Christmas Spirit In The South Bay: Here are Cheerful Events to Check Out

The South Bay Peninsula has its own unique holiday celebrations, full of palm trees, waterfront plazas and Santa sightings.

There's plenty of holiday cheer to go around, especially in the South Bay.  If you’re still looking for ways to fill your cup full of cheer, there’s a host of happenings all around the beach cities, with a few inland celebrations thrown in for good measure. 

From fireworks displays to holiday parades, the beach cities as they’re known have Christmas covered. There's something for everyone along this 28-mile stretch running south from Marina del Rey to Palos Verdes Point.

These beachfront enclaves all have their own unique charms and celebration schedules. Between six cities (as well as their inland neighbors Gardena and Torrance) you’ll find events all the way up until Christmas Eve. 

Bright lights, hot chocolate, shopping and Santa sightings are all on the menu. Time your visit to be able to take in one of those spectacular west coast waterfront sunsets.  

Here’s a calendar of holiday events throughout the South Bay.

Redondo Beach

Dec. 3-15 - Redondo Beach Santa Touring Schedule

The city of Redondo Beach is unique in more ways than one, but it distinguishes itself during the Christmas season with daily Santa sightings. 

Jolly Old Saint Nick, with support from the city’s police and fire departments, sleds through the streets of Redondo Beach for daily, yes daily, rides, Monday through Sunday, from now until Dec. 15.

Santa and his entourage leave the station daily at 5 p.m. and spend four hours dashing through the streets before debarking back to the station at 9 p.m.

Find a complete detailed schedule here, with street locations and directions. Not quite a parade, but folks line up early to wave as Santa sails by. Stops are unscheduled, but there are plenty. And this tradition is thorough–if days are called due to inclement weather, there will be make-up days, Friday, Dec. 16; Saturday, Dec. 17; and Sunday, Dec. 18.

Dec. 10  -  Redondo Beach Pier 12th Annual Holiday Concert

This event takes place Saturday, Dec. 10 from 2-4 p.m., just enough time for you to take a quick break for your holiday shopping. The Redondo Beach Pier is one of the southland’s most iconic landmarks, with multiple dining, shopping and water activities. The panoramic waterfront view is the backdrop to this, the city’s 12th Annual Holiday Concert event.

Bring a new unwrapped toy valued at $5 or more for a chance to win pier prizes. Other special events include a holiday selfie station, a holiday activity book giveaway and sponsor giveaways. The RB Pier is located at 100 Fisherman’s Wharf in the city of Redondo Beach.

Manhattan Beach

Dec. 11  -  Skechers Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks Festival

This annual event will celebrate its 34th year of bringing fireworks, and a snow park at Live Oak Park, to the grounds at the Manhattan Beach Pier. The snow park opens at 4 p.m., and a Santa Float will be stationed at Manhattan Ave for photo opportunities.

Patrons will be notified by public safety officials when blanket seating can begin on Manhattan Beach Boulevard, estimated between 2:30-4:30 p.m. Snow park guests are asked to donate a new, unwrapped toy. Music and activities including carolers and a jazz band from Mira Costa High School. The fireworks start at 7 p.m. Get additional information here

El Segundo

Dec. 11  -  58th Annual El Segundo Holiday Parade

“A Groovy Holiday” is on the bill as the city of El Segundo hosts its annual holiday parade. Now in its 58th year, the parade begins on Main Street at Imperial Avenue.

From 1-3 p.m., parade onlookers can take in marching bands, vintage cars and floats from local business and community organizations.

Contact the El Segundo Chamber of Commerce at (310) 322-1220 or for more details.

Palos Verdes Peninsula

Dec. 2 - 24 Merry + Bright at the South Coast Botanic Garden

If trees and gardening are your thing, try ringing in the holidays at the South Coast Botanic Garden. 

Events are ongoing and designed to pour on the holiday cheer. Lots of photo opportunities are built in, including pictures with Santa, a hunt for Elf in the Garden and Nature POP!, a 40-sculpture exhibit that’s been given the holiday treatment.

Shopping at the botanic garden is evergreen with lots of seasonal plantings, bonsai starter kits, containers, ornament magnets and curated holiday plants on sale, as well as handmade items crafted by Garden staff members. 

General admission tickets are $15; seniors and students, $11; children 5-12, $5 and 4 year olds and under are free.

Furry friends can even get into the spirit. On Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Botanic hosts a Howliday Costume Contest. Dress your pups (and yourself) in your best holiday gear and come strut your stuff. Information about the Howliday Costume Contest can be found here.

Dec. 8  -  Riviera Village Holiday Stroll

Come for the ambience, stay for the carousel. The Riviera Village Holiday Stroll is set for Thursday, Dec. 8, from 5 - 9 p.m.

Located south of Redondo Beach’s Kings Harbor, the so-called California Riviera is like no other beachfront stretch in LA County. The village is a hub for fashion and art, scattered with galleries, boutiques and home decor shops. With its tony restaurant scene, this one-day festival is a destination event every winter.

It only gets better with a little holiday spice.

Santa arrives at 5:30 p.m. and other holiday characters are promised, as well as a photo booth and an array of holiday lighting displays perfect for framing a holiday greeting card photo.

The Riviera is bike friendly and totally walkable, so plan on making it before sunset. Then spend some time shopping, noshing and riding the carousel–kids and adults are welcome. It all happens on Catalina Ave, where the street will be blocked for foot traffic.

Parking is at the Riviera Triangle Lot, 1801 S. Elena, but get there early; 215 spots won't last all night. Shops are staying open late and restaurant reservations are suggested.


Dec. 10  -  Wake Up with Santa

Get your holiday pajamas ready for breakfast with Santa! The city of Gardena is throwing the ultimate early morning pajama party, complete with breakfast, arts and crafts, and pictures with the man himself. Be an early bird; at Wake-Up with Santa breakfast service starts at 7:30 a.m. and continues until 11:30 a.m.

You’ll need to register for this one. Create a new account here at the Gardena Recreation and Human Services website. All ages pay $8. Parents or guardians will need to be present to supervise younger kids and there will be plenty of city staff on hand. At Gardena City Hall, located at 1700 W 162nd Street. Call (310) 217-9537 for more information.


Dec. 2  -  South Bay LGBTQ Holiday Party & Potluck

This community outreach and support center is ready to celebrate after two years of COVID shut down its annual holiday party. The 33rd Anniversary South Bay LGBTQ Holiday Party, Potluck & Gift Exchange is back this year and everyone is invited. 

On Friday, from 7-10 p.m., bring your favorite dish, a wrapped gift to exchange and maybe a friend or two. All are welcome and the evening will start off at 6:30 p.m., with appetizers and refreshments, followed by dinner and a gift exchange.

All are invited to share this very special night of sharing good food, prizes and socializing in celebration of community, the South Bay LGBTQ Center and the start of the holiday season. 

The center is at 16610 Crenshaw Blvd., in Torrance.

Dec. 3 - 4: Torrance Memorial Holiday Festival

This weekend, Torrance Memorial rolls out the white carpet at its annual Holiday Festival. The fundraising event continues this weekend and features children’s activities, a food court, shopping and entertainment.  

Admission is $5 or guests may donate a new, unwrapped toy to gain admission; children under 5 are free. Look for the white tent on Skypark and Medical Center Drives; parking is at the West Parking Structure, 3325 Medical Center Drive, Torrance, CA 90505. Hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dec. 16  -  Holiday Train Rides in Torrance

For $8, riders over 32 inches can take a holiday-themed ride through a half-mile route filled with holiday lights and Christmas cheer. All aboard at 2290 Washington Ave. in Torrance. Trains departing on schedule from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

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