The Best Orange County Things to do this November

Pumpkin soup at Oak Grill

From food and beer festivals, winter wonderlands and Thanksgiving feasts, kick-off the holiday season with our list of the best things to do in Orange County this November.

Stone Brewery Food & Beer Dinner
Nov. 7. Enjoy a five-course dinner with Stone Brewery beer pairings at 4th Street Market. Some of the drool-worthy courses from Chef Keith Prante include pork belly and scallop, ribeye and a crafted s’more dessert. Seatings at 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. $75/pp. 4th Street Market, Santa Ana, 714.362.6588.


Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
Nov. 7-8. Welcome the holidays and experience the highly anticipated return of Mickey Mouse and his pals at Fashion Island’s annual holiday tree lighting ceremony. Mickey Mouse & friends host the night in the Neiman Marcus-Bloomingdale’s Courtyard with exclusive performances and holiday greetings. Be sure to arrive early to stake out your seats; guests are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs to reserve their spots. 5:30 p.m. Free. Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 855.658.8527.


StyleCon – Where Beauty Meets Fashion Expo
Nov. 7. Calling all fashionistas, trend setters and style-seekers for a one-day beauty and fashion multi-platform experience for millennial social influencers, media and fans. Attendees can engage with leading brands and attend style panels, fashion presentations and meet and greets with favorite Instagrammers, bloggers and YouTubers. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $29/pp. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 949.500.4818.


2015 Couture Collection Release Party
Nov. 7. Join Adam Neeley at his Laguna Beach Gallery for an evening of champagne, celebration and the debut of his most fabulous jewelry of the year. Be the first to view and shop this one-of-a-kind collection. 5-7 p.m. Free. Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry, 352 North Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, 949.715.0953.


East End DTSA
Nov. 7. Head to East End Downtown Santa Ana for a block party with jam-packed entertainment. Events include Blading Cup, Beat Swap Meet and Konsept Art & Music Festival. Extreme sports fans and adrenaline junkies will come together from across the globe for Blading Cup, the largest professional and amateur inline stunt skating event in North America. Konsept Art & Music festival celebrates music, art, fashion and photography – SoCal Radio will host the stage and dozens of artists will perform including some surprise headliners. The Beat Swap Meet also offers live performances, DJ’s, a car show and more while vinyl lovers sift through records from multiple collectors, private dealers and labels. 12-10 p.m. Free. 3rd to 5th Streets and Bush to French Streets, East End Downtown Santa Ana.


Bistango Groth Vineyards & Winery Pairing Dinner
Nov. 12. Indulge in a five-course pairing dinner with menu items like braised lamb shank, polenta, white truffle and 24-month aged parmesan reggiano paired with a 2012 reserve cabernet sauvignon. The newly remodeled Bistango offers an airy atmosphere distinguished by fine art exhibits and large umbrellas that suspend from the ceiling offering great intimacy. 6:30 p.m. $138/pp. Bistango, 19100 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, 949.752.5222.


Cali Uncorked
Nov. 14. Prepare yourself for a fun-filled day of music, comedy, craft beer, wine and food set in the picturesque scenery of Oak Canyon Park. The Cali Uncorked festival will feature top California breweries and wineries along with local artisan food trucks and pop-up restaurants. Savor the variety of delicious and unique food and beverage options throughout the day while enjoying live music and stand-up comedy from top national and local comedians. Off-duty firefighters will pour beer and wine and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the 3631 Fallen Firefighters Foundation. 21 and over. 1-7 p.m. General admission $45, VIP $65-$199. Oak Canyon
Park, 5305 E. Santiago Canyon Road, Silverado.


Fall Guest Chef Series at Taco María

Nov. 17. Experience a revamped menu when the culinary masters Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco María and Chef Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen in San Francisco share the kitchen. The series is designed to welcome creativity and collaboration in Chef Carlos’ kitchen, ultimately benefiting Orange County diners. Make your reservations ahead of time, this will sell out quick! Reservations available beginning Nov. 3. The OC Mix within SOCO Collection, Taco María, 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, 714.538.8444.


Movember Five-Course Beer Dinner
Nov. 18. Show off your Movember ‘stache and head to Fashion Island for a night of award-winning pours from the acclaimed Golden Road Brewing. Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach will present a five-course menu of Chef Brent Omeste’s fresh creations like ahi ceviche, IPA braised pork cheek, assorted zeppoles and more. Each course will be paired with a different Golden Road brew – from the crowd pleasing Wolf Among Weeds IPA to the seasonal specialty Back Home Gingerbread Stout. 6:30 p.m. $65/pp. Fashion Island, Cucina Enoteca, 951 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.706.1416.

Queen Mary’s Chill
Nov. 20-Jan. 10.  Experience frozen magic as The Queen Mary is overtaken by a deep freeze for the fourth annual Chill. During this holiday extravaganza, over two million pounds of sparkling ice will be displayed in the form of larger-than-life hand-carved colorful ice sculptures. Queen Mary’s Dome, once home to the legendary Spruce Goose, will become a giant igloo known as The Ice Kingdom. The Ice Kingdom, kept at 9 degrees Fahrenheit, will take guests through chilling scenes from The Nutcracker, complete with castles and sugar plum fairies. Also see the Charles Dickens’ classic,  A Christmas Carol, brought to life Visit ice exhibits, penguin village, the all-new ice bar and much more. See website for select dates and times. $34.99, Children ages 4-11 $24.99. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0752.


Winter Fantasy
Weekends beginning Nov. 21. The Sawdust Festival grounds are transformed into a winter wonderland! See 175 artists display and sell their creations as holiday gifts. Enjoy food, live holiday entertainment, art classes, a petting zoo and of course – Santa Claus. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $7. 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.494.3030.


Thanksgiving Eve: 2050
Nov. 25. Step into the future with Aqua Lounge for Thanksgiving Eve, set in the year 2050. The space will take on a futuristic chic style to host what is guaranteed to be one of the biggest Wednesday night blowout parties of the year. Enjoy one complimentary drink with admission. 9 p.m. $25/pp. Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.760.4920.


Turkey Trot
Nov. 26. Burn some calories before you feast with the annual Thanksgiving Day run, which takes you through the beautiful beaches, cliffs and coves of Dana Point. Bring the kids to participate in a mini-trot of their own. 6-11 a.m. $35-$50; Kids’ Gobble Wobble 1-mile race, $15. Golden Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, 949.496.1555.


Island Hotel Thanksgiving Brunch
Nov. 26. Savor Thanksgiving classics and Oak Grill favorites in Island Hotel’s ballroom. The ballroom will be transformed into a replica of the relaxed outdoor tree setting of Oak Grill Patio. Seasonal dining offerings will include free-range turkey, prime rib and Chilean sea bass and side dish favorites include everything from butternut squash soup and seafood chowder to en eggs benedict station and Thanksgiving trimmings. Enjoy the tunes of live acoustical guitar in the fireside lounge and for sports fans, Thanksgiving Day NFL games will be broadcasted. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $79/pp. Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.760.4920.


Thanksgiving Potluck at EATS Kitchen & Bar
Nov. 26. Gather around the Thanksgiving table as EATS Kitchen treats guests to the ultimate Thanksgiving potluck. Chef Jason Montelibano and his culinary team are bringing a melting pot of their favorite traditional dishes like pork tamales, cannelloni, Filipino fried spring rolls and mashed potatoes. The best part of Thanksgiving? The leftovers! EATS Kitchen will pack ’em up for you to enjoy the next day.  5-9 p.m. $45/pp. Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine,  949.225.6780.


Dunes Annual Lighting of the Bay

Dunes 25th Annual Lighting of the Bay
Nov. 27-29. Kick off the holiday season with three days of festivities. Transport yourself to a snow-filled winter wonderland and select a gorgeous tree from the Christmas tree farm. Shop gifts from a boutique craft fair, enjoy live musical performances and indulge in a spectacular holiday brunch from Back Bay Bistro. Other fun events include a surprise Disney film on the sand and a puppet show. Santa Claus will take center stage during the main event and has traded in his sleigh for a lighted paddle board. Watch as Santa flips the switch that will illuminate the bay with over 50 electric Christmas trees. See website for full schedule of events. Free. Lighting of the Bay will take place Friday at 6 p.m. 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport beach, 800.729.3863.


Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities
Through Nov. 29. In the words of Cirque du Soleil, “Seeing is disbelieving.” Reality is relative under Cirque du Soleil’s blue and yellow big top. The newest show, Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities, is set in the 19th century and designed to challenge your perceptions and disorient your senses. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 877.924.7783.


OC Chill Ice Rink
Through Feb. 15. Welcome the holiday season with an evening of ice skating in Irvine Spectrum’s outdoor ice skating rink. Visit the Giant Wheel Court for the glimpse of winter in Orange County. See website for hours. $15-$19. Giant Wheel Court, 71 Fortune Drive, Irvine, 949.748.8280.

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