Tamales, train rides, tree lighting events among weekend events close to L.A.


Embrace holiday mode with tamales, lights shows, parades and snowfall at these close-to-home events.


Tamales come all kinds of ways — including drizzled in mole, wrapped in banana leaves or filled with pineapple — at the Oxnard Tamale Festival at downtown’s Plaza Park. Sip Mexican hot chocolate as you shop for gifts, watch dance groups and catch a glimpse of the Oxnard Christmas Parade as it passes the park.

When: Tamale festival at 9 a.m. and parade at 10 a.m. Dec. 7

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (805) 385-7545;


Los Olivos

See Los Olivos turn festive for Los Olivos Olde Fashioned Christmas. Town-wide celebrations include a holiday market, train rides, roaming carolers and a display of gingerbread houses decorated by local students and artists — all culminating in a tree lighting with live jazz music.

When: Noon Dec. 7

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (877) 327-2656,


The Ventura Winter Wine Walk and Holiday Street Fair returns for its 10th year. Street fair attendees will find vendors, performers and snowfall along three blocks of Main Street. Wine Walkers can sip beer and wine at 70 tasting places in downtown Ventura.

When: Street fair at noon; Wine Walk at 4 p.m. Dec. 7

Cost, info: Street fair is free, family friendly and open to pets; Wine Walk is from $55, for 21 and older and open to service dogs only. (805) 628-9588,


The Port of Los Angeles’ holiday events lineup includes Wilmington Winter Wonderland, where games, crafts and 50 tons of snow transform Wilmington Waterfront Park. Later, decorated vessels light up the Los Angeles Main Channel for the L.A. Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade. The port also suggests visiting the nearby Banning Museum’s Victorian Christmas Celebration and Open House for horse-drawn trolley rides and other period fun.

When: Winter Wonderland at noon; parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 7

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Pets OK at attendees’ discretion. (310) 732-3508,


San Juan Capistrano

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano and its Serra Chapel after hours during Capistrano Lights. Opening night has fire pits, readings of “The First Christmas” and music by harpists, carolers and mariachis. Tree lightings, activities for kids and a Nativity scene in the ruins of the Great Stone Church happen nightly.

When: Opening night entries at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Enter before 5 p.m. for nightly programming. Dec. 8 through Jan. 6, except for Dec. 24, 25 and 31.

Cost, info: $15 on opening night; $10 on regular nights. Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted. (949) 234-1300,

Los Angeles

Take a wreath-making workshop with Glasswing Floral during Sparkle DTLA at the Bloc. When you’re finished, admire your handiwork against a backdrop of illuminated ornaments, snowflakes and Christmas trees, all synchronized to holiday songs, at one of the shopping center’s four hourly lights shows.

When: Wreath-making at 6 p.m. Dec. 7; Sparkle DTLA shows run nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. through Dec. 27

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (213) 454-4926,