Christmas in Los Angeles
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and not just because you’re on holiday in Los Angeles – Christmas is the ideal time to be a sports fan in southern California.
Whether you’re into college football, ice hockey, basketball or the NFL, there’s plenty on offer for sports fans across the holiday period.
Maybe you’ve already planned to be in LA for Christmas or perhaps you need some late inspiration to finally book those flights… whatever your situation is, we have a wall-to-wall sporting itinerary that is sure to get your mouth watering.
It’s important to note there is a lean patch of no sport on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but you could always find a sports bar and watch some of the sports happening in other cities on those days. Failing that, you could spend some time with your friends and family, I suppose.
So without further ado, we’ve compiled…
The sports lover’s guide to Christmas in the City of Angels.
December 22, 5:20pm: Los Angeles Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens, StubHub Center (NFL)
It’s not every day you get to watch an NFL game at a boutique venue. Until the new stadium in Los Angeles is complete, the Chargers will play at the (relatively) pint-sized StubHub Center, which is normally the home of the LA Galaxy in the MLS.
As a result, the experience is a unique one, the atmosphere is electric (pardon the pun), and there’s not a bad seat in the house considering the stadium seats just 27,000 people. Get your tickets here.
December 23, 6:30pm: Los Angeles Lakers vs Memphis Grizzlies, Staples Center (NBA)
Two words: LeBron James. The best Christmas present you can buy yourself (or a sports-mad friend or partner) is tickets to see The King play at the Staples Center.
Sure, the ticket prices may make your eyes water, but LeBron only has limited time left in the NBA before his career comes to an end. Get your tickets here.
December 26, 7:30pm: LA Clippers vs Sacramento Kings, Staples Center (NBA)
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective alternative to seeing the Lakers, consider watching the Clippers instead.
One of this season’s early surprise packets, the Clippers have shocked the NBA to sit comfortably in the Western Conference playoff picture. At the time of writing, the cheapest tickets for this match were A$33, compared to A$230 for the Lakers game on December 23. Talk about value! Get your tickets here.
December 27, 7:30pm: Los Angeles Kings vs Arizona Coyotes, Staples Center (NHL)
A trip to the States isn’t complete until you’ve seen a hockey game live and up close – you’ll be hooked. The Kings, another tenant of the Staples Center, might be stragglers in the NHL’s Pacific Division, but they’re far from the worst team in hockey.
In fact, they’re likely to snag a win over the Arizona Coyotes at home on December 27, so get to the Staples Center, wear black, and get loud! Get your tickets here.
December 28, 7:30pm: Los Angeles Lakers vs LA Clippers, Staples Center (NBA)
If ever there was to be an NBA game with genuine feeling in the stands, it would be that between the Lakers and the Clippers. The local derby, this game could go either way, with both Los Angeles teams in decent early-season form in 2018.
So what does that mean for you? World-class basketball, some friendly banter in the stands and an overall great night out. Get your tickets here.
December 29, 1pm: Los Angeles Kings vs Vegas Golden Knights, Staples Center (NHL)
December 29, 7:30pm: LA Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs, Staples Center (NBA)
A Staples Center double-header – what more could you want? The early match-up between the Kings and Golden Knights will be followed later in the evening by a clash between the Clippers and Spurs, meaning the stadium’s crew will have just a couple of hours to remove the ice and lay down a basketball court!
What it means for you is that between the hockey finishing and the basketball starting, you can wander around the area surrounding the Staples Center, grab a couple of beers and some chow for a lot less coin that what you’d pay inside, and then saunter back in for some more action at your leisure.
December 30, 1:25pm: Los Angeles Rams vs San Francisco 49ers, LA Memorial Coliseum (NFL)
A chance to see the potential Super Bowl winners? Check. The opportunity to attend an event at the Coliseum? Check. An NFC West divisional rivalry game? Check.
The Rams are one of the NFL’s hottest teams, and with good reason thanks to their innovative play calling and potent offence. Do yourselves a favour. Get your tickets here.
December 30, 6.30pm: Los Angeles Lakers vs Sacramento Kings, Staples Center (NBA)
Think you’ll still be on a sports high after watching the Rams dismantle the 49ers? Never fear, for if you still require the sporting nourishment, LeBron James and the Lakers are in action later that same evening.
The Kings aren’t the basket-case they’ve been in the past, while the draw of watching LeBron one more time before you come home could be too much to resist. Get your tickets here.
December 31, 5pm: Anaheim Ducks vs Tampa Bay Lightning, Honda Center (NHL)
Need something to do before the countdown on New Years Eve? By the time the Anaheim Ducks walk off the ice, the sun will barely have set, giving you plenty of time to find a spot near the beach and take in the fireworks with a beer.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the league’s premier teams, but the Ducks are one of the Pacific Division’s leaders at this early stage of the year, meaning the fireworks might start early… on the ice. Get your tickets here.
January 1, 2pm: Ohio State Buckeyes vs Washington Huskies, Rose Bowl (NCAA College bowl game)
Yes, you can’t leave LA without taking in “the granddaddy of them all”, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This year, the famous stadium will host the Big10 and Pac-12 champions in the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Washington Huskies respectively, meaning you’re guaranteed to watch some excellent college football.
Make sure you’ve plonked yourself in your seat well before kick-off to enjoy the pregame festivities, which will include a flyover by a B2 Stealth Bomber before the action begins. Get your tickets here.
Tips for purchasing tickets for Los Angeles at Christmas
- Keep abreast of each team’s results:
Like stocks, buy low, sell high. If you notice that the LA Kings have lost eight straight games, it’s probably the ideal time to buy your tickets. Their value would be lower than tickets sold before the season begins, and much lower than in preseason (when hope was still alive!).
This tip can also work for NFL games; if the team you’re going to has already sewn up a playoff spot, then prices on the last game of the season might be lower due to people wanting to save their money for the playoffs. Conversely, if they’re in a battle to make playoffs (like the Chargers might be), ticket prices might go up – though you’ll likely see a higher standard of football on the day.
- Risk the last-minute ticket
Admittedly not everyone is going to have the time, money or pure mental energy to attend eight sporting events in eight days – especially in Los Angeles. We suggest picking your non-negotiable events; buy the tickets now and then wait until the night before or even the day of some of the other events to see if ticket prices come down. Often, sellers get desperate in the days and hours leading up to an event and then lower their prices just to get some sort of return.
Be warned, however. If the game is set to be a blockbuster, last minute tickets may end up being more expensive than buying them months out. Your mileage may vary!
- Pick the least sexy games
Understandably, there are going to be some pretty expensive games going on while you’re in Hollywood. Of course, a number of these games (such as the Rose Bowl and the Lakers/Clippers clash) are genuine bucket list items for some and should be treated as such.
But if you’re a casual fan, or not a fan of the Rams, Kings or Lakers (for instance), consider watching the least sexy games available. Tickets to see the Anaheim Ducks are often cheaper than tickets to see the Kings, while the Chargers don’t have the same hype level as the Rams but are playing football as a pretty high standard.
You’ll end up paying a lot of money if you plan on watching the “sexy” teams – and no doubt it’ll be worth every penny – but there are still ways to watch sport in Los Angeles on a budget.
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"We love American sport that much we want to move to the USA permanently!" @balrajbagri took his son to an LA Lakers game at Staples Center as part of a USA sports tour that included multiple basketball games as well as hockey and football. Fair to say they ticked a couple of items off their sports bucket list! #sportswhereiam
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