USA Today: Holiday Attractions of Los Angeles


USA today holiday

USA Today: Holiday Attractions of Los Angeles

Wondering how to make your Holidays in Los Angeles special this year? Explore new and old traditions and make lasting memories for you and your family. Imagine taking a surfing lesson by day at Santa Monica beach and an ice-skating lesson at night only a few blocks from the beach. Kids and adults need to play in the surf and ice and learn new things to keep young at heart. Take your children to the LA ZOO to experience real live reindeer and think about the history of some of the most famous holiday stories. If you want to see and be part of living history, visit El Pueblo Historical Monument for Las Posadas which have been continuously celebrated since the 1930s at that site.

2014 will be the 94th year for Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena! This all volunteer spectacle should not be missed! See carolers dressed like Dickens at the Original Farmer’s Market and enjoy festivities from many religions. At the renown Skirball Cultural Center, learn about Chanukah with a Latin American flavor at The Luz y Libertad. Watch the boats sail by or join a team and get onboard in the 52nd Marina Del Rey Boat Parade or add flowers to the world famous Rose Parade Floats. Choose a concert with organ music at Walt Disney Concert Hall or fireworks in Manhattan Beach. Los Angeles brings you endless options for participating in unique ways. Happy Holidays!

10 Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
Since 1963, Marina Del Rey has hosted a Holiday boat parade with judges, prizes and a giant event. You can see the decorations on each boat as they will circle the main channel of the Marina del Rey Harbor at least 3 times. Fireworks will be set off just beyond the south turn of the parade from the jetty on the Playa del Rey side of the channel.The top viewing spot, with music, announcers is at Burton Chace Park located at the end of Mindanao Way between G Basin and H Basin. There is live commentary about each boat from several announcers including Lisa Osborn, a newscaster on radio KFWB-AM and Mickey Czegledy, a cartoon voiceover actor and former traffic reporter on KABC-TV Consider viewing the boat parade from a Hornblower Cruise Ship or one of the nearby restaurants on the main Marina channel at Fisherman’s Village. (310-670-7130)

9 Walt Disney Concert Hall Complex
The iconic structure of this Los Angeles treasure is a wonderful choice for Holiday Celebrations. Concerts are fantastic here all year long but choose to ring in the New Year or the entire Holiday season with a symphony. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall hosts the LA Philharmonic, treating visitors to an unforgettable experience in one of the most musically sophisticated concert halls in the world. Self guided audio tours and guided tours are offered most days. Take in some fine dining at the award-winning Patina Restaurant or grab a bite at the Concert Hall Cafe; before settling down to a bliss-filled journey into classical music and beyond. (213-972-7211)

8 ICE Santa Monica
Ready to ice skate in Santa Monica? ICE returns November 1, 2014. Downtown Santa Monica is known for being a beachside community but always creates a winter wonderland for its residents and visitors. Across from Zanzibar at 5th street and Arizona, a premier outdoor ice skating rink appears until January 19, 2015. Enjoy the 8,000 square foot rink by the beach to play and skate during the holidays. Come with friends, family, host an event or take a skating lesson. Shirin Yagedar from LA Mom Magazine told me, “I love the outdoor ice rink in Santa Monica. It’s inexpensive and a great way to spend an hour skating with the kids. You can wear a t-shirt and jeans. You get the winter activities without the winter weather. it’s perfect!” (310.393.8355)

7 The Original Farmers Market
The 2014 holiday events will be from December 19 — 24 with wonderful holiday decorations all over The Market. During New Year’s week, Rose Bowl fans from around the country flock to The Market along with our other holiday and regular visitors. The Original Farmers Market of Los Angeles opened in the summer of 1934 when a handful of produce farmers gathered on a vacant street corner to vend the season’s crops. Today’s market, easy to spot thanks to the famous clock tower that soars above it, has taken on a completely different persona and now offers more than 30 delicious restaurants as well as an impressive array of specialty shops and open-air food stalls. (323-933-9211, 866-993-9211)

6 El Pueblo Historical Monument
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is near the site of the early Los Angeles pueblo or town where forty-four settlers of Native American, African and European heritage journeyed more than one-thousand miles across the desert from present-day northern Mexico and established a farming community in September 1781. Christopher Espinosa, General Manager, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument: “Our Posadas have been going on since the 1930s. The events are held December 16th through 24th at 7:00 p.m. nightly.” El Pueblo is a living museum that continues to fulfill its unique role as the historic and symbolic heart of the city, reflecting the Native American, African American, Spanish, Anglo, Mexican, Chinese, Italian and French cultures that contributed to its early history. (1 (213) 485-6855)

5 Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
The vital connection between flora and fauna is highlighted at Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The Zoo’s unique and diverse plant collection includes Chilean bald cypress and cycads. Indigenous plants cover the native gardens of the region, while cactus and succulent gardens emphasize a global representation of plants. The Zoo holds more than 7,000 individual plants of over 800 species. One of 62 plant rescue stations in the nation, the Zoo is often called upon to save an exotic or rare plant. The edible garden across from Papiano Play Park produces tasty rose, figs and beets for the animals. Interested in native Southwest plants? Check out the Baja Garden between the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and the meerkat exhibit. (323-644-4200)

4 Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks
As The Beach Reporter says: “It’s as if the entire town comes to the pier to see the show and see their neighbors…by the time the sun sets and the fireworks explode, the merriest people in the world on that day and at that time are probably the people sitting on Manhattan Beach Boulevard wrapped in blankets and gazing into the night sky.” Participate in The Beach Cities Community Event for its 26th year. The Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks Show has become one of the biggest and best events. Enjoy fireworks with colorful star bursts, loud explosions near enough to The Strand and the sand. A unique event that could only happen here. ((310) 801-2202)

3 Skirball Cultural Center
Skirball Cultural Center is a treasure in Los Angeles. For the holidays there will be a special menorahs/Hanukkah lamps family tour but they are part of the permanent collection in the exhibition Visions and Values. Hanukkah Family Festival: Luz y Libertad with a Latin American lens will be the theme of the 2014 Celebration of Light festivities. The mission to explore four thousand years of Jewish heritage in light of the vitality of American democratic ideals inspires people of every ethnic and cultural identity in American life. Enjoy the museum, changing exhibitions and many engaging talks, films, musical performances and the wonderful Zeidler’s Café. You can visit the Noah’s Ark exhibit and start your own collection of treasures from Audrey’s Museum Store. (3104404500)

2 Tournament of Roses — Rose Bowl Parade
If you plan to be in LA during the winter holiday season, this traditional event is definitely worth seeing in person. Television cannot do justice to the intricacies of today’s floats, decorated with millions of flowers and tons of natural materials like leaves and bark. In fact, each individual float uses more flowers than the average florist will handle over the course of five years! The floats take nearly a year to construct, but the bulk of decorating is done after Christmas, and many of the flowers are attached to the floats in little vials of water to keep them fresh. Although reserved seating is available, you can stake out plenty of great spots along Colorado Boulevard starting at noon on the 31st. Expect crowds! (877-793-9911, 626-449-4100)

1 Christmas Tree Lane
The all-volunteer effort of the Christmas Tree Lane Association includes homeowners and renters, senior citizens and schoolchildren, and Altadena veterans. You are invited to be a part of this historical tradition and contribute to the community while having great fun with neighbors and friends. From CTLA, “In 1990, Christmas Tree Lane was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and became California State Landmark. Of particular interest to those who were reviewing the application, it was noted that Christmas Tree Lane brought about the singularly significant social convergence of two relatively new commodities: the outdoor electric light and the automobile. Christmas Tree Lane is also recognized as the only botanical landmark on the State Registry.” ((626) 403-1123)


Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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