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Holidays at the Santa Monica Pier

Published on November 25, 2019

Santa Monica offers a month full of events during the holiday season. Play in the snow right by the beach, get your photo taken with Surfer Santa, and watch the dazzling holiday light displays on the world-famous Pacific Wheel.


If you’re looking for things to do this December in Santa Monica, look no further than the Santa Monica Pier. Pacific Park is celebrating with an 80ft tall holiday light display, and the Pier is full of cheer with events all month long.


Lace up your ice skates at Ice at Downtown Santa Monica

Every holiday season Downtown Santa Monica brings a little ice to our beachside community, transforming the corner of Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue into the winter wonderland known as Ice at Santa Monica, an 8,000-square-foot ice-skating rink. Open 2 PM – 10 PM weekdays, open til midnight on the weekends. Rent skates and enjoy the ice all day for only $15.


See the winter and holiday themed window art by Pip & Pop at the Looff Hippodrome

The windows of the historic carousel building on the Pier, The Charles Looff Hippodrome, are all decked out for the holidays. Australian artist Tanya Schultz works as Pip & Pop to create immersive installations and artworks from an eclectic range of materials including sugar, glitter, candy, plastic flowers, everyday craft materials, and found objects. The windows will be unveiled November 27th and be open to the public through January 6th.


Play in the snow, but also at the beach for Snow Day!

It’s the first ever Snow Day in Santa Monica. 4,000 sq ft of real snow will fall on the Pier deck east of the merry-go-round on Saturday, November 30th. Children 12 years and younger can come play for free from 11 AM – 5 PM.


See world-renowned puppeteers from the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre

Bob Baker’s marionettes return to the Santa Monica Pier for a series of sing-alongs for children of all ages. The Bob Baker Marionettes have performed around the globe (even on Navy ships and submarines!), with an inventory of nearly three thousand puppets. Come see the imaginative and captivating marionettes Thursdays this fall with performances at 6 & 7 PM nightly December 5, 12, and 19 on the Merry-Go-Round Deck. Free!


Get your photo taken with Surfer Santa

Before Santa works his magic all night long on Christmas Eve, he’s surfin’ on over to the Santa Monica to take photos with guests on the Pier. In the Central Plaza (next to Pier Burger) you can line up to get your photo taken with a real Surfer Santa from 11 AM – 5 PM on Sunday, December 8th. This is a free photo op brought to you by Pacific Park.


Wave at an 80-foot tall snowman on the Pacific Wheel

Every holiday season, Pacific Park lights the chilly December nights with fun and festive holiday icons and patterns on the world-famous Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel. The wheel’s 174,000 LEDs shine brilliantly over the Pacific’s rolling surf, and this year’s holiday light program will include animated snowflakes, reindeer with blinking noses, holiday emoji’s and an 80-foot tall snow man that waving cheerily from above the Pier. The lights go on nightly around dusk (4:30 PM) and run until 11:30 PM or later. If you can’t make it down to the Pier, check out the lights on our live-streaming web cams.


Let your imagination roam during holiday Storytime at the Pier

The Santa Monica Public Library will be reading holiday stories inside the Looff Hippodrome building next to the Carousel on Friday December 13th at 4 & 5 PM. This free event will also offer opportunities for young ones to create crafts inspired by the Pip & Pop art installations in the Hippodrome windows.


Get your shopping done at Unique LA Holiday Market

This holiday-edition of the much loved Unique LA brings crafters and artisans to the Santa Monica Pier deck the weekend of December 14 & 15. For $12, you can browse aisle after aisle of rare finds and hand-crafted items you won’t see on Amazon. Unique Markets started in December of 2008 and instantly became the largest ‘buy local’ shopping event in the country. The Market will be open from 10 AM – 5 PM both days.


Listen to doo-wop holiday carols from The Noelles

This all-female a cappella quintet will perform the most loved holiday carols in their signature 1960’s doo wop style on Saturday and Sunday December 21 & 22 at 4, 5, and 6 PM outside the Looff Hippodrome on the East end of the Pier. This free event is open to the public so swing on by and sing along to holiday classics like Run, Run, Rudolph, Santa Claus is Comin to Town and All I want for Christmas is You.


Feature photo courtesy of @90s_hector.