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Your Guide to Holiday Cheer Near Los Angeles

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Happy Holidays, Los Angeles!

Whether it’s escaping for a night to a snow scape or celebrating in sunny Los Angeles, there is plenty to do this holiday season to fill you with cheer!

If you are looking for outdoor adventure: Big Bear

Big Bear is no hidden gem, with Angelinos heading up the mountain at all times of the year. If you have only been there during the warmer weather, a winter escape is well worth the two hour drive. Take advantage of the snow by hitting the slopes where you can get a fun workout, enjoy the view from the chairlifts, and warm up with hot chocolate. If you are a first timer, many of the mountains offer lessons or you can teach yourself, allowing the plush snow to catch your falls. Not into the slopes? There are plenty of beautiful hikes in the area as well as a cute town to explore and get your Holiday shopping taken care of. *Be sure to double check if you will need tire chains.*

If you are looking for a unique twist: Solvang

Just over two hours from Los Angeles, you’ll find the quaint Danish-style village of Solvang. The beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine of this town will have you feeling like you’ve escaped to a European Christmas market (without the hefty airfare). While the town is close and doable as a day trip, elevate your experience by spending the night and sampling local wines of the region. Solvang gets into the Christmas spirit, with a tree lighting ceremony, a nativity pageant, candlelight tours, and more. Check out their full schedule here.

If you are looking for Santa: Skypark at Santa’s Village

While you may be able to meet Santa at many venues throughout LA, why not meet him at his home in Lake Arrowhead? At Santa’s Village, guests have everything they are looking for to make their holiday spirits bright. At this magical event, you are able to decorate cookies, eat breakfast with Santa or drink tea with Mrs. Clause, have some of your seasonal favorites at Kringle’s Coffee, ice skate, walk through the Fantasy Forest of Lights, enjoy live entertainment, and more. On December 10th they will be hosting a special Christmas market, but any day you visit will be a jolly good time.

If you are looking for lights: Enchanted Forest of Light

Descanso Gardens is once again back with its epic Enchanted Forest of Lights. This interactive light experience allows you to stroll through the beautiful gardens, change the colors of lights with your touch, and see immaculate art installations illuminating the night. While some of the sights will be familiar to previous attendees, this year there is an entire town of stained glass in the rose garden that is worth going back for.

If you are looking for a family friendly day right in LA: Christmas at Hogwarts

While it’s not quite like attending the Yule Ball, a day at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter World is a holiday treat. The entire park will be decked in its impressive decorations, but as you enter Hogsmeade, you can really convince yourself that you have jumped on your broom and landed across the pond. Snow caps the tops of the peaks and you can do your Christmas shopping just like a wizard would. To warm up, have a butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks, or if the weather we have been having persists, cool off with their frozen option!

If you are looking for a snow: Sequoia National Park

Yes, you can get snow closer to LA, but if you are looking to really get away for the holidays, head to Sequoia National Park. As this is their off season, you will get to escape to nature and escape the crowds. The massive redwood forests, dating back thousands of years, dusted with snow are breathtaking. While in the park be sure to pay a visit to General Sherman, the world’s largest tree. Expect that there may be some road closures in the park due to weather and the potential need for tire chains.

If you are looking for a cocktail to warm you up: Tinseltown

Lost Property bar in Hollywood is already a well known and beloved staple of Los Angeles nightlife. To make things extra special this year, they will be hosting Tinseltown, a Christmas themed pop up bar. For a $22 cover, you will have 90 minutes of immersion in so much Christmas decorations that might even put Buddy the Elf to shame. There will be holiday music, plenty of photo opts, a festive drink upon arrival and more available for purchase. You will need to buy tickets in advance, and get them before they sell out!

If you are looking for a relaxing holiday: Festival of Lights at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

While foregoing their switch on ceremony due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa will still be hosting its annual Festival of Lights from November 26th - January 6th. Create a relaxing getaway or day trip for yourself by booking a stay, spa option, or dinner reservation. If you are in a time or money crunch, go just to view the lights, which is completely free! There are more than 4.5 million Christmas lights, part of the reason it has been named “Best Public Lights Display” by USA Today.

If you are looking to start a new tradition: Currier and Ives

Create a new tradition with a traditional Victorian Christmas Celebration. Los Rios Rancho will have three opportunities for you to join them in their packing barn this December. A ticket gives you a delicious Christmas dinner of apple butter glazed ham, chicken pot pie, roasted vegetables, and garlic potatoes with a rum pudding for dessert. The evening will provide cheer with dancing, carols, and classic roasted chestnuts.

If you are looking to indulge in rooftop cinema: Movies on the Roof

Rooftop cinema seems to be one of the biggest things to hit LA these past few years. While there are many fantastic options throughout the city, My Valley Pass and Westfield Shopping Square have come together to make the season of giving a thank you to the community. Tickets for holiday rooftop movies are only $10 per person and all proceeds go to the Valley Relics Museum, Hope of the Valley, and OVERDUE. These programs bring much needed support to the Valley, so not only do you get to have a fun night out, but you get to know you are helping out your community just by watching a film.

If you are looking for Ice Skating: L.A. Kings Holiday Ice

Skate like a pro at the outdoor rink in front of STAPLES Center. You’ll feel like you're a member of the Kings team transplanted to Rockefeller Center as you skate around the huge Christmas tree. Since our hot weather has been hanging around longer than usual this year, this is the perfect way to cool off. General admission tickets are sold on site for $25 per adult and include a skate rental.

If you need a Christmas Tree: Hikari A Festival of Lights

Tanaka Farm in Irvine has elevated their usual farm decor with majestic lights in all directions. The festivities will include a holiday market, crafts, a petting zoo, and an illuminated trail that can be either walked or enjoyed via wagon. Tanaka Farms allows you to make a whole evening of getting your tree.

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