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Family-Friendly Holiday Outings in Southern California!

Family-friendly holiday outings abound in Southern California!  Read on for some ideas and even discounts on some of these outings!

This post contains Goldstar Affiliate links. 

What can I do for the holidays?

My friend, what CAN’T you do for the holidays in SoCal?!  There is so much to do.  While this is not a completely exhaustive list, most are places my family has been or wants to visit soon.

I’ll break down our suggestions by category below 😉

You will find discount tickets through this website’s Goldstar affiliate link wherever available!

Botanic Garden Light Shows

The botanic gardens in southern California have really upped their game.  You will find some pretty spectacular light shows.  I attended the LA Arboretum holiday light how a few years back and it was absolutely memorable.  Here are some you might want to consider for great family-friendly holiday outings in Southern California.

Lightscape at LA Arboretum

Walk through several light installations, including the Winter Cathedral, at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia!

Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens

The Descanso Gardens transform into a magical forest of lights with glowing foliage for a mile of beautiful lighted displays.

Astra Lumina at South Coast Botanic Garden

This event is new to the garden this year and promises to be “an enchanted night walk amongst the stars.”  Although I do not currently have discount tickets to share, members of the South Coast Botanic Garden do receive a 15% discount on tickets.  Membership to the garden is 100% tax-deductible and allows you entry year-round!

Find more details about Astra Lumina HERE.

Holiday shows

You can find themed family-friendly holiday outings and even festivals in southern California.  We’ve got Nascar theme, Hot Wheels, farm, and even lights that are synchronized to music.  Honestly, the world is your oyster if you live in SoCal 😉  Here are some events that we suggest.

Christmas in Color

Christmas in Color is a light show synchronized to music.  You can read all about it in our post, Christmas in Color Will Paint Your Holidays Happy!  This show is located at Raging Waters in San Dimas.

Get a 15% discount using the promo code ERIKA15 (I’m Erika in case you’re wondering 😉Christmas in Color Will Paint Your Holidays Happy!


WinterFest OC in Costa Mesa is the ultimate holiday festival.  You can read all about it at Winter Fest OC: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Fun!

Although we don’t have a discount code to share, you will find discounts available on the event website and advertised on their social media pages.

LA Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow

This one’s on our list of events we’d like to visit.  The 90-minute walk-through is filled with lights and animal shaped lanterns.  You’ve got to take a look to see what we’re talking about!

Santa’s Speedway

This light show takes place at the Irwindale Speedway and is a walk-through event.  Aside from lights, there’ll be food, train rides, and hayrides.  We’ll be visiting this year and reporting back to you.  But for now, you can visit their website HERE for more details.

Tanaka Farms Hikari

Tanaka Farms in Irvine holds its annual Hikari event.  Hikari is an event full of lights throughout the farm.  Read all about Hikari in our post, Reasons we love Tanaka Farms Hikari

Family at Tanaka Farms Hikari

Theatrical Performances

One of our family’s favorite holiday traditions is catching a show together.  There are, of course, Nutcracker ballets.  But beyond that, there are plenty kid-friendly themed theatrical performances available.

Lythgoe Panto

The Lythgoe Panto became a holiday tradition for my family a few years ago.  These performances are kid-friendly and always put a holiday spin on traditional fairytales.  Audience participation is encouraged and kids LOVE it!  In years past, there are usually at least a couple of famous kid stars (or even an adult).  This is what sealed the deal for my kids 😉

You can read more about Lythgoe Panto in our post, Snow White Christmas: A Must-See Holiday Tradition!

The Nutcracker at Segerstrom

The Nutcracker is a ballet you should watch at least once during the holidays.  I have listed Segerstrom here, but you will find many quality productions throughout SoCal.

Ice Skating Rinks

Ice skating is something that everyone should experience at least once.  Believe it or not, you’ll find both indoor AND outdoor rinks here in SoCal.  A couple of recommendations include:

Theme Parks and Towns

I know, this category is a little bit of a mishmosh, but that’s where they go on this list 😉


Solvang is a beautiful town, but especially during the holidays!  You’ll feel like you’re stepping into a storybook picture.  I’m serious, you have to take the family.  I still remember my visit as as kid because it left such a big impression upon me.  Read all about Solvang in our post, Solvang Danish Village: Is It Worth It?

Girls window shopping-Solvang Danish Village: Is It Worth It?

Yuletide Cinemaland at Heritage Square

Yuletide Cinemaland takes place at Heritage Square.  During Yuletide, you’ll be able to watch a classic holiday movie amongst beautiful historical victorian homes.  There were guided tours when we went, as well as many food truck options.  Read all about our experience in this post, Heritage Museum Yuletide Cinemaland: Is It Worth It?

Knott’s Merry Farm

Theme parks are plentiful in SoCal and many enjoy visiting for the holidays.  Knott’s Merry Farm is a known favorite family-friendly holiday outing here in SoCal.

Check out the discounts below.

What will you be doing?

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but I hope it gives you some fun ideas for a family-friendly holiday outing!  Are there any here you feel should be on the list?  Please let us know!

Check out These posts!

Christmas in Color Will Paint Your Holidays Happy!

Winter Fest OC: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Fun!

Hikari Festival of Lights: Tanaka Farms Lights Up the Sky!

Snow White Christmas: A Must-See Holiday Tradition!



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