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Long Beach Ballet, The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Long Beach Ballet

The best Christmas shows and ‘Nutcrackers’ in Los Angeles

Bask in holiday cheer at the best Christmas shows in Los Angeles, from 'Nutcracker' ballets to 'A Christmas Carol' plays

Written by
Time Out contributors

After a year-long hiatus, Christmas events in Los Angeles are back in full swing— from holiday markets to festive concerts— and there’s no better way to get in the spirit than with a ticket to one of these shows. Now through December, performing arts companies are bringing lively holiday cheer to L.A. theaters across the city. Think theatrical renditions of A Christmas Carol, a memorable Nochebuena with live mariachi-infused ballet, and imaginative takes on The Nutcracker. You may even get to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy after the show (a major win for the kiddos). Whether you’re looking for an epic Secret Santa gift or a festive experience with family and friends, the best Christmas shows in Los Angeles are a great way to celebrate the season.

RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in our December 2021 events calendar

The best Christmas shows and Nutcrackers in L.A.

  • Theater

Even the grumpiest of list-makers at yuletide has to include a production of Dickens’s most beloved tale of becoming a better person. Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott direct this production, with costumes by the imaginative Angela Balogh Calin, starring Elliott and his fellow resident artists of A Noise Within theater company—all ranking among L.A.’s best classical actors—staged in ANW’s spacious house with perfect sightlines from every seat, even for the kids.

  • Things to do
  • Performances

Mexican folk dance company Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles is taking the stage once again for a mariachi-infused holiday performance at The Soraya in Northridge. Billed as "Happy Holidays—LA style," the two free shows (December 10 and 11) will feature the musical soundings of L.A.'s Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar and special guest vocalist Lupita Infante. 

  • Dance
  • Ballet

Relive your childhood theatergoing experiences this Christmas with Uncle Drosselmeyer, Clara and her beloved Nutcracker at the L.A. Ballet. The timeless show will travel all over L.A., for the holiday season, performing their classic pirouettes and Mouse King battles for all L.A. County to see. You can check it out in Glendale, Redondo Beach and Westwood, plus in Hollywood backed by an orchestra (a rarity among Nutcracker performances).

  • Theater

Celebrating its 10th season in Los Angeles, the American Contemporary Ballet returns to the stage after a two-year hiatus with their fantastical take on the tale from author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Experience the holiday classic in the company's new Hollywood home (926 N. Sycamore Ave, 6th floor) with live musicians performing Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. Stick around after the show to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy herself and other members of the cast.

  • Music
  • Downtown

Take your Christmas movie binge-watching up a notch and reserve a seat to the upcoming special screening of Home Alone at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Los Angeles Philharmonic is bringing the cult classic to life and performing John William's score live to picture in an immersive experience, conducted by David Newman. 

  • Theater

Starring three-time Emmy winner Bradley Whitford as Ebenezer Scrouge, Kate Burton as Ghost of Christmas Past and Alex Newell as both Ghost of Christmas Present and Mrs. Fezziwig, Center Theatre Group's A Christmas Carol is lighting up the stage this winter at the Ahmanson Theatre. The enchanting production and winner of five Tony Awards features all your favorite holiday songs that you can't help but sing along to like "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night."


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