Our list of the best free holiday events in Santa Monica, California

If you click on the links in this post, we may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post, at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclaimer here.

Sharing is caring!

Located on the Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park is a great place for family fun with rides and games.  They also offer seasonal holiday celebrations and there will be a lot going on in November and December.

Special Wheel Lighting

There will be Special Wheel Lighting on November 10 and 11, 2023, for Veteran’s Day.  For Thanksgiving, there will be Special Wheel Lighting on November 18 through 23.

Holiday Cheer on the Pier Events

Windows of Enchantment – Flashback

The windows of the historic hippodrome building that houses the Merry-Go-Round will be decked out for the holidays with unique and historical pictures from the pier’s history.  See seldom seen displayed photos and artifacts.  The window galleries of yesterday will be on display from December 6 to January 11, from 6 am to 10 pm.  It is free and open to the public.  

Bob Baker Marionettes Theater

The Bob Baker Marionettes will return for a free performance on December 19 at 7 pm.  The whimsical marionettes will sing, dance and delight the young and the young at heart.  There is limited seating so don’t be late.

Wheel Holiday Light Program

 Ferris Wheel Lights will offer a special holiday light program from December 17 to 30 from dusk until midnight.  A 90 foot tall Frosty the Snowman will be first and he’ll be joined by Rudolph and Santa.

Holiday Story & Crafts Time

Bring your kids to the Merry-Go-Round building for a free story time and educational activity.  This will be hosted by Books & Cookies.  This will be happening on December 15 at 5 pm and it is free and open to the public.

Holiday Story Time

Readers from the Santa Monica Library will come for a special holiday story time on December 16 with one session at 5:30 pm and another at 6:30 pm.  This is ideal for young children and  toddlers.  It is free and open to the public.

There are some other holiday events in Santa Monica.

Holiday Conscious Market

Conscious Market is on the first Saturday of every month at Third Street Promenade.  Come meet local designers, brands and new businesses.  It will be a Holiday Conscious Market on December 2, 2023, from 9 am to 6 pm.  It is open to the public and entry is free.

Holiday Festivities At Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Place will be offering festive activities for the whole family to enjoy.  You can see special dance performances by the Santa Monica Beach Belles.  Ballerinas will be performing in the 14 foot tall Snow Globe, live DJ holiday sets, festive light displays and a 50 foot Christmas tree in Center Plaza.  Santa will be at the mall from November19 through December 24 and will be available for pictures.  These events are open to the public and most of them are free.

Miracle On Main Street Santa Monica

There will be a ceremonial lighting of a beautifully decorated tree in Heritage Square on December 11 and 12.  On Saturday, there will be free activities for the kids, holiday carolers and photos with Santa.  On Sunday, there will be a holiday themed edition of the Main Street Farmers Market followed by another chance to get photos with Santa.  All this will be free and open to the public.

Hanukkah Lighting Ceremony

Celebrate the Festival of Hanukkah during the Hanukkah season with nightly Hanukkah lightings on the 1400 block of Third Street Promenade.  The lighting ceremonies will take place at sundown on Thursday, December 7 through December 14.

SoCal Etsy Guild Holiday Market

This will be a unique Holiday Market at 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.  There will be a wide selection of handmade, artisanal crafts from some of the best artisans on Etsy.  There will also be live art, local designers and vendors specializing in one of a kind crafts.  This will be happening on December 18 from 2 pm to 9 pm.  Entry is free and it is open to the public. 

Santa Monica Hotels

If you’d like to visit Santa Monica for the holiday festivities, you should consider the following hotels.  They are all offering discounted rates which could save you money on your stay.

    • Channel Road Inn, A Four Sisters Inn: 24% Discount
    • The Georgian Hotel: 20% Discount
    • The Pierside Santa Monica: 16% Discount
    • Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica: 15% Discount
    • Fairmont Miramar Inn: 15% Discount
    • Days Inn by Wyndham Santa Monica Los Angeles: 15% Discount
    • Holiday Inn Express West, an IHG Hotel: 15% Discount
    • Marina Del Rey Hotel: 14% Discount
    • The Huntley Hotel: 12% Discount
    • Ocean Park Inn: 11% Discount
    • Gateway Hotel Santa Monica: 10% Discount
    • Cal Mar Hotel Suites: 10% Discount
    • Bayside Hotel: 10% Discount
    • Venice Suites: 10% Discount
  • Executive Santa Monica Suites: 10% Discount

Other Santa Monica Activities

While you’re in Santa Monica, here are some activities you might enjoy.  These aren’t free, but you can use our links to see how you can save money on them.