With festive lights, cozy socks and hot chocolate enticing us out of our finals holi-daze, here are a few locations to have an eventful winter-break experience, regardless of the lack of a white Christmas in Southern California.
Be-leaf in Nature Therapy:
The Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar consist of serene walkways of autumn leaves and greenhouses surrounded by chirping hummingbirds. If you’re looking for a more open space, the Fullerton Arboretum, home to a diverse canopy of pepper and bodhi trees, is a great alternative. This 26-acre botanical garden with trails snug in greenery is perfect to add to a fall Instagram feed. Before you set off, be sure to check the California Fall Color Report for the most up-to-date information on the changing nature of leaves in any area of California.
Spots for Watts:
Annual Christmas light displays are no stranger to Goliath-sized Rudolphs at the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Held from Dec. 15-19, this parade has it all—boats of all sizes decked out as winter wonderlands, gingerbread houses and Santa’s gift factories. Throughout the event, 75-minute holiday light cruises are available for an up-close experience of the Newport Harbor. These cruises, however, are available all winter as ocean mist and frosty breeze welcome visitors from Dec. 3 to Jan. 2, 2022, starting at $36 for those 13 and up.
For a more local light-show experience, visit the Night of Lights drive-thru events from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2, 2022 at the OC Fair & Event Center for $40 per vehicle. With familiar elves, ice monsters and engaging characters, crystal blue and pristine white strobe lighting fills the horizon as polymer snow and fog spread throughout the air. As a COVID-19 precaution, guests will only be allowed to remain in their vehicles; however, the annual OC Winterfest festival will make its return in the winter of 2022. Sights like the world’s largest rocking horse and interactive activities including ice rinks will be joined with an interactive “Candy Cane Carnival.”
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it (Fake) Snow:
If you’re craving the lush feeling of real snow without the drive to Big Bear, the Lake Forest SnowFest on Jan. 29, 2022, offers sledding for $7 with carnival games and treats at an additional cost. Sledding tickets are sold at the Lake Forest Recreation Center and sell out fast, so make sure to reserve your spots as soon as possible.
If you have time on your hands this chilly season, be sure to take advantage of these in-season landscapes and jolly events while they’re still around.