Plan a Bay Area and Beyond Holiday Experience

Feature photo by Luke George

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Whether you’d like to stay in town or venture out a bit, there are tons of options the whole family can enjoy this 2022 holiday season.

Super Local

Don’t miss the annual Holiday Open House on First Street to kick off the month right. On December 2nd from 6-9pm, Benicia Main Street and First Street merchants partner to host this event that’s free to the public. Treats and warm drinks, carolers, and other live entertainment await. Don’t forget to check out the star of the show: the Christmas tree at the end of First Street, which will be lit for the first time this season during the event!

Head to our town’s Christmas Parade & Holiday Market on December 10th from 10am-3pm. The parade begins at First and D Streets, traveling all the way through to its ending at H street. There will be dancers, marching bands, and the big man himself—Santa Claus. Treat yourself to some delicious food and browse handcrafted artisan items, too.

Northgate Church is once again putting on their Northgate Light Show! There are multiple nightly showings on December 1-4, 7-11, and 14-21, so one (or three) should fit the family’s schedule. The 12 sky beams, 200,000 LEDs, and three mega trees that are featured will wow adults and kids alike. Simply park your car, tune in to the provided FM radio station, and let Larry the Lightbulb guide you through the 30-minute show. This event is completely free, but donations to a community cause will be optional via Venmo. Snag your tickets at

Join the Benicia Ballet Theatre December 17th and 18th as they present The Nutcracker at Solano Community College. Starting at the wee age of three through adults, 60 dancers take you through this magical adventure of Clara, The Nutcracker, the Mouse King, and everything in-between. There are three showtimes to choose from, and tickets can be found on

San Francisco

There’s so much to see and do in Union Square. Take in the enormously tall tree (think 80+ feet) and admire the iconic 7-story Macy’s building from outside. Inside you’ll find plenty of shopping for any last-minute gifts—for others or for yourself.

After you’re done at Macy’s, hop over to the nearby Westin St. Francis. Head indoors to check out their charming holiday décor, including the famed 12-ft tall sugar castle.

A short car ride brings you to the Fairmont Hotel where you can view the most epic of gingerbread houses. This life-size, two-story creation boasts thousands of See’s candies and gingerbread bricks. You can even make a private reservation to dine inside of it!

For another magical food and drink option, stay and warm up with holiday tea in the hotel’s Laurel Court. Sipping on varietals like Vienna Eggnog and Frosty Plum Spice while you munch on miniature pumpkin-flavored Yule logs will surely get you in the holiday spirit. Reservations can be made at

Westin St. Francis sugar castle holiday experience

Photo courtesy of Westin St. Francis

Walnut Creek

A quick trip over the bridge promises Scrooge’s spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come—all you have to do is head to A Christmas Carol at Lesher Center for the Arts. Running from December 8th through the 22nd, this classic is recommended for ages 6 and up. Tickets are going fast, so head over to and grab yours today.

If ice skating is more your speed, don your gloves, beanies, and blades at Walnut Creek on Ice. This Civic Park rink is open from December 9th through January 16th. Reserve your skate time in advance at Pro tip: you can even book skating lessons on select dates!

A Christmas Carol at the Lesher Center

Photo by Kevin Berne


Presented by the Hallmark Channel, Enchant Christmas is truly something to see. Only eight cities across the country were chosen for this magical event, and our state’s capital is one of the lucky winners. Watch as Sutter Health Park is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with an ice skating rink, a Christmas light maze, Santa, live music, a play place with Mrs. Claus, and a Christmas Village full of shopping delights. Adult elves can partake in drinks that come in a lightbulb-shaped cup, or grab a cozy hot chocolate that anyone will love. Now through January 1st, tickets can be found at

Dashing Through the Snow

Have a blast in some powder without going deep into Lake Tahoe at Boreal Mountain California. This is a one-stop shop for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing fun. You can book 90-minute tubing sessions with both tubes and parking included. Head over to to secure your tickets.

However you choose to sail down the snowy peaks, warm up after at Northstar California. Enjoy live music on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays around the skating rink while you sit at a fire pit and munch on s’mores!