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With the holidays approaching at rapid speed, our city's best malls and shopping stretches are competing for patronage by going above and beyond on seasonal entertainment. Shoppers benefit most from this friendly rivalry, as they now have a handful of fun, family-happy installations and activities to hit all over town. From crazy-tall Christmas trees to big-ass bows to out-of-this-world light shows, here's a handful of FREE options to check out now and the coming weeks.
1. The Grove (189 The Grove Drive; 888-315-8883):
As mentioned, The Grove's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
is this happened last Sunday from 7:30 to 9:30pm and featured performances by Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo, Jewel and more. The 110-foot white fir will be lit with 15,000 lights and 10,000 ornaments, and will remain on display near the dancing fountain through the end of the year.
2. Beverly Center (8500 Beverly Blvd; 310-854-0070):
Shoppers are transported to a winter wonderland in the form of a holiday Ice Palace that features a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow, a light show and interactive effects. Located in the center court, patrons can get their picture taken with Santa inside the palace. On Sunday, December 8th from 11am to 6pm and Sunday, December 15th from 12pm to 8pm, guests can have their pet's photo taken with Santa, too.
3. Citadel Outlets (100 Citadel Drive; 323-888-1724):
Clearly into breaking records, this Commerce-based outlet hub is home to both the world's largest bow and the nation's tallest tree. Need further incentive to trek out there? Citadel also offers an express shuttle service.
4. Americana at Brand (889 Americana Way; 818-637-8982):
Taking a cue from its sister, The Grove, this Glendale retail destination will host a Tree Lighting Ceremony
next this Thursday, November 21 at 7:30pm. The event will include a performance by magical elves Cirque du Santa, flying reindeer, dancing snowmen, a fireworks finale and the lighting of Americana's 100-foot tree. The festive decor will be up through the holiday season.
5. Two Rodeo Drive (9480 Dayton Way; 310-247-7040):
Patch reports that Beverly Hills' annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony is going down
next this Sunday, November 24 from 5 to 6:30pm. The festivities will kick off on the 200 block of Rodeo Drive at Wilshire Blvd in front of Two Rodeo Drive and Beverly Wilshire Hotel will ignite a lighting spectacular with "artists creating life-size ice sculptures with chainsaws, chic New York-based DJs spinning holiday favorites with a twist" as well as a cameo from Santa and music by the Beverly Hills High School Marching Band."
6. Malibu Country Mart (3835 Cross Creek Rd, 310-456-7300):
The coastal shopping center's decking out their digs with twinkling lights and a massive Christmas tree and hosting a slew of family-friendly holiday activities every Saturday from noon to 4pm next month. Starting December 7th, kids can take part on free stocking and dreidel decorating seshes; snap photos with Santa and decorate tasty treats (December 14th); and meet real live reindeer, pose for more pics with Santa and enjoy holiday tunes sung by strolling carolers (December 21st).
7. Westfield Topanga (6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, 818-594-8732):
Over in the Valley, this upscale shopping hub is getting festive with larger-than-life trees (including one that stands at a towering 36 feet) and a fun holiday walk-through space featuring an interactive touch-screen ornament and a family photo booth. Plus, there'll be a special light show that runs every thirty minutes for those in need of mid-shopping spree entertainment. Gamers can also take a breather at the Google Winter Wonderlab, where shoppers can star in their own slow motion video in a giant snow globe.