1. Shopping at The Grove
I mean you have to shop right? Why not do it at the “most LA” venue around? The decorations are over the top and especially gorgeous at night. If you can, bundle up and grab dinner on the patio at La Piazza and watch the shoppers and celebrities shuffle around. Warning: there is an enormous American Girl store at The Grove, so you may want to leave little girls behind! And maybe just as dangerous- Ladies, there is a Laduree now open!
My Best Tip: Wander down to the attached Original Farmer’s Market and get some crack, I mean, the-best-toffee-ever for all of your friends at Little John’s English Toffee House.
2. Broadway Adult Night
Nowhere in the world beats NYC at Christmas time, but I like to capture that feeling by heading out to a play at one of our beautiful theaters. There’s nothing like dressing up on a chilly night, putting on that coat and those heels and heading out for an adult night during the holidays. The Music Center has multiple venues right smack dab in the middle of DTLA and the open space in front of the Ahmanson Theater sparkles. Another sure bet is the incomparable Pantages Theater.
My Best Tip: If you see a show at The Music Center, dine at Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse and take the trolly over to the venue.
3. Disneyland at Christmas
There really is no more magical time of year than the Holiday Season at the “merriest place on Earth.” The music, the decorations, the characters dressed in their Christmas best….And the special holiday foods. We are pass holders and I basically come here to eat. This time of year is no exception. I suggest following @foodsofdisneyland to get an idea of what is currently available. I’m a big fan of the Gingerbread beignets at the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square. Also, the Haunted Mansion is still completely done up with The Nightmare before Christmas!
My Best Tip: Get the kids’ annual Santa pix at either Disneyland or California Adventure- they have the best Santas (and you know they do the best background checks)!!
4. Enchanted: Forest of Lights at Descanso Gardens
This one mile walk is perfect for little ones and doesn’t take up much time. I also like this outing as a special thing to do to celebrate all holidays during the winter season in Southern California. The stunning light show winds through the garden’s most beloved areas and makes for a new etherial experience, lighting up the trees in a colorful display.
My Best Tip: Save this one for last- it runs through the beginning of January.
5. Grinchmas at Universal Studios
We experienced Grinchmas at Universal Studios, Hollywood for the first time this year. There’s so much to love about Universal. It’s smaller than most other SoCal amusement parks and the magic is truly Hollywood. The two winter highlights were Harry Potter’s Wizarding World (year round) and the Grinchmas Whoville celebration. “Harry Potter Land,” as I refer to it, is something that only the real movie makers can do best. You are transported to a snow-capped European village in a moment that feels miles away. Grab a butter beer and cozy up in one of the many shops. The other shining star at Christmastime is the Whoville celebration going on all day in the middle of the park. The musical acts and story time by Cindy Lou Who make for good entertainment while you sip on a peppermint mocha. Every performer does a meet and greet and takes extra special time with the little ones.
My Best Tip: Get in line to meet the Grinch around 5:00pm. That way, it will get dark as you are waiting and after meeting the hilarious, big green guy you will have prime spots for the first Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 5:30pm (it happens every half hour after that).
Happy Holidays to you all, no matter where you are. I hope you get to get out and do something extra special this year!