Weekend: The 62nd LA County Holiday Celebration

The ebullient annual event, a song-filled Christmas Eve staple, will now be fully virtual.

Will Tee Yang

What to Know

  • Friday, Dec. 24 at 3 p.m.; virtual only
  • Free; Stream online or watch on PBS
  • Several local dance troupes and music groups will be featured

LA County Holiday Celebration: A come-together gift to the city from the LA County Board of Supervisors, this joyful presentation features several Southern California dance troupes and music groups over three spirited, song-filled, performance-perfect hours. In-person audiences were canceled a few days before Christmas Eve, but you can still stream it, or watch it on PBS local, for free on the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 24. It's the 62nd year of this long-running tradition, one that spotlights some of our region's best and most heartwarming cultural offerings.

Las Posadas: This nightly procession, which retells Mary and Joseph's search for an inn, has been a must-visit happening at Olvera Street for many years. Adding an extra effervescent touch to the tradition-sweet celebration? A piñata begins the night, while treats like champurrado help to tastily wrap it up. The final Las Posadas of the 2021 season is scheduled for Dec. 24, beginning at 7 p.m., but do arrive earlier, by 6:30, if you'd like to see the piñata in action. It's all free to join.

A Snowman in Santa Monica: The Pacific Wheel, the solar-powered Ferris wheel located at Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier, features festive light shows throughout the calendar. But when the wintertime whimsy arrives? There's something extra charming about the cheer, especially seeing "snow" on an enormous attraction that draws its oomph from the sun. You can watch it nightly, in person or on the livecam, from sunset to midnight, through Dec. 30. As always, it is free to enjoy.

Go for the Glow: Eager to take a slow roll by some sparkly decorations? Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena, a California State Landmark, will stay illuminated each evening throughout the holiday weekend, and admission to the drive-by delight is free. There are a number of sparkly spots, some ticketed and some free, where you can see lights and decorations around Los Angeles and beyond. Just check times and dates, as a few locations will be closed on Christmas Day, and see if you'll need an advance ticket.

Gray Whale Watching Season Begins: You can't exactly set a clock to it, but if it is the day after Christmas, it is just about the right time to launch the blowhole-iest time of year off the Golden State's whale-wonderful coast. Island Packers, the official concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park, begins its gray whale season on Dec. 26. But will you see a whale? That's always the question, but bet you'll spy spectacular seabirds aplenty, all sorts of barky pinnipeds, and, quite often, dolphins. Keep your peepers peeled, though, for spouts, which could indicate that a gray whale is on its migratory path, not too far from your boat. A thrilling way to end the year, no doubt.

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