One of the first things any out-of-stater will say about LA is how great the weather is. While those people didn’t have to suffer through that last summer heat wave we had, at least we get mild winters.
This December, take advantage of our tolerable sweater-weather and head to South Coast Botanic Garden. They’ve always got fun events going on, and below are the best happening right now!
1. Astra Lumina
Astra Lumina is a night walk through South Coast Botanic Garden, but you’ll think you were transported to a whole other world. This family-friendly event is a nighttime adventure of light and sound, transforming the garden into a cosmic haven.
Astra Lumina comes from world-renowned multimedia studio Moment Factory. Following an emotional narrative of stars falling to Earth, being reborn, and rising once more, the experience is full of childlike wonder. Learn more about this enchanted night walk here!
When: December 8 – February 19 (showtimes every 15 minutes from 6 to 9pm)
2. California Winter Wreath and Hot Cider Workshop
South Coast Botanic Garden is great at educating its visitors in a fun and interactive way, and this workshop is a perfect example. Sip on hot cider while you learn about California’s native plants and how to make your very own holiday wreath out of them!
Not only will you leave with more knowledge about California’s ecology than when you arrived, but you’ll be able to take your decorative creation with you. Everything you need will be provided, but if you have your own clippings or equipment you’re welcome to bring them.
When: December 7, 11, 13 & 15 (2 to 4pm)
3. Elf in the Garden
South Coast Botanic Garden has their own spin on Elf on the Shelf, with Poppy the mischievous Elf hidden somewhere on the grounds! Poppy is always up to something new, and his location changes every Friday until December 25th.
If you can find him and post a picture on Instagram using the hashtag #ElfintheGarden, you’ll get the chance to win tickets to Astra Lumina!
When: Daily, November 25 – December 24
4. Santa Photos
Old Saint Nick himself will be at South Coast Botanic Garden on select dates throughout December. He’ll be taking photos with kids of all ages, and you’ll get a free digital copy of the pictures! Anybody with General Admission tickets can get a picture with Santa on the dates he’s there.
When: December 9 (2 to 4:30 pm), December 10 & 11 (10 am to 3 pm)
5. Holiday Shopping
Check out the garden’s Holiday Shopping kiosk (in Palm Circle) for some charming gifts you won’t find anywhere else. Specially curated by South Coast’s Director of Living Collections and staff members, you’ll have a vast selection of bulbs, seasonal plantings, containers, bonsai starter kits, ornaments, magnets, and more to choose from.
When:Daily, November 25 – December 24
6. Sean Kenney’s Nature POP! with LEGO Bricks
Carefully placed throughout the botanic garden are over 40 massive LEGO sculptures built by artist Sean Kenney. The bright colors pop against the natural settings, and kids will love stumbling upon the oversized animals.
When: Daily, November 25 – December 31
7. Bespoke Picnic Program
South Coast Botanic Garden allows visitors to dine on the beautiful grounds with these specialty packages. You can bring your own food and wine or add a charcuterie board, though keep in mind there is a $50 corkage fee for up to two bottles of wine. Once you’re there, a fun scavenger map will lead you to the picnic setup.
You can set up a bespoke picnic at South Coast anytime! But the benefit of an LA “winter” is that we can grab a thermos of hot cocoa and a blanket and picnic like it’s autumn. All you have to do is choose between the five custom themes:
- The Farmhouse
- The Glamper
- The Parisian
- The Bohemian
- The Artschwager
When: Any day of the week (11am to 1pm & 2:30pm to 4:30pm)
8. HIDE AND SEEK — Art Meets Nature
LACMA has teamed up with South Coast Botanic Garden, lending them six modern sculptures to place around the grounds. In addition to two pieces owned by the botanic garden itself, you can try to seek out all the breathtaking works of art hidden among the greenery.
Don’t worry, there’s photos of each piece on the garden’s website so you know what you’re looking for. And if you just want to head straight to the sculptures they even made a handy map (we won’t call it cheating, promise).
See more: Read more about Astra Lumina at South Coast Botanic Garden here!