Weekend: The 113th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Talk about tradition: This splashy sparkler cruises over several nights, and it is all free to see (just find a water-close spot to watch).

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

What to Know

  • The large-scale, on-the-ocean procession twinkles nightly through Dec. 19, 2021
  • Free to watch; viewing from a restaurant or boat will be additional
  • The Ring of Lights competition features on-shore decorations, with businesses and homes going all out, glitter-wise

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade: Doing anything 113 times takes some effort, surely, but pulling off a large-scale event for 113 years? That deserves a full-throated "whoa," but this Newport Beach treat has done it. It's one of the planet's biggest on-the-water dazzlers, and it is all free to see (though, for sure, watching from a restaurant or another boat will cost). The Ring of Lights, or the on-shore decorations, add extra illumination to the joyful, multi-night event. The bulbs are on through Sunday, Dec. 19.

Holiday Sing-Along: This annual bonbon from the LA Phil won't actually have its sing-along part in 2021, but there will be other festive doings, including skits and music and several of the seasonal things that up the merry mood. Santa will pay Walt Disney Concert Hall a visit, ho, ho, ho, and there's a pre-show Winter Wonderland of activities to explore. Make that *two* shows, for this popular happening is happening twice on Dec. 18, during the daytime.

The "Snoopy House" Returns: Cue the "Linus & Lucy" theme and do a joyful dance, for this long-runner of a local display, one that's been enjoyed, for free, by generations of Southern California, returns to the front lawn of Costa Mesa City Hall after a year away (at IKEA, where it temporarily became a drive-thru experience). There will be activities, too, during the Dec. 17-22 run, but check the official site to make sure you time your stop-by to the things you'd like to do (think cocoa, a little sledding hill, and such). It's been a must-visit for PEANUTS fans since 1966, when it first appeared in front of a home.

Tubin' Santa: Snow arrived in the mountains earlier this week, and just in time, too, for Santa Claus is stopping by Big Bear Snow Play for some snapshots and to ride a snow tube on Dec. 18. You say you'll be closer to Lake Arrowhead on that day? SkyPark at Santa's Village is in full and festive swing, with its woodland characters, special events (like tea with Mrs. Claus), and ice skating on the schedule (Santa won't be tubing at Santa's Village, but you may spy him around the pretty property). Do buy your ticket in advance, before driving up the big hill, and be sure to review the road conditions, and have chains in your trunk, if they're required.

Luminaria Nights: Southern Californians are savoring some serious sparkle as week or so ahead of Christmas Day, thanks to all of the big lighting displays around the region. But finding paper bags boasting candles? That can be rather hard, if you are outside New Mexico. But the California Botanic Garden, in Claremont, will again feature the Land of Enchantment's flickering lanterns, which will be placed around the airy and rambling expanse. Music, goodies for purchase, and other yuletide details will up the sweet atmosphere. Do get your tickets for the event, which flickers on Dec. 17 and 18, in advance.

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