Sea, sand, snow and ice? The beach cities of Los Angeles will see it all in coming weeks, thanks to special events planned to celebrate the holiday season. Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and El Segundo will each host their own special Christmas-themed celebrations beginning next week and continuing into December.
Downtown Manhattan Beach kicks off the festivities on Wednesday, November 17 with its 16th Holiday Open House and 21st Annual Pier Lighting. The evening includes a pier lighting ceremony with entertainment provided by the Manhattan Beach Middle School and Mira Costa High School choirs. The entertainment begins at 6 p.m. and Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery will flip the switch at 7 p.m. to illuminate the pier with holiday lights. Santa and his helpers will be stationed near the pier and real reindeer will be grazing on Manhattan Ave. Downtown merchants will host open houses until 9 p.m., offering special deals for holiday gift shopping. Carolers and musicians will stroll through the downtown area. The P.S. I Love You Foundation will be collecting toys for at risk children. Arrive early to find parking on the street or in city lots. www.downtownmanhattanbeach.com
The Plaza El Segundo shopping center in El Segundo will host its own holiday open house two nights later, on Friday, November 19 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The fun will feature Santa at a tree lighting ceremony and complimentary holiday hay rides. The evening includes live holiday entertainment, one-night-only in-store offers, free samples, prizes and an “Elf on the Shelf” treasure hunt. www.plazaelsegundo.com
Sixteen tons of snow will hit Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach on Saturday, December 4. The city’s first annual Snowfest, sponsored by local merchant Spyder Surf, will allow visitors to play on a giant snow hill beginning at 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. This event replaces the city’s Pier lighting ceremony, which became the victim of 2010 city budget cuts. Pier Avenue will be closed to cars and snow will cover the north side of the street. The south side will be open for spectators and sidewalks will also be open on both sides of the street. Snowfest will start at 3 p.m. with a snowboarding demonstration, followed by free snowboarding lessons and sledding. www.hermosabch.org
Make a thermos of hot chocolate and head back to Manhattan Beach on Sunday, December 12, when the city will host its annual Holiday Fireworks display. Parking will start to fill up around 4 p.m., when the evening kicks off with a snow park and bouncy house area sponsored by Skechers and Michael Stars. Santa will stop by and local bands will lead a holiday sing-a-long near the pier. The fireworks show, choreographed to seasonal music, kicks of at 7 p.m. Bring jackets and blankets to bundle up in, and grab a bench on the strand if you want a close-up view of the fireworks. www.ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us
It appears for now that budget cuts have put an end to Seaside Ice in Redondo Beach. For the past two years, the city and its merchants have turned Seaside Lagoon, an area that is normally a children’s beach, into an ice skating rink for the holidays. For outdoor ice skating this holiday season, consider heading to downtown Los Angeles or Universal City.