The holiday spirit has hit Santa Cruz County and we’ve got a sleigh full of family fun to celebrate the season! From everyone’s favorite Holiday Lights Train to Ice Skating at the Boardwalk, and Breakfast with Santa to the Nutcracker, we’ve got all the holly-jolly holiday events you won’t want to miss!
BOARDWALK HOLIDAY ICE
November 17, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Start a new holiday tradition with ice skating at the Boardwalk! The Boardwalk’s Main Plaza sparkles with all the fun of a winter wonderland with ice skating and festive foods plus rides, games and more! Each 1-hour session includes ice skate rental for only $14.95 + tax. Visit Boardwalk website for schedule.
Location: Santa Cruz Boardwalk, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
SANTA CRUZ HOLIDAY LIGHTS TRAIN
November 23 – December 23, 2018
A Santa Cruz tradition, ride a holiday train through Victorian Santa Cruz as you sip hot spiced cider, listen to carolers, meet Santa & Mrs. Claus.
Train rides are scheduled for November 23 and 24; December 1 – 2, 8 – 9, and 15 – 23, 2018. Departure times: 5pm, 6:30pm, and 8pm.
Location: Santa Cruz Boardwalk, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
CAPITOLA VILLAGE HOLIDAY MUSIC SERIES
November 24 – December 22, 2018
Every Saturday and Sunday from November 24th to December 22nd, enjoy holiday music performances from 2:30-4:30pm at Monterey Plaza (in front of Souza’s Ice Cream and Mijo’s Tacos) and some performances from 12- 2pm at the Capitola Mercantile. A festive addition to the Capitola Village while you shop, dine, and enjoy the ocean views!
Location: Capitola Village, Capitola
ROARING CAMP HOLIDAY TREE WALK
November 23 – 25, December 1 – 2 and 8 – 9, 2018
Get in the holiday spirit by bringing family and friends to ride Roaring Camp’s daytime steam train to Bear Mountain. At the summit, guests may sip hot cider and delight in viewing a tree-lined walk of beautifully decorated holiday trees. Visit Roaring Camp website for schedule.
Location: Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton
DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ OUTDOOR MOVIES
Every Friday, November 23 – December 21, 2018 // Movies begin at 6pm
Celebrate the holiday season with free, family-friendly outdoor movies Downtown, every Friday evening between November 23rd and December 21st. Please bring low chairs to sit on. There will be a snack bar offering popcorn, hot chocolate and other movie watching treats.
Location: Library Parking Lot, 224 Church Street, Santa Cruz
CHAMINADE: SIP, SHOP AND SPA
December 6, 2018 // 6pm – 8pm
Join us for a holiday “Sip, Shop and Spa” evening, featuring locally handcrafted gifts, product demonstrations, spa discounts, raffle prizes, wine tasting and more. Purchase raffle tickets at the event for your chance win some beautiful locally crafted items and Chaminade Resort & Spa gift certificates ~ 100% of the raffle proceeds benefit Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central California.
Location: The Spa at Chaminade, 1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
CHAMINADE: BREAKFAST WITH SANTA
December 8, 2018 // 9am – 11am
Santa is coming to town! Bring your wish lists and yearly recap of if you’ve been naughty or nice and share it with Santa. Guests will enjoy a holiday breakfast buffet with made to order waffles and omelets, and children will delight having their own photos taken with Santa and a cuddly take home collectible Chaminade teddy bear! Enjoy writing letters to Santa, while basking in the glow of a beautiful winter morning overlooking the Monterey Bay. $36.95 Adults, $17.95 Children 6-12, $11.95, Under 5 years.
Location: Chaminade Resort and Spa, 1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
HOLIDAYS ON THE RANCH
December 8, 2018 // 11am – 3pm
Celebrate the warmth of the holiday season with crafts, games, music, and merriment from the early 20th century. We’ll busy your hands with holiday wreath-making, invite you to join in an old-fashioned sing-along around the player piano, and provide you with materials to make Victorian and Mexican holiday crafts. Come play games, take a draft-horse carriage ride, decorate the tree, and create ornaments while spending the day on the grounds of the cultural preserve at beautiful, historic Wilder Ranch State Park. Free event; $10 parking.
Location: Wilder Ranch State Park, 1404 Coast Road, Santa Cruz
JINGLE SHELLS ART & CRAFT FESTIVAL
December 9, 2018 // 12pm – 5:30pm
This holiday tradition features local artists and crafts people who will tempt you with their ocean and nature inspired gifts. Meet artists, shop for unique holiday gifts, enjoy live music, hot apple cider, free gift wrapping, children’s activities, and explore Seymour Center exhibits, aquarium, and touch pools.
Location: Seymour Marine Discovery Center, 100 McAllister Way, Santa Cruz
SANTA CRUZ CITY BALLET PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER
December 15 – 16, 2018 // Performances at 1pm and 4:30pm
Join the festivities and kick off your family’s holiday tradition with the magic Nutcracker Ballet, a spectacular performance sure to delight and inspire! The Santa Cruz Dance Guild presents the full length Nutcracker Ballet. What better way to ring in the season than with smiles, beauty and laughter?
Location: Cabrillo College’s Cocker Theater, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos
HOLIDAY TEA WITH SANTA AT SEASCAPE BEACH RESORT
December 16, 2018 // 12pm – 3pm
Gather for a new family tradition at the beautiful Seascape Beach Resort! Visit with Santa, enjoy hot chocolate, assorted sandwiches, sweet treats, and a mimosa bar. Plus cookie decorating, holiday ornaments, balloon twisting, and face painting! Seascape is also supporting Toys for Tots so please bring an unwrapped toy to be donated. $60 per person (inclusive of tax and tip).
Location: Seascape Beach Resort, One Seascape Resort Drive, Aptos
SANTA CRUZ BALLET THEATRE: THE NUTCRACKER WITH LIVE ORCHESTRA
December 21 – 23, 2018 // Performances Friday: 8pm; Saturday and Sunday: 1pm and 4:30
A Santa Cruz tradition! Join us for our 17th production with full professional orchestra at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Over 70 local dancers perform choreography by Robert Kelley with sumptuous costumes and scenery.
Location: Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz
SANTA CRUZ MUSEUM OF ART AND HISTORY: TOY TRAINS
December 21, 2018 – January 6, 2019 // Visit website for times
Experience a mini-universe of model trains that delight the young and the young at heart. Hear the roar as the diesel starts up, the blast of the mighty horn, the squeal of the brakes as these tiny trains slow for a curve and the chatter between the engineer and the control tower. Toy trains have come a long way over the last century, but new or old, the emphasis is on fun. Please check the website for the most updated museum hours.
Location: Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz