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The Best Things To Do In LA And SoCal This Christmas Weekend: Dec. 24 - 26

Nine people wearing colorful African tunics or skirts stand on a stage and sing.
The 62nd annual LA County Holiday Celebration at The Music Center takes place online this year with performances by ensembles including Lorenzo Johnson and Prazium.
(Timothy Norris/The Music Center
Timothy Norris)
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Attend L.A. County’s Holiday’s Celebration from the comfort of your home. Watch It’s A Wonderful Life on the big screen. Attend a magical cirque. Catch the last weeks of Love Actually Live, the Yoshitomo Nara exhibition and The Obama Portraits Tour.

With COVID-19 variants still out there, it's best to check ahead of time to make sure of event updates and vaccine/testing requirements.

Friday, Dec. 24; 3 - 6 p.m.

62nd Annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration 
Because of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, there will no longer be a live audience allowed into the Music Center for the annual Christmas Eve celebration. The event continues as an online showcase, featuring more than 20 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from L.A. Mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actor Brian White co-host the show, which features the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, gospel singers Lorenzo Johnson & Praizum, Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy, klezmer band Mostly Kosher, two-time GRAMMY award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance and cellist Adam Mandela Walden. The program will air on PBS SoCal and stream on, and

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Friday, Dec. 24; 11 a.m.

It’s a Wonderful Life
Million Dollar Theater
307 S. Broadway, downtown L.A.   
Watch George Bailey lasso the moon for his future wife in Frank Capra's 1946 holiday classic. If you can’t make a morning screening, the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica screens the film at 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Friday, Dec. 24; 8:30 p.m.

E.P. & L.P.
603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood
Enjoy a three-course dinner indoors at E.P. then watch the Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel movie under the stars, at the Melrose Rooftop Theatre.

Saturday, Dec. 25; 2 p.m.

Monkey Business / Duck Soup
The New Beverly
7165 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax
Watch a Christmas Day matinee of two classics from the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo) — Monkey Business (1931) followed by Duck Soup (1933) at 3:45 p.m.

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Sunday, Dec. 26; 5 and 8 p.m.

A Magical Cirque Christmas
Segerstrom Concert Hall
600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa
Lucy Darling hosts a magical holiday production featuring dazzling performances by cirque artists, accompanied by live holiday music.
COST: $39 - $119; MORE INFO

a black cartoon duck paints an image of himself on a wall
Watch classic cartoons, including 'The Wise Quacking (Daffy) Duck' at The Alex Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 26.
(Alex Film Society)

Sunday, Dec. 26; 2 and 7 p.m.

The 10th Annual Greatest Cartoons Ever
Alex Theatre
216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
The Alex Film Society returns to screen more cartoons. Watch Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Superman, Popeye, Betty Boop and Woody Woodpecker in action. There's also a mini-tribute to the animator, director and voice actor Tex Avery. The event is hosted and curated by Jerry Beck and Frank Gladstone.

Sunday, Dec. 26; 3 p.m. - Saturday, Jan. 1; 7 p.m.

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Unity
The Robey Theatre Company presents a new play to coincide with the seven-day celebration of the winter festival of Kwanzaa. Inspired by African harvest festivals, Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, chair of Africana Studies at Cal State Long Beach. In the play, American Black Studies professor Dr. Agu travels to Ghana to trace his roots. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he can’t leave Ghana and teaches his students (via Zoom) a more complete version of American history as well as the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa. Zoom links will be sent to audience members who register in advance. Also available on YouTube.
COST: FREE, but $10 donations accepted; MORE INFO

a guy stands on a stage holding a sign that reads "Merry Christmas"
'Love Actually Live' returns to The Wallis in Beverly Hills for the holiday season.
(Kevin Parry)

Sunday, Dec. 26; 2 and 7 p.m.

Love Actually Live
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts 
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills
The multimedia concert celebration of Richard Curtis's film returns to the Wallis after last year's hiatus. Actors, singers and a live orchestra perform soundtrack faves including “Christmas is All Around,” “Trouble With Love" and “Both Sides Now.” The show runs through Dec. 31.
COST: $39 - $125; MORE INFO

a drawing of a young girl sleeping with her tongue out
There are only a few weeks to catch Yoshitomo Nara's works, including the 'Princess of Snooze,' 2001, at LACMA.
(Courtesy the artist)

Through Sunday Jan. 2

Last Chance for Yoshitomo Nara and The Obama Portraits Tour
5905 Wilshire Ave., Mid-Wilshire
It’s the final weeks for viewing Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former First Lady Michelle Obama — as well as a retrospective of Yoshitomo Nara’s work from 1987 to 2020.
COST: $10 - $25; MORE INFO

Through Tuesday, Jan. 7

LA Kings Holiday Ice
L.A. Live
800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown L.A.
Skate into the holidays at L.A.’s largest holiday ice rink, set up in front of the Arena (aka Staples Center). The rink is good for date night, family fun or killing time before a game, concert or movie. Holiday Ice may close due to inclement weather. Please call 818-309-7948 to confirm or check Instagram stories at @laliveofficial.
COST: $20 - $25; MORE INFO

a tree stands amid a rocky landscape
Bring your out-of-town guests on a hike with great views of Burbank and Hollywood.
(Daveynin, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Outdoor Pick

The Wisdom Tree Hike
If you have friends or family in town, this Griffith Park hike named for the solitary tree atop Burbank Peak, offers sweeping views of L.A. on a clear day. There are several ways to reach The Wisdom Tree. The shortest route is a steep, 1.6-mile, out-and-back hike. Park on Lake Hollywood Drive then walk up to Wonder View Drive where Burbank Peak Trail begins. To tack on more miles, head to Cahuenga Peak then to the Hollywood sign.

TV/Streaming Pick

Reno 911! The Hunt for QAnon 
The ensemble comedy show, which originally aired on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2009, returns with a special on Paramount Plus. The Reno Sheriff's department is on a mission to track down the “Q” of QAnon. While on their hunting trip, the deputies get stuck at a QAnon convention at sea — only to find themselves stranded on Jeffrey Epstein’s island. The entire original cast returns, including Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Cedric Yarbrough, Carlos Alazraqui, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Niecy Nash, Mary Birdsong and Ian Roberts. The Reno 911!Special is available to watch on Thursday, Dec. 23.

a plate of sauteed meat, onions and bell peppers on a red tablecloth
Genghis Cohen on Fairfax is open for dining and limited takout orders of its Chinese American cuisine on Christmas Day.
(Courtesy of Genghis Cohen)

Dine and Drink Deals

Check out the 411 on restaurant, bar and food happenings in SoCal this holiday weekend:

  • Union in Old Town Pasadena brings back its Feast of The Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Chef Chris Keyser offers a seven-course menu that includes BBQ eel croquette with caviar, tortellini en brodo with abalone and porcini "dashi" and paccheri with Maine lobster. The prix-fixe menu is $125/person with an optional $45 wine pairing (two seatings: 5 pm and 7:30 pm). Make reservations via Resy or 
  • Craft cocktail lounge Bamboo Room hosts an Ugly Sweater Party on Christmas Eve. A DJ spins tunes while you hit the dance floor. Bottle service tables are available. Doors at 8 p.m. 
  • Spend Christmas at (or order from) Genghis Cohen on its biggest day of the year. Menu favorites include egg rolls, dumplings, kung pao chicken, duck, beef and broccoli, and speciality cocktails.  
  • Wise Sons Jewish Deli in Culver City is open on Christmas Day, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., serving its popular hot pastrami Reubens, breakfast burritos, potato latkes, matzo ball soup and housemade bagels.   
  • Hollywood’s L’antica Pizzeria da Michele offers a Christmas Eve pre-fixed menu at $85/ per person and an optional $50 wine pairing. The regular menu will also be available.
  • If you want a more casual option for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, HauteMess, the Fairfax neighborhood market, bakery, patisserie and café will be open, offering European-style sandwiches and salads.  
  • Greenhouse-inspired restaurant Poppy & Seed, located at the Anaheim Packing District, offers a Christmas Eve menu including roasted winter squash soup, a half brick chicken ‘a la plancha’ and cioppino.
  • Thousand Oaks wine bar and restaurant Cork Dork is taking reservations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You can enjoy each varietal on their 40+ wine list as a 2-ounce, a 5-ounce pour or a bottle. The menu includes Hamachi crudo, pork belly, hanger steak and PEI mussels. The restaurant will open on Christmas Eve at 4:30 p.m. and on Christmas day at 4 p.m. with the last seating at 8 p.m.
  • Bardonna in Santa Monica will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (7 a.m. - 3 p.m.) with holiday brunch items plus a spread of sweet treats including hot chocolate, CBD bombs, festive cookies and ice cream.
  • Tu Madre in West Hollywood is open on Christmas Eve, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., serving caviar tater tots, oyster po' boys, Mexican fare and plant-based items. Full bar is available.
  • The Tasting Kitchen’s Italian Mediterranean California-inspired fare is exemplified by chef Travis Passerotti’s TTK Dinner ($85 per person). The four courses are customized based on whatever is freshest in the kitchen. Items may include house-cured fishes and charcuterie, cheese and wine pairings, oysters, mussels, pork chops, steaks and pasta. The Venice restaurant is open for Christmas Eve, 5 - 11 p.m. 
  • Santa Monica’s Lunetta offers a four-course menu ($125) for Christmas Eve, featuring mushroom cappuccino, roasted beet salad, duck confit, bouillabaisse, braised lamb shank and prime rib. Desserts include their popular sticky toffee pudding. Reservations via Opentable.
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