10 Christmas Activities in Los Angeles

1. Play in real snow

Want to play in real snow this winter? Visit Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood. Beginning in December, visitors can enjoy wintertime family activities in real snow, meet the Grinch and see Whoville come to life on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood during “Grinchmas.” Areas of the Theme Park and the Studio Tour are transformed to bring to life the settings, the music and, most importantly, many of the wonderful characters created by the beloved Dr. Seuss! Just next door, CityWalk is decked out for the holidays, and the shops and restaurants are always tempting. www.universalstudioshollywood.com


2. Whip around or wipe out at LA’s newest ice skating rink.

Dec. 3, grab your skates and head down to Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE for the grand opening of “LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE” and catch the annual holiday tree lighting celebration the same night. The new skating rink is the first of its kind at L.A. LIVE and will be open for winter fun through the end of December. Dec. 3-17, “LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE” will be open 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays. Beginning Dec. 18, the hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight every day. Check www.lalive.com/holidayice for information on skate rentals and discounts. Other outdoor ice skating rinks in Los Angeles include:

Oct. 30 - Jan. 31, 2010
Ice at Santa Monica
Where: 5th Street and Arizona Avenue

Nov. 10 - Jan. 18, 2010
Seaside Ice
Where: Redondo Beach

Nov. 17 - Dec. 16
Winter Wonderland Ice Rink
Where: Thousand Oaks

Nov. 19 - Jan. 18, 2010
Downtown on Ice
Where: Pershing Square

3. Join in reindeer games

Thanksgiving weekend through the New Year, live reindeer will be paying a visit to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens at this year’s Reindeer Romp. A flurry of festivities and holiday entertainment will accompany this popular annual event where children can make their own reindeer antlers and join the herd. On weekends, meet Santa and friends for a photo opportunity. During the winter months, the zoo’s botanical gardens are as green and lush as they are in summer; it’s a beautiful time to explore! www.lazoo.org


4. Celebrate the holidays with your favorite American Girl

Start a new tradition at American Girl Place at The Grove. “Holiday Wishes”, a special holiday themed dinner celebration, includes a unique dinner menu with delicious treats and exciting gift bags as well as a commemorative photo to keep as a reminder of your special day. Dates: Nov. 20, Dec. 6, 11 and 18. $52 per person. Reservations are required. Visit http://www.americangirl.com/stores/location_la.php for more details.

5. Light up the night

Experience breathtaking holiday decorations Dec. 4 – 30 at the 14th Annual Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Holiday Light Festival. This magnificent display of lights along a mile long segment of Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park has become a holiday tradition that attracts more than half million visitors each year. Wear comfortable shoes and see the sparkle on foot during the event’s eco-friendly pedestrian only days Dec. 4 – 17. The traditional mix of driving, walking and shuttles will run Dec. 18 - 30. Round-trip shuttle buses will be available 5-10 p.m. those nights at the L.A. Zoo. Walkers on those nights will enjoy the walking path. Both options are accessible from the Los Angeles Zoo parking lot. www.dwplightfestival.com

6. Enjoy a holiday parade by the sea

The picturesque seaside town of San Pedro, in the center of the Port of Los Angeles, is packed with outdoor activities during the holidays. The 29th Annual Holiday Spirit of San Pedro Parade begins at 1 p.m. on Dec. 6. This year’s theme is “Holidays Around the World” with bands, drill teams, elected officials, celebrities and more making their way through downtown San Pedro. While visiting San Pedro, visitors can also enjoy outdoor shopping and dining at Ports O’ Call Village and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum housed in a restored Streamline Moderne ferry building. www.sanpedro.com

7. Enjoy “Christmas in Paradise”

Dec. 12, visit Marina del Rey for the annual Holiday Boat Parade. The theme for this year’s parade is “Christmas in Paradise” and features Zac Sunderland, the youngest person to sail around the world solo, as the Grand Marshall. Creative locals captivate audiences with decorated boats circling the main channel on calm marina waters. Prizes will be awarded and fireworks kick off the event at 5:55 p.m. The parade goes until 8 p.m. One of the best viewing points is Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey. www.mdrboatparade.org8. Add a spicy spin to the holidays

This December, the Skirball Cultural Center is celebrating Hanukkah with a Latin flair. This year, as part of the Skirball's ongoing initiative to commemorate Jewish life in Latin America, the annual Hanukkah family festival, Dec. 6 at 11 a.m., invites families of all backgrounds to enjoy Latin Jewish music, art-making and storytelling, as well as tasty variations on holiday food favorites. In addition, the Lights of Hanukkah Family Tour will take place Dec. 11 to 16. Focusing on the stunning display of Hanukkah lamps in the Skirball's core exhibition, “Visions and Values,” this gallery talk recounts the history and significance of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday celebrating religious freedom. www.skirball.org

9. Visit Santa’s Wonderland

Visit Downtown Burbank for 12 days and nights filled with holiday events, music and treats! It all begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1 with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at City Hall with City Council, Santa & Mrs. Claus, special guests and a surprise emcee. After the Tree Lighting, it’s off to Santa’s Downtown Wonderland, 6:30-8:30 p.m. along San Fernando Boulevard from Orange Grove to Magnolia. Bring your camera for a visit with Santa on the AMC Walkway and celebrate the holidays with children’s characters, face painting, holiday activities, free gifts and more. www.downtown-burbank.org

10. Hit the slopes

A cold snap hit Big Bear Mountain in October, opening the slopes and kicking off the winter season early this year. Big Bear Mountain Resorts have unmatched snowmaking systems providing quality snow for thousands of skiers and snowboarders in Southern California each season. Big Bear already started snowmaking at Snow Summit with Bear Mountain, Chair 5 and Central Park Run already accessible for downhill fun! Enjoy real snow, real close at Big Bear Mountain Resorts. www.bigbearmountainresorts.com

For more information, visit the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau at http://discoverlosangeles.com


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