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Santa Cruz Christmas Events

Santa Cruz Christmas Tree Farms

No fruitcake here, we only list the good stuff!

First, my apologies to fruitcake lovers everywhere. Some of my best friends love fruitcakes. Second, Santa Cruz loves a good holiday, and none is bigger than the Christmas holiday season with its winter inspired events and activities. From a lighted boat parade to 20th century inspired games and crafts to a Surfin' Santa – Santa Cruz knows how to put on a really big show!

Here is a list of upcoming events:

Santa Cruz Christmas Tree Farm Locations  Late Nov & Dec.

Multiple locations for pick and cut Christmas farms are listed.
Getting your family's Christmas tree can become a cherished family memory and the beginning of a new family tradition!

Santa Cruz Community Tree Lighting – To be announced 

Corner of Pacific Ave. & Water Streets., Downtown, Santa Cruz (831) 429.8443
A community event that features Santa, Victorian carriage rides, tree lighting, holiday caroling, and food drive fro the needy.

Santa’s Reindeer Round-up – Nov. 27, 2015 ♦ 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Pacific Ave., Downtown, Santa Cruz (831) 429.8443
Find Santa’s reindeer that are hidden throughout stores in Downtown Santa Cruz and be entered to win raffle prizes and treats!

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train – Nov. 27 – 28 & Dec. 5 – 6, 12 – 13, 18 – 23 

Feton to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – Vintage excursion cars, adorned with thousands of colorful lights, roll through the streets of Santa Cruz as passengers lend their voices to holiday carols, sip hot spiced cider and listen to musical entertainment while Santa visits the little ones, or the young at heart! 

Surfin' Santa – Nov. 28, 2015 ♦ 12:00 to 3:00pm.

Capitola Village, Capitola (831) 475-6522
Santa & his reindeer surf into Capitola Beach! 

Santa Claus at Marini’s Candies Downtown – Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 – 23 ♦ 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Pacific Ave., Downtown, Santa Cruz (831) 429.8443
Photo opt with Santa Claus! 

Downtown Santa Cruz Holiday Parade – Dec. 5, 2015 ♦ 10:00 – 12:00 pm

Pacific Ave., Downtown, Santa Cruz (831) 429-8433
Marching bands, floats, horses, classic cars, and Santa parade down Pacific Ave.

Lighted Boat Parade Dec. 5, 2015

Santa Cruz Harbor – Santa Cruz (831) 475-6161
Decorated boats parade through Santa Cruz Harbor. This is a fun event for the whole family.

Holidays on the Ranch – Dec. 12, 2015 11:00 to 3:00pm

Wilder Ranch State Park – locatedtwo miles north on Hwy. 1, Santa Cruz, CA (831) 426.0505
Experience the winter holidays as Santa Cruzeans did in the early 20th century with traditional games, crafts, and music.

WinterFest 2015 – Dec. 12 ♦ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Pacific Ave., Downtown, Santa Cruz
The downtown open house serves up find crafts, treats, deals, carolers, musicians, merriment and more! Fun for the whole family

Victorian Carriage Rides – Dec. 12, 13, 19, 20 ♦ 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Pacific Ave., Downtown, Santa Cruz
Enjoy a great family outing with a Victorian Carriage ride, from the Santa Cruz Carriage Company. Click on link to find out pricing.

Jingle Shells Art & Book Dec. 13, 2015

Seymour Marine Discovery Center – Santa Cruz (831) 459-3800
Their annual holiday celebration features ocean- and nature-inspired gifts by local artists and crafts people. In addition, there are plenty of children's crafts, musical performances, and holidays decorated exhibit hall. The festivities conclude with the lighting of their outdoor blue whale skeleton.

The Nutcracker – Dec. 18, 19 & 20, 2015

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre – 2800 South Rodeo Gulch Road, Suite C, Soquel, CA 95073  (831) 477-1606
Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre boasts a fully professional orchestra for its annual "The Nutcracker" as well as a Music Director.

Christmas with the Chorale, at Holy Cross Church – Dec. 19, 20, 2015 ♦ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Holy Cross Church – 123 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA
$25 entrance fee to listen to beautifully inspired Christmas music.



What’s on Tap


Santa Cruz Festivals & Events:

Thunderbirds on the Santa Cruz Wharf! Sept. 29, 2018 at 9am to 3pm.

Featuring the classic 1955-1957, the 1958-1965 vintage and the retro, 2002-2005 Thunderbirds.

Open Studios Art Tour – First 3 weeks in Oct. 2018

Welcome Back Monarchs Day – Oct. 14, 2018 11am – 4pm.

Annual Monte Foundation Fireworks Extravaganza! – Oct. 7, 2018

Santa Cruz Pumpkin Patches—Oct. 2018

MORE Santa Cruz Halloween Celebrations—Oct. 2018

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival—Oct. 13 & 14, 2018

Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA



For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Santa Cruz.



Top Santa Cruz Attractions:


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Fun for all ages.

Santa Cruz Campgrounds

Ocean views or Redwoods? Over 27 campgrounds and RV Parks

Santa Cruz Fishing 

Fall is fishing and crabbing season in Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz Surfing

With 11 world-class surf breaks such as Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point, it is easy to understand why the greatest surfers in the world call Santa Cruz home!

Whale Watching – Whale Watching December through May


For more information on local attractions, click on the Attractions or Recreational Activities.




The Region’s Fall Advisories:

Traffic Conditions. Rush hour traffic can be extremely challenging – especially along Mission Street and Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Capitols. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and arrive early and leave late. Go to to learn about road conditions.

Yes, it’s still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.