Best Weekend Activities with LA Kids: Disney on Ice, Boat Parades, and Fireworks Dec 13 - 14

You can do no wrong this weekend.  There’s fun and frivolity at every turn, much of it free, and all of it fabulous. A lot of the festivities center around some guy named Kringle, but boats are big this weekend too, as are Nutcrackers and “winter” (as in snow).  And we may have dodged a Thanksgivvikah bullet this year, but that means it’s full-on dreidel time this week. (Let me hear you say men-orah).

But here’s where I’ve got to warn you: there’s just too much. We can’t fit it all in this post; even our calendar is bursting at the seams.  What we’ve got here is a highlights reel, but I guarantee you if you read the whole events calendar, you’ll find something you think we’re crazy for not including here. (And you’d be right!)

You may not be able to do it all, but we're confident that you will nonetheless find something awesome, something inspiring, something spectacular to fill your days. And remember, as always, the best is yet to come!

Keep reading for our some of our favorite picks for the weekend. 


Los Angeles International Children's Film FestivalMid-Wilshire
The free film festival at LACMA showcases more than 100 kid-friendly films from around the world; stick around for Q&A sessions with filmmakers and actors after screenings.

Huntington Harbour Holiday Boat Parade - Huntington Beach
Huntington Harbour Holiday Boat Parade is a two night affair. The first night the judging takes place, while the second night is a chance for the honorees to strut their stuff.

Sleeping Beauty and her Winter Knight - Pasadena
The Lythgoe Family Productions’ panto for the holiday season is a rollicking version of the classic Sleeping Beauty. Olivia Holt, Garrett Clayton, Patrick Cassidy and Tamyra Gray star. Lucy Lawless stars, too (but she’s a bad guy so you have to boo).

Winter Holiday Festival - Downtown
The holiday fun at Pershing Square ice rink includes Santa, a train ride, bouncers, craft activities, and snow.

Disney on Ice: Let's Celebrate! - Downtown
Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy return to the ice with a magical medley of holidays, including a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and Tiana; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a whole new world with Jasmine and Aladdin; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear; and a Halloween haunt with the Disney villains.

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Costa Mesa
Who could steal Christmas from those delightful Whos? The Grinch, that’s who!

Hot Cocoa / Tree Ornaments with Santa - Valencia
Kids can decorate winter masterpieces in a craft workshop at Westfield Valencia. Santa comes by for a visit. On Sunday, kids can meet Santa's reindeer and enjoy a Holiday Glee Show.

Dickens Day Holiday Celebration - Carson
The International Printing Museum puts on a holiday celebration – Dickens-style! Visitors can make holiday cards and gift tags on working vintage printing presses, meet re-enactors of Dickens characters, then take in a performance of A Christmas Carol.

The Curiosity Tales Pasadena
Curious characters, including Alice, Pandora, and Eve, end up in Curiosity Rehab, in Lineage Dance Company’s production aimed specifically at children.

Did we mention the Nutcrackers?:

Bob Baker’s Nutcracker - Downtown

Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker - Westwood

The Nutcracker (Marat Daukayev School of Ballet) Los Angeles

The Nutcracker (Westside Ballet) Santa Monica

The Nutcracker (Inland Pacific Ballet) Claremont
The Nutcracker (San Pedro City Ballet) San Pedro
The Nutcracker (California Dance Academy) Canoga Park

The Nutcracker Ballet (Pasadena Dance Theatre) San Gabriel

The Nutcracker (Long Beach Ballet) Long Beach

Festival Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker Irvine

The Nutcracker  (Los Angeles Ballet) Hollywood


Target Free Family Saturday: Holiday Cheer - Downtown
Brr! It’s winter at the Japanese American National Museum! Craft an origami ornament, listen to carolers and storytellers, and pose for photo ops with Asian-American Santa.

Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade and Fireworks - Marina Del Rey
If the spectacularly-decorated boats lighting up Marina del Rey's main harbor aren’t enough to leave you in awe, the fireworks should do the trick.

Candy Cane Lane Opening Night - El Segundo
The El Segundo Concert Band plays for opening night; houses are so elaborately decorated Santa Claus can’t stay away!
A Faery Hunt's Fairy Holiday Party - Encino
Those fairies sure like to party.  They celebrate winter holidays with a treasure hunt, circle story time with the fairies, dancing, fairy face painting, snacks, frolic, and lots of fun at Los Encinos State Historic Park.
TSFY: Jazz and the Orchestra - Downtown
Jazz and the Orchestra explores the connections and collaborations between orchestral music and America’s "national music" - jazz.

Gift of Knowledge Holiday Give-Away - Watts
Piccolo's Books presents the third annual Gift of Knowledge Holiday Give-Away, giving away more than 25,000 books and offering everything from free hair cuts to workshops on breaking into Hollywood.
Naples Island Annual Holiday Boat Parade - Long Beach
The theme of this year’s parade is Light Up the Night.
Boat Parade of Lights - Dana Point
Boat owners from all over Orange County decorate their schooners and yachts to celebrate the season and compete for awards. Kids ages six to 12 help choose the winners each year. (also Friday)
Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights - Ventura
The annual Boat Parade of Lights and Fireworks display kicks off the holidays in Ventura Harbor. (also Friday)

Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade - Long Beach
The Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade runs through a residential street.

The Nutcracker for Kids - Costa Mesa
The Tchaikovsky Christmas ballet is performed in a condensed, 45-minute version created just for kids.

"Family Friendly" Nutcracker Presented by Degas Dance Studio - Calabasas
This family-friendly production features professional dancers as well as pre-professional and student performers.

King Harbor Boat Parade - Redondo Beach
Redondo Beach celebrates its own boat parade; anywhere with a view of the main channel is the place to be!

Family Snow Day - Valencia
The weather outside might be frightful, but you’ll find the snow at Valencia’s Ice Station to be absolutely delightful. Kid’s admission includes snow play and skating, plus free lessons for beginners.

Snowday at Newhall - Newhall
It’s snowing on Main Street!  Santa Claus and the Elf on the Shelf join in the fun.
Hour of Code - Culver City
Give your kid a boost in STEM skills with a free coding class at Sylvan Learning Center.

Holiday Hop! - Westchester
The entire family can get their groove on at Westchester Parents' Nursery School's rockin' holiday dance party with food trucks, a DJ, and holiday-inspired crafts.
Annual Holiday Concert & Santa on The Pier - Redondo Beach
Surfin’ Santa checks out the cool tunes on Redondo Pier.

Book Reading: Jasmine Walker's "The Baddest Kid in Sixth Grade" - Inglewood
Author Jasmine Walker reads from her children's book, "The Baddest Kid in Sixth Grade." The book utilizes phonics to help children read, pronounce, and spell words without the help of a more experienced reader.

A Celtic Christmas - Burbank
Celtic Irish Dance Academy’s first annual holiday show is filled with traditional and contemporary Irish dance, music, and song. 

Adat Elohim's Hanukkah Concert of Light Thousand Oaks
Temple Adat Elohim hosts its biggest night of music, with more than 100 performers.

And Santa’s on a Westside tour!  He starts Saturday morning at the Malibu Breakfast with Santa, meeting families at the Point Dume Marine Science School Auditorium for pancakes and arts & crafts.  And then, because you can never get enough Malibu… he’s at the Malibu Country Mart for photos and cookie decorating. Thanks to a little North Pole magic,  you can find him at The Brentwood Country Mart … at the same time. Free photos and treats!


Manhattan Beach Annual Holiday Fireworks Festival - Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach comes alive with a snow park, performances, and - say what? - fireworks!

Hanukkah Family Festival - West LA
This year’s Hanukkah Family Festival at the Skirball highlights two major themes of the holiday - light and freedom (luz y libertad) - through the lens of Latin American culture.
Hanukkah Festival - Mid-Wilshire
The Zimmer celebrates the Festival of Light with a day of light-themed activities and a special guest performance by Addie Lupert.
Venice Canals Boat Parade - Venice
Venice puts its canals to good use, with the annual holiday boat parade. Pull up a bridge and watch the fun float by. 
Hands-on-Hanukkah - West Hills
Shomrei Torah hosts a free Hanukkah celebration at KidZone, open to families of all backgrounds, with live entertainment, arts and crafts, face painting, and a dreidel spinning contest.

9th Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party - Pasadena
Decorating gingerbread houses is a family affair at Vroman's annual event.

Free Day at OCMA - Newport Beach
Orange County Museum of Art holds a Winter Festival, with crafts, storytimes, and performances.
Winter Family Festival Studio City
Studio City gets hit with tons of snow - 70 tons of it! - along with live entertainment, face painting, crafts, restaurant food sampling, and photos with Santa.
Autry Explorers: A Rancho Christmas - Griffith Park
Autry visitors can celebrate the holidays as the rancheros did in nineteenth-century California. Families can dance the fandango, participate in a rancho-themed scavenger hunt, dress up as a vaquero in a holiday photo booth, experience the daily jobs on the ranch through hands-on rancho trade stations, and join guest artists to create a Rancho Christmas keepsake.
Orchestre Surreal Plays Music from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” - Downtown
Merry mayhem sweeps California Plaza as Elvis Schoenberg’s Orchestre Surréal presents its unique interpretation of The Nightmare before Christmas.

2nd Annual Valley JCC Hanukkah Party Northridge
Party guests go home with a family portrait at this party that features games, food, crafts, face painting & songs.
LA Children's Chorus Winter Concert Celebrates American Composers - Pasadena
Los Angeles Children's Chorus, known for its bel canto sound, presents its popular annual Winter Concert, celebrating American song at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

Holiday Caroling - Culver City
One Incredible Family leads volunteers in singing holiday carols to the residents of the Marina Care Center.

As always, there are many more activities listed on our daily events calendar (and if you didn't receive this post as an email, you really should subscribe to our weekly newsletter). Whatever you choose to do, have a wonderful weekend! 

Brentwood Country Mart Movie Night
Brentwood Country Mart - 6:00 PM Pick
Library of Congress National Book Festival
Library of Congress and Virtual - 9:00 AM
Bite-Sized Fair
Pomona Fairplex - 3:00 PM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides