Top Orange County Things to Do in December

Hotel Irvine photo courtesy Marguarite Clark PR

Holiday candy station at the Marketplace in Hotel Irvine.

Get in the holiday spirit with these 15+ top Orange County things to do in December.

Edited by Whitney Lauren Han.

 

Lunch at Bayside Restaurant
Starts Dec. 1. Stylish Newport Beach spot offers lunch service on the weekdays for the month of December, excluding Dec. 24-25 and 31. Enjoy new creations as well as your lunchtime favorites. M-F 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 900 Bayside Drive, Newport Beach, 949.721.1222. baysiderestaurant.com

 

Anne of Green Gables
Opens Dec. 6. The musical adaption of the classic novel hits the stage at Chance Theater. The story follows the Cuthbert family, expecting to adopt a boy, but receiving instead a red-haired, wide-eyed girl. Though clever young Anne Shirley has a penchant for getting into trouble, she works her way into the hearts of her adoptive parents as well as the residents of rural Prince Edward Island. See website for showtimes. $25-$49. Bette Aitken theater arts Center, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 888.455.4212. chancetheater.com

 

Gem Faire
Dec. 6-8. Nearly 200 exhibitors from around the world make the Gem Faire one of the largest gem, jewelry and bead shows in the United States. Find fine jewelry, precious and semi-precious gemstones, beads, crystals, gold and silver, minerals and more. Hourly door prizes. F noon-6 p.m.; Sa 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Su 10 a.m-5 p.m. $7 GA, free for children 11 and under. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 503.252.8300. gemfaire.com

 

Holiday Mixology Class
Dec. 6, 20. Red Bar and Lounge shakes up a good time this season with two mixology classes devoted top holiday cocktails. Advanced reservations required on Eventbrite; class limited to 12 guests. 8-10 p.m. $60 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, 949.225.6757. hotelirvine.com

 

Brew Ho Ho! 
Dec. 7. The Brew Ho Ho! holiday ale festival features more than 100 craft beers from the finest breweries in Southern California and beyond, including rare and limited-release holiday and winter ales. Guests can pair their craft beers with bites from food vendors 21+. Noon-4 p.m. $55 online, $65 at the door; $20 parking. Anaheim Phoenix Club, 1340 S. Sanderson Ave., Anaheim. ocbrewhoho.com

 

Nutcracker for Kids
Dec. 7. Twirling ballerinas enchant in the holiday classic.The Pacific Symphony and Festival Ballet Theatre bring to life the world of toy soldiers, waltzing flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy in a 45-minute version adapted for kids ages 5 to 11. Enjoy a musical carnival before or after the show. Activities begin at 9 a.m. (for 10 a.m. attendees) and 12:15 p.m. (for 11:30 a.m. guests). Showtimes at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. $45-$76. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.755.5799. scfta.org

 

Run for a Claus
Dec. 7. Join more than 2,500 participants in a variety of fun, colorful and crazy holiday-themed costumes for the 5th Annual Run for a Claus 5k and 1-Mile Kids’ Run/Walk. The event features a holiday expo with family-fun entertainment and free photos with Santa Claus. All runners receive a Santa hat and beard prior to the run and a medal and a mug for hot cocoa when they finish. 8:30 a.m. 1-mile Kids’ Run/Walk; 9 a.m. 5k. $5-$45. University of California, Irvine, Ring Road near Aldrich Hall and Student Center, Irvine, 949.222.0456. runforaclaus.com

 

Capistrano Lights
Starts Dec. 8. Mission San Juan Capistrano’s annual holiday event, Capistrano Lights, is an all-ages family event where guests can experience the festive spirit of the season. The event includes a nightly musical tree lighting and decorative light displays through January 6. $10 adults, $9 seniors 60+, $7 children ages 4-11. Mission San Juan Capistrano, 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano, 949.234.1300. missionsjc.com

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Opens Dec. 12. Created by Charles M. Schulz and based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson, this stage adaptation by Eric Schaeffer is presented by special arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson, and directed by resident artist James McHale. See website for showtimes. $21-$35. Bette Aitken theater arts Center, 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 888.455.4212. chancetheater.com

 

American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker
Dec. 13-22. One of the great joys of the holiday season, American Ballet Theatre returns with its critically acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Travel with curious Clara and her handsome prince as they journey through a kingdom filled with colorful characters and pure holiday magic. See website for showtimes. $29+. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.556.2787. scfta.org

 

Ariana Grande at the Honda Center
Dec. 13. Multi-platinum, record-breaking superstar Ariana Grande adds Honda Center to her Sweetener World Tour. Produced by Live Nation, the renowned tour adds 19 dates including new stops in New York, Anaheim, Dallas and more this fall. 8 p.m. $80+. 2695 E. Katella, Anaheim, 714.704.2400. hondacenter.com

 

Candlelight Walk at Heritage Hill
Dec. 13-15. Join strolling Victorian carolers and musicians as you wander through luminous pathways at Heritage Hill Historical Park. Visit with Santa in the Arbor, enjoy crafts with Mrs. Claus and listen to winter tales via OC Libraries storytelling. Light refreshments are available for purchase. 5:30-8:30 p.m. $5 GA, free for children under 3; cash only. Heritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest, 949.923.2230. ocparks.com

 

Gingerbread Workshop at Davio’s
Dec. 15. Davio’s Irvine throws a house party—a gingerbread house party, that is—for children of all ages. Join pastry chef Lena Huynh as she leads a demonstration and workshop, teaching guests how to build personalized gingerbread houses fit for the North Pole. Noon-2 p.m. Free for adults; $55 per child, admission includes lunch and gingerbread house to decorate. 18420 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, 949.477.4810. davios.com

 

Newport Beach Boat Parade 
Dec. 18-22. Catch all the twinkling boat-parade action at the exclusive “members only” American Legion, the largest American Legion Post in the U.S., and the only post with its own Yacht Club. In addition to prime viewing for the boat parade, the Mexican-Christmas-Fiesta-themed event offers Mexican dinner buffets, family activities, carolers and other live entertainment including, on Friday, mariachis. All donations benefit troops, veterans and their families. Reservations encouraged. Doors 4 p.m.; dinner 5 p.m.; boat parade, approximately 6:45 p.m. $36+ adults, $32+ children 10 and under. 949.675.0551. christmasparadeboats.com

 

Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party
Dec. 19-23. Create unforgettable memories and become part of the story at the Disney on Ice Mickey’s Search Party at the Honda Center. The show brings the magic closer to fans than ever before through engaging elements that take place on the ice, in the air and in the seats. Characters come from Disney-Pixar’s Coco, Frozen, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid. See website for showtimes. $16+. 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714.704.2500. hondacenter.com

 

Sawdust Festival’s Winter Fantasy
Through Dec. 22. Experience the annual magical outdoor art village weekends through December 22. This event features 180 artists and makers, three stages of live music and entertainment, holiday-themed festival classes and ceramics, art demonstrations, daily visits with Santa, carolers, a petting zoo, marionette shows, falling snow, holiday photo-ops, outdoor cafes and saloon. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. $8 adults, $6 seniors age 65+, $4 children ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and under. 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.3030. sawdustartfestival.org

 

Marketplace Seasonal Offerings
Through Dec. 25. Bring the little ones to the Marketplace at Hotel Irvine and visit the holiday candy station to purchase filled bags of holiday candy or fill up their own candy bag with a selection of holiday treats ($4 each). Also offered through January 15 are festive drinks for purchase including peppermint mocha, caramel brulee latte, hot chocolate and chestnut praline latte. Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, 949.225.6757. hotelirvine.com

 

Queen Mary Christmas
Through Jan. 1. Enjoy the holiday spirit aboard the historic Queen Mary as it transforms into an epic adventure-filled wonderland. Highlights include live entertainment, festive libations, strolling performers, sweet treats, light shows, gingerbread and stocking decorating, ice-skating, and shopping. There’s also a meet-and-greet with Ol’ Saint Nick in the Captain’s Quarters. See website for schedule and ticket prices. $20 on-site parking. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 800.437.2934. queenmary.com

 

Arthur Beaumont: Art of the Sea
Continuing. Explore Bowers Museum’s newest exhibition, which features watercolors by Arthur Beaumont that capture the grandeur of the sea and vessels that sail on it. This exhibit includes works in the Irvine Museum Collection and is curated by James Irvine Swinden. On view through February 2. Tu-Su 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $13-$15 adults, $10-$12 students and seniors 62+, free for ages 12 and under. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714.567.3600. bowers.org

 

Dimensions of Form: Tamayo and Mixografia
Continuing. Fifty prints by modern master Rufino Tamayo, on loan from the Mixografia gallery in Los Angeles, depict silhouetted figures, celestial bodies and the seprent-god Quetzalcoatl. On view through January 19. Tu-Su 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $13-$15 adults, $10-$12 students and seniors 62+, free for ages 12 and under. Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, 714.567.3600. bowers.org

Photos: Hotel Irvine courtesy Marguarite Clark PR. 

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