Everything To Do In Santa Monica This Winter

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
Santa Monica Pier

Wednesday, November 27th – Monday, 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.


Official City of Santa Monica Tree Lighting Ceremony

Photo: Downtown Santa Monica
choir singing in front of a Christmas tree

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.


Miracle on Main Street

Photo: Main Street Business Improvement Association
three women in Christmas outfits

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.


Montana Avenue Holiday Walk

Photo: Montana Ave. Merchants Association
two people dressed as the Grinch and Cindy-Lou Who

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.


Meet Me Under the Fig Tree

close up of a gingerbread house

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.


Ice at Santa Monica

Photo: Downtown Santa Monica
group ice skating at night

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.


Downtown Santa Monica Menorah Lightings

Photo: Downtown Santa Monica
group performing in front of a large Menorah

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.


Other Stories You May Like

couple sitting on bench overlooking downtown Los Angeles

Best Places to Take Photos in Los Angeles

From palm tree-lined beaches, theme parks to plenty of shopping centers, Los Angeles is the perfect spot for a family vacation or a getaway trip with friends. There is something for everyone to do in this bustling city.
view of Santa Monica Pier from beach

Summer Family Travel

As travel and temperatures begin to heat up, and schools let out, who isn’t dreaming of the ideal family vacation right about now? Make that dream a reality and book your family travel at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows.
two surfers walking in the ocean

Nature's Hidden Gems

When guests come to stay at Fairmont Miramar Resort & Bungalows, they are faced with a good problem. In fact, we hear it all the time: there is too much to do in the area! How to choose?

All You Need is Love

There’s no better time to shine a light on love than Valentine’s Day. Join us for the special occasion!
afternoon tea table set up wide shot

A Perfect Afternoon Tea

Our new Afternoon Tea is a modern version of a time when gathering in a Salon-like atmosphere for Afternoon Tea was a much-anticipated daily event. Imagine this as your own private tea salon, and anticipate an afternoon filled with little gifts and surprises!
dog dressed in a witch costume for halloween

Bark or Treat: Yappy Hour

Bring your pooches in their spookiest costumes and join us for Yappy Hour on October 26th, from 4pm to 7pm in the Miramar Gardens! Enjoy cocktails, music, puppy love from Wags & Walks, and a Doggy Halloween Costume Contest.