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What to do in Los Angeles in December

Updated: October 9, 2023
 By Mel

This post covers the best things to do in Los Angeles in December.

It includes free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities, all updated for 2023.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER

This section will feature our top 10 activities to enjoy in LA throughout December.

For tips on the most popular activities in LA, check out our other popular posts:


1. Go on a Sightseeing Tour

We offer pay-what-you-like walking tours, or you can try our self-guided walking tours.

Check out our calendar to book a guided walking tour.

If you’re looking for a bus tour, we have a great comparison of L.A.’s best.

From hop-on-hop-off buses to nonstop nighttime tours, you’ll find one to suit you.

Another option is to check out a studio tour. See what it is like to be a working Hollywood actor or a gaffer. Or find out what a gaffer does!

Check out our post about Studio tour options.


2. Go to a Concert

Los Angeles is one of the biggest hubs for entertainment in the world, so you can expect a number of well-known musical artists to perform in the area throughout the month.

Concerts

Music Festivals

  • Besame Mucho Fest | December 2nd | Dodger Stadium | feat: Mana, Los Bukis, and more
  • Forever Midnight | December 30th-31st | Los Angeles Convention Center | feat: Christoph, Dennis Cruz, and more

Find all of this month's concerts here.


3. Go to a Sporting Event

There are several professional sports teams in the Los Angeles area, and many of them will be performing at home this December.

Football

Basketball

Hockey

Note that the LA Bowl takes place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on December 16th.

Seeing a big game is a great way to spend your afternoon or evening!

For more things to do at night, check out the section below.


4. Enjoy a Theatrical Production

Although Los Angeles is known more for its movies, other genres of entertainment can be found in the city.

There are a number of shows taking place on the stage in December.

Musicals

Opera/Ballet/Classical Music

Family-Friendly

Click here to see even more shows taking place in the LA area in December..


5. Catch Some Stand-Up Comedy

Los Angeles is home to some of the most famous comedians in the world, and many others are drawn to perform in the city throughout the year.

As a result, there are great stand-up shows happening in the LA area.

Live Stand Up

Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Check out this list of other comedy performances taking place in Los Angeles in December.


6. Holidays at Universal Studios

In December, Universal Studios, one of the biggest attractions in LA, will transform itself for the holiday season.

Guests will enjoy a made-over Wizarding World of Harry Potter with nightly snowfall and loads of holiday decor.

Visitors will also be able to get into the spirit at Grinchmas, a Grinch-themed spectacle that’s totally decked to the halls–Who-ville style!

Check out our post Universal Studio Tickets for details about the studio, ticket prices, discounts, attractions, and more.


7. Christmas with the LA Philharmonic

Fans of the classic Christmas movie Home Alone will have a chance to experience the film in concert this holiday season.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will be performing the music of the brilliant John Williams as the movie plays in the background on December 20th, 21st, and 22nd.

Tickets can be purchased here.

The concerts take place at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is well known for producing some of the best sound quality of any concert hall in the world.


8. Attend A Comic Festival

The annual LA Comic Con returns with "comics, gaming, cosplay, anime, and pop culture."

Almost 100,000 people attend this event. You can also find over 700 vendors selling comics, collectibles, arts and crafts, and more.

Don't miss the meet and greets where you can get up close and personal with someone from your favorite movie, TV show, or game.

Events take place December 1st-3rd at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Visit the LA Comic Con website for more details and to purchase tickets.


9. Head to Lightscape

The LA County Arboretum comes alive with stunning illuminated installations.

Guests can follow the Serpent Trail and Forest Path past a light cathedral, a fire garden, an arch of light, and so much more

There will be food trucks and a full bar as well. And Santa will be making an appearance on certain nights.

Lightscape runs from November 17th-January 2nd. Visit the website for more information and tickets.

Other holiday light events include:


10. Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

There are several tourist attraction discount passes available in Los Angeles, and each one offers an opportunity to save money on the most popular activities in this city.

While all-inclusive passes provide admission to dozens of attractions over the course of a specific number of days, there are also services that allow you to pay one flat price for a set number of activities instead.

Alternatively, you can also “build your own pass” and save up to 20% off general admission prices at several popular locations when you purchase at least four tickets.

Here are some of the more notable attractions included with these tourist passes:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tours
  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Sony Pictures Studio Tour
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • TCL Chinese Theatre Tour
  • Natural History Museum
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Los Angeles Zoo
  • OUE Skyspace
  • LEGOLAND
  • And more!

In addition to receiving general admission for these activities, you’ll also get skip-the-line privileges at a few of the more popular locations.

Depending on which service you use and how you plan out your itinerary, a Los Angeles tourist pass could save you anywhere from 20% - 50% off tickets.

Read our post comparing the different LA tourist discount passes. Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.

For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in LA.


FREE THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER

Los Angeles always has free events for the whole family to attend. In fact, some of the events we’ve listed above are also free to attend!

For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in LA.


Attend the Hollywood Christmas Parade

On December 26th, head down to Hollywood to grab your spot for the famous (and over 90 years old) Hollywood Christmas Parade.

There will be giant floats, entertainment, music, horses, and plenty of celebrities.

The parade route runs along Hollywood Boulevard, Vine Street, and Sunset Boulevard.

It's a fun way to start the holiday season!


See the Hollywood Sign

Located in Griffith Park, this historic sign is absolutely free to visit throughout the year – all you have to do is make the hike!

While the walk to this sign isn’t necessarily going to be easy for everyone, it won’t cost a thing to enjoy this activity and you’ll burn a few calories while you’re at it.

Hike to Hollywood Sign Los Angeles

While you’re in the area, you may also want to enjoy one of the best views of Los Angeles at the Griffith Park Observatory.

If you don’t mind spending a few bucks, you can take a Hollywood Hills hiking tour which includes a trip to the Hollywood sign.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out our post covering free things to do in Los Angeles.


Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art

Featuring a vast amount of contemporary and pop art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA, is a great place to spend an afternoon. 

Stroll through their galleries to see the artwork of names like Roy Lichtenstein, Franz Klein, Mark Rothko, and Jean Frautier among many others. 

General admission is "free courtesy of Carolyn Clark Powers", and can be collected from the website in advance.

This is just one of many museums in the city that offers free entry.

If you’re interested in visiting other locations, please read our post covering free museums in Los Angeles.


Go for a Hike

The weather in LA in December can be crystal clear blue skies and very moderate temperatures, making it the perfect climate for a lovely afternoon hike.

For a popular option, check out Runyon Canyon Park where you’ll have 360-degree views of downtown LA, the Hollywood Sign & Griffith Observatory, and even the ocean on clear days. It’s free to hike in the park!

Tip: Check out our post on things to do in Griffith Park for even more hiking options!


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN DECEMBER

Below is just a sampling of the many things to do at night in December.

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post, Things to do at Night in LA.


See Los Angeles After Dark on a Night Tour

See the city lights, a movie studio, celebrities' homes, or Hollywood's hippest night clubs by taking a night tour.

Night Bus Tours are popular and fun. Check out the LA City Tour By Night to get an overview of the city.

If you came to see the stars (and not the ones in the sky), take a Celebrity Home tour that runs into the early evening.

For TV and movie buffs, you can take a Paramount Studios After Dark tour.

Want to dive into the LA night scene? Take a Hollywood Club Crawl!


Check out a Los Angeles Bar

There are many places to get a good drink in L.A.  Below are just a sample of suggestions.

Go to the 7 Grand for a great whiskey bar. If you are a rum lover- head to Pouring With Heart. 

The Slipper Clutch is like an 80s punk rock scene. Cocktails are super fancy but not super expensive since they are pre-batched.   

Want to go back in time to a Hollywood-style swing bar?  Go to the Cicada Club.

Looking for a themed- bar?  Try Scum & Villainy in Hollywood- It is a STAR WARS-themed bar.

Want a really interesting experience?  Look for Hollywood’s favorite speakeasy No Vacancy.


Attend a Public Star Party at Griffith Park Observatory

One Saturday every month, the Observatory hosts a Star Party where guests can try amazing telescopes between 2:00 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. on the lawn. 

You can also check out the free museum while you are there!


Holiday Boat Parades

Want a truly unique experience? Attend a free holiday boat parade!

Could there be anything more L.A. than enjoying a parade near a beach?

See magnificent boats all dolled up for the Christmas season parade in marinas around the LA area.

You don’t need your own boat to attend.


Holiday Fireworks at Manhattan Beach

A great way to really feel the holiday spirit in a local community is to attend the Manhattan Beach Fireworks.

There will be music, vendors, and of course, a spectacular fireworks display on December 10th, 2022.


Santa Monica Santa Pub Crawl

Join in on the holiday fun with the 15th annual “Santa” Monica Pub Crawl!

Pick a “Santa” bar route and attend the official after-party where all routes come together.

The pub crawl begins at 5 p.m. and raises money for the Westside Food Bank.

Come dressed as Santa or in your favorite holiday attire! This event is 21+ on December 16th, 2023.

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, read the other sections of this post or our post on things to do at night in LA.


THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN DECEMBER

There are lots of things to do in L.A. with families!

Here are a few more kid-friendly activities for the month of December.


WinterFest in the OC

Bring the whole family to WinterFest !

In years past there will be carnival rides and activities for everyone including tubing and SNOW that was brought in daily.

The website hasn't yet been updated but the dates are listed as November 24th, 2023 - January 7th, 2024.


Visit the LA Zoo

With over 250 species to visit, the LA Zoo is a great place to spend the day in LA with kids. They also have a beautiful botanical garden to enjoy!

You can get up close to some of these animals with experiences like giraffe feedings and mingling flamingos!

Tie a pass into it: Learn more about saving on admission to the LA Zoo with the LA Discount Pass.


Celebrate Holidays at a Theme Park

Most of the popular amusement parks in Los Angeles hold special holiday-themed events beginning in November.

Holidays at Disneyland Resort features a holiday-themed parade, fireworks, and even augments to popular rides such as It’s a Small World and the Haunted Mansion!

Knott’s Berry Farm turns into Knott’s Merry Farm which focuses more on holiday stage shows and even an ice show featuring Snoopy.

There are similar events at the following locations:

  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • LEGOLAND California

Admission to each of these theme parks is included with at least one major Los Angeles tourist pass.


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About The Author

Mel

Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: October 9th, 2023
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