Skip to content
< BACK to Activities
Everything to Do in Santa Monica This Winter
Activities

Everything to Do in Santa Monica This Winter

By Lizbeth Scordo

With plenty of palm trees, miles of coastline, and near-perfect weather all year long, Santa Monica’s snowflake-free location may not exactly be synonymous with a winter wonderland. But make no mistake: that doesn’t stop the beachside community from celebrating the season in style.

From tree lightings to ice-skating pop-ups, there’s an endless array of fun, festive events to enjoy during a winter getaway to the Fairmont Miramar. And the best part? Unlike much of the country this time of year, none of them require a parka.

Holiday Cheer at the Pier

Photo: Santa Monica Pier

Wednesday, November 27thMonday, January 6th

While the historic Santa Monica Pier is worth a visit any time of year, the 100-year-old landmark comes alive with even more cheer than usual in December. For more than a month, the pier’s famous merry-go-round windows become home to a wild and wow-worthy installation by renowned Australian artists Pip & Pop. The duo uses handcrafted sugary, sparkly objects to create a Candyland-inspired world of far-out fantasy. And there are lots of other pier-hosted activities to keep revelers busy until the new year, including a Snow Day featuring 4,000 square feet of real snow ready for snowball fights and snowmen building (November 30th), photos with Surfer Santa (December 8th), and an artisan gift market (December 14th and 15th). You can mix and match your must-dos by checking the schedule here.

santamonicapier.org

Official City of Santa Monica Tree Lighting Ceremony

Photo:  Downtown Santa Monica

Thursday, December 5th, 6pm 9pm

The annual holiday tree lighting on the bustling Third Street Promenade promises live music, crafts for kids, and maybe even some snow headed this way. Santa Claus will also be on hand for photos — or simply to confirm whether he’s received the letter you mailed to the North Pole yet.

downtownsm.com

Miracle on Main Street

Photo: Main Street Business Improvement Association 

Saturday, December 7th, 4pm 9pm

Taking place along the neighborhood-y Main Street, which is lined with independent restaurants and retailers, this city spectacle is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The action kicks off with photos with Santa and a performance by the Santa Monica High School choir at the California Heritage Museum, in addition to a countdown before the lighting of the holiday tree on the museum’s lawn. Then, it’s time for a candlelit walk to mixed-use complex Edgemar for more live entertainment and activities, including the unveiling of the one-of-a-kind, 40-foot-tall Shopping Cart Tree, made of 84 carts, 1,500 lights, and 4,000 tons of zip ties.

mainstreetsm.com

Montana Avenue Holiday Walk

Photo: Montana Ave. Merchants Association

Saturday, December 7th, 4pm – 8pm

If you’re up for a second soiree on the 7th, head for a stroll down swanky shopping street Montana Avenue for gift shopping, live music, giveaways, food and drinks, and, of course, Mr. Claus himself. In years past, surprises have included magic acts, Disney princess appearances (including Elsa of Frozen fame), and even a green Grinch sighting. You never know who’ll show up this year, so keep your eyes peeled and your hot-cider cup filled.

montanaave.com

Meet Me Under the Fig Tree

Sunday, December 8th, 2pm 5pm

One of Santa Monica’s most beloved holiday happenings takes place at the Fairmont Miramar as the community gathers under the grand and gorgeous Moreton Bay fig tree out front. Guests and locals merrily mingle over food, drinks, and live entertainment, along with activities including cookie decorating, a bouncy house, and a gingerbread house display. While the event is free, guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food to contribute to the Westside Food Bank’s food drive or gently worn business clothing to benefit Chrysalis, a non-profit that helps homeless and low-income individuals find and retain employment.

fairmont-miramar.com

Ice at Santa Monica

Photo: Downtown Santa Monica

Now through January 20th

Glide right into the holidays on the annual 8,000-square-foot outdoor ice-skating rink, which returns this year at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Fifth Street in Downtown Santa Monica. The venue offers skate and locker rentals, lessons with the Randy Gardner School of Skating, and even party cabanas for camping out with your axel-aspiring crew. The Plaza at Santa Monica has also added entertainment this year with Ice Breakers, a family-friendly live music series featuring different bands and musical acts every Sunday afternoon. And if you need to refuel after a few laps, Promenade food hall The Gallery is running a pop-up concession stand at the rink with retro snack-bar offerings and that quintessential post-skating staple: hot chocolate.

downtownsm.com

Downtown Santa Monica Menorah Lightings

Photo: Downtown Santa Monica

December 22nd 29th

Area synagogues, community groups, schools, and organizations mark the Festival of Lights during the Hanukkah season with daily lightings of this large and lovely menorah. The event occurs each night at sundown on the Third Street Promenade, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue. 

downtownsm.com

Offers Call Book

Book

Are you looking to cancel or modify a reservation? More >