44 Things To Do On Christmas Day in Southern California.

Winter break is here and the kids are home restless. Wait, its Christmas Day and the family wants to explore the city!  Okay, you want to get out and explore the city because the kids are driving you crazy.  Christmas Day is a holiday that not every business and store is open.  Southern California offers many indoor and outdoor opportunities.  To help you find the one for you, we have broken down the list into categories: nature, theme parks, food, entertainment, crafting at home, local churches and volunteering in your community. *By the way do not forget to use your AAA card or look for special offers in your area. 

Nature is open 365 days of the year; find a regional park or beautiful beach to play in the sun.  Discover which theme parks are open on Christmas Day as not all of them are.  Hungry, tired of turkey and don’t want to cook?  Find out where you can go for a delicious meal.  Take a drive through a “Candy Cane Lane” and be amazed by your neighbor’s exterior elumination talents. Building a gingerbread house with the family can be exciting in the comfort of your own home.  Attend mass at a local church and discover some history.  Help others through volunteering your time or talent.  Keep reading to find out more about some incredible things to do.


Beaches are open all year long and can be a great place to relax, play and enjoy the outdoors without spending too much money.  Find a local beach with a fire ring and take your S’more makings, hot dogs and hot cocoa in a thermos to enjoy the cool, ocean breeze and the gentle crash of the waves.  Danger, you may get sand laced throughout your shoes and car.  This is just part of the California lifestyle. Some of our recommended beaches include Belmont Shores, Crystal Cove, Huntington Beach Pier, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Paradise Cove, Aliso Beach, Salt Creek Beach Park, Baby Beach at Dana Cove, Correnado, San Clemente Cove, South Carlsbad State Beach, La Jolla Cove, and Mission Beach Park

Visiting a local park is another fun way to spend the day with your family. You can also go on a nature hike, bicycle ride or just picnic in the park. Living in California you have amazing parks that you camp for the day and reconnect with nature.

Themed parks

Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, LEGOLAND San Diego and Sea World are all opened on Christmas Day.  While the extended family members are all in town, take this opportunity to join in some good old fashion family fun while riding “It’s a Small World”, “Minion Mayhem”, “The Dragon” or watch beautiful dolphins dance for their guests. Book online and find deals or discounts on tickets to your favorite theme parks. Here is a link to the latest deals for Legoland: mousesavers.com


Venture out for a non-traditional Christmas turkey or ham dinner by travelling internationally to experience new customs and traditions with Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian and Mediterranean food.  Try the following restaurants which have been visited by or recommended to the Field Trip Mom family.  Dim Ho in Lake Forest, China Palace in Tustin, China Station in La Habra, Benihana in Anaheim, Newport Beach, Puente Hills, Noodle World in Alhambra, Downey, Pasadena, Westwood, Upland and Hollywood, Doner G in Irvine and Anaheim, Luna Grill in Irvine, Lake Forest, and Aliso Viejo, Shogun and Wabi Sabi in Corona, China Garden in Irvine, Annapoorna Indian Cuisine in Irvine, and of course don’t miss Cielito Lindo on Olivera Street in Downtown Los Angeles. World renowned for their rolled tacos with avocado chili salsa and the chili verde burrito!


There are plenty of new movies out this holiday season.  Go to Costco or Sams Club for discount tickets or check your local theater for matinee prices.  Edwards Irvine Marketplace 10 offers $6.00 tickets for all show running prior to noon. Visit Pirates Dinner Adventure, Medieval Times Dinner & Show for a great dinner and show.  Drive to a Candy Cane Lane in your neighborhood, just Google “Candy Cane Lane near me”.  One specific is Lake Forest Christmas Lights located at 22981 Belquest Dr. Lake Forest, CA.  Looking for more fun on Christmas Day, visit Catalina Island, Queen Mary - The Chill in Long Beach, the Palm Springs Aerial Tram, the San Diego Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo, San Francisco Zoo, or Harbor Breeze Cruises and Whale Watching.  Go to their websites for more information.  Go to the snow at your local mountains for sledding, skiing and snowboarding.  Take a walk through Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles where plenty of shops, bakeries and restaurants are open on Christmas day.


Crafting at home

Build a gingerbread house with white frosting.  Bake chocolate chip cookies and eat them with a glass of milk.  Invite neighbors and host a small party.  Take up crochett and make yourself a scarf or beenie for the upcoming winter chill.


We want to encourage you to visit a Catholic Church on Christmas day.  Most Catholic churches offer beautiful architecture designs.  The Christ Cathedral of Garden Grove, Cathedral of our lady of Los Angeles, Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano and Mission San Fernando all offer a look at the history of California. While at the church light a candle and say a prayer for the ones you love.


The Christmas spirit is about giving to others and expecting nothing in return. Volunteering in your community could be as simple as delivering cookies to the local fire house.  There are so many opportunities this time of the year to serve food to the homeless or visit the elderly in a retirement home.  Any form of giving back to our community is very much appreciated by the person you are serving and the community.  Doing so benefits all of us in the end.

homeless kit
photo credit: Convoy of Hope
ICE Skating

MoonLight Rollerway, LA Holiday ICE and Ice Skating Pasadena, dust off your skates and go out to the ice rink to have some fun.  Not all ice rinks are open. Here are a few that had open hours online.  Check your local area for other similiar places. 

Southern California offers so many opportunities to explore and experience.  To help you have a great holiday season we have a few suggestions.  We recommend you get out and explore the city in comfortable shoes.  Friendly reminder to always check weather conditions before going on a family field trip.  We suggest that you contact the vendor, business or church to confirm their hours of operation.  Our research on this subject reminded us to always call ahead.  Social Media and online websites sometimes do not reflect correct times or dates.
Merry Christmas!!!

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