City-sponsored events are back for the holiday season 2021!

Well, many of them, so far.

Notable returning events include the Hollywood Christmas Parade and LA Zoo Lights. Welcome back!

Every year, the City produces and sponsors a variety of events to celebrate the holidays. Many of those were delayed or postponed last year. Here’s Alive!’s annual guide for 2021; check back in next month for updated information.

A Victorian Christmas at the Banning Museum in WIlmington

LA Zoo Holiday Lights

When: 6-10 p.m. nightly, Nov. 19 – Jan. 9
(closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas)

Where: LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Griffith Park, 5355 Zoo Dr. Free parking.

Cost: $16-$24 (daytime Zoo admission extra).

City sponsor: LA Zoo.
Information: (323) 644-6042 or

The after-hours attraction, which requires a separate ticket from the Zoo’s regular day hours, is a self-guided 90-minute walking tour of tens of thousands of LED lights, flurries of illuminated snowflakes, 3-D animated projections, a musical light-and-water show and glittering light tunnels. Animal characters brought to “life” include mischievous animated monkeys, a gigantic glowing snake coiled on a roof, animated elephants and much more.

Victorian Christmas

When: noon – 4 p.m. Sat., Dec. 4

Where: Banning Museum, 401 E Main St., Wilmington.

Cost: Free admission.

City sponsor: Rec and Parks.

Information: (310) 548-2005 or

This free event is one day for visitors to enjoy period entertainment, tours of the residence museum decorated in holiday splendor, refreshments, a children’s craft area and a horse-drawn trolley ride between the museum and the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum nearby. Note that the event, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is expected to be scaled back from previous years, and details are being worked out at press time.

Holiday Light Festival Train Ride

When: 5-8 p.m. weeknights; 5-9 p.m., Fri-Sun. Nov. 26 – Jan. 7

Where: 4400 Crystal Springs Dr., Griffith Park

Cost: $5

City sponsor: Rec and Parks

Information: (323) 662-9678,

Guests can take an evening train ride around the festively decorated one mile of track. Magical scenes and tens of thousands of lights are set to captivate families and set the mood for a wonderful holiday season.

The trains operate every night until Dec. 23, then resumes Dec. 26-Jan. 7. The trains do not operate in the rain.

Harbor Afloat Parade

When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: LA Waterfront; Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 E. Water St., Wilmington.

Cost: Free.

City sponsor: Harbor


Join harbor community members for this free and festive boat parade on the LA Waterfront, sponsored by the Port. Enjoy the sparkling spectacular parade of boats and celebrate the nation’s busiest international trade gateway. Pre-parade festivities at Banning’s Landing Community Center (4 p.m.).


Las Posadas on Olvera Street

When: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dec. 16-24

Where: Olvera Street, 125 Paseo de la Plaza downtown.

Cost: Free admission.

City sponsor: El Pueblo Historical Monument.


Las Posadas, a Mexican tradition that’s one of the City’s oldest Christmas events, commemorates what Christians believe was the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for shelter in preparation for Jesus’ birth.

On Olvera Street, the event will feature a candlelight procession starting at the historic Avila Adobe at approximately 7 p.m. The leaders of the march, usually children, will be dressed as shepherds, angels, and Mary and Joseph. They will be followed by dozens of other worshipers. The public is invited to join in or merely observe.