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Home / Life! / Fun things to do in SoCal: Dec. 10-19

Fun things to do in SoCal: Dec. 10-19

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With temperatures averaging in the 60s, it doesn’t really feel like winter but several events this week are trying to remedy that by bringing snow to the Southland. But if you don’t care for snow then perhaps monsters and anime are more your style. Whatever your proclivity, you’ll find something fun to do this week in the list below.

Parks After Dark

33 LA County Parks | Dec. 10-11, 17-18 | parks.lacounty.gov

Parks After Dark returns to transform your local park into a snowy play area with 40 tons of snow, crafts, filled holiday stocking for every child (while supplies last), hot cocoa, food giveaways and a visit from Santa. 

Let It Snow in West Co

West Covina Civic Center | 1444 W. Garvey Ave. South, West Covina, CA 91790 | Dec. 10 | westcovina.org

The City of West Covina is holding its first tree lighting and holiday celebration starting at 6 p.m.


The Soraya | 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330 | Dec. 10-11 | thesoraya.org

Nothing says “Happy Holidays, LA-style!” like Nochebuena with the sound of mariachi and the swirling of folklorico dancers as Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles takes centerstage on a bill with Los Angeles’ own Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar and special guest vocalist Lupita Infante.

The Travel Photo Essay: Describing a Journey Through Images

Samys Camera Photo School Pasadena | 1759 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106 | Dec. 11, 13 | eventbrite.com

This is a three-part workshop including a live online lecture, a hands-on photo shoot and a live online photo review session. From establishing shots to environmental portraits, award-winning photographer Mark Edward Harris discusses and demonstrates the techniques and concepts necessary to create a professional looking photo essay, a series of images that tell a cohesive story during the lecture portion of this workshop.

Anime Pasadena 2021 Anime & Nerd Convention

Pasadena Convention Center | 300 East Green St., Pasadena, CA 91101 | Dec. 11 | animepasadena.com

Now a two-day event in a much larger space, this will be the 3rd annual Anime Pasadena at the Pasadena Convention Center. Kids 12 and under are free. Two free kid passes per adult ticket purchase, and the adult must be present at check in with the child attendees.

Nutcracker al Fresco

Pasadena Civic Ballet | 253 N. Vinedo Ave., Pasadena, CA 91107 | Dec. 11-12 | pcballet.com

LA’s only outdoor Nutcracker experience, this one-hour performance promises to be packed with magic. Journey with Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and friends to the Kingdom of Sweets in an open-air gazebo stage. Each ticket includes a Sugar Plum Fairy picnic tea box.

Azusa Festival of Lights & Holiday Concert

Azusa City Hall Lawn | 213 E. Foothill Blvd., Azusa, CA 91702 | Dec. 11 | ci.azusa.ca.us

Enjoy a holiday concert from Cold Duck, watch the tree lighting and exchange your old holiday lights for new energy efficient LED lights with proof of Azusa residency. 

LA Jewish Symphony: Violins of Hope

The Soraya | 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330 | Dec. 12 | thesoraya.org

The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, conducted by Dr. Noreen Green, was scheduled to perform the “Violins of Hope” — a collection of rescued and restored musical instruments from the Holocaust — in March 2020 while the instruments were supposed to be in residence at The Soraya, but the pandemic disrupted those plans. Now, the violins return to The Soraya. The program will feature violinist Lindsay Deutsch and cellist Barry Gold performing John Williams: “Schindler’s List Suite”; Max Bruch: “Kol Nidre”; Ernest Bloch: “Baal Shem: Three Pictures of Hassidic Life”; and Sid Robinovitch: “Suite for Klezmer Band and Orchestra.”

Holiday In The Park

Beardslee Park | 2101 Buena Vista St., Duarte, CA 91010 | Dec. 12 | accessduarte.com

The Duarte Parks & Recreation Department is transforming Beardsleee Park into a snow play area with a reindeer petting zoo, Christmas tree lane, holiday boutiques, Santa’s Toy Workshop, holiday entertainment, and food trucks from 4-8 p.m. The event is free but additional fees may apply at some attractions and concessions.

Salsa Navidad

Segerstrom Center for the Arts | 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 | Dec. 12 | scfta.org

Spanish Harlem Orchestra, the three-time Grammy Award-winning Salsa and Latin Jazz band, returns to celebrate the winter holidays with music that will make you want to stand up and dance.

Jolly Irish Christmas Extravaganza

Ambassador Auditorium | 131 South Saint John Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105  | Dec. 12 | eventbrite.com

Head over to the Ambassador Auditorium to experience Rend Collective perform their Christmas show, Jolly Irish Christmas Extravaganza. Rend Collective is a Northern Irish Christian folk rock worship band originating from Bangor, Northern Ireland. The current lineup consists of Gareth Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn, Ali Gilkeson, Patrick Thompson and Steve Mitchell.

Melanin Monday’s

The Hollywood Comedy | 5871 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038 | Dec. 13 | eventbrite.com

Spend the night laughing with the top up-and-coming Black comedians like Malik B, Asia Chardonay, Herman Wrice, Jil Chrisse, Bileko Wissa and MJ Bragg.

Super Secret Holiday Party

The Silverlake Lounge | 2906 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026 | Dec. 14 | dice.fm

There will be a DJ for dancing, a comic for laughing, and a musical artist for singing. And the tickets are free.

Saute Culinary Academy’s Holiday Tamales Class

Saute Culinary Academy | 150 E. Colorado Blvd., Monrovia, CA 91016 | Dec. 15 | eventbrite.com

Have you always wanted to learn how to make tamales? Now is your chance to learn.The class focuses on the traditional preparation of authentic tamales. The tamales are prepared in the handmade and traditional fashion using cultural ingredients. Come learn how to make tamales in class so that you can duplicate them for your holiday parties.

Arcadia Stage WinterFest

Arcadia High School Performing Arts Center | 188 Campus Dr., Arcadia, CA 91007 | Dec. 16 | eventbrite.com

Enjoy an evening of in-person holiday themed one-act plays performed by Arcadia Stage’s beginning theatre cast members to put you in the holiday spirit. The show is directed by Evan Tamayo and Steven Volpe in the Performing Arts Center’s BlackBox Theatre.

‘Love Actually’ In Concert

Microsoft Theater | 777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles, CA 90015 | Dec. 17 | microsofttheater.com

A full orchestra will replay the score of this holiday classic film.

Season’s Screamings

Pasadena Convention Center | 300 E. Green St., Pasadena, CA 91101 | Dec. 17-19 | midsummerscream.org

Find scores of spooky stocking stuffers, wandering evil elves and other monsters taking a break from winter hibernation, and so many other not-so-nice surprises at this holiday horror convention.

Long Beach Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ 

Terrace Theater | 300 E Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802 | Dec. 17-19 | longbeachnutcracker.com

Long Beach Ballet’s Artistic Director David Wilcox has pulled out all the stops for this 39th production of “The Nutcracker” bursting with special guest performances and additional surprise treats for the entire family. This production boasts a full symphony orchestra, a flying sleigh, a real live horse, on-stage pyrotechnics, and a cast of over 200. Former Disney designers Elliot Hessayon and Scott Schaffer created the enchanting scenery, Australian artist Adrian Clark designed the detailed costumes, and renowned magician Franz Harary created the special effects. Ticket prices range from $34.00 – $78.00 with a special VIP Package also available. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

Pasadena Symphony and Pops Present: Holiday Candlelight

All Saints Church | 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 | Dec. 18 | pasadenasymphony-pops.org

Acclaimed singer Allie Feder (“Pitch Perfect 2”) joins an array of choruses and handbells in this festive concert featuring your favorite holiday songs with “Silent Night,” “Let it Snow,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Hallelujah!” and more, all performed by candlelight – an aural respite that is sure to summon the spirit of the season.

Stevie Wonder House Full of Toys Benefit Concert

Microsoft Theater | 777 Chick Hearn Court, Los Angeles, CA 90015 | Dec. 18 | microsofttheater.com

Stevie Wonder hits the stage at Microsoft Theater for one night only in the House Full of Toys benefit concert.

Naples Island 75th Annual Boat Parade

Naples Island, Long Beach | Dec. 18 | naplesca.com

This nautical Christmas parade will feature boats of all sizes decked out in their holiday best. The parade begins at 6 p.m. but show up early as streets will begin to close at 5 p.m.

Street Food & Yuletide Cinemaland Present: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Heritage Square Museum | 3545 Pasadena Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90031 | Dec. 19 | feverup.com

Get into the holiday spirit at this picturesque neighborhood of Victorian-era homes decorated for the season. The festivities include two outdoor screenings of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” carolers, piano sing-alongs, food trucks, hot chocolate, mulled wine and an Instagram-worthy light tunnel.

Head Over Heels

Pasadena Playhouse | 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 | Through  Dec. 12 | pasadenaplayhouse.org

“Head Over Heels,” fueled by music from The Go-Go’s, is finally premiering at the Pasadena Playhouse. The show follows a royal family searching for purpose, lovers in search of each other and a “kingdom in search of a beat.” The Playhouse is also transforming to create an experimental production allowing audience members to get in on the dancing as actors perform all over the theater.

Snowglobe LA

The Frankie | 300 S. Mission Road, Los Angeles, CA 90033 | Through Dec. 31 | truvariety-entertainment.ticketleap.com/snow-globe-la 

Snowglobe LA combines an immersive art experience, gourmet farm-to-table meals, roving entertainment, performances and a bar for the ultimate night out. 

Dodgers Holiday Festival

Dodger Stadium | 1000 Vin Scully Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012 | Through Dec. 31 | mlb.com/dodgers

Open nightly from 5-10 p.m. weekdays and from 3-10 p.m. weekends, the Dodgers’ Holiday Festival features professional photos with Santa, an illuminated ice skating rink across the outfield, other photo opportunities, light displays, live musical performances, bounce houses, and seasonally-inspired foods, including grilled entrees, desserts, cocktails, craft beers, wines, and hot chocolate.


South Coast Botanic Garden | 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274 | Through Jan. 17 | southcoastbotanicgarden.org 

The Garden Lights & Ocean Waters (GLOW) exhibit has been reimagined. Event organizers say visitors can expect a “better and brighter experience.” Grab a bite to eat, maybe a drink, and walk through thousands of lights as music plays throughout. This year’s exhibit also features interactive experiences and themed nights. 

Enchanted Forest Of Light

Descanso Gardens | 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011 | Through Jan. 9 | descansogardens.org 

Live your fairytale dreams and enter the Enchanted Forest of Light, a one-mile walk featuring interactive light displays. New this year, Descanso Gardens has added an entire town of stained glass creations from sculptor Tom Fruin. 

The Elf On The Shelf Magical Holiday Journey

Fairplex | 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768 | Through Jan. 2 | elfontheshelfjourney.com

Returning for the second year in a row, The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey is an outdoor experience featuring dazzling scenery, lights, ice skating, trolleys, walking paths, treats and a Christmas village.

Reindeer Road

Santa Anita Park | 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA 91007 | Through Jan. 2 | worldofillumination.com

Santa will have no problem finding this light display that puts even Rudolph’s nose to shame.  From World of Illumination, producer of the world’s largest drive-thru animated light show, this display brings families face to face with elves, reindeer, the world’s largest animated toyshop and Santa himself.

The Obama Portraits Tour & Black American Portraits

LACMA | 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 | Through Jan. 2 | lacma.org

 Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama have become iconic since being unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2018. As part of the five-city tour of the portraits, LACMA will present Black American Portraits in conjunction at an adjacent gallery. The tour will feature teacher workshops, tours and an illustrated book.

Winter Frolic

Kidspace | 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103 | Through Jan. 9 | kidspacemuseum.org

Winter has arrived in Pasadena as Kispace transforms into a space where children and families can share the magic of the season. Winter Frolic features a no-ice sock skating rink, “ice fishing” in the Kispace Arroy Stream, and snowflake decorating.


LA Arboretum | 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007 | Through Jan. 16 | arboretum.org

Following a sold-out run in London, Lightscape will transform the LA Arboretum with a one-mile illuminated trail featuring thousands of lights in various attractions like the Cathedral of Light, the Star Tunnel and the Fire Garden.

Santa’s Speedway Christmas Light Drive-Thru

Irwindale Speedway | 500 Speedway Dr, Irwindale, CA 91706 | Through Jan. 2 | santasspeedway.com

This year, Santa is bringing five new displays, twice as many lights, three full light tunnels and his signature 110-foot Christmas tree to a whole new course at the Speedway.

Ahmanson’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

Ahmanson Theatre | 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012 | Through Jan. 1 | centertheatregroup.org

Tony Award-winners Jack Thorne and Matthew Warchus offer a new interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale starring three-time Emmy-winner Bradley Whitford as Ebenezer Scrooge; Tony and Emmy Award-nominee Kate Burton as Ghost of Christmas Past; and Grammy, SAG Award, Critics Choice, and Hollywood Critics Association Award-nominee Alex Newell as Ghost of Christmas Present/Mrs. Fezziwig.

ANW’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

A Noise Within | 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107 | Through Dec. 23 | anoisewithin.org

This merry holiday classic returns with all new music to enchant and inspire viewers with the story of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and Scrooge.

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