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Home / Events / Fun things to do this week: Dec. 23-29

Fun things to do this week: Dec. 23-29

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Southern California may not look like your typical winter wonderland but that doesn’t mean we are low on holiday spirit and fun. With outdoor light exhibits, new plays, different cultural celebrations, outdoor film screenings and theme parks decked out in decorations, you’ll have no problem entertaining friends and family you may be hosting for the season.

Dec. 23

Fiesta Navidad With Mariachi Los Camperos

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall | 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 | Dec. 23 | scfta.org

Fiesta Navidad, features the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos in a concert filled with festive music and dance. 

LA Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Dolby Theatre | 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028 | Dec. 23-26 | losangelesballet.org

The holiday classic gets a twist in this production set in 1912 Los Angeles. Journey with young Clara and her beloved Nutcracker as they battle a most memorable Mouse King, encounter dancing Snowflakes and travel to the Palace of the Dolls, all while finding scenes of Southern California throughout the two acts.

Kate Inoe and Santiago Paniaqua in the Los Angeles Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” | Photo by Reed Hutchinson for Los Angeles Ballet

Arturo Sandoval Swinging Holiday

Walt Disney Concert Hall | 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles 90012 | Dec.  23 | laphil.com

Ten-time Grammy-winning musician Arturo Sandoval and his big band will get you jumping and jiving during this performance of holiday favorites with a Latin jazz twist. 

Johnny Mathis Chrismas Concert

Segerstrom Hall | 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 | Dec. 23 | scfta.org

Legendary singer Johnny Mathis’ sublime vocal approach to music eclipses passing fads and trends. Mathis has recorded close to 80 albums, including six Christmas albums that have made him the “Voice of Christmas.”

Teddy Bear Tea

The Langham | 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106 | Dec. 23-24 | langhamhotels.com

This special Teddy Bear Tea for kids and adults alike features a seasonal afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones, sweet treats and a visit from Santa. Each child will be given a teddy bear to take home. 

The Long Beach Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Terrace Theater at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center | 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802 | Dec. 23 | longbeachnutcracker.com 

This production boasts a full symphony orchestra, a flying sleigh, a real live horse, on-stage pyrotechnics, and a cast of over 250.  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.

The Long Beach Nutcracker. | Photo by Katie Ging, courtesy of Long Beach Ballet

Yuletide Cinemaland: ‘Elf’

Heritage Square Museum | 3545 Pasadena Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90031 | Dec. 23 | streetfoodcinema.com 

A kind, if naive, elf travels to New York City to find his biological father, falls in love and saves Christmas with some loud singing. Don’t miss out on Victorian holiday home tours, bars with specialty drinks, snow dancing, live piano sing-alongs, vendors, food trucks, holiday lights and Santa.

Gabriel Iglesias

Ontario Improv | 4555 Mills Circle, Ontario, CA 91764 | Dec. 23 | improv.com

Comedian “Fluffy,” star and executive producer of Netflix’s “Mr. Iglesias,” brings his stand-up routine to Ontario. 

Dec. 24

LA County Holiday Celebration

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion | 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012 | Dec. 24 | musiccenter.org

The award-winning holiday spectacular will feature performances by two dozen music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from L.A.’s diverse neighborhoods and cultures. Admission is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Kayamanan Ng Lahi in the 59th Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Dec. 24, 2018. | Photo by Timothy Norris

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

The Million Dollar Theater | 307 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 | Dec. 24 | eventbrite.com

See Frank Capra’s holiday masterpiece starring Jimmy Steward in 35mm format. 

‘Fiddler On The Roof’ Sing-A-Long

Laemmle’s Claremont 5 | 450 W. 2nd St., Claremont, CA 91711 | Dec. 24 | eventbrite.com

Celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah with Temple Beth Israel’s Cantor Paul Buch at this sing-a-long screening of “Fiddler on the Roof.” There will be a candle lighting and songs before the movie at 6:45 p.m.

Judy Garland Christmas Special Starring Peter Mac As Judy Garland

Woman’s Club of Hollywood | 1749 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046 | Dec. 24 | eventbrite.com

Peter Mac steps into Judy Garland’s heels to pay tribute to her 1963 Christmas special. Mac was awarded a Golden Halo Award by Garland’s co-stars Mickey Rooney and Margaret O’Brien for his portrayal of Garland. 

Dec. 25

Christmas In Venice – Feed The Homeless

Rose Avenue in between Hampton Drive and Main Street | 219 E. Rose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90291 | Dec. 25 | eventbrite.com 

Volunteer to feed and hand out clothes and toiletries to unhoused neighbors in Venice Beach. If you would like to help but cannot attend, cash donations can be made to Lost Angels LA

Chanukah Celebration

Shul on the Beach | 505 Ocean Front Walk Venice Beach, CA 90291 | Dec. 25 | eventbrite.com

Celebrate Chanukah with a Menorah lighting on the Venice boardwalk, a gourmet Chinese dinner, l’chaims, latkes, donuts and live music.

The Christmas Concert

Third Wheel Hollywood | 5176 Santa Monica Blvd., #102, Los Angeles, CA 90029 | Dec. 25 | eventbrite.com 

Enjoy some free live music featuring Mr. Bang, Malik and Glenn Bolton, and a special guest. There will also be free snacks and drinks in the spirit of the holiday. 

Dec. 26

2022 Cal Poly Rose Float Decorating

Rosemont Pavilion | 700 Seco St., Pasadena, CA 91103 | Dec. 26 | eventbrite.com

Whether you’re a SoCal or visiting from out of town, decorating rose floats is a must-do at this time of year. Volunteer to create a stunning artistic structure that will cruise down Colorado Boulevard on Jan. 2. 

Cal Poly Pomona and San Luis Obispo’s “Road to Reclamation” float. | Rendering courtesy of Tournament of Roses

‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

Pantages Theatre | 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90028 | Dec. 26-Jan. 31 | broadwayinhollywood.com 

With lyrics and music from Tim Rice and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Jesus Christ Superstar” follows the last weeks in the life of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Judas. 

Cruise Of Lights

223 Marina Drive Long Beach, CA 90803 | Dec. 26 | eventbrite.com

Take a one-hour cruise to enjoy Christmas lights and music around Alamitos Bay. 

Dec. 27

‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Segerstrom Hall | 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 | Dec. 27-Jan. 8 | scfta.org

This is Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s literary masterpiece “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Calpurnia and Atticus in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” | Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Paint Nite

Frida Mexican Cuisine | 15301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 | Dec. 27 | eventbrite.com 

After a few days of celebration, it’s time to slow down and unleash that artistic side. An instructor will guide you step by step through the creation of your own masterpiece. 

Dec. 28

Classic Cinema Nights: ‘Love Actually’

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel | 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 | Dec. 28 | eventbrite.com

Hosted by film critic and wine maker José Ignacio Cuenca at Cinegrill Theater at The Hollywood Roosevelt, the evening will feature a wine tasting and film introduction by Cuenca and will be followed by the screening of “Love Actually.” 

Lola Boutée Presents TRiPTease Burlesque

TRIP Santa Monica | 2101 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405 l Dec. 28 l eventbrite.com

Lower your inhibitions and see what’s hot at LA’s longest running weekly burlesque and variety show. Every Wednesday features a fresh new lineup of talent hosted by the original dame herself, Lola Boutée.

Lola Bouteés’ TRIPtease dancer. | Photo by Jason Miller / Hey SoCal

Dec. 29

1970s Dance Party

The Grand Star Jazz Club | 943 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012 | Dec. 29 | eventbrite.com

Start your end-of-year celebrations a few days early at Club 96 TEARS with a ‘70s dance party featuring a light-up dance floor, disco, Motown and hits from all the way back to the ‘50s. If you’re celebrating a birthday you can contact event hosts for a treat. 

A Very Jewish Christmas

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre | 5919 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90028 | Dec. 29 | eventbrite.com

Upright Citizens Brigade’s best Jewish comedians perform two completely improvised shows. The first will center around Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant and the second will be inspired by the audience’s own holiday traditions. 

The Underground Jazz Sessions

The Continental Club | 116 W. Fourth St., Los Angeles, CA 90013 | Dec. 29 | eventbrite.com

Enjoy free live jazz in a candle-lit environment with craft cocktails and complimentary mini cupcakes. 

Ongoing

‘A Christmas Carol’

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

Acclaimed for its innovative staging, whimsical costumes, original music and boundless good cheer, the festive, musically merry stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol returns to A Noise Within this holiday season.

The ensemble cast of ‘Christmas Carol’ at A Noise Within. | Photo by Craig Schwartz

Christmas On The Farm

Underwood Family Farms | 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark, CA 93021 | Through Dec. 24 | underwoodfamilyfarms.com

Get out of the city and visit the farm for holiday photo ops, tractor-drawn wagon rides, an animal center, combine and harvester slides, fields for picking, animal shows and reindeer. There will also be crafts, duck racing, elf training, sleigh rides, and much more. 

Las Posadas At Olvera Street

Olvera Street | 845 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 | Through Dec. 24 | olveraevents.com

The crown and shepherds are led by the angel on a candle-lit procession to ask for shelter at a business on Olvera Street in this reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s travels to Bethlehem. Visitors will receive a cup of champurrado and pan dulce at the end of the procession. There will also be nightly piñatas for kids and live music to accompany the traditional Christmas songs in Spanish. 

‘Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation’

Kirk Douglas Theatre | 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 | Through Dec. 30 | winniethepoohshow.com 

The Hundred Acre Wood and its inhabitants have come to life as beautiful life-sized puppets that will enchant you with beloved songs like “Winnie the Pooh” and “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” in an all new adventure.

Holiday Road

King Gillette Ranch | 26800 W. Mulholland Highway, Calabasas, CA 91302 | Through Dec. 30 | holidayroadusa.com 

Be mesmerized by thousands of Christmas lights and “larger than life” holiday-themed installations on the immersive walking trail, Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves. If you get tired, recharge with a bite from one of the food trucks at the event and keep warm with a seasonal cocktail.

‘Shambles’

The Actors’ Gang at The Ivy Substation | 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 | Through Dec. 31 | theactorsgang.com 

Blurring the lines between audience and performers, this immersive experience drops theater goers into a ‘60s NASA holiday party complete with alien abductions, ugly Christmas sweaters and free-flowing champagne, as theatergoers meander through curated rooms of wonder. Cirque du Soleil’s Stefan Haves stages a joyful celebration of comedy, acrobatic beauty, and eccentric song and dance numbers.

Holiday Wonderland At Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market | 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013 | Through Dec. 31 | grandcentralmarket.com

Aside from great food, you’ll find Santa, holiday shopping and workshops, music and special events for which you’ll need to register. 

Holiday Ice Rink At Pershing Square

Pershing Square | 532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90013 | Through Jan. 1 | holidayicerinkdowntownla.com 

Back after a two-year hiatus, the Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square is the city’s largest outdoor rink at 7,200 square feet. General admission to the rink, including skate rental, is $20, locker rental is $5, and skate helpers are $6. 

People skating at Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square. | Courtesy of the Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square

Sparkle DTLA

The Bloc | 700 Flower St., Los Angeles, CA 90017 | Through Jan. 1 | theblocla.com

Enjoy 18 million colored lights synchronized to holiday music as you grab dinner or get some shopping done at The Bloc. Light shows are scheduled for every hour from 5-9 p.m.

The Empire Strips Back – the Unauthorized Star Wars™ Burlesque Parody

Montalbán Theatre | 1615 Vine St., Hollywood CA 90028 | Through Jan. 1 | empirestripsback.com

Combining striptease, song and dance, troupe routines and plenty of humor, audiences are transported into the world of burlesque to witness a menacing troop of seriously sexy Stormtroopers, a dangerously seductive Boba Fett, tantalizing Twi’leks, a delightfully lukewarm Taun Taun, a lady-like Skywalker, and of course, scantily clad and daring Droids. Even Darth Vader will explore her feminine side with a fantastical twist.

Isa Musni in “The Empire Strips Back” in San Francisco. | Photo by Kevin Berne

The Science Of Gingerbread Exhibit & Winter Wonderland 

Discovery Cube LA or OC | 11800 Foothill Blvd., Sylmar, CA 91342 | 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92705 | Through Jan. 1 | discoverycube.org

Registration is now open for Southern California’s largest gingerbread competition. Visitors will have until Jan. 1 to experience the winter wonderland featuring a gingerbread village with all the competition entries, cookie decorating, story-time, holiday lights and sounds, and Santa. 

‘Ain’t Too Proud: The Life And Times Of The Temptations’

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

Featuring Grammy winning songs and Tony winning moves, “Ain’t Too Proud” follows The Temptations’ journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The National Touring Company of “Ain’t Too Proud,” playing at Center Theatre Group / Ahmanson Theatre December 13, 2022 through January 1, 2023. | Photo by Emilio Madrid

Newport Christmas Parade

Newport Beach | 309 Palm St., Newport Beach, CA 92661 | Through Jan. 2 | christmasparadeboats.com

Hundreds of ships of all sizes are extravagantly decorated with lights and special effects. Bayfront homes also participate in their own light competition. 

Holiday Light Festival

Griffith Park & Southern Railroad | 4400 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027 | Through Jan. 6 | griffithparktrainrides.com

Hop on the train to travel around a festively decorated Griffith Park. In addition to the festive scenes and thousands of lights, there will be a gift kiosk and three open-air photo booths. 

Lightscape

LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden | 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007 | Through Jan. 8 | arboretum.org

The popular light display is back with 15 displays (including the very instagramable Winter Cathedral) and the U.S. premiere of three installations: Will-o’-the-wisp, Whole Hole and the biggest Laser Garden. There are value packs available Monday through Thursday through Jan. 8, 2023. The value pack for four includes tickets for two adults and two children plus preferred parking for a total of $100 (save $38), and the value pack for two includes tickets for two adults and preferred parking for $75 (save $23).

The Winter Cathedral. | Courtesy photo

‘(Re)Inventing The Americas: Repeat. Erase, Construct’

The Getty | 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049 | Through Jan. 8 | getty.edu 

Challenging European interpretations and often racist versions of history, “(Re)Inventing the Americas: Repeat. Erase, Construct” analyzes the creation of the mythologies that arose during the conquest and exploration of the Americas and reveals the influence that those myths and visions have had on defining the two continents. The exhibition will feature a collaboration with Denilson Baniwa, a contemporary artist from the Brazilian Amazon region who will generate different artistic interventions throughout the show.

Christmas Nights

123 Farm | 10600 Highland Springs Ave., Cherry Valley, CA 92223 | Through Jan. 8 | 123farm.com

The festival includes festive foods and drinks (including a lavender-infused hot cocoa), horse-drawn carriage tours, a life-size gingerbread house, s’mores pits, a Christmas village, Santa and a display of over one million lights.

Holidays At The Disneyland Resort

Disneyland and California Adventure | Through Jan. 8 | disneyland.disney.go.com

The happiest place on earth is ready for the holidays with new tasty treats and drinks, performances highlighting different cultural celebrations for the holidays, World of Color – Season of Light at DCA, holiday decorations all throughout the park including at select attractions, a Christmas parade and fireworks show, and don’t forget snow. 

Knott’s Merry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm | 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA 90620 | Through Jan. 8 | knotts.com

Knott’s Merry Farm has transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday decorations, lights and snowflakes. Guests can enjoy Home for the Holidays, a musical show featuring holiday songs, an ice show starring Snoopy and the Peanuts, seasonal foods, the Christmas Crafts Village, a nightly tree lighting ceremony, and more. 

Enchanted Forest Of Light

Descanso Gardens | 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011 | Through Jan. 8 | descansogardens.org

Enchanted Forest of Light is an interactive, nighttime experience featuring a one-mile walk through unique lighting experiences. Popular returning favorites include an entire town of magical “stained glass” creations built in the Rose Garden by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin; sparkling geometric installations from HYBYCOZO on the Main Lawn; Flower Power on the Promenade; and exquisite lighting effects in the Ancient Forest.

Tom Fruin “stained glass” creations installation at Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted Forest of Light. | Photo by © Jake Fabricius

LA Kings Holiday Ice

L.A. Live | 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015 | Through Jan. 8 | lakingsholidayice.com 

Ice skate in front of Crypto.com Arena this holiday season. 

‘Music Inspired Art Exhibition’ 

Malibu City Gallery | 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, Malibu, CA 90265 | Through Jan. 13 | malibuartscommission.org

Presented by the Malibu Art Commission, “Music Inspired Art Exhibition” features photography, fine art, and three-dimensional work inspired by music. 

Queen Mary Tours

Queen Mary | 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802 | Through Jan. 15 | longbeach.gov

Open for the first time since March 2020, the RMS Queen Mary is welcoming back visitors with a one-hour, guided tour with a historical docent that includes the ship’s Promenade Deck and scenic views of the Downtown shoreline, a walk through the Promenade Shops, Observation Bar, Queen Salon and Royal Salon, among other areas. On the tour visitors will learn about the ship’s history – including its haunted history – and will also watch a short video inside Heritage Hall featuring the critical repair work conducted to the ship throughout 2022.

‘Anatomy Of Gray’

Atwater Village Theatre | 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039 | Through Jan. 21 | openfist.org

Set at the end of the 19th century in the small town of Gray, Indiana, “The Wizard of Oz” meets “Our Town” in “Anatomy of Gray,” a funny and touching “children’s story for adults.” Following the death of her father, 15-year-old June prays for a “healer” so no one in town will ever have to suffer again. When a man literally blows into town in a hot air balloon, she thinks her prayer has been answered. At first, the new doctor cures anything and everything; but soon his presence leads to a clash between faith and science.

LA Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow

LA Zoo | 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027 | Through Jan. 22 | lazoo.org

The LA Zoo turns into a nighttime wonderland with lantern sculptures of animals throughout the zoo. 

‘PRESSURE: James Cameron into the Abyss’

National History Museum of Los Angeles County | 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007 | Through Feb. 20 | nhm.org

Go on a journey to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean through a multimedia experience of “Titanic” and “Avatar” director James Cameron’s dive. The 12-ton, 24-foot-tall submersible explorer that Cameron piloted on his 2012 record-breaking, solo dive to the Mariana Trench will be on display. The display provides insights into the logistics—and challenges—that go into planning an expedition seven miles below the surface where water pressure is about 1,000 times standard atmospheric pressure at sea level, and temperatures are just a few degrees above freezing.

Photo from James Cameron’s dive to the Mariana Trench which is highlighted in “PRESSURE: James Cameron into the Abyss.” | Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

‘Open Flowers Bear Fruit’

USC Pacific Asia Museum | 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 | Through March 12 | pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu

“Open Flowers Bear Fruit” features 10 photographs from Stephanie Shih’s ongoing series Asian American Still Life. Through her references to 17th-century Dutch still life paintings, Shih’s photographs challenge viewers to consider the complexity of the Asian American experience as it has manifested in the foods we eat and the things that remind us of home.

‘Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts’

The Huntington MaryLou and George Boone Gallery | 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108 | Through March 27 | huntington.org

Organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Wallace Collection in London in association with The Huntington, the exhibition explores the early inspirations behind Disney Studios’ creations, examining Walt Disney’s fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks.

Attributed to Etienne-Maurice Falconet (French, 1716–1791), Sèvres Manufactory (French, founded 1740), Tower vase with cover (vase en tour), ca. 1762. Soft-paste porcelain, overglaze pink and blue ground colors, polychrome enamel decoration, and gilding, 20 1/2 x 9 x 9 in. (52.1 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm). The Arabella D. Huntington Memorial Art Collection. |The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

‘Regeneration: Black Cinema, 1898–1971’

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | 6067 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 | Through April 9 | regenerationblackcinema.org

The exhibition explores the achievements and challenges of Black filmmakers in the US in both independent production and the studio system—in front of the camera and behind it—from cinema’s infancy in the 1890s to the early 1970s. The Regeneration Summit, Feb. 3–5, 2023, will be a two-day celebration of Black cinema featuring artists, scholars, and filmmakers participating in conversations, workshops, and activations throughout the museum.

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