If you are looking for a place to celebrate Christmas, Sacramento is a terrific destination. This state capital of California is a great place to check out landmarks any time of the year, but it really lights up during the holiday season. Here are a few things you’ll want to check out when you visit.
Theater of Lights
The Theater of lights is a free lighting event brought to the city by the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. It takes place at the Old Sacramento Waterfront Thursday through Sunday starting on Thanksgiving Eve and running until Christmas Eve.
Activities include a live action retelling of the 1823 poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. There is also a 20 minute production that recreates the calamities experienced by pioneers when settling Sacramento in 1850’s. The dramatization occurs on the balconies above K Street and illuminates the local buildings. Santa Claus is on hand to light up the 60-foot Christmas tree and there is a special appearance by Jack Frost.
Bayside Church Adventure in Roseville
This 4th annual drive through exhibit will put you in the middle of a winter wonderland. The mile long procession takes you through holiday displays with thousands of colorful lights. Cue the radio to play holiday music as you drive along. Admission is free but you must have tickets in advance.
Tour Christmas Homes
There are many neighborhoods in the Sacramento area that are known for going big for the holidays. Here are some you should visit:
· Dovewood Court: Dovewood Court in Orangevale is a neighborhood you can count on when it comes to bringing holiday cheer. Displays include holiday music, Christmas figures and, of course, lots and lots of lights.
· Pebble Creek Drive and Strand Rd.: This Rockland location will be dressed to the nines this holiday season. Take in the displays that include Disney and Christmas characters, buy a $1 hot chocolate and drop off a canned food donation while enjoying the decorations.
· The Fab Forties: These Sacramento blocks will keep you busy for a while. With over 20 blocks of decorated houses, be sure to dress warmly when getting ready for your walk. While Sacramento has fairly mild temperatures, it can get nippy if you’re out for a while at night.
Rancho Cordova Christmas Tree Lighting
The Rancho Cordova Christmas Tree Lighting is another Sacramento tradition. People gather around Village Green Park to see the tree lit for the first time of the season. The event is celebrated with food trucks, music, amusement rides, train rides and a visit from Santa Claus. After the initial lighting takes place, the tree is lit every night at 7 PM until the season ends so you have plenty of opportunities to take in its glory.
Folsom Historic District Ice Rink
There are several ice-skating rinks in the Sacramento area, but the one in the Folsom Historic District is among the most lovely. The beautiful circular rink was especially designed for the Folsom Historic Plaza and it’s a great place for a holiday fun.
While in the Folsom District, be sure to take in the many attraction it has to offer. There are tons of shops, restaurants, museums and events that take place throughout the year. It is full of cultural history which is apparent in the architecture and old town feel.
Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo
Holiday Magic is a one-day event that typically occurs in early December. The highlight of the day is watching the animals receive holiday gifts and treats. The snow leopard gets holiday boxes sprinkled with catnip, the Wolf family will be given pinecone reindeer and the lemurs will enjoy a holiday feast.
Other holiday zoo activities include the Pumpkin Smash. Taking place on Black Friday, zoo residents get a pumpkin filled with tasty treats to smash.
Christmas Eve is Pajama Free Day. Guests show up in their pajamas to get free admission.
Holiday in the Hills
This annual cabaret show takes place at the Sutter Street Theatre. The production includes scenes from the lives of historic Folsom residents like the notorious bandit Tom Bell. Proceedings are emceed by a reproduction of former Folsom Telegraph editor Peter J. Hopper.
This Victorian themed holiday market takes place in Downtown Nevada City. Guests can browse the lit up streets and eat period snacks like meat pies while listening to costumed carolers and enjoying photo opps with the Walking Christmas Tree and Toy Soldier.
Visit Fairytale Town
Fairtytale Town is an amusement park full of playsets based on nursery rhymes and fairy tales. There are flocks of farm animals, two performing arts stages and several gardens. During the holiday, Fairytale Town turns up the Christmas cheer by adding lights, Victorian carolers and an appearance by Santa himself.
Spend A Christmas with C.S. Lewis
This one man show features actor David Payne as Lewis reflecting on his books, the people in his life and the meaning of Christmas. It takes place at the Harris Center in Folsom.
Check out The Nutcracker
This holiday ballet is a Christmas tradition for many. The Memorial Auditorium and Sacramento Ballet offers an updated version with a feminist spin. Be sure to check out the exciting story as it’s told through dance and set to the wonderful Tchaikovsky compositions.
Pink Martinis is a retro chic Portland based Orchestra that visits the Sacramento area for an annual holiday performance. They present a jazzy cabaret show in a variety of languages. A Ukrainian version of “Carol of the Bells” and a German cover of “Silent Night” are crowd favorites. It all takes place at the Mondavi Center in Davis.
Sacramento is a capitol city that’s great for bringing the holiday cheer. Which of these attractions will you be checking out when you visit?