Searching for some seasonal spirit in the City of Angels may seem a challenge. Especially when the sun is shining and the surf is up. More so to those cold weather transplants who remember childhood snow days. But grab your jean jacket, order a red-cupped Starbucks Gingerbread Latte and head out to find your holiday vibe doing winter in L.A.
From pop-up ice skating rinks to curated gift shopping, street events, holiday lights and of course plenty of Santa photo ops, the town is abuzz with the sounds and scents of the season.
Get a jump on your gift list with holiday markets and craft fairs. There are tons to keep you busy from now till Christmas and Chanukah. Have lunch with The Westside Guild of Children’s Hospital at their annual Luncheon of Hope (westsideguild.com; tickets $195) on November 5. The event hosts a long list of vendors for a philanthropic personalized shopping experience. Later in the month, check out the Holiday Marketplace at Craft Contemporary Museum situated on historic Museum Row. An annual fundraising sale, CAFAM’s event celebrates and supports the local artist and design community in Los Angeles (cafam.org).
If good old-fashioned retail shopping is your passion, on Saturday, December 7, head to Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue. They will host the annual Holiday Walk from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. It’s a nearly 30-year-old tradition that sets the stage for the season (santamonica.com). Talk about winter in L.A. Expect curated gift ideas, live music, traveling carolers and a sense of small-town community in this big city. Check local calendars for Ocean Park, Main Street and Pacific Palisades festive events as well.
“The holiday spirit is alive and well [in L.A.]. It’s such a pleasure to be outdoors without having the snow and freezing weather elements,” says Peggy Sella, a former Colorado and New York resident, and owner of Jane Boutiques located on Montana Avenue and in Tarzana.
Still, if you happen to be missing that snow, go downtown for the 4th Annual Snow Day L.A. It takes place from November 15 through December 29 at The Old Lodge at Montecillo De Leo Politi Park near Dodger Stadium (snowdayla.com). Winter in L.A. here will be exploding there with snow flurries, downhill tubing, an LED Interactive Light Show and plenty of food and beverages. And don’t miss all of the pop-up ice-skating rinks. For starters, check The Lakes in Thousand Oaks (shoplakes.com)and Holiday Ice near The Village in Woodland Hills (woodlandhillsice.com). Then the ICE in Santa Monica (santamonica.com) and the Holiday Rink at Pershing Square downtown (holidayicerinkdowntownla.com).
And what is the holiday season without the beautiful lights that shine so bright? Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills, near Lubao and Oxnard Streets, transforms into a true winter wonderland. It has since neighbors started their own tradition in 1952. Today, it’s slow going, as cars make their way through the streets gazing at the homes’ elaborate decorations.
On the Westside, the Annual Boat Parade on the Venice Canals will showcase a floating display on December 7. But visitors to this unique neighborhood can walk the streets at any time to catch the lights adorning the wood frame bridges that cross the canals (visitveniceca.com).With so many festive events throughout November and December, find your holiday spirit and celebrate the season in true L.A. style.