Plenty to do in and near L.A. in the run-up to Christmas


Kick off the weekend before Christmas with holiday festivals, a boat parade and lots of singing.


Behold a music-filled tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim at classical theater company A Noise Within’s “A Christmas Carol.” After the show, you can take photos with cast members, drink cider and decorate ornaments.

When: Through Dec. 23. Days and show times vary; check website for schedule.

Cost, info: From $25. Recommended for 4 and older. No dogs. (626) 356-3100

Newport Beach

Festively decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes will sail a 14-mile course through Newport Harbor for the 110th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. The decked-out boats will compete for prizes in animation and special effects, humor and originality, music and best lights. Bayside homes and businesses will be decorated and competing for prizes. Watch from anywhere on the shore; check website for parade route.


When: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 19-23

Cost, info: Free. Family-friendly. Dogs OK. (949) 729-4400

Costa Mesa

You’ll need your coat at Winter Fest OC at the OC Fair & Event Center, where you can ride an inner tube down an icy 150-foot-tall slide, play with fresh snow and ice skate under the stars. The festival also promises twinkling lights, carnival rides and games, nightly tree lightings and fireworks, live entertainment, and seasonal food and drinks.

When: Opening times vary; check website for schedule. Dec. 20-Jan. 6

Cost, info: $6 to $14. Family-friendly. No dogs.

Long Beach

All voices are welcome at Make Music Winter, an interactive singing performance led by Long Beach a cappella group Golden Sands Chorus. The chorus, which specializes in barbershop singing, will perform holiday songs and invite the audience to sing along. Ugly Christmas sweaters are encouraged.

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 21

Cost, info: Free. Family-friendly. No dogs.


Perfect your pronunciation of glædelig jul —“Merry Christmas” in Danish — for Solvang Julefest, a monthlong holiday celebration in the streets of Solvang. Take a candlelight tour of the festively decorated city, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at Solvang Park, and find Danish nisser (gnomes) hidden around town to win a prize. Julefest runs daily through Jan. 6, but Dec. 22 is the last day to enjoy a Santa visit and the candlelight tour.

When: Santa visit: noon to 4 p.m. Candlelight tour: 5:30 p.m. Nisse adventure: all day. Dec. 22

Cost, info: Free. Family-friendly. Dogs OK. (805) 688-6144

Los Angeles

Need a Christmas Eve activity? Head to the Music Center downtown for the L.A. County Holiday Celebration, a free three-hour performance featuring more than 20 multicultural musical, choral and dance groups. Seats are first come, first served; organizers suggest lining up about noon. If you can’t snag a seat, you can watch on Jumbotrons outside the venue, watch it live at home or take a short walk to Grand Park to see interactive lights displays at sunset.

When: 3 p.m. Dec. 24

Cost, info: Free. Family-friendly. No dogs. (213) 972-3099