The chill in the air is a sure sign that the holidays are here. Whether you're in the mood for a tree lighting in Santa Monica or the annual reading of Moby Dick in Venice, read on here to find Westside events to fill your leisure time.
Santa Monica Place Magical Tree Lighting Ceremony - Santa Monica Place gets the holidays rolling with the illumination of a 54-foot tree and its 42,000 lights. The festivities begin Saturday at 5:30 p.m. with a holiday spectacle featuring a mounted horse patrol, acrobats, trumpeters and carolers. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus parade along the Third Street Promenade from Wilshire Boulevard in a vintage fire truck ahead of the tree lighting at 6 p.m. American Idol contestant Ann Marie Boskovich and Cimorelli, six singing sisters, will perform. For more information, visit the Santa Monica Place site. Make your way to 395 Santa Monica Place at Third Street and Broadway, Center Plaza, bottom floor. Check here for city downtown parking locations.
Venice Annual Reading of Moby Dick - "Call me Ishmael." So begins Herman Melville's classic story of one man's obsession with a great white whale. Each year, volunteers take turns reading one of the great American novels. This year, it's held from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Since 1995, the Venice Oceanarium has sponsored the Moby Dick event to coincide with the November migration of the California gray whale from Baja California to Alaska. Head to the Venice Broadwalk, 517 Ocean Front Walk. Look for the Venice Beach breakwater at the end of Windward Avenue. For parking, see the Los Angeles County maps.
Skirball Cultural Center "Dig It! Archaeology Adventures" - The Skirball Cultural Center in Brentwood invites kids and kids at heart to make like an archaeologist in a simulated outdoor dig and field laboratory, open during the museum's regular hours. On Saturday and Sunday, that's 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If it rains, you can still check out the ongoing exhibit on "Creating the United States," with original autograph letters by George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson; a first edition of Common Sense by Thomas Paine; engravings by Paul Revere; a copy of the Declaration of Independence; an edition of the United States Constitution; a facsimile of Jefferson's desk; and an original copy of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Free parking available at the center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
American Youth Symphony at Royce Hall - Young Russian-American pianist Natasha Paremski performs in a free concert at the UCLA Royce Hall, Sunday, 6 p.m. On the program: Barber's Overture to The School for Scandal, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, and Bernstein's West Side Story: Symphonic dances. Alexander Treger conducts. To reserve tickets, go to the AYS website. On-campus parking costs $11.
What are you doing this weekend? Tell us in the comments and upload your pixs and video!