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Holiday Cheer on the Pier

Published on December 1, 2021

This December 6 – January 11 you can find holiday cheer at the Santa Monica Pier. The pier is open from 6 AM – 10 PM daily through the holiday season when you can find free art installations, free family entertainment and activities, and of course all of the fun rides and festive foods you expect at our iconic, water-front destination.

Windows Of Enchantment – Flashback Edition

The windows of the historic hippodrome building that houses the Santa Monica Pier Merry-Go-Round will be decked for the holidays with unique and historical pieces from the pier’s history. You can learn about the pier’s storied history and see seldom-displayed photos and artifacts from private collections of local historians. The holiday window decorations, a nod the holiday department store window galleries of yesteryear, will be on display all month long and a free to see. The merry-go-round is open Monday & Thursday 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Friday through Sunday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

WHAT: Windows Of Enchantment
WHERE: Merry Go-Round Windows
WHEN: December 6 to January 11 from 6:00 AM until 10:00 PM
FREE and open to the public

Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Resuming their new tradition of holiday performances at the Santa Monica Pier, the Bob Baker Marionettes will return to Santa Monica for a free performance for kids and families inside the merry-go-round. Bob Baker’s whimsical marionettes will dance, sing, and delight you and spectators of all ages. The troupe has been performing in Los Angeles for over 60 years and have been featured in scores of films and TV shows. You can see them up close and in person on Tuesday, December 14th at 7 PM. Please note there is limited seating in side the hippodrome; guests are encouraged to come early secure seating; all county safety protocols will be followed including indoor masks for all guests.

WHAT: Bob Baker Marionette Theater
WHERE: Merry Go-Round Building
WHEN: December 14 at 7:00 PM
FREE and open to the public

Seasonal Ferris Wheel Light Program

The Pacific Wheel will brighten the holiday mood evenings in December with a special holiday light program featuring seasonal themes and fun holiday icons. You can see a 90-foot tall Frosty the Snowman waving merrily over the crashing waves of the pacific each evening through December. Later in the month, see more designs as they added including Rudolf with his blinking nose, a jolly Santa Claus, and brilliant, colorful patterns of the seasons.

WHAT: Pacific Wheel Holiday Lights
WHERE: Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier
WHEN: December 17-30 from dusk until midnight
WATCH online at

Holiday Festivities at Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Place will offer an array of festive activities for the whole family to enjoy. Visitors and shoppers will catch special performances by the dancing sensation, Santa Monica Beach Belles, ballerina performances inside the 14-foot larger-than-life Snow Globe, live DJ holiday sets, as well as festive light displays and a 50-foot iconic Christmas tree in Center Plaza. Santa’s coming to town Nov. 19 and taking residence under the Christmas tree in Center Plaza through Dec. 24. Visitors will have the opportunity to snap a photo with Santa and shoppers can bring their four-legged friends to meet Santa during Pet Nights on Dec. 15-16.

WHAT: Santa Monica Place Holiday Festivities
WHERE: Santa Monica Place Shopping Center at Colorado & Third
WHEN: Activities all month long
MOST events and entertainment are FREE and open to the public

Miracle on Main Street

Main street Santa Monica is celebrating the holiday season with a ceremonial lighting of a festively decorated tree in Heritage Square and full weekend of holiday activities December 11th and 12th. On Saturday, there will be fun, free activities for the kids, holiday carolers and photos with Santa; on Sunday, the holiday spirit continues with a holiday themed edition of the Main Street Farmers Market followed by another opportunity to get photos with Santa.

WHAT: Miracle on Main Street
WHERE: Main Street Business district
WHEN: Saturday December 11th & Sunday, December 12th
FREE and open to the public

Holiday Story & Crafts Time

Bring your kids to the pier for story time, a free and educational activity hosted by Books and Cookies. Story tellers will delight with engaging reads from books that share the many traditions of the holidays. Your kids can sing, dance, and play musical instruments along with the stories. Each child will create their own under-the-sea holiday crafts inspired by the stories.

WHAT: Holiday Story & Crafts Time
WHERE: Merry Go-Round Building
WHEN: December 15 at 5:00 PM
TICKETS: are free, but reservations are required.

Holiday Story Time

Children have another evening to delight with merry tales and festive fantasies when book readers from the Santa Monica Public Library come to the Santa Monica Pier for a special holiday story time. There will be two sessions on Thursday, December 16 at 5:30 and 6:30 PM. This event is ideal for young children and toddlers.

WHAT: Holiday Story Time
WHERE: Merry Go-Round Building
WHEN: December 16 at 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM
FREE and open to the public

Holiday Caroling

Hear the songs and sounds of the season this December at the Santa Monica Pier. The Santa Monica Pier Corporation is partnering with choirs and glee clubs from Santa Monica schools to serenade guests at the Pier this holiday season. Times and dates will be announced later this month, so be sure to check back here or follow us on Twitter.

WHAT: Roaming Holiday Carolers from Santa Monica High School
WHERE: Santa Monica Pier
FREE and open to the public

Seaside Holidays

Holidays are brighter at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. The hotel has created a month-long schedule of great events where you can find holiday cheer, seasonal cocktails, live entertainment, culinary creations, and fun, family entertainment. Check out free pool-side screenings of modern and classic holiday films like Polar Express and Elf; book a breakfast date and photo of with Santa Claus; snuggle up by the outdoor fire and savor the tastes of unique, holiday-inspired libations.

WHAT: Seaside Holidays
WHERE: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, just south of the pier
WHEN: Various events all month long
SOME events FREE and open to the public; see website for details

SoCal Etsy Guild’s Holiday Market

The SoCal Etsy Guild Presents a unique Holiday Market at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. You can browse a wide selection of handmade, artisanal crafts from some of the best shops on etsy. The day will also feature live art, local designers, and vendors specializing in one-of-kind crafts. These vendors will be located on the promenade next to the other grate shops and restaurants between Arizona and Broadway.

WHAT: Etsy Holiday Market
WHERE: Third Street Promenade
WHEN: Saturday, December 18, 2-9 PM
FREE and open to the public


The pier and amusement park will be open every day in December, weather permitted. Some evenings may have shortened hours; please visit for the most recent operating schedule.

Feature photo courtesy of @markteufel.