Events & Festivals

Your guide to the best events and festivals in LA

Things to Do

The best places to go ice skating in Los Angeles

Make the city your winter wonderland and add ice skating to your list of must-do Christmas activities.

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Things to Do

Holiday events and Christmas activities in Los Angeles

You won't find snow-covered trees and below-zero temperatures in LA, but there are still plenty of holiday events.

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Where to find Christmas lights in LA

In between a deluge of Christmas activities and frantic shopping trips take the time to check out these twinkling neighborhoods.

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This month's best events

After endless, premature teases from retailers, the holidays are here for real and they've taken over our December 2014 events calendar.

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This week's top events

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LA Zoo Lights

After going dark in 2009, holiday lights return to Griffith Park—this time at the LA Zoo. Whereas the old DWP Holiday Lights brought motorists careening through the park's windy roads, the zoo's fest will find visitors trekking through the front half of the festively illuminated grounds on foot. Though most of the animals will be asleep, you will be able to see reindeer and sit for a photo with Santa. There's a charming premise that ties everything together: A group of LED monkeys have comandeered a Christmas tree and the zoo's power supply. The glowing "Animal Power" cord they've draped across the grounds electrifies everything from desert flora laced with lights to a purple, disco ball-filled forest. Standout displays include elephant statues animated with projection mapping, a twinkly light tunnel and "ZOOray for Hollywood," a festive interpretation of LA landmarks. For better or worse, it's a tasteful, sometimes understated display—there's no snow or strobing lights, and the holiday music is sporadic—but LA Zoo Lights is sure to become an LA holiday staple. Tip: Buy your tickets in advance to avoid the worst of the entry lines. Also, tickets are $5 cheaper until December 11. And wear comfortable shoes; the lights only cover a fraction of the zoo grounds, but you'll be shuffling slightly uphill for most of the way.

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SparkleBlob's Annual Holiday Puppet Show

The name is a mouthful—SparkleBlob's 7th Annual Holiday Puppet Show: Jingle-Belling on the Outskirts of Greatness—but the show’s components are quite small. Puppet-sized, to be exact. Put on by the SparkleBlob performance collective, this seventh annual puppet show follows Silver Lake's Most Well-Adjusted Family as they attempt to celebrate the holidays in the strange recreational haven known as PigBear National Forest. Part social satire, part pure silliness, this show might be the perfect outing for a mixed-ages group. 

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Groundlings Holiday Show

The legendary Hollywood improv theater that launched the careers of Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow and many more comedians is putting on two showings of their hilarious, live holiday show. It's a festive, holiday-themed night of sketches and improv. (And you might just witness the next Kristen Wiig.) The show runs approximately two hours long, including intermission.

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Naked Comedy Toys for Tots Charity Show

Staying in Los Angeles for the holidays? Make your way to the Improv for this annual pre-Christmas charity comedy show. Josh Androsky hosts this year's show, which includes Tim Heidecker, Greg Proops, Guy Branum, Jade Cata-Pretta, Kate Berlant and Amber Kenny & Tamra Brown. Tickets are only $10, and half of the proceeds will go to Toys for Tots. Or, if you're short on cash but stocked with unwrapped, unopened toys, sign up for free here and bring along a donation.

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Month-by-month calendars

Things to Do

December 2014

After endless, premature teases from retailers, the holidays are here for real and they've taken over our December 2014 events calendar. Dive into the spirit of giving with a stop at one of the best gift shops in LA, or channel your altruistic side with these volunteer opportunities. If you're not stuck showing your visiting relatives around town, maybe consider making an escape to one of our favorite weekend getaways. Whatever your plans are—even if you're feeling like a bit of a grinch—you'll find plenty of activities to take advantage of in our December 2014 events calendar. RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

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January 2015

With the holidays behind us, January normally sparks images of a long plod through gray skies and chilly temperatures. It's winter, after all; you can even still go ice skating. But let's be honest, the weather is still pretty perfect, even with a slight uptick in precipitation. In fact, take advantage of those clear, post-rain days with one of the best hikes in LA. Or head to one of the city's best beaches while it's still deserted for the season. Start the year off right with the city's best activities and things to do in our January events calendar. RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

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Things to Do

February 2015

Let's get this out of the way: February is the time for everyone's favorite love-hate holiday, Valentine's Day. But there's a lot more to the mini month than chocolates and roses. There are still plenty of things to do in Los Angeles in winter before the seasonally-similar spring arrives. And you can take advantage of the extra day off during Presidents' Day and skip town with a weekend getaway. No matter your plans—and love life status—you'll find plenty of things to do in our February events calendar. RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

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Things to Do

March 2015

Shed that extra, light sweatshirt—spring is here. Fill your lungs with the sweet, less-smoggy air on one of the best hikes in LA or stretch every muscle at a yoga class. Whether you're looking for things to do around town or a weekend getaway to Ojai, there are plenty of springtime happenings to find in our March events calendar. RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

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April 2015

T.S. Eliot may have believed April is the cruelest month, but Angelenos have plenty of reasons to sing its praises: Concerts and festivals in LA kick into high gear this month as the weather warms up. A beer fest at LA Center Studios, cycling the city streets and our favorite music festival in the desert all have a place in our April events calendar, much-needed rain showers be damned. RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

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May 2015

You can almost hear the antsy teenagers tapping their toes as the school year wraps up. That's right, May is the last month to enjoy your favorite LA attractions before summer vacation (and crowds) arrives—parents, time to start brushing up on some kids activities. So make the most of that sweet, pre-summer stretch between Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day with our May events calendar. RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

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Full events calendar for LA

Concerts in LA

Music

Kelela

Los Angeles-based R&B savant Kelela brings her dreadlocks and electronically-charged intensity to the Fonda this December. Her lyrics weave together a romantic sensibility with an ultimate sense of loss, all while searching for that perfect synergy between vocalist, producer, and DJ. Kelela's striking and deeply personal debut, last year's Cut 4 Me, features production work from NGUZUNGUZU (also playing on Tuesday), Kingdom, DJ NA, and Girl Movement. Expect a huge, dynamic live set.

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Music

Gateway Drugs

Underground LA band Gateway Drugs is an enigmatic quintet playing multi-dimensional psych rock. They won fans at a Battle of the Bands during this summer's Echo Park Rising fest. See them here, preceded by "dense danse" band Vows and the hypnotic Silver Hands—a new synth-tastic band from Love Grenades' Elizabeth Wight.

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Music

Cass McCombs

Cult-fave songman Cass McCombs excels at both wistful psych-pop and scrappy lo-fi indie rock. Expect to hear from the itinerant enigma's latest alluring head-scratcher, the sprawling Big Wheel and Others. He's joined by the long-running Meat Puppets, who have aged from the grunge riffage you might recall to a more damaged punky folk music. Catch them all at the Troubadour.

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Music

The Aimee Mann Christmas Show

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo have spent quite a bit to time on the road together over the past few years. Most recently, the two singer-songwriters have been working together on Mann's project The Both. But this December, Mann brings the return of her electric holiday show, featuring herself and Ted Leo in a fit of Santa-centric carols, original tunes, video displays and sketches. For those who like their rock shows with a side of festivity.

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See the full concert calendar

Film events

Elf screening

Even those who don't wax poetic on the genius of Anchorman would be hard-pressed to find a bad word to say about Will Ferrell's lovable performance as the yellow-tights-clad Buddy, Elf's man-child protagonist. The Jon Favreau flick also features a top-notch supporting cast of Bob Newhart, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen and Zooey Deschanel. 11 years young, Elf stands out as one of the rare modern holiday flicks to join the roster of perennial classics. See it on the big screen at the Aero Theatre.  

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Heavy Midnites: Home Alone

Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like child neglect and terrorizing young'uns. Home Alone is an odd sort of holiday classic, but you can't help but love it. Plus, it's genuinely funny—it was written by John Hughes, fresh off of finishing Ferris Bueller. Add a particularly cute Macaulay Culkin, a John Candy cameo and Chris Columbus' direction, and you get a reliable '90s blockbuster. Catch Cinefamily's special late-night screening just in time for Christmas.

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Film

The Women screening

Before taking insta-worthy pics by the iconic lamppost display or wandering through the numerous exhibits packed with jaw-dropping artwork, make your way to the matinee showing of the 1939 film The Women. The film aficionados over at LACMA deemed there was no better way to celebrate costume designer Adrian’s part of the Academy’s Hollywood Costume exhibition than to showcase her work in this black and white favorite (and we couldn’t agree more).

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Gone With the Wind screening

Frankly, my dear, you should give a damn about the chance to catch Gone With the Wind on the big screen. Victor Fleming's Civil War epic follows the tribulations of spoiled Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), her maturation throughout the war and her turbulent romance with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Trust us, the near-four-hour running time will fly by.

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Food events

Museums

The Egg & the Eye Pop-Up

What do omelets have to do with the Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM)? More than you'd think. Before its life as CAFAM, the museum was previously The Egg & The Eye, a space founded by Edith Wyle that included a restaurant serving more than 50 kinds of omelets from various regions of the world. On December 20, CAFAM is partnering with Women's Center for Creative Work (WCCW) and Los Angeles Fibershed to bring the eggs back, along with a broadside showcasing the life and work of Wyle. Omelets, soups, desserts and tea and coffee will all be available for $5-$10. Because when was the last time you had omelets at a museum?

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Restaurants

California Crab Boil with Santa Monica Brew Works

You know your taste buds are in for one hell of a treat when Coast and Santa Monica Brew Works team up behind the kitchen. This December, indulge in their first-ever California Crab Boil—a $45 fixed menu complete with a two-pound succulent Dungeness Crab (bathed in beer and Cajun spices), homey French fries, an aioli trio and a pint of cold beer.

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Restaurants

Christmas Eve at Mohawk Bend

For some, Chinese food on Christmas Eve is a tradition as strong as caroling. On December 24, Mohawk Bend will offer vegan Chinese food and a classic holiday film (yet to be determined) to kick off the holiday, with a special menu available for one night only. Spicy green beans, Kung Pao tofu, lettuce cups, spring rolls and veggie fried rice replace the traditional turkey and fixin's, beginning at 4pm with a film screening at 6pm. Reservatiosn and walk-in's welcome.

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Restaurants

Christmas Eve at Tavern

Let Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne feed you pre-Christmas 2014, with a Christmas Eve dinner at Tavern. The three-course meal includes mouth-watering dishes like Brussels sprouts with pecorino and a soft egg, seared sea bass or braised beef shank, and a cranberry crumble tart that Santa wishes he had instead of cookies. Wine, available by the glass or bottle, will be curated by Styne. Can't make it to dinner? Tavern and The Larder will both be serving brunch that day from 10am-2:30pm.

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Comedy events

Groundlings Holiday Show

The legendary Hollywood improv theater that launched the careers of Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow and many more comedians is putting on two showings of their...

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Comedy

The UCB Yuletide Christmas Holiday Special and Pie Raffle!

Every year Mr. and Mrs. Claus hold a giant, joyous North Pole corporate retreat to take the temperature (usually cold) of their employees. Join the Clauses...

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Comedy

All Things Comedy

The All Things Comedy podcast network, founded by the brutally funny Bill Burr and Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal, rounds up its on-air regulars for...

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Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito pulled an impossible feat: She made her network debut simultaneously with two late-night talk show hosts. Technically, she appeared doing...

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See the full comedy calendar

Shopping events

Shopping and style

Arts District Flea

The ever-burgeoning Downtown Arts District welcomes its own permanent flea market.

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Things to Do

Artists & Fleas

We Angelenos welcome New York transplants with open arms—as long as they involve either gourmet ice cream or artisanal, handcrafted goodies. These criteria make the Arts District debut of Brooklyn-born craft market Artists & Fleas a no-brainer.

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Shopping and style

Handmade Ornaments Show

Tis’ the season for handcrafted trinkets. Branch out, if you will, and venture to iam8bit for the holy grail of handmade ornaments to decorate your one-of-a-kind tree.

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Shopping and style

Odd Market

Held weekly at Downtown's historic Casa Vertigo, the market features dozens of select vendors, in addition to live music and a slew of drool-worthy food trucks.

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