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10 Best Things To Do In LA In January

Best Things to Do in LA January
Rose Parade, #1 of best things to do in LA in January

There are lots of great events in Los Angeles this month, Christmas and the New Year doesn’t slow us down at all! January starts with a bang, with one of the biggest and most famous festivals in the U.S., and it doesn’t let up after that. There are cultural celebrations, art exhibitions, comedy shows, a Sunday food and design tour… Hell, there’s even outdoor ice-skating (in sunny LA, imagine!). Deep breath – these are the 10 best things to do in LA in January. Enjoy!

Events & Activities in Los Angeles This Month

1. THE ROSE PARADE & ROSE BOWL GAME (JANUARY 1)

One of the most famous holiday events in California, known and beloved throughout the U.S. (the parade always features live on Network Television). What else is there to say about this most storied of festivals? It starts at the Rose Bowl, near where the 1937 Robin Hood filmed its archery scenes, and wends its way through Old Town Pasadena, before heading east down Colorado Boulevard.

Like many cultural events in the U.S. multi-national corporations and brands have made an attempt to hijack it – but they haven’t totally succeeded yet. Insider tip: if you haven’t already reserved seats head to the eastern end of the route, spaces on the bleachers are much easier to find there.

More information here.

2. ART FOR THE PEOPLE: WPA-ERA PAINTING FROM DIJKSTRA COLLECTION (ALL MONTH)

The Huntington Library is something of a hidden gem in Los Angeles (technically San Marino). Its extensive botanical gardens boasts a huge array of different landscapes, plants and trees. It also has a very handy art museum, with some wonderful (and famous) works.

This exhibition exhibits paintings created in the United States between the 1929 stock market crash and World War II, with 19 striking pieces.

More information here.

3. LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVAL (JANUARY 27-28)

There are several concentrations of people of Chinese descent in the LA area, the biggest are in Chinatown, near Dodger Stadium, and in the San Gabriel Valley, to the East. Over the last few years the one in Monterey Park, in the SGV, has become the biggest celebration of the Lunar New Year, with a great atmosphere.

Nearby Alhambra has some of the best Chinese food in Southern California too, so it’s also well-worth checking out.

4. LA: FOOD + HISTORY + DESIGN TOUR (EVERY SUNDAY)

Southern California has some of the best food in the world – in fact 40% of the food Americans eat comes from our state – and Los Angeles is a beneficiary of that fact. Our LA: Food + History + Design tour celebrates it with a selection of the best of the best – the French Dip Sandwich, a locally-invented dish, tacos on Olvera Street, birthplace of Los Angeles, a visit to Grand Central Market… 

In between courses we show guests the best of LA design and tell them the story of the city. It makes for a great day: a bit of learning, some great food and a little light exercise.

More information here.

LA: Food + History + Design Tour video

5. VISIT AN ENCHANTED FOREST (TO JANUARY 7)

Definitely one of the best things to do in LA in January, this interactive, after dark, experience is well worth going to before it closes in January. The Enchanted Forest features a magical one-mile walk through unique lighting experiences, at Descanso Gardens (which is always worth visiting anyway). 

More information here.

6. VISIT THE NEW-ISH ACADEMY MUSEUM (ALL MONTH)

The Academy Museum opened during the pandemic, so maybe it hasn’t got all the attention that it deserved. It joins a stellar list of institutions at Museum Row on Wilshire’s Miracle Mile: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the La Brea Tar Pits Museum and the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Nevertheless, the Academy Museum holds a special place in the heart of Los Angeles because of our film history. At some point you have to do this one, why not start the year with a visit?

More information here.

7. GO TO A COMEDY SHOW (ALL MONTH)

Who couldn’t do with a good laugh? Los Angeles has a thriving comedy scene, as you might expect, and shows often feature lineups of both household names and up-and-coming stand-ups. 

Hollywood Improv has a full slate of shows and The Comedy Store is open almost nightly. Don’t Tell Comedy is an underground series of “secret” standup shows offering pop-up shows at outdoor venues, including parking lots and rooftops. The Groundlings and the Upright Citizens Brigade are also well-established and, usually, really good.

8. ROSE BOWL FLEA MARKET (JANUARY 14)

This monthly open-air market gives you another reason to visit Pasadena, and the Rose Bowl. It’s the biggest and the best known such event in Southern California, with over two thousand vendors, selling everything from perfume to antiques, electrical goods, clothes and everything in-between. You you may pick up a bargain and who couldn’t do with one of those nowadays?

More information here.

9. CATCH MJ – THE MUSICAL (TO JANUARY 28)

He is one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Now Michael Jackson’s unique and unparalleled artistry comes to Los Angeles as MJ, the multi Tony Award®-winning new musical centered around the making of the 1992 Dangerous World Tour, begins a tour of its own.

Created by Tony Award®-winning Director/Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, MJ goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of the star, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted Michael Jackson into legendary status. MJ is startin’ somethin’ as it makes its California premiere at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in December 2023.

Broadway in Hollywood

The show is at the Pantages Theatre, at Hollywood and Vine, one of the most beautiful in Los Angeles.

More information here.

10. GO ICE-SKATING (VARIOUS DATES)

A lot of visitors are surprised when they see an open-air ice-rink in Los Angeles. It doesn’t fit the image they have of LA, with palm trees swaying in the warm Pacific breeze under a cloudless, deep-blue, sky. Ice skating is for places like Chicago and New York, they think. However, surprisingly perhaps, our weather does allow for open-air rinks in the coldest months.

The best rinks are at Pershing Square (to January 7), Santa Monica (to January 15) and the LA Kings (to December 31, so technically not a January event) and Pasadena (indoor, year round).

Best things to do in LA in January
#10: ice skating in Pershing Square, DTLA

If you have any feedback on the 10 Best Things to Do in LA in January please email us or reach out on social media, we’d love to hear from you.

– By Damien Blackshaw. (Twitter)

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