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Los Angeles is the city of lights, cameras and action! But when it comes to the holidays, it’s the Christmas lights that take center stage. Christmas in the city of angels features holiday-themed family activities and events in downtown and at theme parks, beaches, malls and attractions.
Whether you’re an Angeleno or visiting Southern California, treat yourself to seaside ice skating and other unique Christmas in LA activities suitable for all ages and budgets.
Want to find out where to find the best kid-friendly Christmas events and family activities in Los Angeles? Read on!
Christmas in LA at the Los Angeles Zoo
L.A. Zoo Lights features a self-guided 90-minute stroll through a new nighttime winter attraction that transforms its grounds into an immersive landscape with lantern sculptures of animals among flowers, towering trees and more. The holiday display takes place from 6 – 10 p.m. November 18, 2022, to January 22, 2023, at the Los Angeles Zoo.
This sale is valid until 6/4/2023.
At the entrance, a 90-foot-long shimmering wall of lights features snowflake displays set to music. For example, the light show features a high-tech interactive display where dancing lights respond to guests’ voices. In addition, the light show features giant glowing animals and wildlife-inspired displays. More festivities include holiday treats, food and visits with Santa.
Santa Monica Holiday Shopping and Festivities
Slather on sunscreen for the daytime, but bring a scarf for chilly evenings while shopping and enjoying seasonal events in Downtown Santa Monica. Festivities include ICE, featuring an 8,000-square-foot ice-skating rink through Jan. 16, 2023. At Santa Monica Place, scoop up trendy and luxury items. Winterlit celebrates the holiday season with live music and snow every Thursday night through Dec. 22, 2022. 1300 Block of Third Street Promenade, in front of the holiday tree.
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Christmas in LA at the Santa Monica Pier
To celebrate the holidays, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier will light the Pacific Wheel in red, green, blue, and white from Friday, Dec.18 to Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2022. It will also feature several holiday-themed icons, such as wreaths, reindeer, animated falling snow and an 80-foot tall snowman.
The Ferris wheel lights can be seen from dusk until 11:35 PM each evening. Enjoy watching the light program online at www.pacpark.com/live.
Urban Ice Skating
Christmas in LA means swapping out flips flops for skates at outdoor ice rinks set up for the holidays through the New Year.
Downtown on Ice
Skate under the sun and stars at the 24 Annual Downtown on Ice in Pershing Square in Los Angeles through Jan. 8, 2023. It’s L.A.’s biggest outdoor rink, located in the heart of the city at 532 South Olive, Los Angeles. The rink is open from 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Cost: $5-$20 for one hour.
The annual LA Kings Holiday Ice
The LA Kings Holiday Ice Rink brings outdoor ice skating to L.A. LIVE’s Xbox Plaza. The ice rink will be open through Jan. 8, 2023. Ice skating starts at 5 p.m. until Dec. 18, and then from 4 p.m. from Dec. 19. Tickets: $25 adults, $20 kids.
Christmas in LA at Universal Studios Hollywood
The Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood features themed activities through January 1, 2023. The special events are included in the price of theme park admission.
Christmas In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter transforms the quaint town of Hogsmeade into an enchanting holiday village. Seasonal décor is uniquely themed to each of the individual storefronts. In addition, a dazzling light projection spectacular brings the iconic Hogwarts castle to life.
As night falls, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle illuminates Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with colorful imagery. There are also dimensional animations that dance across Hogwarts castle in tandem to a musical arrangement from the Harry Potter movies. Musical performances from the a cappella Frog Choir entertain with their harmonized holiday-themed songs.
Shoppers will delight in the selection of custom-made Christmas ornaments created especially for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” And, of course, holiday-themed fare and hot butterbeer further complement the overall experience.
A 55-foot tall Grinchmas tree is adorned with ornaments and LED lights choreographed to music for the annual Who-lebration. Dazzling Grinchmas tree lighting ceremonies take place every evening, accompanied by a snowfall flurry. The festival features The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Who-ville Whos.
Universal CityWalk’s 40-foot tall Christmas tree sparkles with 200,000 LED icicles choreographed to the lights and sounds of the season. Feel the magic of the holiday in the “5 Towers” outdoor plaza along with a slate of free concert performances and an eclectic ensemble of talented street performers. Admission to Universal CityWalk is free but there’s a parking fee. This event takes place through January 1, 2023.
The Original Farmers Market
Not just any market, this fun venue is a gathering place for meals, shopping and seasonal events. Celebrate the holidays with music, arts and crafts, variety shows and strolling carolers from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 18 – 24, 2022. A Hanukkah celebration with a menorah lighting takes place from 3 – 5 p.m. Dec. 18.
Christmas in Downtown L.A.
Holidays at the Music Center features a variety of festive events – some free – throughout December.
Raise your voices with holiday classics during Carols on the Plaza at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Music Center Plaza in Downtown L.A. Free admission; parking is $10 in the Music Center garage at the entrance on Grand Avenue.
The 63rd Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration is the city’s largest multi-cultural celebration. The free event takes place from 3 – 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The three-hour show features numerous musical groups and nearly 500 performers, representing the diverse cultures and holiday traditions of LA County.
Holidays in Beverly Hills shines with several free spectacular light shows through Jan. 1, 2023.
Unwrap the Magic Projection Show illuminates historic Beverly Hills City Hall with different holiday scenes, including a Christmas tree that says “Merry Christmas Beverly Hills” and a Hannukah menorah being lit. There will be interactive elements on display between show times, which take place daily every half hour starting at 6 p.m.
Lights on the Lily Pond is a festive light show at the Beverly Gardens Park near the Beverly Hills sign. Show times are daily on the hour starting at 6 p.m.
In addition, see sparkling light sculptures at Beverly Canon Gardens park located near the Maybourne Hotel. Enjoy the sculptures 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. through Jan. 1, 2023.
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