Things to do in Long Beach this weekend… holidays edition!
The following is a curated roundup of weekend events in Long Beach published every Wednesday on the Hi-lo/Long Beach Post. Have an event to share? Email [email protected] with “Things to Do” in the subject line.
While we’re sure much of Long Beach will be at home in the days ahead with family or friends celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, activities still abound for those who’d like to wrangle the family out of the house to soak in a bit more holiday cheer this weekend.
And, if seeing Christmas lights is a favorite pastime, check out our interactive map of places to see holiday lights that you can drive or walk to.
Happy holidays and get to scrollin’!
GONDOLA GETAWAY’S CHRISTMAS LIGHTS CRUISE (Thursday)
Naples Island is inarguably one of the best places to see Christmas lights. There are the floating Christmas trees in the bay. And, almost as if it were written into their mortgage contract, the surrounding neighborhoods all seem to take part in the decorating. And then there are the waterways, which you can traverse by a hand-rowed gondola via the Gondola Getaway in Naples.
Most of our readers are likely well acquainted with Gondola Getaway, a more than 40-year-old attraction—practically an institution—in Long Beach. But easily the best time to enjoy the 50-minute ride in an authentic Venetian gondola is during the holidays when all the lights reflect softly in the waters. Prices are steep, starting at $200 for four guests, but if you’ve got the extra funds to splurge, it’s well worth it.
Reservations are still available for Thursday, Dec. 22. For more information and to book, click here.
BIXBY KNOLLS HOLIDAY BLOCK PARTY (Thursday)
Bixby Knolls businesses are coming together for one last community celebration for the season with a holiday block party Thursday, Dec. 22.
Businesses on Atlantic Avenue between Cartagena Street and Burlinghall Drive will have their doors open, offering specials on food, drinks and shopping. Plus, the area will be festive with live music, lights and a free photo opportunity with Christmas Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Tutu School LB.
The Bixby Knolls Holiday Block party is free to attend—food and drinks are not. Click here for more information.
HANUKKAH CANDLE LIGHTING (Friday)
Though the first day of Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) was just celebrated on Sunday, Dec. 18, local synagogues will be honoring the holiday through the traditional eight days and nights with the menorah candle lighting.
Until Friday, Dec. 23, the Alpert Jewish Community Center is inviting the community to join them in lighting the menorah at 4 p.m. The events are free to attend. Click here for more information.
The Alpert Jewish Community Center is at 3801 E. Willow St.
COZY CHRISTMAS RUN (Sunday)
Boutique events company, High Tide Runs, is putting on a “Cozy Christmas Run” at the pedestrian bike path on Christmas morning, Dec. 25.
Runners of all skill levels are invited to join, with 5k, 10k, 15k and half marathon routes available. Organizers will provide water and keep track of your progress. Medals will also be awarded for run completions.
Guests are encouraged to dress up in festive clothing, and at the end of each race will be mistletoe for couples who might like to celebrate with a kiss. Entry costs range from $24.99 for the 5k run to $38.99 for the half marathon. Runners can pick up their bibs between 7-7:30 a.m. The run starts at 7:30 a.m. Click here for more information and to register.
The Cozy Christmas Run meet-up is at 5400 E. Ocean Blvd.
THE GOOD FOOT 16TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY (Sunday)
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The funk and soul-spinning DJs of The Good Foot are returning for a 16th time to Alex’s Bar for its annual Christmas party Dec. 25.
Expect some twists on holiday tunes, plus all the soul, funk and Latin beats that have made the DJs of The Good Foot (DJ Dennis Owens, DJ Scott Weaver, and DJ Lili Bird) and their monthly music nights some of the most well-known in Long Beach.
The event is free to attend, but those who go are encouraged to bring clothing and non-perishable foods to the bar that will be donated to the Long Beach Rescue Mission. Plus, a portion of the bar sales will also be donated to the mission. Click here for more information and to RSVP. Doors open at 9 p.m.
Alex’s Bar is at 2913 E. Anaheim St.
KWANZAA CELEBRATION (Tuesday & Wednesday)
The African American Cultural Center of Long Beach is hosting an inclusive and family-friendly celebration for Kwanzaa at the Expo Arts Center in Bixby Knolls Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 27 and 28.
The two-day event celebrating African and African-American culture and values will feature live music, dance, art exhibits, an African marketplace and programming for children. The celebration will highlight the second and third Kwanzaa principles “Kujichagulia” (self-determination) and “Ujima” (collective work and responsibility). Those principles will also be honored by lighting the second and third candles on the Kwanzaa candelabra.
The African American Cultural Center encourages guests to visit both days, but note that Wednesday’s events will feature several workshops, including a Nguzo Saba dance class and a West African drum class. The Kwanzaa celebration is free to attend, but guests are encouraged to donate $10.
You can RSVP by scanning the QR code above, or through Eventbrite.
The Expo Arts Center is at 4321 Atlantic Ave.
SPONSORED BY THE LONG BEACH CAMERATA SINGERS
LONG BEACH CAMERATA SINGERS ANNUAL HANDEL’S “MESSIAH” CONCERT (Thursday)
Your holiday is not complete until you experience the magic of Long Beach Camerata Singers’ annual Handel’s “Messiah” concert!
“This concert is our most popular annual event, featuring a mixture of arias and choruses that are melodic, rhythmic and accessible to the listener,” Camerata President Jan Hower said. “The pandemic showed us the importance of community gatherings to greet our neighbors, to share live performance and celebrate the beauty of this musical masterpiece.”
The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 22 at the Beverly O’Neill Theater (300 E. Ocean Blvd.). A pre-concert conversation about the music will begin at 6:30 p.m. Give the gift of music this season with tickets to the event starting at $40 at LongBeachCamerataSingers.org.
SPONSORED BY THE AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC
FIRST WEDNESDAYS EXPLORES COMMONALITIES BETWEEN PEOPLE AND WOLVES (Wednesday, Jan. 4)
For a howling good time at the Aquarium of the Pacific, January’s First Wednesdays will explore what humans and wolves have in common. Presenting “The Humanity of Wolves,” Apex Protection Project Co-Founders Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell will talk about how, socially, people are more similar to wolves than most would ever imagine.
The wolf advocates say that with better understanding of the animals, they hope to reduce the negative myths that have demonized wolves for so long. Their aim is to build empathy and a desire to help in protecting the keystone species.
Ficara and Wastell have helped rescue more than 400 captive-born wolves and wolfdogs. The organization also advocates for wolves in the wild through educational programming.
The talk and Q&A—capped off with a cash bar cocktail hour, music and a paint-a-fish art activity—will take place from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4 in the Honda Pacific Visions Theater. Tickets are $5 in advance or $10 at the door. RSVP online, click here, or call 562-590-3100.
The program is sponsored by: Stephen and Brenda Olson, Ralph and Hazel Osborn and Lois J. Roork Charitable Trust and Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Downtown.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is at 100 Aquarium Way.
SPONSORED BY THE DOWNTOWN LONG BEACH ALLIANCE
SHOP SMALL, SHOP DOWNTOWN
For last-minute shopping needs, there’s no place like home for the holidays. The small businesses in Downtown Long Beach offer a wide range of products and services for everyone on Santa’s good list, whether you’re looking for gifts, food, fun or entertainment.
Downtown’s diverse shopping options are conveniently at your fingertips with the Shop Small for the Holidays Guide, which you can download here. From fine jewelry, savory and sweet pies and pastries, artwork, plants, home improvement supplies and more, Downtown has you covered from A to Z for successful shopping this season.
For more information, click here.
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