This Weekend in Long Beach: Events & Things to Do

What's Happening in Long Beach, CA This Weekend?

Here are our top picks for weekend events and activities in Long Beach this December! Enjoy!

1. Elf the Musical 

When: Saturday, December 1st, 2018

logo for Elf the Musical at Carpenter Performing Arts Center

The greatest cinematic holiday classic since It's A Wonderful Life (ok, at least since Die Hard) has become the greatest holiday musical since White Christmas. Who said Will Ferrell and Bing Crosby have nothing in common? Written by the late, great Thomas Meehan of The Producers and Annie with Bob Martin of The Drowsy Chaperone, Elf the Musical features songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, the songwriting team behind the Broadway adaptations of The Wedding Singer and Disney's Aladdin. Matt Owen stars as Buddy the elf, alongside a cast that includes Bryan Dobson as Santa, under the direction and choreography of Peggy Hickey at Carpenter Performing Arts Center.

2. The Portraits of the Prince of Peace Pageant

When: December 7th to 9th, 2019

nativity scene for the Prince of Peace Pageant

This unique event is a celebration of both Christmas and community as a half dozen different area churches collaborate on this live recreation of the nativity scene during the birth of Jesus. The performance will feature both live actors and animals, as well as music and murals.

The participating churches include:

  • Calvary Chapel
  • Long Beach Christian Reformed Church
  • St. Cornelius Catholic Church
  • St. Luke's Lutheran Church
  • The Neighborhood Church
  • University Baptist Church

The pageant begins each night at 7:30pm on the corner of Bellflower and Wardlow, in front of St. Cornelius Catholic Church. As always this four-decades-and-running Long Beach tradition is free.

3. "From Heav'nly Harmony"

When: Saturday, December 8th, 2018
Long Beach based Baroque orchestra Musica Angelica, led by director Martin Haselböck, bring this festive performance to the Beverly O'Neill Theater. Billed as Music of Joy to Celebrate the Season, the event will be joyful indeed with Corelli's popular "Christmas Concerto" starting off the evening. 

This will be followed by the cantata "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen" by Bach, sung by soprano Teresa Wakim. Tenor vocalist Thomas Cooley and guests the Long Beach Camerata will then join her for a closing rendition of "Ode to Saint Cecilia" by Handel. Get your fill of classical for Christmas, starting at 7:00pm on the 8th of the month.

4. Naples Island Boat Parade

When: Saturday, December 8th, 2018
The streets will close down at 5:00pm and by 6:00 pm the 72nd Annual Naples Island Boat Parade will be underway, with large boats lining up first along Lido Lane and following the aquatic parade route from there.

At 6:30pm the small boats will gather in Marine Stadium and follow their own route from there, passing under Toledo Bridge, Ravenna Dr. Bridge, and Neopolitan Ln. Bridge, before making their way to the Long Beach Yacht Club. Houses line the channels in the canals that the parades move through, with plenty of space on the bridges above for visitors to watch the colorful festivities from a great perspective.

5. David Benoit's Charlie Brown Christmas

When: Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Charlie Brown and Snoopy ice sculpture

Grammy nominated jazz pianist David Benoit returns to the Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center with a repertoire of yuletide favorites written by the legendary Vince Guaraldi as part of his famous Peanuts score. Benoit will be joined for a special appearance by the All-American Boys Chorus, featuring members from all throughout Southern California. Don't miss this exciting evening of holiday classics. Just be sure not to mistake Santa for the Red Baron on Christmas morning.

6. The Nutcracker

When: December 15th - 16th and 21st - 23rd, 2018

Nutcracker and Reindeer for Christmas in Long Beach

Dr. Roger Hickman conducts a 58 member orchestra, featuring a full string section and two harps, in this performance of the timeless holiday ballet and family favorite staple of the Christmas season. The 36th annual performance of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker takes place this year across two weekends in December at the Terrace Theater in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

7. Annual Parade of 1000 Lights

When: Saturday December 15th, 2018
This Christmas event is one of Long Beach's favorite traditions around the holidays. Starting at 5:30pm outside the Shoreline Marina, boats and yachts covered in colorful lights will make their way through the bay, passing by the docked Queen Mary and concluding at 7:00pm. The illuminated watercraft are visible from many places, but the deck of the Queen Mary, Shoreline Village, or Rainbow Harbor all offer some of the city's best vantage points for this celebratory spectacle.

8. Holiday POPS!

When: Saturday December 22nd, 2018

Eckart Preu conducts the Long Beach Symphony, backed by a chorus of the Long Beach Camerata Singers, as well as guests the Long Beach Youth Chorus at this seasonal concert happening in the Pacific Ballroom of the Long Beach Arena. Enjoy the show from either a large table on the floor of the venue or upstairs amidst the theater-style seating. Attendees of the performance are welcome to begin the festivities early, by bringing their own food and drinks (or procuring some from the Arena's concession offerings) when doors open at 6:30pm, in a laid back setting prior to the concert's 8:00pm start time.

9. New Year's Eve Aboard the Queen Mary

When: Monday December 31st, 2018 

Ring in 2019 by being a part of history the moment you set foot on the legendary Queen Mary, one of Long Beach's most readily identifiable cultural hallmarks since it docked here following its final voyage in 1967. The last day of 2018 will be a party to remember aboard the ship with entertainment throughout the night and a midnight fireworks show to rival any in Southern California. For those who want to continue the party all night long, rooms are available while they last, as well as the VIP to package beginning at $429. For questions about this end of the year event please call (877)499-1739.

10. Rocky Horror Picture Show

When: Saturdays in December

shadowcast at Rocky Horror Picture Show screening

If the Rocky Horror Picture Show has sat on your list on unseen cult classics year after year then this is a great chance to break that streak and finally take in the movie. However, if you have seen it before it’s also a perfect opportunity to watch the movie in the full immersive style which has come to be readily associated with it in the forty years since its original theatrical release. For those who are not only familiar with the movie, but also well versed in their audience participation rituals, you’ve never seen a crowd, or rather a “shadowcast”, get as wild as the ones in Long Beach. Experience the ultimate interactive break-down-in-the-rain-and-wind-up-in-a-mad-scientist’s-dance-party again… for the first time!

For all upcoming events visit our Event Calendar or check out the This Is Long Beach blog where you can sign up for our email newsletter! 

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