This time of the year is alight with all that is twinkly and bright. Here are a few of our favorite places to go and bask in all that glorious glow from Downtown L.A. to Orange County and from socal harbors and marinas to parks and other public spaces.
DOWNTOWN L.A. - Union Station to South Park.
Pershing Square will have numerous holiday events and concerts along with the popular ice rink through mid January. After skating stop in the historic Biltmore Millenium Hotel to look at the holiday decorations there and enjoy tea or other refreshments in a refined and elegant historic setting. Totally worth a look. What's nearby? Chinatown, Little Tokyo, the Artists District. There is always plenty to do in this area. See the Eye Spy LA Downtown LA calendar for current events and entertainment.
The new Grand Park, Music Center Plaza, Disney Hall, MOCA, California Plaza and other grand institutions line Grand Ave at the pinacle of Downtown L.A. and all are decked out for the holidays. Take the Red Line to Civic Center station. Take a ride on Angels flight to go down to historic Downtown L.A. or the Bunker Hill Steps will take you to the Central Library, Biltmore Hotel and Pershing Square.
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 traditional fir instead of the modern, light-colored tree now dominates the center of the ice rink. What's nearby? Nokia Theatre, Club Nokia and other entertainment venues, Staples Center and a bevy of eateries to lighten your wallet. Take Metro to the 7th street Red Line station or the Pico/Chick Hearn Blue Line station. Or there is ample, but pricey, parking on site. Go Metro to any of these downtown destinations.
On THE WATER - You get double the twinkle as the lights are reflected in the water at local harbors and marinas and many will host holiday boat parades.
CULVER CITY lit up the tree and rolled out the Santa recently. This small city within a city has some unique architecture and historic landmarks along with an urban attitude in its dense, easy-to-stroll downtown area loaded with specialty stores and galleries. Out-of-towners will appreciate its storied and cinematic history with tours at Sony and a pleasant respite in the Culver City Hotel lounge or other and numerous fine restaurants and happening bars. You can read more about what to see and do in this movie town in Culver City: The Heart of Screenland. Visit Eye Spy LA's Culver City calendar or the West LA regional calendar for current events and entertainment in the area.
Every Third Wednesday of every month, the Downtown Culver City Business Association offers a neighborhood 'themed' happy hour. This is a pleasant mid-week break, especially for those who live on the Westside. The opening of the Metro Expo Line Culver City Station makes it easy to come down and visit wherever you are. There is also a new outdoor ice skating rink we haven't tried out yet but underneath the dazzling lights of the tree-lined boulevards...we think this deserves a holiday visit.
3RD & FAIRFAX - The Grove and the Original Farmers Market
Christmas at the Grove offers ongoing holiday events with carolers, live music performances and Nutcracker marionette shows.
Stop in the Farmers Market next door and pick up a bottle or two of the colorfully named hot sauces at Light My Fire to have on hand to top your Christmas tamales this year. Take a break from all the hoopla with a Bob's Donut and coffee. Nearby visit Museum Row for several days worth of things to do. Take a look at Eye Spy LA's Midtown LA calendar for current events in the area.
Of course your out of town visitors this season will want to go there even if you don't. Crowds and buskers abound at Hollywood and Highland to entertain and take money from tourists and there is a view of the sign too which no doubt will please everyone.
The historic Chinese Theatre with the courtyard and all those famous foot and paw prints is next door to the Kodak Theatre. Park the kids at a Disney movie across the street at El Capitan while you visit the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel or nearby Musso & Frank for a cocktail. There is ample parking and the Metro Station below the complex to reduce the hassle of being in the area. Follow the stars down Hollywood Blvd. toward Hollywood and Vine for more entertainment, dining and night life. Stop in the Egyptian Theatre for a classic movie or the Pantages Theatre is just past Vine (and across from the other Hollywood Metro station) where "The Lion King" is currently playing through the holidays. More current entertainment and events in the area can be found on our Hollywood calendar.
Other places we like to visit:
Pasadena - Old Town in particular will be very festive and has great shopping and dining. For the New Year - the Rose Parade.
Santa Monica - Main Street, the 3rd Street Promenade, and the pier offer plenty of choices for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Beverly Hills - Always decked out during the holiday season.
Glendale: The Americana goes all out with its huge ornamental tree, carolers and a faux snow fall under its gigantic chandelier.
NoHo Arts District: Chockfull of intimate theaters and restaurants, this is great night out for dinner and a holiday show.
Burbank: Downtown gets into the swing of things but traffic around IKEA and Burbank Town Center can get humbug congested.
Long Beach - plenty of entertainment and other attractions in this area.
You'll find plenty of places to go and more things to do during the holiday season on the Eye Spy LA Holiday Guide which is continuously updated throughout the season.