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17 free things to do in Los Angeles this December 2018

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

Your Christmas plans and holiday travel arrangements are already set, but there are plenty of free things to do in December before it’s time to check underneath the tree. From waterfront Christmas lights to a massive New Year’s Eve party, these are the best ways to make the most of your month without breaking into your wallet.

Through Dec 2
HYPERSPECTIVE Inter-dimensional Dome Film Festival; Ace Hotel

Look left, right and all around you as a selection of scored shorts screen in a 360-degree dome theater.

Through Dec 23
“Invader: Into the White Cube”; Over the Influence

The prolific (and anonymous) street artist’s video-game–inspired tile mosaics head inside for a career-spanning survey that also includes a new series of canvas paintings from the artist’s studio practice.

Dec 1, 2
Grand Central Market Holiday Marketplace; Grand Central Market

Head to GCM for unique kitchen, pantry and tabletop finds from retail and culinary pop-ups , plus cookie decorating, love local music and tons of tasty eats.

Dec 1–25
Grand Park’s Winter Glow; Grand Park

Touch, climb and explore 19 interactive, illuminated installations at Grand Park’s inaugural nighttime experience.

Dec 1
Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade; Port of L.A.

Sailboats and harbor craft of all kinds will light up the waterfront during this annual tradition.

Dec 1, 29
Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival; Plaza de la Raza • Santa Monica Public Library

Watch over 100 animated and live-action shorts and films from around the world with curated blocks for toddlers, teens and everyone in between.

Dec 1
Union Station Holiday Festival & Market; Union Station

Stroll through Union Station’s handsome south patio as this inaugural holiday market rolls into the historic train station.

Dec 2
CicLAvia: Heart of L.A.; Various locations

Pedal your way through Downtown, Chinatown, Westlake, Little Tokyo, the Arts District and Boyle Heights during this car-free festival.

Dec 8
Marina Del Rey Boat Parade; Fisherman’s Village

Feel as though you’ve escaped to a small-town fishing village at this illuminated boat parade and fireworks show.

Dec 8, 9
Renegade Craft Fair; L.A. State Historic Park

Stroll through one of the country’s top craft fairs.

Dec 14
Artisanal LA Holiday City Market; Bank of America Plaza

Gear up for the holiday season at this holiday pop-up, boasting over 20 artisanal vendors including makers, crafters and chefs.

Dec 19–23
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade; Newport Beach

See over 100 decorated yachts and ships parade around a 14-mile circuit in the Newport Harbor.

Dec 24
L.A. County Holiday Celebration; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Gather up your friends and family to hear more than 20 choirs, music ensembles and dance troupes from all over the city.

Dec 31
Marina del Rey New Year’s Eve Fireworks & Glow Party; Burton Chace Park

Join in on a free glow party and fireworks shows to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Marina del Rey.

Dec 31
N.Y.E.L.A.; Grand Park

Usher in 2019 with thousands of other Angelenos as a countdown clock is projected onto City Hall.

Free concerts; Various locations

Listen to some tunes without breaking the bank with free shows at the Echo, the Satellite and more.

Free museum days; Various locations

Make the most of free days at LACMA, the Natural History Museum and more, plus always-free museums like the Hammer, Getty and Broad.

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