The holiday season is a magical time of year, especially in our gorgeous state of California! If you’re looking for a way to get in the holiday mood, there’s no better way than by taking a short drive to experience the holiday traditions, sights, and experiences that Northern California has to offer. Read on for 5 magical NorCal holiday destinations for you and your family to enjoy throughout the season.
Yosemite National Park
To start your magical holiday season off on the right foot, there’s no better place to start than with a trip to California’s own Yosemite National Park. Spending the holidays in Yosemite won’t disappoint, with options to choose from like sleigh rides through the snow and Curry Village outdoor ice-skating rinks in Yosemite Valley. If skiing and snowboarding are more your style, Badger Pass Skii Area is home to one of the oldest downhill skiing areas in California.
If you’re concerned about when Yosemite National Park will be open, have no fear; the park is open year-round, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and requires no reservations to enter. So even if you miss your chance in the early holiday season, you can still take in the majesty of Yosemite’s natural wonders, vacation rentals, or luxury hotel experiences throughout winter.
Lake Tahoe Holiday Nights
If you want to just get away from the stress of the holidays and spend some time away from all the hubbub, why not take a trip to Lake Tahoe? For winter nature lovers, the snow-capped mountains that frame Lake Tahoe can’t be beat, and the opportunities for winter recreation are boundless. Lake Tahoe offers top-notch skiing, snowboarding, and sledding opportunities, and the perfect conditions for a trip to the snow in this natural winter wonderland.
The surrounding Tahoe communities also take part in the fun, with a variety of Christmas themed family-friendly events. Be sure to check out South Lake Tahoe’s Barton Health’s Festival of Tree and Lights, or the Village at Northstar, which hosts horse-drawn sleighs, ice skating, and s’mores around the fire. If you’re interested in holiday entertainment, you can also visit the Village at Squaw Valley, which boasts fireworks displays, the Holly Feet & Grinches Groove dance performance, and a Merry Wonderland Ice Garden.
San Francisco Union Square
While living in the big city isn’t for everyone, San Francisco’s Union Square is magical during the holidays. To start off your trip to SF, visit Macy’s 30th Annual Union Square Tree Lighting to watch and celebrate the lighting of San Francisco’s beautiful Christmas Tree that holds more than 43,000 twinkling lights and 700 shiny ornaments.
If you’re a fan of ice sports, show off your moves with Ice Skating in Union Square, which begins mid-November through January. For those who prefer a leisurely stroll, take in the holiday giving spirit viewing Macy’s Holiday Windows at Union Square, featuring adorable adoptable cats and dogs in need of loving homes. And whether you’ve been naughty or nice, make the visit to see Santa Claus, and let him know about everything on your list at Macy’s Santaland.
Holiday at Carmel-by-the-Sea
If you’re a fan of the coastal weather during the holiday season, it’s time to plan a trip to lovely Carmel-by-the-Sea. Located just south of Monterey, Carmel is a tiny village town filled with magical-looking cottages and shops strewn throughout. While the town itself is tiny – just 1 mile long! – there’s a reason visitors come back each year for the holidays. Fairy lights and festive holiday decorations line the streets, while live entertainment and musical performances can be found up in Carmel Plaza. Visit the beloved annual tree lighting at Devendorf Park then knock out that holiday shopping list at the variety of shops and boutiques Carmel has to offer. If you enjoy the finer things in life, Carmel has a variety of art galleries and wine rooms to visit. Finish off your trip to this hidden coastal gem by stopping by one of their many fine dining establishments and take a short drive down the coast to watch the sunset over the tiny village town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Nevada City Victorian Christmas
Looking to get your fill of idyllic holiday traditions with the family? Nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Sierras and just 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, each year the quaint Gold Rush town of Nevada City hosts their annual Victorian Christmas. The picturesque downtown transforms into a magical Victorian-era setting, with authentic gas lamps lighting the streets, the smell of roasted chestnuts wafting through the air, and the sounds of wandering minstrels and carolers outfitted in full Victorian attire. Visitors are even encouraged to join in the holiday spirit and dress in Victorian fashion themselves!
The annual family tradition takes places 2 Wednesday evenings and 3 Sunday afternoons throughout December. This event has something for everyone; live entertainment is provided, featuring Victorian singers, bagpipers, brass bands, and strolling minstrels. Venders serve savory holiday treats and drinks along with handcrafted candy, jewelry, pottery, perfumes, and dolls. Father Christmas even makes an appearance! If you’re looking to transport you and your family to a Victorian winter wonderland, take a drive and visit Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas.
Schedule an appointment or give us a call if you have any questions about preparing your vehicle for holiday travel. Foreign Autohaus is conveniently located at 301 Blue Ravine Rd., Folsom, CA 95630. We look forward to serving you and your vehicle soon.