Whether you’re in full holiday mode or fully ready for the holidays to be over, Los Angeles has got you covered. Head to New Beverly Cinema for a special midnight showing of A Christmas Story, then hit Smorgasboard L.A. for a wonderland of holiday shopping and eating. Or skip the holiday shows and head to the opening of an unconventional art exhibit and, later, a roastery and distillery tour. To leave all the stress behind, fly north to the whimsical Calistoga Ranch.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
December 15 | Exhibit opening
“The Unconventional Canvases of Keith Haring”
Keith Haring shook up the art world before his untimely death in 1990. His unique style graced walls throughout New York and beyond. The seemingly simplistic doodles he created are actually complex ideological statements on the rampant AIDS crisis (which ultimately took his life), capitalism, race relations, and drugs. Some of Haring’s many canvases were automobiles, so it’s fitting to have an exhibition featuring his art at the Peterson Automotive Museum. At this opening reception, you’ll see a preview of Haring’s works as well as Land Rovers, Ferraris, Buicks, and BMWs, plus hear tunes by DJ Peanut Butter Wolf and remarks by members of the board. The show runs from December 13 through June 4.
8:00 PM | Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles | $35 | website
December 17 | Film
“A Christmas Story”
Watching the ’80s classic A Christmas Story is a holiday tradition as important to many as drinking eggnog and singing “White Christmas.” This year, Beverly Cinema is hosting a special midnight screening of the magical film. Mix up some Ovaltine and go to the show ready to brush up on the leg lamp catastrophe and the consequences of falling for a triple dog dare.
11:59 PM | New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles | $8 | website
December 17 | Drink
Roastery and Distillery Tour
Blue Bottle Coffee takes its coffee making very seriously. The result is an exquisite cup of java with rich flavorings that are a direct result of the perfect beans. Blue Bottle does all of its coffee roasting—one huge part of the beans-to-cup process—in house. This week, its opening the doors to the roasting facility in Downtown L.A. for a tour. Goody bags included! Then head over to Blue Bottle’s neighbor, the Spirit Guild Distillery, for gin and vodka 101 and a lesson in spirit distilling. This includes a chance to sample Astral Pacific Gin and Vapid Vodka (as such, the distillery tour is only for those 21 and over).
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM | Blue Bottle Coffee, 582 Mateo St., Los Angeles | $20 | website
December 17 - 18 | Escape the city
Get into the holiday spirit in Northern California this weekend at Calistoga Ranch, a beautiful little hotel tucked in the greenery of Napa Valley. Fly from LAX to Santa Rosa (about 90 minutes), and from there it’s a quick half-hour drive to Calistoga. Warm yourself by the outdoor fireplaces, or bundle up and explore the lodge’s hidden private lake, palatial hills, and ancient oak trees. It’s so picturesque you may think that you’re dreaming. Treat yourself with cabernet from Calistoga Ranch’s own vineyard and a spa treatment (we recommend the canyon sage warm stone massage). Spend your time relaxing so that when you get back into town and full holiday mode, you’re calm, cool, and ready for the festivities.
Calistoga Ranch, 580 Lommel Rd, Calistoga, CA 94515 | website
December 18 | Shop
Smorgasburg Holiday Market
Smorgasburg L.A. is, as the name suggests, a fine place to eat—with everything from Filipino cuisine to good old-fashioned American apple pies. Now, the food hall is branching out to sell gifts for all your last-minute holiday shopping needs. There will be food, of course, and this is a chance to shop while you eat (and eat while you shop). In addition, local vendors will be selling holiday wreaths, candles, jewelry, home decor, skincare products, and clothing. The holiday market will also host a special celebrity chef pop-up with chef Jeremiah Bullfrog (rapper Rick Ross’s personal chef and a Cutthroat Kitchen finalist). Spread the love by bringing an unwrapped new toy to donate to the Toys for Tots drive happening onsite.
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Smorgasburg L.A. at Alameda Produce Market, Alameda and Bay St., Los Angeles| | website
Eva Glettner is a writer and a native Angeleno. She loves art, travel, coffee, and skateboarding.