Southern California is a great place to live or visit, and if you’re a resident or vacationer arriving in southern California for the holiday season there are many ways to celebrate this joyous and festive time of the year.

From amusement parks to ice skating and historic traditions, there’s plenty of fun to be had by all during the holiday season.


Disneyand, located in Anaheim, California is a favorite among locals and tourists for its wide-array of family focused entertainment all-year-round. However, during the holiday season entertainment is geared towards celebrating the joys of the winter season with loads of holiday themed decorations and events that are sure to get anyone in the holiday spirit. For travelers looking to escape the bitter cold of other less weather friendly states, Disneyland provides the perfect majestic and fantasizing backdrop for a truly unique holiday vacation. Enjoy a variety of holiday themed events such as ice skating, winter rides, carolers, a Christmas shopping village and even parades with your favorite Disney characters coming to life.


Holiday Train Ride

Griffith Park, located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles is the state’s second largest municipal park. During the holiday season, the 4,300-acre park is transformed into a winter wonderland train ride. Economically priced, it provides a festive backdrop for the entire family to get in the holiday spirit. The historic miniature train ride allows its guest to hop aboard and experience Griffith Park through a 15-minute train ride that takes you through a series of tunnels lit by bright and colorful holiday lights, inflatable decorations and other festive highlights. It typically runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the holiday season. (Related: Hunting for Vintage Homes in Southern California)


Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Located just outside of Irvine, California is Newport Beach which plays hosts to one of California’s most unique and joyous holiday traditions. The Newport Christmas Boat Parade take place at the harbor and features a parade of yachts, boats and sailboats, kayaks and canoes decorated in a variety of holiday decorations and lights. It’s a holiday light show on the water that features more than 100 participants. The beautiful setting is a fun way to spend a night out with either a date, family or friends during the holiday season. The boats set sail in the harbor where the spectators line the pier and witness the spectacle. Visitors can make a night of the event by arriving early and enjoying diner and drinks at one of the many restaurants and bars that line the Newport Beach area. The boat parade has been hosted annually for more than 100 years by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.


Ice Skating

Not many things speak to the holiday season like ice skating does. When the holiday decorations come out and the kids are off from school there’s no better way to spend vacation than a day ice skating at of one southern California’s many rinks in the area. Create memories and spend quality time with your partner, family and friends with a day at the rink while holiday music rings over the loudspeakers and you skate around a rink full of holiday decorations and lights. In Los Angeles visit Ice at Santa Monica or the Queen Mary sponsored CHILL Winter Wonderland. San Diego also offers outdoor ice skating along its pristine beaches or in Irvine under the Giant Wheel at Irvine Spectrum Center. (Related: Quick History Behind San Diego’s Top Spots)



Tournament of Roses Parade

Ring in the New Year with a traditional that rivals the oldest in the nation with the Tournament of Roses Parade down the streets of beautiful Pasadena, California. Home to the Rose Bowl Stadium and host to the annual New Year’s Day tradition, the Rose Bowl Game, the city also plays host to a pre-game kickoff. For those lucky enough to score a pair of tickets to the big game don’t miss the colorful and exciting spectacle which only adds to the total Pasadena experience on New Year’s Day.



For those looking for fun things to do in southern California during the holidays take a ride to San Diego County and visit the historic gold-mining town of Julian, located in the picturesque pine forested mountains of northern San Diego. Each year the locals take part in the Country Christmas celebration that starts immediately after Thanksgiving with the lighting of their annual 80-foot Christmas tree that officially launches the holiday season. With festivities occurring throughout the entire season, visitors can also frequent the many tea and cottage boutiques and handmade craft shops. Visit the many sprawling homes of the town as well that are decorated festively for the holiday season.