Our latest issue out now!Summer 2017
Irvine Spectrum Center’s Holiday Ice Rink
Although Orange County might not get snow, a session at the outdoor ice rink at the Irvine Spectrum Center is one of the coolest activities for families this winter. Kids of all ages will enjoy circling the 72-foot-long rink—and if skates aren’t their jam, ice scooters are also available for $5. (Helmets are offered free of charge.)
Date: Open through Feb. 15, 2016 (closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day)
Location: Irvine Spectrum Center, 670 Spectrum Center Dr., Irvine
Cost: $19 includes skates/$15 with your own skates. Toddlers’ tickets are $15 and include double-blade skate rentals.
Information: 949.753.5180 or skatespectrum.com
Dia de los Muertos Celebration
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that honors loved ones who have passed. Join Pretend City as the children’s museum celebrates this tradition and holiday with educational exhibits and fun activities, including story times that tell the history of this holiday, and the opportunity to create a colorful skull. Families can also bring a photo of their loved ones to add to the special altar.
Date: Nov. 1, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Pretend City, 29 Hubble, Irvine
Cost: $12.50 adults and children over 12 months, free for infants through 12 months
Information: 949.428.3900 or pretendcity.org
This year, the Sugar Plum welcomes the holiday season with the perfect gifts and accessories to warm the heart and home. Shoppers can find quality handcrafted merchandise, including antiques and collectibles made in the U.S. from more than 120 vendors.
Date: Nov. 10-12, Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa
Cost: Free; parking $8
Information: ocfair.com or sugarplumfestivals.com
The Diamond Ball Charity Event
The fourth annual Diamond Ball charity event at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is truly a special evening in support of Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence, the largest nonprofit provider of assistance dogs. The event includes a silent and live auction, a four-course dinner crafted by the resort’s executive chef, Brian Sundeen, and live music by “The X Factor’s” third-season winners, Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton.
Date/Time: Nov. 12, beginning at 5 p.m.
Location: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, 1 Ritz Carlton Dr., Dana Point
Cost: $250 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity
Fashion Island’s Tree Lighting Ceremony
Tis the season for gift-giving, so why not make an occasion out of it and attend Fashion Island’s annual tree lighting ceremony after you shop? Ahead of its 50th anniversary next year, Fashion Island is returning to its classic tree lighting tradition. Spectators will watch the lighting of the 90-foot Christmas tree, complete with Santa, live entertainment and magical “snowfall.” Additionally, there will also be a menorah lighting on Dec. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Fashion Island.
Date: Nov. 18-19, 6:30 p.m.
Location: Bloomingdale’s/Neiman Marcus Courtyard, 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach
Information: 949.721.2000 or shopfashionisland.com
Winter Fantasy at Sawdust Festival
The summer Sawdust Art Festival is transformed into a “winter fantasy” during the holiday season with unique gifts and artwork from 175 vendors. In addition to jewelry, photography and sculptures, attendees can experience live holiday entertainment, meet-and-greets with Santa, a petting zoo and much more.
Date/Time: Nov. 19 – Dec. 18, weekends, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Location: Sawdust Art Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
Cost: General admission: $8 adults, $4 children ages 6-12, free for children under 5; $10 for a season pass for unlimited admission
Information: 949.494.3030 or sawdustartfestival.org
39th Annual Dana Point Turkey Trot
Organized by the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce and attracting more than 17,000 participants each year, the Turkey Trot is one way to give back on Thanksgiving while feeling good about having that second helping of fare. Starting at the Dana Point Harbor, participants will tour along the marina and Doheny State Beach in the 5K, 10K or kids’ Gobble Wobble race. This year’s race also includes new on-course entertainment, a post-race beer garden, and an expanded health and wellness expo.
Date/Time: Nov. 24; check-in opens at 6 a.m., first race starts at 7 a.m.
Location: Race begins at Dana Point Harbor and Golden Lantern Street
Cost: 5K: $40; 10K: $45; kids’ race: $15
Information: 949.496.1555 or turkeytrot.com
Moonlight Madness at Outlets at San Clemente
Cap off Thanksgiving celebrations by starting holiday shopping at Outlets at San Clemente’s annual Moonlight Madness. Enjoy incredible savings at more than 50 stores. Dance along to a Silent Disco on Thanksgiving night from 7 p.m. to midnight. Guests wear wireless headphones as they dance to live music spun by a DJ, transforming the atmosphere into an interactive, high-energy late night musical party! Other entertainment includes local musicians, strolling carolers and free photos with Santa on Black Friday from 1-7 p.m. Retailers will open doors at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, November 24, and remain open until midnight. Shops will reopen early on Black Friday, November 25, from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Date: November 24 from 7 p.m. to midnight and November 25 from 7 a.m. -10 p.m.
Location: 101 W Avenida Vista Hermosa, San Clemente, CA 92672
Information: 949.535.2323 or visit outletsatsanclemente.com
South Coast Repertory’s “A Christmas Carol”
One of the most popular pieces of fiction adapted for the stage, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is a must-see for the season. Gracing the Segerstrom Stage this winter, theatergoers of all ages will enjoy being taken back in time to 19th-century London as they watch their favorite characters—such as Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge—come to life.
Date/Time: Nov. 25 – Dec. 24, show times vary
Location: South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa
Cost: Prices vary for adults and kids ages 6 and older depending on date and time (no children under the age of 6 permitted)
Information: 714.708.5555 or scr.org
The Resort at Pelican Hill’s Kris Kringle Story Time Mingle
The Resort at Pelican Hill’s Main Estate Lobby will be the focal attraction this season as Santa Claus sets up shop to bring some holiday cheer. Families and kids will love this new event at the renowned resort located in Newport Coast. In addition to a gingerbread display, there will be three story times at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Children are welcome to get their photos taken with St. Nick during intermission.
Date: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 25 – Dec. 24 beginning at 3 p.m.
Location: The Resort at Pelican Hill, 22701 S. Pelican Hill Rd., Newport Coast
Cost: Free for guests and locals
Information: 855.467.6800 or pelicanhill.com
Science of Gingerbread
This holiday, Discovery Cube invites local companies, schools, families and organizations to build their own gingerbread house creations and enter into its annual competition. Even if gingerbread house-making isn’t your thing, museumgoers can admire the edible creations and partake in other exhibit activities, including cookie decorating, Build a House learning station, Santa Claus meet-and-greets and more. Gingerbread creation entries will be displayed throughout Discovery Cube, and winners will be announced at the Gingerbread Awards Ceremony on Dec. 9.
Date/Time: Nov. 25 – Jan. 1, 2017
Location: Discovery Cube, 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana
Cost: General admission: $17.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 3-14, free for children 2 and under
Information: 714.542.2823 or visit discoverycube.org
Irvine Park Railroad’s Christmas Train
Take a night train ride through historic Irvine Regional Park, which takes families through the 477-acre grounds to meet Santa Claus. After departing a brightly lit train station, the train stops at the “North Pole,” where children can visit St. Nick and take photos. Afterward, the train continues through the magical “Tunnel of Lights” with colorful Christmas lights and decorations. Even if families are unable to make the ride, they can still partake in a host of other holiday activities at the park, including story times, cookie decorating, food and carnival games.
Date/Time: Dec. 1-23, select days and times
Location: Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Rd., Irvine
Cost: Christmas Train tickets $12 per person, 24 months and younger free; activity tickets $5 per ticket
Information: 714.997.3968 or irvineparkrr.com
Montage Laguna Beach’s Tree Lighting and Community Open House
What’s better than experiencing the holiday spirit at one of Orange County’s most stunning seaside locales? The annual tree lighting and open house at the five-star Montage Laguna Beach is truly a memorable event as the dramatic tree lighting ceremony takes place on the coastal bluffs of Laguna Beach. The evening’s main event is accompanied by hot cocoa, carolers, live music, children’s activities and a gingerbread display. Afterward, attendees can make a stop inside the resort at Spa Montage for a complimentary mini massage to top off the magical night.
Date/Time: Dec. 1, 4:30 p.m.
Location: Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach
Cost: Free for locals and guests
Celebration of Winter with Eric Cortina
Join Creative Director Eric Cortina at Roger’s Gardens as he demonstrates a natural approach to holiday decorating and includes insider tips on how to create the perfect holiday dinner party. Also, watch and learn new and creative ways to craft wreaths, garlands and fresh floral arrangements for the Christmas season.
Date/Time: Dec. 3, 9-10 a.m.
Location: Roger’s Gardens, 2301 San Joaquin Hill Rd., Corona del Mar
Information: 949.640.5800 or rogersgardens.com
20th Annual Crystal Cove Alliance Tree Lighting & Holiday Bazaar
Head down to Crystal Cove State Park, where the historic district and its seaside cottages will be transformed into a seasonal display of holiday lights, vintage decorations and giant candy canes. Guests can stroll along the picturesque area and experience hot cocoa and cookies provided by The Beachcomber Café, as well as carolers and a holiday Bazaar featuring handcrafted jewelry and gifts. At 4 p.m., Santa Claus will make an appearance with a dramatic tree lighting taking place at sunset. Guests should park in the Los Trancos lot (at PCH and Los Trancos, then walk across the street or take the shuttle).
Date/Time: Dec. 3, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (holiday bazaar); 5 p.m. (tree lighting)
Location: Historic District of Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Coast
Cost: Free; parking $5 per hour
Information: 949.376.6200 or crystalcovealliance.org
Christmas at the Mission
The beautiful, historic Mission San Juan Capistrano opens its doors for its annual tree lighting ceremony and holiday celebration open to all. In addition to an array of musical events throughout the evening, including carolers, chamber singers and orchestra musicians, guests can join in on many family-friendly activities. There will be magical snowfall in which kids can build a snowman, photo opportunities with Father Christmas and, of course, the ringing of the historic bells.
Date/Time: Dec. 3, 5:30-8 p.m.
Location: Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano
Cost: $6 adults, $4 children age 4-11
Information: 949.234.1300 or missionsjc.com
“Nutcracker for Kids”
Featuring the Pacific Symphony and the Festival Ballet Theatre, “Nutcracker for Kids” will surely have children’s eyes light up like Christmas morning. Boasting elegant ballerinas, toy soldiers, flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy all waltzing to Tchaikovsky’s famous composition, this ballet specially adapted just for kids 5 and older is a must-see this holiday.
Date/Time: Dec. 3, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Location: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 615 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa
Cost: Tickets range from $25-$45
Information: 714.755.5799 or pacificsymphony.org
Run for a Claus
Benefiting Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army and Kids Run the OC Foundation, the OC Marathon hosts its annual Run for a Claus 5K and kids’ 1-mile run/walk around the University of California, Irvine’s campus. It’s more about spreading the holiday cheer than competition as all runners are encouraged to dress up and will receive a Santa hat, Santa beard, a finisher’s medal and a commemorative mug for coffee or cocoa after the race. Cookies, holiday music and decorations will abound.
Date/Time: Dec. 3, 6:30 a.m. expo opens, 9 a.m. 5K race starts
Location: University of California, Irvine
Cost: 5K: $25 (adults), $15 (ages 6-15), $10 (ages 5 and under)
Puttin’ on the Glitz
The Downtown Business Association of San Clemente invites locals to enjoy an evening of shopping, dining and holiday entertainment, including meet-and-greets with Santa Claus, carolers, shopping, dining, roasted chestnuts and other treats. A family-friendly event, Puttin’ on the Glitz is an opportunity to experience all of the character that the seaside city has to offer.
Date/Time: Dec. 3, 6-10 p.m.
Location: Downtown San Clemente at Avenida del Mar and North Ola Vista
Information: 949.218.5378 or villagesanclemente.org
38th Annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk
Join in the holiday cheer at the annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk, featuring live entertainment with more than 12 bands, restaurant tastings, a beer and wine garden, and kids’ entertainment including bounce houses and photos with Santa. There will also be an opportunity drawing with the chance to win a variety of prizes, including hotel stays, restaurant dinners, spa packages and more.
Date/Time: Dec. 4, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Corona del Mar
Information: 949.673.4050 or cdmchamber.com
Yappy Howl-iday Celebration
Who says Christmas is just for kids? Let your four-legged friends partake in holiday activities this season at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s version of happy hour for dogs. While their human counterparts sip on wine and appetizers, pups lap up water in a variety of paw-licking flavors such as bacon, chicken or beef. It wouldn’t be a dog’s day out without a photo snapshot with Santa Claus. Proceeds from the event go toward Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence.
Date/Time: Dec. 4, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, 1 Ritz-Carlton Dr., Dana Point
Cost: Free, donation requested (dog food, toys, etc.) for local animals in need
“Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight”
A fairytale comes to life at the Laguna Playhouse with its modern-day musical adaption of “Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight,” a performance full of comedy, family-friendly magic and pop songs. In this story, Princess Aurora has a curse put on her by an evil fairy, in which by her 18th birthday, Aurora will prick her finger and fall asleep for 100 years. As the tale goes, a handsome prince comes to her rescue.
Date/Time: Dec. 7-30, show times vary
Location: Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
Cost: Tickets range from $48-$68
Information: 949.497.2787 or lagunaplayhouse.com
Holiday Boat Parades
Taking advantage of Orange County’s stunning coastline and ocean, the Dana Point and Newport Beach boat parades prove that it can still feel like the holidays sans snow. A true family and local tradition, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade (now in its 108th year!) features bedazzled boats—everything from multimillion-dollar yachts to canoes—that will cross the harbor amid music and cheers. Dana Point’s 41st Annual Boat Parade of Lights is another event that will surely have spectators in awe as an array of creatively lit vessels passes by.
Date: Dana Point parade runs Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17; Newport Beach parade runs Dec. 14-18
Christmas Eve with Resurrection OC
Celebrate Christmas Eve with family, friends and neighbors at Resurrection OC’s Christmas Eve service in Ladera Ranch. Sing your favorite Christmas Carols and hear the story of the first Christmas. Hot cocoa, apple cider, and a holiday photo booth are all part of the festivities!
Date: December 24, 6-7 p.m.
Location: Oso Grande Elementary School,
30251 Sienna Pkwy., Ladera Ranch
Montage Laguna Beach’s New Year’s Eve Gala
Ring in the new year in style with a five-course chef’s tasting menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The exclusive event takes place in the resort’s Grand Ballroom and Courtyard, where there is a cocktail reception followed by a can’t-miss dinner at Studio, complete with live entertainment, dancing and party favors, as well as a midnight Champagne toast.
Date/Time: Dec. 31, reception: 8 p.m., dinner: 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Location: Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach
Cost: $475 per person, includes cocktails and reception as well as wine pairings. To reserve, call 949.715.6420.