10 Unmissable Events To Get You Amped For The Holidays

SoCal will never be blanketed in snow and there's a serious lack of chestnuts roasting on open fires or impromptu sled sessions — but, that's not why you live here. Nope, L.A., the city of dreamers (and doers), doesn't let weather-related anything get in the way, when it comes to creating the ultimate, fantasy-like festive experience for the holiday season.
No matter where you fall on the naughty-or-nice scale, we've got a to-do for you (John Waters-loving Grinches included). From light-bedecked boat parades to the chicest of indie-holiday pop-ups and craft fairs, these top 10 events are turning this town into a full-on winter wonderland — if only for a limited time. So, mark your calendars, grab some garland, and let's go!
Supper and Skate at L.A. Live
What: $30 for skate rental, ice skating under a giant 66-foot Christmas tree, and a major meal — what’s not to love? Grab a group of friends and head downtown to L.A. Live for a skate-off of epic proportions, then follow up the calorie burn with a top-notch pre-fixe nosh at either Trader Vics or L.A. Market.
When: Now through Wednesday, January 2
Where: L.A. Live, 800 West Olympic Boulevard (at South Figueroa); no phone.

The Groundlings Holiday Show

What: Don’t miss this improvisation and sketch comedy theatre that has been making Angelenos belly laugh for over 36 years. The Groundlings School is renown as the ultimate comedy training camp in Hollywood, serving as the launchpad for the careers of comedic greats including Jennifer Coolidge, Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Kathy Griffin, Lisa Kudrow, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, and many, many more. This year, catch the who’s-who of comedy at this season’s The Groundling Holiday Show, featuring the likes of Steve Little of Eastbound & Down, Jim Rash of Community, Annie Sertich from Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Alex Staggs of Modern Family — proof that this season’s iteration will not disappoint.

When: Now through Tuesday, December 18

Where: The Groundlings Theater, 7307 Melrose Avenue (at Poinsettia Place); 323-934-4747.

Coup Los Angeles Holiday Pop-Up

What: Since featuring the Crybaby Presents design duo in our 30 Under 30 feature, the stylish duo have gone on to continually impress. Joining ranks with Cult Gaia and The Tappan Collective for a holiday-themed showroom shopping experience, head over to shop Tappan Collective's indie-inspired artworks and Cult Gaia's ethereal headbands. You’ll leave with gifts sure to knock the socks off even your pickiest friends.

When: Now through Monday, December 31

Where: Coup, 7908 Santa Monica Boulevard (at Fairfax Avenue); no phone.

Apt2B + Alpha Pop Up at Satine

What: Leave it to the experts to provide impeccably curated gifting options for the man/guy/boy/boychild on your list. Look no further than the Apt2B + Alpha Pop Up at Satine this month for your gifting duties, which boasts an impressive array of grooming, entertaining, and survival essentials (think Jack Spade manscaping kits and Alpha's in-house denim brand). And, with Apt2B’s sleek, minimalist furnishings, there’s no way you’ll be able to walk empty handed.

When: Now through Tuesday, January 1

Where: Satine, 8134 West 3rd Street (at South Kilkea Drive); 323-655-2142.


Nutcracker at the Los Angeles Ballet

What: From the revered company that brought us sold out performances of Black Swan last spring comes a full month of Nutcracker. The Los Angeles Ballet is bringing Tchaikovsky’s famous holiday classic to five theaters across town, starting at the Alex Theater in Glendale and closing on the westside in Redondo Beach. Choreographed by LAB artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, this full-length Nutcracker is set in 1912 Los Angeles and promises to enchant even the most ardently staunch Scrooges.

When: Now through Sunday, December 30

Where: Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton Street (at Snowden Avenue); 562-985-7000; UCLA Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court (at Charles E. Young Drive East); 310-825-4401; Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff Street (at Lindley Avenue); 818-677-3000; Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Boulevard; 310-937-6607.

Photos: Via L.A. Market; Courtesy of BWR PR; Courtesy of Coup; Courtesy of Apt2B; Courtesy of the Los Angeles Ballet


Ice Skating at Pershing Square

What: Nothing nails a romantic date night (with low-budget pricing!), quite like ice skating at Pershing Square. Ringing in its 15th year, all are welcome to get their glide on through the holiday season at L.A.’s biggest outdoor rink, open now through January 21. And it’s not just Michelle Kwan aspirations and Scott Hamilton flexing in the rink. Holiday happenings abound with free events including a winter concert series, championship skating exhibitions, broomball games, and the Winter Holiday Festival. All that for $8 bones is pretty hard to beat.

When: Now through Monday, January 21

Where: Pershing Square, 532 South Olive Street (at 5th Street); 213-847-4970.


West 3rd Street Holiday Street Party

What: Ain't no party like a retail rendezvous, complete with serious discounts and booze. Head to the West 3rd street-shopping corridor tonight and score some major merch for everyone on your list, plus music, cheer, and what have you. Don’t miss 10% off at Kathryn Amberleigh, 25% off at Trina Turk, tequila and beer at Civilianaire, and so much more.

When: Thursday, December 6, 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: West 3rd Street (between Fairfax and La Cienega); no phone.

A John Waters Christmas

What: Turn Christmas cheer on its head, and buckle up for the holiday perverse with an evening with legendary actor, director, and artist John Waters. Gather 'round the brains behind cult favorites like Pink Flamingos and Hairspray as he monologues about his distaste for holiday joy, explores the potential erotiscm of 'ol Santy Claus, and sheds light on his obsession with true holiday crime.

When: Thursday, December 6, 8 p.m.

Where: The Wilshire Ebell Theater, 743 South Lucerne Boulevard (at Wilshire Boulevard); 323-931-1277 .

Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade

What: Pack a picnic and cruise to the bay to take in a major, only-in-L.A. holiday event. Settle in at Burton Chace Park on the Marina Del Rey Harbor and watch thousands of brilliantly decorated boats pass through the harbor. This 50th anniversary spectacular is sure to awe, complete with fireworks and a parade.

When: Saturday, December 8, 6 p.m.

Where: Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way (at Admiralty Ave); 310-670-7130.

Echo Park Craft Fair

What: Your challenge: Save up your dollars and cents until you hit up the Echo Park Craft Fair. Featuring the high design wares of indie greats, including Beatrice Venezuela’s handmade leather shoes, bright clutches by Clare Vivier, Kathryn Bentley’s boho baubles, and so much more, there’s no way that you’ll walk away empty handed or have the folks on your list not be overjoyed by the one-of-a-kind, locally made treasures coming their way!

When: Saturday, December 15 noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 16, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: 821 East 3rd Street (at South Hewitt Street); no phone.

Photos: Courtesy of the City of Los Angeles Department Recreation and Parks; Courtesy of the West Third Street Business Association; Courtesy of Wilshire Ebell Theatre; Courtesy of the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade; Courtesy of the Echo Park Craft Fair

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