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The Best Things To Do In LA And SoCal This Weekend: Dec. 10 - 12

An illuminated inflatable figure of the Grinch smiles from a boat adorned with Christmas lights.
A Grinch-themed boat parade sails past the Port of L.A. during the Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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Shop at a bunch of holiday markets, including one dedicated to BIPOC artisans. Head to the ocean to catch an illuminated boat parade. Laugh as Hallmark holiday movies get the musical improv treatment. Celebrate the season's music and dance traditions at Nochebuena or The Nutcracker. Drive to the desert for an electronic music festival.

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. 10 - Sunday, Dec. 12

46th Annual Boat Parade of Lights
Dana Point Harbor  
34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point
Boaters who decorate their vessels for the Fiesta Holiday theme can win up to $10,000 in cash prizes across several award categories. The parade on water begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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A dozen women in long white traditional Mexican dresses dance on a stage while a mariachi band performs behind them.
Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles performs at the Soraya in Northridge this weekend.
(Luis Luque )

Friday, Dec. 10; 8 p.m. - Saturday, Dec. 11; 3 p.m.

The Soraya (at CSUN)
18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge
Celebrate the holidays with music by L.A.’s own Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar and the dancers of Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles. The special guest is vocalist Lupita Infante.

small, paper bag lanterns illuminate a dirt path at night.
California Botanic Garden glows with light for the holidays as traditional luminaries are positioned throughout the gardens and trails.

Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 10-11 and 17-18

Luminaria Nights
California Botanic Garden
‍1500 N. College Ave., Claremont
The grounds of the garden, formerly known as the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, are illuminated with traditional luminarias while musicians play contemplative music as you walk the trails. Visit unique sculptures from the (Re)place exhibition, created by Brandon Lomax.
COST: $8 - $15; MORE INFO

Friday, Dec. 10 - Sunday, Dec. 12

Home Alone in Concert
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. 
The L.A. Phil, conducted by David Newman, performs John Williams’ score during the screening of the now-classic holiday film. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, an 8-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind when his family goes on Christmas vacation, and who must defend his home against two bungling thieves. The Angeles Chorale also performs.
COST: $61 - $198; MORE INFO

a close-up of a woman holding a in a black head scarf that covers her head and reveals her face
UCLA Film & Television Archive screens 'Sambizanga,' a 1972 Angola/France production, directed and co-written by Sarah Maldoror.
(UCLA Film & Television Archive)

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Friday, Dec. 10 - Saturday, Dec. 11

UCLA Film & Television Archive Screenings
Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood 
The Archive screens the L.A. restoration premiere of Sambizanga, a 1972 Angolan and French co-production. Director and co-writer Sarah Maldoror adapted a novella about the events preceding the armed struggle in Angola against Portuguese rule, which began in 1961. Annouchka de Andrade, Madoror's daughter, will attend the screening. On Saturday, Outfest UCLA Legacy Project presents the preservation premiere of director Jamie Babbit’s short film, Stuck, along with her feature, But I’m a Cheerleader. Babbit will attend the screening.

a bunch of people raise their arms. in the background, a large sign on a building reads "palm springs air museum"
The Desert Air Festival is an electronic music and dance festival coming this weekend to the Palm Springs Air Museum.
(Mallory Turner )

Friday, Dec. 10 - Saturday, Dec. 11

Desert Air Festival
Palm Springs Air Museum
745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs 
Desert Air debuts an underground dance music weekend. Groove outdoors next to industrial hangars, historic aircraft and on the tarmac, with the San Jacinto Mountains in the background. The lineup includes Peggy Gou, DJ Koze, Dixon, The Martinez Brothers, Moodymann, Channel Tres, TSHA and Jayda G. Daytime programming features an architecture bike tour with Modernism Week, warbird rides with the Air Museum, a poolside mezcal tasting at the Saguaro, rooftop yoga, a natural wine tasting and a guided trail hike. This event is 21+.
COST: Single-day tickets start at $70 (passes and daytime add-ons available); MORE INFO 

Saturday, Dec. 11- Sunday, Dec. 12; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

In Todo: BIPOC Holiday Market
Mack Sennett Studios 
1215 Bates Ave., Silver Lake
In Todo, an organization that brings visibility to BIPOC artists, designers and makers, holds its first in-person marketplace this weekend with more than 80 vendors. At the indoor and outdoor event, shop for holiday gifts including apparel, handmade crafts, home goods, wellness, beauty and specialty items. Food and drinks from local artisanal vendors will also be available for purchase onsite. COST: $10 - $16 admission; MORE INFO

Other holiday markets this weekend include:

  • The Bergamot Station Open House and Gift Market 2021 happens on Saturday in Santa Monica. View works at more than 30 galleries, which will have table displays for small artworks and giftable items for sale. 
  • Unique Markets’ Los Angeles Holiday Market takes place Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at ROW DTLA. Shop small and from local designers, makers and vendors. Admission starts at $12. Free admission for kids and dogs are welcome.
  • Poppi Seed Market: Merry Maker Edition runs through Dec. 19 at The MarketPlace in Tustin ( 2893 El Camino Real). Celebrate all things handmade and shop from more than 45 small businesses. The market offers free entry and parking.
  • ByBlack Bazaar by American Express is a pop-up marketplace curated by Issa Rae. Shop black-owned, ByBlack-certified businesses on Saturday, and Sunday. The pop-up takes place at 1005 Mateo St. (entrance on Bay Street) in downtown L.A.

Saturday, Dec. 11; 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12; 2 p.m.

GMCLA: A Holiday Homecoming
UCLA’s Royce Hall
340 Royce Dr., Westwood
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles returns to live, in-person concerts for the first time in two years, performing holiday classics about the joy of coming home. Guest stars Telly Leung and Nikki Crawford join the fun, performing choral, classical, pop and Broadway tunes.
COST: Tickets start at $25; MORE INFO

Two people on bicycles ride through a metal gate with a sign that reads "Los Angeles River." The river can be seen in the background, below them.
The LA County Bicycle Coalition hosts a family-friendly ride sponsored by Metro’s Bicycle Education Safety Training (BEST) Program.
(Courtesy of the LA County Bicycle Coalition)

Saturday, Dec. 11; 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Metro BEST Ride: Maywood Riverfront Park to South Gate Park
Riverfront Park
5000 Slauson Ave., Maywood
Join a bike ride along the L.A. River that starts at Maywood Riverfront Park and ends at South Gate Park, where riders are welcome to rest and enjoy the park's amenities. Participants can ride back to the start or take Metro transit (bus or train). This ride, sponsored by the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, will be capped at 30 participants to ensure safe distancing.

An artwork featuring a large cartoonish drawing of a man dressed like a cowboy. A speech bubble reads: "Take some advice hombre!! Never try to shoot a man in the back when he is facing a mirror!!"
William Turner Gallery presents a solo exhibition by artist Greg Miller.
('Flashbacks' by Greg Miller, courtesy of the artist and William Turner Gallery)

Saturday, Dec. 11; 4 - 7 p.m.

Greg Miller: Flashbacks Opening
William Turner Gallery
Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica
The gallery presents new works by post-pop artist Greg Miller. Enjoy entertainment, food trucks and a bar with holiday refreshments. The gallery will also feature new works from gallery artists in the main room. Get to Bergamot Station early as there's an open house and gift market on Saturday.

Saturday, Dec. 11; 12 - 6 p.m.

Holiday Family Faire
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga
Enjoy a holiday marketplace in the canyon while meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus, listening to winter tales and carolers, or watching a performance of Harry Nilsson’s The Point! with Kiefo Nilsson and John C. Reilly (add-on tickets required). Festive food and drinks will be available for purchase.
COST: $10 - $20, $50 for family four-pack; MORE INFO

Saturday, Dec. 11; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Holiday Krafts Day for Kids
The International Printing Museum
315 W. Torrance Blvd., Carson 
The museum’s “crazy crafts day” returns with a wintery twist. Participate in a day of printing and crafts including letterpress cards, keepsakes, wrapping paper and ornaments. Participants can also try paper marbling, typing a note to Santa on vintage typewriters, screen-printing t-shirts, bookbinding and special tours.

Saturday, Dec. 11; 2 p.m.

JTown Jingles
Various locations throughout Little Tokyo
You can chill out at an afternoon of caroling at various locations throughout Little Tokyo courtesy of a capella group Filosophy. The day ends with a final performance at 5 p.m. at JANM Plaza (100 N. Central Ave.).

A boat with its outline illuminated by lights sails on the water at night.
A boat parade.
(John Spade
John Spade (daspader), licensed under CC BY 2.0. )

Saturday, Dec. 11; 5:55 p.m.

Marina Del Rey Boat Parade
Various locations in Marina Del Rey
A fireworks display is followed by a boat parade around the marina’s main channel with the theme “Joy on the Water.” Watch from Fisherman’s Village or Burton Chace Park in MDR for some of the best views.

a large brown stone building with a large cross near the top.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe.
(APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Saturday, Dec. 11; 6 p.m.

Las Mañanitas A La Virgen De Guadalupe
Cathedral of the Our Lady of the Angels 
555 W. Temple St., downtown L.A. 
All are welcome to attend a celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe that begins with indigenous dancers on the Cathedral plaza and the veneration of the relic of the tilma (cloak) of St. Juan Diego. (There will be refreshments served throughout the performance until 9 p.m.) The ceremonies continue at 10 p.m. inside the cathedral with a special Rosary, followed by a performance by Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas at 11 p.m. The program will be in Spanish and the festivities culminate in a midnight Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez.

a dancer dressed as a nutcracker leaps through the air. behind him are young toy soldiers and a christmas tree.
Inland Pacific Ballet presents the holiday favorite tradition, 'The Nutcracker,' this weekend at the Fox Performing Arts Center, Riverside.
(E.Y. Yanagi)

Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 11-12 and 18-19

The Nutcracker
Fox Performing Arts Center
3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside 
Inland Pacific Ballet performs the classic holiday ballet. Watch as toy soldiers, dolls, battling mice, snowflakes, flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy dance across the stage. Save 30% on select seats using the passcode SAVE30.
COST: $20 - $79; MORE INFO 

Sunday, Dec. 12; 7 p.m.

The Slam: A Poetry Comedy Show
The Elysian
1944 Riverside Dr., Frogtown
Annie Paradis hosts a slamming night with comedians Christine Medrano, Jon Braylock and Maggie Beasley, and poet Julia Lans Nowak.

Sunday, Dec. 12; 10 p.m.

Santa Said Yes!
Dynasty Typewriter at The Hayworth
2511 Wilshire Blvd., Westlake
Watch a live, improvised musical in the style of a Hallmark Channel holiday movie, led by improv vets Ashley Ward and John Hartman. Listen to future holiday music from Zach Marsh (who’s an actual Hallmark movie composer) and enjoy comedy from magical elf Peter Kim. This show is 18+.
COST: $20 - $25; MORE INFO

a reddish brown stone encircled by diamonds hangs off a gold chain
View jewelry pieces from Disney films, including Baroness von Hellman’s necklace in 'Cruella' (2021), at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.
(Courtesy of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Archives, ©Disney )

Sunday, Dec. 12 - Sunday, June 19, 2022

All That Glitters: The Crown Jewels of the Walt Disney Archives
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main St., Santa Ana
The new exhibition showcases the jewelry and accessories from Titanic, The Princess Diaries and other Disney and 20th Century Studios films. Tickets will be sold with a reduced capacity on an hourly basis. On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., there’s a panel discussion and book signing with Becky Cline, director of the Walt Disney Archives.
COST: $10 - $25 admission; MORE INFO 

A woman stands on top of a large, high, brown rock looking down over many other hills and rocks.
Castle Peak is a challenging hike located in the west San Fernando Valley.
(Daveynin, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Outdoor Pick

Castle Peak
This week’s outdoor pick leads us to Castle Peak near West Hills in the San Fernando Valley. Accessible from El Scorpión Park, the peak is located on the Chumash site Kas'ele'ew. It’s a short but difficult hike that’s not recommended for beginners or children. Reaching the top takes a little bit of scrambling over boulders and challenging terrain. Park in the neighborhood near the corner of Vanowen Blvd. and Sunset Ridge Court. You can extend your adventure by exploring the nearby Cave of Munits site, which is located in Ventura County.

TV/Streaming Pick

The first season of the UK comedy finally makes it across the pond. The gallows comedy stars Samson Kayo as a tough loner paramedic and Jane Horrocks as his overly friendly partner. The show follows the pair and their colleagues through the life-saving world of a south London emergency service. All episodes of Bloods will be available on Dec. 9 on Hulu.

Thin slices of raw salmon lay on a some sort of sauce on a plate. They are drizzled with oil and topped with flower buds and slices of jalapeno.
Fanny's, the restaurant and café at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, opened for dinner service earlier this week.
(Wonho Frank Lee)

Dine and Drink Deals

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

  • Fanny’s, the restaurant and café at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, debuted its dinner service earlier this week. Executive chef Raphael Francois serves classic dishes such as steak and a tableside Caesar salad. Named after vaudeville performer Fanny Brice, the restaurant will host live DJ sets on select nights all month.
  • KA’TEEN, a new restaurant from Wes Avila (formerly of Guerrilla Tacos), opens on Friday in Hollywood (6516 Selma Ave.). Diners can expect a twist on his signature Alta California cuisine — ceviches, tacos, seafood tostadas, seafood and cocktails — as a nod to the Yucatán Peninsula. Reservations are available via Resy
  • Don't be fooled by the name. Grandmaster Records is a restaurant, not a record store. It opens Thursday, Dec. 9 in Hollywood (1518 N. Cahuenga Blvd.). The Italian and Australian-inspired menu (from the team behind E.P. & L.P. and Strings of Life) features sourdough cavatelli with lamb, seafood stew, oysters and caviar. The multi-story concept includes 71 Studio Bar and a rooftop space.
  • The long-awaited Blossom Market Hall in San Gabriel opens on Thursday. Vendors include Banh Mi Bar, Burnt Belly, Circle Tea Bar, Honey & Hive, La Olla, Spotless Burgers and Sushi Rolland.
  • Havana-themed cocktail bar Bolita opens in Virgil Village (864 N. Virgil) on Friday at 5 p.m. Sip cocktails as well as non-alcoholic libations and beers from local breweries. The joint is the brainchild of Sobremesa Hospitality, the folks behind El Cochinito and Café Tropical.
  • The Arts District Brewing Company holds its first Schwarz-Mas Time Schwarz-Off on Sunday. It's a competition and celebration of Schwarzbier, a dark lager with German origins. Local breweries including All Season, Angel City, Boomtown, Cervecería Del Pueblo, Eagle Rock and several others go head-to-head. The taps start flowing at noon.
  • Parm Boyz returns to Ronan in the Fairfax neighborhood for a Home for The Holidays pop-up on Sunday, 4:30 - 10 p.m. The Italian feast ($40 per person) includes antipasti, Caesar salad, chicken and eggplant parm, and tiramisu. There will also be veal chop parm and veal Tomahawk chop add-ons. Vegetarian options are available. This is a toy drive for Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, so bring an unwrapped toy to donate and you'll get a nip of limoncello on the house. Make reservations via Resy.
  • La Bella Pinseria Romana in Glendale offers pinsa, a lighter, airier variation on pizza made from a blend of premium quality rice, soy and wheat flours. Options include pork (four ways), eggplant, mortadella and mushrooms. (h/t Eater LA)
  • Stephanie Izard's Sugar Goat bakery, adjacent to the DTLA location of Girl & the Goat, is now offering cakes. Pastry chef de cuisine Faith Taheny's flavor combos include the Choco-Masa ($50), a Maseca cake layered with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, chocolate caramel ganache, chocolate covered masa chips and crisp quinoa. Order cakes in advance and pick them up 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily.
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