The holidays have arrived in Orange County!
Not only do we love this time of year, but we love seeing all of the gorgeous lights and decorations around town. Whether you’re just visiting or have lived here for your entire life, there are a few holiday displays and local events that you must see to get you in the holiday spirit!
BEST CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
Every year, Pelican Hill Resort offers many opportunities for holiday family fun – from storytime with Santa or Elsa, to gingerbread house decorating, to a Yuletide tea party – Pelican Hill Resort is the ultimate Christmastime destination.
‘Tis the season for Irvine Park Railroad’s annual Christmas Train. Come with family and friends and take this enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The train will depart from the brightly-lit train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole. After visiting with Santa, hop back aboard the train and enjoy the colorful Christmas lights and decorations, as well as the magical “Tunnel of Lights”, on the ride back to Santa’s Village. In Santa’s Village, you can enjoy storytime with Mrs. Claus or purchase tickets for other activities such as cookie decorating, “Rudolph Racers”, carnival games, and ice fishing.
At Fashion Island this year, meet with Santa to share Christmas wishes at his custom-designed home on Atrium Lawn. Also every Friday in December, Fashion Island will be home to Friday Night Flix – enjoy a Christmas movie and some warm popcorn under the stars and the 90 foot Christmas tree in the Neiman Marcus / Bloomingdales Courtyard.
With twinkling eyes and a fluffy white beard, Santa is ready to hear every Christmas wish. Children can also enjoy a variety of imaginative crafts and other festive activities. Santa’s Village in Carousel Court is open all center hours. The North Pole in the Macy’s Home Store Wing, Level 1, is open during all center hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 22–December 8, and during all center hours December 9–December 24.
Every night on December 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22 from 6-9pm enjoy a ‘Blue Christmas’ with Elvis, take a stroll in the glistening light tunnel and boogie through the disco inFERNo at Sherman Library & Gardens. Enter a world of sugary sweets in Gingerbread Land, experience the magic of a Scandinavian Christmas in the Tea Garden, and make a traditional Julehjerter (a Christmas heart decoration). Ticketed guests can take free photos and enjoy coffee, hot chocolate and a make your own s’mores station.
BEST CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS
Each year the beloved holiday tradition lights up the harbor and draws holiday enthusiasts from across the region. Residents and visitors can enjoy the Christmas Boat Parade from a variety of public viewing locations. This year, save December 18-22 on your calendar for the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
Thousands of holiday lights, giant whale sculptures, a surfing Santa and the popular Kiss Me Lane photo opportunity are stirring up holiday excitement at Dana Point Harbor. For 2019, they call it Happy HarborDays. The light display will run from Thanksgiving until after New Year’s in January. The 45th Annual Boat Parade of Lights will run on December 6, 7, 13 & 14 and this year’s theme is “A Tiki Holiday”.
After the annual Lighting of the Bay each year, you can enjoy the spectacular sight of the harbor illuminated with more than 50 LED lit Christmas trees and holiday decorations.
The beloved Snoopy House holiday display has been a Costa Mesa and Orange County holiday tradition since 1966. The holiday display features scenes populated by “Peanuts” characters and is open nightly from 5:30 to 9 p.m. December 13 – 22 in front of Costa Mesa City Hall, 77 Fair Drive. Opening night will be Dec. 13 with a formal presentation beginning at 5 p.m.
5. Nellie Gail Ranch – Laguna Hills
Nellie Gail is a special community in Laguna Hills with a long history of holiday decorating. Many of the homes on Nellie Gail Road and surrounding streets do elaborate displays that light up the neighborhood. As you drive around, make sure to tune into 103.5 FM or 105.1 FM for some classic holiday music.