12 Festive Christmas Towns in California

Jingle bells are just a few months away and my heart can already feel the Christmas vibe. Christmas means family, love, friends, and a time filled with only celebration and happiness.

And what else can be a better way than spending the most amazing time of the year in one of the Christmas towns in California? Well, no one can deny the love for beautiful California but during Christmas, it becomes extra special. Also, the winter season is great to explore the zoos and botanical gardens.

Christmas Towns in California

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So, this winter, make sure to celebrate Christmas with your near and dear ones in one of the Christmas towns in California exploring things to do. Christmas in California is undoubtedly a unique and one-of-a-kind experience.

The towns deck up in the most beautiful decor, the streets are lit with Christmas light and you can feel the holiday vibes in every nook and corner of these towns. So, if you plan to celebrate this year’s Christmas in a different way then head over to the Christmas towns in California and be assured of a great and rewarding time.

Our best California Christmas towns will guide you the right way and your Christmas celebration in California will be in full swing.

12 Best Christmas Towns in California

Let’s begin your Christmas vacation in California.

1. Solvang

If you wish to spend the holiday in a Christmas village in California, then Solvang is the right place for you. Brewing with Christmas spirit, Solvang Christmas Village is one of the most popular and happening places to celebrate Christmas. Taking a stroll on the streets of Solvang during Christmas is the best way to indulge yourself in the season of festivity and joy.

With Danish-style architecture floating along the town, Solvang becomes prettier during Christmas. You will find some Christmas gems near the Windmill which is an old and famous spot in Solvang. To see the beautifully decorated Christmas trees head towards the downtown at Copenhagen Drive.

Solvang park is another popular Solvang attraction during Christmas as the entire park is amped up with Christmas lights, decor, and many more. Solvang is also a foodie’s paradise. You will be spoilt for choices with Danish restaurants and the Christmas decor all around will make your experience even more delicious.

Christmas Towns in California_Solvang during Christmas
Solvang during Christmas

2. Palm Springs

For an unforgettable Christmas experience in California, Palm Springs is the ideal destination to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. The Festival of Lights Parade, drawing over 80,000 attendees, is a highlight featuring a dazzling Christmas light display spanning 20 miles. The combination of music, lively crowds, and the radiant lights truly encapsulates the essence of Christmas.

Venture a few miles east of Palm Springs, and you’ll discover Candy Cane Lane. Each house on this enchanting lane is adorned with exquisite Christmas lights and decorations, creating a festive atmosphere that will have you humming along to the tunes of Christmas music.

If you’re seeking breathtaking Christmas decorations, head to The Living Desert. Their annual event, WildLights, showcases over a million Christmas lights that are nothing short of spectacular. It’s an ideal destination for families, providing children with the opportunity to witness the best Christmas lights in Southern California.

Palm Springs christmas

3. Julian

Nestled in the scenic mountains of Southern California, Julian transforms into a magical Christmas town during the holiday season. My visit to Julian was nothing short of enchanting, as the charming atmosphere and festive decorations created a winter wonderland like no other.

As I strolled through the quaint streets, I was captivated by the historic architecture adorned with twinkling lights and wreaths. The air was filled with the sweet scent of pine, and the sound of carolers echoed through the crisp mountain air. Julian’s unique blend of small-town charm and holiday spirit made it an ideal destination for a festive getaway.

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One of the highlights was exploring Julian’s famous Main Street, lined with rustic storefronts and boutique shops. The storefronts were adorned with festive displays, and local artisans showcased their holiday crafts, perfect for finding unique Christmas gifts. The warmth of the community was palpable as locals and visitors alike shared smiles and holiday greetings.

The centerpiece of Julian’s Christmas celebration is undoubtedly the annual tree lighting ceremony. Gathered in the town square, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the community came together to witness the illumination of a towering Christmas tree. The sight was nothing short of magical, evoking a sense of unity and holiday cheer.

To top off the experience, I couldn’t resist indulging in Julian’s famous apple pies, a local delicacy that perfectly complemented the festive ambiance. From sipping hot cocoa to exploring the snowy landscapes, Julian’s Christmas charm left an indelible mark on my heart, making it a destination I eagerly anticipate returning to each holiday season.

Christmas in Julian

4. Anaheim

Anaheim dazzles up with the best Christmas lights in Southern California. Disneyland is the main attraction of Anaheim and the entire place is lit up with Christmas lights and other eye-catching decors. For a truly magical Christmas experience, Anaheim is the best place to go for.

At Disneyland, you will get an opportunity to walk in the Christmas Fantasy Parade where you can join Santa Claus himself. And watching the Holiday fireworks is another California Christmas activity you don’t want to miss. With sparkles of snowflakes, beautiful fireworks, and vibrant music, your Christmas in California will be truly memorable.

 The Downtown Disney District is another great place for young crowds to indulge in good food, entertainment, and some shopping.

At Angel Stadium, you can find The Magic of Lights which showcases different scenes of the holiday season with amazing lighting. A drive through this place is a great way to spend your Christmas vacation in California.

Christmas Fantasy Parade
Christmas Fantasy Parade

5. Newport Beach

Newport Beach is an awesome spot to hit this Christmas to soak into holiday festivities. As it makes as one of the happening California towns during Christmas, it is worth visiting. Filled with Christmas traditions, fun events, and activities, you are guaranteed to have a super fun time here at Newport Beach.

Known as the most popular event in Southern California, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is an unforgettable experience. Residents of Newport Beach adorn their vessels with attractive Christmas decor which totally amps up the look. Seeing all those vessels roaming around Newport Bay is a treat to the eyes. Head over to Burr White bayside rental deck to have the best viewing experience.

Another Christmas event that you must catch a glimpse of at Newport Beach is The Lightning of the Bay at Newport Dunes. With live performances, decor, and different cuisines to try out, it makes for a perfect Christmas destination in the Golden State.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

6. Lake Tahoe

Think of snowcapped views, sleigh rides, ice skating, and having meals with Santa Claus, and Lake Tahoe has everything in store for you. To enjoy a white Christmas in California, Lake Tahoe deserves a visit. The Christmas week at Lake Tahoe is full of various fun Christmas activities. Lake Tahoe itself is one of the most beautiful lakes in California.

For some quality family time make sure to pay a visit to Squaw Valley. The resort turns into a magical winter place. The fireworks, the ice sculpture, and the presence of Santa make it even more special. Lake Tahoe also hosts some of the best live musical evenings where you can tune into the holiday spirit with full hearts.

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The slopes surrounding Lake Tahoe offer amazing ski rides which will add just the right amount of touch to your holiday vibes. Many resorts at Lake Tahoe hosts Gingerbread workshops for visitors which is a must-try thing in this Christmas town. Carve out some time to indulge in all sorts of merrymaking activities.

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7. Coronado

Your wish of spending Christmas in California will be incomplete if you miss out on the charming town of Coronado. Coronado decks up in lovely Christmas decor and offers you a magical time during Christmas.

Hotel Del at Coronado is the most attractive place during Christmas as it has all the Christmas spirit under one roof. Your Christmas eve will be sorted at Hotel Del which is decorated with huge Christmas trees, glimmering lights, and delightful floral decor.

Christmas Day has delicious food options for everyone and the 2 storied Christmas Tree is certainly a great spot to capture some beautiful Christmas moments with your friends and family. In the Coronet Room of the hotel, you will also get an opportunity to embellish the gingerbread house.

Hotel Del Coronado & Christmas
Hotel Del Coronado & Christmas

8. Big Bear Lake

Want to escape from the ever-so-shining and warm Southern California and embrace the winter charm in all its glory? Then, look no further and head to Big Bear Lake. A great way to spend some time away from bustling city times, Big Bear Lake makes for the ideal small town in California to celebrate Christmas.

Your dream of waking up to fresh snowflakes during Christmas will be fulfilled here at Big Bear Lake which is a true beauty of nature. The village at Big Bear Lake has one of the popular Christmas markets in California. Take pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Santa and catch glimpses of huge Christmas trees and feed yourself some delicious foods in the market.

The Bir Bear Valley Farm is another place that has ample Christmas activities. Hop on a sleigh ride with your family and let your kids roll in the snow activities. Big Bear Lake promises tons of fun and adventure and a charming way to spend your Christmas vacation in California.

9. Wrightwood

Looking for a unique destination to spend this year’s Christmas? Celebrating Christmas in small towns of California can be a memorable experience and to enjoy that moment, visiting Wrightwood is a must. A few miles away from the big city of Los Angeles, Wrightwood is a small mountain town that becomes ultra beautiful during Christmas with the holiday spirit.

With snow on the ground and the spirit of Christmas surrounding you everywhere, Wrightwood will check all your boxes to find the true Christmas energy. Shop your heart out at Applewood Court which offers Christmas decor, gifts, and other exciting objects.

Besides if you wish to enjoy a meal while surrounded by Christmas decor, stop at Evergreen Cafe. The decorated place is a sweet place to eat and take photos. This cozy village is all you want this Christmas to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.

wrightwood christmas

10. Temecula

Transport to a world of winter wonderland at Temecula and spend the best days of your life this Christmas. A popular Christmas town in Southern California, Temecula becomes full of life during Christmas.

Temecula guarantees a magical Christmas as it is full of Christmas activities that will keep you on your toes. Indulge in outdoor ice-skating rinks and soak in the beauty of winter. Moreover, the European shopping village is an excellent place to shop for the best Christmas decor items and gifts. The streets of this charming old town deck up in shimmering lights and astonishing decorations.

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Roam around the streets and enjoy the stunning views. The huge Christmas trees found on the street or at hotels will definitely grab your eyeballs. Every little shop in each house of this little town signs up for the Christmas spirit and adorns itself in delightful decor.

Christmas Town Temecula
Christmas Town Temecula

11. Nevada City

A Christmas town in Northern California, Nevada City is a historic town that offers a Victorian-style Christmas celebration to its visitors. It certainly lives up to the Christmas spirit with beautiful decor and other entertainment throughout the Christmas week.

The Victorian-style architecture of the town adds to the old beauty of this town and makes it even more enchanting during Christmas.

The streets are all lit up with glimmering lights and the best part is that you can spot carolers bringing in the Christmas spirit while wearing traditional Victorian costumes. Indulge in the Victorian celebration where you immerse yourself in music, delectable foods, and Santa’s gorgeous presence.

The streets also have cute shops with lovely gift items on display which you must pick for your friends and family. Just a few miles away from Sacramento, Nevada City makes for a sweet Christmas getaway where you can have some magical moments in old traditional ways.

Don’t forget to take a carriage ride while enjoying the scenic beauty of this picturesque town.

Christmas in Nevada City
Christmas in Nevada City

12. Fresno

Have little time but want to spend Christmas in one of the best California Christmas towns? Drive to Fresno which is only a three-hour drive from San Francisco. The Christmas Lane is the main attraction of this town. The lane stretched across two miles will lighten up your mood and spirit with its marvelous lighting.

More than 300 trees and 150 homes decorate themselves in shimmering lights which are breathtaking. With music and animated scenes of soldiers, reindeer, and angles, Fresno will let you feel the Christmas spirit in all its true senses.

You can also take part in the annual downtown Fresno Christmas Parade. With dancers, mascots, and lively music, you are bound to have a great time.

Fresno Christmas
Fresno Christmas

So, what are you waiting for? Plan your Christmas holidays in one of the Christmas towns in California. Brace yourself for a holly-jolly Christmas vacation this year. It’s time to welcome merry Christmas in its most charming manner.

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FAQ – Christmas Towns in California

1. Is Solvang the most Christmassy town?

Ans– Solvang is certainly one of the most Christmassy towns in California. It was recognized as the Christmassy town by Times Magazine. The Danish-style Christmas celebration in Solvang that goes on for a month makes it a perfect destination to celebrate Christmas. You can truly enjoy the Christmas spirit in this town.

2. What city in California has the best Christmas lights?

Ans– Newport Beach has the best Christmas lights in California. The Newport Beach Boat Parade during Christmas allows you to witness the beautiful homes along the lakeside lit up in gorgeous lights and decor. It is one of the most pleasurable sights during Christmas.

3. Can Christmas trees grow in California?

Ans– Yes, Christmas Trees can grow in California. California’s Sierra’s foothill is a good place for Christmas trees to be grown. Christmas trees usually grow within 4 years. White Pine is one of the kinds of Christmas tree which is easy to grow.

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