Events | Los Angeles Things to do in December

Check Out The Best Los Angeles Things to do in December

LA County Holiday Celebration

L.A. County Holiday Celebration. Invertigo Dance Theatre. Photo by Joe Lambie, Invertigo Dance Theatre.

From holiday events, ice skating and shopping to world class theater, the Tournament of Roses and more; find the best Los Angeles things to do in December 2015 in our events roundup.

Edited by Christina Xenos

Riverdance—the 20th Anniversary World Tour
Dec. 1-6. The worldwide Irish-dance phenomenon returns with a special 20th anniversary show on the heels of a sold-out run across Europe and Asia. See its exciting blend of traditional Irish dancing, music and song. Children under 5 not admitted. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.468.1770.

Guys and Dolls
Dec. 1-20. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is behind this production of the classic musical from 1950 that was made famous with a feature-film version starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. The story of gambling and romance is responsible for hits like “Luck Be a Lady.” Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.746.4000.

KIIS FM’S Jingle Ball
Dec. 4. Powerhouse concert features performances by One Direction, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, 5 Seconds of Summer, Ellie Goulding, Shawn Mendes, Tove Lo, Charlie Puth, Zedd, Hailee Steinfeld, Conrad Sewell and DNCE. 7:30 p.m. Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., downtown, 213.742.7100.

Jane Austen Unscripted
Dec. 4-20. Romantics should enjoy this witty show about lovestruck girls and charming cads, put on by the Impro Theatre troupe. The spontaneous show changes every night. Austen-philes can choose to come in costume. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica, 310.434.3200.

Rivals in the Ring
Dec. 4. The Los Angeles Athletic Club and Espada Boxing are, once again, teaming up for The L.A. Collegiate Boxing Invitational. The night’s events will feature 10 bouts with the main event taking place between two of the oldest crosstown rivals USC versus UCLA. There are three levels of seating available for this black tie (optional) event. Exclusive balcony VIP seating. VIP ringside seating and General Admission seating. All tickets include lavish hors d’oeuvres pre-fight buffet, post-fight desserts and a special viewing of award winning artist Ashley Bravin’s boxing inspired art. Cigars will be available throughout the night on the Club’s outdoor cityscape rooftop. Dinner 6 p.m., fights begin at 7:45 p.m. Los Angeles Athletic Club, 431 W. 7th St., 213.630.5255.

Unique L.A. Holiday Market
Dec. 5-6. Huge indie design show features handcrafted wares by a plethora of designers and artists. Free DIY crafts and manicure stations, photo-booth portraits, gift-wrapping and more. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $10, under 13 free. Parking $6. The Penthouse at California Market Center, 110 E. 9th St., downtown.

Yuletide Cinema
Dec. 5, 12. The popular summer movie series celebrates the holiday season with movies at historical theaters downtown. Find food, a bar, stocking stuffer boutique, complimentary Photo Booth, Carolers, a Naughty or Nice station and more. The series kicks off Dec. 5 with Elf at the Million Dollar Theater and continues Dec. 12 with Christmas Vacation at the Palace Theater.

The Nutcracker
Dec. 5-6, 8-9, 12-13, 18-20, 26-27. The Los Angeles Ballet performs Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday tale at the Alex Theatre, Valley Performing Arts Center, Dolby Theatre, Royce Hall at UCLA and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. See website for schedule and ticket information. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, 818.243.2539; Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, 818.677.8800; Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.308.6300; Royce Hall at UCLA, 340 Royce Drive, Westwood, 310.825.4401; Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach, 310.318.0610.

Los Angeles Master Chorale presents Handel’s Messiah
Dec. 6, 20. The Los Angeles Master Chorale led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, presents two performances of Handel’s Messiah, his most popular oratorio at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The program features 48 members of the Grammy-nominated chorus, chamber orchestra and four soloists, including soprano Hayden Eberhart, mezzo soprano Janelle DeStefano, tenor Jon Lee Keenan and baritone Steve Pence.  This is the fifth consecutive year a concert version of Handel’s riveting Messiah has been part of the Chorale’s holiday concert series. $29 – $129. 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.972.7282.

Petersen Automotive Museum
Re-Opens Dec. 6-7. Hit the road this month and head to the Petersen Automotive Museum. After a 13-month transformation—including a can’t-miss-it new exterior, pictured above—the beloved institution that shines a light on all things car-related is reopening to the public Dec. 7. (There’s a limited-admission Preview Day, Dec. 6.) A Miracle Mile fixture since 1994, the museum always has housed an impressive collection of significant cars, trucks and motorcycles, but now there are 25 new galleries to explore. Also on offer are Forza Motorsports racing simulators, a Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute and a restaurant run by L.A.’s renowned Drago brothers. The new Petersen provides a fresh way to learn about the history, industry and art of the automobile, as well as its unique significance to Southern California culture. 6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 323.930.2277.

Strand House Culinary Masters Series
Dec. 7. Break out your favorite Hawaiian shirt and head to the Strand House for a special Mele Kalikimaka dinner from celebrated Chef Bev Gannon. Gannon is the chef-owner of acclaimed Celebrations Catering, Hali’imaile General Store and Gannon’s, a Pacific View Restaurant located in Maui. The dinner will be paired with wines from Ramey Wine Cellars, that works with prestigious vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, crafting some of the most highly praised sought after Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah produced in the world today. $150/pp. 6:30 cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner. 117 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, 310.545.7470.

The Bridges of Madison County
Dec. 8-Jan 17. See the new production of the Tony-winning Broadway rendition of Robert James Waller’s best-selling romantic novel. Bridges tells the story of a married Italian woman in the Midwest who has an affair with a National Geographic photographer. Tony winner for original score and orchestrations Jason Robert Brown will conduct the L.A. presentation. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.628.2772.

Dec. 8-Jan. 3. Broadway sensation and Tony winner Idina Menzel reprises her critically acclaimed role for the national tour of this thought-provoking musical that simultaneously follows one woman’s two possible life paths. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.468.1770.

Disney on Ice Presents Frozen
Dec. 9-14. Bring the kids to see the wintry world of Frozen, the No. 1 animated movie of all time and Academy Award winner, come to life on ice. Hear the film’s instant-classic songs, including “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” The show will be hosted by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, with special appearances by Disney princesses and other characters. Arrive early for a preshow that will teach kids the snowman dance. See website for showtimes. Tickets start at $35. Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., downtown, 213.742.7100.

Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities
Dec. 10-Feb. 7. Cirque du Soleil brings its trademark whimsy and acrobatics to Dodger Stadium for the first time ever. The production, directed by Michel Laprise, invites you to experience a mysterious and fascinating realm that disorients your senses and challenges your perceptions. Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down. $50-$165. Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., L.A., 877.924.7783.

Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
Dec. 12. Annual parade of decorated yachts and boats in Marina del Rey preceded by fireworks show. This year’s theme is “Adventures on the Sea.” Fireworks, 5:55 pm; parade, 6-8 p.m. Free. Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, 310.670.7130.

Echo Park Craft Fair
Dec. 12-13. This popular homegrown arts and design event showcases the wares of talented local artisans. Shop jewelry, shoes, ceramics, food items and more. Check website for hours. One day $10; weekend pass $16. Mack Sennett Studios, 1215 Bates Ave., L.A.

12 Days of Soufflés at the Polo Lounge
Dec. 12-23. Make the holiday season a little bit sweeter with new specialty soufflés from Executive pastry Chef Michael Aguilar. She has reinvented the Polo Lounge’s signature dessert to best capture the sweetness of the season. A different seasonal flavor will be offered each day on the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Flavors include candy cane, gingerbread, eggnog, spiced pear and cranberry, Chocolate Hazelnut (Ferrero Rocher), among others. 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.887.2777.

Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks
Dec. 13. The picturesque beachside city’s annual holiday celebration features a Skechers-sponsored snow park, a Santa float and live music, capped off by a fireworks show over the pier. Snow park, float, 4 p.m.; fireworks, 7 p.m. Free (new, unwrapped toy or cash donation requested for snow-park admission). Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles Holiday Bootcamp
Dec. 13. Treat yourself to a little “me time” at the The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles. Upon arrival, you are greeted with a fresh-pressed juice. The experience begins with a high-intensity, calorie-burning workout session with National Academy of Sports Medicine certified fitness instructor Jenn Glysson. After a series of timed body weight movement circuits, a nutritious lunch awaits you on the hotel’s rooftop pool deck, followed by an invigorating half hour stretch. After lunch, head to the spa for a 50-minute treatment including new winter selections such as the Vanilla Chai Spice Scrub, Cinnamon Cider Facial, and the Hot Chocolate Stone massage. $295. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 900 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown, 213.763.4400.

A Chanticleer Christmas
Dec. 17. The 12 men of this “orchestra of voices” make a return to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for their eclectic Christmas program. Expect expert signing and a repertoire ranging from Medieval/Renaissance to spirituals/contemporary. 8 p.m. 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 23.850.2000.

LA Phil Holiday Organ Spectacular
Dec. 18. Celebrate the season with the beauty and majesty of the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ as it brings devotional and festive holiday favorites to life. 8 p.m. 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 23.850.2000.

LA Phil Holiday Sing-Along
Dec. 19. Enjoy singing your favorite holiday songs accompanied by the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s huge pipe organ. David Prather hosts the annual holiday event that includes special guest Melissa Peterman, conductor John Sutton and the Angeles Chorale. 11:30 a.m.; 2:30 p.m. 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 23.850.2000.

Holly Jolly Day
Dec. 19. The Mixing Room at JW Marriott Los Angeles gets into the holiday spirit with exclusive access to LA LIVE’s annual ice skating rink from 1-2:30 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet with characters from the upcoming DreamWorks Animation’s movie Kung Fu Panda 3. The festivities continue with a sweets station featuring gourmet lollipops and cupcakes and a hot chocolate laboratory where you can mix-and-match seasonal ingredients for a custom cup of cocoa. $5-$20. 900 W Olympic Blvd., downtown, 213.765.8600.

Artists & Fleas
Dec. 19-20. Hip artist, designer and vintage market is an import from Brooklyn and Chelsea, New York. Find one-of-a-kind gifts in an Arts District setting reminiscent of an Old World marketplace. Food trucks, workshops, DJs and guest entertainers are also on hand. The market takes place on the third weekend of each month in a former truck-service station. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. 647 Mateo St., downtown, 310.900.9987.

White Christmas Sing-Along
Dec. 22. Sing along to a screening of the classic holiday film with songs like “The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing,” “Snow,”  “Sisters” and, of course, the iconic “White Christmas.” 8 p.m. 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 23.850.2000.

L.A. County Holiday Celebration
Dec. 24. Emmy Award-nominated show features more than 20 choirs, music ensembles and dance companies representing the many neighborhoods and cultures of L.A. 3–6 p.m. Free admission and parking. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.972.3099.

Tournament of Roses
Dec. 27-Jan. 3. Float decorating, Bandfest, Equestfest, Rose Parade (Jan. 1, 8 am), Rose Bowl Game (Jan. 1, 1:30 pm). Check website for detailed schedule. Free curbside viewing of parade on first-come, first-served basis; grandstand seats $48-$95 on Rose Bowl tickets start at $150. Fees for other events vary. Rose Parade: Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard, Colorado and Sierra Madre boulevards, Pasadena; Rose Bowl Stadium: 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, 626.449.4100.

New Year’s Eve with Gladys Knight
Dec. 31. “Empress of Soul,” Gladys Knight has recorded more than 38 albums, including four solo albums during the past decade, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. The seven-time Grammy-winner has enjoyed #1 hits in Pop, Gospel, R&B and Adult Contemporary, including the classic Gladys Knight & the Pips songs “Midnight Train to Georgia,” as well as “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “If I Were Your Woman,” and “Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye).” Celebrate the New Year with her the the stunning surroundings of Walt Disney Concert Hall. 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m. 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown, 23.850.2000.

All month. The Queen Mary’s adjacent dome is filled with 2 million pounds of ice for tubing, skating (in front of the ship) and more. Walk among 2.5-story-tall ice sculptures at a frigid 9 degrees. Hours vary; visit website for details. $24.99-$44.99. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0752.

Holiday Ice Rink in Pershing Square
All month. Skate among the skyscrapers at this pristine ice-skating rink, which materializes every holiday season at Pershing Square, in the heart of downtown L.A. See website for hours and skate-session schedule. $9, skate rental $4. 532 S. Olive St., downtown.

Ice at Santa Monica
All month. Holiday spirit by the beach: an 8,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink in downtown Santa Monica. M-Th 2-10 p.m.; F 2 p.m.-midnight; Sa 10 a.m.-midnight; Su 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Admission, including skate rental, $15. 1324 5th St., Santa Monica, 310.260.1199.