Los Angeles provides no limit of things to do, some awesome and some not so awesome. Since time is precious in this fast paced city we curate a list of things to do in Los Angeles for every weekend that’ll help you decide how you want to spend your limited supply of attention (not to mention dollars!).
This weekend, from Friday, December 21 to Sunday, December 23, features Yuletide Cinemaland, Holiday Sing-Along with the L.A. Phil, a Gilmore Girls experience at Warner Brothers Studios, free screening of Nightmare Before Christmas, the last Smorgasburg L.A. of the year 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 weekend!
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Friday December 21st, 2018
1. 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)
2. 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)
3. 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
4. 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)
5. California Market Center, in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles’ Garment District, opens to the pubic for a big sample sale this Friday (just in time for holiday shopping!).
6. 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)
7. 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.
8. 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)
9. 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
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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 Elf, Home Alone, Nightmare Before Christmas and more.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. The Rink in Downtown Burbank returns for another year of outdoor ice skating for a good cause. Open now through January 6, 2019 the skate rink is just steps away from a plethora of shops and restaurants.
16. 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.
17. 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)
Saturday December 22nd, 2018
18. It’s the Holiday Sing-Along with the L.A. Phil where a collection of classical and modern holiday tunes will be paired with vocals by the Angeles Chorale, and a live jazz combo.
19. Spend the morning prepping meals and hygiene kits for the less fortunate during Serve, Sip, and Socialize at Shopify LA located in ROW DTLA. Set up by SameSide and Shopify LA, volunteers will enjoy mimosas and light bites in return for help and donations of warm items (jackets, socks, blankets, etc.) or monetary donations $10-$25 to Shopify LA’s charity partners Hashtag Lunchbag/Happy Period. Free to volunteer!
20. SiriusXM welcomes The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 15th Anniversary Christmas Rocks Tour to Microsoft Theatre this Saturday for a night of holiday tunes as well as original Setzer music backed by a 19-piece orchestra. DISCOUNTED (via Goldstar)
21. There’s a Gilmore Girls experience coming to Warner Brothers Studios. From December 22 through January 6 fans can dine at Lorelai’s and then walk through sets like Lorelai and Rory’s home, the gazebo and town square all from the show.
22. Marina Lights Movie Night will screen Nightmare Before Christmas for free at Burton Chace Park. Before the show, The Wonderelles will perform holiday music in 50’s and 60’s style, The screening will take place at 6 p.m.
23. A 35,000 square foot Entertainment Art Park opens in Downtown Los Angeles featuring five Samskara immersive domes that have made an appearance at Coachella, Burning Man, Lightning In A Bottle and more. This Saturday the park will host a winter solstice party featuring visual art, interactive VR/AR experiences, live performances, psychedelic and meditative soundscapes.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. 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)
27. Idle Hour will be serving pork and veggie tamales out of their Giant Bulldog cafe (seen in the Rocketeer) this Saturday till December 26.
28. Malibu Country Mart celebrates the holiday season with a Winter Wonderland this Saturday that includes complimentary photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, live carolers, festive arts & crafts and real reindeer! All activities are free to experience.
29. 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)
30. 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
31. 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)
32. The 15th Annual Winter Holiday Festival happening at the EXPO Center will include free ice skating, food, live entertainment, a snow village, pictures with Santa, and much more. FREE
33. 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.
34. 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)
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. 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)
38. 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.
Sunday December 23rd, 2018
39. Warm up your singing voices because there’s a White Christmas Sing-Along with the LA Phil this Sunday. Sing along to the special remastered movie with lyrics on the screen so you won’t miss a beat. Arrive early to enjoy a Winter Wonderland set up in BP Hall where you’ll sing with carolers and warm up with complimentary cocoa.
40. 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
41. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck’s Sky-High Sunday “Kitchen Brunch” invites the public for a behind the scenes look into the inter-workings of a kitchen. This Sunday the team welcomes Santa Claus for a special holiday themed brunch that includes festive cookie decorating stations and hot cocoa for kids.
42. This Sunday is the last day to check out Alexa Meade’s pop-up installation, Immersed in Wonderland where you’ll step into 3-D paintings that 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 through December 23. FREE
43. 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.
44. 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)
45. 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
Food Pick for the Week
This week’s pick by Christina Champlin, Co-Founder of We Like L.A.
Sunday is the last Smorgasburg L.A. of the year. Head down to ROW DTLA and grab a few bites from vendors like Sticky Rice, Shrimp Daddy, Stoked BBQ and NYC’s Burger Supreme Burger. Walk off the food coma by strolling through the five acre space and pick up some last minute gifts at Smorgasburg’s holiday market. Then repeat the eating part, but this time with dessert.
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