Whether it’s the delicious pumpkin spice filling the air or the vibrant poinsettias adorning lampposts across the city, early seasonal touches have us counting down the days until its official arrival and all the exciting festivities that come along with it.
For a city blessed with consistently mild weather (and not a drop of real snow since 1962), Los Angeles really knows how to ring in the holidays. Neighborhoods from the beach to the hills are decked with strings of colorful lights, while popular destinations go all out to ensure visitors from near and far get a heaping dose of holiday cheer.
Topping the list of L.A. winter wonderlands are The Grove and The Americana at Brand, where snow magically falls twice nightly, holiday music fills the air and two of the West Coast’s tallest trees each twinkle with 25,000 lights and ornaments.
If you’re staying local this November and December, check out these can’t-miss seasonal attractions at The Grove and The Americana at Brand, plus other destinations worth visiting to see the holidays done right.
The annual tree lighting takes place on November 17 at 7 pm, ushering in the holidays with music from around the world, the season’s first snowfall, the arrival of Santa Claus and a grand fireworks finale.
Santa makes his official entrance at the Santa House on November 18, along with other holiday highlights including a festive brass band, drummer boys, stilt walkers, gingerbreadmen and toy soldiers, roasting chestnuts and hot cocoa carts, a cappella singers and more.
Visit AmericanaAtBrand.com for more details on hours, Santa House reservations and photo packages.
Both The Americana at Brand and The Grove offer top-notch concierge and valet services, several new stores and restaurants, extended shopping hours and Caruso Rewards Double Points, from November 13 – December 31.
On November 13, witness the lighting of the 100-foot Christmas tree and a 60-minute live spectacular hosted by Seth MacFarlane. Beginning at 7 pm, the evening will feature entertainment for the whole family, including special performances by Lea Michele and Rachel Platten, the season’s first snowfall, a fireworks show and the arrival of Santa Claus.
Starting November 14, visit Santa Claus daily at the Santa House for a magical holiday experience and professional holiday photos. Other seasonal hallmarks include live outdoor performances by The Top Hats, stirring sounds played by Toy Soldiers and Belle Air Brass, character visits from Frosty the Snowman and the Gingerbread Man, roasting chestnuts and hot cocoa in The Park, and lots more.
Visit TheGroveLa.com for more details on Santa House hours, reservations and photo packages.
This Woodland Hills neighborhood has been coming together since 1952 in an effort to create the most dazzling display of Christmas lights this side of the North Pole. Those who visit the spectacle understand why the stretch of eight blocks near the intersection of Oxnard Street and Lubao Avenue has been dubbed “Candy Cane Lane,” with décor that rivals only a Hollywood movie set. The lights go up on the second Saturday of December, and remain there until the end of the year. Visit woodlandhillscc.net/candy_cane_lane for more details.
The famed LA Zoo really comes alive around the holidays! From November 18 – January 8, the two-year-old tradition of festooning the zoo with an impressive display of lights and holiday-themed décor continues. Visit lazoolights.org for more details.
A quintessentially Southern Californian stretch of land, the Venice Canals may be just steps from the beach, but they feel reminiscent of a small European town. Add the Christmas lights that are wrapped around the wooden bridges sparkling against the water, and you’re left with a romantic and uniquely offbeat holiday experience.
Start the festivities with a pre-concert party offering free hot chocolate and coffee, then head into the sing-along, where classic holiday tunes will be sung. Accompanied by a choir, pipe organ and jazz ensemble, this lively event is the most musical way to welcome the holiday season. Visit laphil.com for more details.