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There’s Something for Everyone to Enjoy at These Wintery Celebrations

Written By: Gaya Lynn Holiday Events Orange County

When it comes to the holidays, Orange County is the place to be. Where else can you experience fun, sun and holiday cheer? Plus, with most of the country enduring icy cold temps, the saying “There’s no place like home for the holidays” may be particularly true this year.  So while we may dream of a white Christmas, there are perks in staying both warm and merry. Get out your Santa hats, belt out a “Ho ho ho,” and come celebrate the holidays, sunny California-style.

 

1 | 
A Very Tiki Holiday Holiday Events Orange County

Dana Point Harbor

Known as the “Whale Capital of the World,” the light laden Dana Point Harbor is a delight for the entire family. Whether you want to go whale watching or grab a tasty treat from the Coffee Importers or the Chocolate Soldier, the Dana Point Harbor makes for the perfect spot to stroll. This holiday season, the “Tiki Holiday” will return to the harbor. Families will enjoy festive, tiki-themed activities, live entertainment, an appearance from Santa and the famous parade of boats adorned with dazzling holiday lights.

Dana Point Harbor
34571 Golden Lantern St

Dana Point, CA 92629
949.496.6137

 

2 | Follow the Gingerbread Road to Newport

Fashion Island Hotel

Newport’s Fashion Island Hotel will host its annual Gingerbread House Decorating event on Dec. 15. From 10 a.m. to noon; Pastry Chef Andy de la Cruz will have children decorate their own gingerbread houses, all while enjoying complimentary hot chocolate, holiday cookies and popcorn. “It’s nice to go home with the gingerbread houses and all of the holiday memories you create,” says Lilli Lopez of Aqua Lounge.

Fashion Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
949.760.4913

 

3 | Paw-sitively Festive Holiday Events Orange County

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

On December 15, grab your furry pal and head down to the Dana Lawn at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel  from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Your pup is sure to love this Yappy Howl-iday Celebration! Photos with Santa Paws are available for your canine, and owners are encouraged to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, dog toys or treats for animals in need. Complimentary holiday storytelling for the whole family is available on Dec. 6, 7, 13, and 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. The resort recommends bringing a new children’s book to donate to Miracles for Kids.

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel 
One Ritz Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629

 

4 | 3.2.1…Party!

Aqua Lounge

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style at the Aqua Lounge, one of OC’s premier nightlife destinations. Music will be provided by Aqua Lounge’s talented DJ, and there will be an effervescent champagne toast, party favors and more. “It’s a party to ring in the New Year with style, pizzazz and good cheer all around,” exclaims Marguarite Clark, who manages public relations at the Fashion Island Hotel.

Aqua Lounge
690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
949.760.4920

 

5 | Let It Snow Holiday Events Orange County

Winter Fest OC

While our version of winter hardly ever drops below 50 degrees, for some, it’s not the holiday season without a little bit of snowfall. If this sounds familiar, head over to the Orange County Fair & Event Center from Dec. 19 to Jan. 5 for Winter Fest OC. This family-friendly event has an array of winter wonderland attractions including the SoCal Dickens Village, Festival of Lights, Penny’s Snow Play and Snow Summit. Not only are ticket rates affordable, but Winter Fest OC also has special rates for teachers, military/veterans and first responders.

Winter Fest OC
88 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.708.1500

 

6 | Ships Passing in the Light Holiday Events Orange County

Christmas Boat Parade

One of the oldest holiday traditions in Newport Beach, the Christmas Boat Parade, will be celebrating its 111th parade from Dec. 18-22 this year. There are plenty of viewing options for this event, including Balboa Village, areas with reserved seating, local restaurants and even boat seating! So grab your crew, bundle up and watch as beautifully-decorated canoes, kayaks, yachts and boats sail through a glittering Newport Harbor.

Christmas Boat Parade

Holiday Events Orange County

7 | Happy Beachside Holidays

Montage Laguna Beach

In celebration of this holiday season, Montage Laguna Beach will be offering a plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays. From Dec. 2-10, guests can gather in the lobby for the lighting of the Menorah during the eight days of Hanukkah, and during Dec. 22-30, guests of all ages can visit Pastry Chef Lee Smith’s Gingerbread Village for complimentary cookies, cider and cocoa. There will also be fine dining options for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at The Loft and Studio, as well as an incredible multi-station buffet at the Grand Ballroom Masterpiece Christmas Celebration.

Montage Laguna Beach
30801 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
949.715.6420

8 | A True Holiday Feast Holiday Events Orange County

Back Bay Bistro

If you are tired of eating the same three bean casserole or Aunt Sue’s homemade fruitcake, then it’s time to treat yourself to a four-course gourmet meal at Newport’s Back Bay Bistro on Christmas Eve. With views of the Back Bay illuminated by over 50 LED floats, the Back Bay Bistro will serve specialty items like braised short ribs, crusted alaskan halibut and roasted airline chicken, along with red velvet cake or seasonal pumpkin spice crème brulee for dessert. “We hope guests will experience a memorable dining experience from the moment they step through our doors,” says Steve T. Tran, marketing and events promotion specialist.

Back Bay Bistro
1131 Back Bay Dr
Newport Beach CA 92660
949.999.3170

 

9 | Celebrate on Island Time

Fashion Island Hotel

Fashion Island may be a bustling hub of holiday shoppers, but at the Fashion Island Hotel, you can count on a fun, relaxing Christmas experience. Treat your little elves to a 9 a.m. Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 1, or round up the whole family for dinner during Oak Grill’s Christmas Best on Dec. 24 and 25. 

Fashion Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
877.591.9145

 

10 | Light Up Your Evening

Nights of 1000 Lights

The holiday season isn’t complete without a visit to the brilliantly-decorated Sherman Library & Gardens. And while you walk around the gardens and explore the gorgeous light displays, you will also be able to warm up with the delicious hot chocolate bar and make-your-own s’mores packets. The Christmas Light Walk will be held from Dec. 14-22. Entry is $10 for non-members and free for members and children under the age of three.

Nights of 1000 Lights
2647 E Coast Hwy
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.673.2261

 

11 | Backyard Brunch

Hotel Irvine

You’ll definitely need to bring your two front teeth to this indulgent Christmas brunch at Hotel Irvine. A Holly Jolly Brunch will be a “moveable” feast hosted in The Backyard on Christmas Day with seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. There will be flavorful dishes and bottomless mimosas for the grown-ups, and a children’s buffet, a craft table and pictures with Santa for the kids and kids at heart. There will also be face painting, lawn games and a photo booth to enjoy. A Holly Jolly Brunch is $75 for adults and $35 for children aged five to 12.

Hotel Irvine
17900 Jamboree Rd
Irvine, CA 92614
949-225-6780

 

12 | Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Night Nike

Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Bundle up and switch up your holiday fun with a night hike! Carbon Canyon Regional Park rangers will be leading a night hike through the wilderness on Dec. 7 from 5:30-8 p.m. Warm up with hot cocoa and cookies and watch live animal presentations as you explore Redwood Grove.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park
4442 Carbon Canyon Rd
Brea, CA 92823
714.973.3160