We’ve all learned the hard way at least once or twice…the best holiday events in Los Angeles either sell out early, or you find out about them after they happen. So once again this year, FOMO has gotten the best of me and I have attempted to get ahead of the curve in planning the ultimate list of Holiday things to do before its even Halloween. I know. I know…
So without further delay, here is the best of the best of holiday events for families in Los Angeles…I have hunted, gathered, researched, collected, polled, etc.
But alas, there are so many fun things to do this time of year that at best it is still a WORKING LIST. PLEASE COMMENT or DROP ME A DM on IG or FB with events you love and recommend so I can continue to add to it! It takes a village…FOMO is real people.
PS Comments with tips on any of these experiences are super helpful! (ie, arrive super early the line is long, or you don’t have to pay for parking there is a huge free lot across the street, or make sure you bring XYZ).
- Polar Express Christmas Train: (Fillmore) I have a post on this from a few years back when we took our kids you can see here. The North Pole Express starts November 24th and costs $32 for adults and $22 for kids. This train sells out pretty quickly, especially the weekend evening trains, so book early if you need a weekend night. The good dates/times for this will be sold out by Halloween…you have some time but don’t wait until November rolls around.
- Irvine Railroad Christmas Train: (Irvine) We’ve done this several times and I should backlog a post on it…its a micro version of the Fillmore Polar Express above…and of course its in the other direction in Orange County so location might just play a role in your preference (you don’t need to do both). The train is open (Fillmore is a closed train). Tickets for the 2018 Christmas Train will go on sale November 1, 2018…the good dates/times WILL SELL OUT THAT DAY. (Update 11/10: Almost sold out entirely)
- Lomita Train Museum Polar Express (Lomita) The Lomita Railroad Museum presents Santa & The Polar Express on Sunday, December 2 from Noon to 4 p.m. The community is invited for a special reading of The Polar Express and photos with Santa. In addition, there will be face painters, balloon animals, holiday crafts, hot chocolate and cookies and tours of the museum. The price of admission is $15 per family and includes everything.
- Griffith Park Holiday Light Train Festival (Los Feliz) Opens November 23, limited tickets sold for each evening $5 pp
- Westside Ballet Nutcracker (Santa Monica)
- Los Angeles Ballet Nutcracker at the Los Angeles Theatre (Cerritos)
- Its A Wonderful Life at Theatre West (Hollywood)
- A Christmas Carol at Glendale Centre Theatre (Glendale)
- Long Beach Nutcracker Ballet (Long Beach)
- Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (South Bay)
- La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (La Mirada)
- A Carpenters Christmas
- The Magic of Christmas
- The Nutcracker
- Magical Cirque Christmas (Thousand Oaks) Starting Nov. 24th
- Autism Advocates Annual Breakfast with Santa (South Bay) $5 at the Holiday Inn Los Angeles Gateway (SOLD OUT)
- Rancho Los Alamitos Cocoa with Santa (Los Alamitos)
- The Grove LA Santa’s Workshop (3rd Street/Beverly Center) can book reservation online in advance and they will sell out before December – not available to make reservations yet
- Century City Mall Cocoa with Santa (Century City) – $50 for children and $25 for adults. Adults and children over 1 year will each require a separate ticket. Children under 1 year are free.
- Breakfast and Kids Crafts with Santa Claus (Santa Monica) – Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, 9-10:30 a.m. at Santa Monica Place, Level 3 Food Court
- Candy Cane Lane Torrance AKA Sleepy Hollow (South Bay) from a helpful local mom: “Located at Pacific Coast Highway / Calle Mayor, Torrance, CA 90505 – You can drive thru it or you can walk thru it. They have Santa to take pictures, kids selling hot chocolate, cookies, churros, popcorn, they also have the grinch.”
- Candy Cane Lane El Segundo (El Segundo)
- Candy Cane Lane Woodland Hills (Woodland Hills)
- Descanso Gardens Festival of Lights (La Canada)
- Festival of Lights (Riverside) From a helpful local Mom: Streets are super crowded, but it’s beautiful. There are reindeer and street vendors. Might have to park blocks away”
- LA Zoo Lights (Glendale) from the Zoo’s website: Glowing animals welcome you on an unforgettable nighttime journey that includes giant illuminated snowflakes, a disco ball forest, a whimsical herd of animated elephants, and a twinkling tunnel filled with dynamic swirls of color. L.A. Zoo Lights is a not-to-be-missed nighttime holiday light experience and has glowed brighter each year since its debut in 2014. This year’s event features a dazzling new area to explore, luminous new displays, and reimagined favorites.
- Reindeer Romp at the LA Zoo (Glendale) Real reindeer will be making the L.A. Zoo their home for the holidays! Plus special crafts, events and Santa on the weekends…check website the activity schedule is coming soon.
- The Chill at Queen Mary (Long Beach)
- Rancho Los Alamitos Events: (Los Alamitos)
- Old Time Christmas Festival
- Victorian Holiday Tea
- Cocoa with Santa (tickets go on sale Nov. 1)
- The Grove Winter Wonderland- No Info Avail Yet for 2018 will update when available!
- Festival of the Trees in Torrance
- Festival of the Trees Lunch with Santa
- Logan’s Candy – Candy Cane Demos (Ontario)
- Belmont Shore Christmas Parade (Long Beach) The 36th Annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade will take place on Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
- Winter Fest OC (Costa Mesa) Dec 20 – Jan 6 at the OC Fair and Event Center
- Regal Cinema Christmas Classics
- Four Seasons Westlake Let it Snow (Westlake Village)
- The Langham Teddy Bear Tea (Pasadena) features enchanting holiday decorations, a puppet show, storytelling by one of Santa’s helpers, and pictures with Santa. Seating is limited and advanced reservations are required (626) 585-6218
- Castle Green Holiday Home Tour (Pasadena) December 2, 2018 guests take a self-guided tour of the magnificent building and it’s privately owned residences.
- Moonlight Forest (Arcadia) at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Gardens (not specifically Christmas lights, but lights and celebratory
- The Plaza at Santa Monica Film Nights (Santa Monica) – Wednesday nights, Nov. 21, 2018 – Jan. 16, 2019, Family-friendly films will play at 6 p.m.; Los Angeles-themed films will play at 8 p.m. at 1324 Fifth Street, Santa Monica, California 90401
Ice & Snow
- Santa Monica Ice Skating Rink (Downtown Santa Monica) Ice Presented by Plaza at Santa Monica returns November 3, 2018 and is a 8,000-square-foot ice-skating rink
- LA Kings Holiday Ice at LA Live (Downtown LA)
- Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square (Downtown LA)
- Snow Day LA (Echo Park, near Dodger Stadium) Sledding lanes are open 6pm-10:30pm each event night in November & December (**as of 10/10 the first weekend is already sold out)
- Disney on Ice (Los Angeles, Anaheim, Ontario, Long Beach) Greater Los Angeles December 13 – January 6 – Featuring Disney’s Moana for the first time in a live production, hosts Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse bring the Disney magic to life and take audiences on an expedition across raging seas and snow-covered mountains in this action-packed extravaganza with the beloved characters from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Tangled and Cinderella.
Again, let me know what I’m missing and let me know what you are doing!!