There is so much to see in Southern California any time of year — and during the holiday season of November and December, there are even more (and a few unique holiday twists on California classics) to enjoy. There’s no way to be bored during the holidays with this SoCal bucket list for winter break.
SoCal Bucket List for Winter Break
- Hotel Del Coronado is an iconic Southern California staple. During the holiday season, you can stop by and skate by the sea. Where else can you ice skate within a few minutes of the beach? Hours vary by day, so be sure to check the website prior to going.
- December Nights at Balboa Park promise entertainment, free admission to museums, holiday drinks and eats for purchase, and local artisans toting their local wares. This family-friendly event is a great way to see Balboa Park while enjoying the holiday lights and music — plan to hit the park one night in early December. Plan ahead with carpooling or taking the trolley because this is popular, so you know parking lots are packed.
- Christmas boat parades are aplenty in SoCal. Check out the one in San Diego or Newport Beach. The boats are decked out with lights and Christmas decorations.
- Jungle Bells transforms the San Diego Zoo — a place known as an ambassador of education and well-being of animals — into a festive spot, complete with decorations and entertainment. Visit your favorite zoo animals, enjoy some festive food, and ooh and ahh at the glorious light displays.
- The Christmas Train at Irvine Park takes you up to the North Pole (otherwise known as Irvine Park) and visit with Santa! Get your picture taken with the big guy; then, head back on the train through the light displays. Tickets go on sale November 1st and sell out fast! In fact, they’re already sold out for 2018. But, mark your calendar now for Nov. 1, 2019 so you don’t miss this experience.
- Old Globe Theatre’s production of Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Balboa Park is not to be missed! The plays at the Old Globe are always put on with detail and charisma; this play is perfect for the whole family.
- Julian is where you need to be if you’re looking for cooler weather reminiscent of a Hollywood-staged holiday. Enjoy warm cider, carolers, and a wonderfully decorated downtown.
- Whale watching in SoCal is best done in the winter season, while the gray whales are migrating. in the winter is when you’re sure to see some gray whales. Book a tour for your family in San Diego or Orange County so you don’t miss seeing these beautiful animals travel through the waters off Southern California.
- Seaport Village is a seaside shopping plaza in downtown San Diego. It’s a walkable Christmas village of decorations and music that is sure to put you in the SoCal holiday spirit. There is a fee to park, but it is lower with validation of a purchase over $10 at the local shops. Be sure to check out Cool Light, the year-round Christmas store, and take a ride on the historic carousel in the village.
- The Mission Inn in Riverside hosts a Festival of Lights from the day after Thanksgiving through the Christmas season. Twinkling snowflakes in the palm trees are quintessentially Southern Californian. It is free to enjoy the light displays, and there are paid events, like breakfast with Santa and holiday dinners.
You might never get a winter wonderland in SoCal, but you’ll be too busy having fun to miss all that snow shoveling.
Photo Credits: Marisa McDonald | Unsplash