Stumped on what to do this weekend? Whether you’re in the mood to chow down on tamales or watch a festive holiday parade, there are plenty of family-friendly options in the LA area to choose from. Keep on scrolling to get all the details.

photo: Guillaume de Germain via Unsplash


Taste of Tamales Food Festival
Taste a wide variety of tamales (a holiday tradition) – plus other kinds of foods – while enjoying arts & crafts, live music, carnival rides & games and 20,000 free toys for children. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

San Gabriel Valley

First Free Friday at PMCA
It’s free day at the Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art. The mission of this hidden gem of a museum is to present the breadth of California art and design through exhibitions that explore the cultural dynamics and influences that are unique to California. It’s a great place to visit for both adults and kids. Fri. Event details.

Little Explorers Take Over Descanso
Bring youngsters ages 2-5 to explore Descanso Gardens from the ground up. Little Explorers will use their senses to discover the natural world of the garden through hands-on activities and crafts. Kids under 5 are free. Sat. Event details.

Mosaic Craft Fair
Sure, you can shop this arts and crafts fair featuring a variety of goods including unique and one-of-a-kind fashion, jewelry, stationary, bath and body and toys to have the coolest and most unique gifts this holiday season. But it’s also a family-friendly event with a fabulous kids area including free arts and crafts workshops for kids, face painting and photos with Santa. So you can just have fun, too.  And if all this fun makes you hungry, the event also includes a variety of tasty food trucks and a craft beer garden. Sun. Event details.

Montecito Heights

Holiday Lamplight Celebration at Heritage Square
Witness as the past becomes the present among the beautiful glow of Victorian homes at Heritage Square’s annual holiday event. Sat.-Sun. Event details.


Cornelia Funke’s Journey Through the Ancient Americas
Award-winning children’s author Cornelia Funke reads her latest Getty story featuring the pirate and ghost William Dampier, who guards the Getty Center from other ghosts and spirits. This latest installment follows Pirate Dampier as he encounters supernatural visitors from the ancient Americas on the occasion of the exhibition Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas. Sun. Event details.


The Wilmington Holiday Parade
The Heart of the Harbor Parade takes place along the waterfront, with floats and marching groups, including a group of Civil War Re-enactors from the Drum Barracks Museum. Sat. Event details.

A Very Civil Civil War Christmas
The Banning Museum holds a very Victorian Christmas, the Drum Barracks celebrates in Civil War regalia and both museums sponsor free horse-drawn carriage rides between the two sites, which are decorated for true holiday delight. Admission to both museums and the carriage rides are all free. Now that’s the holiday spirit. Sat.-Sun. Event details.


Wags and Walks Dog Adoptions
Looking for a new furry friend? Wags and Walks saves dogs from high-kill shelters in and around Los Angeles. Join Wags and Walks for a special dog adoption event on the Farmers Market Plaza. Sat. Event details.

San Fernando Valley

The Fairy and the Pirate Adventure
Fairy Fauni takes kids to Fairyland, only to find Pirate Captain Scrappy there eager to join in the fairy fun. This musical show features a beautiful fairy, a hilarious pirate with music, magic and dancing. This story will surely brighten up your day and uplift your spirits in every possible way. Sat. Event details.

Oak Glen

Riley’s Farm Christmas in the Colonies
Colonial Virginians were known to have spent an entire month celebrating! Enjoy a Christmas feast complete with dancing and Christmas Carols. It’s about as old fashioned as you can get. Yes, it’s a drive, but this chilly, mile-high town is a blast back in the past worth the trip. Fri. Event details.

—Susie Foresman