By Leah Schwartz
While there might not be a blanket of snow on the ground, there are still ample opportunities to relish in the holiday mood, with tradition and fanfare happening across the Westside this winter. With holiday markets, parades and ice skating, there is something for everyone to get into the holiday spirit.
Ice at Santa Monica
11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, ongoing through Monday, January 15
1324 Fifth Street, Santa Monica
Just blocks from the ocean, Ice at Santa Monica transports visitors to a winter sports wonderland. Presented by Netflix, the 8,000-square-foot outdoor rink is open daily through mid-January. The rink comes alive at night with festive decorations and twinkling holiday lights to delight seasoned skaters and beginners. Tickets are $22 for a one-hour slot and include skate rentals.
Christmas lights at the Venice Canals
Throughout the season at the Venice Canals
The Venice Canals transform from an idyllic LA neighborhood to a cozy holiday milieu during the holiday season. Holiday displays and lights line the bridges over the community’s well-known canals. Park a few blocks away to avoid the one-way Dell Avenue that runs through the neighborhood and roam leisurely around the twinkling canals. The neighborhood’s long-running boat parade typically floats down the canals the first or second weekend of December.
Marina Lights at Burton Chace Park
Nightly in December
Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina Del Rey
Stroll through Burton Chase Park along the water at the Marina del Rey harbor to catch this year’s holiday light display. Each night in December, the park and its trees come alive, dripping with holiday lights and festive décor.
The Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run
7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Saturday, December 2
2701 Barnard Way, Santa Monica
Don an ugly holiday sweater or Santa suit and dash down the streets of Santa Monica and Venice for the 46th annual Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run. The holiday tradition includes a 5K and 10K race, beginning at 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Both courses start on Barnard Way and finish at Pacific Avenue and Windward Avenue. Prizes will be awarded for top times for each distance and best costumes.
Venice Holiday Sign Lighting
6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 2
Pacific and Windward avenues, Venice
Join revelers for the lighting of the iconic Venice Sign — a symbol of hope and community spirit — ushering in the holidays during the 12th annual Venice Holiday Sign Lighting on December 2. The lights will be turned on by Joe Manganiello. Presented by the Venice Chamber of Commerce, the free, family-friendly event will feature over 100 local businesses, photo opportunities with Santa, complimentary carnival games, an array of free food and drink, and live performances by Grammy winners and emerging local artists alike.
Hanukkah in Santa Monica
Sundown Thursday, December 7, to Thursday, December 14
1400 block of Third Street Promenade
Usher in the Festival of Lights during the Hanukkah season with nightly menorah lightings at Third Street Promenade, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Broadway. The lighting ceremonies begin at sundown, and the final lighting will occur a few blocks away at Ice at Santa Monica.
Marina del Rey Boat Parade
6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, December 9
Marina del Rey Harbor
The 61st annual Marina del Rey Boat Parade is back this holiday season. The popular holiday tradition welcomes roughly 25,000 people each year for a magical night on the marina, featuring boats adorned with lights and festive decorations, holiday beverages, food and entertainment for the whole family. Many watch the festivities from popular viewing spots like Burton Chance Park or Fisherman’s Village, while others enjoy the parade from waterfront restaurants or their balcony at home.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 9
Wallis Annenberg PetSpace, 12005 Bluff Creek Drive, Playa Vista
The holidays are a time to celebrate family, including the four-legged members of our households. Pawliday Market at Annenberg PetSpace is a place to do just that and stock up on gifts for pet and human family members alike. The market includes over 15 vendors like Pawrent Ceramics, Migos Dog, Lema Candles, Puplid and Brutus Bone Broth. Santa will also be on-site to pose with pets.
Creative Communal and Runway Holiday Artisan Market
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 9
12746 W. Jefferson Boulevard, Playa Vista
Shop small this season and check off your holiday shopping list at this relaxed local makers’ market. The market features 40 local artisans selling various wares, from homemade candles to clothes and fine art. The free event is child and pet friendly, with live music, holiday photo ops and activities.
Marina del Rey New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Glow Party
7 p.m. to midnight Sunday, December 31
Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina Del Rey
Marina del Rey rings in the new year with not just one but two firework displays for East and West coast countdowns. The countdowns at 8:59 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. will be followed by 10-minute pyrotechnic displays near Burton Chace Park but can be seen all along the harbor. From 7 p.m. till the new year, Burton Chace Park will host a family-friendly “glow party,” complete with DJ sets, live entertainment, food trucks, face painting and photo booths.”