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A red background with holiday design features drawings of King Tut's head and large outdoor display of flowers with the worlds "Shop L.A." in the middle in white letters.
(Dan Carino
10 Of Our Favorite LA-Centric Experiences To Gift
Give the gift of attending a special event this holiday season. Did someone say "party goats"?

In the market for a gift you know someone will actually, well, use? Have friends and family whose homes are already brimming with possessions?

We have a suggestion: Consider gifting a memorable experience in the L.A.-area. You might even tag along as part of the gift ... pretty sure that falls under the win-win category.

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New Year’s Eve with The Roots

A black and white photo of two black men wearing suits and glasses
(Courtesy LA Phil)

Ring in the New Year at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the hip-hop crew from Philadelphia and the longtime house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Led by Blackthought and Questlove, The Roots play two NYE shows at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets: $69 - $254.

Swanky Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula

An image of three people hold three tea cups together filled with tea.
(Courtesy The Peninsula Hotel)

There are a number of places in SoCal to treat someone to afternoon tea — with tiny cucumber sandwiches, scones, and strawberries and cream — but The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills offers the extra swank and decadence. Menu items include house-smoked salmon with caviar, cinnamon hazelnut financier and autumn Battenberg cake, plus an option for endless Champagne. Served from Wednesday to Sunday at 11 a.m., 1:30 and 4 p.m. Prices start at $125 per person.

Lightscape at The Arboretum

A light display in the shape of tunnel with a person walking through it
(Courtesy Light Art Collection)
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Perfect for date night or a family outing, Lightscape at the Los Angeles County Arboretum features thousands of lights and installations along a trail that extends just a little more than a mile. The fan fav Winter Cathedral returns with 15 new displays, including the U.S. premiere of three installations: Will-o’-the-wisp, Whole Hole and a huge Laser Garden. Adult tickets start at $37.

Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience

A group of people, two standing and two sitting, in front of a projection of an Egyptian artifact.
( Timothy Norris)

This new exhibition, developed with the National Geographic Society, is now open at the Magic Box LA at The Reef. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest archeological discoveries of all time, guests will be able to see the history by winding through nine multimedia galleries to learn about the story of the boy who ruled as pharaoh more than 3,000 years ago. Tut’s tomb is still the only intact Egyptian royal tomb ever found and the exhibition uses photography and technology to display the artifacts from the tomb, ensuring that the finds remain in Egypt. Tickets: $26 - $68.

Beastie Boys EXHIBIT

A black and white photo of three men sitting on a couch. One man is holding a basketball up to the camera.
(Ari Marcopoulos)

If the budget is tight this holiday season, here’s a gift experience that’s gratis: Beyond the Streets and CONTROL Gallery, in partnership with Goldenvoice, present an extensive Beastie Boys exhibition (called Exhibit) from Dec. 10 to Jan. 23. Take a music lover to Beyond the Streets’ flagship store on La Brea and take a deep-dive into the group’s 40-year history, from Licensed to Ill to Paul’s Boutique and beyond with personal items, artifacts and ephemera. Reserve free tickets in advance.

Temecula Sunrise Balloon Ride

A image of hot air ballon against a red holiday back drop
(Christine N. Ziemba)

Give the gift to that special someone craving a sunrise hot-air balloon trip around the Temecula Valley wine country. Flights often last between 45 and 75 minutes and start at dawn to take advantage of the calm morning air. Most local operators, including A Grape Escape and Sunrise Balloons, often offer glasses of bubbly or other beverages during the ride. Group ride tickets start at approximately $170 per person.

LA Seafood Market Tour

A plate of sushi sits with an image of heart eye emoji imposed on to with a holiday red background
Licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Foodstory offers small, in-person Japanese home cooking classes in downtown L.A. Hands-on workshops include Ramen Run Down: Tonkotsu, Edo Mae Style: Nigiri Sushi and Izakaya: Japanese Bar Foods. But the Seafood Market Tour & Cooking class ($160) features a tour, shopping and cooking lessons. Visit the DTLA wholesale fish market to learn from the fish dealers about the fishes in season and special products. After the tour, the fish and participants return to the Foodstory kitchen and prepare Japanese-style seafood dishes for lunch.

Porsche Experience Center

The driver seat of a Porsche
(Sten Rademaker
Unsplash )

Located in Carson, the Porsche Experience Center includes a 53-acre driver development track, fine dining at Restaurant 917, cars on display, and many car experiences. There are several driving/riding options available, including VR simulator experiences, a 1.3-mile track ride with a Porsche Drive Coach, a hands-on driving experience with your choice of Porsche or The Academy, a four-session driving program. The experiences range in price for a number of budgets.

Surfing Lessons

A man surfing in the ocean
(Bob Oh
Unsplash )

Sun and surf are synonymous with the SoCal lifestyle, so gift a friend or family member surfing lessons from a number of schools and instructors stretching from Malibu to beach cities in Orange County. If we had to choose one place to hang 10, we’d choose Surf City, U.S.A, aka Huntington Beach, with its consistent waves on either side of the city’s famous pier. Schools in the area include Corky Carroll’s Surf School and HB Surf School. Private lessons start around $160.

30-minute Goat Gram

An image of man who is smiling and kneeing on field with two goats. The goats are wearing football jerseys.
(Courtesy Party Goats - LA)

Why not give the gift of goats this holiday season? Surprise your recipient with a Goat Gram ($75 for 30 minutes) from Party Goats LA. The 30-minute experience includes feeding and petting the goat, lots of pictures and a swag bag for the recipient. The goat arrives dressed in a holiday sweater. Suggested by LAist reader "Scout."