• Home ‣ 
  • Journal ‣ 
  • Guides ‣ 
  • The top five festive events in Santa Monica and Venice, LA

The top five festive events in Santa Monica and Venice, LA


4 April, 2024


4 April, 2024

Ask anyone to picture a traditional festive break, and they’ll likely conjure up images of snowy landscapes and cosy chalets. But if you’re looking for something a little different this year, California is a state that knows how to get the Christmas celebrations going without the need for any real snow or ice.

Of all the places to visit, the southern coast is particularly fun in the winter months. Abuzz with festivities, you’ll find the usual tree-lighting ceremonies and celebrations as well as a few unique events that you’re unlikely to experience elsewhere. To help you plan a stateside break this Christmas, we’ve put together our list of the top five festive holiday events in Santa Monica and Venice.

Watch as the Pacific Wheel illuminates Santa Monica Pier this Christmas

To mark the start of the season, the pier’s Pacific Wheel is lit up with festive designs including snowmen, reindeer, and holiday emojis across 174,000 LED lights. Even if you miss the initial unveiling, you’ll get to see this fantastic display after dusk throughout December. You can expect pictures with Santa, holiday markets, and immersive art installations.

Take part in Santa Monica’s holiday tree lighting ceremony

Head to Downtown Santa Monica for the annual tree lighting ceremony on Third Street Promenade. With none other than Santa himself switching those sparkling lights on, it’s a fabulous evening out for children. Once the promenade is illuminated by the mighty tree, live entertainment acts take over to truly get you into the festive spirit.

Enjoy an Ice-skating soirée at Santa Monica

There’s very little chance of encountering any real snow or ice during your stay in the city, but you can get a taste of the cooler climates with Ice at Santa Monica. Offering more than 8,000 square feet of glistening ice to skate on, it’s easy to forget that the beach is only two miles away. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or yet to find your feet on the ice, the event caters to all experience levels and ages.

Set sail for the Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade

Grab a cup of hot cocoa, choose a bridge, and watch the cheerfully decorated boats glide by at the Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade. A holiday tradition for over 40 years, this fun event is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike. As the evening draws in, you’ll get to witness the most magical Christmas lights and decorations across the bridge.

See the city’s biggest tree at The Grove

Christmas at The Grove is an all-out affair, with the shopping haven putting on a spectacularly festive display. Most notable is the 100ft Christmas tree adorned in hundreds of glassy baubles and twinkling lights, which unsurprisingly, just so happens to be the tallest in the whole of Los Angeles. If you happen to visit when the lights are being turned on, you’ll be treated to a magnificent fireworks display to mark the changing of the season.

Find a festive hideaway in Santa Monica

Browse our curated collection of homes and enjoy a holiday experience like no other amid the sparkling lights and sweeping promenades of Los Angeles. With our exclusive concierge services, you can indulge in an array of festive activities arranged on your behalf. With everything planned in advance, all that’s left for you to do is to immerse yourself in the magic of the holidays.

Ready to escape to Los Angeles?