It’s officially the holiday season and lucky for us, no one puts on a celebration quite like the city of Santa Monica. This year, immerse yourself in a bright and cheery winter wonderland at the Promenade’s own Winterlit festival, complete with a series of special events like pop-up markets, Hanukkah celebrations, tree-lighting, and even pictures with Santa. Officially starting the last week of November, Winterlit is the perfect spot for Santa Monicans to come together and celebrate this wonderful time of year. So next time you’re in the area grabbing some food from your favorite Santa Monica breakfast restaurant, check out the Promenade to take in all the holiday cheer. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the magic you can expect to experience while visiting this seasonal Santa Monica event: 

Enjoy Holiday Decor

Santa Monica knows no winter holiday event is complete without the festive decor. That’s why at Winterlit, you’ll be surrounded by enough fresh green garland and brilliant light elements to make you feel like you stumbled straight into a Hallmark movie. Complete with even more bounds of bright wreaths, a 14-foot Snow Globe, ‘snow’ floating around guests, a giant menorah, an even bigger 24-foot Christmas tree wrapped in hundreds of colorful bulbs, and much more. This is truly a winter experience like no other. Each block is uniquely lit with different light installations to create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that evolves as you go through the Promenade. Without question, just walking through Winterlit with a warm cup of the best coffee Santa Monica has to offer during this magical time of year is sure to lift your spirits and make you feel jolly. 

Take part in special events 

As wonderfully merry the Promenade is set to look during Winterlit, the other half of the fun is in all the special events Santa Monicans can enjoy while sipping on some delicious Santa Monica coffee, like: 

  • Merry And Bright Light Show (daily)- Festive lights are enjoyable on their own, but the Promenade kicks it up a notch with Winterlit’s incredible daily light show illuminating the 1200 block. Set to the jolly Christmas tunes we all know and love, synchronized lights will dance and twinkle all around you while artificial snow gently falls down to transport you away from sunny Santa Monica and into the quaint little Christmas town of your dreams. 
  • Festival of Lights Menorah Lightings (11/28-12/6)- Celebrate Hanukkah with fellow Santa Monicans at Winterlit! Just head over to the 1400 block of the Promenade at sundown beginning Sunday 11/28 to Monday 12/6 to observe their special nightly menorah lightings. 
  • Annual Tree Lighting (11/19)- Get ready to witness Christmas greatness during the lighting of the city of Santa Monica’s official Christmas tree on Friday 11/19 at 6 p.m. Not to mention this celebration is also an amazing opportunity to support our own community as local performers including the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, Lincoln Middle School Madrigals, Santa Monica High School Madrigals, and Santa Monica Youth Orchestra Mariachi Perla del Oeste are set to take the stage throughout the night. 
  • Photos with Santa (11/19-12/24)- Even Santa wants to vacation in our sunny Santa Monica. Catch him this Winterlit beginning Friday 11/19 through Friday 12/24, either just to tell him what’s on your wishlist this year or for a jolly photo op. Furry friends are also welcome to take pictures with Santa during Winterlit’s pet nights on Wednesday 12/15 and Thursday 12/16.

Support local Santa Monica businesses

With the holiday season also comes plenty of holiday shopping, but Winterlit has you covered. The Promenade itself features tons of department stores, designer outlets, boutiques, and small businesses that you can browse to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones- just make sure you caffeinate for your shopping spree beforehand with the help of your favorite Santa Monica coffee shop

Of course, this is also the season of giving, and what’s a better way to give back to your community than shopping small? And with 3 separate pop-up market events happening at the Promenade this holiday season, Winterlit is the perfect opportunity to do just that. On Saturday 11/20 and Saturday 12/18 from 2 to 9 p.m., you can experience the SoCal Etsy Guild as well as the Conscious Night Market on Saturday 12/4 from 2 to 8 p.m. While hosted by different organizations, both of these artisan markets are set to spotlight local vendors and small businesses selling items including handmade crafts, jewelry, candles, clothing, home decor, soaps, plants, and much more. 

Add Winterlit to your holiday plans this year

Every year, thousands of Santa Monicans gather at the Promenade to share this festive experience. Whether you pop by for a quick visit after grabbing a bite from your favorite Santa Monica breakfast spot or spend a whole evening shopping and admiring the lights, make sure you don’t miss this unforgettable event this holiday season!