It might not be cold outside but the sights and sounds of the approaching holidays are already here (even if you aren’t quite ready)! Take your mini merry-makers on a tour of some of the most festive tree lighting events this side of the North Pole and watch their eyes shine as bright as the City of Angels.
Photo: Americana at Brand via Facebook
The Americana’s Christmas Tree Lighting
Visions of more than sugarplums will be dancing in front of your little ones’ eyes! This outdoor mall goes all out for their celebration of the season where, to the delight of all ages, the first snow flurries of the year will fall. Dance performances, live entertainment, and fireworks only add to the holiday magic ending with Santa’s arrival and the lighting of the 100-foot tall Christmas tree. And that’s how you kick off the holidays!
When: Nov. 15, starting at 7:30 p.m.
899 Americana Way
Photo: Jonas G. via Yelp
Rodeo Drive Holiday Lighting Ceremony
Lights, Camera, Holiday action! Where else can you welcome the holidays in red carpet style (surrounded by more glitz than you can shake a candy cane at) than Rodeo Drive? This year their annual Holiday Lighting unveiling will include live performances by America’s Got Talent contestant (and electro hip-hop violinist) Svet, a 20-piece band playing holiday classics, new social art installations, a champagne garden (mom and dad like a little festive fizz too!), upscale food trucks, and of course, fireworks!
When: Nov. 15, starting at 5 p.m.
2 Rodeo Dr.
Photo: Shelley Z. via Yelp
The Music Center Plaza Tree Lighting
Your little elves can make lots of merriment in DTLA with the official lighting of Los Angeles County’s Christmas tree at Grand Park’s Fountain Overlook. Enjoy the sweet sounds of holiday favorites from local music artists and community groups then jingle all the way through Grand Park to see it twinkle with park-inspired holiday décor. Word has it, there may even be hot chocolate involved for anyone on the good list!
When: Nov. 26, starting at 5 p.m.
200 N Grand Ave.
Photo: Buy Local Santa Monica via Facebook
Santa Monica Holiday Tree Lighting Party
Santa and Mrs. Claus join festive forces with city officials to light the Santa Monica Holiday Tree on world-famous Third Street Promenade where there will sure to be plenty of Christmas cheer to go around. Kids are bound to enjoy the craft station catering to the younger set where they can create their own letters to Santa while parents will love checking out the decked out shops in between sips of peppermint mocha. If crafts aren’t their thing, your little loves can tell the Jolly One what’s on their list in person as he will certainly be on hand for the ever-so-seasonal photo op!
When: Nov. 30, starting at 6 p.m.
1300 Block of Third Street Promenade
Photo: Deanna T. via Yelp
Manhattan Beach Tree Lighting Celebration
Kowabunga Santa Claus! Celebrate the start of the holiday season South Bay-style with the annual Manhattan Beach Pier Lighting and Open House. Your tiny tots’ eyes will light up at the sight of the solar-powered festival of lights along with a 12-foot tree (adorned in all its festive glory) as the centerpiece of the town plaza. Local business, restaurants and retail stores will also be staying open extra late (and will feature some seasonally special offers) as their way of saying thanks for your patronage. We hear the mayor himself will be the one flipping the light switch at 7 p.m.
When: Nov. 14, starting at 6 p.m.
Photo: City of Culver City via Yelp
Culver City Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration
Thankfully, one of Santa’s stops this season is historic and charming Culver City where a 22-foot Rocky Mountain pine tree, draped in over 7,500 warm white LED lights, will be the piece de resistance for all to behold. Downtown Culver City businesses provide the hot cider, cocoa, cookies and other festive treats that are sure to warm even the grinchiest in your pack. If all of this weren’t gift enough, there will also be up to one hour of free parking during the tree lighting event in any of downtown’s three main parking structures (yes please!).
When: Dec. 6, starting at 6 p.m.
Photo: City of San Gabriel Government via Facebook
San Gabriel Holiday Tree Lighting
Get into the holly jolly mood at one of San Gabriel’s most beloved community events where local cheer is in full effect. Festivities kick off with neighborhood schools performing favorite holiday jingles while kids of all ages warm up with a cup (or two) of cocoa. The holiday tree lights illuminate the plaza at 7 p.m. followed by a visit from the big guy in red riding in a vintage fire truck ready to spread joy to all. Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped gift for the “Spark of Love” toy drive and show your sweet peas that giving can be just as fun as getting.
When: Dec. 4, starting at 6 p.m.
425 S Mission Dr.
Photo: LEGOLAND California via Facebook
LEGOLAND Christmas Tree Lighting
Ho-Ho-Holy huge LEGO tree Batman! Standing at a whopping 30 feet tall, it takes 245,000 forest green DUPLO bricks (and a whole lot of patience) to create one of the world’s tallest LEGO Christmas tree. Keeping with the sights and sounds of the season, this “tree” is also trimmed with hundreds of LEGO ornaments and comes alive each night with holiday music and light displays. No need to plan around one specific day for this outing; the tree gets lit on select dates through the end of the year. Definitely worth a drive for your little LEGO lovers.
When: Select dates from Nov. 17-Dec. 31
Photo: Tina R. via Yelp
Disneyland‘s Lighting of the Tree
The Happiest Place on Earth gets even merrier and brighter for the holiday season with close to one million lights sparkling throughout the park. Take the whole family for loads of festive frolic as you all rock around the 50-foot Christmas tree on Buena Vista Street at California Adventure (lit nightly) or the 60-foot tree on Main Street in Disneyland Park. With such spirited attractions as the Christmas Fantasy Parade, Mater’s Jingle Jamboree, Haunted Mansion Holiday, Snow White’s Winter Castle, “Believe in the Holiday Magic” Fireworks show and many chances to meet Santa Claus, your little nutcrackers will be decking the Disney halls until they drop!
When: Nov. 9-Dec. 30
1313 Disneyland Dr.
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—Sylvie Greil & Jenifer Scott