Things to Do in Los Angeles in January

This post covers the best things to do in Los Angeles in January, including free, nighttime, as well as family-friendly events and activities, updated for 2020.

 

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO

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

For tips on the most popular activities in LA, check out our posts on walking tours and bus tours

For more ideas on popular activities and attractions in LA, see our popular posts here: 


1) Attend the Theatre

Live theatre is a wonderful thing to enjoy while traveling. L.A. has several options in December. Los Angeles loves to entertain!

 

 

Here are just a few of the many plays and ballets happening in December 2019.

Click here to find all the theatre productions in LA this January.


2) Enjoy to a Concert

There are a lot of concert venues in Los Angeles. We’ve listed a few highlights below, but you can find information about concerts here. 

 

 

Find all Los Angeles concerts here.


3) Go to a Sporting Event

Cheer on your favorite L.A. teams in January!  Check the information below for game specifics.

Find all the games happening this month here.

 

 

Seeing a big game is a great way to spend your afternoon or evening! For more things to do at night, check the section down below.

Find all the sporting events in LA here.


4) 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.

Check out our Downtown Los Angeles which includes sites such as the Walt Disney Music Hall, the Bradbury Building and more.

 

 

We also have a Hollywood Tour which walks along the Walk of Fame to see sites like the Capitol Records building, the Hollywood sign, and the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Another option is to walk on your own with our self-guided Los Angeles tours and GPS enabled audio tours!


5) Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

To make the most out of your time in LA, and save a lot of money while seeing the sights, consider purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass.

You’ll pay one fee upfront and receive free or highly discounted entry into many of the city’s most popular attractions and activities.

 

 

Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.   

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.


6) Winter dineLA

A great way to sample some of LA’s most exclusive five-star dining establishments at a discounted price, dineLA offers a week of a set price, pre-fixe multi-course menus at dozens of restaurants citywide. 

 

 

It’s an excellent opportunity to discover new eateries and cuisines from January 17 – 21, 2020.

Reservations are strongly encouraged.


7) Kingdom Day Parade 

Join in on the 35th annual Kingdom Day Parade on January 20th to celebrate the life and legacy of the Civil Rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr. 

 

 

This free event draws thousands of spectators to see parade floats, marching bands, live performances, and more as the parade makes its way through downtown LA. 

This is a free event!

For more free things to do in LA, check out our full post.


8) Go Ice Skating

The holiday ice skating rink at Pershing Square in downtown LA stays open through January 21 and offers a fun atmosphere for everyone.

Skate rentals are available onsite for $5 and general admission is $9. 

 

 

Plus, the rink stays open until 9:30 pm or later every night so this is a great activity if you’re looking for something to do after the dinner hour! 


9) Celebrate New Year’s Eve 

LA is an excellent location to ring in the new year!

Check with restaurants to see who is offering special menus and drinks or go all out on the town! 

 

 

Popular events include celebrating the holiday aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, see a “little” and lively orchestra at the Disney Concert Hall, or attend a Prohibition themed party at Union Station. Events are 21+. 

 Also, be sure to check out our Holiday Post which features New Years.


10) Watch the Rose Parade or Rose Bowl

Venture out to Pasadena, California on January 1st. 2020 marks the 131st Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena!

This annual event draws nearly 700,000 spectators with millions more watching around the world.

See dozens of parade floats decorated in thousands of flowers, a number of marching bands and equestrian teams.

 

 

For everything, you need to know about the Rose Parade, click here. This event is free and great for the whole family!

One of the oldest bowls is turning 106 in 2020.

It is the Rose Bowl which is a college football game for the Pac-12 and the Big Ten Conference at the Rose Bowl Stadium. This event is on January 1, 2020.

While you are in Pasadena, read about some other things to do in Pasadena.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES IN JANUARY

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.


Check out the Autry Museum of the West

Located in Griffith Park, the Autry Museum of the West covers an extensive history of the American West.

Throughout the exhibits, see old western movie props, art, Native American artifacts, and more.

Best of all, admission to this attraction is FREE on January 1, so you don’t even have to pay full price to get inside!

For more ideas on activities and attractions in the park, check out our things to do in Griffith Park post!


Watch the Golden Globe Awards

This star-studded annual event takes place at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills each year in January. 

If you’re not set to make it to the big event, check local restaurants and bars for special drink menus or discounts, viewing parties, and more!

The Golden Globes air on January 5, 2020.


Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.

One way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. is to listen to the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra on January 18th at 2:00 pm. 

This is a free event!

 


This photo of California African American Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

There are also several free Museum events to honor MLK including, the California African American Museum on January 21, 2020.


National Parks are Free to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Spend some time at one of the National Parks that are a day trip away from Los Angeles without worrying about park admission fees. On January 21st, 2020, all National Parks are free to visit! 

Pack the car and head to Joshua Tree, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, or make your way to Yosemite instead. 

Free days can be busy but they are a big money saver!


Pants-Free Day on the Metro

An interesting event on January 13, 2020, is the “No Pants Day” on the metro. 

This could be an event to be silly at or to avoid! But either way, it will be cheeky.


Go for a Hike during L.A.’s Winter Weather

The weather in LA in January 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!


Attend a Live Taping

There is nothing more Hollywood than attending a live taping and it is free!

Many T.V. shows and game shows tape in LA, of course.

Looking for tips and tricks to getting free tickets? Check out our live taping blog here.


Free Yoga at Grand Park

In Downtown L.A. Grand Park hosts free yoga classes on Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:15. 

Anyone is welcome to come, but you must bring your own mat.

For more information, click here.


Experience the Women’s March

The annual Women’s March takes place in January and will bring together thousands of people of all cultures, races, political affiliations, and backgrounds for a march in downtown LA. 

This free event is something unique to experience.

The event will take place from 10 am – 3 pm in January, the specific date is yet to be determined.


Public Star Party at Griffith Park Observatory 

One Saturday every month the Observatory hosts a night where guests can try amazing telescopes between 2:00 pm – 9:45 pm on the lawn. 

 


This photo of Griffith Observatory is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

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


Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Grand- Free Thursdays

Each Thursday evening, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, MOCA Grand offers free admission to all visitors.

It’s a great way to introduce children to contemporary art and begin the conversation about what defines something as art. 

For even more free activities, see our Guide to Free Things to Do in LA.

 


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THINGS TO DO IN THE EVENING IN JANUARY

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

 

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


Moonlight Forest Magical Lantern Fest 

The Los Angeles Arboretum hosts the Moonlight Forest Magical Lantern Festival each winter.

Imagine life-size lanterns of pandas, flowers, and holiday friends lighting your path and the sky.  There will be live performers too!

This is a fun night time activity that is family-friendly from November through January 12, 2020. 


Enchanted Forest of Lights 

Walk through the beloved Descanso Gardens during the holiday season to experience the Enchanted Forest of Lights. 

 

 

It is a beautiful light display over 1 mile of walking. 

This activity is great for the whole family and you can visit November through January 5, 2020. Get ticket information here.


Go to the Cirque du Soleil Show

During January, you can catch the Cirque du Soleil Volta show in Los Angeles.

It is a truly unique experience and fun for the whole family.  


Head to the Wallis to see Music or Dance

The Wallis Center in Beverly Hills has amazing performances year-round. In January 2020, we can look forward to several fantastic events and entertainers.

 


This photo of Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

  • January 9 Simone Dinnerstein & Matt Haimovitz playing Beethoven/Glass – Music
  • January 12 | Art Garfunkel – Music
  • January 17-18 Contro-Tiempo – Dance
  • January 25 |  Megan Hilty & Cheyenne Jackson – Music
  • January 30-February 1  | Lula Washington – Dance

See Live Stand-Up Comedy

If you’re in need of a good laugh, Los Angeles is home to some of the best comedy clubs and improv in the world and there are a lot of notable comedians who perform here throughout the year.

Improv Comedy

Stand-Up Comedy

During the month of January, you can expect the following famous comedians to host stand-up specials in the LA area:

Find all the comedy shows in January here.


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.

  • Bar Clacson is the place to go for an AMAZING cocktail.  It is one of Eric Alperin’s bars and he is big in the “mixologist” world.  
  • Check out Hollywood’s favorite speak-easy No Vacancy.  It is a very unique experience!
  • 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.

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

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES IN JANUARY

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

 

 

For more ideas of things to do with kids in LA, see our post on things to do in LA with kids.


WinterFest 

Bring the whole family to WinterFestThere will be carnival rides and activities for everyone.

There will be tubing and actual SNOW that will be brought in daily.

WinterFest runs through January 5, 2020.


Bricks L.A.

If you are a LEGO-lover, you need to attend Bricks L.A. out in Pasadena, CA. 

It is essentially a Lego convention and tickets are only $5. Kids under 5 are free. It runs January 11 – 12, 2020.


Experience a Whale Watching Cruise

January is a great month to try to see Grey Whales in addition to dolphins and other marine life near LA.

Take the family on a whale-watching cruise and enjoy a couple of hours on the water trying to spot one of these great creatures!


See a movie at the el Capitan Theatre

There is nothing for L.A. than watching movies! 

The el Capitan Theatre is a gorgeous movie palace in the heart of Hollywood. The architecture is breathtaking!

If you are a Disney-lover, this is a great theatre to visit because it is owned by Disney and only plays Disney movies!

The best part is that there is often a pre-show event or performance on stage. Check their website for the updated movie schedule.


Visit the La Brea Tar Pits

Step back millions of years and discover what dinosaur, mammoth, and other fossils and bones have been found at these natural tar pits.

The museum includes a number of exhibits and interactive attractions. Opening hours and ticket prices vary.

La Brea Tar Pit in Los Angeles

Bonus: The museum offers free admission on the first Tuesday of the month (reserved free tickets are strongly recommended).


Travel Town

Does your kiddo love trains?

A great activity is to go to Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park.  

There are daily miniature train rides as well as docent tours the second Saturday of the month.


Take a Day to Go to Disneyland

January is the best month to visit world-famous Disneyland! Why? Because most American schools are back in session so the lines are short! 

Plus, it is “winter” in California so the weather is perfect for a day of romping around riding rides. 

For more ideas of things to do with kids in LA, see our post things to do in LA with kids.

 


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About the author

Manager | Chicago & Los Angeles

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!