When most people think about December travel they typically think of trips back home or to tried-and-true winter destinations like New York, Aspen or even Toronto. What many may not know, however, is that Los Angeles is a great place to visit in December. It’s got moderate weather and abundant sunshine – so much sunshine, in fact, that there are usually a hand full of days in December that residents actually consider beach-worthy. Aside from the weather, Los Angeles still maintains some of that holiday charm that have made East Coast metropolitans like New York and Chicago such holiday staples.
The Grove is Los Angeles’ answer to Rockefeller Center when the holidays roll around. True to Los Angeles culture, however, the Grove’s emphasis is on upscale shopping, fashion, and seeing and being seen. The two-story outdoor lifestyle shopping center is strung up with lights like a European piazza, which culminate in front of a 110-foot Christmas tree. The Grove also features the standard Christmas decor, along with dancing fountains, a humongous Santa Claus display and falling “snow.” A choir and Santa’s elves can also be seen throughout the holiday season, as can a few notable celebrity appearances and performances. Like Rockefeller Center, the Grove’s annual tree lighting is a star-studded event that is met with much fanfare and coverage.
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Rodeo Drive is a not-to-miss attraction for anyone visiting Los Angeles for the first time, but this is especially true in December. This is the time of year when one of the most famous streets in the world is at its best. From window displays to lamp posts, palm trees, awnings and food, no entity on Rodeo Drive remains untouched by the holiday season. Though it doesn’t draw in the extreme publicity that the Grove does, Rodeo quietly puts its best holiday decor on display, inviting cars and passersby to stop and look for a minute or an hour. Be sure to get a picture by the Tiffany Christmas tree, which is situated just outside the jeweler’s entrance and is adorned with the company’s signature blue ornaments.
Redondo Beach Pier and International Boardwalk
Redondo is one of Los Angeles County’s laid-back beach communities. It’s perfect for those December days when the weather hovers in the high 60s and low 70s, especially for those Midwest and East Coast visitors who are thrilled by such “unseasonably” warm temperatures. Redondo Beach isn’t as crowded as some of Los Angeles’ other beach communities, such as Malibu or Pacific Palisades, which is great for tourists looking to avoid the crowds. Aside from walking or lying on the beach, Redondo is also great for tourists looking to do a little sightseeing and shopping. The international boardwalk contains numerous restaurants that highlight the region’s appetite for surf and turf. Be sure to check out Kincaid’s if you’re looking for an upscale dining opportunity, or Captain Kidd’s if you simply want to sample the local fare. There are also plenty of souvenier-heavy shops along the boardwalk that can supply everything from holiday ornaments made out of seashells to toe rings, freshwater pearls and even skim boards. Those in the mood for some holiday spirit can head over to Seaside Lagoon where they can ice skate just steps from the shore.
200 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277