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Your Guide to L.A.'s Festive Season

Unwrapping the Magic of Christmas: Your Guide to L.A.’s Festive Season

The city of angels may not sport snow-draped landscapes, but Los Angeles transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. From illuminated botanical gardens to mesmerizing boat parades and outdoor movie screenings, the city boasts an array of events to infuse your December with festive cheer.

Enchanted: Forest of Light

Kickstarting the seasonal celebration, Descanso Gardens presents its mesmerizing “Enchanted: Forest of Light.” Running from November 19 to January 7, this annual spectacle enchants visitors with its illuminated installations amidst the natural beauty of the gardens.

The 2023 edition promises new delights, featuring HYBYCOZO’s 3-D light sculptures and Tom Fruin’s kaleidoscopic stained-glass houses. With an expanded route through the rose garden and captivating hanging light installations, this year’s experience is set to dazzle.

Insider Tip: Wear comfortable shoes for the approximately mile-long walk and bundle up for La Cañada Flintridge’s mid-40s temperatures.

Marina Del Rey Boat Parade

Experience the quaint charm of a fishing village at Marina Del Rey’s Boat Parade. Set against a backdrop of holiday lights, 70 boats gracefully glide through the marina, competing for categories like Best Theme and Best Animation. The festivities begin at 5:55 pm, followed by the parade at 6 pm, come rain or shine.

Yuletide Cinemaland

For a Dickensian touch, Heritage Square hosts outdoor holiday screenings by Street Food Cinema. Alongside movie classics like “Elf” and “Home Alone,” enjoy piano sing-alongs, light tunnel strolls, and festive sips amidst a vintage town square setting.

L.A. Zoo Lights

The L.A. Zoo’s “Animals Aglow” edition continues its tradition of oversized animal-shaped lanterns. Revel in the colorful, animated trail featuring parrots, bears, and even a field of grazing bison. The Winter Wildlands area boasts a vibrant burst of lights and interactive experiences.

Pro Tip: Opt for timed tickets to skip entry lines and don comfortable shoes for a partially uphill walk.

Disneyland Resort

The iconic Disneyland Resort, with its two main parks, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, offers an immersive experience for both tourists and locals. From the timeless attractions of the original park to the newer themed lands like Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus, the resort brims with magic.

Insider Insight: Disneyland dazzles with classics like Space Mountain and the enchanting Main Street, U.S.A., while Disney California Adventure Park delivers high-tech thrills with attractions like Soarin’ and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.

‘Home Alone’ in Concert

Elevate your holiday movie marathon with a special screening of “Home Alone” at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Los Angeles Philharmonic performs John Williams’s score live, offering an immersive experience conducted by David Newman.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Step into the magical realm of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Explore the immersive Hogsmeade village, experience rides like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and indulge in Butterbeer at iconic locations like the Three Broomsticks.

Expert Tip: Interactive wand holders can trigger magical effects at designated spots in Hogsmeade, adding an extra touch of enchantment.

L.A. County Holiday Celebration

Join L.A.’s biggest holiday show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. With over 20 choirs, ensembles, and dance troupes representing the city’s diverse holiday traditions, this free three-hour extravaganza embraces multicultural celebrations.

Note: No reservations or tickets needed; enjoy the show from 3 to 6 pm with free parking and a live stream on PBS SoCal.

Rooftop Cinema Club & Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square

Rooftop Cinema Club offers a chic outdoor movie experience with wireless headphones and comfortable seating, while the Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square invites you to glide through a wintry setting amidst Downtown’s skyscrapers.

Tip: Pershing Square’s admission includes skate rentals, with additional costs for lockers and skating aids.

In a city where the holiday spirit thrives against a backdrop of sunny skies, these events promise a season brimming with joy and merriment. Whether strolling through illuminated gardens or stepping into the enchanting world of Harry Potter, Los Angeles offers a unique and unforgettable festive experience for all.

Remember to check specific event websites for updated information and ticket availability as the season unfolds.

Happy Holidays from Los Angeles! ✨🎄


  • Amelia Robertson

    I am the reporter and multimedia producer for WaxMia US, based in NY. Previously, I worked as an associate producer at The Mirror for about five years.

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