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500 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060
Santa Cruz, California Hotel Holiday Specials
California Hotel Holiday Specials

Santa Cruz Holiday Activities & Special Events

Nothing beats a Christmas vacation by the beach, and there's no better spot than Santa Cruz to make this magic moment happen. Explore the beautiful California coast where you'll find special events like boat parades and holiday train rides. Grab a drink and a bite to eat along the coast for an unforgettable sunset vista, and visit the Christmas markets for unique gifts.

Santa Cruz Things to See and Do

  • Roaring Camp Holiday Lights Train

    Jump on board a vintage train car decked out for the holidays to enjoy a ride through beautiful Santa Cruz. Sing along to merry songs, sip hot cider, and enjoy live music as Santa makes his way to greet kids and adults of all ages.
  • Surfin' Santa

    Don't miss Santa and his reindeer as they dramatically arrive on Capitola Beach by outrigger canoe. Bring the kids, the camera, and your holiday spirit for an experience you will only find in California.
  • Lighted Boat Parade

    Watch the bay light up as dozens of boats glide through the water to show off their elaborate holiday decorations and sparkling lights. Grab a seat by the dock or stroll along the Santa Cruz waterfront to enjoy this special Christmas tradition.


  • Shadowbrook Restaurant

    Since 1947 this historic eatery has been entertaining guests with fine food and wine in an old-world setting. Arrive by cable car at this one-of-a-kind destination that makes the perfect spot for a truly special holiday meal.
  • Hindquarter Bar and Grill

    For a tasty lunch or dinner featuring steak, burgers, and chicken, this bar and grill is a nice break from the holiday rush. There's a wide variety of American classics and a full bar to help you toast the holidays with friends and family.
  • Crow's Nest

    Nestled right on the beach, this coastal kitchen and bar has been delighting the locals for over forty years. Come for a full meal or sip a tasty cocktail as the sun sets over the bay for a special California holiday moment.


  • Capitola Village

    On December 6, the Holiday Tree Lighting and Open House rings in the winter shopping season. This retail destination is perfect for finding unique jewelry, fashion apparel and one-of-a-kind gifts.

  • Capitola Mall

    Take photos with Santa, enjoy a steaming cup of hot cocoa and treat yourself to lunch at this top shopping center. Browse popular stores like Coach, Express, Foot Locker, Macy's and Kohl's.

  • Downtown Santa Cruz

    Discover the ideal gift for everyone on your holiday list and shop for toys, books, wine, sporting goods and more. You'll also find special holiday events throughout the month of December.