Monterey County's Top Holiday Events
Holiday celebrations in Monterey County bring back memories of a golden era and create new memories to last a lifetime. Here, the holiday season is centered around beautiful lights, the joy of sharing and simple pleasures like a cup of hot cocoa with an ocean view.
Late November and early December are packed with events that evoke the feelings these holidays were meant to engender. We could keep them all to ourselves, but in the spirit of holiday sharing, we invite you to join in the good cheer with us!
Ice Skating by the BaySaturday, November 17 - Sunday, January 6
Custom House Plaza transforms into a winter wonderland this season for Ice Skating by the Bay. Enjoy the outdoor ice rink well into the New Year! Admission is $10 for children and $12 for adults.
Del Monte Shopping Center Holiday Tree LightingSaturday, November 17, 5pm
Kick off the holiday season at the Del Monte Shopping Center on November 17th! The one stop shop for all of your holiday gifts will light their holiday tree and provide live entertainment from Eight Second Ride and serve delicious cookies and hot cocoa. Guests who bring three cans of food will also receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win gift cards to various stores in the center.
Cannery Row Holiday Tree LightingFriday, November 23, 4:30pm
Santa sleighs in for a full day of play along legendary Cannery Row. The festivities begin at Steinbeck Plaza overlooking Monterey Bay at 4:30pm with balloon artists, Christmas carolers and reindeer. Stick around until 6pm when Santa flips the switch on a towering 25-foot holiday tree. He makes a return visit every weekend until Christmas Eve from 12pm-4pm. Admission is free.
Salinas Holiday Parade of LightsSunday, November 25, 6:00pm
Kick off your holidays at the annual Salinas family and community delight that attracts over 10,000 spectators. Parade entrants range from marching bands, floats and dancers to walking groups and classic cars. The route winds up South Main Street and through Oldtown to the National Steinbeck Center. Celebrity announcers keep you well informed during the festivities.
Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival Friday, November 30 - Sunday, December 2
Pack those chaps and spurs for a wranglin' good time with some of the nation's top balladeers and cowboy/girl poets featured during the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival. The three-day event hosts several great shows, open mic sessions, a western art and gear sale, a Saturday night western hoedown, silent auction and "cowboy" church service among other festivities.
Stillwell's Snow in the ParkSaturday, December 1, 10am-4pm
Caledonia Park in downtown Pacific Grove behind the Post Office will be covered in a blanket of snow and decorated with twinkling lights. Lots of wintry fun for all! Snow in the Park features Santa's arrival on a shiny Pacific Grove fire truck, Frosty the Snowman, hayrides, a petting zoo & lots of entertainment.
Inns of Distinction
Sunday, December 2, 2pm-5pm
Several quaint inns and B&Bs in Carmel-by-the-Sea open their doors this afternoon for the Inns of Distinction tour. Featured inns include Happy Landing Inn, Carmel Cottages Inn, Hofsas House, Cypress Inn, Lamp Lighter, Tally Ho and Candlelight Inn. Guests will also enjoy delicious food from Flarherty's, Terry's Lounge, Il Fornaio, and sip savory wine from Heller, J. Lohr, Ventana and more. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.
Pacific Grove Christmas Tree LightingMonday, December 3, 5:30pm-8:30pm
Come to Pacific Grove for an old-fashioned Christmas tree lighting! The town Christmas tree is located at Jewell Park, at the corner of Central and Forest Avenues. Don't forget to visit Santa's Christmas Party at Chautauaqua Hall for refreshments, live entertainment and a dance show.
Christmas at the InnsTuesday, December 4 and Wednesday, December 5
It's Pacific Grove at its most picturesque, as ten of the town's bed and breakfasts and inns deck their halls and open their doors so you can share their holiday cheer in Victorian-era splendor. Each and every location will have great live music and tasty holiday treats! A limited number of tickets are available. Admission is $20. Please call 831-373-3304 or visit the official website to reserve your spot.
Streets of BethlehemWednesday, December 5 - Saturday, December 8
Step into the Nativity story, as 200 re-enactors, along with live animals and musical groups, recreate the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Volunteers from the First Baptist Church of Salinas recreate the entire town of Bethlehem to provide visitors with a truly immersive experience.
Holiday Parade of LightsThursday, December 6, 6pm-9pm
An annual tradition, Pacific Grove's Holiday Parade of Lights is a fun hometown parade down "Main Street, USA." This lighted parade includes floats, marching bands, dance troupes, equestrian performances and Santa Claus. After the parade, carolers will walk through the streets of downtown Pacific Grove as local businesses stay open well into the evening for the holiday celebration.
Carmel-by-the-Sea Christmas Tree LightingFriday, December 7, 4:30pm
Carmel-by-the-Sea lights up the night with a special tree lighting ceremony at Devendorf Park. There will be plenty of entertainment, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus!
Christmas in the AdobesFriday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, 5pm-9pm
Step back into Monterey's past during Christmas in the Adobes. See the adobes by candlelight and enjoy refreshments and live performances as volunteers in period attire welcome you into historic homes decorated in historical style. The twenty 19th-century adobes, lit by luminaries and enhanced with period decorations, are within an easy walk of each other. Learn while you celebrate; docents and volunteers will be on hand to tell the story of each of these charming buildings, many of which are only open to the public during this celebration.
Tickets are $15 for adults through October 31st and $20 after. Tickets are $2 for children ages 6-17 (must be accompanied by a paying adult), and free for children ages 5 and under. Buy tickets online.
Jingle Bell Run with SantaSaturday, December 8, 8am-10am
Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce and the Arthritis Foundation introduce a festive Jingle Bell 5K race (run or walk) at Lovers Point Park. Have fun with Santa, tie jingle bells to your shoes, and help raise funds to support the foundation.
Santa's Fly-InSaturday, December 8, 10:30am
Santa and Mrs. Claus fly in by helicopter direct from the North Pole to Carmel Valley Village Airfield! There they'll board their sleigh and lead a parade through Carmel Valley Village. The parade is filled with horses, the Carmel Valley Kiwanis Club train, unique autos and more! Afterwards kids can head to the Carmel Valley Youth Center for a photo with jolly Old Saint Nick.
Holiday Taste of Wine RowSaturday, December 8, 1pm-5pm
Celebrate the holidays with the wineries located along Carmel Valley's East End Wine Row during the inaugural "Holiday Taste of Wine Row." Featured tasting rooms include Chesebro Wines, Cima Collina, Dawn's Dream Winery, Holman Ranch, Joyce Vineyards, Parsonage Family Winery and Silvestri Vineyard. Ticket holders will enjoy savory wine, tasty treats from local restaurants and plenty of opportunities to shop for that someone special. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door.
Festa Italia presents an Italian-American Christmas ConcertSaturday, December 8, 6pm
Join award-winning singer and radio host Filippo Voltaggio for an evening of Italian-American songs and stories at the Monterey Conference Center. This special concert will also feature performance from the Anthony Land Band, Erasimo Aiello and David Marzetti. A wine reception will take place before the concert beginning at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Call 831-375-1407 for tickets.
Children's Nutcracker Holiday Tea
Saturday, December 22, 1pm-3pm
Children will be delighted with scenes from the Nutcracker today at Carmel Valley Ranch. Children of all ages will enjoy learning sword play, dance moves, and of course, mouse moves. Each child will receive a special gift to take home and a photo to capture this memory for years to come. Afternoon tea for adults and children alike will be served. The event is $45 per person and $25 for those ages 3 and under. For reservations call 831-620-6427.
Christmas Dinners in Monterey County Tuesday, December 25
Leave the stress of the holidays to the fabulous restaurants in Monterey County! Several eateries remain open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to serve up delicious seasonal meals. Click here for a list of tasty Christmas offerings.
First Night Monterey Monday, December 31
First Night Monterey celebrates the lively arts scene in Monterey County with its family-friendly celebration of the arts on New Years Eve. Over thirty venues hold concurrent performances and activities for both children and adults, culminating in a convergence on Custom House Plaza, Monterey State Historic Park to ring in 2013. Live music ranges from classical to Irish traditional to experimental hip-hop.
Rio Grill's Resolution Run Tuesday, January 1
Run, or walk, those extra holiday calories off during Rio Grill's Resolution Run! Competitive runners can test themselves with a 10K or a 5K run. The course begins at Crossroads Shopping Village in Carmel, and takes runners along trails and sandy beaches, all with views of the glorious Carmel coastline.