Black Friday and Cyber Monday is behind us but it left a serious dent in our wallet! No worries, here at Kidsguide we know how important family time is and we rounded up 25 free events happening in December! Yes, F-R-E-E!
Psst! While admission is free, there may be costs for food, parking, etc. If you have questions, be sure to contact the organizer directly!
Holiday Time in PaleyLand
November 24 – January 6: The Paley Center for Media celebrates the joy of the season with a special family-friendly experience. Holiday Time in PaleyLand features continuous daily screenings of beloved classic holiday TV programs from the Paley Archive. Families can also enjoy special holiday activities like arts and crafts, dreidel games, and hot cocoa! Wednesdays to Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Free. The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles.
Winter Glow in Grand Park LA
December 1-25: Grand Park’s Winter Glow is a new month-long, immersive nighttime art experience that will take over Grand Park in celebration of the holidays. Families will make new holiday memories strolling together through this 12-acre art, projection and light display, exhibit and installation and experience the wonder of Grand Park lit up like never before. Familiar pathways will lead to exciting new discoveries as the latest in light and projection technology transforms spaces in the park. Daily. Free.
Family Christmas Concerts at Nixon Library
Select dates, December 2-30: At the Nixon Library, concerts are held all year-round on Sundays, and are free and open to the public. Bring the whole clan and enjoy holiday favorites. See lineup below.
December 2: Placentia Community Chorus Christmas Concert
December 9: Kid Singers Annual Christmas Concert EAST ROOM, 12:30 PM Concert
December 16: Green/Orozco Family Annual Christmas Concert
December 23: Orange County Cello Ensemble
December 30: To Be Announced
Tree Lighting Ceremony and Community Sing in Westminster
December 3: Join Westminster for this annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. There will be a tree lighting, caroling, restocking “food closets” for the needy, and of course…a visit from Santa Claus himself! Monday, 6:30 p.m. Civic Center Sunken Gardens.
Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downey
December 3: Join a tree lighting ceremony with entertainment, a snow play area, arts & crafts and photos with Santa. Monday, 6-8:30 p.m.; lighting at 6:30 p.m. Downey Civic Center.
Holiday Movies at Pacific City
December 5, 12, and 19: Come join Pacific City and enjoy holiday classics! These movie nights are free and fun for the whole family. Bring the family, friends, chairs, blankets and get cozy! Wednesdays, 6 p.m., at the big screen on the second level. Free. See schedule below.
December 5: Home Alone
December 12: Elf
December 19: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Star Wars Night and Toy Drive in Lakewood *Just Added!*
December 7: Come visit Kidz Town indoor playground for Star Wars night and toy drive! Meet the characters, Santa, and enjoy food and drinks. Support the Kessel Toy Run and donate an unopened, unwrapped Star Wars toy! Free admission if you donate a Star Wars of $10 value or more, or if you dress up as a Star Wars character. Must have socks; height limit is 54 inches. Friday, 4-7 p.m. Kidz Town Indoor Playground.
A Ranch Christmas at Rancho Los Alamitos
December 12-14: Celebrate the season with a tour of the historic Ranch House decorated in 1930s holiday style. Delight in the twinkling lights and festive adornments throughout the ranch. Kids will love to visit the ranch animals in the barnyard. Enjoy complimentary refreshments and holiday music under the eaves of the horse barn. Admission is free. Reservations are required for parking.
Wonderful Winter Crafts in Balboa
December 12: Kids (ages 3-8) welcome the winter holiday season with sparkly crafty fun. Wednesday, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Free. Newport Beach Libraries, Balboa branch.
Santa Story Time at La Habra Library
December 12: Bring your little ones down to meet Santa in person. Bring cameras! Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. Free.
Breakfast With Santa In Seal Beach
December 15: Enjoy a pancake breakfast with Santa, holiday crafts, and a photo opportunity. Saturday, 8-10:30 a.m. Free, first-come, first-served.
Children’s Holiday Party in Bellflower
December 15: Join the city of Bellflower for a holiday party with crafts, activities, refreshments and a visit with Santa. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Free to attend. Simms Park.
Parade of 1,000 Lights in Long Beach
December 15: Watch dozens of yachts decked out with holiday lights cruise along the coast. With the best viewing points at Shoreline Village, the parade will wind from Shoreline Marina to Rainbow Harbor, past Pine Avenue Pier and alongside the Queen Mary. Saturday, 5-7 p.m. Free.
Holidays at the D.D. Johnston-Hargitt House Museum in Norwalk
December 15: Everyone is invited to the Museum for a jolly time filled with holiday entertainment and refreshments! Enjoy touring the Museum, which will be decorated just for this special occasion. Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Free. D.D. Johnston-Hargitt House Museum.
Winter in Willmore at Drake Park
December 15: Enjoy sledding and snow play, holiday lights, treats, crafts and pictures with Santa! Families can also decorate their very own gingerbread houses. See website for details.
Star Party at Griffith Observatory
December 15: Look through a large variety of professional and home-built telescopes to view the sun, planets, the moon and deep sky objects like double-stars, star clusters, and nebulae. The observatorys Zeiss 12-inch refractor and computer controlled 11-inch lawn telescopes are set up throughout the event. Saturday, 2-9:45 p.m. Free.
Trombone Christmas at Anaheim GardenWalk
December 15: Head to Anaheim GardenWalk for the annual Trombone Christmas! Hundreds of Trombone players from teens to professionals will be performing Christmas music. Saturday. Free.
Holiday Festival at the Muckenthaler
December 16: The Muckenthaler’s annual Holiday Festival. Celebrate the holiday season with family-friendly activities, live music, free art workshops for kids, an arts and crafts sale, and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Sunday, noon – 4 p.m. Free.
Los Posadas on Olvera Street in Los Angeles
December 16-24: This presentation of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem is portrayed with singing, dance, a candlelight procession on Olvera Street and a children’s pinata breaking. Free sweet bread and champurrado are given to all in attendance. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. each night. Free to attend.
Sensitive Santa Visit and Photo Opp at Pretend City Autism Night
December 17: Santa is coming to Pretend City Children’s Museum, for Autism Night! Specifically for children on the Autism Spectrum (or other disabilities) only, and their families, the sensory-sensitive experience with low Christmas carols, dim lights, and trained Santa, in a private room for one family at a time, will ease some of the anxieties that may come with visiting Santa. This is a wonderful opportunity for grown-ups to capture photos of their child with Santa that might not be possible at a busy mall or crowded event – kids can tell Santa their holiday wish if they’d like. Don’t forget to bring a camera. Monday, 5-7:30 p.m. Free to children on the Autism Spectrum.
Christmas Festivities at Farmers Market LA
December 19-24: The Original Farmers Market is decked out in Yuletide finery to welcome the season. Celebrate the holidays with music, arts and crafts, variety shows, Dickensian carolers and more. Daily. Free.
Family Movie Night at Fullerton Library
December 20: Bring your family for a fun-filled evening at the library. The library will feature age-appropriate movies for you to enjoy in this entertaining evening! Thursday, 6:30-8 p.m. Free. Osborne Auditorium (with Room A & C).
King Tide at the Bay in Newport
December 23: King tides are the highest tides of the year and occur during full moons in the winter. Join the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve for a family friendly program to learn about how and why king tides occur. After a brief program in the interpretive center, head out on the trail to observe the last king tide of 2018 and hopefully capture some scientifically valuable images. Minors aged 16 and younger must have legal guardian present at all times. Rain will cancel the event. Registration required. Visit letsgooutside.org to sign up. Sunday, 8 – 10 a.m.
Loteria at La Habra Library
December 23: Come play Loteria at La Habra Library. Loteria is a game like bingo that is over one hundred years old! It is free to participate and there will be fun prizes. Sunday, 3-4 p.m. Free.
59th Annual Free LA County Holiday Celebration
December 24: Bring the whole family to Los Angeles’ biggest, Emmy Award-winning holiday show. Choirs, music ensembles and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures of L.A. celebrate the season during this free three-hour extravaganza, a decades-old tradition, beloved by Angelenos. The entire three hours will also be broadcast live on local public television. Monday, 3-6 p.m. Free; no reservations or tickets to the show; first come, first seated. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at The Music Center.
4th Street Retro Row Open House in Long Beach
December 28: Enjoy extended store hours, food and drink specials, discounted merchandise, pop up shops, art shows, live music and more along the thoroughfare. Friday, 6-9 p.m.
First Night 2018 in Fullerton
December 31: Stop by Downtown Fullerton to ring in the New Year! The City of Fullerton celebrates the 26th anniversary of the annual “First Night Fullerton.” Enjoy kids activities, rides, live entertainment, food vendors, roaming entertainment and a fireworks show at midnight. Monday, 7 p.m. – midnight. Admission is free; Downtown Fullerton.
New Year’s Eve at the Waterfront in Long Beach
December 31: Downtown Long Beach welcomes the new year in style with a family-friendly event on the waterfront, and a street party. At 9 p.m., the sky will light up for an East Coast countdown with a fireworks spectacular from Rainbow Harbor’s lighthouse peninsula! Monday, 5-10:30 p.m. Free.
NYELA New Year’s Eve LA at Grand Park
December 31: For the sixth year, Grand Park + The Music Center’s N.Y.E.L.A. will be the go-to central gathering place in Los Angeles where Angelenos ring in the New Year. Includes music, dancing, large-scale art installations and a unique only-in-Los Angeles New Year’s countdown, featuring 3-D digital video mapping on the side of the iconic City Hall with an integrated light show. Monday, 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Free.