Christmas events in Los Angeles

Your guide to the best holiday events and activities in L.A., from tree lightings to holiday performances
Long Beach Ballet, The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Long Beach Ballet
By Michael Juliano and Time Out contributors |
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You won’t find snow-covered trees and below-zero temperatures in L.A., but there are still plenty of Christmas events and holiday activities to get you in the festive mood—even when it’s 70 and sunny in December. From meeting Santa and his reindeer to singing Christmas carols and scooping up crafty gifts at holiday markets, our list of the city’s best events and things to do this season will help make L.A. a winter wonderland all month long.

RECOMMENDED: More Christmas in Los Angeles

Our favorite Christmas events and holiday activities

Photograph: Courtesy the Grove
Things to do

A California Christmas at the Grove

icon-location-pin The Grove, Fairfax District
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Brace yourself: Christmas is coming to the Grove. L.A.’s shopping mall metropolis lights up its Christmas tree with a slew of special guests—including Santa himself. May we humbly suggest that you ask Santa this year for a prime spot in that mammoth parking garage. Stick around for the fireworks finale.

Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square
Photograph: Courtesy Pershing Square Holiday Ice Skating Rink
Things to do, Ice skating

Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square

icon-location-pin Pershing Square Park, Downtown Financial District
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L.A. doesn’t typically seem like much of a winter wonderland, until, that is, you create an ice skating rink right in the midst of Downtown skyscrapers and L.A. icons. Come glide and pretend there’s snow on the ground at Pershing Square’s outdoor holiday skating rink—one of the biggest in the city. Look out for special events throughout the season, like curling lessons, a silent disco skate and DJ nights. RECOMMENDED: The best places to go ice skating in Los Angeles

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Photograph: Michael Juliano
Theater, Puppet shows

Bob Baker’s ‘Nutcracker’

icon-location-pin Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena
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The beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater may be leaving behind its longtime home, but it’s not ditching its annual holiday production. For the first time since opening in 1969, the charming play and its 100-plus handmade puppets move off-site with this staging at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Photograph: Courtesy Craft and Folk Art Museum
Shopping, Markets and fairs

CAFAM Holiday Marketplace

icon-location-pin Craft & Folk Art Museum, Miracle Mile
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Have a crafty start to the Christmas shopping season at CAFAM’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 meet the emerging and established makers behind them.

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Things to do

Hollywood Christmas Parade

icon-location-pin Hollywood & Highland, Hollywood
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Like an Angelyne billboard on Sunset Boulevard, the Hollywood Christmas Parade is an essential part of L.A. kitsch. The nearly nine-decade–old parade will feature floats, balloons, bands, equestrians and celebrities as they ride in a U-shaped route that begins at Hollywood and Orange and ends up at Sunset and Orange. Reserved grandstand seats can be purchased, with proceeds going to Toys for Tots, but free curbside seating is also available.

Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Jingle Ball

icon-location-pin The Forum, Inglewood
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KIIS FM’s annual holiday behemoth’s lineup reads like a roll call of the station’s playlist: Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Calvin Harris, Camila Cabello, Khalid, Dua Lipa, G-Eazy, Alessia Cara, Bazzi and Bebe Rexha will all take over the Forum this holiday season. The best seats will cost you a boatload, so look out for the free pre-show, Jingle Ball Village.

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Holiday gift market at Botanica in Silver Lake
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Thelma A.
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Botanica Community Gift Market

icon-location-pin Botanica, Silver Lake
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Silver Lake's darling restaurant and pantry shop is throwing its first-ever holiday market, and the team is celebrating vendors from the community. Want to shop local? Here are the cute, curated and L.A.-made gifts you've been looking for: ceramics from Paperclip Pottery, natural cosmetics by Paige Wentling, wreaths and bespoke bouquets from Whit Hazen, aprons, table linens and more from Suay Sew Shop, and a selection of novels, cookbooks and children's books from The Lev. While you're there, you might as well pick up a few spices, cookbooks and aprons for yourself. You've earned it.

Photograph: Courtesy Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
Things to do, Festivals

Marina Del Rey Boat Parade

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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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

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Renegade Craft Fair
Photograph: Courtesy Renegade Craft Fair
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Renegade Craft Fair

icon-location-pin Los Angeles State Historic Park, Chinatown
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Any crafter worth her weight in cashmere yarn knows that Renegade Craft Fair is the fair all other fairs aspire to. Renegade hosts an epic holiday fairs in wintertime to help you check everyone off your gift list—including yourself.  

Echo Park Craft Fair
Photograph: Courtesy EPCF/Taka Nonaka-Hill
Shopping

Echo Park Craft Fair

icon-location-pin Mack Sennett Studios, Los Feliz
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Reserve a spot in your weekend for the latest installment of this Pinterester’s Utopia. Hosted at Mack Sennett Studios, the Echo Park Craft Fair returns, welcoming artsy Eastsiders for a feast of hand-dyed clothing and delicately concocted bath oils, one-of-a-kind ceramics, weavings, jewelry and beyond.

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