Christmas Events Los Angeles: 19 Most Festive Things to Do

August 29, 2023

You won’t find 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. Los Angeles in December may not require a winter coat, but will never lack that mistletoe magic.

Are you planning to spend Christmas in LA? Read on to discover the most festive events and activities!

In addition to being blessed by near-perfect weather, Los Angeles at Christmas is overflowing with unique Christmas theme park celebrations, bedazzled parades, and Instagram-worthy photo ops.

From getting merry with Mickey to celebrating with the kooky members of Whoville, Christmas activities Los Angeles inspire considerable Yuletide spirit.

Reindeer, elves, and snowmen of all sizes will find themselves on the go all day long trying to tackle the avalanche of things to do in SoCal in December.

Whether you wish to cozy up to Santa Claus or walk through an enchanted forest, Christmas in LA delivers.

Things to Do in Los Angeles California in December

Ready to pack those bags and ring in the holidays in Los Angeles? With a plethora of places to visit in Los Angeles in December, you'll experience Tinsel Town through red and green colored glasses.

Expect temperature highs of 68 degrees and a slight chill in the evening, with lows of 50.  Let's dive into what to do in Los Angeles in December.* Our favorite wintery La La Land activities include:

  • Lacing up those skates to practice your best triple axle at the Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square.
  • Escaping to Big Bear Mountain for fresh powder and black diamond runs.
  • Exploring Union Station, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Grand Central Market on a private walking architecture tour.
  • Indulging your inner epicurean with tacos, pizza, cannolis, and more on a Los Angeles Food Tour

Psst..planning on getting a jumpstart on your holiday in LA? If you're scratching your head on what things to do in Los Angeles in December and what crowds to expect, check out our guide to the Best Time to Visit Los Angeles.

*Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do in Los Angeles during December, simply a round-up of our favorite festive finds!

man snowboarding on San Bernardino Mountains in Big Bear Lake near Los Angeles, California, USA

Photo Credit: Visit Big Bear / Facebook

Hotels in Los Angeles

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

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

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

The front view of the Hollywood Hotel with a mini fountain

Hollywood Hotel - The Hotel of Hollywood via Facebook

Holiday Events Los Angeles

Holidays at Disneyland Resort

When: November 10, 2023 - January 7, 2024

Stop scouring the Internet for the best things to do in Los Angeles in November. Introducing a whole new way to kick off the festive season at the happiest place on earth! Join Mickey and his friends for a candy cane, nutcracker, and St. Nick studded extravaganza.

Both Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland Park will be pulling out all the stops for this special Christmas affair. In order to relish every minute of Sleeping Beauty’s shimmering winter castle and Minnie’s festive garb, you’ll need to purchase a Disneyland ticket in advance.

Psst.. struggling to find things to do on Christmas eve Los Angeles? All Disneyland parks will be open and showcasing loads of holly jolly spirit, treats, and special events on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Hightail it to Disney California Adventure Park for a multicultural celebration of Xmas all over the world! Enjoy entertainment and cultural activities that explore Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings' Day. Or, whet that appetite with scrumptious morsels from Visions of Sugarplums and Winter Sliderland. Then, for an extra serving of frosty fanfare, be sure to attend Adventure Park’s:

World of Color Season of Light nighttime spectacular

Featuring dancing fountains, joyous music, and moments from your favorite Pixar films. This medley of water, light, and holiday hijinks is sure to become your newest tradition.

ground view of multi-colored lights and wheel at World of Color at Disneyland Resort in Los Angeles, California, USA

photo credit: Disneyland via Facebook

Mater’s Jingle Jamboree

Rev those engines for some wintery tunes and festive offerings in Cars Land. Little speed racers will love this holiday-themed tractor crawl through Mater’s festively decorated junkyard.

Luigi's Joy to the Whirl

Turn up the holiday charm when you wrangle up your fellow roadsters for a festive dance ride. Grab a seat in a classic Italian import and enjoy the rollicking, rocking thrill of cars cruising to Christmas music.

Your dazzling Disney holiday escape doesn’t end there. Festive happenings, decor, and firework shows will also be commencing at Disneyland Park:

Christmas Fantasy Parade

Clap along to beloved Disney icons such as Mickey, Chip n’ Dale, and Elsa when you head to Main Street, U.S.A. From prancing reindeer to marching toy soldiers and Mr. Claus, this heartwarming affair is 40 minutes of perfection.

“It’s a Small World Holiday”

Warm up those vocal cords, sing along to the holiday rendition of this ubiquitous tune, and admire its decked-out decor.

View of Holiday lights at It's a Small World at Disneyland - Los Angeles, California, USA

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Who says ghosts don’t do Christmas? Watch this edifice of eerie get a makeover for the holidays as you take in festive touches inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Believe...In Holiday Magic

Awe-inspiring red and green pyrotechnics take center stage as the sky vibrates with color. Whip out that camera as you won’t want to miss the stunning sight of fireworks set against the more than 80,000 twinkling lights of Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle.

Need even more A-list-approved things to do in LA December? Fill up that winter itinerary fast with our Los Angeles attractions.

Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood

When: November 17, 2023 - January 8, 2024

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! First, embrace the festive jingle jangle of the throaty Holiday Frog Choir. Then, observe the sparkling decor, lights, and garlands decorating a snowy Hogsmeade.

Finally, taste an exclusive holiday-themed menu of scrumptious treats (including a full Holiday dinner) at the Three Broomsticks

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

CityWalk Holidays

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

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 while gazing upon a truly spectacular and Seussian 65 ft Christmas tree. And savor bites of luscious Who-themed food and drinks such as a Grinch Donut and Who-hash

*Please note that these are seasonal events, and Universal Hollywood reserves the right to change dates, entertainment, events, and/or experience details without notice.

family interacting with Grinch mascot for Grinchmas at Universal Studios Orlando in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Olga Rodriguez via Facebook

Knott’s Berry Farm - Knott’s Merry Farm

When: November 17, 2023 - January 7, 2024

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 while enjoying Christmas in LA.

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.

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
  • Yummy seasonal treats, such as crispy breaded turkey balls filled with seasoned stuffing and served sweet cranberry sauce
  • 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

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, USA

LEGOLAND® - Holidays at LEGOLAND California

When: Select dates November 18 - December 31, 2023

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.

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 much more! Charge that phone or camera, as you’ll want tons of pics of your little builders with Santa, the Toy Soldier, and the Gingerbread man.

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 and features over 400 LEGO ornaments.

Christmas in LA: Parades that Jingle All The Way

The Hollywood Christmas Parade, Hollywood, CA

When: November 26, 2023

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 90 years! This festive fete is full of celebrities, floats, marching bands, live performances, and equestrians.

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 chatty commentary from hosts like Dean Cain and Montel Williams.

Trejo fans will be in luck, as the actor and taco entrepreneur will be grand marshaling the joyous event. Afterward, prepare for the penultimate appearance of the jolly old St. Nicholas himself.

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

people marching in a parade in costumes with instruments

Credit: https://www.facebook.com/xmasparade/photos/10159100250879167

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Newport Beach, CA

When: December 13 - 17, 2023

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.

Enchanting Photo Ops in Los Angeles at Christmas

Enchanted: Forest of Light

When: November 19, 2023 - January 7, 2024

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. 

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.’
lights projected onto trees at the Descanso Gardens

Credit: https://www.facebook.com/DescansoGardensLA/photos/enchanted-forest-of-light-debuts-tomorrow-advanced-tickets-required-get-yours-at/10154060466282543/

Lightscape at the LA Arboretum 

When: November 17, 2023 - January 2, 2024

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 Christmas in LA 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!

Skypark at Santa’s Village - Christmas Experience

When: November 16th, 2023 - January 7 2024

Swear you’ve entered an ethereal world of Narnia and snow-topped Northwoods forests when you swing by Skypark at Santa’s Village. While year-round Skypark might serve as the hotspot for biking, rock climbing, and camping, come winter’s chill, this sprawling institution of thrills is all about Yuletide charm.

Visitors, young and old, can cozy up to Santa, Arrow, and the many creatures that find shelter in Northwoods. In addition to lights, dazzling live entertainment, and interactive forest walks, guests can participate in the following:

  • NorthWoods train rides
  • Special visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus
  • Ice skating with help from elves
  • Panning for gold and precious gems
  • Gingerbread cookie decorating classes
  • And more!
santa leaning out of a red and black train

Photo Credit: SkyPark at Santa's Village 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 for this time of year.

gingerbread man coming out of the door of his gingerbread house with a gingerbread bunny, sleigh, and tree all on white icing.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 while enjoying Christmas in LA

This beloved neighborhood cafe and bakery serve the most delicious 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!

Los Angeles Activities

Need a little more inspiration for your yule-tide itinerary? Check out these area experiences to ensure you have the "best trip ever" to Hollywood.

Experience Santa Monica Pier

When visiting Los Angeles, your family must experience the Santa Monica Pier. Activities at the pier include:

  • The iconic Ferris Wheel
  • Playland Arcade
  • Free Walking Tours
  • Bike Rentals
  • The historic Carousel
  • And More

Tummies will be rumbling after walking, biking, and playing at the Santa Monica Pier. Conquer hunger at one of the many delicious restaurants along the pier. Between the games and attractions, beautiful beach setting, and drool-worthy food, it’s no wonder the Santa Monica Pier is on the list of top things to do in Los Angeles.

Snag discount tickets to hop aboard a Los Angeles Hop on Hop off bus and experience Santa Monica Pier, and SO much more.

Wide view of Santa Monica Pier at sunset with the Ferris wheel in the center near Los Angeles, California, USAWarner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

They say Hollywood is the land where dreams come true, but it’s also a place where many of our all-time favorite movies and shows were filmed!

Are an ultimate fan of Warner Bros productions like Friends, Batman, The Matrix, and much more? Hightail it to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood! Sit in Sheldon's seat, grab coffee at Central Perk, and race through the streets of Gotham on your own batmobile.

What are you waiting for? Grab Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood discount tickets on Tripster!

Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were able to meet all our favorite celebrities? If you want to take photos with Hollywood celebrities or your celebrity crush, this is the perfect opportunity. Snap a selfie with Jennifer Aniston, say 'cheese!' with Forest Gump, and phone home with E.T.

Madame Tussauds Hollywood discount tickets are waiting for you on Tripster!

an image of beautiful women

photo credit: Madame Tussauds Hollywood via Facebook

Experience Christmas in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a desirable getaway year-round, from serene beaches to world-class dining and premier museums.

However, the holiday months bring about a Santa’s sack worth of mistletoe, candy canes, and sugar plums to the City of Angels.

Travelers lucky enough to take in Los Angeles Christmas time will be blessed with lights, ornaments, and over-the-top theme park celebrations.

Whether you are looking for a laidback itinerary that includes enchanting light forest installations and the most decadent hot chocolate, or you prefer illuminated parades of yachts and kayaks, Christmas in LA never disappoints.

Tell us, How Will You Do LA at Christmas?

Did we miss any of the best Christmas events Los Angeles? What is your favorite Christmas in LA activity?

Leave us a comment below!


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Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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