Temperatures may still be in the seventies in Southern California, but Santa’s on his way and holiday cheer is everywhere. Here’s how some of our favorite venues and destinations are celebrating.

At the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, the grand lobby is being transformerd into a holiday wonderland with an ornate and edible life-size gingerbread house and a 12-foot Douglas fir. Bringing back a holiday tradition for the first time in 15 years, guests will be greeted with freshly roasted chestnuts at the property’s porte cochère while real snow falls from above. 

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills has partnered with the Los Angeles Ballet and luxury tea blender Tealaves to offer a Nutcracker tea menu in the Lobby Lounge. The menu features chestnut and mushroom pie, pumpkin quiche, tea sandwiches, Gruyere popovers and an assortment of sweet treats. Guests can enjoy a special Nutcracker holiday package that includes an overnight stay for two guests, the holiday tea, dinner at Jean-Georges Beverly Hills and two tickets to The Nutcracker ballet.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will be offering free candy canes, photo opportunities with Santa, a “Sound of the Holidays” musical series and a special prix fixe holiday menu at Peaks Restaurant on Christmas and New Year’s days. 

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade will celebrate its 109th year during the five nights of December 13-17. One of the longest holiday traditions in the country, the “Ring of Lights” parade can be enjoyed from a variety of viewing locals in the new 10.5 acre Marine Park. Fireworks on opening and closing nights.

The Bai Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square has returned to downtown Los Angeles for its 20th anniversary season. Framed by skyscrapers and historical landmarks, the 7,200-square-foot Ice Rink welcomes more that 54,000 skaters and 450,000 spectators annually. Open through January 15, the rink is hosting a series of festive special events including sets by DJ HowLy on select Thursday nights, Aladdin-themed skates every Wednesday evening, curling lessons, silent skate parties and a Polar Bear Skate on New Year’s Day with a dress code of beach attire.

There are all sorts of cool things for groups to plug into this summer, including two new options in Snowmass and opportunities to sample all sorts of Colorado food and beverage at the Truck Stop: Food Truck Rally Summer Series, held at various locations in the Denver area.


Warm-weather time becomes the season of festival queens in Michigan. It’s part of a much-anticipated local custom in many communities.

While visiting with our friends at Original Murdick’s Fudge, which opened in 1887 under a different name, owner Bobby Benser and I recently chatted about the annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival held in August and how the Michigan Sugar Queen often is part of that sweet event.


Tis the season for getting out and exploring. Our friends at Destination Gettysburg shared their list of upcoming festivals so take note, mark your calendar and make the trip to Gettysburg!

Gettysburg Brass Band Festival