The best things to do in Los Angeles this winter

Mild weather and winter festivities make Los Angeles a wonderful place to spend the holiday season. From ice skating to art shows, these are the best things to do throughout November and December 2022

Words by Valorie Clark
Last updated: November 8, 2022

Los Angeles isn’t usually thought of as a destination for travellers who love winter, but for those who want to celebrate the winter holidays without a heavy coat, LA is the ideal place. Whether that’s ice skating in a short-sleeve shirt or celebrating the original public Christmas tree, there’s plenty of holiday fun to get involved in. Los Angeles in November and December also hosts plenty of museum events, culinary happenings, and film festivals to enjoy. Discover the best things to do in Los Angeles this winter season.

What to do in LA this month | The facade of Hauser & Wirth DTLA at night at a distance

Celebrate 30 years of Hauser & Wirth with a new performance art festival

What: A festival to celebrate performance art
When: 29 October – early 2023
Where: 901 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles CA 90013
Price: Free

Performance art often struggles to fit into the traditional gallery space, but international gallery juggernaut Hauser & Wirth is reaffirming their commitment to making space for the artform in their new festival, which coincides with the gallery’s 30th anniversary this year. Held in its Los Angeles Arts District space, the Performance Project kicked off in October with a US premiere of Martin Creed’s award-winning LIFE IS SOFT, which was hugely popular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Scheduled next is an evening performance from Okwui Okpokwasili encompassing dance, vocals, and visuals, which will take place Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November. Events are currently scheduled through November 26 2022, but the anticipated schedule lasts into 2023.

What to do in LA this month | The jardins de Versailles at Wilding Cran Gallery

Les Jardins de Versailles at Wilding Cran Gallery

What: A multimedia art experience downtown
When: 12 November – 22 December
Where: Wilding Cran Gallery, 1700 S. Santa Fe Avenue, unit 460 Los Angeles, CA 90021
Price: Free

A small contemporary art gallery in the LA Arts District, Wilding Cran showcases exhibitions of some of the most interesting practicing artists today. Opening in early November is Les Jardins de Versailles, the third solo exhibition from artist Vikky Alexander at the gallery. In this show, she uses her interest in the fantasy of designed spaces to explore the world of Versailles. Expect collages playing on the traditional French topiary designs, as well as enormous immersive murals that transport one to the famous Château. The show promises to “expose the seams that bind our visions of utopia,” per the gallery.

What to do in LA this month | Inside the Museum of Dream Space
Inside the Museum of Dream Space

Explore digital art at the Museum of Dream Space

What: A new type of art museum to enjoy
When: 2 November – 31 December
Where: Beverly Center, #656 8500 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Price: 22.50 USD – 36 USD, 60 per cent off all November

The first digital art museum in the United States has reopened in a new space in Beverly Hills, with several beautifully curated exhibits, infinity rooms, and high-tech projects to explore. The museum is designed as a creative playground for people to push the boundaries of interaction with digital art. If you’re interested in staging some photos to upgrade your own digital presence, the museum has a VIP package geared toward influencers. It comes with professional photographers who help direct your photos, as well as a chance to skip the line.

 

What to do in LA this month | Huntingdon Beach

Sip wines on the beach at the California Wine Festival

What: The largest and best wine fest in the state
When: 11 – 12 November
Where: Huntington Beach
Price: 75 USD – 205 USD

Right on the beach at the Paséa Hotel & Spa is one of the largest wine festivals in the state. Hundreds of Californian wines are served alongside craft beers, artisanal products like breads, cheeses, seafood, and more. The VIP pass allows guests to get in on Friday evening for a rare and reserve sparkling wine tasting at sunset. A live band will be available both days to play music for attendees. This year, the festival has partnered with the Golden Rule charity, which benefits hospitality workers in times of crisis.

What to do in LA this month | A red and white poster for Messhall Film Fest

Messhall Film Festival

What: An homage to the beloved Messhall Kitchen
When: 14 – 30 November
Where: Messhall Kitchen 4500 Los Feliz Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Price: Free

In this unique film festival, eight short films are screening in the location that they were shot in: Messhall Kitchen in Los Feliz. All the films were written and produced by Jon Bangle and Andrew Pack in collaboration with the restaurant staff, and were produced with almost no budget and no crew – just a ton of passion and love. Over four nights in November, the first ever Messhall Film Festival will be available to the public for free to celebrate the beloved neighbourhood restaurant, and a special menu will be available during the showings.

Trot like a turkey for a good cause

What: Run for a good cause
When: 24 November
Where: Downtown LA
Price: 27 – 68 USD, price increases the longer you wait to register

One of the most famous Thanksgiving Day traditions is the morning turkey trot– a five or ten kilometer race that takes place in several cities around the US. Every year the race benefits a different local charity, and this year’s Los Angeles registration fees go towards The Midnight Mission, which provides food, shelter, and tools for establishing self-sufficiency for LA’s unhoused population. The course will set off down historic Spring Street, taking trotters on a tour past iconic architecture including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Continental Building, and ending in front of the City Hall. Get a little run in before gobbling up the feast this year!

Ice skating in the heart of Downtown

What: It’s not too warm for this winter tradition
When: 23 November – 1 January 2023
Where: Pershing Square
Price: 5-20 USD

While Los Angeles is famous for being temperate and sunny year round, there are still plenty of ways to get into the Christmas spirit. For more than 20 years, a 7,200 sq ft ice rink – the largest outdoor rink in LA – has operated in Pershing Square, the heart of downtown. Every year, 54,000 skaters enjoy the professional quality ice under blue skies. The ice rink will open on 23 November with a live performance and an “ice breaking” ceremony with a large ice sculpture. Ticket sales benefit the LA Department of Recreation and Parks.

 

What to do in LA this month | Astra Lumina immersive light show
Astra Lumina Gatlinburg, Moment Factory's Lumina enchanted night walk series

Walk among the stars at Astra Lumina

What: A light and music installation in a garden
When: 8 December 2022 – 15 January 2023
Where: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes Peninsula, California 90274
Price: 20-33 USD

Take part in a beguiling nightwalk this December, as a mysterious light and sound installation transforms the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes. The project creates the sensation that the stars above have come down to earth, like ‘a celestial pathway of lustrous light, cosmic visions, and astral song.’ Throughout the evening, the lights regenerate, unite, and dance across the night sky. The path around the installation takes guests through moments like the Astra Archway, the Cosmic Choice, the Rise of the Stars, and more. This event is perfect for all ages and very close to the beach. The walk around the installation should take about an hour.

What to do in LA this month | Outside Skirball Cultural Center

Observe Hannukah at the Skirball

What: An afternoon celebration of Hannukah
When: 2 pm – 5:30 pm on 18 December
Where: The Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Price: 15-18 USD

This afternoon festival at the Skirball Center is one of many ways the museum reaches out to the public to educate people on Jewish Culture, as well as celebrate with the local Jewish community. The festival this year is headlined by klezmer rockers Mostly Kosher, with performances from DJ Callie Ryan, dance leaders Bruce Bierman and mixed martial artist Gilbert Melendez, as well as the Skirball Storytellers who will bring the Hannukah story to life. This family-friendly event will also include an art workshop and a sunset candle lighting in honor of the story of Hannukah. Enjoy food, a photo booth, and a celebration in the beautiful LA hills.

Festive things to do in LA | Christmas Tree Lane Altadena
Christmas Tree Lane Altadena, photo by Jerry Friedman

Celebrate 100 years of Christmas tree lighting

What: A beloved Christmas tradition
When: 3 pm – 9 pm on 10 December
Where: Altadena Public Library, 600 E. Mariposa Street, Altadena, CA 91001
Price: Free

In 1920, businessman Frederick C. Nash had the idea to start a public lighting of Christmas trees along a road to celebrate the holiday season in Altadena. Over a few years, the event expanded until it occupied a boulevard 150 decorated trees long. This makes the Altadena Christmas tree lighting the oldest such spectacle in the US. Today, the Christmas Tree Lane is on the National Registrar of Historic Places. This year, the festival will celebrate this history with local choirs, marching bands, solo performers, photo opportunities, and – of course – Santa Claus.