Plan ahead and discover annual regional events in Southern California – local festivals, creative cultural gatherings, and seasonal celebrations, all worth the detour.
In December, festive lights appear in all shapes such as stained glass and sculpture effects at Descanso Gardens, L.A. Down a tamale or two at Indio’s International Tamale Festival and head indoors for art exhibitions. In January, Palm Springs hosts its 35th International Film Festival and La Quinta Art Celebration at the end of February. Check West Hollywood’s dynamic nightlife offerings throughout the winter months.
Special Events in Southern California: Worth the Detour
Universal Studios turns on Christmas, decorating Hogsmeade Village, serving up Butterbeer and projecting a Magic of Christmas show at Hogwarts, lighting up the castle with a Christmas tree, lanterns, and more.
Descanso Gardens come alive at night with a mile of illuminated installations mixing art and nature – think sculpture and stained glass effects, and Flower Power on the Promenade.
POKÉMON X KOGEI | Playful Encounters of Pokémon and Japanese Craft
Now through January 7, 2024, Los Angeles
A masterful union of two of Japan’s most celebrated icons – centuries-old craft (including lacquer, ceramics, and textiles) seen through the imagined world of Pokemon.
The zoo is open after dark in its holiday tradition, now with Animals Aglow, a trail of over-sized animal lanterns reflecting the kinds of animals that live here.
The works and life of Kali, formerly Joan Archibald. who experimented with film techniques for decades, leaving an extraordinary legacy of alternative photography. At the Palm Springs Art Museum.
See iconic, mid-century commercial buildings on a stroll along South Palm Canyon Drive, where the rich and famous came to shop, making Palm Springs a modernist magnet. Other walks include Golden Era Hollywood Homes in the old Las Palmas district.
With a special performance by Wayward Sons, a night of music and magic at the Viper Room benefiting Westside Food Bank. Also featuring comedian host Pete Giovine.
31st Annual: Tamales are just the beginning at this happy festival with around 260 vendors, Mexican music, dancing, arts, a carnival, 5k and 10k runs, entertainment stages, and a holiday parade.
31st Annual: This much-loved holiday festival kicks off with markets on November 30 and Christmas tree lighting on December 1. The parade is the finale on December 2, featuring dazzling floats, huge balloons, marching bands, and Budweiser Clydesdales.
A fireworks display heralds a sail past of 70 or so boats through the marina, lit up and decorated with seasonal holiday themes to compete for Best Theme, Best Lights and more.
West Hollywood Park is transformed into an arctic village for the holiday season, billed as a ‘frost fest’ with entertainment, music games and good cheer.
35th Annual: World cinema comes to Palm Springs for its famous film festival, hosting filmmakers and film-lovers from across the country and around the globe. The film awards are set to be held on January 4.
Showcasing artists from around the world in a lakeside setting with a backdrop of the Santa Rosa mountains. Enjoy the art, bars, Napa Valley wines and local cuisine.
Full Calendars of Events