CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY!

The holiday spirit has hit Santa Cruz County and we’ve got a sleigh full of family fun to celebrate the season! The Lighted Boat Parade, Holiday Lights Train, Winter Wonderland at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Downtown Holiday Parade, outdoor Holiday Markets, and more, we’ve got all the festive events you don’t want to miss!

SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK: WINTER WONDERLAND
November 24, 2022 – January 1, 2023
Get in the holiday spirit – celebrate the season at the beach!
Activities Include: Selection of Boardwalk Rides, Games, and Arcades, Festive Holiday Decorations and Lights (Including a 3-story tall Christmas tree!), Photos with Santa, Delicious Boardwalk Treats, Boardwalk Racers: Pedal Karts in the Main Plaza, Fire Pit Rentals & Holiday S’Mores, Holiday Fun Package (includes MyBoardwalk Card and a photo with Santa), Holiday Shopping, Classic Holiday Movies (Rotated at Neptune’s Stage 5–7pm), and don’t forget the breathtaking beach view!
Hours and Dates: 12pm – 5pm: November 24 – 27 (Thursday– Sunday); December 3 – 18 (Saturdays & Sundays); December 19 – January 1 (Monday – Sunday)
Special Dates: December 3 & 4 – Mini Nutcracker performances on the Colonnade State; December 10 & 11 – School choir/band performances (3 schools each dat at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm)

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS: HOLIDAY LIGHTS
November 25 – December 25, 2022
The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation and the Agricultural History Project will again present HOLIDAY LIGHTS 2022 at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. Starting November 25, 2022 – Holiday Lights will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in November and Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in December.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS is over a 1/2 mile drive-through experience at the Fairgrounds of spectacular lighted Holiday displays all around you. Giant Christmas trees twinkling with lights – Santa – reindeer – snowmen – lighted tunnels and many more magical moments. Stay in your warm car and drive through this Holiday experience.
The event is open from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. Open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Evening to add to your Holiday Festivities. Purchase tickets here.

SANTA CRUZ HOLIDAY LIGHTS TRAIN
November 25 – 26, December 3 – 4, December 12 – 13, December 17 – 23, 2022
The seasonal tradition returns to Santa Cruz with the Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train. Vintage excursion cars, adorned with thousands of colorful lights, roll through city streets past homes of Santa Cruz. Holiday Lights Train runs on November 25-26, December 3-4, December 12-13, December 17-23.
Itinerary: Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Trains depart and return in front of Neptune’s Kingdom on the Boardwalk of Santa Cruz at 5:00pm, 6:30, and 8:00 pm for a 60-minute round-trip excursion. Click HERE to check for day/time availability.

ROARING CAMP RAILROADS: HOLIDAY TREE WALK
November 25 – 27; December 3 – 4; December 10 – 11; December 17 – 18, 2022
Get in the holiday spirit by bringing the family to ride the Redwood Forest Steam Train through the wintry redwoods to Bear Mountain. Sip hot cocoa while greeting Santa Claus. In town, enjoy winter-themed activities.

WEST CLIFF HOLIDAY OUTDOOR MARKET 2022
November 25 – 26, 2022 @ 10am – 4pm
Come enjoy our holiday outdoor market with unique artisans and food trucks while taking in the spectacular view of the ocean. This one of a kind market will be held in two parking lots along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. This is always a popular spot for locals and tourists, as it over looks the famous Steamer Lane surf spot . The market will feature hand crafted gifts and a chance to do some holiday shopping before the rush. Admission is FREE!
They will also be giving away free tokens every hour to random shoppers. The tokens can be used towards any vendor of your choice. So come down and get your free gift! See you on the cliffs for some holiday cheer!

SURFIN’ SANTA VISITS CAPITOLA
November 26, 2022 @ 12pm – 3pm
Ho Ho Ho…Santa Claus is surfin’ to town. Bring the family to welcome Surfin’ Santa to the shores of Capitola Beach! Santa will be riding the waves via Kayak, rain or shine, for his annual visit to Capitola Village, arriving at 12pm to visit with all the kids until 3pm. Once he lands on shore, he’ll greet the crowd and proceed to his beach chair where he’ll settle in for a nice, long visit with the kids. Be sure to bring your camera to capture Santa’s wave riding arrival, and your little one’s special visit with Santa. It makes a memorable holiday photo!

On this day we celebrate Small Business Saturday, so be sure to kick off the holiday shopping season with a visit to all your favorite Capitola Village shops and restaurants! Added holiday bonus, FREE 3-hour parking in Capitola Village from Thanksgiving day, Nov 24 through Christmas Day, Dec 25! 

SANTA CRUZ MOUTAINS HOLIDAY MAKERS MARKET
November 26, 2022 @ 10am – 5pm

Time for the 9th Annual SCM Holiday Makers Market! Get your holiday shopping on at the Felton Community Hall on Saturday, November 26, from 10 am-5 pm! Shop with over 35 local artists and makers hosting a beautiful variety of handmade goods! There’s something for everyone on your list! A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit Mountain Community Resources. Shop small this holiday and #supportthelocals! Visit www.scmmakersmarket.com to see the full list of participating artists.

SANTA CRUZ HARBOR: LIGHTED BOAT PARADE
December 3, 2022 @ 5:30pm – 7:30pm
The Lighted Boat Parade features 50 beautifully-decorated power and sailboats parading through the Santa Cruz Harbor. This is a family event with hot drinks and snacks available at various locations through the south harbor.

DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ: HOLIDAY PARADE
December 3, 2022 @ 10am – 12pm
The traditional holiday parade is the official kickoff for the winter holidays celebration. One never knows exactly what to expect at the Parade, but you can be sure to expect the whole community to show up and have a great time – and of course, at the end of the parade, sitting in an antique fire truck, the man of the hour is welcomed back to Downtown Santa Cruz. Bring the family or participate! The Holiday Parade is Rain or Shine!

DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ: MAKERS MARKET, HOLIDAY POP-UP
December 3, 2022 @ 11am – 4pm
Kick-off December shopping after the parade with the Downtown Santa Cruz Makers Market Holiday Pop-Up on Saturday, December 3 on Lincoln Street at Pacific Avenue 11am – 4pm. Over 30 local artists and makers, fun crafts for the kids, music, and more!

BARGETTO WINERY: ART IN THE CELLARS
December 3 – 4, 2022 @ 11am – 5pm
Join us for our Annual Art in the Cellars Holiday Festival. Enjoy a weekend filled with Art and Wine. Shop over 30+ Local Artists and Food Vendors. Admission is free, $20 Wine Tasting with Festival Glass $15 (Wine Club Members), Food for purchase and dress warmly.

WEST CLIFF HOLIDAY OUTDOOR MARKET 2022
December 10, 2022 @ 10am – 4pm
Come enjoy our holiday outdoor market with unique artisans and food trucks while taking in the spectacular view of the ocean. This one of a kind market will be held in two parking lots along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. This is always a popular spot for locals and tourists, as it over looks the famous Steamer Lane surf spot . The market will feature hand crafted gifts and a chance to do some holiday shopping before the rush. Admission is FREE!
They will also be giving away free tokens every hour to random shoppers. The tokens can be used towards any vendor of your choice. So come down and get your free gift! See you on the cliffs for some holiday cheer!

WILDER RANCH: HOLIDAY LIVING HISTORY EVENT
December 10, 2022 @ 11am – 3pm
Join us for a family-friendly event with holiday-themed old-fashioned activities, crafts, and living history demonstrations. Step back in time with costumed docents as we turn back the clock to over 100 years ago. Watch machine shop and blacksmith demonstrations or take a tour of the 1859 Gothic Revival farmhouse and 1897 Victorian home and 1960’s cow barn. Rain cancels. Food will not be available. Free event. Vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, call (831) 426-0505. Activities include: candle making, wreath making, kids crafts, open house, and caroling.

SANTA CRUZ BALLET THEATRE: THE NUTCRACKER WITH LIVE ORCHESTRA!
December 10 – 11, 2022 @ 1:00pm and 4:30pm
Experience the magic of the holiday season with Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”. Celebrating 20 years at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium downtown, this holiday favorite is the only Nutcracker production in Santa Cruz county featuring a live orchestra. With 52 professional musicians conducted by Maestro Pamela Martin, over 50 local pre-professional dancers, and two world-class guest artists including SCBT alumni and Houston Ballet Principal dancer Melody Mennite as the Sugar Plum Fairy, there is truly no better way to experience the Nutcracker in Santa Cruz. Performances are December 10th and 11th with two shows on both dates at 1:00pm and 4:30pm. Tickets are available at SantaCruzTickets.com or under the tickets page at SCBT.org. Treat the whole family to this iconic holiday treasure!

SANTA CRUZ MAH: TOY TRAINS
December 15 – 18 (12pm – 6pm); December 22 – 23 (12pm – 6pm) and December 24, 2022 (12pm – 3pm)
Get whisked away into the whimsical world of Toy Trains and enjoy the 17th year of this beloved annual pop-up exhibit at the MAH. Members of the Golden State Toy Train Operators will be on hand to once again share their amazing collection of toy trains at the MAH. The public is invited to view Toy Trains in the MAH’s Atrium for free. To access other exhibitions and gallery spaces in the museum, there is a small entrance fee. Suggested Admission Prices: $10 General Admission; $8 Students / Teachers / Veterans; FREE for members and children under 5.

SANTA CRUZ DANCE GUILD: NUTCRACKER, EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC
December 17 – 18, 2022 @ 1pm, 4:30pm, and 7:30pm each day

Join us for our annual Santa Cruz Nutcracker performance! Featuring dancers from all ages and backgrounds, we’ve come together to offer you this spectacular show. Many members of our beloved staff, including Studio Director Shannon Chipman and ballet teacher Vicki Bergland, performed in the original Santa Cruz Nutcracker Production. Even more, they continue to dance and teach to this day. Invite in the holiday spirit and come enjoy Tchaikovsky’s iconic score with our talented dancers, right in Cabrillo’s Crocker Theater.

SANTA CRUZ WHARF: WINTER ON THE WHARF
December 18, 2022 @ 3pm – 5pm
Celebrate Winter on the Wharf! Come enjoy holiday decorations, Wharf specials and see Santa arrive on the Wharf by a vintage fire engine! Take photos with Santa from 3pm – 5pm. Play in the snow area with Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen!

CHRISTMAS DAY BUFFET AT CHAMINADE RESORT & SPA
December 25, 2022 from 11am – 7pm
Chilled Seafood Station | Chef Carving Station: Prime Rib, Turkey | Organic Assortments of Salads & Fruit | Artisanal Cheese & Meat Display | Wild King Salmon | Traditional Accompaniments for Turkey Dinner | Holiday Dessert Display | Children’s Station. $79.95 Adults | $25 Children 6-12 | $10 Children 3-5 | Under 3 Complimentary.

NEW YEAR’S EVE AT CHAMINADE RESORT & SPA
December 31, 2022
Ring in 2023 at Chaminade while dancing the night away with live music from The Joint Chiefs (Bay Area Funk and Classic R&B), assorted desserts, a balloon drop and complimentary champagne toast at midnight! Cash bar for additional drinks. 9pm – 1am – $25 plus tax & gratuity – or FREE ticket with New Year’s Dinner reservation (7pm & 9:30pm seatings only). (Click here for more information including dinner reservations)

And be sure to enjoy the festive spirit, decorations, and shopping in the Capitola Village, Downtown Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and other shopping areas throughout the county this season! Visit our website Events Page for even more holiday-inspired events!

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