Guide to Christmas in Los Angeles: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Christmas in Beverly Hills
Love Beverly Hills

Many shopping centers and public plazas around LA kick off the holiday season by inviting the community to a holiday tree lighting celebration with music, family fun, and festive food. From roaming carolers to possibly the planet's most fashionable Santa, here are the top holiday celebrations taking place around Los Angeles and Orange County.

01 of 08

BOLD Holidays in Beverly Hills

Santa on Rodeo Drive
Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision courtesy of Rodeo Drive Committee

Beverly Hills comes alive throughout November and December as businesses remain open late and a schedule of celebrations and concerts takes to the streets of the country's most famous zip code. The season kicks off with a holiday lighting ceremony on in mid November. Following that date, you'll have a chance to mingle with both regular Santa and location-appropriate "Fashion Santa" on Rodeo Drive, at Two Rodeo, and at the Paley Center for Media. 

Impressive (and Instagram-worthy) lighting installations are aglow every night until January 6th across the Business District. Live holiday music will be playing at Beverly Cañon Gardens on certain days through November and December.

If you do any shopping in the area after 6 p.m., be sure to save your receipt and set your sights on dinner—29 local restaurants (including favorites like hip vegan sensation Café Gratitude, world-famous Ladurée and Jean-Georges at the brand new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills) are offering enticing deals and freebies to same-day shoppers. Special parking rates include 1-2 hours free are in effect at select local lots. 

02 of 08

Santa and Snowfalls at the Grove

Christmas at the Grove in Los Angeles
Photo © 2008 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

The holiday season starts with the Grove's annual tree-lighting ceremony. The free event will features the season’s first snowfall, a fireworks display, and a Santa appearance.

Santa will be in residence at the Grove through Christmas week. Santa's Workshop hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. through early December, and vary later in the month. Check the schedule to find out the best times to go.

Additionally, it's guaranteed to be a white pre-Christmas holiday season at the shopping mall, where flurries will be pumped out every night, regardless of the actual weather. We dare you to bring the ingredients for a snowman.

03 of 08

Downtown Burbank Mayor's Holiday Tree Lighting and Events

Burbank Ice Rink
Photo courtesy of Downtown Burbank

The Burbank Mayor's Tree Lighting occurs on the steps of City Hall. The tree lighting is an all-ages public event which also includes live music. Most other festivities in Burbank with be centered around the Rink in Downtown Burbank

04 of 08

Americana at Brand in Glendale

The Americana at Brand at Christmas
Photo courtesy of The Americana at Brand

Americana at Brand in Glendale also has a 100-foot tree with an official Tree Lighting event that usually takes place in mid-November complete with musical performances, a winter wonderland of magical elves, flying reindeer, dancing snowmen, plus Santa Claus and fireworks finale. Like the Grove, Americana at Brand brings on the snow at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. every evening through Christmas Eve. They also have similar roaming musicians and singers around the tree.

Through Christmas week there will be holiday crafts and the chance to take a photo with Santa in his house.

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05 of 08

Universal CityWalk Holidays

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal CityWalk hosts DJ Holiday Parties from late November through Christmas week on Friday and Saturday nights. Rockin' Santa and his sleigh are usually on hand for photo ops near the City Walk's Christmas tree (with 200,000 choreographed LED lights) from 1-9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 4-9 p.m. on select Mondays and Fridays.

06 of 08

Pasadena Holiday Celebrations

One Colorado Holiday Kick-Off
Photo Courtesy of One Colorado

One Colorado in Old Pasadena has dozens of events and promotions throughout the month of December. The season will bring treats, live entertainment, sing-alongs, giveaways and tours. Bring your Christmas lists and letters to Santa—all notes dropped into Santa's Mailbox will receive a reply to your return address.

Old Pasadena hosts special holiday events such as Holiday Karaoke, Santa Photos, Holiday Tour at Castle Green, Bob Baker Marionette Holiday Show, and Holiday Music at One Colorado.

07 of 08

Holidays by the Sea in San Pedro and Wilmington

The Los Angeles Waterfront in San Pedro kicks off their holiday celebration in early December. Wilmington Winter Wonderland will bring 20 tons of snow to play in at Wilmington Waterfront Park in Wilmington (Harry Bridges Blvd and C Street). You'll also be able to catch the 56th Annual Harbor Holiday Afloat Boat Parade that starts up the channel at 6 p.m. and ends around 9 p.m.

On land, you can watch the Wilmington Holiday Parade.

08 of 08

The Farmers Market

Farmers Market Los Angeles

The Farmers Market gets decked out for the holidays during the week of Christmas. Strolling carolers and the Toy Soldier Band will be on hand to entertain shoppers. You can also watch a Menorah Lighting and Hanukkah Celebration—where locals light a giant Lego Menorah, listen to live music, and do arts and crafts.

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