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One of the best things about living in Southern California is that there is always something fun to do year round. Are you planning a trip to the area for the holidays? Maybe you are a local looking for a new thing to do this season. There truly is something for everyone. As I get prepared to host company this holiday season I started thinking of ideas of things that we could do. Here’s a list of some of the top things to do in Southern California for the holidays.
The city of Beverly Hills makes this list for a few different reasons. The first being the Jolly Trolley. You can board the trolly on the weekends year round to see a few of the famous sights in the city. For the holiday season Mrs. Claus joins you for a fun filled ride around the town. In addition to hearing interesting information about the city and landmarks you pass you can join in on singing Christmas carols. The trolley makes a stop at the Paley Center where you can meet Santa Claus and enjoy hot chocolate & Christmas cookies. The cost for this is $5 for the 45-50 minute experience. If you can make time to stop by Rodeo Drive and the Beverly Whilshire to see their stunning Christmas decorations. You can read more about celebrating the holidays in Beverly Hills here.
Chill at the Queen Mary
CHILL at the Queen Mary is a retired luxury ocean liner in Long Beach, California. This is a beautiful and popular spot to visit. For the holidays you can experience Chill which takes over the Queen Mary every year. The theme this year is Alice in Winterland. Guests can go ice tubing and participate in other fun winter activities.
Christmas Tree Lighting at The Grove
The Grove is one of the top shopping destinations in Los Angeles. The Grove is an outdoor shopping center with a nice variety of shops and restaurants. Their annual Christmas Tree lighting takes place every November with celebrities. You can enjoy their beautiful Christmas tree throughout the holiday season and meet Santa Claus. This is a great place to bring your family & friends during the holiday season. You never know what celebrities you will run into at a book signing at the Barnes and Noble here.
The Disneyland Resort
One of the best places to visit in Southern California is The Disneyland Resort. Disney is even better at the holidays. Make sure to check out the holiday-themed attractions like It’s A Small World and the Haunted Mansion which have both been decorated for the season. The Christmas parade and fireworks are a must see as well.
Hollywood Christmas Parade
The Hollywood Christmas Parade takes every year following Thanksgiving. This is a great chance to see celebrities and get into the Christmas spirit. Tickets can be purchased for grandstand seating which includes viewing for the musical performances. You can view the parade for free from various locations.
Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood
On select dates in December and January, the holiday season is in full swing at Universal Studios Hollywood. Some of the highlights are meeting the Grinch and Max and seeing the Whoo’s in Whoville during the tram ride. The Christmas tree is one of the prettiest trees I have ever seen. If you are planning to go to Universal Studios anyways be sure to go on a day with Grinchmas.
Jingle Ball & Jingle Ball Village
Every December the Jingle Ball takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The concert is a great chance to see several popular singers in one night. Whether you have tickets to the concert or not you can attend the Jingle Ball Village beforehand at LA Live. In addition to seeing mini performances by some of the singers, you have a chance to win some great prizes. The last time I went I walked away with a bag full of swag and free tickets to see the LA Zoo Lights.
La Zoo Lights
The Mission Inn Festival of Lights
The Mission Inn Festival of Lights has been on my to do list for the last few years. I was finally able to see the lights in person and I was amazed! Be sure to arrive early. Groups are let in to see the light display one at a time. The great part about that is that you and your group can get a picture under the archway without anyone else in the background. It takes patience to get in but the lights are truly worth it. The hotel itself is worth checking out even when it isn’t decorated so the gorgeous decorations are icing on the cake.
Newport Beach Boat Parade
This has been happening for 108 years and is a favorite activity among locals. The parade features boats, yachts, and more with beautiful lights that reflect off the water.
The Rose Parade takes place every New Years Day in Pasadena, California. You can purchase seats in the grandstands or wake up early and try to get a front row seat on the sides of the parade route. Every float is made of flowers and is really something special to see in person.
Skating by the Sea
Skating by the sea at Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California is a fun thing to do. How many times can you go ice skating at the beach? This beautiful hotel is full of history and beautiful Christmas decorations. If you are planning on going to San Diego make sure to plan on stopping by Hotel Del.
White Christmas Sing-a-long with the LA Philharmonic
The White Christmas sing-a-long at the Walt Disney Concert Hall is your chance to see this classic with live accompaniment. Plus, you get to see the spectacular Walt Disney concert hall.