Being a dry, subtropical climate, Los Angeles doesn’t necessarily feel like the snow globe-like cabin I grew up with in the Midwest. However, this doesn’t mean California doesn’t know how to celebrate Christmas. From festive North Pole-themed bars to ice skating and Christmas cruises, the city is not short of things to do this winter. Below are the 28 best ways to celebrate Christmas in Los Angeles.
Check out the Christmas Gift Guide to see what your favorite travelers want this holiday season!
Christmas in L.A. For Free
You don’t have to break your bank to celebrate Christmas in Los Angeles. Enjoy this list of free holiday events to attend this year.
This is one of my favorite events in Los Angeles to explore during the holidays and the best part is, it’s completely free. Seaside neighborhood comes together each year to decorate their individual homes, making an entire Christmas village come alive. You can walk or drive through this experience, though I ended up just driving so I wouldn’t have to worry about parking. Bring some extra cash in case you’re thinking of buying a holiday treat from a neighborhood vendor to enjoy the view!
Dates: December 2021
Happening at 33 different parks in Los Angeles, Winter Parks After Dark presents to you: 40 TONS of snow. Along with sledding and snow hills, you can enjoy holiday crafts, steaming hot chocolate, food giveaways and even filled stockings for every child (while supplies last).
Dates: December 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 2021
This experience is very near and dear to my heart because not only does it support small women-owned businesses, but a portion of every sale made at this event will be donated to the Downtown Women’s Center, an organization working to end homelessness through housing, wellness, employment and advocacy with women.
Dates: December 11th, 1-5PM
Every year, the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa gives back to their community by hosting the Festival of Lights. The hotel is illuminated with over 5 million holiday lights and over 200 animated characters, including the world’s largest man-made mistletoe. This is not a sight to miss. Though you can’t go inside of the hotel unless you are a guest, there is plenty of holiday cheer to explore outside to see the home of the “Best Public Light Display” as it was named by USA Today.
Dates: November 26, 2021- January 6, 2022
Every Friday and Saturday until Christmas Eve, magical snow flurries will sprinkle the point on the Pacific Coast Highway every 30 minutes from 6PM-8PM. Are you dreaming of a white Christmas on the beach?
Dates: November 26- December 23, 2021
Christmas In L.A. Under $25
Okay, so maybe not all of the best things in life are free…However, you still don’t need to spend a fortune in order to enjoy the holidays. Below are holidays events in Los Angeles that cost less than $25.
Who said you needed below-freezing temperatures to go ice skating? The LA Kings have brought the icy climate to you. Just outside of the STAPLES center, or should I say Crypto.com, you can glide around the rink under the city lights and pretend you’re stuck in New York for the winter.
Price: $25 per person
Dates: November 27, 2021 – January 7, 2022
Hop on a decked-out ship and cruise around Newport Bay to see the multi-million dollar estates elaborate with Christmas decorations. They do three different cruises nightly, so you can find the time that works best for you. Don’t skip out on walking the boardwalk after! You can ride the same Ferris wheel that Nick from the Bachelor did during his one-on-one date. If you’re lucky, you may even end up in the same seat they filmed in.
Price: $20 per person
Dates: All Of December 2021
The Nutcracker is one of the most classic Christmas tales and a perfect way to spend the weekend. Watch the best of Los Angeles’ youth dance their way into the holiday spirit. This magical storybook performance is great for any ages and is sure to get you in the mood.
Price: $10-$60 depending on seat chosen
Dates: December 11th and 12th
This is probably the most exciting way to burn off all of those Christmas cookies. Take a one mile walk through the glowing forest of Descanso Gardens, watching the beauty of the outdoors come to light (literally). The music along the way will help you destress from the hectic schedules that come with the holidays and instead enjoy time with your favorite people. Definitely book this one ahead of time, as many dates have already sold out!
Price: $15 per person
Dates: November 21, 2021- January 10, 2022
Head to Underwood Family Farms for a day of Christmas celebrations. Go on a tractor-drawn wagon ride and take advantage of the holiday photo opportunities. If you’re lucky, you may just spot a reindeer or two while petting the happy animals or feeding the baby goats.
Price: $9-$12 per person
Dates: November 26- December 24, 2021
Logan’s Candy is a wonderful family-owned business that specializes in none other than the classic candy cane. However, if you’re one that’s ready to stray from tradition, you can find 6 foot candy canes in all different flavors and sweets ranging from fudge to turtles to taffy.
Not only is Dana Point Harbor filled with holiday experiences like the boat parade of lights, live music and menorah gathering, they also are hosting a competition for the Instagram-lovers out there. Wear an ugly sweater every Thursday from 4-7PM at the harbor and make sure to take photos to enter their Instagram holiday contest. Take a photo with an IG-worthy background and post it to the ‘gram, tagging @danapoint_harbor with the hashtag #HolidaysattheHarbor. There’s an awesome Dana Point Harbor package on the line for one lucky winner this Christmas.
Price: Depends on experience.
Dates: November 17- December 22, 2021
Celebrate with the Dodgers through an immersive holiday experience. Follow the red and green stadium lights to the ice rink or enjoy the live entertainment with holiday-themed food. Don’t forget to wash your cookies down with a toasty mug of hot chocolate!
Price: $16 per person
Dates: November 26- December 31, 2021
14. L.A. Zoo Lights
The only thing that could make a Christmas light show better would be spending it with glowing animals….I think. Take a stroll through the world’s largest illuminated pop-up storybook and into the famous twinkling tunnel for a photo opp.
Dates: November 19, 2021- January 9, 2022
An immersive North Pole experience has popped up at Lost Property Bar in Los Angeles. Your ticket includes a 90 minute session in the bar with a free festive drink upon entry. This pop-up is decked out with every over-the-top Christmas decoration you could think of. Have some holiday-themed bites and cocktails as Christmas tunes jingle through the air.
Price: $22 per person
Dates: November 24- December 31, 2021
Christmas in L.A. Under $100
So you want to do Christmas big this year? Let’s explore the most iconic winter displays in Los Angeles. From light shows to winter wonderlands, here are the best holiday events under $100.
Lightscape is an internationally acclaimed event that encapsulates a journey of twinkling art displays of lights as music prances through your ears. This is definitely one of the best Christmas light shows in Los Angeles that will make this holiday season one to remember for a long time.
Price: $30 per person
Dates: November 12, 2021- January 16, 2022
Don’t lie, we all know that you’ve seen the movie and you still love it no matter how old you are. Set to the soundtrack of the film, you will experience a magical night on the Polar Express train, headed to the North Pole. Watch the characters come to life while dancing waiters serve you hot chocolate and Walkers Shortbread Cookies. If you’re lucky, you may just be able to take home a magical silver bell from Santa.
Price: $50 per person
Dates: November 24- December 31, 2021
Imagine waking up with the Oompa Loompas in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. Now, imagine it’s Christmas. Explore the land of gumdrop dreams and gingerbread houses you could live inside. This is not only a family-friendly activity, but also a great place to get some Christmas content for the ‘gram.
Price: $40 per person
Dates: December 3- December 31, 2021
Yes, twist means alcohol. Enjoy tea-infused cocktails of all different flavors with small bites as the Elemental Music performs their Winter Concert Repertoire. If you’re feeling classy this Christmas, this event is for you.
Price: $69/per person
Dates: December 4, 11, 18, 2021
20. Snow N Glow
This is probably one of the most impressive Christmas pop-ups I’ve seen yet. Snow N Glow is a land with over 1 million holiday lights and plenty of experiences within these. You can go tubing down a hill of snow or rent a cozy igloo equipped with s’mores to roast at the fire pit. With live entertainment, hot chocolate and plenty of areas to play in the snow, this is nothing short of a winter wonderland.
Dates: Fridays-Sundays during select dates of December 2021- January 2022
21. Santa’s Speedway
This is the best reviewed Christmas light show in all of Southern California. Grab your friends and hop in the car to drive through the North Pole. From the 110′ Christmas Tree to ornaments you can drive inside of, you’ll be sure to be entertained. If you’re looking for dinner and a show, Santa’s Speedway now allows you to order snacks from their concession stand with their new app.
Price: $59 per carload
Dates: November 26, 2021- January 2, 2022
The World of Illumination is the largest holiday drive-thru light show and my favorite part about it is that not only do the millions of lights dance, they dance to the synchronized music for the entire one-mile drive. They charge per car load, so fit as many friends as you can for the same price!
Price: $59 per carload
Dates: November – December 2021
Christmas in Color is another drive-thru Christmas light experience, however, this one is not quite as expensive as World of Illumination or Santa’s Speedway. Not only does this display have over 1.5 million lights, it is also synched up to dance with the music during your drive across these colorful acres.
Price: $40 per carload
Dates: November 19, 2021- January 2, 2022
Being named Santa’s Village, it’s no wonder this place has everything involving Christmas and winter that you could think of. Go ice skating and decorate cookies with Santa’s Elves. Do the interactive NorthWoods Fantasy Forest experience or take a stroll through the village of lights. One thing will be for sure: You will not run out of activities in this North Pole.
Price: $69 per person
Dates: November 17, 2021- January 2, 2022
Christmas in L.A. Without A Budget
Okay baller, we see you up there in Beverly Hills. You’re in the land of insane rent prices and $8 lattes…I know you can afford it. Let’s get to rocking’ around the Christmas tree.
Take a private decked-out cruise on a yacht with up to 40 of your friends and check out the elaborate decorations at the estates around Newport Bay. This magical light display happens every year and only gets better each time.
Dates: All of December 2021
Though the igloo isn’t made of snow (if it was you wouldn’t have the glorious fire), I can assure you this experience is nothing short of magical. With twinkle lights adorning the igloo at your table, you can enjoy a night on the beach with Blue Streak.
Price: $500 Minimum for 4 Guests
Dates: Open Daily
AmazingCo has events all over the United States and quite a few in Los Angeles alone. Try out their Mystery Picnic on the beach or opt for a Girls Night In, adding some professional fun to your Elf-viewing slumber parties.
Dates: Always Open
I think it’s pretty obvious by now that Universal Studios does not take the term holidays lightly. This year, you can hang out with your favorite characters while enjoying the light show equipped with a green Grinch donut and the sound of the Holiday Frog Choir floating through the air. Let’s do Christmas big time.
Dates: November 26- January 9, 2022
I hope this comprehensive guide gave you a great start on how to celebrate Christmas in Los Angeles during the 2021 season. If you end up going to any of the events above, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram (@solofemaletravelguide) so we can share the fun. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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