Holiday Magic in the City of Angels

While some folks may be dreaming of a white Christmas, many are perfectly content to spend December celebrating amidst the sun and sand of Southern California. There's certainly no lack of holiday spirit and the list of events is potentially longer than Santa's naughty (or is it nice?) list.

There's quite an array of festivities, some free and others creating a serious deficit in the gift fund. Ice skating rinks pop up all around L.A. and Orange counties and performance halls feature holiday concerts and activities for people of all ages. And perhaps nothing screams "Southern California Holiday" more than Disneyland at Christmastime.

There's no shortage of wattage around SoCal either. Lights are strung in spectacular fashion and, while the zoo goes quiet at night, it's not going dark thanks to L.A. ZOO LIGHTS (which replaced the DWP's Griffith Park light display). Additionally, Riverside's Mission Inn once again hosts their Festival of Lights, which lights up an entire block and where you can take your sweetheart to smooch under the world's largest manmade mistletoe. 

But nowhere else in the world can you ring in the new year as we do in SoCal... at the Tournament of Roses Parade – the granddaddy of them all. If you're not up for camping or splurging for seats to watch the parade live, view the floats in the days prior while they're getting their finishing touches. Then, watch the parade on T.V. in your jammies, like the rest of the world. That's what I call a happy (and chill) California holiday.


CHILL at The Queen Mary
Photo courtesy of The Queen Mary

This year's headlining feature at CHILL at the Queen Mary is the new "Alice in Winterland" where guests follow Alice down the rabbit hole and discover larger than life lantern versions of the Hall of Doors, White Rabbit's Kitchen and more. For...  Read More

Since 1963, Marina Del Rey has hosted a Holiday boat parade, inviting those who own boats - or choose to charter one - to decorate it and join the line up. The parade circles the main channel of the Marina del Rey Harbor on Dec. 10 and judges...  Read More

Each December the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrates the sounds of the holidays with their annual Deck the Halls series of concerts. Their 2016 line up includes the rich harmonies of Chanticleer, a holiday organ spectacular, a family-friendly...  Read More

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, near the site of the early Los Angeles pueblo (town), is the location for this solemn ceremony and procession that commemorates Mary's and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The Posada has...  Read More

The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah kicks off at the Skirball Cultural Center on Sunday, December 18 with this year's theme "Light for the People." Music, dance, storytelling and a host of other family-friendly activities, such as printmaking,...  Read More

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Photo courtesy of Jamie Pham

The L.A. Zoo is a hotbed of holiday activity. Although you need separate tickets, the Reindeer Romp daytime event pairs perfectly with the evening ZOO Lights extravaganza. In its third year, ZOO LIGHTS sets the Zoo's grounds aglow with thousands...  Read More

Tournament of Roses – Rose Bowl Parade

What you see on television fails in comparison to viewing the Rose Parade floats up close. Adorned with only natural materials, from flowers (natch) to rice, the massive floats are majestically eye-popping. Since the Tournament of Roses has a...  Read More

The Mission Inn Festival of Lights in Riverside, winner of the 10Best Readers' Choice award for Best Public Lights Display in 2014 and Best Holiday Festival in 2015, celebrates the season with more than 4 million lights, an ice skating rink,...  Read More

Great Wolf Lodge
Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

This hotel and indoor water park that opened in summer 2016 brings winter to southern Cal (a stones throw from Anaheim). From November 26 through January 3, the woodsy-feeling lodge is transformed into a winter snow land (snow showers nightly!)...  Read More

Disneyland<sub>®</sub> Resort
Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

Everyone in Southern California knows that Disneyland does the holidays big. What you may not know is that Disney improves their holiday features each year, adding new entertainment, food and decorations. While the favorites at Disneyland Park...  Read More


Meet Wendy O'Dea

Born and raised in western New York, Wendy O’Dea moved to Los Angeles to attend the USC graduate School of Journalism and stayed for the innovative and creative lifestyle the city offers. Other...  More About Wendy