November is finally here which means Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays are right around the corner. And holiday time means family time! Check out these free family events and save the extra bucks for Christmas shopping!
Psst! While admission is free, there may be minimal costs for food, parking, etc. If you have questions, be sure to contact the organizer directly!
Free Family Events at LACMA
Select dates, November 1-30: Enjoy a variety of fun art activities this month with LACMA! Weekly family events feature artist-led workshops, friendly gallery tours, and activities thematically based on special exhibitions and LACMA’s permanent collection. Create memories together and have fun!
Dia de Los Muertos in Los Angeles
November 2: Celebrate the joyous tradition of Mexico’s most famous holiday at 24th Street Theatre’s annual block party, with music, dance, food, face painting, and crafts. Build an altar for departed loved ones. All outside performances are free! Indoor performances are $2.40 with limited seating. Friday, 6-10 p.m.
Fall Movie in the Park in Lake Forest
November 2: Enjoy a special first time ever “Day of the Dead” cinematic event! The City of Lake Forest welcomes you to embark on an extraordinary journey in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. Bring your family and friends for a free movie screening of the new Disney Pixar classic, Coco. Snacks will be available for a nominal fee (cash only). Friday, 6 p.m. Movie will begin after sunset. Free. Lake Forest Sports Park Common Grass Area.
Creation Station at Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach
November 3: Get creative with history! Using a wide variety of colorful materials, children can experiment with old-fashioned arts and crafts. This drop-in program takes place rain or shine. November’s theme, Brilliant Brown, celebrates autumn. Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Free.
Art Activities at El Segundo Museum of Art
November 3-16: Join ESMoA for a variety of fun art activities this month. Play, tinker, build, rebuild, engineer and tune-up inventions using recycled tinkering materials provided by ESMoA. Age groups, days, and times vary- see website for details.
Fall Crafts in Newport Beach
November 3 and 20: Kids (3-8) can join in an afternoon of Thanksgiving crafting fun. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Saturday, November 3: 12 – 3 p.m. Tuesday, November 20: 4 – 5 p.m. Free. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No registration required. First come, first served, limited by room capacity.
Day of The Dead in Burbank
November 3: Join the Compound Production House for their first annual Day of the Dead event. It is a Mexican holiday in which families remember and honor their deceased loved ones. Everyone is welcome to attend, we encourage our guest to bring a photo of a friend or family member who has passed way and a special item to represent them. This item can be something they enjoyed when they were alive, to display on our commemorative alter (favorite food, flower, drink, etc.) There will be specialty drinks, live music and entertainment, art commemorative alters, vendors, treats, and a children’s area. Saturday, 4-10 p.m. Free.
Grand Ave Arts in Downtown Los Angeles
November 3: Spend a day exploring the arts in Downtown LA for free! Check out open rehearsals, architecture tours, museum exhibitions, performances, food and drink and kids’ film screenings. Participating venues include The Broad, Colburn School, MOCA, Los Angeles Central Library and LA Opera, find schedule and venues on their website. Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free.
Health in the Park Wellness Symposium in Long Beach
November 3: Come visit Health in the Park – a community wellness symposium and resource fair. There will be free health screenings, chats with on-site doctors, kids’ entertainment and activities, prizes, give aways, and more! Saturday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. MacArthur Park. Free.
Noche de Altares Celebration in Santa Ana
November 3: During this annual Día de los Muertos celebration, community members construct dozens of beautiful altars for display. The family festival also includes cultural performances, live music, face painting, crafts, food booths, and free art workshops. Saturday, 1-10 p.m. Free to attend.
Pumpkin Launch (at Cal State Fullerton in OC)
November 3: Have you ever seen a squash go soaring high through the air? Join Discovery Cube and Cal State Fullerton at their athletic field for a day of flight, engineering, and pumpkin-smashing hijinks. Pumpkin Launch contestants use the principles of STEM to build trebuchet machines that send pumpkins high in the sky and towards targets that line the field. The team with the highest score wins the Pumpkin Launch trophy! It isn’t all about cheering on the stem-topped soarers, there are hands-on activities and challenges for spectators to enjoy too! Pumpkin Launch is a free community event.
Young Musicians Showcase in Santa Ana
November 3: Come hear some of the best and brightest music students from all over Southern California at a special public performance in Orange County. The showcase will feature award winners from a variety of special branch and state-wide competitive MTAC programs. This elite group of students has advanced their musical skills in the areas of performance and composition to the highest levels and represents a wide range of age groups. Saturday, 7 p.m. Fields Pianos. Free.
Anuual Harvest Faire in Aliso Viejo at Journey School
November 10: Bring friends and family to Journey’s biggest event of the year! Harvest Fair is an old-fashioned country fair that is fun for the whole family. Enjoy family-friendly games and events, a Fairy Cafe, artisan vendors, food trucks, music, crafts, and more. All are welcome! Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free to attend.
JANM Free Family Days
November 10: This full day of crafts, performances, and other activities will be inspired by real-life heroes as well as the fictional characters of Kaiju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys. Activities include a superhero drawing workshop, superhero cape and mask creation, superhero selfies, and Veterans Day letter writing for Operation Gratitude. Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free.
Art Without Walls at Hammer Museum
November 10-11: Families create art inspired by social justice issues, literature, and Hammer exhibitions. Join Karina Esperanza Ynez in challenging stereotypes and celebrating your identity in this workshop inspired by the art of Adrian Piper. The same activities are offered at each site. The Hammer program includes storytelling in the galleries. The library program is bilingual in Spanish and English. Recommended for children ages 5+, teens, and grownups. Free. $6 flat rate parking on weekends, cash only.
Tidepool Walks at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
November 10 & 23-25: Enjoy ocean-related walking activities and an informative slide show presentation at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Veterans Community Celebration in Costa Mesa
November 10: Join this community celebration, with live music, free hot dogs, a food drive for veterans, veterans’ resource fair, free health screenings and jobs outreach. Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Free admission and parking.
Veterans Day Community Celebration in Costa Mesa
November 10: Join this Veterans Day community celebration to say THANK YOU to our veterans. Attendees will have access to resources and a job fair, health screenings, kids activities and more. There will also be live performances and free hotdogs. Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. OC Fair and Event Center.
Mysterious World of O’Neill Park in Trabuco Canyon
November 11: Have you ever wondered, “Where are all the wild animals in the park?” Visit a Show and Share exhibit next to the Nature Center at O’Neill Park and discover mysterious clues animals leave behind. Make and take home your own wild animal track mold! Enjoy nature, crafts and games. Show and Share exhibit activities from 9-10:30 a.m. Scavenger Hunt or Nature Walk from 9-10:30 a.m. Free. Sunday, 9-10:30 a.m. O’Neill Regional Park.
Salute Our Veterans at Segerstrom Center for the Arts
November 11: Join Segerstrom for a day of celebration in honor and support of local veterans and active-duty military personnel. Enjoy a fun afternoon of music and camaraderie featuring live performances by the Darden Sisters and the Mud Bug Brass Band as well as the opportunity to assemble a care package for a soldier in need! Sunday, 10:45 a.m. Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. Free.
St. Martin’s Lantern Fest and Parade at Old World
November 11: Kick off the holiday season honoring German culture and St. Martin, the Bishop of Tours. Enjoy authentic German Food like Weckmannchen, baked goods, and warm beverages. Plus, there will be kid friendly activities and lanterns available for purchase. Free. Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Old World German Village.
Tennis Jam in Long Beach
November 11: Tennis Jam includes on-court tennis drills for both adults and children, activities for kids both on and off the tennis court, games and prizes, adaptive tennis, manufacturer demo courts, plus food & drink, music, face painting, and much more! No tennis experience required. Just come ready to have some fun! Tennis equipment for kids and adult will be provided FREE of charge. The event will also feature a salute to Southern California veterans of the armed forces as a Veteran’s Day tribute. Tuesday, 11 a.m.
Veterans Day Ceremony in Irvine
November 11: In honor of veterans, the City of Irvine is hosting a special ceremony to pay tribute to our nation’s troops – past and present. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Free to attend. Bill Barber Park. Free.
Veterans Day Observance in Mission Viejo
November 11: Honor and remember with the City of Mission Viejo with a community observance. Saturday, 2-4 p.m. Free. Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center.
Discovery Day at Centennial Farm
November 14: Discovery Days at Centennial Farm give guests an opportunity to take a self-guided tour through the farm with volunteers nearby to provide information and answer farm-related questions. Reservations are required for groups of six or more children. Wednesday, 9 a.m. – noon. Free.
Bird Walk at Rancho Los Cerritos
November 15: Stroll through the grounds of the historic rancho and watch both resident birds and seasonal migrants. Participants will also listen to the calls and songs, and potentially observe nesting as the seasons progress. Meet in the lower parking lot at 8 a.m. sharp. Wear comfortable closed toed shoes and bring a hat and binoculars, if you have them. There is also a limited number of binoculars to borrow. Rain cancels this event. Thursday, 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Free.
Tree Lighting, Outdoor Ice Rink Opens and Santa Visits in Long Beach
November 16: Join a holiday kickoff at The Pike Outlets. Featuring a ribbon cutting with the LA Kings, surprise performance, tree lighting, music, and a visit from Santa. Enjoy free giveaways, festive entertainment and contests all night long. Go ice skating and visit Santa at his winter village for a professional photo. Friday, 5-9 p.m. Free to attend.
Free Kids’ Fitness Class in Lakewood
November 17: Sweat Shop Gym is offering a free kids’ fitness class to introduce their new Sweat Scouts Program, an energizing fitness program just for kids! This one-hour class is jam-packed with foundation fitness moves, heart-pumpin’ music, fun games, and cool prizes. Getting kids to love physical activity while making it fun and rewarding is the goal for this friendly, neighborhood gym. The kids will leave feeling great, more energized and ready to take on the world! Saturday, 9-10 a.m. Free. Ages 5-11. Sweat Shop Gym.
Festival of Flight at Long Beach Airport Airfield
November 17: Visit the Festival of Flight, a free celebration open to the public featuring food trucks, static aircraft displays, and live entertainment! There are numerous free activities for kids, helicopter tours (for purchase) and much more. No pets or coolers allowed. Bags subject to search. See website for details.
Harvest Faire in Long Beach
November 17: At this Harvest Faire resembling a Renaissance faire, explore the interactive Village with various “Artisans” who are looking for apprentices. Starting with the Farmer and finishing with the Wizard, each artisan will teach about their craft and even send you off with a gift of thanks. Try your hand at medieval games and win gorgeous prizes and a chance to be Knighted. You are also invited to have tea with the Queen and receive a special Royal gift. Visit the craft areas and make magical trinkets to take home. Feast on scrumptious food and be sure to leave room for the delightful treats made by our Villagers in our Bake Shoppe. Benefitting Maple Village Waldorf School. Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Held at the The Camp Fire USA site, 7070 Carson St., Long Beach. Free admission.
Family Flicks at the Hammer in Los Angeles
November 18: Join Family Flicks at the Hammer in Los Angeles for a screening of Spy Kids.
Two kids attempt to save their parents from an evil mastermind, using a bag of high-tech gadgets and out-of-this-world transportation to crisscross the globe in a series of thrilling adventures. Recommended for ages 7+. Sunday, 11 a.m. Free. $6 flat rate parking on weekends, cash only.
Harvest your Senses with Pacific Oaks Children’s School
November 18: Join Pacific Oaks Children’s School for their annual fall festival and a marketplace of locally designed goods. Enjoy food, music, arts, and crafts. Plus, there will be a petting zoo, trackless train ride and face painting as well. Free. Sunday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Pacific Oaks Children’s School.
Patchwork Indie Art and Craft Festival in Long Beach
November 18: Fun family shopping with over 200 vendors displaying their handmade goods, plus kids’ arts and crafts, food trucks and music. It’s pet-friendly! Sunday, 11 a.m. -5 p.m. Free admission and parking; try the bike valet! Marine Stadium.
Free Thanksgiving Week Space Camp at Columbia Memorial Space Center
November 19-21: At PBS SoCal Space Camp, children ages 5 to 8 will spend three days as Space Scouts. They will accomplish missions, engineer different spacecraft, and play space-themed games. Campers will use teamwork to develop their science and engineering skills. At the end of the camp, they will have completed several missions, launched a spacecraft, and spent lots of time having fun! Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Snacks will be provided, but students must bring their own lunch. Receive a PBS SoCal Solar System Backpack with PBS SoCal goodies inside, and a chance to win a grand prize awarded on the last day when present for all three days. Must call to register at (562) 231-1200.
Lighting of the Bay at Newport Dunes
November 23: Kick off the holiday season at Newport Dunes with a weekend of family fun, including live performances, Santa’s arrival and the lighting of the bay, movie screenings, a train ride and puppet shows. Friday, 3 – 8 p.m. Free.
Reindeer in the Redwoods
November 24: Get an early start to the holiday season at Carbon Canyon Regional Park with Reindeer in the Redwoods! Complete the half-mile walk to the Redwood Grove and be rewarded with a Winter Wonderland, complete with Santa and live reindeer. There will also be holiday gnomes hidden along the way, so be sure to keep an eye out. Activities include holiday crafts, face painting, and cookie decorating. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Note: The closest parking lot to the Redwood Grove is approximately a half mile away, wear comfortable shoes.
Winter Village Festival in Sierra Madre
November 24: Start your holiday shopping in the quaint village of Sierra Madre, with arts and crafts, music, snow sledding, horse-drawn carriage rides, a visit from Santa and a giant Christmas tree. Saturday, noon – 9 p.m. Free admission. Downtown Sierra Madre.
Crafty Kids at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
November 25: Join the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve for a fun themed craft project.
Crafty Kids Sunday features craft activities in the Muth Interpretive Center’s Discovery Classroom. All ages are welcome, recommended for ages 2 – 10 years old. No registration is required. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Free. Sunday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.
Patchwork Indie Art and Craft Festival in Santa Ana
November 25: Fun family shopping with over 100 vendors displaying their handmade goods, plus kids’ arts and crafts, food trucks and music. Sunday, 11 a.m. -5 p.m. Free admission and parking. 2nd @ Sycamore, Santa Ana.
Tamale Festival and Tree Lighting of La Habra
November 25: Join the City of La Habra’s Tamale Festival with a Kids Zone, as well as best tamale, best dessert tamale, and best salsa contests. As in past years, dance performances by local studios, tamale and other food vendors, craft and other vendors, and finally the City’s Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony. Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Find a schedule of events and entertainment on their website. Free to attend.
Los Angeles County Tree Lighting
November 26: The County of Los Angeles, Grand Park, and The Music Center celebrate the holidays with the Los Angeles County annual tree lighting ceremony, featuring performances by local music artists and community groups. Monday, all-day, 200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles. Free.
Balloon Workshop in Newport Beach
November 27: Learn to make your own balloon creations and crazy hats with Mr. Twister, the Balloon Man! This is a hands-on workshop that gets everyone involved! Ages 3 and up. Wednesday, 4 p.m. Newport Beach Central Library. Free.
Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff Event at Farmers Market LA
November 27: Farmers Market welcomes The Salvation Army to ring in the most wonderful time of the year with a fun and festive event featuring live music and sing-a-longs, tributes to civic and community service leaders and the lighting of the Farmers Market Christmas Tree! All activities are free and take place on the Market Plaza. Special guests this year include Chef Curtis Stone and his wife, actress Lindsay Price. Tuesday, 5 – 6 p.m. All activities are free and take place on the Market Plaza.
Aliso Viejo Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 29: Kick off the holiday season for Aliso Viejo’s All is Bright Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Ceremony. Enjoy holiday cheer, train rides, photo opportunities, ornament making, old-fashioned Christmas caroling, magical snow fall and a visit from jolly ole St. Nick as they light their 22-feet tall Christmas tree. Thursday, 5:30-8 p.m. Aliso Viejo Town Center.
Free Apollo Lighting in Downey to Celebrate the Holidays
November 29: Light up the holiday season with the Columbia Memorial Space Center. Participate in one of the newest Downey traditions, the lighting of the Apollo Capsule. Enjoy this outdoor event with popcorn, hot chocolate and carols. Thursday, 5-8 p.m.
Tree Lighting in Hawaiian Gardens
November 30: Join the city of Hawaiian Gardens at this fun entertaining event, where family members of all ages can enjoy an evening full of magical surprises. Featuring live Christmas song performances by local youth groups, music groups and marching bands, and of course don’t forget to take pictures with Santa! Friday, 5-8 p.m. Free to attend. C. Robert Lee Activity Center.