine and craft beer. This week they’ll be screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Check for discounted tickets while supplies last. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

37. Swing band Lil’ Mo and the Dynaflos will perform at Cocoa Concert at Union Station this Friday. This free, family-friendly holiday concert will be set in a winter wonderland that includes a holiday light display, a cocoa bar with Elftenders, complementary cotton candy, Santa selfies, gingerbread house making, and more. FREE

38. Hang out at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE’s Santa’s Tavern a functioning life sized gingerbread built bar.  Partake in seasonal cocktail tastings, enjoy festive photo-ops and baked treats inside of the edible watering hole. Free and open daily throughout the month of December.

39. Sandra Tsing Loh’s Sugar Plum Fairy is a cheerful holiday story about a young girl who dreams of being the lead dancer in The Nutcracker. It unfolds in a hilarious Rocky Horror Picture Show type way but is also family friendly. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

40. Holiday Concerts in the Pasadena Playhouse District, takes place on Friday nights from November 30 through December 21. This week Donavan/Muradian Quintet will perform in Vroman’s Courtyard. FREE

41. Step into a retro-inspired winter wonderland during Miracle at The Everly: Ever Bar happening at The Kimpton Everly Hotel. The Christmas-themed bar open now through December 31 features a candy cane “selfie station,” a 15-foot inflatable Santa Claus, and a dedicated Hanukkah Hut.

42. Get into the winter spirit when ICE at Santa Monica returns with a 8,000 square foot ice skating rink. Running November 3, 2018 through January 21, 2019.

43. Here and Now transforms it’s newly opened space into a holiday bar called Blitzen’s from November 28 through December 31. Get transported to the the North Pole and enjoy a snow machine, themed entertainment like Bad Santa and carolers, and seasonal food and drinks.


44. The Holiday Light Festival Train Ride at Griffith Park is a festive one mile ride on the tracks with tens of thousands of lights to get you in the Holiday spirit. Running daily Nov 23 through Dec. 23 and then again from December 26 to December 30.

45. It’s that time of the year to celebrate the holiday season, which is the main purpose of Fa La Land, a pop up museum at Row DTLA. Guests will enjoy a wide variety of installations like a Jingle Bell Toy Factory and a fluorescent “Fa La Forest.” Fa La Land runs Nov. 18 through Jan. 6, 2019. Happening Tuesdays through Sundays. Check for discounted tickets before making your purchase. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)

Drink Pick for the Week

This week’s pick by Christina Champlin, Co-Founder of We Like L.A.

Otium just launched a new bar menu dedicated to the late and great food critic Jonathan Gold. Created by bar director Chris Amirault, the menu features 14 cocktails that pay homage to some of the critics most memorable restaurant reviews. Each cocktail is named after local establishments, with the list including Little Sister, Baroo, Providence, Chengdu Taste, Guleguestza and Otium. The speciality libations will be available for a limited time, which gives you an excuse to stop by for a drink or two this week.

Otium is located at 222 South Hope Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

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