Pacific Surfliner Christmas Tree

Top Holiday Events in Southern California

There are countless holiday events and attractions to enjoy this season including parades, light displays, waterfront fireworks and more. Take a train ride along the coast on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and enjoy breathtaking views while spending quality time with friends and family as you travel to these festive events:

Holiday Time at the Disneyland® Resort – Friday, November 9 Through Tuesday, January 8 in Anaheim

Experience the magical atmosphere of the Disneyland® Resort beautifully decorated for the holidays. Both parks feature special holiday foods, entertainment and decorations through January 8.
Getting There: From the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), show your Pacific Surfliner ticket for a free transfer on Anaheim Resort Transit Route 15, which takes you to the front gates of the resort.
Insider Tip: When you ride the Pacific Surfliner, you can unlock a 5% savings on theme park admission at

Disneyland Resort Holiday Decorations

Holiday by the Bay – Wednesday, November 21 Through Saturday, January 5 in San Diego

For a unique adventure, head to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront and make your way through various holiday activities, from a 100-foot ice tubing slide, “iceberg” bumper cars, an interactive light show, cookie decorating and much more.
Getting There: The hotel is across the street from the historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown. It’s a 5-minute trolley ride from the train station or a 30-minute walk along the bay. Tip: Purchase a discounted one-day San Diego MTS transit pass from the Café Car to use on the trolley.
Insider Tip: The hotel has a Holiday by the Bay package that includes an overnight stay and tickets to the special attractions.

Hilton Bayfront Holidays by the Bay

Santa Arrives on the Surfliner – Saturday, December 1 in San Luis Obispo

As part of an annual tradition, Santa Claus will arrive in San Luis Obispo on the Pacific Surfliner! Children can greet him at the station and walk together over to the nearby San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum for photos and more.
Getting There: It couldn’t be easier – simply wait for Santa to arrive at the station at 2:30 p.m.! The museum is less than a 5-minute walk from the station platform.
Insider Tip: Make time to explore the unique shops of downtown San Luis Obispo to uncover special holiday gifts!

Santa Arrives on the Surfliner

Christmas at the Mission – Saturday, December 1 in San Juan Capistrano

Celebrate the holidays at beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano, and enjoy live performances, hot cocoa, visits with Santa and their first-ever Christmas Tree Lighting program.
Getting There: The festivities are just a short walk away from the train station. Stroll through historic Downtown San Juan Capistrano and reach the Mission in under 5 minutes.
Insider Tip: Event tickets ($7 each) are limited, so purchase yours early.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Holidays at the Plaza – Friday, December 7 Through Wednesday, January 2 in Ventura

The laid-back town of Ventura is a perfect place to do some holiday shopping, with dozens of unique boutiques in downtown. Make sure to visit nearby Plaza Park, which is beautifully transformed into “Candy Cane Forest”, with dozens of decorated Christmas trees and special events all month long.
Getting There: Plaza Park is an easy 10-minute walk from the Ventura train station.
Insider Tip: Ventura Harbor (which is a trolley ride away) will have more holiday fun, including a parade of lights and holiday carnival, on December 15 and 16.

Ventura Holidays at the Plaza

Santa Barbara Parade of Lights – Sunday, December 9 in Santa Barbara

Celebrate the holidays on the water in beautiful Santa Barbara. Start with a visit to Santa’s Village at the harbor to play in 10 tons of snow and take photos with Santa. Then, watch 30 beautifully decorated boats make their way along the coastline and watch a fireworks show from the beach.
Getting There: The beach is a short walk from the train station. To get to the harbor, you can take a 15-minute walk along the shoreline or hop on the electric trolley from Cabrillo Blvd. Tip: Show your Pacific Surfliner ticket for a free ride.
Insider Tip: Grab a spot on Stearns Wharf for a great view of the boat parade and fireworks. The wharf also features popular restaurants and specialty shops.


San Diego Parade of Lights – Sunday, December 9 and 16 in San Diego

Crowds line the bayfront for one of San Diego’s most beloved holiday traditions, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. This event was nominated as the Best Holiday Parade by USA Today and features 80 boats that are lavishly decorated in lights and decorations.
Getting There: The fun is a short walk from the Santa Fe Depot, and you’ll be glad you didn’t drive, because parking is extremely hard to find due to the popularity of the event.
Insider Tip: Consider going on a harbor cruise or dining at one of the waterfront restaurants for the best views.

San Diego Parade of Lights

Julefest – Various dates through Monday, December 31 in Solvang

One of the top 10 most “Christmassy” towns in America, the historic Danish village of Solvang brings Old World traditions to the holiday season with lights, pop-up shops, tours, live music and a parade.
Getting There: From the Santa Barbara station, connect to the Amtrak Thruway bus, which offers daily connections to downtown Solvang.
Insider Tip: Follow the “Sweet Treats Trail” to try delicious Danish pastries, hand dipped chocolates, fudge, and even dessert wines while you explore Solvang.

Holidays in Solvang

Disney on Ice – Wednesday, December 19 – Sunday, December 23 in Anaheim

Take the kids to this engaging and uplifting performance featuring some of the most beloved Disney heroines, including Moana, Belle, Elsa and more.
Getting There: The Honda Center is directly across the street from ARTIC, so it’s only a short walk from the station.
Insider Tip: Continue the Disney fun after the show with a visit to Downtown Disney. It’s one shuttle-ride away from the train station, and is a great place to pick up gifts or grab a bite.

Disney on Ice Anaheim

Rose Parade – Tuesday, January 1 in Pasadena

Visit Pasadena to experience the historic Rose Parade, an internationally-recognized New Year’s celebration. This tradition has been part of the community for more than 100 years, with floats that are meticulously decorated with flowers and plants by hundreds of volunteers.
Getting There: Avoid traffic and parking hassle by taking the Pacific Surfliner to L.A. Union Station and connecting to the Metro Gold Line, which stops near the parade route. Tip: Purchase a discounted one-day LA Metro transit pass from the Café Car and skip the lines when transferring.
Insider Tip: Visit the post-parade showcase to see the floats up close! Tickets are $15 each and advance online reservations are recommended.

Pasadena Rose Parade

Visit to view schedules and explore trip options. We’d like to wish you a safe and happy holiday season!