Our Top Picks: Fun Things Happening This Weekend in LA – Holiday Edition

This weekend marks the official start of December,  which got us wondering — just where did the year go? We always know when winter officially arrives in LA, when the ice skating rinks start popping up at your local shopping complex with everyone in their heavy winter jackets (and it’s a mere 65 degrees out!).

Winter has arrived in LA — the massive ice skating rink at LA Live Downtown

We have to admit, nothing gets us more excited for the holidays than the over-the-top decorations at The Grove (that started going up in early November, mind you!). However, The Grove isn’t the only place that will get you into the holiday spirit — this weekend is packed with special events and food festivals. Best of all? We’re in LA and there is no REAL snow to slow you down… Just the usual, never-ending traffic. Oh, bah humbug.

Christmas explosion in full effect at The Grove. There is nothing subtle here!

That’s why we decided to narrow down the best of the best for the weekend, including a wine and food festival hosted by the queen of culture (Ms. Martha Stewart), a film screening from our favorite local NPR station at a historic downtown theater and a pop up market for those people on your gift list who have it all. Pretty soon, you’ll be singing along in your car to Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Or possibly smashing the radio after hearing it for the 20th time (seriously, how many versions exist of that song?). Check out our picks below —

Our Top Pick!
Martha Stewart Wine & Food Experience presented by USA Today

Get ready to eat (and drink!) your heart out. This Saturday, Dec 1, marks Los Angeles’ first-ever Martha Stewart Wine & Food Experience with the queen bee herself in the house! Besides getting to see Martha (clearly, we’re on a first name basis!), the event will include some of our favorite celebrity chefs like Curtis Stone and Susan Feniger. We’re ready for our ‘grand tasting package’ ($65 per person), which includes unlimited samples from some of our favorite LA hot spots like Preux & Proper, The Bazaar by Jose Andres and Fig & Olive. Plus, we’ll get plenty of wine and spirit tastings. If you really want to step it up, go VIP where you’ll get early access 1 hour before general admission. Or you can go super VIP with the “Meet Martha” package where you’ll get to meet the lifestyle guru herself. Beyond all the eating, we’re most excited for the entertainment and live food demos… Because nothing gets us more excited than watching someone else cook food.

  • When: Saturday, Dec 1 from 1-4 PM (VIP entry at 12 PM)
  • Where: Los Angeles Center Studio, 1201 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles (Downtown LA)
  • Cost: Tickets start at $65, with advanced purchase online here.
    *Bonus tip, Yelp is offering a $10 discount on the Grand Tasting or VIP ticket, just use the code: Yelp at checkout

‘Unique Markets’ – Holiday Pop Up

This Saturday, head to downtown Los Angeles to pick up a variety of gifts at the aptly-named Unique Markets. I love their official tagline of “Not a mall. Not a flea market. Not a craft fair. Something different.” Well, you had me at shopping! This on-going pop-up event is holiday themed with more than 300 curated independent designers, artists and emerging brands all under one roof. And let’s face it, I can’t pass up locally-made, cute gifts! And hey, who needs it to be practical? Just ask Kevin about the reusable handcrafted bento box I bought a few weeks ago (that doesn’t actually stay shut) or that sleekly-designed metallic reusable water bottle (that continually leaks). The energetic, festival-like atmosphere will include DJs, free drinks (we love free!) and DIY projects and photo booths. Finally, to cap it off, every admission includes a limited-edition cotton tote bag. Pretty soon, I’ll officially become the bag man of Weho with all the free totes I’ve been collecting.

  • When: Saturday, Dec 1 – Sunday, Dec 2 from 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Where: California Market Center, 110 East 9th Street – 13th Floor (Downtown LA)
  • Cost: $15 general admission. Available at the door or advanced purchases online here.
  • Next event: If you can’t make it downtown this weekend, don’t fret! The holiday market will make its way to Santa Monica, Dec. 15 – 16 from 10 AM to 4 PM, on the Santa Monica Pier. Or you can always consider going both weekends like us (and yes, we’re not afraid to admit we have a shopping problem!).

KPCC Screening of ‘The Artist’ at the Historic Theater at the Ace Hotel

Like most of my friends, I spend my long commute listening to NPR station KPCC (and happily living in my LA bubble!). This Sunday, KPCC will host what will surely be a fun-filled screening of The Artist with FilmWeek’s Larry Mantle. Kevin and I have regularly attended KPCC’s annual Oscars preview event and always have such a blast. The Artist, which won the 2012 Oscar for Best Picture, takes place in Hollywood in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and is shot entirely in Los Angeles. So you might recognize a few of the spots. And what better place to screen it than the Theater at the Ace Hotel, a beautifully restored 1600 seat movie theater from the 1920’s.

  • When: Sunday, Dec 2 from 1 to 3 PM
  • Where: Theater at The Ace Hotel, 929 S Broadway (Downtown Los Angeles)
  • Cost: Tickets run $12-$15. Available at the door or advanced purchases online here.

Hanukkah Festival at the Skirball Cultural Center

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine! This Sunday, the Skirball Cultural Center is going all out for the Jewish festival of light with an all-day event that includes live music, hands-on workshops, storytelling and access to their current exhibition on the Notorious RGB (of course, we’re talking Ruth Bader Ginsburg). The event is geared for the whole family with musical performances by klezmer band Yale Strom & Hot Pastrami as well as roaming musicians and choir performances. There will also be limited tickets available on-site on a first-come basis to their Noah’s Ark exhibit. Inspired by the biblical tale, this 8,000-square-foot indoor playground includes around 400 life-size animal constructions and interactive elements.

  • When: Sunday, Dec 2 from 11 AM to 4 PM
  • Where: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd (West LA)
  • Cost: $12 general, $9 seniors and $7 children (2-12). Available at the door or advanced purchases online here.

And there you have it! Here’s to another packed weekend in LA. Here’s to the start of the holiday season (and lots of Philz Coffee to keep the energy up!).

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Our Top Picks: Fun Things Happening This Weekend in LA - Holiday Edition
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Our Top Picks: Fun Things Happening This Weekend in LA - Holiday Edition
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We have to admit, nothing gets us more excited for the holidays than the over-the-top decorations at The Grove (that started going up early November, mind you!). However, The Grove isn't the only place that will get you into the holiday spirit -- this weekend is packed with special events and holiday food festivals. Check out our top recommendations.

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