Christmas is right around the corner, and while the Christmas spirit is the best kind of spirit that can’t be sold at a liquor store, there’s so much that can just zap the Christmas cheer right out of us. With the stress of gift shopping, all of the political and social chaos, and the fact that December in Southern California averages a daytime temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit, it really doesn’t seem to be feeling a lot like Christmas at all! That’s why, in Southern California, the Christmas spirit must sometimes be sought out, so here’s a list of places you can go that are sure to reinstate your Christmas cheer.
Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, is also the cheeriest place on earth! Just walking down Main Street around Christmas time is filled with so much Christmas cheer. Their decorations are fantastic and include giant Mickey Mouse wreaths, a ton of lights, and perhaps the largest Christmas tree in Southern California. It’s not just Main Street though—the entire park is appropriately decked out. Plus, they have carolers, characters in Christmas-themed outfits, and tons of other Holiday activities. On top of all that, Disney has really stepped up their Christmas game California Adventure as well; just check out all of their Holiday magic here! And did I mention the fireworks end with snow? If the Christmas ambiance of Disneyland doesn’t give you Christmas Cheer, you might just need to get one of their gingerbread cookies and a peppermint mocha; that oughtta do it!
Any other theme park
While it may seem like this category and Disneyland belong together, Disneyland really is in a league of its own when it comes to Christmas. However, the other Southern California theme parks also deck their halls, or walkways, with boughs of holly. Knott’s Merry Farm does a great Christmas light show with music and snow in their Calico ghost town, and they have many other great Peanuts-themed Christmas shows throughout the park. Similarly, Universal Studios Hollywood is doing Grinchmas. The park is decked out in Dr. Seuss-themed Christmas decorations, and you get to take a picture with the Grinch himself (and his dog Max!). Plus, Universal Studios has amped up the Christmas Cheer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that may just give Disneyland a run for its money! They’ve got a new, spectacular light show at Hogwart’s castle and a Holiday Frog Choir! Check it all out here!
Chill at the Queen Mary
The Queen Mary in Long Beach also hosts a great Christmas-themed event called Chill. They have tons of attractions and family friendly activities including pictures with the Clauses, cookie decorating and gingerbread house building, not to mention tons of different shows as well. This year, they’ve also included more adult friendly Christmas Cheer including a 9 degree ice bar, or specialty German beer tasting at their “twisted pretzel tavern!” One of the cooler things about this event is that you can go ice skating and ice tubing in addition to enjoying other attractions, and this year, Queen Mary’s Chill is featuring a more international theme, including international foods and what they’re calling, “the United States’ first ever ice adventure park.” So rather than skating in a regular rink, you can actually skate around the entire place! Or, if you’d rather not, of course you can go on foot as well.
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Perhaps one of the more unconventional holiday traditions is the Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach, happening nightly from December 17th through December 21st this year. It is rather unusual to see a bunch of boats decked out in Christmas lights and decorations, but it is pretty spectacular. Apparently, this tradition has been going on for the last 109 years! Makes you wonder: how did they decorate their boats in 1908, with candles? That seems dangerous. Fortunately, in 2017 technology is much better. And the best part about this event? It’s free! However, the shoreline does get pretty crowded, so you may want to consider some of the slightly more costly viewing areas. They have some great waterfront locations where you can eat and watch the parade, or, better yet, you can watch it from the water on a boat !
If you’re feeling fancy, check out a Christmas show! There are plenty of Christmas themed musicals, plays, and other concerts you can check out to get into the holiday spirit. If you’ve never seen the Nutcracker, Festival Ballet in Orange County, Los Angeles Ballet , and Long Beach Ballet all put it on every Christmas season. You can also check out How the Grinch Stole Christmas the musical at the The Old Globe Theater in San Diego. If music is more your thing, check out the variety of holiday concerts at The Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA or at Saegerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County. The fine arts during the holidays can definitely send you back into that more classic Christmas cheer.
Santa’s Village at Sky Park
Some of you born and raised in Southern California may remember actually visiting Santa’s Village! Well for those of you who are nostalgic, and who would also like to visit a Christmas themed place with legitimate, natural snow, Santa’s Village is the perfect spot for you. Santa’s Village has been restored to its former glory and then some! They’ve included new attractions from pedal cars, to rock climbing! Of course they have the classic train ride and ice skating as well as special experiences with Santa and Mrs. Clause. There’s plenty of different activities to make the entire day festive and fun for the whole family. And, there really is nothing quite like the natural crisp air and the natural snow of the mountains.
So there you have it, folks. Visiting one of these places is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit! So just grab a loved one and head on over!