1. Bethlehem Experience the Birth-Dec 7-11th Thursday-Monday 6:30-9pm Five 30 min performances nightly free admission and hot chocolate. Located at the Santa Clara First Baptist Church 3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara. Experience what it would be like to live in Bethlehem at the time of the Saviors birth. They perform a live nativity starting with the Roman soldiers announcing the census, Mary riding on a donkey and the innkeepers telling them there is no room. Ending at the manger with shepherds and wisemen. A beautiful presentation and a village full of people with food and games and time period treasures.
2. Christmas Creche Exhibit-Admission is Free Dec2-6th from noon-9pm at the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 3865 Middlefield Road Palo, Alto. Experience creches from all over the world and a great play place for children to dress up as characters from the nativity, do a craft, and watch a puppet show.
3. Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad Holiday Train– 6pm-9pm Thursdays – Sundays December 7th-17th. Monday through Saturday December 18th through 23rd. $6 for 1 train ride and unlimited carousel rides at Oak Meadow Park 233 Blossom Hill Rd Los Gatos. Not a lot of people. The train ride takes you through the first half of the Vasona Park Fantasy lights. Really fun adventure for families with young children.
4. Fantasy Lights at Vasona Park Walk through Sat Dec 2nd and Sunday Dec 3rd 4-9pm Tickets are $10 per adult $5 for kids 4-12. You can also drive through Tuesday Dec 5-Saturday Dec 30th 6-10pm for $20 a car. Located at 333 Blossom Hill Rd Los Gatos. Lots of cars lined up but a fun family tradition.
5. Gilroy Gardens– Experience a Charlie Brown Christmas Saturdays and Sundays in December. You can pay extra to have a fancy Thanksgiving style feast with Charlie Brown Show and Lumination lights festival. This is one of our top and most favorite things to do for the holidays!
6. Great America Winterfest – 5-10pm Friday-Sunday in December as well as Tuesday through Saturday December 19th-30th. Enjoy a Christmas wonderland. They have Santa and reindeer and lots of music, lights, rides, and entertainment throughout the park. So fun to bump into all the workers dressed like elves. They are in character and really fun to have the kids meet.
7. Oakland Temple Hill-Visitor Center open daily 9-9
- Scrooge Nov 25, 30th and Dec 1-2 Tickets Free 7:30 pm and 1:30pm matinae
- Nutcracker select dates in Dec (tickets available Nov 19th) 7pm 2pm matinae
- Live Nativity Days of Christmas on Temple hill opens Nov 26th with events daily.
8. Holiday Train– Cal Train Holiday Train decorated with thousands of lights visit 9 Caltrain stations at each of the 20 minutes station stops people can join in singing with onboard carolers and a Salvation Army Brass Band. Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, and Rudolph will get off the train to greet everyone. Sat Dec 2nd 4-8:10pm and Sun Dec 3rd 4-8:40pm Click link for holiday train schedule.
9. Lighted Boat Parade – SouthHarbor Santa Cruz Dec 2 5:30pm See 50 beautifully decorated power and sailboats parading through santa cruz harbor free. We haven’t been able to make it to this one yet so I’m not sure about the crowds or viewing areas.
10. Deck the Hulls– Dec 2 5:30pm Lighted Yacht Parade route from Oakland terminal of San Francisco Bay Ferry to Alameda’s Grand marina Free View from the Oakland or Alameda waterfronts Jack London Square, Broadway and Water Street, Oakland, CA. Just note we waited forever for the parade to start last year. They say 5:30 but we probably didn’t see boats until 6:30. We found parking easy and spots to view without a problem. It is a very fun and very slow parade.
11. Santana Row Mommy and Me Dec 12th 10-12 dress warm and be prepared for face painting, balloons, singing, dancing, food, crafts, and flowers.
12. Santa at the Westgate Mall Santa Friday-Sun Nov 19th-Dec 11th daily from Wed Dec 14th-Sat Dec 24th times vary usually 11am-8pm. Mommy and Me the second Wednesday of every month at 10am. Special Christmas kids club December 13th. Balloons, face painting, music, and dancing.
13. Zoolights and Oakland Zoo – Select evenings Dec 1st-Jan 1st 5:30-9pm $10 adults $7 ages 2-14 Oakland Zoo 9777 Gold Links Road Oakland oakland zoo open from 10-4pm
14. Christmas in the Park– FREE and opens November 24th. Located at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez from 9am-midnight. Here they have a decorated Winter Wonderland Downtown San Jose rides next to Christmas in the Park. FREE Historic Trolley Rides Downtown San Jose between Diridon and Civic Center Light Rail Stations.
15. San Francisco Pier 39 –Holiday magic Free fun begins at 6pm each night. Lots of fun things to do around the city in the evening. Tree lighting ceremony on November 19th at 6pm.
16. Downtown Ice Opens Friday Nov 17th-Jan 15th. Look up specific times but price is $15 ages 10 & younger and $17 ages 11 and older. Only $10 if you bring your own skates. There are no in and out privileges. So once you’re in you have to stay in.
17. Roaring Camp Railroads– Holiday Tree Walk, Holiday Lights Train and more on select dates Nov 24-26 and Dec 2-3, 9-10, 16-23. Bring a toy for the toys for tots and $2 deducted from train ticket. Tickets are $22 child $29 adult.
18. Niles Canyon Railway Train of Lights Train of Lights cost is $30 coach, $45 first-class dome, $600 private caboose. Trains depart from Niles at 4:30 p.m. and Sunol 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas. The tickets usually sale out so get them now!
19. Bass Pro Santa’s Wonderland – Free photos with Santa now until Dec 24th. 10-8pm daily, crafts from 5-7pm, and free games and activities from open to close including: arcade, remote control trucks, big dig excavation area, lincoln logs building area, and more fun. See Santa and get a free picture taken with him.
20. Willow Glen Holiday Lights– Willow Glen is a great place to drive around and see beautiful homes all decked out in Christmas Lights. We even bumped into so Santa and Mrs. Clause sitting out on the front porch of one adorable house giving out free pictures and candy canes.