November 17, 2016

Top Things to do in Orange County this Holiday Season


(UPDATED FOR 2017)

Christmas music has started playing on the radio, Starbucks has officially decked the halls, and holiday season is coming into full swing! What better time to start planning holiday vacations or family outings than now? Whether you are looking for a day-long holiday adventure or a snuggly event to bring your whole family to, we have put together our list of top things to do in Orange County this holiday season!

Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Tree Lighting Ceremonies are some of the most decorative and exciting events in Orange County during the holiday season! Hosted everywhere from Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach’s Fashion Island, Corona Del Mar, San Clemente to Dana Point, tree lighting ceremonies are fun-filled nights of snacks, vendors, musical performances and crafts. Families, couples, friends, and groups of all ages gather for these community events, where carolers sing in harmony and Santa poses for pictures.

All tree lightings have free admission, but you may want to arrive early to reserve a spot. Some of our favorite upcoming tree lightings are:

South Coast Plaza :
Details coming soon
November 17-18, 2016 from 6-6:30pm

Bella Terra :
Details coming soon

Downtown Huntington Beach :
Details coming soon

Theme Park Holiday Celebrations:

November 10- January 7, 2016
The holiday season is always a little more magical at the Disneyland Parks . Check out the Holiday Time Tour, lights and merchandise, as well as a variety of rides and performances specially designed for the holiday season, like The “ Jingle Cruise ”, Haunted Mansion Holiday , and “ it’s a small world Holiday .” Meet new characters like Princess Elena of Avalor , check out the Festive Food Marketplace , and the new Disney Viva Navidad parade ! End the day with the Believe..In Holiday Magic fireworks show or the World of Color: Season of Light show to make your day a little more magical!

Dates coming soon!
Knott's Merry Farm is full of whimsical kid-friendly experiences that make the holiday season merry and bright. Watch It's the Merriest Christmas Show Ever Charlie Brown , or see Snoopy and friends on ice for Merry Christmas Snoopy . There will be carolers, Christmas crafts, and of course Santa will be there! Check out all the festivities here .

November 25-January 1, 2016
At Legoland you can meet not just Santa, but Lego Santa! Snow falls every night in Legoland's Heartlake City, the lego Christmas tree glows, and holiday shows and treats make for magical moments for the whole family. Legoland is a very kid friendly park, with rides and activities for even the youngest travelers, so if you're vacationing with young kids, LegoLand is a great choice! There's even a special Kid's New Years Eve event!

Night of a Thousand Lights at Sherman Library and Gardens
Friday and Saturday, December 9 & 10, from 6-9pm, Sherman Library and Gardens will host their Night of a Thousand Lights event , where walkways will be lined with lights to guide guest from “one magical experience to the next.” Tamales, champagne, coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies will be available, as well as a special offer dinner. There will be a craft activity for children, as well as a unique set of displays around every corner. Admission for Garden members is $8, and General Admission is $10. Children 5 and under are free. This event sells out fast, so get tickets soon!

Winter Fantasy at Sawdust Art Festival
From November 19th-December 18th, The Sawdust Festival of Newport Beach will be transformed into a winter wonderland. As the premiere place of original and independent artists and creative goods, The Winter Fantasy Sawdust Art Festival is on of the most popular things to do in Orange County seasonally. From glass, photography, and ceramics, to jewelry, clothing, sculpture, and woodwork, the Sawdust Festival provides hundreds of unique places to shop and enjoy. Bring the whole family for holiday entertainment, fun decorations, crafts, and snacks for a holiday-inspired day of creativity! Tickets for adults are $8, seniors over 65 are $6, and Children 6-12 are $4.

Holiday Boat Parades:
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
December 14-18, 2016 from 6:30
It's been called one of the top holiday happenings in the country, and the "granddaddy of all boat parades." The Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade features an inspiring display of yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes all bedecked for the holidays! Millions of people (including some celebs) come to view the parade each year, so come early to reserve a spot and watch the spectacle!
December 9,10,16,17, 2016 from 7:30.
Dana Point is already a fascinating and scenic place to visit to learn about the ocean or charter a boat. You can watch the parade from the shore, or make plans to watch from a local restaurant, or get tickets for a boat ride with Dana Wharf Sportfishing and join in the parade yourself!

Though the parade starts at 7:30, you may want to arrive at the harbor early for festive family activities beginning at 5:50.
Naples Island Annual Holiday Boat Parade
12/17 from 6:00 PM
Every second Saturday of December, Naples Island hosts their annual Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade , where a host of local boat owners decorate their boats and thousands of people watch the boats cruise through the canals of Naples Island.

The large boat parade starts around 6pm and the small boat parade around 6:45pm. Free parking is available around 3pm off of 2nd street and PCH. Oftentimes, families will bring hot cocoa, enjoy carolers singing, and watch as the decorative boats and houses of Naples Island light up the canals.

And if the Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade doesn't fit in your schedule, why not plan a time to walk around Naples Island and enjoy the lights? Naples Island is famous for their quaint homes and beautiful holiday decorations. You can even book a gondola tour of the canals for the ultimate in magical holiday experiences!

There are many, many more amazing holiday events in Southern California.
We couldn't fit all the holiday cheer into one blog post, but when you visit Southern California during the holiday season you'll find endless opportunities to celebrate and explore. Give us a call to start planning today at 800-408-1822!

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