Los Angeles events December 2018. Things to do in LA.

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Best events for 12 months

Los Angeles events December 2018

Martha Stewart event

December 1, 2018 (1 p.m., VIP noon)
Downtown (1.1 miles north)
Watch Martha Stewart do a cooking demonstration and then answer questions at the Wine & Food Experience, which showcases “the best food, wine, beer and spirits from local & national chefs and mixologists” at Los Angeles Center Studios for age 21+.

Holiday boat parade

December 1, 2018 (6 to 8 p.m.)
San Pedro (23 miles south)
See elaborately decorated boats cruising the Main Channel of Los Angeles Harbor during the Holiday Parade of Boats. Pre-parade activities begin at 4 p.m. at Banning’s Landing Community Center. Free.

Holiday market

December 1 - 2, 2018
Downtown (1 mile east)
Shop from 400 curated designers and artists at the Unique L.A. Holiday Market, which also has DJ music, free drinks and snacks, do-it-yourself projects, and a kids’ play area at California Market Center.


December 1 - 2, 2018
Downtown (1.7 miles NE)
Watch Miami City Ballet perform The Nutcracker by George Balanchine at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Holidays at the mansion

December 1 - 2, 2018
Beverly Hills (11.5 miles NW)
Joy to the Holidays has “holiday décor, festive designs by well-known interior designers, last-minute holiday shopping, food samplings, entertainment, and a self-guided tour of the first floor” of Greystone Mansion.

Tea festival

December 1 - 2, 2018
Pasadena (11.8 miles NE)
Named for its founder, the Devan Shah Tea Festival brings together authors, industry experts, buyers, retailers, artists, educators, and tea lovers at Rose Bowl Stadium. Optional classes.

Arts & crafts show

December 1 - 2, 2018
Pomona (31.3 miles east)
Shop for handmade items from 300 vendors at the Harvest Festival, which offers entertainment, food booths, and a children’s activity center at the Fairplex.

Arts & crafts on a Corona farm

December 1 - 2, 2018
Norco (52.5 miles SE)
Holiday Craft Fair features 100% handmade arts, crafts, and foods at Hillside Farm.

Tamale festival

December 1 - 2, 2018
Indio (131 miles east)
How far would you drive for delicious tamales? The Indio International Tamale Festival tempts you with 200 vendors, five stages of entertainment, beer and wine gardens, a tamale eating contest, a carnival, a Saturday car show, and a Saturday parade in downtown Indio. Free.

Christmas tree lighting

December 1 - 8, 2018
multiple locations
Watch a free tree-lighting ceremony with music.
  • Dec. 4 - Pasadena (City Hall)
  • Dec. 6 - Brea (Civic and Cultural Center)
  • Dec. 6 - Culver City (Culver Blvd. & Van Buren Pl.)
  • Dec. 8 - Anaheim (Center Street Promenade)

Holiday home tour

December 1 - 9, 2018
multiple locations
See inside beautiful homes decorated for the holidays.

Auto show

December 1 - 9, 2018
Downtown (0.2 miles south)
Check out the latest new vehicles, test drive nearly 100 models, and see exotic cars on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show at Los Angeles Convention Center.

Hanukkah festival

December 2, 2018 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Bel Air (17.8 miles NW)
Hanukkah Family Festival offers “light for the people” with lively music, a sing along, storytelling, and art activities at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Contemporary Nutcracker

December 6 - 9, 2018
Redondo Beach (17.8 miles SW)
The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker features Kara and a nutcracker prince who takes her to distant lands, with a contemporary score and primarily African-American dancers at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

Holidays in San Diego

December 7 - 8, 2018
San Diego (120 miles south)
Thinking of a getaway? Balboa Park December Nights has entertainment, holiday lights, food, and free museums that make it a huge annual event. Free.

Hispanic Christmas celebration

December 7 - 9, 2018
Exposition Park (3.4 miles south)
El Fieston Navideño has a parade (Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.), music, singers, folk dancers, Santa Claus, the Wise Men, a beer garden, and ethnic foods from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico at Exposition Park. Free.

Boat parade & fireworks

December 8, 2018
Marina del Rey (15 miles SW)
Kids play in the snow at Snow Wonder in Burton Chace Park (noon to 6 p.m.), fireworks go off on the jetty (5:55 to 6 p.m.), and the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade circles the main channel (6 to 8 p.m.). Free.

Pub crawl

December 8, 2018
Santa Monica (15 miles west)
Join 6,000 people in festive attire on the “Santa” Monica Pub Crawl, which features food and drink specials at 30 bars on four different routes.

Nutcracker for kids

December 8, 2018
Costa Mesa (41.8 miles SE)
Pacific Symphony performs a 45-minute version of The Nutcracker designed for children ages 5 to 11, and then it finishes with a grand finale holiday sing-along and a visit from Santa at Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Winter Holiday Festival

December 8 - 9, 2018 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Downtown (1.2 miles NE)
The L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks hosts the Winter Holiday Festival with 60 tons of snow for sledding, merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, DJ , food vendors, craft making, and photos with Santa at Pershing Square. Ice skating is not free.

Craft market

December 8 - 9, 2018
Chinatown (3.1 miles NE)
Renegade Craft Fair has independent craft makers and artisan food at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Free.

Art fair

December 8 - 9, 2018
Silver Lake (5 miles north)
Shop from 100 craftspeople for jewelry, clothing, ceramics, weavings, flowers, and fresh juice at friendly Echo Park Craft Fair at Mack Sennett Studios. Held in May and December.

Fireworks at the beach

December 9, 2018
Manhattan Beach (19.4 miles SW)
A snow park with a sledding hill opens at 4 p.m., a jazz band plays at 5 p.m., and the Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks go off at 7 p.m. Free.

Holiday movies outdoors

December 14 - 23, 2018 (6 & 8 p.m.)
Cypress Park (5.2 miles NE)
Arrive early at Yuletide Cinemaland for Christmas carolers, food, beverages, and films at Heritage Square, with parking at 3545 Pasadena Avenue. Low-back chairs are provided.

Ticket deal 2 for $32

Nutcracker ballet

December 14 - 24, 2018
Irvine (45.3 miles SE)
The Nutcracker by Festival Ballet Theatre features colorful scenery, magnificent costumes, and sensational dancing at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Christmas play

December 14 - 30, 2018
multiple locations
A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ holiday classic about the amazing transformation of miserly Scrooge.

Dr. Seuss at Universal Studios

December 14 - 30, 2018
Hollywood (10.2 miles NW)
Fans of Dr. Seuss books will enjoy Grinchmas. The characters of Who-ville sing carols around the Christmas tree and put on a theater show, while Cindy Lou Who tells stories. Meet Max the Dog and get your photo taken with the Grinch at Universal Studios. See schedule.

Christmas at Knott’s Berry Farm

December 14, 2018 - Jan. 6, 2019
Buena Park (24.6 miles SE)
Knott’s Berry Farm is adorned with Christmas decorations for Knott’s Merry Farm. It has an ice skating show starring Snoopy, a Charlie Brown Christmas show with classic songs, real falling snow, holiday treats to eat, a Christmas market, Santa Claus, and plenty of rides. Closed Dec. 25.

Ticket deal $42

Christmas on the Queen Mary

December 14, 2018 - Jan. 6, 2019
Long Beach (26.2 miles south)
Queen Mary Christmas has “thousands of twinkling lights, carolers and musical performances, an outdoor skating rink, and Santa” onboard the Queen Mary.

Ticket deal weekdays $13 to $26

Christmas carols

December 15, 2018 (2 p.m.)
Downtown (1.5 miles NE)
Hear your favorite carols and songs sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Festival of Carols, which combines traditional favorites with new arrangements every year at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Christmas musical

December 15, 2018 (8 p.m.)
La Mirada (22 miles SE)
The Magic of Christmas features a cast of 250 in “musical numbers range from hip-hopping penguins, dancing Santas, and The Nutcracker Suite, to Toyland, The Polar Express, and Christmas choral music” at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Ticket deal $19

Puppet show for grown ups

December 15 - 16, 2018
North Hollywood (13.6 miles NW)
Humans and puppets live on Avenue Q in a shabby neighborhood, entertaining mature audiences with subversive songs and funny antics at Cupcake Theater.

Ticket deal $36 to $49

Nutcracker ballet - Inland Empire

December 15 - 23, 2018
multiple locations
The Nutcracker by Inland Pacific Ballet tells the traditional story of Clara’s journey to a land of snow and a kingdom of sweets with the addition of a dancing 40-foot Chinese dragon in Claremont, Rancho Cucamonga, and Riverside.

Holiday movies on the roof

December 15 - 23, 2018
Hollywood (8.4 miles NW)
Watch holiday movies under the stars on the rooftop of The Montalbán, with beer, wine, and food for sale.

Ticket deal $10

  • Dec. 15 - Bad Santa
  • Dec. 16 - The Holiday
  • Dec. 21 - White Christmas
  • Dec. 22 - Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Dec. 23 - Love Actually

Nutcracker ballet - Long Beach

December 15 - 16 & 21 - 23, 2018
Long Beach (24 miles south)
Long Beach Ballet gets rave reviews for its annual production of The Nutcracker, which includes a flying sleigh, a live horse, pyrotechnics, and a full symphony orchestra at the Terrace Theater.

Ticket deal $28 to $55

Nutcracker ballet

December 15 - 24, 2018
multiple locations
The Nutcracker by The Los Angeles Ballet is a holiday classic with outstanding choreography and dance.
  • Dec. 8 to 9 - Dolby Theatre, Hollywood
  • Dec. 15 to 16 - Redondo Beach PAC
  • Dec. 22 to 24 - Royce Hall, UCLA

Pirate Christmas

December 15 - 25, 2018
Buena Park (24 miles SE)
Santa saves Christmas from wicked pirates at Pirates Take Christmas, which includes audience participation and a four-course feast at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure.

Ticket deal $23 to $36

Christmas at Magic Mountain

December 15 - 30, 2018
Santa Clarita (35.9 miles north)
See holiday lights and decorations, falling snow, and Christmas characters during Holiday in the Park [sound], with lots of entertainment, holiday foods, and select rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Not available Dec. 3-7 & 10-14.


December 16 - 17, 2018
Downtown (1.5 miles NE)
Los Angeles Master Chorale sings Handel’s magnificent Messiah accompanied by a chamber orchestra and four soloists in Walt Disney Concert Hall. The audience is allowed to sing along on Monday.

Nativity procession

December 16 - 24, 2018 (6:30 to 9 p.m.)
Downtown (2.8 miles NE)
Watch a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem at Las Posadas, a Spanish tradition with a colorful candlelit procession, songs, dancing, and the breaking of piñatas at Olvera Street. Free.

Lights at the zoo

December 16, 2018 - Jan. 6, 2019
Griffith Park (10 miles north)
See dazzling colored lights, meet real reindeer, hear live music on the weekend, and visit Santa some nights at L.A. Zoo Lights at the Los Angeles Zoo. Closed Nov. 22 and Dec. 24 to 25.

Ticket deal $12 to $18

Lantern art

December 16, 2018 - Jan. 6, 2019
Arcadia (17.5 miles NE)
Take a one-mile walk through a wonderland of “exotic animals, shimmering flowers, whimsical pandas, soaring dragons...” at the Moonlight Forest with food for sale at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays. No pets or bikes.

Ticket deal $14 to $24

Lights in the garden

December 17, 2018 - Jan. 6, 2019
La Cañada Flintridge (14.3 miles north)
Buy tickets in advance for Enchanted: Forest of Light, a one-mile walk through lighting displays, including some that are interactive, at Descanso Gardens. Food is for sale. Closed Dec. 24 & 25.

Ticket deal $18 to $26

Radio play: It’s a Wonderful Life

December 18 - 23, 2018
Pasadena (11.9 miles NE)
It’s a Wonderful Life recreates a live radio play based on the popular movie about a man seeking purpose in life at Pasadena Playhouse.

Ticket deal $22 to $29

Holiday boat parade

December 19 - 23, 2018
Newport Beach (48 miles SE)
Watch beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes sail in Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade at Newport Harbor. Fireworks some nights. Free.

Nutcracker ballet

December 20 - 23, 2018
Costa Mesa (41.8 miles SE)
American Ballet Theatre performs The Nutcracker with 100 performers on stage, dazzling sets, amazing costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s timeless score at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Ticket deal $35 to $109

Winter festival

December 20, 2018 - Jan. 6, 2019
Costa Mesa (42.2 miles SE)
A Winter Fest ticket includes ice tubing, craft making, real snow, walk-through lights, a petting zoo, live shows, and a nightly tree lighting with fireworks at the OC Fair & Event Center. Pay extra for ice skating, carnival rides, arcade games, and food trucks.

Ticket deal $10 to $30

Symphony sing along

December 22, 2018 (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
Downtown (1.5 miles NE)
Sing popular songs of the season accompanied by a huge pipe organ, a choir, and a jazz combo at Holiday Sing Along in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Free hot chocolate, coffee, and photos with Santa pre-concert.

Touching Christmas musical

December 22, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
Santa Monica (14.2 miles west)
All is Calm tells the extraordinary story of Christmas 1914, when a German soldier who left his trench singing “Silent Night” stopped World War I, allowing soldiers from both sides to share a night of camaraderie, music, and peace, at The Broad Stage.

Ticket deal $25 to $50

Brunch cruise

December 22 - 30, 2018
Marina del Rey (16.8 miles west)
The Champagne Brunch Cruise includes a brunch buffet, champagne and other beverages, live music, and two hours of harbor views, departing from Hornblower Cruises and Events.

Ticket deal $70

Holiday celebration

December 24, 2018
Downtown (1.7 miles north)
Bands, choirs, and dance companies from throughout Los Angeles participate in the L.A. County Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center. People line up early for the free seats.

Jewish party

December 24, 2018 (10 p.m.)
Hollywood (7.8 miles NW)
Originally a party where Jewish singles ages 21 to 49 met and mingled, now everyone is welcome to attend Matzoball Los Angeles at The Argyle for age 21+.

Ticket deal $15

Marching bands

December 29 - 30, 2018
Pasadena (12.7 miles NE)
See outstanding bands that were chosen to participate in the upcoming Rose Parade at Bandfest in Robinson Stadium at Pasadena City College.

Austrian music & dance

December 30, 2018 (2:30 p.m.)
Downtown (1.5 miles NE)
Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert brings the waltzes of Strauss to life with costumed dancers, singers, and an orchestra in Walt Disney Concert Hall.

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2018
multiple locations
OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve jazz

December 31, 2018 (7 and 10:30 p.m.)
Downtown (1.5 miles NE)
Greet the new year listening to an eclectic small orchestra at New Year’s Eve with Pink Martini in Walt Disney Concert Hall.

New Year’s Eve downtown

December 31, 2018
Downtown (1.8 miles NE)
N.Y.E. L.A. Countdown to 2019 has two stages of live music, food trucks, and a countdown to midnight at Grand Park and the Music Center. Tight security. Free.

New Year’s Eve - Roaring ‘20s party

December 31, 2018
Downtown (2.5 miles NE)
Experience the excitement and glamour of the Roaring Twenties at Prohibition NYE, with theatrical burlesque, live jazz ensembles, famous DJs, an open bar featuring champagne and specialty cocktails, and a midnight ball drop in the concourse at Union Station.

New Year’s Eve at the Egyptian

December 31, 2018 (9 p.m.)
Hollywood (8.7 miles NW)
Cleopatra’s New Year’s Eve Ball has multiple dance floors, DJs playing dance music, a light show, and a heated outside courtyard at the Egyptian Theatre.

Ticket deal $49

New Year’s for kids

December 31, 2018
Pasadena (13 miles NE)
Celebrate the new year early with a balloon drop, live DJs, party hats, noisemakers, a countdown to the stroke of noon, and a balloon drop during Noon Year’s Eve at Kidspace Children’s Museum.

New Year’s Eve - variety show

December 31, 2018
Santa Monica (14.4 miles west)
New Year’s Eve Musical Review includes song, dance, comedy, dinner, champagne or cider, and party favors for all ages at Santa Monica Playhouse.

New Year’s Eve with knights

December 31, 2018
Buena Park (23.5 miles SE)
Ring in the New Year with the lords and ladies of Medieval Times. Ticket includes admission to the Museum of Torture, a two-hour live tournament, a four-course meal, party favors, DJ dancing, and champagne at midnight (or kids’ beverage).

New Year’s Eve at the aquarium

December 31, 2018 (8 p.m.)
Long Beach (24.1 miles south)
Dance to DJ music, see aquarium exhibits, buy food, and visit the cash bar during New Year’s Eve Night Dive at the Aquarium of the Pacific for age 18+.

Family New Year’s at Knott’s

December 31, 2018
Buena Park (25 miles SE)
New Year’s Eve Celebration at Knott’s includes rides, live music, dancing, comedy, party hats, noisemakers, and fireworks at midnight at Knott’s Berry Farm.

New Year’s Eve for families

December 31, 2018
Fullerton (27.1 miles SE)
First Night Fullerton has live music, food vendors, activities, and midnight fireworks. It’s alcohol-free but there are bars in the neighborhood, at N. Harbor Boulevard & W. Wilshire Avenue. Free.

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