Where to get Festive in the Golden State This Holiday Season

Things are looking merry and bright in California.

It’s officially holiday season and our California communities have no shortage of spirited cheer. Visit California offers a guide to noteworthy celebrations, from the snowy High Sierras to sunny Southern California. Here are a few highlights:

Big Bear Lake (Inland Empire)

“With holiday lights aglow in the village and snow falling on the pines, Big Bear Lake offers a classic Christmas escape just a couple hours from Los Angeles. “Christmas to New Year’s, our town transforms into a place of yuletide cheer,” says Dan McKernan of the Big Bear Visitors Bureau. On weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, let the kids say hi to Santa and Mrs. Claus at the town’s Christmas tree lot. Or cruise Big Bear Lake with Santa and look at snowcapped peaks during “Sail With Santa” excursions on Miss Liberty, a paddle wheeler (Saturdays before Christmas in December).”

Fresno (Central Valley)

“If Paris is ‘The City of Light,’ then Fresno is the city of Christmas lights, thanks to the two miles of decorations along Van Ness Boulevard—better known as Christmas Tree Lane. In December, millions of bulbs glisten from 300 trees and 140 lavishly decorated homes in the Fig Garden neighborhood. There are toy soldiers and angels, elves and reindeer, and all kinds of animated scenes and music. Certain days are designated for walking and others for driving, so check the website in advance for the day that suits your style. As one local recently tweeted, ‘Ahhhhh I Love #Christmas! So pretty tonight on Christmas Tree Lane in Fresno!’”


Nevada City (Gold Country)

“Experience Christmas past during this historic town’s Victorian-style celebration. ‘What goes on here is straight out of a Charles Dickens novel, and as close to the real thing as you can get,’ says Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. ‘The town’s narrow, hilly streets, lit by glowing gas lamps and set against a backdrop of towering pines, make you lose all sense of time.’ Carolers in period dress, brass bands, and bagpipers fill the streets of this picture-perfect town, where the award-winning holiday movie The Christmas Card was shot. Munch on roasted chestnuts while enjoying a carriage ride past historic buildings with twinkling white lights. For another unforgettable Gold Country experience, drive less than 10 minutes to Grass Valley, where the Cornish Christmas Celebration commemorates the town’s historical ties with western England. Expect musicians, jugglers, and traditional cloggers.”

Get the full list of holiday happenings here.

More Stories
Music + Culture

San Francisco’s Graham Norwood “Collapses to Zero” with First Single

The singer/songwriter’s debut album Out Of The Sea will be released January 31.

Farm + Table

For Some Northern California Farms, a Black Truffle Explosion Means Big Bucks

It took several years, but the investment is finally paying off.

Cannabis, Music + Culture

Jenny Lewis Takes You Down the Rabbit Hole

The Rilo Kiley front woman is the latest musical celebrity to introduce their own strain of marijuana.