Things To Do

Things To Do This Week in Los Angeles [12-11-2023 to 12-15-2023]

December 11, 2023 by Brian Champlin and Christina Champlin
Street Food Cinema’s Yuletide Cinemaland. Photo courtesy of Street Food Cinema.

As we enter the mid-point of the holiday season, we’re knee deep in pop-ups, screenings, concerts, and celebrations. Sufficed to say, if your heart is set on reveling in the spirit of the season, you’ve come to the right place.

From December 11-15 in Los Angeles, you’ll find a Hanukkah celebration at the Beverly Center, Deck the Hall concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Yuletide Cinemaland at Heritage Square, All Space Considered at Griffith Observatory, How Do We Hear America? at Zócalo Public Square, and more. Check out the full rundown below, and enjoy your week!


Things To Do This Week

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

Mess-Cider Sing-A-Long -> Cider and a bit of opera? That’s a fine way to spend a Monday evening in Los Angeles! Stop by Benny Boy Brewing for The Pacific Opera Project’s Mess-Cider Sing-A-Long and join in a sing-along to Handel’s Messiah with POP’s talented singers guiding the way. Tickets cost $20 and include a cider. More info here.

The Hanukkah Celebration at the Beverly CenterFA > On Monday, the Beverly Center celebrates Hanukkah with an evening of live entertainment (including a magic show), sing-alongs, arts and crafts, traditional treats and more. The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is free to attend. More info here.

MoMA Contenders at The Hammer -> Now through December 14, The Hammer Museum and the Museum of Modern Art are teaming up their annual film screening series featuring potential award winners from the past year’s releases paired with special Q&A discussions. This week, the series concludes with May December on Monday, You Hurt My Feelings on Tuesday, Past Lives on Wednesday, and Killers of the Flower Moon on Thursday. Films begin at 7 p.m., and tickets are $20 for general admission. More info here.

Enchanted: Forest of Light – > Descanso Gardens’ annual light is back with a range of wondrous, illuminated installations, including a magical “stained glass” creations built in the Rose Garden by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin. The one-mile walk also features geometric installations from HYBYCOZO on the Main Lawn; Flower Power lights, and sparkling adornments added to Descanso’s Ancient Forest. Enchanted is open nightly through January 7 (closed for Christmas and Christmas Eve). Adult tickets cost $35-$45 for non-members. More info 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.

Die Hot at The Three Clubs -> Head to The Three Clubs in Hollywood this Tuesday for The Hollywood Jane Revue’s sultry send-up of the greatest Christmas movie of all-time (it’s Die Hard, and yes that is totally a Christmas movie). The show begins at 9 p.m. and tickets are $20. More info here.

East West Players: A Home on StageFA > The latest in-person screening presented by LAist and KCET ARTBOUND is a documentary on the East West Players theatre company, which has a nearly six-decade history of supporting Asian American actors and artists, with past players including George Takei, John Cho, Daniel Dae Kim, and James Hong. A panel discussion will follow the film, which begins at 7 p.m. this Tuesday at the The Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena. Free first-come, first-serve tickets are available, of you can get reserved seating for $15. More info here.

Are You Still Listening?FA > Netflix’s free monthly stand-up series returns to Dynasty Typewriter this Tuesday with host Zach Noe Towers and a lineup featuring Alec Flynn, Maddy Kelly, Malik Bazille, Kalea McNeil, Leah Kayajanian, and Vince Caldera. No cost to RSVP for admission, but seating elis first-come, first-served and not guarantee entry. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and show starts an hour later. 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 returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall this week. The series kicks off Wednesday with A Chanticleer Christmas, a Grammy-winning vocal ensemble offering an evening of a cappella Christmas classics. Then on Saturday, audiences are invited to the LA Phil’s annual Holiday Sing-Along. Tickets start as low as $49. More info here.

Comedy on the Patio M FA > Grand Central Market’s Free standup comedy comes to Grand Central Market this Wednesday in the form of The Comedy Patio, a monthly showcase taking place at Maple Block. The lineup features Shapel Lacey, Liz Blanc, Jeff Horste, Pallavi Gunalan, Jeremy Scippio, Chance Nichols, and Jeff Buck. Free to attend, but donations happily accepted. Show starts at 7 p.m. 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.

Hikari – A Festival of Lights at Tanaka Farms -> Hikari a Festival of Lights at Tanaka Farms turns the 30-acre Irvine farm into a dazzling spectacle of lights. Go on a wagon ride or explore by foot a lantern lite field and meet some animals in the petting zoo, participate in crafts, grab some food, Santa for a photo and buy gifts a the market stand. Runs Wednesday through Sunday. Admission starts at $35 per adult. More info here.

L.A. Zoo Lights – > The Los Angeles Zoo’s brightest annual tradition will transform the zoo grounds into a world of light and holiday magic. The after-hours event offers brightly lit displays and festive family-friendly experience every night throughout the entire holiday season. This week they’ll be open Wednesday through Sunday, then continuing on select dates through January 7, 2023. Adult tickets range from $29-$35, depending on the desired date to attend. More info here.

All Space ConsideredFA > Every month, All Space Considered brings Griffith Observatory’s curatorial staff together for a discussion/presentation on the most-talked-about subjects in astronomy and space science. This Thursday, the program includes two special guests: Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist Dr. Kip Thorne and  painter/photographer Lia Halloran. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. More info here.

How Do We Hear America?M FA > This Thursday, How Do We Hear America? offers special evening of music at Zócalo Public Square featuring compositions from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, artist, and 2023 MacArthur fellow Raven Chacon. Come early, Zócalo will also host a pre-event performance of Chacon’s Echo Contest in the Herald Examiner Building’s historic lobby, and a post-event reception with complimentary food and beverage to celebrate the closing of Zócalo’s 2023 event season. 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

Yuletide Cinemaland M > Beginning this Thursday, Street Food Cinema’s annual holiday screenings series returns 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. Tickets cost $39.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids 6-11 years-old. The series runs from Dec 14-23. 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 Thursday through Sunday this week. Tickets start at $58 on select nights. More info here.

The Nutcracker Suite M > The American Contemporary Ballet is performing their annual one-of-a-kind version of the Tchaikovsky classic on select Thursdays to Sundays through December 24. Tickets cost between $70 to $135. More info here.

Winter Fest OC -> Winter Fest at the O.C. Fair & Event Center is back with a slate of family friendly activities including an outdoor ice skating, a nine-lane 150-foot-long ice tubing slide, ice bumper cars, and LED mini golf, plus nightly Holiday celebration featuring snow flurries and Santa appearances. GA tickets online start at $38 for adults, or $33 for kids. Winter Fest runs Thursday through Sunday this week, and continues on select dates through January 7, 2024. More info here.

Eataly LA’s Holiday Notte Italiana > Eataly’s holiday edition of their signature market place roaming event returns this Friday with a late evening event filled with delectable Italian food, beverages, and lively entertainment. Tickets are priced at $125 and grants you access to 10+ stations of chef-curated bites and 15+ stations of Italian wines and cocktails. More info here

Holiday Road -> Holiday Road continues this Thursday through Sunday this week at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas. Now in its fourth year the 1-mile walking trail feathers immersive scenes and holiday-themed activities for all to enjoy. The experience runs on select dates through December 27. Tickets range from $29.99-$39.99. Get 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.

Blitzen’s Bar -> If you’re out shopping this week, stop by Blitzen’s Bar, a cozy daily pop-up in The Atrium of Westfield Century City. Relax in a cabana overlooking the festive Holiday Village as you enjoy handcrafted cocktails, tasty bites, scheduled snow fall, holiday activities and live performances from the Holiday Village cast. This all-ages pop-up, is presented by Fiji Airways, Starward Whisky and Peroni. More info here.


Dining & Drinking

(picks by Christina Champlin)
The bar at asterid. Photo by Jim Sullivan

asterid Toy Drive -> Join asterid in DTLA as they host a holiday toy drive from December 12 to 20 in partnership with healthRIGHT 360, an organization dedicated to providing hope and transformative care for those in need. Drop off unwrapped new toys at asterid’s lounge and enjoy a complimentary drink courtesy of Beverage Director Chris Chernock. Choose between the Mint Cold Chocolate, crafted with vodka, crème de cacao, amaro angostura, fresh mint, and oat milk, or the Clarified Milk Punch, a delightful blend of lyres white cane spirit, pineapple gum, black tea, baking spices, and coconut milk.

Ayara Thai Moo Krata BBQ Event -> Westchester’s Ayara Thai is hosting a Moo Krata dinner this week on December 11, 13, and 14. This unique Thai dining experience revolves around a charcoal-heated grill with a raised dome, resembling a mix of Korean BBQ and Chinese hot pot. The meal includes an array of meats such as wagyu ribeye and kurobuta pork loin from Snake River Farm, accompanied by a medley of vegetables, rice, noodles, dipping sauces, and a rich broth. As the weather cools, indulge in sesame dumplings bathed in ginger syrup for dessert. Tickets cost $200 for a table of four with seating available for 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. Secure your reservations on OpenTable. More info here.

$15 Lunch Crunch Deal At Topanga Social -> Topanga Social just launched “Lunch Crunch” a weekday $15 lunch combo from a dozen vendors inside the food hall. Available from Mondays to Fridays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, specials range from a Chicken Thigh Plate and drink from Mini Kabob, to a Classic Double Burger with fries, and a drink from Amboy to a Shrimp Plate from Shrimp Daddy all for $15. More info here.

An All-You-Can-Eat Gujarati Experience at Tulsi Indian Eatery -> The Northridge location of Tulsi Indian Eatery recently launched an AYCE Gujarati buffet featuring an array of traditional dishes, delicacies and desserts. Highlights include Sev Tomato a tomato curry with crispy vermicelli, Khaman Dhokla a steamed lentil cake and yogurt-based dessert Srikand. The buffet runs Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $20 per person and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. for $24 per person. More info here.

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