Holiday events in Santa Cruz County: Find tree lightings, parades, train rides, light displays and Santa events near you.
Celebrate the holiday season and enjoy playful, thoughtful and unique family traditions. Check out this list for fabulous and festive ways to celebrate the holiday in Santa Cruz.
Tree-lightings in Felton, Boulder Creek and Scotts Valley
Enjoy the annual tree lighting in Felton at the Felton deck across the street from New Leaf Market on November 26. Enjoy hot chocolate, holiday cookies, Christmas caroling and see Santa Claus on a big fire truck from 5 -7 PM.
Santa then heads to Boulder Creek to light the town tree at 6 PM. He will be available for photos and be sure to check your name on his “good” list. Enjoy a carriage ride through town, sing Christmas carols with local students, and see snow from a snowmaking machine.
Christmas Tree Lighting Festival in Scotts Valley on December 3 from 4 -7 PM at the Scotts Valley Community Center. Freshman Olivia Lapioli says, “I go to the Scott’s Valley Tree Lighting every year because it is always so much fun and a great way to start off the season!” Enjoy carriage rides by Clydesdale horses, two stages with dancers, music by carolers and live bands, and then Santa will arrive on a fire truck.
Parade and train rides in Santa Cruz
See the lighted boat parade at the Santa Cruz Harbor on December 3 at 5:30 – 7:30PM. Boats will be decorated and will be parading throughout the Santa Cruz Harbor. Freshman Ruth Main states, “I think I’m going to the boat parade in December. I went last year and it was super cool.” There will be power boats, sail boats, stationary vessels and row boats.
The annual Downtown Holiday Parade is on December 3 from 10 – 12 PM in Downtown Santa Cruz. There will be floats, marching bands, classic cars, horses and Santa Claus.
Roaring Camp Tree Walk train on November 25 11 AM and 12:30 PM at the Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton. The steam train will be decorated and will travel to Bear Mountain. Enjoy hot cider while touring the lighted tree forest. This event will continue Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30 PM through December 11.
Get on the Santa Cruz Lights Train from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for four weekends, Saturdays and Sundays beginning November 25 at 5, 6:30 and 8 PM. Board the decorated train in front of Neptune’s Kingdom. The train travels downtown Santa Cruz and back and includes a one-ride pass to the boardwalk.
Santa Cruz Polar Express for the first time comes to Santa Cruz on November 25 through December 23 from 1 – 8:30 PM. Just like the story, children will have their golden tickets and will receive a jingle bell from Santa Claus. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies on the way to the North Pole.
Light Displays and Santa Events
The Griswoldia laser art show will illuminate the historic buildings on the Tannery Arts campus from December 1 – 31 from 6 – 9 PM. The lights are a rapid advance of the technology of LEDs and laser beams. The lights will be on every night in December.
Surfin’ Santa arrives with his elves on his outrigger canoe and surfboard on the shores of Capitola Beach on November 26 at 12 PM. Santa will settle into his beach chair and visit with the children.
By Cheyanne Futch