Things To Do

Things To Do This Week in Los Angeles [12-18-2023 to 12-22-2023]

December 18, 2023 by Brian Champlin and Christina Champlin
Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market. Photo by Christina Champlin

You ready for the penultimate week of 2023?

This December 18-22 in Los Angeles, you’ll find a D&D holiday party, Sketch Party at Benny Boy’s, Home Alone in concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Christmas karaoke at Grand Central Market, Local’s Night at Santa Monica Pier, Goth Nite at Angel City Brewery, Popular Kids Club comedy, and more. 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

Dungeons & Dragons Holiday Party at El Cid -> This Monday at El Cid, adventures band together for an evening of Dungeons & Dragons combat and holiday revelry as players of all levels (including those who are just “D&D curious.”) gather to chat, socialize, and battle. Tickets range from $30-$45 (earlybird vs. GA) and include one free miniature figure, Runs 7 to 10 p.m. More info here.

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 Time Burton Night on Monday, The Holiday on Tuesday, a Home Alone double-feature on Wednesday, 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.

Sketch Party: Holiday EditionFA > Sketch Party’s returns to Benny Boy Brewing this Tuesday with a special holiday edition of the twice-monthly drawing/drinking meet-up. They’ll hook you up with sketch paper, pens, pencils, and markers, then it’s up to you to create, mingle, hang out, and enjoy BB’s solid lineup of craft beers and ciders. All artistic levels welcome. Quanatine Pizza will be on hand selling slices too! Free to attend. Runs 7 to 11 p.m. 21+ only. 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.

It’s a Wonderful Life Holiday Movie Screening -> On Wednesday pop into The Zephyr Theater for a screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Tickets cost $20 a person and includes hot cocoa and popcorn. There will be a DIY ornament station and cocktails (extra charge). 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. From Wednesday to Friday, audiences are invited to the see Home Alone, presented with John Williams’ score conducted live-to-screen by David Newman. 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.

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

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.

Popular Kids Club Holiday Extravaganza -> This Thursday at Permanent Records Roadhouse, Popular Kids Club Comedy celebrates the holiday season with a special lineup that includes Adam Conover (Adam Ruins Everything, The G Word), Roz Hernandez (Hulu’s Living for the Dead), Fumi Abe (The Tonight Show), DeAnne Smith (Last Comic Standing), and one secret (and allegedly very famous) headliner. Tickets are $8 in advance, or $12 at the door. Show starts at 8 p.m. More info here.

Locals Night at Santa Monica PierFA TP > This Thursday, the December edition of Local’s Night at the Santa Monica Pier is highlighted by a pair of performances from the Bob Baker Marionettes, plus a holiday-themed classic car show, face-painting, and musical story time for kids. The fun starts at 5 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

Goth Nite at Angel City BreweryM FA > Don your darkest garb and apply plenty of black eyeliner and nail polish for this Thursday’s Goth Nite at Angel City. Expect DJ-spun, dark wave tunes plus discounts on ACB brews. Music starts at 8 p.m. Free to attend. 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.

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.

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.

Christmas Karaoke and D.I.Y Ugly SweatersM > 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 sweater kits will cost you $30 for the supplies (including the sweater you get to keep). Event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. More info here.

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)
Inside Carla’s Fresh Market. Photo credit Katrina Frederick.

Carla’s Fresh Market

Carla’s Fresh Market in Highland Park is a delightful space designed for exploration, appealing to both the traditional and modern aspects of the neighborhood. It serves as a reliable destination for purchasing farmers market goods from BIPOC growers and small businesses.

Founder Ariell Ilunga leverages her vendor relationships from her previous role at the Hollywood Farmers Market to curate an impressive selection of produce from California farmers, such as Garden Of, and meat sourced from Peads & Barnett. The snacks and prepared foods available here showcase some of the finest offerings from Los Angeles small businesses. This includes treats from Sad Girl Creamery, halva from Hebel & Co., and pizza from pi00a, a Deaf and CODA Asian family-owned to-go Neapolitan pizza operation.


There’s also a stellar line-up of wines curated by Black female sommelier LaShea Delaney, featuring wines from small, minority-owned winemakers. Additionally, Carla’s offers a coffee counter where you can also treat yourself to fresh pastries from Sasha Pilligian, or bread from Bub & Grandma’s, and Clark Street.

As for costs, the price points here are what you would expect at a typical farmers market. In practice, you’re looking at $3 for a bunch of carrots or stalks of celery, $10 for fresh loaves of bread, or in the teens for a pack of eggs. That said, Carla’s accepts EBT as a form of payment and on Sundays, they also host a “happy hour” providing discounted produce.

Carla’s Fresh Market is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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