The most wonderful time of the year is here, and the week kicks off with Christmas Day. From Christmas lights, champagne cruises and the Happiest Place on Earth, there are a variety of ways to spend it. Then, throughout the week leading up to New Year’s Eve, enjoy a variety of winter festivals and events, sports games, live music, art exhibits and workshops and more. Then, on Sunday, ring in the New Year with a variety of special local celebrations for those of all ages and interests.
Monday, December 25
santas holiday visit 1116 dca  40751 Best Things To Do This Week In Orange County   December 25

(Credit: Disney Parks)

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

A popular way to spend the Christmas holiday is at Orange County’s most famous theme park. Both Disneyland and California Adventure offer special holiday décor along with rides like Haunted Mansion Holiday and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree, visits from Santa and special seasonal versions of the nightly fireworks show as well as World of Color.

Christmas Day Champagne Brunch Cruise
Newport Harbor, Newport Beach

Hornblower Cruises will host a champagne brunch cruise around the harbor on Christmas morning, offering a buffet complete with things like baked goods, fresh salads, meat carvings, hot breakfast dishes and seafood. Guests will also enjoy scenic views and live music.

Eagle Hills Lights Display
Eagle Hills Neighborhood, Brea

A Christmas tradition beloved by many is driving around looking at decorated houses with festive lights. Grab some hot chocolate and head to Brea, where Eagle Hills residents have made their houses into fantastic seasonal displays ready for locals to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 26
chill the queen mary2 Best Things To Do This Week In Orange County   December 25

(Credit: The Queen Mary)

CHILL at The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary, Long Beach

The all-new CHILL at the Queen Mary is a big step up from recent years, offering an array of international holiday flair from foreign foods and cocktails to gift-bringers and traditions from places like China, Russia, Holland, Switzerland and Germany. There is also ice skating, ice bumper cars, a zipline, ice tubing and more.

Healthy Kitchen Cooking Class
Discovery Cube OC, Santa Ana

Visit the Petersonville Healthy Kitchen for an interactive workshop that offers special tips and tricks as well as facts about the foods you prepare. Held each afternoon for the rest of 2017, kids and their families will make their own gingerbread loaf in honor of the season.

A Whistling White House Wonderland
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Yorba Linda

Meant to honor White House holiday celebrations from the past, this Nixon Library spectacular features a 10-foot tall toy mountain covered in classic model trains as well as a gingerbread house display inspired by Pat Nixon’s 1970 version, when the White House tradition first started. Movies like “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “The Polar Express” will be shown each day.

Wednesday, December 27
brandon mantour Best Things To Do This Week In Orange County   December 25

(credit: Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)

Studio Arts Camp
Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine

Wednesday is the first day of the three-day, half-day arts camps in Irvine. Allowing youngsters to explore drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking and more, young Monets between the ages of 6 and 8 and young Picassos from 9 to 11 will learn to expressive themselves through art.

Ducks vs. Golden Knights Hockey Game
Honda Center, Anaheim

Bundle up and watch the local Anaheim Ducks hockey team take on the brand new Golden Knights from Las Vegas. With tickets starting at only $20, the whole family can tag along to cheer on one of only two Orange County-based professional sports teams.

Teen Overnight
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

Spend the night in the aquarium with this special youth event. Before falling asleep next to the sea otter or tropical reef exhibits, teens will witness real bioluminescence, explore the exhibits, complete an obstacle course with a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) and eat pizza.

Thursday, December 28
 Best Things To Do This Week In Orange County   December 25

(Credit: Lido Marina Village)

Hear Live Music
Lido Marina Village, Newport Beach

Stop by Lido Marina Village for picturesque views of the Newport Harbor and live music by varying local musicians every Thursday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. There are also plenty of chances to enjoy some after-Christmas shopping at the local boutiques.

Salute to Marriage (For Better or Worse)
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana

Local historian Larry Maurer of the Timeless Melodies Foundation for Education is the host of this Bowers Museum talk, which focuses on the romantic, pragmatic and historical aspects of marriage. Held in the Norma Kershaw Auditorium, the lecture will begin at 1:30 p.m.

See Snoop Dogg Live
House of Blues, Anaheim

For one night only, local hip hop legend Snoop Dogg will take the stage at the House of Blues at the Anaheim Gardenwalk. Known for hits like “Drop It Like Its Hot” and “Gin and Juice,” the Long Beach-based rapper has been active in the music industry for more than 20 years.

Friday, December 29
salute to vienna chris lee Best Things To Do This Week In Orange County   December 25

(Credit: Chris Lee)

Salute to Vienna
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Ballet, operetta and ballroom dance come together for this one-night event, inspired by the New Year’s concert held in Vienna each year. European singers and dancers will be joined by the Strauss Symphony of America to perform waltzes, polkas and more at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

Dinosaur Time Trek: Shark Edition
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim

Step back in time with the Time Lab, where visitors can explore an area rich with prehistoric dinosaurs. There will also be chances to spot mythical dragons and to track modern sharks in real time for an interactive experience that is great for those of all ages.

California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach

A panorama of artwork from both sides of the California/Mexico border adorn this local exhibit, which showcases everything from scenes of mission life to images of Old California. Running through January 14, this exhibition is part of “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” a dialogue of Latin American art in Los Angeles.

Saturday, December 30
extreme cardio hike irvine ranch conservancy Best Things To Do This Week In Orange County   December 25

(Credit: Irvine Ranch Conservancy)

Extreme Cardio Hike
Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, Silverado

A strenuous, fast-paced hike that winds through Limestone Canyon, guests will be offered stunning views of Orange County as well as possible wildlife sightings. Clocking in at 14 miles in total, experienced hikers will gather together for a guided trip to the Sinks, Agua Chinon and more.

Orange County Market Place
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa

This local swap meet will be held on Saturday and Sunday, offering up things like handcrafted artwork, vintage treasures, artisan foods and more from a variety of different vendors. It is one of the best places in Orange County to find deals on gifts and fun items for yourself too.

Victorian Christmas
Historic Bembridge House, Long Beach

The final tours of the season will be held on Saturday, giving visitors a chance to experience the Christmas traditions of the past. The house, located at 953 Park Circle, is filled with sparkling lights and glowing candles that reveal the yuletide spirit and decor of days gone by.

Sunday, December 31
boots on the beach redneck rodeo Best Things To Do This Week In Orange County   December 25

(Credit: Redneck Rodeo)

Boots on the Beach
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, Newport Beach

What better place to spend New Year’s Eve than the beach? Head to the waterfront for a night of live music; Stephen Wesley and Chase Miller will join redneck Rodeo at the resort’s Bayside Pavilion. The evening will also feature line dancing lessons.

Hawaiian New Year's Bash
Ways & Means, Huntington Beach

Say ahola to 2017 and welcome 2018 in true Hawaiian style, with a Hawaiian-themed party at Ways & Means. The local oyster house will host a costume contest, music, special giveaways and themed cocktails for the evening, including $55 bottomless well drinks after 8 p.m.

Cars and Coffee
Pacific City, Huntington Beach

As the year shifts from old to new, grab a coffee from the shopping plaza’s Portola Coffee Roasters or Philz Coffee before wandering around the top level of the parking structure, where up to 50 exotic and luxury cars will be on display.

Laugh, Drink and Leave
Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach

Comedy legend Rita Rudner, known also for her books and efforts on Broadway, is a favorite in Vegas but she will be coming to Laguna this New Year’s Eve. Enjoy her special event, which will include a viewing party of the ball drop in New York City as well as a champagne toast.

Straight No Chaser
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Suited up in their finest attire, the nine men that make up a cappella group Straight No Chaser will bring their voices together to create extraordinary music with some comedy thrown in. The performance starts at 3 p.m., and is an unforgettable way to spend the last day of the year.

Long Beach Fireworks New Year's Eve Cruise 2018
Catalina King Yacht, Long Beach

Hop aboard the Catalina King Yacht to sail along the Southern California coastline. You’ll spot the local fireworks display as well as the Long Beach skyline as you enjoy music from four DJs spinning top 40, hip hop and house tunes in three different on-boat dance spots.

Masquerade Party
The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar, Rancho Santa Margarita

Ring in the New Year in style—at a masquerade ball in South Orange County. The event will include live music, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight and food and drink specials that will fit in perfectly with the standard dinner menu.

See Third Eye Blind
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Popularized in the 90s, rock band Third Eye Blind will grace the stage at The Observatory on New Year’s Eve, performing a slew of hits to ring in 2018. The band will be joined by Pedro the Lion and will feature a special emo night including famed songs from the genre.

First Night Fullerton
Downtown Fullerton, Fullerton

Now in its 26th year, First Night Fullerton will host a family-oriented experience from 7 p.m. to midnight, offering live musical acts and roaming entertainment as well as food vendors, games and a zipline. The event will end with a fireworks display at midnight.

Escape New Years Massive Party 2018
Envy, Ten and Bosscat, Newport Beach

Three local clubs will participate in a giant New Year’s Eve block party. Between Envy, Ten and Bosscat, guests will experience 16 live DJs and a five-hour open bar experience that add up to the perfect environment in which to dance the night away.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.


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