Recharge your Christmas spirit with free admission events that we have selected for you, from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Twelve options that you and your loves ones will love! If you like what we have prepared for you, share it with your friends and family too. Happy Holidays!
San Diego/North County
Dec 8 to 24 – Nightly Snowfall and Giant Snow Globe, Chula Vista. Nightly “snowfalls” accompanied by videos and lights at 6 and 7pm. Guest can take photos and video from inside or outside a giant snow globe on December 9 and 16, from 4 to 6 pm. Village Walk at EastLake; www.shopvillagewalk.com.
Dec 9 and 16 – San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, San Diego. Boats decorated in this year’s tropical island Christmas theme sail from the west end of Shelter Island to the downtown waterfront and Coronado areas. www.sdparadeoflights.org.
December 1-23, 26-30 – Garden of Lights at San Diego Botanical Gardens, Encinitas. Take a break from the holiday bustle at the 35 acre botanic gardens, where more than 125,000 lights add a seasonal atmosphere. The evening event includes marshmallow roasting, live music, holiday activities, a netcracker display, hot mulled wine, and visits with Santa. Sledding is available on select evenings. www.sdbgarden.org
Nov 25 – La Habra Tamale Festival La Habra. Yes tamale means party and holiday for many latinos, and California have a strong latino influences.. Dozens of tamale and other food vendors, three stages of entertainment, artisans, contests, tamale-making lessons, and a cantina. 9am to 6pm at Euclid Street between La Habra Blvd and Lambert Road. www.Lahabratamalefestival.com
Dec 1 – Christmas at the Mission, San Juan Capistrano. Enjoy Christmas spirit at this California Landmark with an almost life-size Nativity scene, Victorian carolers, and mariachi performances. Snacks, spiced cider, and hot cocoa chase away the evening chill, while cookie decorating keeps the kids happy. New this year is a candlelight procession and a tree-lighting ceremony taking place in the mission itself. Parking downtown is limited, but there is a free shuttle service, (949) 234-1300. www.missionsjc.com.
Dec 8 – Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade, Laguna Niguel. The theme of this years community parade is “Snow Much Fun!” 10 a.m at Crown Valley Parkway between Nueva Vista and Central Park Dr. (949) 425-5100, www.lagunaniguelparade.com
Los Angeles County
Dec 1 and 2 – Victorian Christmas, Wilmington. Victorian period entertaitment, self guided tours of the Banning Manson, holiday crafts, food, photos with Santa, and a horse-drawn trolley ride to the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum. 11am to 4pm. The Banning Museum (310) 548-2005 – www.thebanningmuseum.org
Dec 7 – Messiah Sing-Along, Torrance. Pick up a vocal score at the door and add your voice to the chorus, alongside in orchestra and professional soloists. 7:30 pm. aCmpus Theatre, El Camino College 310 660-3593, ext. 9313.
Dec 8 – Snow Wonder and Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, Marina del Rey. More than 8 tons of snow are trucked into Burton Chace Park for snow play, along with crafts, music, face painting, and food trucks at 6 pm. A fireworks show kicks off the boat parade in the main channel. (424) 526-7900 or www.visitmarinadelrey.com/Christmas.
Inland Empire/San Bernardino
Nov 23 and 24 – Wrightwood Mountain Holiday Celebration, Wrightwood (Inland Empire/San Bernardino). Performances by instrumental and choral groups, a Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m, Friday, and an Electric Light Parade at 6 p.m, Saturday – . www.wrightwoodchamber.org
Dec 9 – Parade of Lights, Santa Barbara. Visit Santa’s Village in the harbor starting at 3 pm. The boat parade begins at 5:30pm, followed by fireworks at about 7pm. Prime viewing locations are Stearns Wharf and along the harbor break water. (805)564-5531. www.santabarbaraca.gov/paradeoflights.
San Luis Obispo
Dec 1 – Santa on the Surfliner, San Luis Obispo. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by train at the Amtrak station. Join the procession as they walk to the SLO Railoard Museum, where they meet with families in La Cuesta, the museum’s historic observation and café car. Approximately 2:30 p.m. San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum (805) 548-1894, www.slorm.com.