Home Tourist attractions Spending Christmas in LA? The best travel destinations

Spending Christmas in LA? The best travel destinations


By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Hello, dear escapees. Holidays are usually synonymous with travel, and this year, despite the threat of the Omicron variant’s spread, is no exception. Some Angelenos are on their first international trips since the onset of COVID-19 or swap their sunglasses for woolen beanies on the way back to cooler hometowns.

Others embrace the LA vacation season as a time to sit still, reveling in the relative calm of the city’s most empty streets.

Do you spend the sweet and sometimes weird days between Christmas and New Years at your home in Los Angeles? Then this edition is for you. Below you will find different ways of being a tourist in your own city, during holidays and at other times.

Of course, with the spread of the Omicron variant, it’s important to mask yourself and travel responsibly no matter where you go.

Book a walking tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy

Despite its modern skyscrapers and many posh storefronts, walking around downtown LA is like visiting a living museum, with surprising historical details hidden from view.

You just have to know where to look.

The Los Angeles Conservancy, formed in the 1970s in reaction to the planned Central Library demolition, offers a variety of walking tours for locals and tourists alike.

For example, the Roaring Twenties come alive on the Conservancy’s Art Deco walking tour, which features brightly colored architectural wonders such as the Eastern Columbia Lofts and the Wholesale Jewelry Mart.

Frequent travelers in particular may turn to a tour of Union Station, which the Conservancy calls “the last major station built during the heyday of train travel.”

In addition to in-person tours, the Conservancy also offers a Virtual Vintage LA Christmas Tour, which will transport viewers to places in LA County that have a long history of holiday decorating. register here for the event of December 29.

Original signage on a train platform at Los Angeles Union Station.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Embrace calm – or even solitude – in this West Adams garden

Looking for peace after a hectic holiday season? While destinations like Ojai and Joshua Tree offer a healthy dose of New Age tranquility and spirituality, there’s no need to venture this far from Los Angeles.

Instead, spend an afternoon exploring the Peace awareness labyrinth and gardens, a lush oasis nestled behind a fine arts mansion in the heart of historic West Adams.

Times presents writer Julissa James has included the gardens, created by the Spiritual Inner Awareness Movement, in a touching story that lists 21 places and experiences that help you come to terms with loneliness in LA

“For many, the Maze and Gardens of Peace Awareness has a certain mystique,” ​​writes James. “The rich history of the site can transport you.”

James recommends walking through the travertine marble labyrinth, inspired by a drawing of Chartres Cathedral in France. The garden also has 16 waterholes, a koi pond and plenty of quiet places to meditate and enjoy your surroundings.

The gardens and labyrinth are open to visitors from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Tickets cost $ 5 and can be reserved in advance here.

A branch of a plant hangs out along a colonial-style building.

Bougainvillea grows in the Labyrinth and Peace Awareness Gardens.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

See “The Obama Portrait Tour” at LACMA

Normally, you have to visit the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, to see the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The masterpieces, however, are on tour in five cities across the United States, and right now, “The Obama Portraits Tour” can be seen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The portraits appear alongside LACMA’s “Black American Portraits” exhibition, which features approximately 140 paintings and photos created over 200 years.

The Times features writer Jeanette Marantos included “Black American Portraits” in her recent roundup of 15 activities for holidaymakers. “The nearly life-size portraits of the Obamas are exhibited together as one-off works in one large room to provide enough space for their many admirers,” Marantos describes.

While you’re at LACMA, don’t miss fan favorite photo spots such as “Urban Light,” the group of street lights featured in countless Instagram photos, and the 25-foot-tall granite boulder that is part of the “levitating mass”. installation. “If you position your visitors right on the path under the boulder, you can get a photo that looks like they’re holding the 340-ton boulder above their heads,” writes Marantos.

Obama’s portraits will be on display at LACMA until January 2. Advance tickets are required and can be booked here.

Artist's impression of a portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama.

“The Obama Portrait Tour” is at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until January 2.

(Jess Miller / For the Times)

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Spend a day walking around Culver City

For many of us, life feels like it’s been on hold since the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. And yet neighborhoods and communities have evolved over the past two years, offering LA travelers have a plethora of new places to rediscover in the city over the New Year.

For example, one could easily spend a day walking around Culver City, which Times writer Christopher Reynolds included in his roundup of the 40 best California destinations to visit this winter.

If you’re looking to take a tour of Culver City, here are some must-see shops, restaurants, and public spaces, courtesy of Reynolds:

  • Citizen’s public market: This food hall, which houses several bars and restaurants, is a novelty in the district, having opened its doors at the end of 2020.
  • Helms Bakery District: A collection of furniture and design stores is housed in a 1931 bakery complex.
  • The ripped bodice: The shop is called “the only exclusively romantic bookstore on the west coast”.
  • The Jurassic Technology Museum: This museum is “open by appointment, confusing by its conception”. (I could try to describe it, but I recommend you see it for yourself.)

An overhead view of people sitting at a table eating.

It’s lunchtime on the back patio of Citizen Public Market, Culver City’s newest food hall.

(Illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times; photograph by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

What i read

  • Let yourself be transported to Lake Tahoe with these photos taken by Times travel reporter Christopher Reynolds.
  • The ski resorts are ready for the season. Times contributor Brian E. Clark explains what’s new and how to hit the slopes safely.
  • The small coastal town of Pescadero may be the bay area best kept secret, writes Michelle Robertson in SFGate.
  • An electric road trip from LA to Las Vegas is easier than you might think, reports Tim Chester in Afar.
  • Eighty percent of North Americans cannot see the Milky Way above their homes. it’s giving “dark sky” communities new tourist attraction, writes Bailey Berg in the Washington Post.

Four adults, two of them holding young children, look at a mountain lake and a rainbow.

The sunrise over Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe is sometimes accompanied by clouds and rainbows. This view is from Inspiration Point.

(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Photo of the week

Above the palm trees, a man in a red suit and white beard is suspended from a parachute.

A Santa Claus in a parachute arrives at Huntington Beach in 2019.

(Spencer Grant)

Song of the road

Song: “All that I want“by the mourners

Favorite Words: “Out in the harbor, the boats are coming, it’s Christmas.” “

Where to listen: Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey

A couple enjoy an outing together at Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey.

Ashley Dorr from Highland Park and Jeremy Frigo from Santa Monica enjoy an outing together at Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey.

(Illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times; photograph by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)