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 in 2018.

  • 01 of 08
    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 November 15, 2018. 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 November 16, 23, 30 and December 7, 14, 21. Ice sculpting will also be available on December 7 from 5-8 p.m.

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

    The holiday season starts with the Grove's 17th annual tree-lighting ceremony on November 18, 2018 from 7-9 p.m. The free event will feature a performance by CBS A Home for the Holidays, as well as the season’s first snowfall, a fireworks display, and a Santa appearance.

    Santa will be in residence at the Grove between November 19 and December 24, 2018. It's wise to make reservations in advance, although walk-ins are welcome. 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, between November 13 and December 25. We dare you to bring the ingredients for a snowman.

  • 03 of 08
    Burbank Ice Rink
    Photo courtesy of Downtown Burbank

    The Burbank Mayor's Tree Lighting will occur on December 1, 2018 from 6-6:30 p.m. 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
    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 November 15, 2018, from 7:30-10 p.m. with performances by the cast of Love Actually Live, 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.

    Between November 16 and December 24, 2018 there will be holiday crafts and the chance to take a photo with Santa in his house.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Universal Studios Hollywood

    Universal CityWalk will host DJ Holiday Parties from November 23 to December 23, 2018 on Friday through Sunday nights. Rockin' Santa and his sleigh will be on hand for photo ops near the City Walk's Christmas tree (with 200,000 choreographed LED lights) from 1-9 p.m. on December Saturdays and Sundays, and 4-9 p.m. on December Mondays-Fridays.

  • 06 of 08
    One Colorado Holiday Kick-Off
    Photo Courtesy of One Colorado

    One Colorado in Old Pasadena will have dozens of events and promotions from December 1 to December 24, 2018. The season will continue with 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 will be hosting special holiday events, such as Holiday Karaoke (December 1); Santa Photos (November 23 to December 24); Holiday Tour at Castle Green (December 2); Bob Baker Marionette Holiday Show (December 11); and Holiday Music at One Colorado (December 9-16).

     

  • 07 of 08

    The Los Angeles Waterfront in San Pedro is kicking off their holiday celebration December 1, 2018. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wilmington Winter Wonderland will bring 20 tons of snow to play in at Wilmington Waterfront Park in Wilmington (Harry Bridges Blvd and C Street).  That same night, 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 on December 9, 2018 from noon to 2 p.m.

  • 08 of 08
    Farmers Market Los Angeles

    The Farmers Market will be decked out for the holidays during December 19-24, 2018. Strolling carolers and the Toy Soldier Band will be on hand to entertain shoppers. The Menorah Lighting and Hanukkah Celebration—where locals light a giant Lego Menorah, listen to live music, and do arts and crafts—is December 2, 2018 from 2:30-5 p.m.