Get us in your inbox

Search
Mission Inn
Photograph: Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

December 2021 events calendar for Los Angeles

Plan your month with our December 2021 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, holiday festivals and our favorite concerts

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
Advertising

After endless, premature teases from retailers, the holidays are here for real and they’ve taken over our December events calendar. Dive into the spirit of giving with a stop at one of the best gift shops in L.A. or take a drive by one of the city’s best Christmas lights displays. If you’re sticking around town this year and feeling a little lonely, maybe consider embracing it with some me-time one of these secluded 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 events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2022

This December’s best events

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • La Cañada

Discovery and wonder are set to inhabit the illuminated installations once again in Descanso Gardens’ holiday tradition. The botanical garden’s nighttime experience masterfully mixes hands-on art installations with atmospheric, luminescent forests, all against a background of uplit trees and shimmery sound effects.

  • Movies
  • Montecito Heights

Street Food Cinema has put together a series of outdoor holiday screenings in the closest thing to a Dickensian town square in L.A.: Heritage Square. In between Victorian home tours, piano sing-alongs, strolls through a light tunnel and sips on hot chocolate, mulled wine and craft beer, you can catch screenings of flicks (showing twice each night, at 6 and 8pm) like ElfHome Alone, A Christmas Carol and more. Just make sure to bundle up in your best Christmas sweater.

 

Advertising
  • 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 Williams’s score live to picture in an immersive experience, conducted by David Newman. 

  • Art
  • Painting
  • Miracle Mile

The Obamas are back in L.A., and no it’s not for another Obamajam: Two official paintings of Barack and Michelle Obama, by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively, are on display at LACMA. To complement the exhibition, LACMA has filled the adjacent gallery with the excellent “Black American Portraits,” a two-century–spanning display of works with Black Americans as the subjects.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Griffith Park

The L.A. Zoo is staying open after dark every night through January during this light-up holiday tradition, which returns for 2021 after having to take last year off. Many of the lighting displays are inspired by the zoo’s wild residents: think elephant statues with whimsical projections, mosaic-like multicolor giraffes and twinkling butterflies.

Advertising
Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Rancho Palos Verdes/Rolling Hills Estates

Take a twinkly walk through South Coast Botanic Garden during the return of this illuminated, after-hours installation, which runs from just before Thanksgiving until after New Year’s. GLOW will mark its second year with the addition of themed nights (think: ugly sweaters, neon) and some new lit-up areas, including the lavender garden, koi pond, fuschia garden and lower meadow.

  • Shopping
  • Pop-up shops
  • Glendale

Stranger Things-inspired store that’s part retail experience, part photo op has set up at the Americana at Brand. On the merch side, Netflix promises a few exclusive pieces, like a General Mills Stranger Things cereal. As for the photo ops, you’ll find areas and backdrops straight out of the Upside Down, Starcourt Mall and the Russian lab, with a Demogorgon, Scoops Ahoy employees and Russian guards at each, respectively.

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising
  • Movie theaters
  • Outdoor
  • West Hollywood

West Hollywood’s ultra-chic restaurant and rooftop bar, E.P. & L.P., is serving much more than handcrafted cocktails and modern American bites. The spot also hosts Melrose Rooftop Theatre, an outdoor screening series on the rooftop space attached to its open-air bar, L.P.

Advertising
Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Echo Park

After last year’s drive-through in Lot 10, this year’s on-foot festivities sound like a significant upgrade: You’ll find seasonal decorations and food and merch in the expanded center field plaza, Santa in the bullpen and—most excitingly—an ice skating rink in the outfield. Though all of the activities in the plaza are included in a base ticket, there’s an additional fee for ice skating ($15; skate rental included) and photos with Santa ($40).

Advertising
Advertising
  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Beverly Hills

We feel it in our fingers, we feel it in our toes: Christmas is all around, and we bet no one knows it better than the cast of Love Actually Live.

Throughout December, cult-favorite musical series For the Record presents a stage show based on one of the world’s most beloved holiday movies, Love Actually. Using a multimedia set, a 15-piece orchestra and songs from the film, the show will turn Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts into a feel-good winter set for musical numbers and scenes of the movie’s intersecting love stories. 

Of course, the most beloved aspect of the movie is the character work—though the Christmas-time London setting gives that a run for its money—and to bring the insane, lovesick and relatable personas to life is a solid cast of familiar faces to-be-announced 

Tickets go on sale September 1, though you can secure a seat a few weeks earlier with a season subscription (or join a waitlist for an earlier window on the general on-sale date). Just a heads up that you’ll need to provide proof of vaccination when purchasing your ticket and when arriving at the venue. 

  • Things to do
  • Costa Mesa

This mile-long route at the OC Fair & Event Center features light shows and tunnels set to music (you can tune in with your car radio or smartphone), plus a bit of assorted holiday scenery. Even Santa will be there, though only through December 24—he’s busy after that, obvs. 

Advertising
  • Art
  • Painting
  • San Marino

The Huntington has debuted artist Kehinde Wiley’s Portrait of a Young Gentleman, his own take on Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy. That recently-restored 1770 portrait, easily the centerpiece of the museum’s collection for the past century, played in key role in Wiley’s stylistic development (the L.A. artist frequented the gallery as a kid with his mother and took classes there), and the two works are now on display across the gallery from each other.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • South Park

There’s no shortage of pop culture conventions, but not many local ones can rival the annual Los Angeles Comic Con. The convention draws thousands of comic fans to Downtown L.A. for one epic three-day expo. This year, expect comic book panels, anime screenings and celebrity appearances, including Zachary Levi, Tom Welling, Frank Miller, Tom Kenny and Giancarlo Esposito. Make sure to come in costume for the geek couture fashion show and cosplay contest.

Advertising
  • Comedy
  • Podcast recordings
  • Downtown Historic Core

Did we really need another do-your-own-research bro with a microphone? Well, if it means Tim Heidecker subtley slaying the sort of podcasters who constantly complain about cancel culture, then absolutely. Heidecker joins DJ Douggpound and Vic Berger for this live version of his new Office Hours Live stream, staged at the Regent with special guests Aimee Mann and Kate Berlant. Tickets benefit the SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition.

  • Music
  • Rap, hip-hop and R&B
  • USC/Exposition Park

Once upon a time in a city so divine, dozens of (mostly West Coast) hip-hop legends came together for a one-day fest at Exposition Park. Though the promoters are different, the vibes sound the same as a similar fest at the Queen Mary in 2019: Local icons like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, the Game and Cypress Hill join outside-of-L.A.–headliners like 50 Cent and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, plus cross-generational legends like Al Green and the Isley Brothers.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Marina del Rey

Feel as though you’ve escaped to a small-town fishing village during the Marina Del Rey Boat Parade. Bring a blanket and gather around Fisherman’s Village or Burton Chace Park to watch as 70 boats glide through the marina with holiday lights and decorations in competition. Categories include Best Theme, Best Animation, Best Band, Best Lights and more. The festivities begin at 5:55pm with fireworks, and the boat parade starts at 6pm, rain or shine.

RECOMMENDED: Where to see Christmas lights in Los Angeles

  • Music
  • Rap, hip-hop and R&B
  • San Bernardino

Rolling Loud doesn’t have every major hip-hop act on its lineup, but, you know, it’s pretty damn close. See Kid Cudi, J. Cole and Future headline the three-day fest, which this year heads to San Bernardino’s NOS Event Center. The absolutely massive lineup also includes the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Playboi Carti, A Boogie with da Hoodie, French Montana, Ty Dolla $ign, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Kodak Black, Lil Yachty, Tyga and—seriously, we weren’t kidding about all the hip-hop.

Advertising
Advertising
Jeff Tweedy
  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • La Cienega

The Wilco frontman’s freewheeling solo shows balance acoustic takes, deep cut requests and charming banter.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • South Park

Obsessed with Lady Gaga’s après-ski look and Adam Driver’s turtleneck sweater in House of Gucci? Then make sure to head over to FIDM for this photography and costume exhibition dedicated to the Ridley Scott flick. You’ll find a mix of designer Janty Yates’s costumes as well as film stills, behind-the-scenes shots and Cuba Tornado Scott’s cast portraits. Admission is free, and you can swing by from November 23 to December 4, Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Santa Monica

You’ve walked, donated and volunteered all in the name of charity. Now, here’s your chance to drink for those in need. Gather your friends and join other do-gooders at the annual Santa Monica Pub Crawl. A $20 admittance fee, benefitting the Westside Food Bank, allows you to participate in two routes around Santa Monica to experience drink and food specials at some of the city’s best spots, including the Victorian, Jameson’s Irish Pub, Ye Olde King’s Head
and more. Sign up online and collect a wristband on the day of the event, then crawl from spot to spot on foot for single-digit-dollar food and drink deals.

  • Bars
  • Hollywood

From Viral Ventures, the Sydney-based creators of L.A.’s Alice in Wonderland cocktail pop-up comes Tinseltown, a Christmas themed pop-up set to be held at Lost Property in Hollywood. Expect Christmas music, holiday drinks, and of course, an appearance by Santa and his elves. Each $15 ticket grants you entry to an hour and a half long reservations, as well as one festive drink upon arrival. No grinches allowed.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • San Bernardino

Ring in the New Year with confetti, pyro and 30,000 of your closest friends at Countdown. Expect over 30 dance acts invade San Bernardino’s NOS Events Center for this year-end fest. The 2021 lineup includes deadmau5, Tiësto, NGHTMRE, RL Grime, Rezz, Subtronics, Afrojack, Major Lazer and more.

  • Art
  • Installation
  • Westwood

See installations and sculptures from a group of seven arts who take aim at Western ideas of humanism. This Hammer Museum exhibitions includes works from Eddie Aparicio, Tau Lewis, Las Nietas de Nonó, Sondra Perry, SANGREE, WangShui and Wilmer Wilson IV.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Downtown Financial District

Step inside an oversized, crystalline Christmas ornament and a tree made of lights during the return of this Downtown installation. Sparkle DTLA is setting up shop at the Bloc through the end of December, and every night you can expect its displays to dance to music on the hour (5–9pm).

  • Art
  • Westwood

You’ll have to hop between Westwood and the Arts District to catch both parts of this survey of mid-career women artists. The Hammer Museum and ICA LA are teaming up for “Witch Hunt,” a showcase of 16 artists who use feminist, queer and decolonial viewpoints to unpack the sociopolitical world. Participating artists include Leonor Antunes, Yael Bartana, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, Candice Breitz, Shu Lea Cheang, Minerva Cuevas, Vaginal Davis, Bouchra Khalili, Every Ocean Hughes (formerly Emily Roysdon), Laura Lima, Teresa Margolles, Otobong Nkanga, Okwui Okpokwasili, Lara Schnitger and Beverly Semmes.

Advertising
Marina del Rey New Year’s Eve Fireworks
  • Things to do
  • Fireworks
  • Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey rings in the new year with two pyro-filled countdowns. The waterfront city has fireworks at both 9pm and midnight (or a minute before, to be precise). While the fireworks are set off near Burton Chace Park, all of the restaurants with harbor views should have visibility of the fireworks. Some of the restaurants host ticket dinners for a pricey cost, so we suggest finding a spot along the water and enjoying the fireworks for free.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Irvine

Tanaka Farms is opening up its Irvine fields to vehicles for this after-dark wagon ride and walk-through. Hikari—which means “light” or “shine” in Japanese—has set up a long trail of lanterns, plus some festive theming that’s overtaken the farm’s scarecrows, tractors and trees. You can opt for a ticket to the “gingerbread forest” only (the retail, crafts and petting zoo portion of the form), or add on the wagon ride to explore the lantern field by both tractor and foot.

  • Music
  • Pop
  • Inglewood

This annual free AIDS Healthcare Foundation-produced concert commemorates 40 years since the CDC first acknowledged HIV and AIDS, and 35 years since AHF’s founding. Randy Rainbow hosts an evening at the Forum that features performances by Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera and students from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, plus a lifetime achievement award presented virtually to Bernie Sanders.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Santa Monica Mountains

About 4,000 down and 46,000 to go: The National Park Service is setting out to give some love to the Santa Monica Mountains by planting 50,000 native trees over the next year, and it could use your help. On most Fridays and Saturdays through April 2022, you can register to plant and water coast live oaks, willows, elderberries, valley oaks and sycamores across the park.

  • Dance
  • Ballet
  • Glendale

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).

Advertising
  • Music
  • Westside

Roam the grounds of the Getty to find musicians, dancers and artists interpreting Fluxus scores from the 1963 publication An Anthology of Chance Operations. If you have no clue what the avant-garde afternoon actually entails: Expect to see artists play parked cars like musical instruments or move rocks along a beach.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Miracle Mile

Have a crafty start to the Christmas shopping season at Craft Contemporary’s annual holiday marketplace. If you’re making a list and checking it twice, consider this shopping event for unique handmade gifts and an opportunity to buy directly from the emerging and established makers behind them.

  • Movies
  • Downtown Financial District

Skyline Sound + Cinema takes place atop the Bloc’s parking garage and presents a to-be-announced pairing of music and movies.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Miracle Mile

LACMA has assembled 30 years of works from the wildly popular Japanese artist (known for canvases of fiendish, wide-eyed children and animals) and examines them through the lens of his longtime passion for music.

  • Music
  • Rap, hip-hop and R&B
  • USC/Exposition Park

The age of Ye and Drake détente is here with this one-night-only benefit show at the L.A. Coliseum. The two are coming together on December 9 for the Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert, a show to support prison reform and raise awareness for the cofounder of the Chicago gang Gangster Disciples, who’s currently serving six life sentences for a 1973 murder as well as charges of conspiracy, extortion and money laundering in 1997. Tickets for the show go on sale Monday, November 22 at 10am; just a heads up that Kanye West is listed as the headliner, with Drake as a special guest.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Downtown Historic Core

If you’re making a list and checking it twice, consider this annual shopping event for unique kitchen, pantry and tabletop finds, plus all sorts of foodie goodies. Though GCM has yet to announce a formal holiday market this year, it has started hosting a bazaar every Friday through Sunday in the downstairs basement event space. 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Newport Beach

Ah, the joys of Christmas in a Mediterranean climate, where boat owners can deck out their ships in holiday lights and set sail without the impediment of icy weather. For the 113th year, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is doing just that as over 100 decorated yachts and ships parade around a 14-mile circuit in the Newport Harbor. You can see the parade for free during each of the five nights from any bay-facing point along the harbor, but there are also reserved seats, dining packages and cruises available for purchase. 

RECOMMENDED: Where to see Christmas lights in Los Angeles

  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Downtown Arts District

The annual Unique holiday market features clothes, accessories and art pieces from a number of quality handmade brands. Check out local products and rub elbows with the different designers and artists showcasing their work. This year, the holiday edition heads to ROW DTLA for an outdoor-only market.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Dance and electronic
  • Palm Springs

Looking for another excuse to escape to the desert? Try this team-up from Splash House and Goldenvoice, which are putting together an electronic music fest at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Peggy Gou, DJ Koze, Dixon and the Martinez Brothers top the early-December event.

Tickets go on sale September 24 at 11am. PRoof of vaccination is required.

Advertising
  • Comedy
  • Sketch shows
  • Fairfax District

The legendary Hollywood improv theater that launched the careers of Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow and many more comedians is putting on 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 on Fridays and Saturdays ahead of Christmas.

  • Art
  • Sculpture
  • Downtown Arts District

When Barnsdall Art Park pruned the branches on its 130-year-old olive grove this past summer, the East Hollywood park decided to turn the trimmings into art. Swing by the Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery on the edge of the Arts District to see how 22 local artists, including Janna Ireland, JPW3 and Cayetano Ferrer, crafted the olive branches into new art objects.

Advertising
  • Movies

You can have dinner and a movie and peruse a community market at this drive-in–turned—out-of-car screening series. Head to Cinemauto’s gallery and parking lot in Lincoln Heights (2515 Pasadena Ave) once a month through the end of the year for a mix of feature films and shorts.

  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs

Calling all vintage lovers! Shop dozens of the top vintage retailers (local and national) and private dealers at this vintage market—which this December returns as a virtual event. A Current Affair is a major source for stylists, designers and anyone in search of one of a kind vintage ranging from perfectly worn-in jeans to rare and collectible designer vintage. Shop an array of vintage clothing, accessories, and jewelry from the Victorian Era through today.

Advertising
  • Theater
  • Downtown

Starring three-time Emmy winner Bradley Whitford as Ebenezer Scrouge, Kate Burton as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Alex Newell as both the 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.”

Advertising
  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Downtown Historic Core

She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward offer their perfectly breezy pop confections, setting exactly the right tone for a lazy, hazy evening—and this time around, it’ll be stocked with Christmas tunes.

  • 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.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Downtown

Gather up your friends and family and go hear L.A.’s biggest holiday show, which includes more than 20 choirs, music ensembles and dance troupes from all over the city. The free three-hour show celebrates L.A.’s multicultural observation of the holidays with everything from an all-female mariachi ensemble to a Korean dance troupe.

  • Shopping

Looking for unique handmade gifts this holiday season? Artists, designers, creatives and makers will set up shop in Atwater Village's Hugos Tacos parking lot for a holiday fair on Decemeber 12. If it's anything like past markets, you'll get to shop everything from artisan jewelry and apothecary goods to ceramics, prints, candles and even handcrafted aprons for the cook in your life. Interact with the makers themselves (third-party sellers are not allowed), while crossing family and friends off your holiday gift-giving list. 

Advertising
  • Things to do

Sledding and playing in the snow: Not exactly typical L.A. activities, but they will be come this December. On Fridays and Saturdays leading up to Christmas, L.A. County Parks and Recreation will be dumping 40 tons of snow across 33 parks in the county, and hosting holiday crafts, hot cocoa stations, filled stockings and visits from Santa. Find the full list of parks on the county’s website; snow sessions are held from either noon to 4pm or 4 to 8pm.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • Northridge

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. 

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Drama
  • Sierra Madre

Frank Capra’s 1946 beloved tale of a family man learning to look at his life in a whole new light at Christmas time, thanks to the creative perspective of an angel trying to earn his wings, is no less relevant today than when it first came out. The movie can be found on TV all month long, but the ideal way to view the holiday classic—and the incomparable Jimmy Stewart at his best—is on the big screen at a handful of showings across L.A. Bring the family and get in the feel-good Christmas spirit.

  • Movies
  • Downtown Historic Core

What started as a midnight movie series at the Vista has branched out with cult-favorite screenings around town, including at its Arts District home base, in Downtown’s Million Dollar Theater and, in a team-up with Electric Dusk Drive-In, at the former Sears parking garage in Glendale.

Advertising
  • Theater
  • Pasadena

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.

  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Pomona

Donning mod attire and dancing feverishly through every song, the Drums channel a heavy new-wave element, as heard on 2011’s lauded Portamento—which Jonny Pierce will perform in full during this New Year’s Eve show.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • Long Beach

The Aquarium of the Pacific is especially magical at night—the perfect time to take in the three-story Blue Cavern exhibit without scores of grade schoolers swarming around and breaking your reverie. This 18-plus evening will include art installations as well as live bands and DJs—with food trucks, too, so come hungry.

 

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Sherman Oaks

Take a seat atop Westfield Fashion Square’s parking garage for this afresco holiday film series. Each Friday and Saturday in December until Christmas, you can catch a different flick, from Elf to Bad Santa to Batman Returns. Tickets support a trio of Valley-based nonprofits: the Valley Relics Museum, Hope of the Valley and OverDue.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Little Tokyo

The Japanese American National Museum marks the 75th anniversary of artist Miné Okubo’s graphic memoir, Citizen 13660, with this visual exhibition. The 1946 illustrated novel captures Okubo’s life in two concentration camps on American soil, and this exhibition includes sketches completed during Okubo’s incarceration at the Tanforan and Topaz detention centers as well as drawings and manuscripts for the memoir.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Pop
  • Inglewood

KIIS FM’s annual holiday behemoth’s lineup reads like a roll call of the station’s playlist: Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, the Kid LAROI, Saweetie, Black Eyed Peas, Tate McRae, Bazzi and, erm, Dixie D’Amelio will all take over the Forum this holiday season. The best seats will cost you a boatload, so look out for news of a free pre-show that usually precedes the main event.

  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Downtown Historic Core

After collaborating with kindred musical spirit Kurt Vile on a collaborative album, Aussie singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett cooked up a new batch of songs. Her latest album, 2018’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, confronts the hardships of being a woman in the music industry, clapping back at critics and anonymous internet trolls through a collection of empowered, indie-rock anthems.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Dance and electronic
  • Hollywood

Scottish trio CHVRCHES have found the middleground between synth-pop and EDM on its latest releases, melding the vulnerable Glaswegian vocals of singer Lauren Mayberry with dense electronic arrangements (complete with anthemic builds and drops).

  • Music
  • Folk, country and blues
  • Little Tokyo

Nick Waterhouse brings his hybridized blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll to town, promising soulful, shoe-tapping tunes and a whole lot of gusto. Donning a sleek suit, hipster specs and a guitar, this Huntington Beach native is a far cry from orange tans, surfers and henna tattoos. You’ll likely hear classic jazzy covers and original tracks of semi-dark, dreamlike splendor. 

Advertising
Advertising
  • Things to do
  • San Gabriel Valley

Drive along an actual NASCAR track during this illuminated display at Irwindale Speedway. The two-mile route includes Santa’s village set up on a drag strip, installations themed like boats or oversized sweets, and a 110-foot-tall tree constructed out of strings of lights. Timed tickets are available every 15 minutes, starting at 5:30pm.

Advertising
  • Theater
  • Puppet shows
  • Highland Park

After a couple of years of off-site performances, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater is finally bringing its annual holiday production to its new-ish Highland Park home. From just after Thanksgiving through the beginning of the year, you can see the charming play and its 100-plus handmade puppets on most weekends and, around Christmas, select weekdays.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Netflix’s League of Legends-inspired animated series is unexpectedly excellent, and we expect similar things from this immersive experience. That’s because this Arcane-based real-life gaming experience comes via Secret Cinema (who was behind the Stranger Things drive-through). The in-person roleplaying event will let you loose in the Undercity of the otherwise utopian Piltover, where you’ll explore streets and meet characters.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Downtown

Strike the harp and join the chorus with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Holiday Sing-Along at Walt Disney Hall. The seasonal program offers two performances, with a special guest to-be-named taking the stage to recite holiday poems. A festive sing-along of holiday classics by the Angeles Chorale will include provided lyric sheets—just in case you forget how many fa-la-la-las are in “Deck the Halls.”

  • Things to do
  • Ice skating
  • Rancho Palos Verdes/Rolling Hills Estates

Skate around atop a bluff overlooking the ocean at this Rancho Palos Verdes rink. Available for both reservations and walk-ups, this rink at the RPV Civic Center is open for half-hour sessions on weekends and some holiday weekdays, with a few themed nights tossed into the mix, too. But there’s one caveat: The rink is made of synthetic ice.

RECOMMENDED: Where to go ice skating in L.A.

Advertising
  • LGBTQ+
  • Los Angeles

The USC-adjacent ONE Archives Foundation, in collaboration with Invisible Histories Project, presents this encore virtual reading of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, a largely autobiographical play about the early days of the AIDS crisis. Sterling K. Brown and Laverne Cox lead the cast, along with an introduction by Martin Sheen. Ticket sales support the foundation’s LGBTQ+ education initiatives and exhibitions.

  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Downtown Arts District

Peck away at some clickety-clacky keys to write out a holiday card during this typewriter-centric market. Typewriter Connection is setting up at the Arts District space As We Dwell for a free winter market that features live poetry, letterpress arts, a wrapping station, handmade gifts and plenty of vintage typewriters.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Highland Park

Zachary Cole Smith & Co. crafted a killer debut in 2012 that blended shoegaze, pyschedelia and a pounding post-punk beat to dreamily delicious effect. Almost a decade later, DIIV still delves into dark, liquidy guitar rock textures. Here the crew celebrates the New Year at the intimate Lodge Room.

  • Music
  • Pop
  • Westwood

A performing arts staple of Los Angeles for over 30 years now, the GMCLA brings holiday cheer in its annual holiday musical extravaganza while raising awareness for important LGBTQ+ issues. This year, the chorus performs a homecoming-themed show at Royce Hall—expect a cappella of all kinds, including carols, choral classics, Broadway hits, Love Actually songs and, you know it, that Mariah Carey song.

Advertising
Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising