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Los Angeles for Christmas

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Oct 12th, 2017, 02:16 AM
  #1
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Los Angeles for Christmas

We are headed to LA Dec. 24-31 this year, visiting our 26-year-old son. He's been there for 7 years, including college, but always comes home to New England for the holidays. Looking for ideas of any LA holiday traditions that we should not miss. Raised our boys on typical Christian holiday traditions, but haven't been to services for a few years. We'd be interested in a non-traditional service but also any fun things that only happen at the holidays. Performances? Light shows? Also, what is open Christmas Day? He lives in a small studio, we'll likely be staying in an airbnb or something, and we aren't going to try to recreate our traditional day. That said, we're not interested in overpriced fancy dinners served by people who would rather be home with their families. A picnic maybe? We've visited him several times but not during the holidays. Thanks in advance!
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Oct 12th, 2017, 05:04 AM
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Is there something wrong with your identical thread on this subject? http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-christmas.cfm
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Oct 12th, 2017, 10:55 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Hit up Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead for a couple of days in a cabin..ski, eat and enjoy some Xmas spirit.
1.5 hours from LA.
Book quickly.

Getty Museum has picnic options.
Santa Monica pier is festive..night too.
Lots of Church services for the holidays.
Catalina Island is another thought..take the ferry over.
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Oct 12th, 2017, 12:00 PM
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Tamales for Christmas Eve Day are a tradition in some parts of LA, I am looking for a new source myself since the place I used to place an order with changed hands.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 01:05 PM
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Catalina (Avalon) would definitely be a fun idea.

Unfortunately, you're arriving on the 24th -- after all of the super LA getting ready for Christmas festivities have ended. Like the boat parades (I love the Venice canals boat parade, but there's some really huge ones in the south bay and Long Beach). Or the Pasadena Playhouse annual xmas shows -- last one is at 1:00 p.m. on the 24th.

What will remain (or start) during your visit are:
Light show at Griffith Park -- now called LA Zoo Lights, it takes place inside the Zoo. Open throughout your visit except the 24th and 25th;
Outdoor Ice Skating downtown Pershing Square
Disneyland Christmas
Bandfest in Pasadena at Pasadena City College (29th and 30th). For those who don't know, everyone invited to be part of the marching bands for the Rose Parade get to be part of Bandfest . . . so you get the preview of what they will be performing along the Rose Parade route!

Many of us on the Westside grab our new bikes (or old ones) and, depending on the weather, ride bikes along the Santa Monica bikeway at Christmas. Very LA.

If you decide to Picnic (if the weather is with you), again Griffith Park would be a nice place to do this.

The day before Christmas or the day after Christmas, a popular dinner spot in the Griffith Park area for some of that British holiday spirit would be the Tam O Shanter on Los Feliz Blvd. at Boyce. Day of, if you don't want to picnic, might be Hollywood's The Pikey, a British pub/restaurant. Or grab French bistro/café food at the all day brunch at the Little Next Door in W. Hollywood. Eat in/Take out.
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Oct 16th, 2017, 01:41 PM
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"Griffith Park area for some of that British holiday spirit would be the Tam O Shanter on Los Feliz Blvd"

Plus it was Curly's hangout back in the day. Hyuk. Nyuk. Nyuk.

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Oct 16th, 2017, 02:32 PM
  #7
 
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My Dad always took us to Malibu beach for a "white Christmas"
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Oct 16th, 2017, 08:36 PM
  #8
 
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Before you put the Getty Center on your sightseeing list... I tried to meet a friend there last year in the week between Xmas and NYE. It was ridiculously crowded. There was a long line of cars to enter the parking lot, and then aimless wandering/looking for an empty space. I ended up leaving and meeting her for lunch in Westwood instead.

Try to drive down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The chamber of commerce usually puts up wonderful street decorations. A couple of years ago, several Baccarat crystal chandeliers in big Lucite boxes were installed along the street's center median.

I really dislike the L.A. cathedral's architecture, but I'm guessing the Christmas Mass is a great traditional service. At the other end of the spectrum, the small, mostly glass Wayfarer's Chapel (designed by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank) overlooking the ocean in Palos Verdes has a beautiful candlelight midnight service on Xmas Eve, although I'm guessing that wouldn't be convenient on your arrival day.

Several neighborhoods really get serious about their light displays. If we knew where your son lived and/or where you'd be staying, perhaps we could give more info.
Jean is online now  
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Oct 17th, 2017, 01:53 PM
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Jean, CindyJ said, in her other post on the same subject that her son lived in a tiny studio in the Miracle Mile area. And that because he attended Otis college (in Westchester), they had previously visited and stayed in the Hermosa Beach/Venice area.

Which has gotten me to thinking . . . I used to live in a tiny Bachelor apt as well as a tiny Studio in my university years, but always entertained at Christmas. We'd use the coffee table to dine and sit on pillows on the floor, and it was kind of like picnicking inside, with pretty lights and a decorated tree . . . at the time, mostly homemade ornaments. The record player blasted The Nutcracker.

I may have a small home now, and a husband, a grown up son, and 3 dogs, but we STILL continue that tradition on Christmas Eve, inviting in our relatives and close friends, as well as neighbors not doing anything. Everyone brings some food or dessert and we have a great time!

So, perhaps you could create something like this as a new family tradition? When my son was up north at university, he was more than happy to have me come up and help decorate and help with food prep.
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Oct 17th, 2017, 08:45 PM
  #10
 
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You could go out to Pasadena and take a tour of one of the float pavilions for the Rose Parade, this would be best towards the end of your week, Tournament of Roses activities start right after Xmas.
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Oct 29th, 2017, 01:26 PM
  #11
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Thanks everyone! I apologize for the double post. I haven't used Forums for a couple of years and I used to get email notices when someone replied to my post. I don't get them now, don't see the option in Settings, and didn't think I had any responses! But the Fodors community always comes through! So our plans just changed and we're arriving on the 23rd so have Christmas Eve to enjoy. Booked an airbnb at the southern end of Los Feliz so the Tam O Shanter sounds like fun. A beach walk Christmas Day seems in order. Any more info on the boat parades? That sounds great and different from here in New England.Pasadena float tour also sounds great. Just googled Wayfarer's Chapel - would be wonderful! And Surfergirl...I love your story and just hope not to be asked to cook all our holiday food traditions in his studio!
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Nov 7th, 2017, 06:28 PM
  #12
 
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Bringing this thread back up to report that the Baccarat crystal chandeliers I mentioned earlier that were displayed on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills a couple of years ago have been installed again for this holiday season. In fact, they have put up more than before, so the street should look spectacular when the chandeliers are lit.

cindyj, I don't know if it would work with your arriving flight, but there will be screenings of the 1954 movie "White Christmas" (Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney) at Disney Hall in DTLA at 3:00p and 8:00p on Dec. 23rd. There will be a lounge with cocktails and treats before the screenings, and the audience sings along with the movie. Kitschy, but a nice way to experience Disney Hall if you haven't been inside.

If the weather is clear, consider making a visit to the Observatory in Griffith Park. Closed Mondays. Parking could be difficult during the holiday week, but there is a shuttle bus (cheap fare) between the Vermont/Sunset Red Line metro station, up Hillhurst (with numerous stops before Los Feliz Blvd.) and onward to the Observatory. Or take Lyft/Uber.

Also in Griffith Park, if you're nostalgic, look for the Merry-Go-Round that supposedly inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland. (He once lived in the Los Feliz area.)

http://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/t...te-disneyland/

The Tam O'Shanter has been a tradition of my family my entire life. There are carolers during dinner in the month of December. The restaurant is closed on Christmas Day, but I think they're open on Christmas Eve. Enjoy!
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Dec 10th, 2017, 10:57 AM
  #13
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Thank you! We aren't arriving in time for the screening of White Christmas and I'd live that! I've toured the outside of Disney Hall but never been inside. I did check their schedule but it didn't look like they had any shows the week between Christmas and New Years.
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Dec 10th, 2017, 01:02 PM
  #14
 
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Check Timeout for Los Angeles and see if anything appeals. There is a pre Christmas show at the Dorothy Chandler Dec. 24 in the afternoon and a new Cirque de Soleil show which I think is playing at Dodger Stadium.
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Dec 10th, 2017, 05:41 PM
  #15
 
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Walking along with the Christmas truck parade in Toluca Lake might be fun on Christmas eve. There are several nice restaurants near the caroling neighborhood for dinner before or after. The truck rolls through various neighborhoods from 7 to 10:30pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrRSlsmbteU

Also Griffith Observatory is open til 5pm on Christmas Eve & New Years Eve. Closed Dec 25 & Jan 1 (& all Mondays.)
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Dec 14th, 2017, 11:50 AM
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Speaking of Griffith Observatory...I just visited last week...nice hiking in area, too.

http://travelswithmaitaitom.com/griffith-observatory-los-angeles/

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