Weekend: Holiday Lights Bid a Festive Farewell

Well, almost: A few will push into mid-January, but if you'd like to see the LA Zoo Lights, or call upon Christmas Tree Lane, now is the time.

Jamie Pham

What to Know

  • A number of seasonal displays will conclude on Jan. 9
  • Some, like Christmas Tree Lane and the Mission Inn in Riverside, are free to see
  • LA Zoo Lights requires an advance ticket

Holiday Sparkle, Continued: "Festive" can sound a lot like "frenetic," which is understandable, since we tend to lean hard into the frenetic lifestyle just when the end of the year is hitting its festive stride. But here's something that fills the mind with merriment and the heart with holiday joy: Several Southern California places keep the twinkle going, all to glitter-up the first days of the new year, giving us a chance to connect with the glow on a quieter night. A few local displays, like Christmas Tree Lane, will conclude on Jan. 9, while others, like Lightscape at LA Arboretum, will flick the final switch a little later in the month. Good to know? Some spots are free and others, like LA Zoo Lights, will require advance tickets: Start here and find out more.

Pink's Hot Dogs Remembers Betty White: Speaking of the Los Angeles Zoo, there's a fundraiser happening at our city's most celebrated frankfurterie, one that is paying kind tribute to the wonderful Ms. White. The iconic actor passed away at age 99 on Dec. 31, and Pink's Hot Dogs is raising money for the zoo, a place that was long dear to Betty White's heart, by donating the proceeds from Betty White's Naked Dog, a menu favorite since 2010. Be sure to purchase your Naked Dog at the original Pink's, on La Brea Avenue, by Jan. 9; all the money raised will be given to the animal park.

Smorgasburg LA: The outdoor food market, which is famous for its warm-weather Ice Cream Alley, its amazing noodles, tacos, and buns, and the cheery chance to soak up some beams on a Sunday morn, took some time off in December and early January. But on Jan. 9? The food booths shall return to ROW DTLA, and beer garden, and a few new spots, too. Cali Dumpling, B'ivrit, the Philadelphia water ice of Happy Ice, Say It Ain't So's plant-based goodies, and Chimmelier by Hanchic's Korean fried chicken sandwiches are the market's debuting delights. Entry? It's free.

Winter Frolic: Skating in your lucky pair of woolly socks? You may have tried it in your hallway, but chances are fairly solid you've never been to a pop-up rink created for the offbeat recreational activity. The quirky reveal? Kidspace Children's Museum in Pasadena has such an outdoor rink, an area made expressly for skating in your socks. And the educational destination recently extended its dates, meaning families can come and sock-skate, outdoors, through Jan. 17. Advance tickets to the Winter Frolic are required, and sock skating has an additional fee. The indoor galleries? They're closed for now. Skate over here for more info.

International Festival of Chocolate: The outdoor festivals at the Bowers Museum, the colorful celebrations that fan out around the historical property's courtyard, have become family-fun must-dos in recent years. Now another one is adding flavor, quite literally, to the museum, with a focus on chocolate's history, the candy's cultural connections, and, oh yes, delicious tastings, too. There's a "chocolate tasting around the world" on the sweet schedule, West African drums, Marimba, and more. "Chocolate Road," a documentary, will also screen (general tickets are $15).

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