Things to do in Long Beach this weekend including…. ube, tamales, and holiday cocktails

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.

This weekend we’ve got not one, but two food festivals to check out. Plus, some holiday events to get you in the spirit because we know you want it.

Get to scrollin’!


The holiday decorated bar at Port City Tavern in Zaferia District. Photo courtesy Port City Tavern.

Zaferia District’s craft cocktail bar, Port City Tavern, has decked out its establishment with nautical-Christmas-themed decor they’ve dubbed “Nauti or Nice” and a new holiday craft cocktail menu, devised in-house by their very own bar manager, Bradley (thank you, Bradley).

Cocktails (which range from $12-$14) are served in specialty holiday-themed glasses and mugs, like the spiced “Son of a Nutcracker” cocktail, which is enjoyed in a Santa Claus-shaped mug, or the “Here’s for the Ho’s” served in a tall, Santa Claus shaped boot glass.


A selection of the holiday cocktails at Port City Tavern in Zaferia District. Photo courtesy Port City Tavern.

While you sip, be sure to check out the decorations—including a six-foot anchor wreath on the exterior of the building and a replica of the floating trees in the bay—many of which were crafted by Port City staff.

The specialty cocktails will be available during operating hours which are Monday-Friday from 4-12 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon-12 a.m. Click here to see the entire holiday cocktail menu.

Port City Tavern is at 4306 E. Anaheim St.


A decorated, lit-up 30-foot Christmas tree at 2nd & PCH. Photo courtesy 2nd & PCH.

The outdoor shopping center 2nd & PCH is kicking off the holiday season with its annual Christmas tree lighting and celebration, Friday Dec. 3 from 5-8 p.m. The lighting will happen at about 5:45 p.m., followed by a free outdoor movie screening of the holiday film “Elf” at 6:15 p.m.

The movie will be projected onto a large inflatable screen at the south end of the center on Seaport Way—that’s the side with women’s apparel stores Lulu Lemon and Jolie. The entire street will be closed to traffic.

Early arrival is encouraged so you can stake your spot along Seaport Way. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets as complimentary seating is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be heaters outside, though getting a spot near those will also be first-come, first-served.

The center requests that all attendees adhere to social distancing.

Other festivities and entertainment for the evening include live music, photos opportunities with a custom backdrop featuring Buddy the Elf and Jovie, balloons, face painting and more.

2nd & PCH is at 6400 Pacific Coast Highway.


First Friday’s Holiday Village flyer courtesy BKBIA.

On the first Friday of every month, Bixby Knolls throws a free community block party along Atlantic Avenue, in which stores open their doors, artisans set up tables on the sidewalks and side alleys and people get together to shop, dine, or just rub elbows with other fine fellow Long Beach people, like yourself.

This month’s theme is the holidays, naturally, and First Fridays is promising an evening of live music, small business shopping, pop-ups, art displays and demonstrations, holidays crafts and cooking to get you into the spirit.

There’s a lot to see on Friday, Dec. 3, but here are some highlights:

  • Hot Chocolate Stations at Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, Bixby Joe, Dream Come True and The Better Half Boutique.
  • Photo opportunities with Santa Claus and Mrs. Clause plus a Bixby Blizzard Show at Santa’s Village at 4313 Atlantic Ave. (next to Expo Center).
  • Arts and crafts pop-ups from the Uptown Village Market at the The Expo Center.
  • Special Jazz Band will march down the business corridor.
  • Photo ops with Mickey, Minnie, Jack The Gingerbread Man & Jingle The Elf at The Better Half Boutique.

Click here for more information on the evening event.

First Fridays at Bixby Knolls is from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The free event spans several blocks of Atlantic Avenue, but a good starting point is at the Expo Arts Center at 4321 Atlantic Ave.



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Thirteen local and regional artisans are setting up shop at 4323 Rutgers Ave., the home of jeweler Jivitia Jewelry, on Saturday, Dec. 4 for a six-hour small business shopping boutique meant to help locals find unique gifts for Christmas or yourself.

Shop from artisans selling custom, handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, clothing, apothecary items, baked goods and more.

Here’s a list of the participating vendors:

Holiday Pop-up Boutique is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 at 4323 Rutgers Ave.


UPS has a little helper handing out candy to the crowd during the 37th annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 in Long Beach. Photo by Tracey Roman.

Taking place in lieu of the annual Belmont Shore Christmas Parade will be Belmont Shore’s Winter Village, a four-hour celebration on Saturday, Dec. 4 that will include holiday activities, concessions and live entertainment along the stretch of the Second Street business corridor.

Some of the side streets along the corridor will be closed off, allowing the parade to still take place but in a more honorary fashion with some of the most popular and reoccurring float entries to be stationed along the street that visitors can interact with.

The main stage will be set up in front of the Chase Bank building at 5200 Second St. and will feature local talent including high school bands, dance troupes and an eight-piece brass ensemble. Local indie-rock outfit Manuel the Band will close out the evening with a special holiday concert.

Santa will still have his debut and will be accepting letters at Winter Village over at the “Shorth Pole,” an area stationed on the north corner of Second Street and Nieto Avenue.

The Belmont Shore Winter Village will be held from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Click here for more information or to get involved.



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Over 15 Filipino and ube bakeries, pastry chefs, culinary artists and vendors will take part in the Long Beach Ube Fest, selling freshly made ube desserts, breads, pastries and other purple-y creations Saturday, Dec. 4 in Belmont Shore. Other vendors will sell home goods, artisan gifts, coffee and more.

The free event on Park Avenue and Second Street opens to the public at 4 p.m. Acess as early as 2:30 p.m. is available to those who purchase early-access passes and packages (cost between $30-$60), which might be worth it if you’re looking to snag some of the rarer goods and menu specials. And vegan shouldn’t feel left out, as there will be plant-based vendors on-site, too.

Here’s a list of ube food vendors:

Click here to check out and purchase the various packages and specials, some including special ube gift boxes with desserts.

Ube Fest is from 4-8p.m., find the event at the intersection of Park Avenue and Second Street.


A plate of tamales wrapped in corn husk. Image courtesy Long Beach Living.

The Long Beach International Tamales Festival will be a one-day celebration, honoring the art, flavors and diversity that is the tamale with regional takes on the tender dish. And all in one place.

Presented by Long Beach Living and Roxanne’s Bar and Grill, the Tamale Festival will kick off Dec. 5 at the Scottish Rite Event Center. From noon to 8 p.m. attendees can check out tamales and other Latin-inspired cuisines from 15+ vendors and restaurants. Of those, festival organizer Sal Flores said, 10 will serve tamales, some even offering multiple types, in addition to other Latin cuisine. The event also promises tequila tastings and other beverages available for purchase.

Live music performances by Mariachi Relámpago, folklórico ensemble Relámpago del Cielo, salsa and Colombian cumbia group La Mera Candelaria, and DJs Las Chicas Tristes will play all day long.

Comedian Hoozay, creator of Pupusa Comedy will host the event, and help announce the winner of the homemade tamale contest, which will be judged by Executive Chef of Hotel Maya’s Fuego restaurant, Victor Juarez, Long Beach City College Culinary School’s Executive Chef Haley Nguyen, and local social media influencers such as LB Food Coma and Love You Long Beach, among others.

There are a number of ticket options and packages for the event, but general admission tickets start at $25 and include one complimentary tamale. Patrons have the option of purchasing a VIP ticket for $60 which includes three tequila tastings, one tamale, and access to a VIP sitting area and bar. For more information on ticket prices and packages, click here.

The Scottish Rite Event Center is at 855 Elm Ave. Click here for more information, to purchase tickets or to get involved.



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Support local vendors while you shop homemade crafts and other goods at the Cambodia Town Night Market Sunday, Dec. 5 at the MAYE Center.

The four-hour event will also feature live music and Cambodian street food vendors.

Cambodia Town Night Market is from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 at the MAYE Center, 2153 E. Anaheim St.




Image courtesy Long Beach Camerata Singers.

As the Long Beach Camerata Singers raise their voices in “Hallelujah,” with accompaniment by the baroque orchestra Musica Angelica, they’ll be ringing in the season with a magnificent musical performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” that has become a holiday tradition for local families over the past 14 years.

Led by Grammy Award-winning Artistic Director James K. Bass, in the Camerata’s 56th season, the oratorio was written in 1741 and includes solos, choruses and instrumental movements. It’s a resounding concert experience that makes every holiday season that much brighter.Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Beverly O’Neill Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. Tickets are available at or by contacting the box office at 310-686-5833.




Image courtesy Long Aquarium of the Pacific.

Celebrate the holidays with our animals as they receive special “fishmas” treats during Holiday Treats for the Animals on Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5. Take photos with Santa in his traditional attire and watch him swim with the fish as Santa Diver. Festivities include holiday crafts, Hanukkah storytelling with a dreidel activity, gingerbread house displays, and you’ll have the opportunity to pick up some great holiday bargains at our 20% off gift store sale. All programs and times are subject to change, visit for details.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.