The holidays in Anaheim and surrounding Orange County are a magical time filled with festive cheer and plenty to do for locals and visitors alike. From dazzling light displays to enchanting events, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Here's a guide to the top things to do in Anaheim/OC this holiday season!


Holidays at the Parks

holiday season

Photo Credit: ©Disney

Disneyland® Resort

Each year, Disneyland® Resort is transformed into a dazzling spectacle of lights and festive decorations that's bound to fill you with holiday cheer. Meet meeting beloved characters in their holiday best and delight in the park’s spectacular parades and fireworks shows with a seasonal twist. 



Festival of Holidays Disney California Adventure

Photo Credit: ©Disney

Disney California Adventure® Park

With seasonal attractions like Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, Disney California Adventure® Park is not to be left behind this winter. Visitors can also delight in a celebration of holiday traditions from Mexico and Brazil, brought to life by cultural performers in Disney ¡Viva Navidad! and watch in awe as the lights in World of Color tell a spectacular Christmas tale. 


And don’t miss the “Grand” Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa. Standing at 7 feet tall, this masterpiece is crafted from over 600 pounds of gingerbread and features over 20 hidden Mickeys. Can you find them all? 



Knotts Merry Farm Holiday Season

Knott’s Berry Farm

But Disneyland Resort isn’t the only one getting into the spirit. Knott's Berry Farm gets into the holiday spirit with Knott's Merry Farm. Explore the park's festive decorations, enjoy live entertainment, and savor seasonal treats like freshly baked holiday desserts and warm roasted nuts.



Tree Lightings, Visits with Santa, and More!

Meet Santa at Knott's Merry Farm

Tree Lighting Festival

Mark your calendars for the Anaheim Nutcracker Holiday Village Tree Lighting Festival happening on December 3, 2023, from 12 to 7 p.m., with the tree lighting at 6 p.m. at Anaheim City Hall.  With between 5,000 and 10,000 attendees expected, this event promises plenty of holiday shopping, kids' entertainment, a Candy Canine Costume Contest, and free photos with Santa. Remember to bring mittens for the free snow play area, a camera for lasting memories, and cash for shopping and food. 


Santa Meet and Greets

Looking for a little more face time with the jolly man himself? Stop by Anaheim Hills Festival’s Holiday Spectacular happening on Saturday, December 16th, from 11 am to 1 pm. In addition to photo ops with Santa, there will be kids' crafts, face painting, balloon art, and train rides—all in one joyful event. 


Arts and Culture

Experience the holiday magic at the Muzeo Museum & Cultural Center's “Muzeo Express: Holiday Train Exhibit,” featuring model trains, enchanting winter landscapes, and engaging activities for all ages. Delve into Southern California's rich train history through these historical treasures, creating an unmissable destination for families, kids, and train aficionados. On specific evenings, revel in a special screening of “The Polar Express” for an added dose of seasonal delight.



An OC Christmas

Winterfest OC Ice skating and winter activities

Winter Fest OC

Head to the OC Fair & Event Center for Winter Fest OC, a winter wonderland featuring ice tubing, ice skating, holiday light displays, and nightly snowfall. That’s right, snowfall in Southern California! A true Christmas miracle. From an immersive North Pole Journey and an enchanting Ice Trail to a new Snow Play area, a thrilling 150-foot ice tubing slide, carnival fun, festive food, a holiday market, and more – all the winter fun you need can be found here!


Christmas Parade Boat Newport Beach

Photo Credit: Visit Newport Beach

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

For over 100 years, Orange County has sailed through the holidays with a cherished tradition.  Newport Beach’s boat parade features hundreds of decorated ships, from yachts to canoes, competing for top prize. Witness the spectacle of beautifully decorated boats cruising along Newport Harbor during the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Grab a spot along the waterfront or book a cruise to enjoy the twinkling lights and festive ambiance.


Christmas Train at Irvine Regional Park

All aboard the Christmas Train at Irvine Regional Park! Embark on a magical train ride through thousands of twinkling lights and holiday displays. Meet Santa Claus and enjoy activities like cookie decorating and ice fishing.



Holiday Shopping

Holiday Time Shopping in Anaheim

Anaheim and Orange County boast fantastic shopping destinations, including plenty of opportunities to shop local. Be whisked away with joy this season with these shopping destinations as you cross gifts off your holiday shopping list. 


Holiday Shopping at the Anaheim GardenWalk

Soak in the holiday cheer and decor as the Anaheim GardenWalk transforms into a holiday dream. Now through select dates in December, explore the shopping center's many holiday happenings! Make sure to join in the Christmas Market at GardenWalk and Holidays at the GardenWalk events all located by the Anaheim Resort area. 



Merry anaheim packing house christmas event

Shop at Farmers Park in the Anaheim Packing District

If you can't make it, mark your calendar for the 2-day "Eat, Drink & Be Merry Market" by 714 Market on December 9 & 10, from 2 pm to 8 pm at Anaheim Packing District’s Farmers Park. This festive market offers holiday gift options from 35 indie craft vendors, a glowing holiday photo spot, and seasonal treats from Orange County's iconic food hall.


Explore more holiday shopping in Anaheim!


The holiday season in Anaheim/OC is a time of joy and celebration. Whether you're enchanted by the magical displays at Disneyland, captivated by the Newport Beach Boat Parade, or indulging in holiday shopping, there's no shortage of festive fun for everyone to create cherished memories during this special time of year in Southern California.



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