Los Angeles offers a month full of celebration during the happiest time of the year.
Plan your month with our December 2021 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, holiday festivals and our favorite concerts
‘Home Alone’ in Concert
Walt Disney Concert Hall , Downtown
Friday December 10 2021 – Sunday December 12 2021
This holiday season, experience a holiday classic like you’ve never seen it before, as Home Alone is transformed into a live concert with an orchestra. The movie is shown on a big screen accompanied by a live orchestra, performing the wonderful score composed by John Williams in a unique experience that brings new life to an essential Christmas movie.
Enchanted: Forest of Light
Descanso Gardens , La Cañada
Until Sunday January 9 2022
Experience the wonder of Enchanted Forest of Light from November 17 to January 5. New this year is contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin’s magical “stained glass” creation which will grace Descanso’s Mulberry Pond. Popular favorites returning include the Ancient Forest, Flower Power, and “Celestial Shadows” by HYBYCOZO.
Enchanted is a rain-or-shine event. Tickets are non-refundable, have timed entry and must be purchased in advance.
Heritage Square Museum , Montecito Heights
Saturday December 4 2021 – Sunday December 26 2021
Join them for Outdoor Holiday Movies, Victorian Home Tours, Piano Sing-Alongs, delicious Food Trucks + Holiday Treats, Shopping, Tinsel Tavern Bar with festive drinks, Twinkling Light Tunnel & more!
Tickets and more details at: http://www.streetfoodcinema.com
The Obama Portraits Tour
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) , Miracle Mile
Until Sunday January 2, 2022
From the moment of their unveiling at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in February 2018, the museum’s official portraits of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama have become iconic. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former First Lady have inspired unprecedented responses from the public.
In addition to the artworks themselves, the LACMA presentation of The Obama Portraits Tour will feature teacher workshops, curatorial tours, and a richly illustrated book. This special presentation will enhance the conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and its potential to engage communities.
Related: Great holiday gift guide for foodies and wine lovers
LA Zoo Lights
Los Angeles Zoo | Los Angeles, CA , Griffith Park
Until Sunday January 9 2022
L.A. Zoo Lights returns for the 2021-22 season and is glad to welcome you back with more glowing animals and an unforgettable nighttime journey that includes the world’s largest illuminated pop-up storybook, a magical disco ball forest, giant glittering snowflakes, and a twinkling tunnel filled with dynamic swirls of color.
L.A. Zoo Lights is a not-to-be-missed holiday light experience and has glowed brighter each year since its debut in 2014.
This year’s event features more light animals than ever before, spectacular new additions – both hand-crafted and high-tech – and returning favorites.
Sunday December 5 2021
Pedal along a 5-mile car-free route through South Central, Exposition Park, Leimert Park and Crenshaw.
Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA , Little Tokyo
Until Sunday June 5 2022
Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor is the first West Coast survey of the internationally renowned Swiss media artist.
Rist’s installations explore relationships of video and the body; exterior environments and interior psychological landscapes; and reason and instinct. They exuberantly probe the video medium’s capaciousness—for vivid color; sweeping views and extreme close-ups; introspection and cultural critique; and, importantly, the creation of shared experiences within the public space of the museum.
The exhibition surveys more than thirty years of the Zürich-based artist’s work, encompassing early single-channel videos; large-scale installations brimming with color and hypnotic musical scores; and sculptures that merge everyday objects, video, and decorative forms.
Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor also debuts a new audio-video installation made specifically for The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.
This is a special ticketed exhibition.
The Film Academy’s Hayao Miyazaki
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures , Miracle Mile
Until Sunday June 5 2022
In conjunction with the Academy Museum’s landmark exhibition Hayao Miyazaki, the museum will screen the Academy Award-winning filmmaker’s complete body of work as a feature director.
One of the cofounders of Studio Ghibli, along with director Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki, Miyazaki has forged a singular path as a storyteller. Feats of meticulous, hand-drawn mastery, Miyazaki’s films teem with visual imagination and profound stories that explore themes of self-discovery, pacifism, environmentalism, and humanity’s capacity for both invention and destruction.
Also screening in this series are two recent documentaries that illuminate the world of Miyazaki: The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness goes inside Studio Ghibli and recalls the cinematic journeys of Miyazaki and Takahata; Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki offer an intimate portrait of the director at work on a unique film project.
Related: Delicious holiday gift guide
South Coast Botanic Garden’s GLOW
South Coast Botanic Garden , Rancho Palos Verdes/Rolling Hills Estates
Until Monday January 17 2022
South Coast Botanic Garden’s GLOW (or Garden Lights & Ocean Waters) has been reimagined for its sophomore year.
Guests can expect a better and brighter experience. Food, drinks, music and a transformative Garden featuring thousands of lights will have you hanging on the beach, drinking cocktails on the bayou and chasing waterfalls.
And a stunning kelp forest will take your breath away and spark your interest in the beauty of the sea.
This year’s exhibit also includes interactive experiences and themed nights.
Stranger Things pop-up shop
The Americana at Brand , Glendale
Until Sunday December 5 2021
Honoring the day Will Byers went missing in Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things Day will see the opening of two pop-up shops, one in New York City’s Times Square and the other at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles.