The Top 20 Things to Do in Los Angeles this December

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No snow? No problem. Los Angeles is the place to be this holiday season, white flurries or not. You can eat, drink, and be merry all over town with our pick of the best things to do this December. We’re talking Dr. Seuss appearances, ice skating, festive cocktails, Christmas lights, and so much more. (Psst: You can even see some snow if you so choose.) No wonder it’s the most wonderful time of year.

Where to See Festive Christmas Lights in Los Angeles This Year (Including Drive-Thrus)

1. Swing from Truffula Tree at The Dr. Seuss Experience

The Dr. Seuss Experience

  • Location: Santa Monica Place, 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica

  • Price: $31 to $45 per person

  • Dates: November 10 through January 31

Photos with Santa Claus are so basic; this year, why not take them with the Grinch? You can get that perfect family shot plus tons of more IG-worthy photos as you walk through this exhibit where several of Dr. Seuss’ beloved classic books come to life. Kids will enjoy a ride on the carousel at Circus McGurkus while adults will be reminded of their childhood while exploring the Nostalgic Dr. Seuss Museum with original artwork and books on display.

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2. Dine Apres-Ski (Minus the Ski) at the Fairmont Century Plaza

Fairmount Century Plaza

  • Location: Fairmont Century Plaza, 2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles

  • Price: $105 per person

  • Dates: November 15 through December 31

Save yourself the drive to the mountains (who wants to deal with snow chains?) and get all the winter cabin feels here. Book your own personal Swiss Chalet at this seasonal pop-up at the Fairmont Hotel in Century City. Enjoy a price-fixe dinner where you’ll dine on Alpine favorites like brie and pear soup, and chocolate fondue, as well as seasonal cocktails to get you in the holiday spirit. For their second year they’ve added additional firepit seating.

book a reservation

3. Take a Magical Stroll Along the Lights at Descanso Garden’s Enchanted Forest of Light

Descanso Garden's

  • Location: Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge

  • Price: $20 to $45 per person (children 2 and under are free)

  • Dates: November 19 through January 7

These public gardens are beautiful any time of year, but December is our favorite month to see the entire property lit up with mesmerizing light installations. Take an evening stroll along their one-mile route with sights to see at every turn. From the entire town of “magical” stained glass to the Rose Garden’s Labyrinth with 3-D geometric sculptures, you won’t want to ever leave.

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4. Watch a Holiday Movie Up on a Rooftop

The Godfrey Hotel

  • Location: The Godfrey Hotel, 1400 Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles

  • Price: Free (with a $40 food & beverage minimum)

  • Dates: November 26 through December 21

This Hollywood hotel offers a rooftop with sweeping views and for the holiday season is playing some of our favorite Christmas flicks: Nightmare Before Christmas (11/26), Elf (12/7), Office Christmas Party (12/13), and Christmas Vacation (12/21). Cozy up by the firepit with their complimentary blankets along with free popcorn and cotton candy. Sip on some holiday-inspired cocktails available from their gingerbread house bar. Elf and a Hot Buttered Rum? What could be better.

make a reservation

5. Hit Golf Balls at Dodger Stadium

Upper Deck Golf

  • Location: Dodger Stadium, 1000 Vin Scully Ave, Los Angeles

  • Price: $80 to $110 per person (ages 12 and up)

  • Dates: December 6 through December 10

Upper Deck Golf is a rotating experience where you can play golf within iconic stadiums throughout the country. The event arrives at Dodger Stadium this December for just five days, so golf-heads, don’t miss out! Golfers will play a 9-hole round inside the stadium. Afterwards, toast those hole-in-ones at the Clubhouse Festival where they will be having live music, food, and cold beers.

book tee time

6. Jewish Singles, It’s Time to Mingle at the Matzoball


  • Location: Bootsy Bellows, 9229 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood

  • Price: $104 to $204 per person (ages 21 and up)

  • Date: December 24

If you’re looking for love this holiday season, head to the Sunset Strip club, Bootsy Bellows. At the Matzoball (we love a good pun), see your JSwipe matches come to life, as tons of Jewish singles gather together to dance, drink, and hopefully, find their beshert (Yiddish for “soulmate").

7. Test Out Your Ice Skating Skills at Ice at Santa Monica

Ice at Santa Monica

  • Location: Ice at Santa Monica, 1324 5th Street, Santa Monica

  • Price: $20 per skater

  • Date: November 1 through January 15

Who says L.A. doesn’t have a winter? Partake in a classic winter activity as you skate on this 8,000-square-foot rink in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. The rink is open daily, but we love going on Wednesdays where every week has a new theme night, like Ugly Sweater Night (December 6) and Taylor’s Birthday (December 13). For those looking for a family-friendly New Year’s Eve event, head to the rink for their NYE celebration from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the 31st.

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8. Go for a Walk Down Holiday Road

Holiday Road

  • Location: King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas

  • Price: $35 to $35 per person (children 2 and under are free)

  • Dates: November 24 through December 27

Take a stroll on this immersive mile-long route filled with giant holiday installations, thousands of Christmas lights and countless photo opps. This year the event is in collaboration with Amazon Prime’s new holiday movie, Candy Cane Lane, starring Eddie Murphy (as Chris Carver), so be sure to take a photo at the Carver’s house. There will be food trucks and premium bars, a winter market for those shopaholics, and on select dates, live Christmas carolers for holiday music fans.

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9. Shop Small and Get Artsy at ROW DTLA


  • Location: ROW DTLA, 777 S. Alameda Street, Los Angeles

  • Price: Varies

  • Dates: November 11 through December 31

This downtown open-air shopping and dining plaza is full of holiday festivities this season. Located around the big Christmas tree is the Holiday Outpost—open every day but Monday, this outdoor market features curated gifts by Made by MAUM and complimentary gift wrapping to save you the trouble of a DIY job at home. On December 9, vintage lovers will enjoy the PickWick Vintage Market. Make it a day of shopping, because that day also features the West Coast Craft's WCC Market LA, with over 150 artisans selling their goods! Both kids and kids-at-heart will enjoy the classes offered by Design Hive in partnership with ROW DTLA. There’s Gingerbread Cookie Decorating (12/8), Mini Pom Pom Wreath Making (12/15), and Holiday Garland Making (12/22), to choose from.

visit row dtla

10. Feast on Foods from L.A. Favorite Restaurants at Los Angeles Times Best Restaurants 2023 Reveal Party

Best Restaurants 2023

  • Location: Rolling Greens on Mateo, 1005 Mateo Street, Los Angeles

  • Price: $175 to $275 per person

  • Dates: December 5

For those who use the 101 Best Restaurants in L.A. list as their food bible, be the first to find out who made the cut at this year’s reveal party. Taste dishes from several of the best restaurants; there’s mariscos from Coni’ Seafood, Soul food from Alta Adams, BBQ from Moo’s Craft Barbeque, and so much more… may we recommend some flowy pants for this one?

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11. Watch a Performance of ‘The Nutcracker

Long Beach Nutcracker

  • Locations: Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Pasadena

  • Price: Varies

  • Dates: December 7 through December 23

It’s a holiday classic, and whether you’re a Nutcracker purist, or prefer a slightly different take, there are multiple performances throughout the city to choose from. Visit the Long Beach Ballet to see Tchaikovsky's work in action; dancers will perform to music played by a full symphony orchestra. The classic is reimagined at Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. For one night only at the Pasadena Convention Center, watch the Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet, filled with acrobatics, life-sized puppets, and top-notch performers.

get tickets for the Long Beach Nutcracker

get tickets for Debbie Allen's hot chocolate Nutcracker

get tickets for Nutcracker! magical Christmas ballet

12. Immerse Yourself In Dancing Lights at Lightscape

LA Arboretum

  • Locations: LA Arboretum, 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia

  • Price: $10 to $35 per person (children 2 and under are free)

  • Dates: November 17 through January 2

You’ll want to dance your way down Snowflake Avenue and shimmy through the tunnel of glowing lights at the Winter Cathedral, all part of the one-mile-long trail through L.A. County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The immersive light show has several installations set against the backdrop of the gorgeous gardens and paired with music, compliments of Sony Music, that is a mixed bag between holiday tunes and electronic pop music (you can listen to the playlist here). The walk is kid-friendly, and adults and kids alike will enjoy the s’mores kits available to purchase and roast on open fire pits. Food and drinks will also be available to purchase.

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13. Drink and Be Merry at Miracle and Tinseltown Pop-Up Christmas Bars


  • Locations: Neighbors, 12751 Millennium Dr. #140, Los Angeles (Miracle); Pattern Bar, 100 W 9th St., Los Angeles (Tinseltown)

  • Price: Free (Miracle); $22 per person for entry fee and themed cocktail (Tinseltown)

  • Dates: November 21 through December 31 (Miracle); November 24 through December 30 (Tinseltown)

If Christmas is the holiday you wait for all year, you’ll love being surrounded by all-things-merry at both of these pop-up bars, here only for a limited time. Both Miracle and Tinseltown have made appearances all throughout the country but are setting up shop this winter here in LA. Miracle will be inside Playa Vista’s Neighbors and Tinseltown: The Christmas Speakeasy will be parking its garland and mistletown at downtown Pattern Bar.

Make a reservation for miracle

get a ticket for Tinseltown

14. Do as the Brits Do and Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the Maybourne

The Maybourne Beverly Hills

  • Locations: The Maybourne Beverly Hills, 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills

  • Price: $150 per person

  • Dates: December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 21-24

Visit the swanky Maybourne Hotel in Beverly Hills and partake in their afternoon tea at the restaurant The Terrace. Available only on weekends, from 2 to 4 p.m., there’s no better way to treat yourself this holiday season. There are both savory items (like scottish smoked salmon sandwich with dill & cucumber cream cheese on rye) and sweet ones (like the “Reindeer,” aka dark chocolate mousse, a flourless sponge, and carmel rocher), accompanying loose leaf teas from around the globe. We especially like their grown-up twist on afternoon tea, which includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne.

15. Party the Italian Way at Notte Italiana: Holiday Edition

Eataly Notte Italiana

  • Locations: Eataly, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

  • Price: $125 per person

  • Date: December 15

Late night parties are one of Eataly’s specialties, and this holiday-themed one is sure to be one of their best (and the last of the year so don’t miss out). From 9 p.m. to midnight you can expect tons of Italian late-night bites stationed throughout the giant gourmet market, as well as over 20 stations of wines and cocktails. When the drinks kick in, start a dance party to the live DJ’s beats, or grab your bestie and head to the photobooth.

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16. Attend a Free Chanukah Concert with the Coolest Children’s Performer Around

Jason Mesches Music

  • Locations: Palisades Village, 15225 Palisades Village Ln, Pacific Palisades; The Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles

  • Price: Free

  • Date: December 7 (Palisades); December 11 (Beverly Center)

Jason Mesches is a former member of “The Beat Buds,” aka the band to have if you’re throwing an elaborate kid’s party, and a great performer in his own right. He describes his music as “Coachella meets Baby Rave,” and come on, don’t tell us you’re not curious. Jason will be performing four free Chanukah concerts, two of which are in Los Angeles (the other two are going to be in Monrovia and San Diego). Catch the show either at Palisades Village on December 7 at 5 p.m., or at the Beverly Center on December 11 at 6 p.m.

see the show

17. Watch the King Harbor Boat Parade and Make It a Staycation

Redondo Beach Tourism

  • Locations: Portofino Hotel & Marina, 260 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach

  • Price: From $499/night

  • Date: December 9 (Seaside Greeting package is available all month)

Let’s be real; holiday travel is as much fun as explaining to your great aunt why you’re still single. Hence, the staycation. Book one at the Portofino Hotel & Marina for December 9 and you’ll have front row views to the King Harbor Boat Parade; expect boats of all sizes decked out in Christmas lights as well as larger-than-life holiday figurines. The hotel’s “Seaside Greetings” package includes an oceanside guestroom, a gift box filled with locally curated festive treats and a dining credit to their waterfront restaurant, BALEENKitchen. The parade starts at 5:30 p.m. so secure your dinner reservation if you want to watch it from there.

book the seaside greetings package

18. See SnowFall in SoCal

AAB Snowfalls

  • Locations: The Americana at Brand, 889 Americana Way, Glendale; The Grove, 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles

  • Price: Free

  • Date: The Americana at Brand – November 16 through December 25; The Grove – November 14 through December 31

Get your holiday shopping done with a side of snow. Both high-end shopping centers, The Grove and The Americana at Brand, will transform into winter wonderlands nightly as faux snow fills the sky for snow showers at both 7 and 8 p.m. (and an additional snowfall at 6 p.m. at the Grove on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Surrounded by tons of lights, a giant Christmas tree, and likely, thin-blooded Angelenos, get those winter vibes without the need for a full puffer jacket (although we won’t judge you if you wear one).

visit the grove

visit the Americana at brand

19. Sip Wine and Paint the Glass at Good Clean Fun

DTLA Art Night

  • Locations: Good Clean Fun, 868 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles

  • Price: $30 per person

  • Date: December 7

If you love the concept of paint & sip but don’t have the patience for a full canvas, this is the perfect event for you. The natural wine shop and bar, Good Clean Fun, hosts monthly paint & sip nights in conjunction with DTLA Art Night, which happens the first Thursday of every month. In December, the event will be holiday themed, and guests will receive a glass to sip and paint from. Make a reservation on December 7 anytime from 5 to 10 p.m. to participate.

make a reservation here

20. See The Iconic Film “Love Actually” Come to Life on Stage

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

  • Locations: Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly HIlls

  • Price: From $69 and up

  • Date: November 22 through December 30

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the beloved film Love Actually, so show it some love (because to us, it is perfect) and get tickets for the stage performance of “Love Actually Live” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Expect lots of singing and laughter while iconic scenes are projected behind the cast.

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