Costa Mesa, CA, USA
tracking pixel image

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Holiday Events This November and December in Orange County

Posted on October 29, 2021 | 4:00pm | Travel Costa Mesa

Holiday Events This November and December in Orange County

What if the holidays were exciting again? With theme parks, live theatre and more, the holidays are back in Orange County! Want to stay in the center of it all? Costa Mesa’s location makes an ideal home base for all the exciting holiday events happening in Orange County this year. Check out our holiday hotel deals for great packages and prices!

South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting

November 18

The annual South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting begins with a performance by the Orange County School for the Performing Arts with special guest Matthew Morrison. The celebration includes snow and an appearance by Santa! Then, watch as the 90-foot tree sparkles with nearly 100,000 lights. The event is free.

Winter Fest Presents Night of Lights OC at OC Fair & Event Center

November 26 – January 2

Winter Fest returns as Night of Lights OC, a drive-thru winter wonderland experience. The interactive drive-thru features over one million lights, tree lighting, holiday characters and an appearance by Santa. It’s a fun event for the whole family (pets are not permitted). You can even pre-order holiday treats to enjoy in your car through the drive. Night of Lights OC does include fog, haze and strobe light effects.

Photo by Doug Gifford

The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

December 10 – 19

American Ballet Theatre’s exciting production of The Nutcracker returns to Orange County! Follow Clara and the Nutcracker Prince along a journey with toy soldiers, mischievous mice, snowflakes and a dazzling Christmas tree. Pacific Symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score. A holiday treat for the whole family!

Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

November 12 – January 9

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort return this year! See both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure decorated for the holiday season. Both parks have a variety of holiday events and decorations. Enjoy the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park, a celebration of multicultural music, food and traditions. Try tasty bites and spirits from diverse cultures and celebrations too. Rides getting a holiday makeover such as Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl. Watch the tree lighting on Buena Vista Street and visit Santa at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. At Disneyland Park, see the Wintertime Enchantment of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the “it’s a small world” Holiday Lighting and the Haunted Mansion Holiday. “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks display lights up the sky on select nights!

Photo courtesy of Sawdust Art Festival

Winter Fantasy at Sawdust Art Festival

November 20 – December 19

Visit the famous Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach for Winter Fantasy. The holiday art festival features a wonderland of lights, decorations and falling snow! Shop handcrafted items from 150 makers and artists, take festival holiday classes with hands-on demonstrations and visit with Santa. There are also three stages of live entertainment from carolers, puppeteers, community performances and music. Winter Fantasy is open on Saturdays and Sundays, plus Black Friday, from 10 am to 7pm. 

Photo courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano

Capistrano Lights at Mission San Juan Capistrano

December 4 – December 30

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano on select days in December for Capistrano Lights, an evening of holiday festivities. The evening includes a tree lighting of the Mission’s 30-foot tree, Dickensian carolers, surprise performers and photo opportunities under the 10-foot wreath and with Santa. The Serra Chapel will also be open after hours, along with the Mission Store and vendors with sweet treats and kids crafts. Tickets include daytime admission to Mission San Juan Capistrano, with multi-language audio tour, and holiday programming from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Please visit individual venue websites for COVID-19 safety requirements.