The Holidays in L.A.
Where Santa Wears Shorts and the Elves Are Sexy
Christmas in LA has no snow but plenty of smiles from California girls
Santa wears shorts.
There are sunsets, not snow.
The sun is shining and it's 70 degrees.
Yes, the holiday season in L.A., is far different than in most places around the world. One could argue that pretty much anything is different in L.A., than in other places around the world and while that's true to a large extent, it really stands out during the Christmas season.
People party and shop – often at the same time – in L.A.
But hey, it's okay to be in L.A., for the holidays. Sure, it may be shorts weather when people go shopping – hey it did snow in Hollywood one year – but most of the residents here are transplants and will get enough freezing cold weather when they travel home to visit their families. Before then, though, there are great events all over LA and Orange counties, including open street walks, multiple boat parades, a street parade, theme parties at local bars, even a spectacular fireworks show.
Here's a look at the highlights of the Holidays in Los Angeles.
– NEWPORT BEACH BOAT PARADE –
Boat parades are a big part of the holidays here.
Photo: Newport Chamber of Commerce.
One of the top Holiday events in the entire USA – if not THE biggest – gets a million viewers during its five-day run.
Everything from luxury yachts to Duffys are decorated with lights, flashing Santas, Christmas trees and reindeer. Sexy elves? Of course! Still more party boats join the parade, making this one of America's Top Holiday Party Events.
This is the 102nd anniversary of the boat parade. It's definitely a signature event of Newport Beach and it's set up for all to enjoy. There are three designated viewing areas, by the Balboa Pavilion and the American Legion Yacht Club ((215 E. 15th St.) on the Balboa Peninsula and the Boy Scout Sea Base (1931 W. Coach Highway).
Of course, a big part of the parade is watching at bars and restaurants. There's the Newport Landing and Harborside Pavilion restaurants (on the peninsula); the lineup of places along PCH consisting of Joe's Crab Shack, the Rusty Pelican Chart House, Billy's on the Beach, Villa Nova (a great place because it's the turnaround, 2700 block of W. Coast Hwy).
On the peninsula, Woody's Wharf and the neighboring Ten Waterfront are lively.
But the most popular – at least for singles – of these locations is the Balboa Bay Yacht Club (1221 West Coast Hwy, valet parking $10). The bar is lively before, during and especially after the parade. All this happens every night of the parade.
The event also involves the "ring of lights," in which locals also decorate their homes and businesses around the harbor in lights.
\This event regularly occurs the third week of December from Wednesday thru Sunday.
Event Dates: Dec. 15-19, 6:30-9 p.m.
Location: Newport Harbor
Link: Newport Boat Parade Official Site.
– ADDITIONAL BOAT PARADES –
With Los Angeles hugging all that coastline along the Pacific, it's only natural that several of its communities would have their own boat parades. Here's a look at the biggest ones:
• Long Beach & Naples. This seaside city – one of the largest in California – has not one but two boat parades.
The first is around the popular Shoreline Village area. Called the Parade of 1000 Lights, it is put on by the prestigious Shoreline Yacht Club (host club for the start of the Transpacific Yacht Race). There are many viewing options – at the Lighthouse behind the Aquarium, the pier just outside of Gladstone's, the Shoreline Village walkway and the bars and restaurants of Shoreline Village (the Yard House and Parker's Lighthouse. Places like Gladstone's, the Alud Dubliner and Mai Tai bar are packed with party-minded people afterward.
The second boat parade takes place in Naples, which is just past the young-and-fun Belmont Shore part of Long Beach. It's unique in that it goes along the small canals in the neighborhood; there are carolers and spectators walk up and down the streets. Many homes are decorated in addition to the boats. The parade runs north of the 2nd Street bridge with the Long Beach Yacht Club serving as the start and finish point.
There is free parking is at the Marina parking lot on Marine next to Albertsons.
Event Dates: 100 Lights, Dec. 11, 7 p.m.
Naples, Dec. 19, 6-8 p.m.
Location: Shoreline Village and Naples.
Link: Shoreline Yacht Club. .
• Marina del Rey. Since 1963, the event begins with fireworks followed by a two-hour parade. There is music throughout the event and commentary by KFI-AM reporter Lisa Osborn and cartoon voice-over Mickey Laszlo (see, where else could a cartoon voice-over do commentary for an event other than L.A.).
While the "fingers" of the marina provide places to watch the parade, the best place is Fisherman's Village (13755 Fiji Way). There's places along the water to stand, plus a number of restaurants: El Torito, Shanghai Red's, the Marina del Rey Hotel, Sapori and the Angler's Choice
The Grand Marshal for the 2009 event is Zac Sunderland, the first under-18 sailor to sail solo around the world.
The next day, neighboring Venice has it's own parade of sorts with small boats, canoes and even kayaks decorate. It's along Del Ave., off Washington Blvd., and starts at 4 p.m.
Event Date: Sat. Dec. 11. Fireworks: 5:30, Boat Parade: 6 p.m.
Location: Main Channel. Viewing at Fisherman's Village.
• Redondo Beach. A mix of families and South Bay singles check attend this event. Far smaller in scale than even Marina del Rey, it's a simple affair but offers nice cocktailing opportunities for those so inclined.
The bar at the Portofino Hotel (Baleen and let us point out it has very nice rum selection), Joe's Crab Shack, Samba and the On the Rocks which, for locals, is the old Chiller's location, provide the best views. There's also a nice public area on a grassy area out toward the jetty at the south end of the main channel of King Harbor (down from the Bluewater Grill at 655 N. Harbor Drive).
Event Date: Saturday, Dec. 11, 5:30 p.m.
Location: King Harbor main channel (208 Yacht Club Way)
– MANHATTAN BEACH HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE–
PubClubettes Melissa and Lindsay enjoying MB's Holiday Open House.
The stores in this intimate seaside city throw open their doors through the evening and entice potential customers inside with food samplings from local restaurants and refreshments in this very popular annual walk through downtown Manhattan Beach.
The #5 of the Top Annual Events in Manhattan Beach as rated by PubClub.com, it features carolers in the streets and hundreds of people going in and out of the boutique shops.
The families and couples are looking for presents but the single people – who make up a large part of the South Bay community – use the Holiday Open House as one of their prime social tools. After checking out the places with the best beverages, they then hit the downtown bars.
Event Date: Wednesday, Nov. 17, 5-9 p.m.
Location: Downtown Manhattan Beach.
Link: Top Annual Events in Manhattan Beach.
– BELMONT SHORE CHRISMAS PARADE –
One of the most fun places of Long Beach is the Belmont Shore area. And each year on the first Saturday of December, the lively 2nd Street becomes even more lively with this parade.
Hundreds of people line the streets to take in the show, which runs along 2nd Street from Livingston to Bayshore. They also wander in and out of the many bars; Panama Joe's, in a prime location mid-way through the rout and now operated by Sharkeez, is slammed.
Several local businesses have floats, and if anyone wants to get a good up-close look at reigning Miss Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix of Long Beach Annastassia Vassilevaka, this is your chance, as she's part of the Grand Prix's float.
The following week, another section of Long Beach has a similar event.. It's the The Daisy Avenue Christmas Tree Lane Parade (56 years old) that runs down Daisy Avenue (Dec. 12, 5 p.m.). It includes dozens of lighted Christmas scenes and displays on the center median of the avenue. Hundreds of cars cruise the street to check out the decorations.
Event Date: Saturday, Dec. 4, 7-9 p.m.
Location: 2nd Street, Belmont Shore
Link: Long Beach & Belmont Shore Bars.
– SANTA MONICA TREE LIGHTING & CONCERT
Called the Winterlit and Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, this event involves a free concert by GRAMMY-nominated artist Brian McKnight and his sons, Brian Jr. and Niko. Sponsored by 94.7 THE WAVE, the song list includes favorites from Brian’s holiday album, such as The Christmas Song, Silver Bells, Let it Snow, and selections from both Brian McKnight and McKnight’s new album.
During the opening song, a 22-foot Christmas tree and seasonal lights on Third Street Promenade will light up, illuminating the streets with sparkling cheer. Border Grill restaurant in Santa Monica is serving hot chocolate and popcorn to the first 1,000 guests. The seasonal spirit continues on Third Street Promenade with its shopping, dining and downtown Santa Monica’s outdoor skating rink, ICE at Santa Monica
Event Date: Saturday, Dec. 5, 5 p.m.
Location: Third Street Promenade
Link: Downtown Santa Monica Website.
– CORONA DEL MAR WALK –
No, the dogs aren't begging for beer. Unlike some of the people here..
Similar in concept to the Manhattan Beach Holiday Open House, the CDM Walk features a chance to check out the stores of the city.
Except here, those stores are located along busy Pacific Coast Highway and few, if any, have food and liquid refreshments. So the city simply puts a band and a beer garden in a parking lot to put people in the holiday spirit.
Oh, there's a few food booths and things for families and kids, but it's a great setup for the many single people in coastal Orange County. Look for them in places like the Quiet Woman and Bandera's and Port after the event concludes (signaled when the volunteers shut off the taps in the beer garden).
Event Date: Sunday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m-4 p.m.
Location: Along PCH, Corona Del Mar
Link: Corona Del Mar Walk Informaton & Photos
– MANHATTAN BEACH FIREWORKS –
There are few better shows anywhere than the MB Fireworks.
With several surrounding cities having big blasts on the Fourth of July, this scenic seaside city developed a brilliant and distinctive alternative: Have fireworks in December and make it a festive event for the season.
It's a spectacular show and involves caroling and Santa (of course). Thousands of area residents look forward to it for weeks. They flock downtown to set down blankets or beach chairs on Manhattan Beach Blvd., facing the Pacific Ocean, bringing food and refreshments.
Nearly every house along the beach (an area known as the Strand) has a party, be it a raging kegger or small gathering of friends, and the restaurants and bars are packed. The latter, especially, are filled to midnight with festive revelers.
This is #3 of the Top Annual Events in Manhattan Beach as rated by PubClub.com,
Event Date: Sunday, Dec. 12, 6 p.m.
Location: Manhattan Beach Pier
Link: Manhattan Beach Fireworks.
– UNIVERSAL STUDIOS CITY WALK –
A month-plus festival in the entertainment and restaurant area features decorations, an eclectic program of holiday-theme performances including choirs, live bands performing remixed seasonal classics, festive street performers and, of course, Santa. Dangling mistletoe provides a very merry “kiss-mass” for couples.
There is live entertainment, a "rocking" Christmas tree Santa, and "snow" every night. And, on teh 31st. a free New Year's Eve party.
Event Dates: Thru Jan. 1 (Free)
Location: Universal City Walk
Link: Universal City Walk Websie
– BAR HOLIDAY THEME PARTY PHOTOS –
Bar parties, particularly ones with sexy costume contests, rock.
See why Santa luvs LA for the Holidays: Its' the Elves!
Santa doesn't need his reindeer with elves like this around.
Oh, ho, ho, what's the holidays without Holiday parties!? These photos are from Sharkeez and Patrick Molloy's in Hermosa Beach and Upper Manhattan in Manhattan Beach; the latter has sexy but classy cabaret shows, so be sure and watch the video.
This sexy burlesque-esque show is to the Hawaiian Christmas song.
The girls give a great cabaret holiday show at Upper Manhattan.
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