Our Favorite Holiday Activities 2016

The Enchanted Forest at Descanso Gardens. Photo by Dan Clark. Used with permission.

The Enchanted Forest at Descanso Gardens. Photo by Dan Clark. Used with permission.

The sun may shine upon Los Angeles throughout the entire month of December, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have holiday fun just like everyone else. Heck, we even make our own snow! There are a million events in the city, but here is a selection of our favorites.



When the sun goes down in Descanso Gardens, the park becomes a magical world of light. Stroll along the one-mile walk and enjoy lighting displays like the whimsical toadstools that change color as you hop on them. The trail is accessible for strollers, wheelchairs and mobility assistance devices. Enchanted: Forest of Light runs daily from 5 to 10 p.m. through Sunday, January 8, 2017. Maple, the exciting new pop-up at Descanso Gardens, will offer a dinner menu exclusively for Enchanted ticket holders. To make a reservation, call (818) 864-6435. Tickets are timed and must be purchased in advance. Tickets are $28 (general); $24 (seniors 65 and older and children 3 to 17); children 2 and younger enter free.


Several years after the closing of Griffith Park’s Festival of Lights, the L.A. Zoo grabbed the reigns to continue the tradition with Zoo Lights At Night…From now until January 8th, the Zoo is emblazoned with phantasmagorical displays of optic sculptures, trippy looking animal animations, and a water and light show akin to Disney’s World Of Color…The park practically comes alive with electric radiance from the get go, with swarms of large globes in the bushes and a tree filled with about thirty disco balls. There [is] plenty of holiday cheer, but almost as many of the displays [are] just artistic and fantasy-like in nature, with no purpose in mind other than to dazzle the eye and cheer the soul. Your best bet is to buy your tickets online ($14.00) for the time you want, and bypass the ticket line. (Dukey Flyswatter)

On Thursday, December 8 and Thursday, December 15, 2016, beginning at 6 pm., the zoo will host Holiday Happy Hours for visitors who are 21-and-over. Guests will enjoy a private lounge from 6:30 to 8:30 pm including complimentary hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and hot and cold specialty cocktails. Dressing in themed costumes is encouraged. Dec. 8 is “Ugly Sweater Night” and Dec 15 is “60s Cocktail Night.” at L.A. Zoo Lights, which captivates guests with a self-guided 60- to 90-minute walking tour through select areas of the Zoo.

And make sure to take the kids to REINDEER ROMP, open daily from 10am – 4pm with special activities and real, live reindeer!


The only things we really miss out on without snow are sledding and skating on an outdoor rink. We may not have worked out the sledding yet, but there are plenty of places in LA for you to plan a romantic ice skating date or start a holiday tradition for the kids. Microsoft Plaza AT L.A. LIVE in Downtown LA features a gigantic ice rink surrounding their Christmas tree. The rink will be open through January 7th. Check the website as hours vary. Adult tickets are $18. Parking is easy and accessible but costs around $35, so look for a nearby lot with prices as low as $5.

Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills

Over the top decorations can do wonders for a weary heart. A little bit of kitsch can bring a smile, laughter and joy to even those with a Scrooge-like disposition. The folks in the neighborhood around Oxnard and Lubau Streets have been going all out since 1952. The cool decorations often have moving parts and are fabulously lit and eclectic. Candy Cane Lane isn’t just one street, but many streets in this Woodland Hills neighborhood all radiating out from the above intersection. Although driving keeps you toasty in your car, traffic is often very slow moving and it is often more fun to walk. (Nikki Kreuzer)

Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena

Although this mile-long stretch of Santa Rosa Avenue is not bigger-than-life in the way that Woodland Hills festoons their streets, this picturesque drive will warm your heart just the same. Christmas Tree Lane comes with a long history and is actually the oldest large-scale yearly Christmas display in the whole United States. Beginning in 1920, this roadway, full of 134 pine trees, has been decorated with over 10,000 lights. It is quietly romantic and beautiful. It is more subtle than you might expect, but this makes the magic a little more substantial. Knowing its history makes the drive even more special. (Nikki Kreuzer)



If you want a taste of a Celtic Christmas, try checking out “Danú, An Irish Christmas Gathering: Féile Na Nollag” next Sunday, December 11, at the Valley Performing Arts Center. The traditional ensemble Danú formed in 1995 to represent Ireland in the annual Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival in Brittany, France. Performing on the fiddle, flute, button accordion, tin whistle and bouzouki, the lively, virtuosic group has played The Hollywood Bowl and NYC’s Symphony Space on previous tours, and has won awards from the BBC and Irish Music Magazine. They have released eight albums, the latest of which is Buan, available on their website. Tickets are $28-$75. (Simone Snaith)


Welsh singer Judith Owen seems to be one of those people who can’t help overdoing it a little over the holidays. The annual Christmas party she throws with husband Harry Shearer has turned from a handful of friends gathered around the piano in a living room, into a traveling show with a celebrity cast, and the list of invited guests gets more staggering by the year. Saturday, December 17th, their show at The Largo will feature regulars Rebecca Corry, Amy Engelhardt, Julia Fordham, John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Doña Oxford, Schoolcraft & Murray and Fred Willard. And be sure to stick around for part two of the show, which involves singing Christmas carols en masse with the entire cast. This year the fundraiser will benefit “My Friend’s Place.” Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm. $50.00 – $75.00. Seats assigned on a first-come first-serve basis, so come early. TICKETS (Bob Lee)


Do you enjoy being chased around by giant hairy monsters who whip and spank you? Did you once have a crush on any of the characters in Where the Wild Things Are? If so, you are in luck. Krampus Los Angeles is hosting another series of exciting events this year. While Americans are perfectly content to let bad little boys and girls face a lump of coal in their stockings, other countries are not letting those little brats off so easy. Central European Alpine counties have a myth that St. Nicholas is accompanied by a monstrous beast known as the Krampus. In a good cop/bad cop scenario, St. Nicholas rewards the good little children while Krampus snatches up the bad kids and carries them off to his lair. Costumed in animal pelts and horns, villagers playfully chase children around with switches. All of the action happens on the traditional feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6th or its eve.

Thursday, December 8th from 8pm until 9pm Krampus LA will host a Krampus Run on Winston Street between Main and Los Angeles. Krampuslauf (“Krampus run”) with St. Nicholas, steam-car, Krampus LA troupe, and surprise guests. An after party at the Regent Theater next door will feature Rosemary’s Billygoat and Sapphic Musk. Parade is FREE.
After Party is FREE with advance RSVP here. $10 without. Family-friendly.



Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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