Marina del Rey

Weekend: Boat Parades to Glow from Ventura to Marina del Rey

The watery sparkle shows are free to see, but arrive early.

Ventura Parade of Lights

That H2O Glow: Finding a free delight during the most festive season of the year? Not always easy, but making your way to the right shoreline or beach, on the right evening, means you'll be in for a treat that's as California-y as a sunbeam on the sand. It's the annual boat decorated boat parades we speak of, and two favorites are coming right up: Ventura Harbor's Parade of Lights on Dec. 13 and 14 and Marina del Rey's Holiday Boat Parade on Dec. 14.

Christmas at the OC Zoo: You know what you look like tearing into your favorite holidaytime treats, but have you ever watched a porcupine or bear nibble at something nice and seasonal? Be in Orange on Saturday, Dec. 14 for this adorable expression of the season. There'll be fa, la, larks aplenty, and admission? Oh, that's so sweet, too: It's two bucks a person, though keep in mind parking is extra.

Holiday Lights Neon Cruise: You can't top a twinkly building this time of year, but the truth of it? Los Angeles is home to plenty of structures that have notable nighttime illumination, all year long. Jump on a British bus and have Museum of Neon Art pros lead you to some of the most neon-riffic parts of Chinatown and Hollywood on Dec. 15. History, sensational signage, and seasonal cheer shall reign on this oh-so-LA drive-around.

Happy 99th Anniversary, Christmas Tree Lane: If you've swung through Altadena in recent months, specifically the area of Santa Rosa Avenue, you might have seen throngs of volunteers decorating the thoroughfare's famous deodars. It takes a long time to get those enormous trees, but the result? A series of spectacular nights come the middle of December. Night #1, the big kick-off, is Saturday, Dec. 14, and there's a Winter Festival, too, earlier in the afternoon.

Free Open House at Bergamot Station: Many excellent galleries call Southern California home, and one of the main hubs of exciting gallery-hopping has brought fresh ideas and new artist energy to Santa Monica for a good long time now. Twenty five years, in fact, and to celebrate, Bergamot Station Arts Center is throwing a free holiday open house on Dec. 14. Food trucks, tunes, and looking at lots of art are on the awesome roster.

Love for Pups: Santa Paws is going on now, or, rather, you can drop off needed goods for both dogs and cats at several participating businesses (they'll be delivered to four LBC and OC animal shelters on Dec. 21). And on Dec. 14? Join "The Art of Rescue," a fundraiser for Westside German Shepherd Rescue at The Wende Museum in Culver City. A dinner, live music, and other nice touches will all go to assisting these beautiful animals.

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