Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Events for 2011

There are several ways to enjoy the holidays in Los Angeles. The ethnic diversity of LA makes the list of things to do and places to celebrate the season truly unique!  Here are a few favorites to share with family and friends.  If you have a favorite that I may have missed, please feel free to add them to the comment section below...

A couple notes: Click on the title of any event for more information. I have also included a special map at the bottom of this post. Each event is listed and can be clicked to create custom driving directions. For a larger map view click 2011 Holiday Events,


Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square
November 17, 2011 - January 16, 2012

Celebrate the holiday with fun under the sun and stars. Visit Pershing Square's 14th Season of outdoor ice skating at 532 South Olive, open everyday November 17, 2011 - January 16, 2012. The tradition continues with LA’s largest outdoor rink with the lowest admission price of just $6. As a favorite holiday destination, the facility boasts a medley of FREE events including a holiday concert series “12 Nights of Christmas Music Series,” championship skating exhibitions, and more.


Now you can save $1 on the already low admission when you show your valid Metro pass, Metro Rail ticket or Destination Discounts card at the entrance, or bring in the discount coupon.

Holiday Train Ride and Visit with Santa.
November 26, 2011 - December 23, 2011  (Select Dates)

Santa, himself, will be on hand so young and old alike can tell him their Christmas wishes.

LA Live Holiday Ice 
November 26, 2011 -  January 5, 2012

The outdoor ice rink at L.A. Live at Nokia Plaza provides a modern, edgier setting for this traditional pastime. Huge screens surround the complex flashing a constant barrage of commercials. A high-tech, sculptural metal tree changes color to the music, and icicle lights hanging on nearby trees complete this eye and ear popping scene. The rink is roomy enough (70 feet by 50 feet) for intermediate style ice skating.

Holiday Tree Lighting at L.A. LIVE
December 2nd  7-8 PM

KTLA will be broadcast this one-hour holiday celebration at L.A. LIVE, featuring:
  • American Idol Finalists Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart
  • The Backbeats from the Sing-Off
  • II Volo featuring American Idol Pia Toscano
  • Pop Sensation JoJo
  • Patty Austin with Greg Phillinganes
  • Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek
  • KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball Village 
2011 Merry TubaChristmas
December 3rd 6:00 PM

For the last 35 years, the holiday season has been ushered in with the sound of tubas at the annual Merry TubaChristmas concert. Literally hundreds of tuba and baritone players ranging in age from 8 to 80 come from all over Southern California to play Christmas carols to the delight of all in attendance.
The concert is free to the public, and the audience is encouraged to sing along.

49th Annual Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade
December 3rd  6:00 PM

With the theme of “Home for the Holidays,” approximately 50 boats of all shapes and sizes  (including powerboats, sailboats, tall ships and harbor working craft) will cruise along the Main Channel. The parade, which is sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles, starts in the East Basin near Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington and takes approximately 90 minutes to cover the entire parade route.

Viewers are also invited to enjoy festive pre-parade events beginning at 3 p.m. at Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington.

The Nutcracker
December 3rd  7:30 PM  &  December 4th  2:00 PM

Returning for its third season, Los Angeles Ballet‘s performs the beloved holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Set to Tchaikovsky's illustrious score, The Nutcracker follows the story of Clara and her family welcoming guests to a party on Christmas Eve and the magical adventures that ensue.The original production features lavish costumes and sets created expressly for Southern California!

Heritage Square Museum’s 17th Annual Holiday Lamplight Celebration
December 3rd  &  December 4th   4:00 PM - 8:30 PM

This is truly a unique and original holiday celebration. Victorian homes at Heritage Square are lit by the aura of lamp lights, transporting guests back through Californian history. Costumed hosts take visitors from house to house where the past meets the present to enjoy music, dancing, singing and more holiday cheer.

This event requires tickets and advanced reservations.

Christmas Festival on 8th Street
December 3rd and 4th 12 PM to 10 PM

The Christmas Festival on 8th Street (Festival Navideño en la Calle Ocho 2011) is in the heart of Koreatown, where many residents happen to be Latinos! Live music and entertainment spread over 10 blocks! 

Avenues of Art and Design Holiday Walk
December 7, 2011  6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

The Avenues of Art and Design, (a fancy name for the shopping area along Melrose Ave, Robertson Blvd and Beverly Blvd in West Hollywood) will host their annual Holiday Walk, primarily along Melrose between San Vincente and Orlando. There will be carolers, roaming Santas and refreshments, this year with the addition of some of LA's popular gourmet food trucks. Check out the details of 2010's event as 2011 plans are still in the works.

Kids Christmas Spectacular
December 8, 2011

Kids Holiday Party at Dodger Stadium features games, a petting zoo, giant inflatable slides, jumpers, crafts, balloon animals, face painting, snacks, live music, rock wall climbing and TOY GIVEAWAY! All of this is FREE of charge to the children and families who attend. There will also be a Holiday Ham Giveaway on Dec. 15, 2011

Christmas Carnivale - Holiday Boat Parade at Marina Del Rey
December 10, 2011

Be in place by 5:55 PM to enjoy the fireworks that signal the start of the parade. A great viewing location - Burton Chace Park at 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey

Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane
December 10, 2011 - January 1, 2012 & January 6 and 7, 2012

Every Christmas season for more than 80 years, the majestic deodars on the "Mile of Christmas Trees" are strung with 10,000 lights. Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena is the oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the United States. Christmas Tree Lane is located in Altadena, CA on Santa Rosa Avenue between Woodbury Avenue and Altadena Drive. Lights are on Dusk to 10pm on Weekdays & Dusk to midnight on Holidays and Weekends.

Upper Hastings Ranch - Pasadena, CA
December 10, 2011 - January 1, 2012

Upper Hastings Ranch has become one of the most popular areas for neighborhood outdoor Christmas displays. Beginning in 1957 each block in the neighborhood began to decorate their homes with some type of theme icon placed in the parkway, e.g., snowmen, Christmas trees, Santa and his reindeer, Peanuts cartoon characters, etc. Tour by car (with headlights off) thru miles of lighting and other entertaining Christmas displays.

Located in northeast Pasadena in California, Upper Hastings Ranch is bordered by the city of Sierra Madre to the east, the Eaton Canyon Golf Course to the west, and Sierra Madre Blvd to the south.

The Balian Mansion
December 11, 2011 - December 25, 2011

The Balian Mansion has been lighted since 1955 and is arguably the pioneer of home holiday lighting. The Balian Mansion is located at the 5-point junction of Mendocino Street, Mendocino Lane, Allen Avenue, and East Glenview Terrace.

This stop off can be combined with Christmas Tree Lane by turning right on Altadena to Allen. Turn right on Allen and then left on Mendocino. You can’t miss the Balian House. For many, many years the Balian family has decorated their mansion and the three and one half acres that surround it. Park and join the throngs enjoying the sights. There are over 10,000 colored lights, many scenes like Santa Claus with his reindeer, elves, a nativity scene, and many others. Many of the scenes have movement. Live groups sing Christmas carols.

Venice Holiday Boat Parade
December 11, 2011

The VCA’s 30th Annual Holiday Boat Parade takes place Sunday, December 11. Be sure to walk the canals! The residents light up the night celebrating the holidays.
Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade Flyer (105kb PDF) courtesy of Venice Canals Association

Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane's Parade
December 12th, 5:00 PM

The parade began in 1953 by decorating the grass median on Daisy Avenue, and soon many area residents began decorating their homes and Daisy Lane as we now know it, was born! The event grew to include more displays, entertainment and a parade.

Deck The Halls
December 13, 2011 - December 31, 2011

The Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrate the holidays, including Christmas, Chanukah, and New Years Eve with an array of concerts titled, Deck The Halls. This diverse series kicks off December 13th & 14th with Handel's Messiah and concludes December 31st with an unforgettable fusion of Brazilian samba, ’30s Cuban dance and Parisian café by Pink Martini. Here is a complete listing of ensembles and performances composing Deck The Halls.

Share and enjoy this special eCard from LA Phil.

"Feelin' Christmas-Sea in NewportBeach!"
 December 14 - December 18, 2011

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is fondly referred to as Newport Beach's Christmas Card to the world. The 103rd annual parade drifts for five consecutive nights, beginning Wednesday, December 14. The parade starts off Bay Island at 6:30 pm and finishes at the same site at approximately 9:00 pm each evening.
Download the complete 2011 Parade Route  Courtesy of Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce 

Las Posadas on Olvera Street
December 16 -24, 2011  5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Las Posadas has been celebrated on Olvera Street since the 1930s. In Spanish, las posadas means “inns” or “shelters,” and represents the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem and their search for shelter. During Las Posadas, a costumed Mary and Joseph, (or alternately statues of them), accompanied by a candlelight procession of singers, musicians and community members, go from house to house looking for a room, being turned away at each stop.

Free champurrado (a Mexican hot beverage) and pan dulce (sweet bread) are served each night following the procession. There will also be a festive piñata breaking for the children.

5th Annual Merry Merry Movie
December 17, 2011  10:30 AM

The Playhouse District Association hosts its 5th Annual Merry Movie event with a free screening of "The Muppet Christmas Carol." Holiday treats and surprises await all who attend! The movie tells the tale of the Muppet Characters take of the Dickens classic holiday tale of Ebenezer Scrooge.

The screening will be followed by a free holiday concert by St. Lucy's Big Christmas Band in the Vroman's Courtyard. Little Junebugs will be hosting a holiday craft table for children to enjoy making one-of-a kind treasures.

LA Phil Presents Holiday Sing-Along
December  17, 2011

Lift your voices and sing along to all your favorite Christmas and holiday songs. Bring the whole family to celebrate a cherished holiday tradition. Free lyric sheets provided for all.
Saturday, December 17, 2011, 11:30AM & 2:30PM

Naples Long Beach Boat Parade
December 17, 2011

The 65th annual Naples Island Boat Parade in Long Beach is themed "T.V. Land Holidays" and features both large and small boats traveling the canals. There will also be "groups of carolers" strolling around Naples Island and singing holiday songs by the bridges. Most of the homes have been decorated for the holidays in accompaniment of the Boat Parade theme. Parking can be difficult and local streets close at 5:00PM so plan to arrive early and stroll around the island before the parade.

Menorah Lighting & Celebration
December20, 2011   8:00 PM

Join this beautiful menorah lighting with blessing and song, led by Downtown's Rabbi Moshe. Enjoy Jewish folk singers, bottle dancers, and dreidel fun. This event is free and open to the public.

51st Annual LA County Holiday Celebration
December  24, 2011

An annual tradition, the Emmy-nominated music and dance extravaganza is L.A.'s biggest holiday show - and it's FREE, so bring the whole family! Or, enjoy it from the comfort of your home on KCET-TV, KCET.org or KPFK 90.7 FM, while you finish decorating the tree or steaming tamales!  "Childhood Holiday Memories” is the theme for this year’s Holiday Celebration, broadcast live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on KCET-TV. 24 groups and nearly 800 performers will present music and dance of the season from the many neighborhoods and cultures of Los Angeles.

2012 Oshogatsu
January 1, 2012  11:00 AM.

2012 Oshogatsu - A Japanese New Year Celebration in Little Tokyo: Opening ceremony,  at Weller Court with performances through the day at Weller Court and Japanese Village Plaza. Festivities will include dance, taiko drumming and singing and a Kimono Fashion Show.

Tournament of Roses Parade
December  4, 2011 thru January 2, 2012

The Tournament of Roses Parade is "America's New Year Celebration", a festival of flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians and a college football game on Monday January 2nd because New Year's Day falls on Sunday this year! Produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

The annual parade was first held January 1, 1890 in Pasadena, California.

Typically 48 to 72 hours prior to parade day one can view several of the floats being decorated with flowery mantles, in the various 'float barns' that dot the Arroyo Seco / Rose Bowl area in West Pasadena, not far from the start of the parade. It is a rule of the parade that all surfaces of the float framework be covered in natural material (such as flowers, plants, seaweeds, seeds, bark, vegetables, or nuts, for example); furthermore, no artificial flowers or plant material are allowed, nor can the materials be artificially colored. Last-minute volunteering opportunities are often available.

Download a beautiful Tournament of Roses 2012 Visitor's Guide (PDF)

  • BCS Selection Sunday Show Party 
    December 4, 2011
    The Pasadena Tournament of Roses will host the BCS Selection Show Party at the Tournament House.

  • Float Decorating
    December 29, 2011 - January 1, 2012
    Experience the magic of the floats before they make their debut in the 2012 Rose Parade.

  • Lawry’s Beef Bowl: A 55-Year “Road to the Rose Bowl” Tradition
    December 28, 2011 & December 29, 2011
    The Lawry’s Beef Bowl is college football’s most enduring pre-bowl game tradition.

  • Bandfest
    December 30, 2011 & December 31, 2011
    Bandfest will feature the prizewinning bands of the 2012 Rose Parade performing the field shows that made them famous.
  • Equestfest
    December 30, 2011
    Up close and personal... Meet many of the Equestrians you will see New Year's Day in the 2012 Rose Parade!
  • Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
    December 31, 2011
    The Pasadena Tournament of Roses will honor the 2011 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame class during a mid-day luncheon.
  • Rose Bowl Game The Kickoff Luncheon
    December 31, 2011
    The Kickoff Luncheon is a dynamic mid-day pep rally featuring an introduction of participating teams in the 98th Rose Bowl Game
  • Rose Bowl Game Public Tailgate
    January 2, 2012
    Open to the public, the Rose Bowl Tailgate provides a variety of food and beverages available for purchase outside the stadium
  • Alumni Tailgate Parties
    January 2, 2012
    The alumni associations of the two participating institutions have designated areas for their “official” alumni tailgate parties
  • The 123rd Rose Parade
    January 2, 2012
    The 123rd Rose Parade themed Just Imagine, with Grand Marshall J.R. Martinez will take place on Monday, January 2, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.
  • The 98th Rose Bowl Game
    January 2, 2012
    On January 2, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. (PST), "The Granddaddy of Them All" the 98th Rose Bowl Game
  • Post Parade: A Showcase of Floats!
    January 2, 2012
    Post Parade: A Showcase of Floats is a unique opportunity for the viewing public to step up close with the floats.

View 2011 Holiday Events in a larger map