Holiday Events on the Santa Monica Pier

view of the santa monica pier ferris wheel lone rider
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If you’re looking for things to do on the West Side, the holidays are the best time to find something fun to do in Santa Monica with your loved ones.

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many families and friends. What are you getting for your parents? Did you forget to get something for your niece? Giving the gift of an experience is always a safe bet!

Whether it be a ride on the iconic Pacific Wheel at sunset or pictures with Santa at Santa Monica Place, or even drinking hot chocolate from Pier Burger, grabbing a funnel cake from Scoops Ice Cream and Treats, and watching the fun 10,000 LED light designs on the famous Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel. With dozens of vendors along the boardwalk, you can remember the experience forever with a caricature of you and a loved one or pick up a souvenir from Pier Gear with actual seashells!

Local’s Night on the Santa Monica Pier

Gather your friends and family and head down to the Pier for amazing entertainment including youth activities, a car show, local DJs and live music from local bands, art exhibits, and so much more! You really won’t want to miss this incredible and unique outdoor setting to unwind, all while celebrating Santa Monica.

Image by @catch_me_if_you_can1

Take Pictures with Santa

It’s that time of year! Santa Monica Place is thrilled to announce that Santa will be returning to town on November 19. Santa will be available for visits and photos in Center Plaza, and for the best experience, pre-book now to save time on your photo session visit. As an added bonus, pre-booked visits come with a special video from Santa that your kids will love.

Winterlit in Santa Monica

Winterlit holiday art installations and festivities will light up Downtown Santa Monica all season long. The annual tree lighting will be held Thursday, December 1st from 6 – 8 pm, and Third Street Promenade will glow under tens of thousands of lights illuminating festive outdoor retail and dining.

ICE is Back in Santa Monica

Winterlit makes its return to Downtown after two years with the grand reopening of the Ice at Santa Monica skating rink. The massive rink is situated on the corner of Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue. Running through January 16, 2023, locals and visitors can skate from noon – 10 p.m. daily for $20.

Pico Holiday Open House

The festive holiday open house will take place on December 9 from 4 – 7 p.m., there will be a Winter Wonderland display in the window of the Pico Culture House and kids can decorate their own gingerbread cookies.

Miracle on Main Street

Enjoy Santa Claus, holiday carolers, face painting, and tree lighting on Saturday, December 10 from 3 – 7 p.m.

Meet Me Under the FIG Tree

The Moreton Bay Fig Tree at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is a Historic Landmark with its own annual community holiday tradition. Meet Me Under the FIG Tree will be held on Sunday, December 11, 2022, from 2 – 5 p.m. and is free for the community to attend. Festivities include family photos with Santa Claus under the famous Fig Tree, holiday cookie decorating, a bounce house, and arts & crafts. Live music and delicious bites from Fig Restaurant will be provided. They will also be accepting donations of canned food, new or gently worn clothing or monetary gifts in partnership with Santa MoniCARES. Donations will benefit the Westside Food Bank and Chrysalis.

Holiday Ferris Wheel Lighting

The Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel will be lit red, green, blue, and white from Friday, December 18 to Wednesday, December 30 in recognition of the 2022 Holiday Season.

To celebrate this annual season of holidays, Pacific Park will light the Pacific Wheel with the colors of the season and feature several holiday-themed icons such as wreaths, reindeer, animated falling snow, and even an 80-foot tall snowman that waves merrily high above the Santa Monica Pier.

This special lighting event will take place from the evening of Friday, December 18 to Wednesday, December 30. The Ferris wheel lights can be seen from dusk until 11:35 PM each evening. Enjoy watching the light program online at

snowman on the santa monica pier ferris wheel

Featured image provided by @cardinalcarson

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