The heart of autumn, here at last!

In the Loop

The heart of autumn, here at last!By DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL

At long last, the heart of autumn! November means festivals, “The Nutcracker” ballet and opportunities galore to learn and eat. Find new favorites in this month’s roundup of tips for short hops and longer trips around California.

Up northwest by the bay at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences, “Giants of Land and Sea” presents super-sized specimens and sensory explorations with bigger-than-life interactive exhibits including an immersive fog room and earthquake simulator (; 415-379-8000).

Down below in Los Angeles, the American Indian Arts Marketplace L.A. – the largest Native American arts fair in Southern California – fills the Autry Museum Nov. 10-11 with screenings, singers, dancers and arts and crafts ranging from beadwork to sculpture, painting, photography, demos and a short-play competition (; 323-667-2000); the Los Angeles Auto Show wows enthusiasts Friday, Nov. 30 to Sunday, Dec. 9 displaying over 1,000 new and customized vehicles at the L.A. Convention Center (; 310-444-1850); “The Nutcracker” brings back the beloved tradition of Tchaikovsky’s timeless score and Balanchine’s choreography, Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (; 213-972-0711).

Outside Los Angeles in Arcadia, the L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens become the “Moonlight Forest, Magical Art Festival” Wednesday through Sunday until Jan. 6. Buy tickets in advance (; 626-821-3222).

To the southwest on the coast in Santa Barbara, indulge in gift shopping among 80 dealers at the Nov. 9-11 Antiques, Decorative Arts and Vintage Show and Sale (; 805-898-9715).

To the south carolers and mariachi team up for “Christmas at the Mission” ably complemented by hot cocoa, hot cider, tree-lighting, cookie-decorating for kids and a Nativity scene on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Mission San Juan Capistrano. A nightly lights and music program continues through Sunday, Jan. 6 (; 949-234-1300).

Farther south San Diego’s Sea World Christmas Celebration offers “Pay for a Day” which means “get Christmas Celebration plus unlimited visits in 2019.” Christmas Celebration runs daily from Nov. 17 to Jan. 6 (; 619-222-4SEA).

Across the Sierra Nevada in Bakersfield, Holiday Lights at CALM (California Living Museum) dazzle with 3 million LED lights and rides aboard the Candy Cane Express and on a huge merry-go-round, evenings Friday, Nov. 30 to Saturday, Jan. 5 (; 661-872-2256).

Death Valley updates: From Sunday-Sunday, Nov. 4 to 11 in Furnace Creek, the Death Valley ‘49ers Encampment rolls out Western heritage, music, cowboy poetry, art show, historic wagon train, covered wagon rides and historians with some events free, and some requiring membership, which you can arrange on the spot (; elsewhere in the park, Artists Drive closes from Tuesday, Nov. 27, until mid-March 2019 for road construction. Scotty’s Castle remains closed for repairs following major flooding in 2015.

All national parks on Veterans Day, including Death Valley National Park, waive entrance fees on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Story First Published: 2018-11-02