Holiday Events throughout the Season Spread Cheer for Kids to Adults from 1 to 100

MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIF. Oct. 15, 2015 – Monterey County is an ideal getaway to light up the holiday season offering indulgences in arts + culture, food + wine, and family-friendly activities. Strap on those sleigh bells and hit the road – October, November and December are packed with events that evoke the feelings the holidays were meant to inspire.

Haunted Ghost Tour
Get in the Halloween spirit with a haunted ghost tour through eerie Point Sur Lightstation in Big Sur. Some say the station is teeming with trapped spirits and that numerous lost souls still live there; one recent poll called it the fourth most haunted lighthouse in America. Start off the tour by enjoying the incredible sunset over the Pacific Ocean followed by a buffet dinner in the barn. Afterwards the fun begins with a spooky tour of the unrestored triplex, followed by ghost stories and topped off with dessert and beverages. Children under 6 are not permitted. Tour starts at 5:15pm. Highway One, 19 miles south of Carmel. Admission: $85 | October 17 & 24, 2015

Halloween Costume Party
It's only fair that Monterey County's newest nightclub hosts the hottest Halloween Party! 201 Main in Salinas opens their brand new Exchange Night Club with an incredible costume contest complete with VIP tables, bottle service and killer cocktails. Admission: $20 | October 31, 2015

Cowboy Poetry & Musical Festival
Escape the holiday bonanza by slapping on your chaps and spurs for the 17th Annual Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Musical Festival. Ride on in for a wranglin’ good time sporting the nation’s top balladeers and cowboy/girl poets featured in a three-day weekend event including a western art and gear sale, Saturday night western hoedown and “cowboy” church service among other festivities. Here is where the traditions and lifestyles of the vaqueros are blended with the cowboys who worked their way west from Texas, Arizona and Nevada. This year they are proudly celebrating the art, artists and artisans who draw their inspiration from this mix of cultures. Admission: Free to $355 for an all event pass | November 20-22, 2015

Cannery Row 21th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Sleigh in for a full day of play along legendary Cannery Row. Perched overlooking Monterey Bay in Steinbeck Plaza, this annual event showcases the season in all its glory. Throughout the day, families can enjoy festive holiday music, family entertainment and a visit from the big guy in red, who will flip the switch on the towering 25-foot holiday tree at 6:00 pm. Santa returns every weekend to the plaza until Christmas Eve. Free | November 27, 2015

Salinas Holiday Parade of Lights
Kick off the season at the 13th Annual Salinas Holiday Parade of Lights, a spectacular family and community delight that attracts over 10,000 spectators. Salinas native Ernie Camacho, who’s a former San Francisco Giants pitcher and recent inductee into the Salinas Valley Sports Hall of Fame, will serve as Grand Marshall. The event will also feature a kids' zone at Maya Cinemas from 4-6 pm and balloons to complement the parade. The parade route winds up South Main Street and through Old Town to the National Steinbeck Center. Free | November 29, 2015

Christmas at the Inns
Known for its historic inns and architectural wonders, Pacific Grove features the annual Christmas at the Inns event - showcasing 10 bed & breakfast inns decorated in Victorian-era holiday splendor. This evening walk is laced with period-style innkeepers, light refreshments and entertainment that will make you feel like you stepped back in time. Tickets are limited. Admission: $20 | December 1-2, 2015

14th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights in Pacific Grove
This lighted parade features marching bands, holiday floats, dance teams, equestrian groups and the main attraction, Santa Claus. After the parade, stores will remain open for holiday shopping. Enjoy wagon rides, holiday photos with Santa, and serenades by local carolers.
Free | December 3, 2015

Holiday Tree Lighting and Plaza Party in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Devendorf Park and Carmel Plaza spike up the season with the annual tree lighting in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea. Immediately following the tree lighting the Carmel Plaza, located on Ocean between Junipero and Mission, will host their annual open house until 7 pm, offering refreshments and entertainment. Free | December 4, 2015

The Christmas Ballet at Sunset Center
The Smuin Ballet Holiday Program hits a high note with The Christmas Ballet at Carmel’s stunning Sunset Center. Smuin offers two acts filled with a stunning and original array of ballet, tap and jazz. A joyous celebration of dance and a true holiday classic, this year’s program features Smuin favorites and new pieces to tantalize your mind.
Admission: $57 to $73 | December 4 -5, 2015

22nd Annual Stillwell's Fun in the Park
For a winter wonderland getaway, Caledonia Park in downtown Pacific Grove sparks the senses with a festive holiday lights, hayrides, petting zoo and plenty of cheer. Special guests include Frosty the Snowman, Snow Queen and, of course, Santa’s arrival on a shiny Pacific Grove fire truck. Free | December 5, 2015

Streets of Bethlehem
Step into the Nativity scene 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. Free | December 2-5, 2015

Inns of Distinction Tour
Explore Carmel-by-the-Sea’s top inns on this annual holiday tour pairing food and beverage from local wineries and restaurants, with festive holiday decor. Eight properties will be showcased including the historic Pine Inn, Doris Day’s dog-friendly Cypress Inn and the Carmel Country Inn. Info: Carmel Heritage Society, 831.624.4447.
Admission: $25 to $35 | December 6, 2015

Lighted Boat Parade
The boats of Monterey Bay will be brilliantly decked out as they sail from the Coast Guard Pier past Cannery Row to Lover's Point. The ships compete for the coveted award for Best Decorations from the Monterey Bay Yacht Club at the end of the evening. Check out this unique, can't-miss event from along the Monterey and Pacific Grove coastline. Free | December 6, 2015

Monterey’s Christmas in the Adobes
Stroll though the streets of historic downtown Monterey and visit 19th century adobes for fandango dance lessons at Custom House, or bagpipes and cookies at Robert Louis Stevenson House. This two-day event is a top draw in Monterey, showcasing 23 historic buildings in full seasonal regalia, with illuminated interiors and period costumes. This is the only time of year many of these stunning structures are open. Admission: $20 to $40 | December 11-12, 2015

Jingle Bell Run
Burn off those holiday cookies and spread the holiday spirit of giving with the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce and Arthritis Foundation as they host a 5K race (run or walk) at Lovers Point Park. Strap on those jingle bells and hit the pavement to help raise funds to support the foundation. Admission: Free to $40 | December 12, 2015

First Night Monterey 2016
First Night Monterey celebrates the lively arts scene in Monterey County with its 23rd annual family-friendly celebration. More than thirty venues hold concurrent performances and activities for both children and adults, culminating at Custom House Plaza to ring in the New Year. Live music ranges from classical to Irish traditional to experimental hip-hop. There will be dance performances, great food and lots of surprises! Admission: $10 to $22 | December 31, 2015


John David Van Kirk | Monterey County CVB

Monterey County offers ample opportunity to make every moment count. Nestled on the iconic Central Coast of California, it is easy for visitors to arrive via scenic Highway 1, highway 101, or by flying into the Monterey Regional Airport. Life-enriching experiences abound in this area that boasts 99 miles of prime Pacific coastline, the world’s finest aquarium and marine sanctuary, 46,000 acres of premium vineyards, more than 40 tasting rooms, and 26 golf courses including the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links,. Monterey County stretches from the artichoke fields of Castroville through Monterey Peninsula and down the pristine Big Sur coast, all the way to the Salinas Valley. For travel and accommodation information and to request a free copy of Monterey’s official Travel Guide visit