Monterey County is the perfect spot to celebrate the holidays this season. From multiple tree lightings, holiday marketplaces to visits from Santa we have it all! But what truly makes Monterey County a unique holiday destination? We have boiled down to the top ten holiday events in Monterey County that are hard to come across elsewhere. For a full list of holiday events click here.

1. Salinas Holiday Parade of Lights

Sunday, November 25, 6pm- Get into the Christmas spirit at the Salinas Holiday Parade of Lights. This family and community-centric event is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. The lighted parade consists of marching bands, floats, dancers and classic cars. Come early and grab a spot along the parade route which goes up South Main Street and through Oldtown to the National Steinbeck Center.

2. Christmas at the Inns

Tuesday, November 27 and Wednesday, November 27, 6pm-9pm- It’s the most wonderful time in Pacific Grove! One of the most popular holiday events in “America’s Last Hometown” takes place at the beloved inns and bed and breakfasts that Pacific Grove is known for. Each day eight different venues will open their doors and welcome guests into their cozy corners with live entertainment and tasty holiday snacks. A limited number of tickets are available. Admission is $20. Please call 831-373-3304 for tickets and more information.

Christmas at the Inns Pacific Grove

3. Lighted Boat Parade

Sunday, December 2, 5:30pm- Fabulously decorated boats and yachts set sail on the Monterey Bay for an evening Lighted Boat Parade. Creatively decked out ships will leave the Coast Guard Pier and cruise past Cannery Row to Lover's Point in Pacific Grove.

Brighten the Harbor Boat Parade

4. Streets of Bethlehem

Wednesday, December 5 - Saturday, December 8, 6pm-8:30pm- 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.


5. Christmas in the Adobes

Friday, December 7 - Saturday, December 8, 5pm-9pm- Celebrate the holidays 19th century style at the Christmas in the Adobes. Monterey’s twenty adobes will be lit up in holiday splendor with live entertainment, refreshments and volunteers in 19th century attire. There is no better way to tour these historic adobes all within a half-mile of each other. Docents will also be on hand to tell stories about the unique history and to answer questions about the rare architecture. Tickets are $25 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-17 (must be accompanied by a paying adult), and free for children ages 5 and under. Click here to purchase tickets online.

Christmas in the Adobes- Old Whaling Station

6. Jingle Bell Run with Santa

Saturday, December 8, 8am- Put on your Santa hat and sneakers and get ready to run (or walk) along Pacific Grove’s stunning coastline during the Jingle Bell Run. This 5K race benefits the Arthritis Foundation and begins at Lover’s Point Park. Have fun with Santa, tie jingle bells to your shoes and help raise funds to support the foundation.

7. Santa's Fly-In

Saturday, December 8, 10am- Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to town in style! The famous couple flies in by helicopter direct from the North Pole to Carmel Valley Village Airfield. There they'll board their sleigh, lead a parade through Carmel Valley Village and end up at the Carmel Valley Youth Center for visits with youngsters.

8. Inns of Distinction Tour

Sunday, December 9, 2pm-5pm- Several quaint inns and B&Bs in Carmel-by-the-Sea open their doors this afternoon for the Inns of Distinction tour. Stroll the streets of Carmel and visit charming inns while sampling tastings from some of the area's finest restaurants and wine tasting rooms.

9. First Night Monterey

Monday, December 31, 3pm- Looking for a family friendly New Year’s Eve event? Then look no further than First Night Monterey! Plenty of entertainment will be on hand with a plethora of art exhibits, live music, dance performances, great food and more. Over thirty venues in downtown Monterey hold performances throughout the afternoon and into the New Year. Click here for Admission Buttons.

First Night Monterey

10. Rio Grill's Resolution Run

Tuesday, January 1, 8am- Time to burn off all of those holiday cookies during Rio Grill’s Resolution Run. Kick off 2019 with this 6.5 mile foot race or a 3 mile family fun run. The gorgeous course begins at Crossroads Shopping Village in Carmel, and takes runners along trails and sandy beaches, all with views of the glorious Carmel coastline.