Holidays can be confusing in Los Angeles. Sure, it’s now December, but didn’t we just have a sweltering 90 degree Thanksgiving? While our friends on the east coast are cozying up with hot toddies by the fire, we’re sippin’ piña coladas on the beach in Malibu come January. That’s not entirely true (or is it?), but the sun-shiny weather can completely trip up an Angeleno’s holiday clock.
Luckily, this city goes above and beyond with festivities and celebratory shenanigans to remind us which month it is. With Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner, there are an array of jolly jubilations throughout Los Angeles to get you in the ultimate holiday spirit. Whether you wish to indulge in a yuletide cocktail or watch a totally lit boat parade, we’ve compiled a “nice” list for December’s best events.
Holiday Movies á la Rooftop
It’s been said that the best way to get into the holiday spirit is by watching your favorite flick. But, what about enjoying your most beloved holiday film whilst perched above Hollywood on a luxurious rooftop? We’re pretty sure The Montalbán holiday movie series will thoroughly redefine your usual screening.
Between December 1–23, the renowned theatre will be showcasing fan favorites, both new and old, for an exclusive holiday revelry. Whether you grab a few tickets for the family or plan a romantic night out, the Montalbán will undoubtedly cater to Angelenos of all ages. Cozy up under some warm blankets, nom on gourmet treats and savor a cup (or two) of mulled wine while watching your absolute favorite film, whether that be “Love Actually” or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
In Newport Beach, people don’t decorate Christmas trees—they string lights on mega-yachts, of course. Just like hanging ornaments has become an established holiday tradition, the Newport Beach Boat Parade is SoCal’s take on a timeless custom. Now in its 109th year, this annual craft cavalcade is one of the greatest sights to see in December.
More than 100 boats, both ginormous and small, parade around a 14-mile circuit in Newport Harbor while donned in breathtaking, jaw-dropping lights. If you’ve yet to experience this SoCal holiday tradition, definitely make your way to Newport Beach between December 13–17. Try to snag a reservation at a harbor-side restaurant or get cozy on the beach with blankets and (spiked) hot chocolate while the boats commence their merry march at 6:30pm.
Drink for a Cause
Throughout the year, you’ve likely volunteered, walked and donated money to charity. It’s been highly rewarding, of course, but now’s your chance to drink for those in need. On Saturday, December 16, the Santa Monica Pub Crawl presents an epic opportunity to do good by getting into the holiday spirit and siping cocktails at some of the hottest spots in the area. All proceeds go to the Westside Food Bank, so who says day-drinking on a Saturday is a bad thing?
Get a group of friends together, dress up in festive holiday garb and get your crawl on as you toast to health and happiness for all. A $15 admittance fee allows you to participate in one of four routes around Santa Monica, bringing you from restaurants like Tacoteca (you know where to find us) to Plan Check (because who can drink beer without a burger?). Sign up, dress up, drink, eat, be merry. Can you find a better way to celebrate the holidays and raise money for charity? Nope.
Queen Mary + Chill
The holidays aren’t typically chill in Los Angeles, but they should be—in both senses of the word. Laid back and snow-laden. With that being said, board the iconic Queen Mary between December 13 and January 7 as the ship transforms into a chilled out winter wonderland complete with a 38,000-square-foot ice adventure park, 140-foot ice slide for tubing, 300-foot-long zip line, crazy festive North Pole Village and much, much more.
If you’re in need of some cool, crisp air and over-the-top decorations to remind you which month it is, look no further than Long Beach (ironic, we know). And, even better? There’s a killer Ice Bar for the big kids while the little ones frolic in the snow. Throw on a parka, sip some above-freezing vodka and watch your Californian kiddos experience true winter rapture.
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