17 IRL holiday diversions: SoCal lights, music and fun for kids


Looking to get the heck out of the house? As COVID-19 case counts hit new highs, Californians are hearing an important call to stay home, but for those seeking a masked mental-health respite from home isolation, these drive-in performances, drive-through light displays and outdoor art exhibits might help the new year arrive a little faster.

“Lit: A Drive-thru Hanukkah Experience”
Synchronized light displays and projection installations are set to a soundtrack. Includes a screening of the animated short film “The Broken Candle.” Stephen Wise Temple, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, L.A. 5 to 9:20 p.m. nightly through Dec. 17. $75 per vehicle.

“La Boheme: a.k.a. ‘The Hipsters’ 2020 Edition”
Pacific Opera Project offers a pandemic-era update of the L.A.-based company’s take on Puccini’s musical tragedy. Sung in Italian with projected English supertitles. 5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $60-$175 per car.


“Winter Wonderland Fair Foodie Fest”
Drive-through event includes fried turkey legs, funnel cake and other treats, plus carnival games and a socially distanced photo op with Santa. Angel Stadium of Anaheim, 2000 E. Gene Autry Way. 3 to 9:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday and Dec. 18-20. Free admission; food and photos extra.

“Darden: Drive-in Christmas Concert”
The Americana band fronted by the four Darden sisters performs a holiday show. Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave, Fullerton. 7 p.m. Dec. 18. $30 per car.

“It’s Not Over: Posters and Graphics From Early AIDS Activism”
The One Archives Foundation presents this outdoor pop-up exhibit featuring works by artist Keith Haring plus political posters, picket signs and more. 8954 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Anytime through Dec. 31. Free.

Pacific Opera Project riffs on Mozart with “Covid fan Tutte,” a drive-in show performed atop a shipping-container stage in Camarillo.

Nov. 11, 2020

“The Bite L.A.: Winter Holiday & Stocking Stuffer Sweets Crawl”
This family-friendly drive-though experience features edible treats, a fake-snowball fight, mischievous gnomes, an ugly car contest and songs and stories with Santa. Legg Lake, 751 Santa Anita Ave., South El Monte. 5 to 10 p.m. Thursdays- Sundays; other dates through Dec. 27. $38 per person and up.

“Holiday Road”
This family-friendly drive-though experience features Christmas lights, holiday-themed installations, an appearance by Santa Claus and more. King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas. 5 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 10; closed Christmas Day. $75 per car; advance purchase required.

“Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru
This event features more than 50 larger-than-life versions of Mattel’s classic toy cars. Toyota Arena, 4000 E. Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario. 4 to 9 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 8 p.m. Sundays; ends Jan. 2. $45-$60 per car.


“Electric Noel”
The family-friendly drive-through experience has holiday lights set to a seasonal soundtrack. SilverLakes Park, 5555 Hamner Ave., Norco. 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, with time slots every 30 minutes; ends Jan. 3. $39-$49 per car.

“Holidays in Your Car”
Drive-through event features light displays, holograms and music. Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura. 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays; closed Christmas Day; ends Jan. 2. $49-$64.

“L.A. Dodgers Drive-Thru Holiday Festival”
Celebrate the holidays as well as the Blue Crew’s World Series victory with this drive-through experience that includes fake snow, a light show and interactive displays. Timed tickets must be purchased in advance. 5 to 11 p.m. nightly through Dec. 24. $55 and up.

“Windows of Wonderment”
Puppets from the Bob Baker Marionette Theater will be on view in six holiday window displays by the Santa Monica Pier’s historic but closed merry-go-round. 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. Ends Jan. 7. Free.

“Farewell, Work Holiday Parties”
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art added this satirical installation by L.A. artist Alex Prager to its outdoor sculpture offerings while the museum’s indoor galleries remain closed. LACMA, Smidt Welcome Plaza, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. On view 10 a.m.-10 p.m. through Jan. 3. Free.

This annual decking of the halls on the Third Street Promenade will feature storefront installations by L.A. artists. 1351 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica. Ends Jan. 3. Free.


“The Elf on the Shelf’s Magical Holiday Journey”
This immersive drive-through theatrical event based on the popular children’s book continues at the L.A. County fairgrounds. Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona. 5 to 9:15 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays through Jan. 3; closed Dec. 14 and 28; timed entry every 15 minutes. $24.95; kids 2 and younger are free.

“Visions of Holiday Glamour”
This fashion-themed outdoor display features mannequins dressed in holiday-themed gowns. Rodeo Drive median between Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards, Beverly Hills. Through Jan. 3. Free.

The Muck’s sculpture garden
The arts venue’s outdoor sculpture garden is open to the public and features work by local artists plus eight “story poles” from Papua New Guinea. The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton. Closes nightly at 10 p.m. Free.

Our recurring coronavirus-era viewing recommendations are indexed in the same place arts event listings (sigh) used to post.