An Ode to L.A. During the Holidays

Once Thanksgiving rolls around the city empties—to magical effect

Cooler temps aren’t L.A.’s only seasonal treat: We are now sliding into our city’s very unique LGTFO time of year. The holiday skedaddle hits every part of the country, but when it happens here it gives the impression of a city that’s shut down. Thanksgiving offers just a semi-version of this since it leaves L.A. half empty for only half a week. During Hannukah, Christmas and even New Years, though, the city suddenly seems vacant.


We think it’s because the population is composed of so many non-natives that large swaths travel to see friends and family elsewhere, and those who don’t are left thinking they shouldn’t stay in town and use the downtime instead to explore other places. Lastly, we’re an Industry town, and Hollywood says, “See ya!” during the holidays. I’ve worked in The Business for six years and I am still amazed by how quickly the balloon that is Los Angeles deflates before Christmas. Like Coachella and the week after the Oscars, there is a mass exodus.

December 23 through January 3, L.A. is perfect.

Last year—for the third time—I spent part of my holiday sticking around, taking advantage of its emptiness, and I’m so glad I did. The fruits of departure were plentiful: LACMA’s James Turrell show was like a personal lesson in the sublime; new foodie destinations like Connie & Ted’s and Bestia could seat my party immediately, no problem; and every movie I went to, regardless of day or time, felt like a private screening. I hiked Runyon Canyon without the crowds. Hell, I bet I could even have reenacted scenes from Omega Man and Night Of The Comet in an empty downtown. Maybe I’ll do that this year.

L.A. may not see snow this time of year, but it does know how to slow down, and it’s something we all do together. If you are still considering your options for Thanksgiving and Christmas, stay here. Invite friends and family to Los Angeles and treat them to a tour of the best town on Earth. Few others will be here and the ones who are likely know what you do now, that Los Angeles is even more magical when you have it to yourself.