Enchanting Christmas Towns to Visit in California

christmas towns

California is home to several charming Christmas towns that offer a magical holiday experience. These towns go all-out for Christmas, transforming into winter wonderlands with dazzling lights and festive decorations. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, from horse-drawn carriage rides to visits with Santa Claus. Delicious food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere make these towns the perfect destinations for a truly enchanting Christmas experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • California is home to enchanting Christmas towns that offer a magical holiday experience.
  • These towns go all-out for Christmas, with dazzling lights and festive decorations.
  • Visitors can enjoy activities such as horse-drawn carriage rides and visits with Santa Claus.
  • The warm, welcoming atmosphere and delicious food make these towns perfect for an enchanting Christmas experience.
  • Plan a visit to one of these picturesque towns and create unforgettable holiday memories in the enchanting ambiance of Christmas.

Solvang, California

Solvang, located in Santa Barbara County, is one of the best Christmas towns to visit in California. This Danish-inspired city is renowned for its charming atmosphere and unique architecture that transports visitors to a picturesque European village.

During the Christmas season, Solvang comes alive with the Solvang Julefest, a festive celebration that captures the enchanting spirit of the holidays. The highlight of this event is the traditional Danish Jul banquet, where visitors can indulge in delicious Scandinavian cuisine and experience the rich cultural heritage of Solvang. Live music performances and captivating dance shows add to the festive ambiance.

As you stroll through the streets of Solvang, you’ll be captivated by the town’s beautiful Christmas lights and decorations that adorn every corner. The combination of the town’s charming architecture and the festive ambiance creates a truly enchanting experience for visitors.

Whether you’re wandering through the Christmas market, sipping on hot cocoa, or enjoying a festive horse-drawn carriage ride, Solvang offers a delightful escape into a picturesque Christmas wonderland.

If you’re looking for one of the best Christmas towns to visit in California, Solvang’s enchanting charm and festive celebrations make it a must-see destination during the holiday season.

Big Bear Lake, California

Located in Southern California, Big Bear Lake is a must-visit destination for a magical Christmas experience. With its snow-covered mountains and picturesque surroundings, it epitomizes the charm of snowy Christmas towns. The glistening snow creates a winter wonderland, offering a perfect playground for activities like skiing, sledding, and ice skating.

Visitors can delight in the breathtaking beauty of the snow-capped mountains while enjoying scenic sleigh rides and horse-drawn carriage rides through the enchanting landscapes. The Big Bear Lake Winter Festival, held annually, adds to the festivities with live music, mesmerizing ice sculpting displays, and other engaging activities for the entire family to revel in.

To capture the essence of this snowy paradise, Big Bear Lake stands out as one of the top Christmas towns in California. Its snowy charm, coupled with a wide array of winter activities, makes it an irresistible destination for those seeking a memorable Christmas getaway.

snowy christmas towns

Nevada City, California

Nevada City, a small town in California, truly comes alive during the Christmas season. The town hosts the Nevada City Victorian Christmas, a popular event featuring a parade, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and market booths. The whole town is adorned with Victorian-style lights and offers a variety of holiday-themed events, including a gingerbread house competition and an elf scavenger hunt. Nevada City’s historic downtown district is a must-visit, with festive window displays that capture the spirit of Christmas. It is a truly festive and charming Christmas town to explore.

festive christmas towns

Highlights of Nevada City Victorian Christmas:

  • Parade featuring marching bands and holiday-themed floats
  • Live carolers singing classic Christmas tunes
  • Horse-drawn carriage rides through the enchanting streets
  • Market booths offering unique gifts and festive treats
  • Victorian-style lights illuminating the entire town

Visitors can immerse themselves in the joyful atmosphere of Nevada City Victorian Christmas and experience the charm of this popular Christmas town. Whether it’s exploring the historic downtown area or participating in the holiday-themed events, Nevada City is a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly festive Christmas experience.

Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach, located in California, is an enchanting Christmas town that combines coastal charm with festive holiday celebrations. This picturesque coastal town offers a beautiful Christmas experience with its sunny and mild weather, allowing visitors to enjoy outdoor activities and the stunning beaches.

One of the highlights of Christmas in Newport Beach is the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. During this spectacular event, brightly decorated boats make their way through Newport Harbor, creating a magical display of lights on the water. It’s a breathtaking sight that shouldn’t be missed.

Visitors to Newport Beach can also enjoy ice skating at the Newport Beach Ice Rink, which offers a stunning view of the ocean. Skating on the ice while surrounded by the beauty of the beach is a unique and memorable experience.

For those who prefer a relaxing stroll, taking a walk along the boardwalk or exploring Balboa Island are popular activities during the Christmas season. The coastal scenery and festive decorations create a charming atmosphere that truly captures the spirit of the holidays.

enchanting christmas towns

Newport Beach is undeniably one of the best Christmas towns in California. Its coastal charm, festive celebrations, and beautiful scenery make it a must-visit destination during the holiday season.

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, known for its warm desert climate, may not be the first place that comes to mind for Christmas festivities. However, this desert city in California celebrates the holiday season in style. The Magic of Lights display at Palm Springs features over a mile of drive-thru light displays that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your car. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens transform into a twinkling wonderland with their WildLights display. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the arts community by visiting Gingerbread Lane at Old Town Artisan Studios, where they can enjoy gingerbread cookies, hot cider, and entertainment performances. Palm Springs offers a unique and magical Christmas experience that shouldn’t be missed.

magical christmas towns

Why Palm Springs is a Magical Christmas Town

  • The Magic of Lights: Drive-thru display with over a mile of dazzling lights
  • WildLights at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens: A twinkling wonderland of holiday lights
  • Gingerbread Lane at Old Town Artisan Studios: Delight in gingerbread cookies, hot cider, and live entertainment

Despite its desert location, Palm Springs embraces the holiday spirit and offers enchanting holiday spots for visitors to enjoy. With its captivating light displays, festive zoo transformation, and arts community engagement, Palm Springs truly embodies the magic of Christmas. Whether you’re exploring the Magic of Lights, strolling through WildLights, or indulging in the sweet delights of Gingerbread Lane, Palm Springs promises a unique and unforgettable Christmas experience.

San Diego, California

San Diego is a beautiful city to visit during the Christmas season. The weather is perfect for those seeking warmth, and there are numerous activities and attractions to enjoy.

  • Families can visit the San Diego Zoo, one of the most popular holiday destinations in the city. They can explore the zoo, see the festive decorations, and even meet Santa Claus.
  • Seaport Village is another must-visit for holiday shopping. With its charming waterfront location and unique boutiques, visitors can find the perfect gifts for their loved ones.
  • For a fun and festive experience, taking a ride on the San Diego Trolley is a great idea. The trolley offers scenic views of the city and takes passengers to popular holiday destinations.

Balboa Park is a fantastic place to explore during the Christmas season. With its fabulous museums, beautiful gardens, and festive decorations, it offers a truly magical experience.

If you’re traveling with kids, theme parks like SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND are perfect for festive getaways. These parks go all out with holiday decorations, live performances, and special events.

When it comes to dining, San Diego has a wide variety of options. From gourmet restaurants serving traditional Christmas dinners to casual eateries offering tasty holiday treats, there’s something for everyone’s taste.

magical cities

San Diego is a vibrant and festive destination for Christmas, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re enjoying the attractions, indulging in delicious food, or simply soaking up the warm holiday atmosphere, San Diego is the perfect place to celebrate the season.

Temecula, California

Temecula is a charming town nestled in the heart of Southern California and is a must-visit destination during the Christmas season. This enchanting town comes alive with festive cheer, as it transforms into a magical Christmas village that captivates visitors of all ages.

When strolling through the streets of Temecula during the holiday season, you’ll be greeted by the warm glow of holiday lights and the delightful sights of beautifully adorned decorations. The town creates a picturesque atmosphere that exudes the spirit of Christmas.

christmas village in california

One of the highlights of the Christmas season in Temecula is the Santa’s Electric Light Parade, a beloved event that draws crowds from near and far. This vibrant parade features dazzling floats, lively marching bands, and, of course, a special appearance by Santa Claus himself. It’s a festive spectacle that ignites the joy and excitement of the season.

For those seeking a wintertime adventure, Temecula provides the opportunity for holiday ice skating at Town Square Park with Temecula on Ice. Glide across the ice to the sounds of cheerful holiday music, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Exploring Old Town Temecula is a must-do during your visit. This charming district offers a delightful mix of boutique shops, wine tasting rooms, and culinary delights. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere as you stroll the streets adorned with holiday decorations.

Temecula truly offers an enchanting holiday spot that will leave you with long-lasting memories. Embrace the magic of the season and experience the wonder of Christmas in this delightful California town.

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley, known for its renowned wineries, also transforms into a festive Christmas destination during the holiday season. The town of Yountville, known as the “Brightest Town in Napa Valley,” offers a beautiful light display as well as the opportunity to ride the Napa Valley Wine Train with Santa Claus. In Napa, visitors can enjoy ice skating at the Meritage ice rink, complete with a 40-foot tall Christmas tree. For a unique experience, the Archer Hotel rooftop offers igloo dining with a view. Napa Valley’s charming towns offer a lovely Christmas experience, with wine tasting and beautiful holiday decorations adding to the festive atmosphere.

Christmas town in California

When it comes to enchanting holiday spots, Napa Valley in California is a top choice. With its world-class wineries and picturesque landscapes, Napa Valley offers a unique Christmas experience that combines the region’s famous wines with festive celebrations. The town of Yountville, known for its stunning light display, is a must-visit during the holiday season. Ride the Napa Valley Wine Train with Santa Claus for a memorable experience or enjoy ice skating at the Meritage ice rink, surrounded by a towering Christmas tree. For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, head to the Archer Hotel rooftop and indulge in igloo dining while enjoying the panoramic views. Wine tasting and the beauty of holiday decorations further enhance Napa Valley’s enchanting atmosphere during Christmas time.


California is a treasure trove of enchanting Christmas towns that offer an unforgettable holiday experience. These towns truly embody the spirit of Christmas, with their mesmerizing lights, festive decorations, and delightful activities. Whether you crave the snowy charm of Big Bear Lake or the coastal beauty of Newport Beach, California’s Christmas towns have something for everyone.

Immerse yourself in the winter wonderland of Big Bear Lake, where you can ski, sled, and enjoy breathtaking views of the snow-covered mountains. Or, bask in the coastal charm of Newport Beach, where you can witness the enchanting Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and take a stroll along the boardwalk.

If you prefer a warmer climate, head to Palm Springs or San Diego, where you can enjoy unique Christmas celebrations such as drive-thru light displays and theme park festivities. And don’t forget to explore Solvang, Nevada City, Temecula, and Napa Valley, where you’ll find picturesque streets adorned with dazzling lights and participate in delightful holiday activities.

Make this holiday season truly special by visiting one of California’s enchanting Christmas towns. Whether you’re seeking a snowy retreat or a sunny coastal getaway, these charming destinations will create lasting memories and immerse you in the magical ambiance of Christmas.


What are some enchanting Christmas towns to visit in California?

Some enchanting Christmas towns to visit in California include Solvang, Big Bear Lake, Nevada City, Newport Beach, Palm Springs, San Diego, Temecula, and Napa Valley.

What makes Solvang, California a great Christmas town?

Solvang’s Danish-inspired architecture and charming atmosphere, combined with the Solvang Julefest and beautiful Christmas decorations, make it a great Christmas town to visit in California.

Why is Big Bear Lake, California a top Christmas town?

Big Bear Lake’s snowy charm, winter activities like skiing and sledding, and the Big Bear Lake Winter Festival make it one of the top Christmas towns in California.

What makes Nevada City, California a must-visit Christmas town?

Nevada City’s Nevada City Victorian Christmas event, with its parade, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and festive market booths, along with the town’s Victorian-style lights and window displays, make it a must-visit Christmas town in California.

Why is Newport Beach, California an enchanting Christmas town?

Newport Beach offers beautiful coastal views, a sunny climate, and festive activities like the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and ice skating. Exploring the boardwalk and Balboa Island are also popular during the Christmas season.

What makes Palm Springs, California a magical Christmas town?

Despite its warm desert climate, Palm Springs offers a unique and magical Christmas experience with attractions like the Magic of Lights display, the WildLights at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, and Gingerbread Lane at Old Town Artisan Studios.

Why is San Diego, California a fantastic holiday destination?

San Diego’s perfect weather, variety of activities including visiting the San Diego Zoo and Seaport Village, and festive attractions in places like Balboa Park, SeaWorld San Diego, and LEGOLAND make it a fantastic holiday destination.

What makes Temecula, California a charming Christmas town?

The Santa’s Electric Light Parade, ice skating at Town Square Park with Temecula on Ice, and exploring Old Town Temecula’s shops and wineries all contribute to Temecula’s charming and festive Christmas atmosphere.

Why is Napa Valley, California a lovely Christmas destination?

The town of Yountville offers a beautiful light display and the opportunity to ride the Napa Valley Wine Train with Santa Claus. In Napa, visitors can enjoy ice skating, wine tasting, and rooftop igloo dining experiences, adding to the festive atmosphere.

What makes California’s Christmas towns enchanting holiday destinations?

California’s Christmas towns offer a variety of experiences, from snowy winter wonderlands to coastal charm. The dazzling lights, festive decorations, and range of activities make these towns enchanting holiday destinations for visitors.