Holiday Events to Make Your Winter Spectacular

Christmas is around the corner–this means it’s time for a little celebration. No matter where you are, there’s going to be something to do. Some travel for Christmas, but others stay in town, enjoying the mild weather that California has to offer. If you’re not sure how to want to spend your holidays, have no fear. Here’s a list of things to do around town and abroad.

  1. Snow Day Los Angeles – With a discount code for five percent off, Snow Day LA is an annual spectacular tubing event that happens at Montecillo De Leo Politi Park. The tubing structure is directly built into the rolling hills of The Old Lodge. You would never think that it’s only five minutes away from Downtown LA. Jump on a tube today for as little as $12 and experience a whole lot of family fun. The experience includes lighted archways, decorated trees, an interactive light show and falling snow. VIP passes are also available, which includes a free onesie snuggie and unlimited activities. Parking is free but it is also first come first serve. Children under the age of three are free and those who are up to 12 years old receive a child ticket.
  2. Disney On Ice Presents: Dare to Dream – Happening at the Anaheim Honda Center, this $24 to $28 event includes five Disney heroines blazing the trail with courage with their own unique stories. See Moana, Elsa, Rapunzel, Belle and Cinderella discover their inner strength as they embark on their own missions. This will be Moana’s debut on ice, so you aren’t going to want to miss this.
  3. Winterfest: Holiday Cheer Comes to Santa Anita Park – With just a $5 cover charge for adults that includes a free cup of cocoa and a cookie, kids three and under can expect to get in free to this event. It’s fun for the whole family if you happen to be in Arcadia. If you’re trying to purchase package deals, there’s plenty to choose from. Winterfest includes ice skating, photos with Santa, ornament making and more holiday events for the entire family to enjoy.
  4. A Wild Wonderland of Light: L.A. Zoo Lights – This is definitely one of LA’s best holiday traditions. Sure, the animals are mostly asleep. But the entire grounds are illuminated with Christmas cheer. Featuring a new expanded route, get a peak into a winter wonderland filled with glowing light animals rendered by lasers, 3-D projections and musical water-and-light displays. Get an Instagram picture at the famous Twinkle Tunnel, or have a visit with Santa. There’s a plethora of things to do when coming down to the LA Zoo. Prices range from $11.50 to $18.
  5. Queen Mary Christmas – Lights, Santa, Carolers, Ice Rink & More – Get a taste of the North Pole right here in Long Beach. Stroll through the decks of the ship and experience a little bit of Christmas cheer wherever you turn. There’s synchronized twinkling lights, carolers and musical performances. On top of that, there’s an outdoor skating rink to enjoy as well on the Sports Deck. Get a chance to meet with Santa and spending quality time with your family.Prices range from $8 to $26. You can get a chance to feel the cheer all the way into January.
  6. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade – A tradition that began over 100 years ago, this boat parade is one of the best of the best. If you’re in the Orange County area, it is a must-see for the entire family. Viewed by over 1.5 million people each season, the parade offers some of the largest decorated boats in the country. On top of that, there’s the Ring of Lights competition to check out as well. The parade takes place from December 19, 2018 to December 23, 2018 from 6 pm to 10 pm.
  7. Go Ice Skating in Union Square – If you’re in San Francisco, this is a must. Happening until January 21, skate under the view of the Macy’s Christmas tree and all of the lights that Union Square has to offer. If you’re going to go to any rink this year, it should probably be this one.
  8. Explore the Bar Car at New York Botanical Garden – The Botanical Gardens in New York City’s the Bronx aren’t just for kids; there’s adult fun too. The next dates are the 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th, with a couple extra dates in January. Check out the Night Market with a drink and a snack, listen to carolers or watch an ice sculptor at his craft. No matter what, spend this romantic evening making the best out of the elusive bar car nights. Prices for non-members is $38.

Whether you’re spending the holidays in town or out of it, this list can help you find some of the best events to attend this year. Get some ice skating in or spend your day having a snow day in the middle of Downtown LA. And if anything, you can always spend time indoors with your loved ones as well. Whatever your decision is, it’ll be a good one. 

2018 Local Día de los Muertos Festivals to Check Out

Marigolds adorning an altar with the favorite things of those who have passed is a signature note of Día de los Muertos, also known as The Day of the Dead. While the marigolds are tradition, the things that line the altars vary–from a bottle of liquor to a stuffed animal, the Orange County Register wrote in a 2017 article about the Mexican holiday. The Day of the Dead is when those still on Earth celebrate the departed with festivals and lively celebrations, according to National Geographic. While one would think the holiday would be associated with mourning, it’s actually the opposite. It’s a way to recognize death as a natural experience, National Geographic writes; it’s a special day of all the activities that those who have departed would enjoy if they were here. Beginning before the arrival of the Spaniard conquerors, the Mexican festival was merged into All Souls Day and All Saints Day, according to National Geographic. A day held dear to many families, it’s best spent with those that you love and care for. No matter where you’re at, take the time to celebrate Día de los Muertos.

Celebrated between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, there’s plenty of time to hit some festivals. If you’re looking for a Día de los Muertos gathering to attend in Orange County, look no further. There’s plenty all over Southern California to attend, but there’s one in Fullerton located off Maiden and Wilshire that should be exciting if it’s close to you. Forth’right Productions Studio is putting together their “final event” also known as the 7th annual Día de los Muertos. Happening Nov. 3, 2018, from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm at Max Bloom’s Cafe, entertainment is set to be provided by Freshsoul Alliance. Also performing is Icpaxochitl from de Poetras Cultura. Food will be provided by Forth’right Productions Studio. Vendors will include Freshsoul Apparel. HIP KATZ Car Club will also be in attendance. The following activities will be available for families:

  • Free coloring book
  • Free candy
  • Free snacks
  • Free entertainment/music/poetry
  • Free toy Hot Rod/custom cars from the HIP KATZ Car Club, for the first 12 children

Another festival to check out just over in Los Angeles County is the sixth annual Downey Día de los Muertos Art Festival, happening Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 from 11am to 8pm at the Downey Theatre. Featuring a slew of festival artists (both local and regional) and activities such as Casa Calaveras, a pop-up exhibit, will be available for all festival goers. This is another good one–make sure you go check it out.

Casa Calaveras

Beginning in 1999, Casa Calaveras is a pop-up exhibit featured during the Downey Día de los Muertos Art festival. The exhibit has traveled all across Southern California, featured in places such as the Museum of Latin American Art, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Old Town San Diego’s Fiesta de Reyes and 10 years at Santa Ana’s Bowers Museum of Cultural Art. The exhibit celebrates the marriage of José & Gloria, the couple from the hereafter, according to Yelp. The bride and groom go on a multicultural adventure traveling the world as they meet a host of happy skeletons from nations all over. A heart-filled tale of two lovebirds, it’s all expressed through life-sized happy skeleton figures. It’s a family fun event that’s perfect for introducing your kids to the holiday. For more information about the exhibit, check out their Yelp page here.

Other Features

Some of the groups that are set to perform include Resurrección Mexican Folk, Grupo Folklorico Mexcaltitán, Tradición Dance Company, with others. Full schedules can be found here. There are three stages during the festival, so the amount of entertainment is going to be plentiful. There won’t be a single dull moment, so plan for an all day trip.

Don’t forget that there’s free admission and free parking as well. For more information about the festival, including how to get there, photos, event schedule (coming soon) and a festival map, visit their website. Don’t sleep on these events. If you can, try to attend both and help support local communities coming together.

Quick Ways to Spice Up Your Brunch

Brunch is the perfect time to relax and reflect on your past week. It’s not something that young people often enjoy, but as we get older and age like fine wine, it becomes more of a societal necessity. It’s that special time we don’t often get with our family and friends. It’s a time for laughter and smiles all around. All in all, brunch brings people together. But don’t be boring about your brunch plans. Think outside of the box for your next get together. If you’re trying to do brunch soon, try to plan ahead with this list of ways to spice up your brunch:

  • Try a New Cuisine – Maybe you’ve always wanted to have a Hawaiian-style breakfast but have never made one. Then, it’s time to breakout the spam, eggs and white rice. Or maybe you’ve never had a Mexican breakfast and want to try making some chilaquiles for size. Trying new foods makes us not only get out of our comfort zone, but it makes us appreciate something new at the same time. Testing out new eats for your brunch can spice things up quick.
  • Host Brunch at Home – Having a brunch isn’t like a having a party. It’s actually much better than that. Hosting a brunch is a simple thing that actually shows a lot of character in a person. It takes a lot of effort to put together a brunch and it should never go unnoticed. Try hosting a brunch in the comfort of your own home if you’re tired of going out. Nothing beats homemade brunch goodies like pancakes, eggs and french toast. Having brunch at home also means that you get to safely enjoy some champagne. You can always take a little nap before getting ready to clean later.
  • Have Brunch Outside – Thinking of preparing for a picnic? Sometimes eating outside can be a good thing. It definitely holds a cute factor, if anything. If the weather calls for it, hold a brunch in the great outdoors. Everyone will thank you later. Nothing beats spending a little bit of time outside, surrounded by beautiful nature.
  • Test Out a New Recipe – Always make the same thing at brunch? Do you always eat the same thing when you go out as well? It may be time for a change. Google holds all of life’s unanswered questions, complete with hoards of recipes that are just waiting to be tried out at your home.
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