Before the holiday season hits full gear—we wanted to arm you with ten ‘must try’ holiday activities in Orange County. Grab your family, friends, or perhaps a visiting out-of-town guest to surprise with an extravaganza of festivities.
Knott’s Berry Farm - Knott's "Merry" Farm
Photo Courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm
During the winter months, Knott's Berry Farm turns into Knott’s “Merry” Farm. The park goes through a wondrously transformed---creating a place where holiday memories can be thoroughly enjoyed. Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village Inn is a shopping wonderland filled with dozens of local artisans selling their unique gifts. No visit to Knott's Merry Farm would be complete without catching a performance of the sensational Snoopy Ice Show, live shows and their nightly festive Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony!
Now through January 8, 2017 (closed Christmas Day)
Photo Courtesy of Disney_Cobbpr on Instagram
The season sparkles even brighter during the Disneyland® Resort Diamond Celebration, where holiday excitement meets Disney magic. At the Disneyland® Park, there are fanciful decorations, ginormous trees and festive holiday attractions. The Christmas Fantasy Parade is always a crowd-pleaser. They’ve sure “decked the hulls” with Christmas cheer on the famous Jingle Cruise. Jack Skellington takes over the delightful Holiday Haunted Mansion to the tune of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas. At the Paint the Night Parade—millions of glowing lights with Disney friends sharing holiday cheer.
Unwrapping the holiday fun at Disney California Adventure® Park is just as magical. With the Frozen Sing-Along Musical Celebration, Elsa and Anna entertaining guests of all ages and you might leave with a famous song stuck in your head. The World of Color features dazzling lights, soaring music, a spectacular water and pyrotechnic effects show. There is a Viva Navidad Street Fiesta---a celebration with live music, and story-telling, face painting and tasty Mexican specialties. And don’t miss the Cars Land Holiday décor all “geared up” for the holidays.
Now through January 8, 2017.
Downtown Disney® District - Winter Village
Photo Courtesy of Downtown Disney on Facebook
Are you headed to Downtown Disney for its famous shops or restaurants? Well, you’re in for a treat! Live winter entertainment, ice-skating, holiday shopping, restaurants and other festive activities are ready for the whole family to enjoy. Guests can discover a fantastic Olaf’s Frozen-themed ice skating rink, and quaint shopping chalets. In a “snowy” pine forest, lights twinkle and cheerful garlands create an enchanting holiday setting—ideal for that perfect winter-themed family photos. Holiday music and favorite songs from the movie Frozen fill the air to create a wonderfully festive mood. If that’s not enough—throughout the day, Downtown Disney® District carolers walk around and spread their holiday cheer.
Now through January 8, 2017, ~ Daily until 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm on weekends
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Photo Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach
Celebrating its 108th year with a “Seas the Holidays” theme. For only five nights— elegantly adorned yachts, boats, and even kayaks and canoes get into the act as they glide along Newport’s harbor with colorful lights, an array of characters, animation, and some even have music and live entertainment on-board.
December 14th through Sunday, December 18th from 6:30-9:00 pm.
Huntington Beach Light A Light of Love Parade
Benefiting the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter, there will be a Children’s Holiday Parade beginning at 2:30 pm on Main Street (from Orange to Pier Plaza Surf City). With Mr. & Mrs. Claus there for pictures and at 6:00 p.m. and a Snowflake Lighting at the Pier. For more information about the Light A Light of Love program visit www.cspinc.org.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Hanukkah Menorah Lighting
Celebrate Orange County’s Largest Menorah Lighting Celebration at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Performances will include: Friendship Circle Special needs children Choir and the “Orange Jews” group. Guests can enjoy Hanukkah entertainment, gifts and crafts, dreidels, holiday doughnuts, balloon animals, face painting and treats for children. Please bring an unwrapped gift for community toy drive. This is held at the Atrium Garden Court (downstairs and next to Barnes and Noble Bookstore).
December 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm
Cruise of Lights® Huntington Beach Harbour
Photo Courtesy of The Huntington Harbour Philharmonic
Celebrating their 54th year, The Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Cruise of Lights® offers narrated boat tours through the waterways of Huntington Harbour. Guests will enjoy the beauty of thousands of lights and animated displays on brightly decorated homes, docks, decks and boats. Funds benefit the Youth Programs of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Tickets are $12-$19 with children under two free.
December 10 and 11, 2016
Cruise Hours are hourly 5:30-8:30 pm, with shuttles to the cruise from the Huntington Harbour Mall parking lot.
Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights
Photo Courtesy of Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights on Facebook
This is the 42nd Annual Boat Parade and will be held on two weekends in December. The parade will begin at 7:30 pm at the waters’ edge. Guests can select their favorite perch to view the fun by visiting the website to see the route map. Guests can also make reservations at one of the many restaurants, and Dana Wharf Sports Fishing offers boat rides to join in the parade (for a fee) (949) 496-5794.
December 9,10,16 & 17, 2016
Photo Courtesy of Visit Laguna Beach
This is the 26th Annual Winter Art Festival, which is held on the weekends leading up to Christmas. The festival grounds have been transformed into a winter wonderland where 175 artists create, display and sell their creations. This includes jewelry, clothing, blown and fused glass, ceramics, woodwork, forged metals, painting, photography, sculpture and textiles. There is also live holiday entertainment, great outdoor cafes, art classes and demonstrations, a petting zoo and even Santa!
December 10, 11, 17, 18 ~ 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Photo Courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts
A new tradition begins with American Ballet Theatre's newest Nutcracker. Young Clara and a cast of more than 100 members, all embark on a dreamlike journey amid colorful, larger-than-life scenery, magical toy soldiers, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, and a glittering Christmas tree! Created by Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky and featuring sets and costumes from Richard Hudson (Broadway's Lion King). This is a “not to be missed” performance.
December 10, 2016, to December 20, 2016