The Most Festive Things to Do in Los Angeles During Christmas

November 15, 2021

There may not be falling snow or a crisp winter chill in the air, but the city of sunshine and surfers has more than enough holiday cheer to go around. 

As soon as the calendar hits November, Los Angeles, California, is lit aglow with the Christmas spirit.

Los Angeles is an ideal Yuletide destination with fantastic weather, unique Christmas theme park celebrations, heartwarming parades, Instagram-worthy photo ops, and the most decadent sweet treats and hot chocolate you can imagine.

From cozying up to Santa to a Christmas Eve party with the Grinch, we have the lowdown on all of the best holiday happenings, events, parties, parades, and things to do in Los Angeles during Christmas!

Hotels in Los Angeles

Whether you are a local or a visitor, there is no better way to truly enmesh yourself in the holiday atmosphere of the City of Angels than a luxurious hotel stay.

So plan to make festive memories when you book accommodations at any of our Los Angeles hotels. From quaint beachside bungalows in Santa Monica to a luxurious reprieve aboard the boat Queen Mary we have a vast range of accommodations to suit any type of traveler.

Meanwhile, wherever you decide to ring in the holidays, book with confidence, knowing you are guaranteed the lowest rates.

A group of people standing with Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas costumes with a Christmas Tree behind them at Merriest Nights at Disneyland in Los Angeles, California, USA

photo credit: Disneyland via Facebook

Holiday Theme Park Celebrations in Los Angeles

Disneyland® - Disney Merriest Nites

When: Select Nights November-December 2021

Introducing a whole new way to kick off the festive season at the happiest place on earth! Join Mickey and his friends for a magical after-hours celebration at Disneyland®

Related Post: Insider's Guide to Disneyland®

This exclusive, specially ticketed event, you'll be a part of oodles of merriment, dance parties, and memorable holiday experiences.

The crowning jewel of this very holly and jolly gathering? Six distinctly themed merry parties hosted by your favorite Disney characters:

  • Victorian-Themed Party on Main Street, U.S.A
  • Feliz Navidad Party in Frontierland
  • New Orleans Holiday in New Orleans Square
  • Frozen-Themed Party in Fantasyland
  • Tropical Party in Adventureland
  • Tomorrowland Party in Tomorrowland

Your specially ticketed experience also includes:

  • After-hours access to attractions
  • A special performance of a Christmas Fantasy Parade
  • Character appearances dolled up in their holiday best
  • Festive photo ops complete with holiday-themed backdrops
  • Opportunity to purchase special edition Disney Merriest Nite themed merchandise
  • Access to a limited time only holiday-themed menu featuring sweet treats like cookies and hot chocolate

Pro Tip: While your ticket does allow you early admission to the park at 5 pm, if you wish to enjoy the classic Disneyland attractions during the day, you’ll need to purchase a separate general admission ticket.

Looking at the entrance to Universal Studios in Hollywood at night with all of the Christmas lights and other holiday decorations up in Los Angeles, California, USA

photo credit: Universal Studios Hollywood via Facebook

Universal Studios® Hollywood - Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood

When: November 13 - January 2

What’s more magical than spending the holidays in the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter or with the kooky residents of Whoville? Make the most of your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets by visiting during the ‘snowy season’ of joy and good tidings.

Meanwhile, delightful yuletide entertainment and attractions abound all over the park and include unforgettable celebrations such as:

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

  • Witness the holiday spectacle of Christmas time at the iconic Hogwarts Castle 
  • Embrace the festive jingle jangle of the throaty Holiday Frog Choir
  • Observe the sparkling decor, lights, and garlands decorating a snowy Hogsmeade 
  • Taste an exclusive holiday-themed menu of scrumptious treats (including a full Holiday dinner) at the Three Broomsticks

Grinchmas

  • Kick-off Christmas eve with the king of green and mean, the Grinch himself!
  • Meet the entire cast of Whoville, including Max, and pose for themed photo ops
  • Gaze upon a truly spectacular and Seussian 65 ft Christmas tree
  • Savor bites of luscious Who-themed food and drinks such as a Grinch Donut and Who-hash

CityWalk Holidays

  • View the brightest LED-lit Christmas tree at the 5 Towers Stage
  • Wrap up your Christmas shopping with world-class retail and shopping right at your fingertips

Related Post: Insider’s Guide to Universal Studios Hollywood™

The peanuts in their Christmas outfits and snoopy dressed as Santa standing in front of the Knott's Merry Farm backdrop in Los Angeles, California, USAKnott’s Berry Farm - Knott’s Merry Farm

When: Selected dates November 2021-January 2022

Charlie Brown and the entire Peanuts gang just can’t wait to celebrate the festive season with you! Therefore carve out a day (or two) to soak in all of the parties, shows, and twinkling lights of Knott’s Merry Farm. 

As part of your general admission ticket to Knott’s Berry Farm, you can relish the sweet sights, sounds, and even smells of Christmas time, as you make your way through California’s original theme park during this holiday season. 

Related Post: A Parent's Guide on Things to Do in Los Angeles with Kids

Guests of all ages will be glowing as bright as Rudolph’s red nose as they partake in:

  • Classic Holiday Ice Shows featuring Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts crew 
  • A nightly tree lighting ceremony & the Christmas Carol
  • Yummy seasonal treats
  • Visits to Santa’s Christmas Cabin & the Christmas Craft Village
  • The Enchanting Snow and Glow night show (featuring falling snow)
  • The dulcet tones of live Christmas carolers
Front gate of LEGOLAND California when it is decorated for Christmas and a bright blue sky in the background in Los Angeles, California, USA

photo credit: LEGOLAND California via Facebook

LEGOLAND® - Holidays at LEGOLAND® California

When: Select dates November-December 2021

Have the little ones been bugging Santa for everything and anything Lego? Blow the mind of your favorite lego maniac when you hightail it to LEGOLAND California for a very merry vacation. 

Meanwhile, visitors young and old will be amazed by the illuminating lights, festive decor, and live seasonal shows. 

Related Post: The Ultimate Guide to LA Theme Parks

This interactive holiday spectacular is part of your general admission ticket and allows you to participate in fun lego building activities, holiday character meet-and-greets, and so much more!

Pro Tip: Don’t sleep on getting an Instagram-worthy photo op in front of the famed 30 ft tall Lego Christmas tree, which is constructed out of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO®bricks.

Close up photo of the Sousaphone sections of a marching band at The Hollywood Christmas Parade in Los Angeles, California, USA

photo credit: Hollywood Christmas Parade via Facebook

Parades that Jingle All The Way

The Hollywood Christmas Parade, Hollywood, CA

When: November 28th, 2021, at 6:30 pm

If there was ever a Los Angelean Christmas institution, it is the Hollywood Christmas Parade that has been bringing smiles to people’s faces for over 80 years! This festive extravaganza of holiday cheer is full of celebrities, floats, marching bands, live performances, and equestrians.

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in Los Angeles, California

Hold on to your (Santa) cap as you witness the incredible pageantry and excess of a giant Christmas-themed Kermit floating down Hollywood Blvd during this festive season. Enjoy performances by such legends as Cyndi Lauper. Afterward, prepare yourself for the penultimate appearance of the jolly old St. Nicholas himself.

Pro Tip: If you can’t make it to the parade, no worries! The live event is also televised and broadcast on National Prime Time Television.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Newport Beach, CA

When: December 15-19, 2021 at 6:30pm

Have your sights set on a different kind of Christmas parade? This year take to the high seas for a truly Californian Christmas experience, the Newport Beach Christmas Parade.

Prime yourself to ‘jingle on the waves’ all evening. Soak in the enchanting glow of extravagantly decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes all decked out in their holiday finest.

Archway of twinkling lights at Lightscape at the LA Arboretum in Los Angeles, California, USA

photo credit: San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership (SGVEP) via Facebook

Enchanting Photo Ops in Los Angeles at Christmas

Enchanted: Forest of Light

When: November 21-January 10th, 2022

Seeking a more artistic holiday activity that will garner you some serious social media cred? Then prepare your Instagram grid for some professional-level snaps when you stop by the Enchanted Forest of Light. 

Words truly do not do this immersive experience justice. You just can’t help being amazed by the illuminating wintery beauty of this 1-mile walkable event. 

Related Post: Top Attractions in Los Angeles, California

This holiday-themed forest adventure takes place at the Descanso Gardens and features:

  • Hands-on art installations
  • Luminescent and atmospheric forests 
  • Stain glass inspired villages
  • A Candyland like path that changes colors as you traverse it
  • A misty movie-worthy ‘Ancient Forest.’

Lightscape at the LA Arboretum 

When: November 12-January 16th, 2022

Ready to embark on a thrilling journey of color, light, and holiday cheer? Most importantly, be sure to grab your friends and family because there is no way you’ll want to miss the internationally acclaimed, must-see event of the season.

Lightscape at the LA Arboretum promises to transport you to a world of wonder and illumination as you meander through the grand Winter Cathedral, unforgettable Fire Gardens, and the transfixing water fountains. 

During this holiday season, this multifaceted attraction combines light, art, and music into magical entertainment. Reserve your tickets fast, as this popular family-friendly walking attraction is sure to sell out!

Waterfront Wonderland - Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel

When: November 30th, 2021

Ready your sled and make the trek to meet Santa himself down at Santa Monica beach? The Waterfront Wonderland is an annual (and free) event during Christmas. Get ready to be dazzled with a lavishly decorated atrium. Don't forget to check out the whimsical forest made up of 52 suspended and upside-down Christmas trees.

Tiny tots will be overflowing with excitement as they queue up for:

  • Photos with Santa
  • Live festive music
  • Holiday-themed photo booth
  • Gingerbread decorating stations
Pile of gingerbread people all decorated differently at Big Sugar Bakeshop in Los Angeles, California, USA

photo credit: Big Sugar Bakeshop via Facebook

Best Cafes for Curling Up With A Christmas Treat in Los Angeles

Best Hot Chocolate

Lady Chocolatt, Los Angeles, CA

For our true chocoholics, you can craft the hot chocolate of your dreams at Lady Chocolatt. This is a far cry from that Swiss-Miss you grew up with. In other words, Lady Chocholat’s cocoa beverage is the stuff of dreams! 

Lady Chocolatt only works with the finest Belgian ateliers. Therefore, you can truly taste the quality with every sip. So, go crazy customizing your cocoa with marshmallows, ice cream, and options for everything from extra dark to sugar-free.

Best Sweet Treats

Big Sugar Bakeshop, Studio City, CA

Yearning for some edible confections that bring the spirit of Christmas directly to your taste buds? 

Time to gobble up sugar coma-inducing sweet morsels. Dive into our favorites like peppermint brownies, cranberry orange scones, molasses sandwich cookies, gingerbread men, and pecan pies at Big Sugar Bakeshop

Pro Tip: A box of Big Sugar Bakeshop pastries makes a fantastic Christmas gift or holiday thank you this time of year.

Colossus, San Pedro, CA

If you’ve earned yourself a place on the ‘nice’ list this year, why not treat yourself to a delectable indulgence at Colossus

This beloved neighborhood cafe and bakery serve the most mouthwatering gingerbread cookies.

Afterward, they pair the cookies with a distinctive dark chocolate mint mocha latte topped with hand torched vanilla marshmallows. Then garnish with the finest dusting of peppermint candy!

From thrilling theme parks to world-class dining and premier museums, Los Angeles is an enviable getaway year-round.

However, the holiday months bring a special charm and festive spirit to this multicultural epicenter of the West coast. 

Whether you are looking for a laidback itinerary that includes enchanting light installations and devouring Christmas cookies or an exciting after-hours Yuletide celebration with Mickey and pals, there are plenty of things to do in Los Angeles during Christmas!

What Festive Things to Do in Los Angeles During Christmas Did We Miss?

Do you know other festive events in Los Angeles that we overlooked? Share them with us!

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