2022 Best Christmas and Holiday Events in Los Angeles and Orange County
Updated for 2022 Holidays
We’ve created the Ultimate Southern California Holiday Event Guide for Special Events in Los Angeles and Orange County to be your go-to resource for the holiday season. Our holiday event guide provides lots of fun things to do to celebrate the season in and around Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego! Did we miss something? Send us an email so we can add it! Check out our Community Calendar for even more local events (and free events) this holiday season!
If you are looking for the perfect holiday gifts, check out LA’s Best Experience Gifts for Kids and our local South Bay Shopping Guide and South Bay Shopping Guide for Kids. The guides are filled with many options to get your holiday shopping done while supporting our local businesses.
And don’t miss a thing by signing up to receive our weekly “What’s Happening in the South Bay” Community Newsletter!
Best Christmas and Holiday Events In and Around Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego
Los Angeles Christmas and Holiday Events
South Coast Botanic Garden’s: Astra Lumina in Los Angeles
December 8, 2022 – January 15, 2023
Welcome to Astra Lumina LA, a garden on the ground with a unique link to the sky above. This is an exceptional place. As dusk falls, the garden prepares for a spectacular occasion: a visit from the stars. Stargazers are invited to go on this celestial trip via the garden’s celestial walkway in order to experience the wonder of the stars and embrace their own inner light. These brilliant spheres regenerate, rise, and reconnect in the night sky as the night goes on, shining brighter than ever before.
November 25 – December 30
The legendary Christmas Road holiday experience in Calabasas is back again for a unique experience for visitors of all ages. The spectacular walking trail is packed with illuminated lights, larger-than-life Christmas displays, and iconic holiday images. Grab a drink or a holiday treat and head out on the road!
Enchanted Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens
November 20, 2022–January 8, 2023
Enchanted Forest of Light is a one-mile trek through several inspiring lighting experiences in some of the most adored locations of Descanso Gardens. It is an immersive experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles. Popular recurring favorites include a town of dazzling “stained glass” houses by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin created in the Rose Garden, sparkling geometric installations from HYBYCOZO on the Main Lawn, Flower Power on the Promenade, and exquisite lighting and sound effects in the Ancient Forest.
Enchanted is a rain-or-shine event. Tickets must be bought in advance, have timed entrance, and are non-refundable.
November 18, 2022 – January 22, 2022
The merriest winter tradition in Los Angeles has been redesigned for the 2022–2023 season! For a wildlife-focused experience that is as uplifting as it is magnificent, explore an immersive landscape filled with spectacular lantern sculptures of animals among blooming flowers, towering trees, and more.
We all share the natural world, thus everyone is invited to enjoy this celebration of the glories of the natural world!
The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey
Taking a break in 2022
November 11, 2022 -January 8, 2023
The Arboretum is transformed into an illuminated nighttime experience thanks to the critically acclaimed international spectacle of light, art, and music known as Lightscape! Explore a trail that has been widened to encompass the spectacular Winter Cathedral as you stroll past stunning new installations. The family-friendly strolling event Lightscape is excellent for holiday entertainment and reunions. Lightscape is appropriate for all ages and can be enjoyed by everybody. Anyone under the age of 18 needs to have an adult with them.
November – January
Visit Santa at his North Pole Cabin, where the fire is always burning and the memories are made to last a lifetime! In his lovely cabin, the Jolly One enjoys visits from all good girls and boys. Santa may be seen working and preparing for the Big Night (Christmas Eve)! There’s so much holiday cheer to be found at Santa’s Village! Hop aboard the Northwoods Express Train, go for a skate in the Silver Bell’s Arena, check out the sparkling lights in the Village and the Fantasy Forest, and so much more! While you’re there, check Santa’s mailbox to deliver your wish list, or write a beautiful thank you note for the presents you’ve gotten this year.
Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood, Grinchmas, & CityWalk Holidays
Friday, November 25, 2022 and Running Daily Through Sunday, January 1, 2023
Beginning on Friday, November 25, 2022, and continuing every day until Sunday, January 1, 2023, Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates the “Awesomest Celebration of the Season” with the return of fan favorites “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and “Grinchmas.” The cost of theme park entrance includes participation in all holiday celebrations.
Beverly Center Welcomes ‘The Immersive Nutcracker’ Magical Experience, November 26 — December 31
The ultimate holiday adventure for the whole family is The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle! Children all throughout the world have been charmed by The Nutcracker for almost 130 years. Your family may now witness the traditional holiday story on a grand scale, as never before. The sweeping music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, featuring well-known pieces like “The March of the Toys” and “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” will amaze your family as they are engulfed in festive splendor!
Treat your family to The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle this holiday season for a truly unique Christmas spectacle!
November 25 – December 24, 2022
There’s so much holiday fun to enjoy on the farm! The Animal Center, seasonal photo opportunities, tractor-drawn wagon rides, a holiday shop, and pick-your-own fields are all included in the admission price (pickings an additional fee). Letters for Santa’s Animal Shows (Only on Weekends, 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm) and Reindeer! – 12/10, 12/11, 12/17, 12/18 9am – 5pm. And of course, there are Santa visits on weekends only through December 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Parking & Children Under 2 Are FREE. Every day, $2 off the price of admission is given to seniors (65+), members of the military, veterans, and emergency first responders (with valid ID).
Nov. 25, 2022 – Jan. 6, 2023, Nightly
This iconic one-mile train ride through Griffith Park gets its annual festive overlay with thousands of glittering Christmas lights and holiday displays. New this year, in addition to the train ride, you can check out the Holiday Kiosk for gifts and snap photos at the three winter-themed photo booths. Tickets are available in person and online.
Nov. 23, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023
Despite the sunny days and warm winter weather, you can enjoy outdoor ice skating in Los Angeles! The Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square is an enchanting holiday experience for experienced skaters and newbies alike. The rink offers open skate sessions as well as 60-minute skate lessons. Hours and times vary by day.
LA Kings Holiday Ice is back at this winter season at L.A. LIVE! It’s not every day you can ice skate in the middle of Downtown LA.
Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 2022.
Pancake breakfast with Santa, a holiday parade, live music and all kinds of exciting farm demonstrations await at Gilchrist Farms! You can also write letters to Santa, buy unique handmade holiday gifts, and so much more.
Dec 3 – 31, 2022
Join us for a month of Christmas cheer at Grand Central Market beginning on Saturday, December 3. From unique Santa visits to Instagrammable picture opportunities, Christmas workshops, live music, and more, there is a lot to see and enjoy with food, friends, family, and fun.
Orange County Christmas and Holiday Events
Nov. 25, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023
The OC Fair & Event Center is transformed into a winter wonderland with Winter Fest OC, which features extravagant Christmas decorations, more than a million lights, and countless opportunities for creating memories. Enjoy the charm of the holiday season with old favorites from Winter Fest OC and brand-new events! The North Pole Journey, ice skating outside while the stars shine, a 150-foot ice tube slide, a snowboard simulator, carnival thrills, food and drinks, a holiday market, photo opportunities, and much more are among the events.
November 25 – December 30
A happy and bright celebration! The Japanese term “hikari” means “shine,” and over the Christmas season, they truly made Tanaka Farms sparkle with over a million glittering lights!
Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while you take a tour of the “Land of a Thousand Lanterns!” There will be live music, refreshments, photo opportunities, arts and crafts, a barnyard, animals, and, of course, holiday lights! For a photo opportunity, visit Santa! (Each activity has a different pricing)
114th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights
December 14 – 18, 2022
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Committee, under the direction of The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, will continue with its parade route starting and ending point at Tip of Lido Isle as the 114th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade moves through Newport Harbor this December. From December 14 to December 18, 2022, the parade will start at roughly 6:30 p.m. each night.
Participants in the parade will begin at the easternmost point of Lido Island and proceed along the famed route, with the 10.5-acre Marina Park serving as the first location for spectators to watch. The community park is the best place to congregate and take in the festivities because it has 177 parking places, a playground with a nautical motif, a picnic area, and a sailing facility. It is also the largest public viewing area along the parade route.
From the Dine & Watch waterfront and Dine & Walk dining options nearby the various public viewing spots, locals and visitors will have the best views of the brilliantly adorned yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes sail in the parade.
November 26th – December 23rd
It’s time for the annual Christmas Train run by Irvine Park Railroad. Take this magical trip around the historic Irvine Regional Park with your family and friends to see Santa Claus. Passengers will be dropped off to the North Pole by the train when it departs from the train station. In addition to sharing their wish list with Santa, kids can also get their picture taken with him. You can either purchase a photo shot by Irvine Park Railroad or snap images using your own camera.
Reboard the train after your visit with Santa to take in the festive holiday lights, decorations, and the enchanted “Tunnel of Lights” as you travel back to Santa’s Village.
Five Weekends: November 19-December 18, 2022
A one-of-a-kind holiday art festival, Winter Fantasy features 165 artists’ handcrafted gifts, three stages of live music, community performances, carolers, puppeteers, art classes, and daily visits with Santa Claus. It also offers a festive, handcrafted shopping experience in a magical winter wonderland with thousands of lights and decorations.
December 3, 2022 through December 30, 2022
Holiday festivities are held at the sole Mission in Orange County. Join them for a daytime entrance to the Mission and an evening of festive programs and entertainment. Create enduring memories by taking pictures with your family in front of our 10′ wreath, enjoy a Christmas tree lighting ceremony with our 30′ tree, and offer a candle in prayer for peace and goodwill next to the large-scale nativity scene in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church.
Enjoy performances by carolers from the Dickens era and take pictures with Santa. The most historic chapel in California is the Serra Chapel, which is open after hours. Enjoy the Mission lit up, the community Christmas trees dotted about the grounds, the Mission Store’s extended holiday hours, and more. On specific days during the program, there will also be a sweets and crafts seller for children as well as unexpected performances.
Knott’s Taste of Merry Farm, Buena Park
November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023
This year, from November 18 to January 8, Knott’s Merry Farm is brimming with Christmas cheer. Experience the biggest Christmas celebration at Knott’s with decorations based on a winter wonderland that turn the entire park into a traditional holiday festival. These decorations include a landscape covered in tens of thousands of twinkling lights, miles of themed garland, jumbo snowflakes, and a variety of picturesque seasonal settings. Family-friendly Christmas activities and happy encounters infused with the holiday spirit are available at Knott’s Merry Farm.
This Christmas, park visitors of all ages may take in Christmas performances including Home for the Holidays, a musical revue with traditional Christmas songs, festive decorations, wonderful dancing toys, and sparkling snow, all presented on a lavish, changing wintertime stage. The adored ice performance with the Peanuts Gang, the renowned beagle, and a group of expert ice skaters are returning during the Christmas season to Knott’s Merry Farm.
Nov. 11, 2022 – Jan. 8, 2023
Decked out in festive lights and holiday decorations, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are the perfect spots to get into the season’s spirit. Both theme parks feature plenty of holiday-themed events and activities, like the Christmas parade, The Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion, and snow on Main Street. And, of course, tons of delicious holiday treats can be found across the resort.
December 9 – 18, 2022
With tickets to this annual Christmas concert, you may give the gift of a treasured memory this holiday season. The performance features audience-favorite scenes from Christmas shows past and present, and even a magical look at Christmas shows to come.
Previews: Nov. 26-Dec. 1, 2022
Regular Performances: Dec. 2 – 24 2022
Advisory: Ages 6 and up. Children under the age of six will not be admitted to A Christmas Carol.
The most cherished holiday custom in Orange County continues! From the opening “Bah humbug” to the closing “Wassail,” this enduring holiday favorite is sure to have you in the festive spirit again. Join all your favorite Dickens characters, including Richard Doyle’s portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge as well as Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
December 10-24, 2022
Enjoy this cherished tradition as almost 300 performers dressed in stunning costumes bring famous holiday music to life. Travel to the magnificent Land of Sweets, the residence of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, via a fascinating world filled with life-size dolls, toy soldiers, and tiny snowflakes. You may expect exuberant dances from the French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic cultures. The longest-running Nutcracker in Orange County is the epitome of a happy family tradition.
Select Nights from December 1–22 | 5 – 7 PM | All ages
Explore the historic Casa Romantica coastal mansion and gardens at night, when they are turned into a festively lit winter wonderland! Each evening of the Casa Lumina Holiday Walk will feature an illuminated tour of Casa Romantica, live performances from regional artists, holiday-themed crafts like Letters to Santa, and hot chocolate.
December 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22
6 pm – 9 pm each night
There will be three entry times: 6 pm, 6:45 pm & 7:30 pm.
Walk the red carpet and pass through the sparkling light tunnel, as you make your way to the “Moulin Rouge,” a Parisian dance hall in the Tea Garden with can-can dancers and French cabaret singers. Snap pictures beside a vintage 1938 Packard 120 Convertible Sedan. Black-and-white images of Tinseltown from the Sherman Library & Gardens archive serve as illustrations for Sherman’s tiny railway, the Christmas Express, which transports you back in time as you travel through the historic Hollywood Hills.
Riverside Christmas and Holiday Events
Select dates November 20th-December 28th, 2022
As they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ for a wonderful one-hour ride to meet Santa, travelers will relive the magic of the famous story set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack. Once on board, your vehicle hostesses will proceed through the coach and punch your golden ticket before dancing chefs bring hot cocoa and a delectable cookie. The iconic children’s novel The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg was then read aloud to the passengers.
Each passenger receives the first present of Christmas after Santa and his helpers board the train to greet the passengers. Characters on each car immerse guests in theatrical onboard entertainment throughout the journey, just as in the movie! Each traveler will return home with a souvenir sleigh bell in addition to the beautiful memories they created on this enchanted journey.
November 25, 2022 – January 6, 2023
The Festival of Lights started in 1992 as a present to the neighborhood, and it has since become a cherished annual event. Over 500,000 people travel there each year, all of whom are delighted to see the exhibit come to life during the holidays. Kelly Roberts, co-owner, vice chairman, and chief operating officer, stated, “We love seeing the happiness that the celebrations bring to individuals of all ages who look forward to sharing this special time of year with us. Duane Roberts, a co-owner, continued, “It makes us happy to see kids and individuals of all ages light up as they watch the property lights switch on. The Festival of Lights is a holiday that the whole family enjoys every year.
November 25 – December 30, 2022
From 6:00 pm to 10 pm On select nights
You’re invited to spend an evening at ILLUMINATE SILVERLAKES in nearby Norco, a new family-friendly world of delightful nighttime holiday enchantment with live entertainment, dining, holiday shopping, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and much more, if you’re looking for family holiday fun or a festive night out with friends. Join us from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on a few nights between November 25 and December 30, 2022. Every night is a joyous Christmas party!
Visitors can take in live musical performances, entertaining events, breathtaking holiday light displays, delectable seasonal fare and Christmas appetizers, holiday gift offerings, and magical experiences for all at ILLUMINATE SILVERLAKES! The warmth of a magical Christmas season is open to visitors of all ages as they ILLUMINATE SILVERLAKES!
San Diego Christmas and Holiday Events
Holidays at LEGOLAND, Carlsbad
November 20 – January 2
Santa and the Toy Soldier, as well as The Gingerbread Man, are back for the holidays! They’re all set for holiday hugs, selfies, and photos. Then go over to Fun Town, where you’ll find a 30-foot-tall LEGO® Christmas tree with over 400 LEGO ornaments. As the day draws to a close, the tree twinkles to Christmas tunes at the Holiday Light Show, and guests can enjoy falling “snow.”
Do you require any other photos? Climb on a sleigh drawn by a life-size LEGO Santa and his dependable reindeer. There are over 60 rides, shows, and activities at LEGOLAND California Resort, in addition to the festive fun, cuisine, and live music.
November 12 through Jan 2
From November 12 through January 2, gather your family and friends for SeaWorld Christmas Celebration. SeaWorld transforms into a winter wonderland brimming with holiday cheer, excitement, and more than 3 million shimmering lights. Winter Wonderland on Ice, a show-stopping ice-skating spectacle, is only one example of award-winning entertainment. Meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or pay a visit to Santa at Wild Arctic®. Create lasting holiday memories with a wonderful Christmas event only available at SeaWorld.
We hope you enjoy our Holiday Event Guide, for more Holiday Fun, check out these posts: