The hustle and bustle of the holidays can get a bit stressful. Pressing pause from the constant fast forward is a welcome break, especially if it’s time spent with family and friends. Here are a couple of events and activities in and around Los Angeles to get even the grouchiest person into the holiday spirit. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS, ETC:
Sherman Oaks Lights on Display: Emmy Award winning video producer/editor Mike Ziemkowski’s “Lights on Display” was named one of the three top light displays in the nation by “Good Morning America.” It’s one dazzling show at his Sherman Oaks home, complete with videos, an animatronic DJ spinning elf, a singing Frosty the Snowman, and more, from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. daily through New Years Day. 3901 Longview Valley Rd., Sherman Oaks.
Candy Cane Lane: This Woodland Hills neighborhood has been a community tradition since 1952 — and a very crowded one at that. Candy Cane Lane is a group of homeowners at Lubao and Oxnard Streets in Woodland Hills who decide each year to put on an incredible holiday display of lights and decorations. Residents ask that visitors drive by no later than 10pm on weeknights, 11pm on weekends through December 31 (starting December 8). Exit off the 101 Fwy at Winnetka and go north.
Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza in Torrance: This neighborhood has a brilliant assortment of houses with festive lights. Many of the homeowners can be found outside with hot chocolate, kettle corn and other goodies. Check the Facebook page for the exact location.
Riverside Festival of Lights :There are more than three and a half million twinkling lights in a one block area at the 20h annual Festival of Lights in Riversides. Presented by Duane and Kelly Roberts, owners of The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, and coordinated by The Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and the Festival of Lights Committee. Visit before Christmas Eve for photos with Santa Claus in Santa’s Workshop. Don’t forget to check the outdoor ice skating rink and shopping.
Christmas Tree Lane in Oxnard: Visit this neighborhood with a ten block loop of homes fully decorated to the hilt through December 26. Trolley rides are available for $10 until Thursday or park your car and walk. The lights are on 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. daily thru December 26. F & G Streets between 5th and Palm, Oxnard
Christmas Tree Lane Altadena: Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane has been a tradition since 1920 where one quarter mile of cedar trees are strung with lights. It’s said to be the oldest Christmas tree lighting spectacle in the United States and is designated as a California Historical Monument. Not to miss in the area is the Balian House, a 1922 mansion with 10,000 lights on the walkway alone. The lighting of the tree will start on December 8 at 6 p.m., but the day will begin at 2 p.m.with an Arts and Crafts Festival in the Altadena Library Parking lot. Christmas Tree Lane will provide complimentary spiced hot cider, coffee and cocoa.Through January 7, dusk until 10 p.m. 1960 Mendocino Lane, Altadena, CA. Santa Rosa Ave. between Woodbury Ave. and Altadena Dr.
Marina Del Rey Boat Parade: This community is celebrating their 50th holiday boat parade on December 8 with fireworks shooting off at 5:55 p.m. and the parade beginning a 6 p.m. The Grand Marshall is three-time Beach Volleyball Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings. Burton Chace Park is one of the most popular outdoor viewing spots! There will be music, plus live commentary about each boat from announcers Lisa Osborn, a newscaster on radio KFWB-AM and Mickey Laszlo, a cartoon voiceover actor and former traffic reporter on KABC-TV. Want to see the parade closer up? Consider taking a cocktail cruise on a Hornblower boat.
Venice Canal Boat Parade: The annual parade is home grown with residents uniquely decorating boats. Boats begin to assemble on December 16 at 4 p.m. and the parade starts at 4:30pm at the corner of Eastern and Sherman Canals and goes around the entire canal. Park on side streets or on Ocean, Venice or Washington and take a stroll. Don’t miss the house at the corner of Carroll Ct. and Eastern Ct. with fully moving displays and tons of sparkling lights. Lights on through New Years Day.
Naples Long Beach: The houses around Naples Island shine bright. Park in the Mothers’ Beach lot off of Appian Way, or in the marine lots east of Davis Bridge, Marine Stadium, and 54th & Bayshore. Stroll around the island and enjoy the seasonal light display. Make a reservation for a gondola ride and pretend you are in Italy— or take a holiday waterfront Tour of Lights on a double decker bus.
Newport Beach: Christmas Boat Parade: It’s “Surf, Sand and Santa!” when this tony town continues its 104 year tradition starting December 19 and ending December 23. The parade starts off Bay Island at 6:30 p.m. and finishes at the same site at approximately 9 p.m. each evening when a fireworks display will ring in the finale. Watch as an array of multi-million dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes and other small boats light up the harbor with dazzling holiday lights and the sounds of music fill the air. Homeowners join in on the excitement with beautifully decorated homes as well. Don’t miss the Zimmerman House with its computerized light show.
Little Stars Family Art Event: Cella Gallery in North Hollywood is presenting a very special art show based on Peter Pan for kids of all ages who believe in magic and fairies and never growing old. Featuring new work by Wendy Crabb, Thea and Daniel Saks and introducing original works by children’s author and illustrator Johanna Wright (Bandits, The Secret Circus). The opening reception is Saturday, December 1 from 2 p.m. -5 pm. Free story readings for Peter Pan, unique arts & crafts, touchable art, paintings, sculpture and tea & cookies. The exhibit runs through December 15. 11135 Weddington St. #112, North Hollywood.
Christmas My Way: A Sinatra Holiday Bash! at the El Portal: Broadway performers Jason Graae, Heather Lee and Beth Malone along with Sinatra-like crooner Luca Ellis to serve up cool versions of Sinatra mainstays. Joined by a swingin’ live band, they sing Sinatra Christmas hits like “Mistletoe and Holly,” “The Christmas Song,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Silver Bells” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” So, get set for a fresh, energetic groovy Sinatra Christmas, with 40 classic hits perfect for the holidays. Opens December 13 and runs though New Years Eve (with a special celebration).
Rudolph the Red-Nose ReinDOORS at the Falcon Theatre: It’s another hilarious production by the Troubadour Theater Company when our favorite reindeer meets up with the music of The Doors. Rudolph the Red-Nose ReinDOORS, directed by Matt Walker, the third production of its 2012-2013 Subscription Season. Celebrate the Season with the Ovation Award-winning Troubies as they give a wild, stripped-down, bare bones, rock re-telling of the classic holiday tale of Rudolph, with a sexy, sultry, scary soundtrack of DOORS style music – and snow.
A Christmas Carol at the Grove Theatre: Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, Marley’s Ghost, Scrooge and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future all make their appearance as three actors guides the audience through the story – sometimes as narrators, sometimes as storytellers, and sometimes as characters, but always using the actual words of Charles Dickens. The show runs approximately 80 minutes with no intermission and is perfect for all ages from 12 to 102! Runs through December 16 Thu, Fri & Sat at 8 pm; Sun at 3 pm. Save $10 per ticket with discount code “Dickens” when ordering.
OUTDOOR ICE SKATING
Woodland Hills Ice: This outdoor ice rink next to Westfield Topanga features over 7000 square feet of real ice, offering daily recreational ice skating along with special events, skating exhibitions and shows, birthday parties, holiday activities, skating lessons, date nights and more throughout the holiday season thorough January 27. Open Monday – Thursday (non holiday): 1 p.m-10 p.m.,Fridays (non holiday): 1p.m.-Midnight, Saturdays and Holidays: 9am-Midnight, Sundays: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Children (3 & under) FREE; Children (4-12) $7 per session Helmets are required for all children 12 & under unless parent signs a helmet waiver. Students/Seniors/Military (with ID) $8 per session. Adults $10 per session ALL DAY, ALL AGE SKATE PASS $12. Skate Rental $5 (skate rental is charged on a daily basis). Unlimited passes and family passes available. 6100 Topanga Cyn. Blvd. Woodland Hills (310) 854-4151 www.woodlandhillsice.com
Holiday Ice Rink in Culver City This new ice rink is located in the middle of Culver City’s primary shopping, dining and entertainment district close to the infamous Culver Hotel (from Wizard of Oz lore). The 50′x90′ rink is the perfect escape for lunch breaks, date nights, play dates, and holiday family “stay-cations” for all ages. Admission is $10, and kids 12 and under are $6. Skate rental is $4. Group and party rates are available. Open daily through January 7. Hours vary so click here for info.
ICE in Downtown Santa Monica Surf meets the ice at the corner of 5th Street and Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica. Now in its sixth year, the 8,000 square ft. rink by the beach offers residents and visitors a Winter Wonderland by the beach. Mon-Thurs: 2 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday: 2 p.m. – Midnight, Saturday: 10 a.m. – Midnight, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Admission and Skate Rental: $12, Season Pass: $150 (weekdays only until 5pm), Locker Rental: $10 (with $5 refund upon key return). Open through January 21. Party Packages available. There’s even private cabanas! www.iceatsantamonica.com
CHILL at The W Hotel Westwood Only in L.A.! Here’s a date night for you…or a holiday magic stay-cation. Cozy cabanas, creative cocktails, eclectic cuisine and ice skating — it’s a chill fest in Westwood. The W Westwood, the swanky hotel on Hilgard Avenue, has turned its backyard pool, WET, into CHILL, a 1600 hundred square foot hybrid, environmentally friendly ice skating rink. Specialty cocktails and warm comfort food at The Ice Bar Ice skate performances by StudioSK8, Saturdays at 8 p.m.Children can decorate gingerbread cookies, weekends 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Open to the public and available for private events. Open daily through January 3, but closed on select days for private parties. $10 admittance (per hour) includes skate rentals.W Hotel. Through January 1, 2012 The W Hotel 930 Hilgard Ave., Westwood.
Pershing Square Downtown Celebrating its 15th season, Downtown on Ice is the closest thing Los Angeles has to Rockefeller Center. Surrounded by looming skyscrapers, there’s no better way to have fun in the city and a cool way to do it at a low cost. Admission is $6 (+skate rental $2). FREE events, including the “12 Nights of Christmas Music Series,” the Winter Holiday Festival with Santa, his “live” reindeer and tons of real snow, Lunch & Munch concerts, Menorah Lighting and Kwanzaa celebrations, championship skating exhibitions, charity broomball games, and more. Check schedule for exact times. Pershing Square 532 S. Olive St. Los Angeles, CA 90014 Phone: (213) 847-4970. http://laparks.org/pershingsquare/. Through January 21.
LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE Yes, there’s more downtown skating and its right across from The Staples Center. This is the fourth year L.A. Live has opened its skating rink, so rink hop to this 70 by 50 foot wonderland with room for up to 200 skaters. $12 includes skates. Festive holiday lights are displayed along the streets throughout the L.A. LIVE district featuring 75,000 lights that adorn 50 ten-foot angels along with over 265,000 snowfall LED lights covering 150 trees. Check schedule for exact times. Closes January 3. Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE 800 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles.
The Lakes at Thousand Oaks Ice Rink It’s a winter wonderland filled with holiday décor at this shopping center in Ventura County. Fun for all ages, the ice rink is open daily. $9 admission and $4 skate rentals. Lessons and private party options are also available. Now through January 21, take a break from shopping and skate at this 60×60 ice rink. $9 admission with $4 skate rental. Private parties available. Check for exact schedule times. 2200 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard Thousand Oaks/
For more family fun in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, check out the Moms LA website http://momsla.com/los-angeles-holiday-events-2012-momslas-guide-to-family-fun.
We can also give the gift of time to the less fortunate through these volunteer opportunities, visit The Big Sunday Holiday List 2012 at http://bigsunday.org/get-involved/holiday-list-2012.