(Credit: Mimi Pham)

(Credit: Mimi Pham)


2017 is officially here! After celebrating New Year’s Eve with a bang, it’s time to kick off a whole new year with plenty of exciting activities. While you may want to take it easy after the excitement of the holidays, these activities will allow you to do just that. From shows and fun runs to festivals and plenty of foodie events, have a low-key month filled with entertainment and fun.

January 1, 2017
(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)


Surf City Splash
Huntington Beach Pier
325 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
www.surfcityusa.com

There are few ways to start the year that are as thrilling as Surf City Splash, a multifaceted event where the main attraction is a spine-tingling, goose bump-inducing run into the freezing Pacific Ocean. While the big splash will take place at noon, there is so much more fun to be had. Arrive before 11 a.m. for a pancake breakfast and stick around after the swim for a craft fair at the pier plaza until 4 p.m. There will also be a costume contest just prior to the main event, in which participants will compete for funniest, most sparkly, best celebrity, best animal-themed and best group costume. Proceeds from the admission price of $20 will go to the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.

January 1, 2017
(credit: niderlander/shutterstock)

(credit: niderlander/shutterstock)


New Year’s Day Champagne Brunch
Waterline
1221 West Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 645-5000
www.meritagecollection.com

If plunging into cold salty water isn’t your idea of holiday fun, try a more toned down option: breakfast at the Balboa Bay Resort’s Waterline restaurant. Running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests will be able to dress up and sit down to a classy meal at the waterside restaurant—complete with endless glasses of bubbly champagne. Standard brunch options at Waterline include things like an artisanal cheese and charcuterie display, breakfast pastries, fresh shrimp on ice, crab cake eggs Benedict, a halibut BLT and a waffle with berry compote and milk jam. Their menu always features fresh, local ingredients expertly crafted by Executive Chef Rachel Haggstrom. The cost is $50 for adults and $25 for children.

January 1, 2017
(credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

(credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)


Tower of Terror 13th Hour Party
Disney California Adventure
1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4565
www.disneyland.com

For one night only, say goodbye to one of California Adventure’s original rides with a celebration to remember. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., you can be one of the last guests to “stay” at the Hollywood Tower Hotel on the famous Tower of Terror’s final day of operation. Along with experiencing the ride for the last time, guests will savor some sweet treats at the soiree’s dessert buffet. The Silver Lake Sisters will be on-hand to serenade visitors as they take pictures at special photo locations and sip cocktails (or non-alcoholic beverages!). Guests can dress in era-appropriate clothing and special commemorative merchandise will be available. The ride will soon be transformed from this “Twilight Zone” fantasy into a “Guardians of the Galaxy” attraction.

January 1, 2017
(Credit: Alison Richards)

(Credit: Alison Richards)


Village Art Faire
Downtown San Clemente
100 Avenida Del Mar
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 395-7008
www.villagesanclemente.org

Occurring on the first Sunday of every month, the Village Art Faire is a fantastic way to find creative items and meet new people. Avenida Del Mar in the historical district of San Clemente is transformed into a charming market full of handcrafted pieces, including jewelry, photography, ceramics, fine art, leather goods, metalwork, woodwork, textiles, botanicals, home décor, glass art and more. Aside from arts and crafts, visitors can check out food from local eateries that line the avenue as well as the chic boutiques selling clothes and décor. Though the artists may vary, the event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each month.

January 6-8, 2017
(Credit: Carol Rosegg)

(Credit: Carol Rosegg)


“Rent”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-2787
www.scfta.org

The Tony-award winning Broadway production “Rent” comes to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, a vibrant celebration of the bold show in celebration of its 20th anniversary. The touring rock musical follows the story of seven artists struggling to make a life for themselves in New York City. While they deal with love, loss and a variety of other everyday problems, they learn to remain hopeful even when facing their biggest fear. The production, which takes place over the course of a year and is set in the late 1980s, explores the importance of creativity, friendship and, most importantly, love. The center will host five performances over the course of three days, with tickets starting at $29.

January 7, 2017
(Credit: Sam Gonzalez)

(Credit: Sam Gonzalez)


Bride World Expo
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(800) 600-7080
www.brideworld.com

Brides-to-be all over Orange County will love the Bride World Expo at the OC Fair & Event Center. The expo serves as a one-stop shop for everything bridal-related with over 150 vendors on site to offer planning ideas and unique inspiration. It’s also a great place to find deals and connect with companies that provide venues, flowers, gowns and tuxedos, photo booths, DJs and photographers, vintage décor, invitations and even honeymoons. Aside from vendors, there will be special activities. National designers as well as local boutiques will put on various fashion shows—plus grooms can compete on the catwalk for prizes. There will also be live music, planning seminars and various prizes available throughout the event.

January 7, 2017
(credit Desiree Eaglin)

(credit Desiree Eaglin)


Tour of Bolsa Chica Wetlands
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
18000 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 840-1575
www.surfcityusa.com

From 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month, visitors can take a free tour of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. While it’s nice to get out, enjoy the fresh air and take in the beauty of Southern California, this tour is educational so you’ll learn something on your refreshing walk as well. A docent from the reserve will lead the group, elaborating on the history of the surrounding wetlands. The docents will also be able to provide additional information on local endangered species, birds and ecology as well as on the restoration efforts that are in place to support the area. If you’re late, don’t worry, as tours leave every 15 minutes until the end of the event.

January 8, 2017
 (Credit: Brian Mangino)

(Credit: Brian Mangino)


Ukulele Madness
Fullerton Museum Center
301 North Pomona Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 738-6545
www.cityoffullerton.com

Stop by the Fullerton Museum Center to learn how to play the ukulele during Ukulele Madness, an event that celebrates the popularity and uniqueness of an instrument that was a staple of music in the 1920s. The workshop will be structured toward beginners so don’t worry—you can show up not knowing how to play at all and leave (hopefully) having mastered some twang-y ukulele chords and maybe even a song or two. The songs taught during the two-hour lesson will be specifically from the Prohibition Era. The event, which will run from 2 to 4 p.m., also includes the use of the museum’s instruments so you don’t need to bring anything with you except a willingness to learn.

January 12-15, 2017
 (Credit: runDisney)

(Credit: runDisney)


Star Wars Half Marathon
Disneyland Resort
1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
(407) 939-4786
www.rundisney.com

The annual Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland is especially relevant this year, with the recent release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and the passing of beloved Princess Leia actress Carrie Fisher. Dress up in your best Star Wars gear; whether you’re a Jedi Knight or the princess herself, there’s something for everyone to enjoy throughout the event. Aside from the actual half marathon, there will be a 5K and a 10K. The races will wind through the parks, the resort and the surrounding neighborhoods and will result in a finisher’s medal for all. There will also be themed entertainment along the course. Kids can play too, with age-specific kid’s races. In addition, a health and fitness expo will run at the Disneyland Hotel Thursday through Saturday.

January 14, 2017
(Credit: Lori Locke)

(Credit: Lori Locke)


Baby and Kids Experience
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(970) 328-9806
www.babyandkidsexperience.com

This traveling experience caters to families, offering a safe and cheap alternative to fairs and festivals that charge for each and every activity. Rather than $5 here and $10 there, the Baby and Kids Experience brings dynamic activities and learning environments to cities across the country. Designed with kids in mind, but not forgetting about parents too, this expo is filled with vendors who hope to create meaningful connections with parents over products and services that will actually benefit them. Kids can climb rock walls and navigate obstacle courses, figure out how to balance on a beam, get their faces painted or jump in a colorful bounce house. No matter how you spend the day, you’ll leave with info on things you can actually use—and your kids will be happy too.

January 14 and 28, 2017
(Credit: Feld Entertainment)

(Credit: Feld Entertainment)


Monster Jam
Angel Stadium of Anaheim
2000 East Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, CA 92806
(800) 745-3000
www.monsterjam.com

Put on by Feld Entertainment—the same group behind Disney on Ice and Marvel Universe Live!—Monster Jam is another action-packed, live show that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping and your excitement levels through the roof. The motorsport event features a variety of tricks, but is especially known for its racing and freestyle competitions. Monster trucks fly through the course, with tons of recognizable vehicles including Grave Digger (pictured) driven by Adam Anderson, Ice Cream Man driven by Roy Pridgeon, Wild Flower driven by Rosalee Ramer and Team Hot Wheels driven by Scott Buetow. Attendees can opt for Total Access Passes that offer a VIP experience (and no lines!).

Through January 16, 2017
(Credit: Irvine Spectrum)

(Credit: Irvine Spectrum)


OC Chill Ice Rink
Irvine Spectrum
670 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 753-5180
www.shopirvinespectrumcenter.com

While most holiday events wrapped up at the end of December, this is one special spot that is still going on through the middle of the month. The OC Chill ice rink happens to be one of the best in Orange County — as well as one of the few outdoor rinks available in our warm climate. With colorful lights and today’s latest hits blasting on the speakers, it’s a great pastime for anyone who loves to skate. Twirl figure eights on the ice below the wintery blue Ferris wheel. There are various open skate sessions throughout the day with skate rentals available as well. Make the most of this exciting activity before it’s gone for the season.

January 16-29, 2017
(Credit: Fly 'N Fish Oyster Bar & Grill)

(Credit: Fly ‘N Fish Oyster Bar & Grill)


Newport Beach Restaurant Week
Various Locations
Newport Beach, CA 92625
(800) 942-6278
www.dinenb.com

Newport Beach is already known for being one of the biggest culinary hotspots in Orange County, with endless gourmet and waterfront restaurants cropping up from the hottest chefs in the area. The annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week celebrates that flair for fare, offering special culinary experiences during the multi-week event. Diners can enjoy prix fixe menus set at $10, $15, $20 or $25 for lunch and $20, $30, $40 or $50 for dinner. Some popular restaurants that will offer specials for the festival include Juliette Kitchen + Bar, Provenance, Fly ‘N Fish Oyster Bar & Grill, SOL Cocina, Slapfish, Sushi Roku, A Restaurant and Fig & Olive.

January 17-29, 2017
(Credit: Joan Marcus)

(Credit: Joan Marcus)


“Matilda the Musical”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-2787
www.scfta.org

One of the most beloved tales has made the jump from film and literature to the stage. Segerstrom Center for the Arts hosts “Matilda the Musical,” a Tony-award winning stage production that has been labeled the show of the year by “Time Magazine.” The play tells the story of a girl named Matilda whose special powers help her and her classmates take charge to defeat the horrible forces in their lives. Suitable for all ages, the story highlights Matilda’s imagination, intelligence and love for reading—all positive traits for youngsters to aspire to. The two-and-a-half hour show will be presented 16 times over the course of two weeks, with tickets starting at $29.

January 18-22, 2017
(credit: Juan F./yelp)

(credit: Juan F./yelp)


NAMM Show
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92802
(760) 438-8001
www.namm.org

Standing for the National Association of Music Merchants, the NAMM Show is a popular trade show aimed at musicians that takes place each year in Anaheim. Throughout the event, expect to find live concerts as well as boot camps and workshops on topics like live recording, stage lighting, social media marketing, touring, brand partnerships and how to maximize profits. There will also be panels, discussions and meet-and-greets with famous musicians and other industry workers. Though the NAMM Show officially starts on the 19th, the event kicks off with a free pre-show concert with local artists including the band FilmSpeed on Jan. 18.

January 20 – February 19, 2017
(Credit: Liz Lauren)

(Credit: Liz Lauren)


“Moby Dick”
South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 708-5555
www.scr.org

Based on the famous novel by Herman Melville, and adapted for the Segerstrom Stage by director David Catlin, this performance of “Moby Dick” Is transformed flawlessly from a classic story to a full-fledged stage production. Making its West Coast premiere, the tale perfectly combines the power of the story with the poetry of Melville’s words, resulting in a masterpiece work. Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company produces the month-long presentation, revealing a self-destructive main character, those he eggs on and impressive Seven Seas. Guaranteed, you’ve never seen a show like this—with stunning sets and appropriate costumes that capture the feeling of the original novel. Previews will run from Jan. 20-26 before opening night on Jan. 27. Post-show discussions will be held on Feb. 1 and 7, and an ASL interpreter will be on-site on Feb. 18.

January 21, 2017
(credit: Dania N./yelp)

(credit: Dania N./yelp)


Super Warrior 5K
Yorba Regional Park
7600 East La Palma Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92807
www.stripesofawarrior.com

While fun runs are just that, hey can also be a lot more. Take Super Warrior 5K, for example. Proceeds from the January 21st run benefit Stripes of a Warrior, an organization that helps cancer patients financially. The family-friendly event encourages costumes of all sorts, though the theme is that of warriors and superheroes, making it the perfect place to transform into Spiderman or Catwoman. This year marks the event’s inauguration, with a loop from one end of the park to the other. Water stations, finisher’s medals and chip timing are just some of the benefits of signing up and running to raise money to fight the expense cancer causes. There will be prizes for faster runners in various categories as well as for best costumes. Sign up on your own or as a team and get ready to fight.

January 21, 2017
(Credit: Christine Fu)

(Credit: Christine Fu)


Fin de Fiesta
Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 854-4646
www.thebarclay.org

A joint venture between the Irvine Barclay Theatre and the New World Flamenco Festival, Fin de Fiesta is a celebration of what makes flamenco unique – its spontaneity. Usually found at the end of a flamenco performance, the Fin de Fiesta is just that: spontaneous and improvised. Meant to add some passion and pep to any show, this finale number is full of fun and perfectly embodies the spirit of Spain’s traditional dance. The unrestrained passion and creativity comes through tenfold as dancers from the U.S. and Spain come together in this one-night show to inspire the audience. The festival’s artistic director, Emmy-award winning choreographer Yaelisa, will head the venture.

January 22, 2017
(Credit: Mozart Classical Orchestra)

(Credit: Mozart Classical Orchestra)


Happy Birthday Mozart
Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92697
(949) 854-4646
www.thebarclay.org

The Mozart Classical Orchestra will present a touching tribute to the famed composer. Led by artistic director and conductor Ami Porat, who will also offer notes throughout the program, the orchestra will perform three pieces with the high quality they have become known for. First comes Strauss’ Roman Carnival Overture, his last stage work. The number is filled with themes of deception and unrequited love and features quick tempo changes. They will also perform two numbers by Mozart—Violin Concerto, K. 216 and Symphony No. 41. Written 13 years apart, both numbers are uniquely expressive. Symphony No. 41 was one of the last three symphonies Mozart wrote—a finale for the ages. Isabella Lippi will accompany the orchestra on violin for the concerto.

January 22, 2017
(Credit: Chris Emerich)

(Credit: Chris Emerich)


Backhausdance – Free Family Dance Day
Orange County Great Park
Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Drive
Irvine, CA 92650
(949) 854-4646
www.thebarclay.org

Join Backhausdance and the Irvine Barclay Theatre at the Orange County Great Park for a dance celebration that all ages can get into. Put on in conjunction with the park’s current “Balance” exhibit, the event welcomes one and all to experience balance for themselves: through the movement of modern dance. This community event is sure to get you moving so make sure you’re prepared with comfy clothes and footwear that won’t hinder you during the dance workshop. Once you’ve tried out some new moves, stick around for a lecture on choreography and a glimpse into the latest Backhausdance work, led by choreographer Jennifer Backhaus. Though reservations are requested, this family-friendly event is free.

January 27, 2017
(credit: Robin W./Yelp)

(credit: Robin W./Yelp)


Food and Wine Experience
Ocean Institute
24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
www.1stannualfoodandwineevent.eventbrite.com

Food and wine enthusiasts have simply got to attend the Food and Wine Experience, put on by the Dana Hills Lacrosse Fundraising Committee. The inaugural event will feature celebrity chefs preparing some of their favorite dishes and wine pairings. Take the time to chat with chefs from some of Orange County’s best restaurants like Three Seventy Common, Sapphire Laguna, Lazy Dog Restaurant, Driftwood Kitchen, Montage, The Winery Restaurant and even Disneyland’s Club 33. Various wineries will also be represented at the event. There will be raffles, silent auctions and a wine pull to add some spice to the evening and the gala will also feature live music from local jazz singer Addie Hamilton.

January 27-29, 2017
(Credit: Jennifer Nghiem)

(Credit: Jennifer Nghiem)


Tet Festival
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 388-6711
www.tetfestival.org

Now in its 36th year, the Tet Festival is a brilliant display of culture and education. For three days, join locals in celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Visitors can enjoy entertainment such as the Miss Vietnam of Southern California pageant, a firecracker display, a hip hop dance competition, short films, live music and other performances from the community. There will also be varied cultural performances, including a bamboo raising ceremony, lion dancing, a floral arrangement contest, a spring wedding and a pho-eating contest. Food and retail vendors will also be on site throughout the three-day extravaganza. The event is organized by the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California (UVSA), but is run by students and young professionals in an effort to teach them cultural awareness and leadership skills.

January 29, 2017
(Credit: Paige Battcher, Kismet Ideas)

(Credit: Paige Battcher, Kismet Ideas)


Laguna Niguel Triathlon
Crown Community Park
29751 Crown Valley Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
(949) 975-1812
www.renegaderaceseries.com

End the month with a stellar display of activity: the Laguna Niguel Triathlon. The event includes a three-mile run, an eight-mile bike and a 175-yard swim in the pool at Crown Community Park in Laguna Niguel. Participants were invited to enroll in a four-week training program with a local coach prior to the event but, for many, it’s not their first triathlon. Along with many other Renegade Race Series events, the triathlon will benefit We Run Orange County’s Kids, a nonprofit that provides after-school program for local middle and high school students. Though the triathlon will be held whether rain or shine, there will be no junior triathlon this year.

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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