The Central Coast has what seems like a never ending list of amazing holiday activities perfect for getting into that holly jolly spirit we all know and love. There’s nothing more magical than strolling through beautiful neighborhoods enjoying the fun holiday lights and decorations scattered throughout your community. Here on the Central Coast, we love celebrating the holidays throughout the entire month of December, boasting a long list of fun activities and events sure to fill you with holiday cheer. Here are 12 of our favorite events to fill up your holiday calendar, boasting tons of festive lights, decorations, and songs!
1. Cambria Christmas Market
November 25-December 23
The annual Cambria Christmas Market is a holiday event that is hard to match: huge lighted decorations, spectacular vendors, and festive music all in the same place! This has become a Central Coast staple for getting into the holiday spirit for their amazing light displays throughout the market that will trump most other spots. Based upon the historical Christmas Market traditions dating back to the late Middle Ages, this one offers local food and drinks, unique vendors, and special events. Don’t miss out on this most Instagram-worthy holiday event, tickets sell out every year!
2. Holiday Harmony and Tree Lighting Ceremony
This free, fun-filled family event is the perfect way to spend an evening with your loved ones enjoying the holidays by the beach. Although you may be celebrating a sandy Christmas, the Holiday Harmony and Tree Lighting Ceremony in Pismo features photos with Santa, cookie decorating, bounce houses, and even fresh snow right by the seashore! See the city’s gorgeous tree lit up in the night sky at 6pm on December 2 and enjoy the varying events from 5:30-7:30pm.
3. Hearst Castle Holiday Twilight Tours
Hearst Castle is one of the most beautiful spots on the Central Coast. With its ornate architecture, art, and interior design, this has become a staple for visitors and residents to enjoy. During the holidays though, Hearst Castle is transformed into a seasonal showcase, full of abundant holiday decorations. Mr. Hearst loved the holiday season and always made this spot especially festive for his family and guests, so see his dreams recreated with this Holiday Twilight Tour! Tickets available online.
4. Downtown SLO Holiday Parade
This year is the 40th Annual Holiday Parade in Downtown San Luis Obispo! Known as one of the largest holiday festivities on the Central Coast, this parade is a must-see if you’re ready to start spreading holiday cheer! Featuring an array of floats, vehicles, marching bands, dancers, and special guests, this free event is the perfect way to kick off your holiday season. Head to Downtown Higuera Street from 7-9pm to join in on the fun.
5. Paso Robles Christmas Light Parade
The 55th Annual Christmas Light Parade in Downtown Paso Robles will provide you with the festive lights and sounds of the holiday season! Local businesses and residents come together to decorate the town and join Santa and Mrs. Claus in a Christmas celebration! Downtown will be lit up with tons of gorgeous decorations and an illuminated parade will make its way through the streets for spectators to enjoy. Feel the music and magic of Christmas at 7pm on December 3rd!
6. Grover Beach Holiday Tree Lighting
Cocoa, coffee, cookies, and caroling will all be provided at the fun Holiday Tree Lighting in Grover Beach! Watch the beautiful holiday tree illuminated with beautiful lights and decorations from 5:30-6:30pm in this quaint beach town for an oceanfront Christmas you won’t forget!
7. Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade
Enjoy a unique holiday parade this December at the Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade! Come early to secure your spot along the waterfront at the Embarcadero to watch the area’s most beautiful boats lighted and decorated with the cutest holiday decor. From the smallest skiff to the grandest yacht, this parade is like no other on the Central Coast! Pre-parade festivities start at 4:30pm and include holiday music, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and tons of places to grab a bite to eat. At 6:30pm head to the bay to see these beautiful boats and enjoy a favorite annual holiday tradition.
8. Santa’s House in Mission Plaza
November 25-December 24
Bring the whole family to Downtown San Luis Obispo in Mission Plaza to visit Santa in his own house! You may spot him standing on his porch waving to pedestrians, so don’t forget to stop by for a photo and a candy cane! Every child that visits with Santa will also receive a toy and coloring book. Enjoy these holidays to last a lifetime with a souvenir framed photo or take your own photo on your mobile phone! Pricing and date/times vary.
9. The Nutcracker (SLO, December 10/11)
December 10 & 11
The Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo presents the classic Nutcracker ballet! Join Clara on Christmas Eve and follow her through the night of dreams, full of toy soldiers and sugar plum fairies! Watch the beautiful dancers of the Civic Ballet of SLO, accompanied by the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra, for this beautiful holiday production.
10. 30th Annual Vine Street Victorian Showcase
Head to the famous Vine Street for a Christmas party in Paso Robles! The 30th Annual Vine Stret Victorian Showcase features your favorite holiday characters like Ebenezer Scrooge, the Snow Queen, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Community caroling, lighted floats, entertainers, open houses, live music, cotton candy, cookies, and hot cocoa are sure to put you in the holiday spirit!
11. Holiday Magic at Charles Paddock Zoo
Enjoy a different kind of gift-giving this holiday season at Charles Paddock Zoo! Watch as the animals are delighted when receiving their very own holiday gifts, tearing open the homemade packages delivered by Santa and his elves. Continue the holiday fun with a craft activity to take home and hot cocoa for everyone!
12. A Christmas Story
The SLO Little Theatre presents a holiday classic, A Christmas Story! Based on the comedy writing of author Jean Shepherd and the popular movie, meet Ralphie Parker and his family during their Christmas season. Follow Ralphie through his Christmas antics as you laugh with the whole family!