If you are looking to pack as many winter holiday happenings as you can into one geographically compact weekend, visit the Wilmington/San Pedro area the first weekend of December.
For those who like their Christmas with a dash of history, Wilmington hosts a pair of yuletide events Dec. 2 and 3 that offer a glimpse into Christmas past. A Victorian Christmas Celebration will be happening at the Banning Museum (401 E. M St.; www.thebanningmuseum.org), while you can see how Americans celebrated Christmas during the 1860s at the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum (1052 N. Banning Blvd.; www.drumbarracks.org). Adding to these events’ old-fashioned charms is the free horse-drawn trolley that transports folks from one museum to the other.
Parade lovers can experience one on water and another on land that same weekend. The Port of L.A. Holiday Afloat Parade (Port of L.A., San Pedro; www.laharborholidayafloat.org) charts a course from Wilmington Marina to Cabrillo Marina at 6 p.m. Dec. 2. More than 50 powerboats, sailboats, tall ships and harbor working craft will be adorned in colorful holiday regalia. Wilmington’s Banning Landing, the San Pedro waterfront, Ports O’ Call Village and the Cabrillo and Holiday Harbor Marinas are plum parade-viewing spots. There is a cheery small-town vibe to the Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade (Pacific Avenue and Palos Verdes Boulevard, San Pedro; www.spholidayparade.com), where scouts, high school bands, little leaguers and other community members will march through downtown San Pedro from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 3.
There will be something for everyone at the Wilmington Winter Wonderland at Wilmington Waterfront Park (604 W. C St.; www.lawaterfront.org/events.php) from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 2. The flurry of winter-related activities includes games, holidays crafts and real snow.
As an added treat, admission to all of these events is free, a real gift for parents during this holiday season.