Holidays

Set Sail for Catalina Island's Holiday Happenings

From Mt Ada's Holiday Open House to a toy drive to New Year's Eve at the Casino, the enchanted getaway is ready for a splashy season.

Catalina Island Co.

What to Know

  • There are a number of November and December events lending extra ebullience to Avalon
  • Mt Ada is hosting a Holiday Open House on Dec. 1
  • A New Year's Eve gala returns to the celebrated Casino Ballroom on Dec. 31

Snow? Santa's sleigh moves across it, at high speeds, all to get all sorts of sweet gifties to millions of homes on Christmas Eve.

But there's a way to move quickly across what snow is, when it isn't cold, and to have an ebullient assortment of sunshiny seasonal adventures.

We're speaking of taking a boat across water, which is sort of like a sleigh sliding over frozen H2O, when you ponder it in a fanciful, not-too-serious way.

And that boat? It's headed for Catalina Island, an enchanting, water-surrounded destination that famously ups the festive fun when December arrives.

And that sand-adjacent sparkle will be on full and festive display around Avalon, the isle's largest town, over several upcoming dates.

Look for a Holiday Open House at Mt Ada, the handsome structure built by William Wrigley Jr. a century ago.

Entry to the Dec. 1 event is $10, and "... guests will enjoy baked goods, live music from the Bierman Brothers, photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and multiple raffles and a silent auction to raise funds for local nonprofits."

A "shopping extravaganza" will flower around Avalon's charming stores from Dec. 4-11, with chances to decorate gingerbread houses, enjoy carolers, and go on a "virtual treasure hunt" (with prizes).

A toy drive is on at Hermosa Hotel through Dec. 20, while a mailbox set up for "Dear Santa" letters will be located at the Atwater Arcade through Dec. 17.

And the Casino Ballroom? Not only does it wear its most Christmassy hues when the stars come out at night, but its starriest night is ahead: New Year's Eve.

A gourmet buffet, music, and the chance to get dressy at one of California's most vintage party spaces are part of this gala, which will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary (the Casino Building, of course, will mark its centennial at the end of this decade).

For packages, boat details, and all of the Avalon-esque info you need to know, turn your own ship for this site now.