38 Holiday Events in the Sacramento Area You Don’t Want to Miss
‘Tis the season for holiday craft fairs, ballet performances, Santa sightings and other festivities! Mark your calendar for these holiday events in the Sacramento area — suitable for kids and kids-at-heart alike. There are plenty of ways to celebrate this magical season from Thanksgiving all the way through the end of the year!
The Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink has been a seasonal landmark in the city for over 20 years, providing a playful escape into a winter wonderland for both kids and adults. The ice rink is located in the heart of downtown at the doorstep of the Golden 1 Center, and operates from November 3 through January 15. The rink is open from 2–8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Make sure to check their special hours for holidays! General admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children 6 and under, which includes skate rental. Added rental and purchase fees include gloves, socks, skate aids, and more.
Global Winter Wonderland is a spectacular holiday festival and multicultural celebration at Cal Expo. You can expect awe-inspiring illuminated landscapes celebrating holidays around the world, live entertainment, holiday ice skating, a full carnival with family and thrill rides, delicious international cuisine, photo opportunities with Santa, holiday shopping, fun crafts, and much more. There are various options for tickets, but general admission costs $18 for adults and $16 for children and seniors.
Each year, thousands gather at Cal Expo for the Harvest Festival, a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family. This festive weekend event features 24,000 handmade American arts and crafts, delicious treats, and endless live entertainment. Purchase your tickets for the festival in advance! The Harvest Festival is taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Shop from over 50 local vendors at the Folsom Community Center’s Holiday Shopportunity and Craft Fair — the perfect one-stop shop for all your holiday gift needs. The craft fair is taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and entry is free!
Spend the morning on Thanksgiving Day making a difference in the lives of those in need within our community. All profits from Run to Feed the Hungry directly benefit The Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, a local non-profit working hard to address hunger issues in the Sacramento area. This is not only the largest run in Sacramento, but also the largest Thanksgiving Day fun run in the country! Be a part of the excitement by registering for Run to Feed the Hungry — whether you want to participate in the 5K or the 10K, or you simply want to cheer on from the sidelines as a Drumstick Dasher.
Don’t miss the Annual Tree Lighting Festival on Historic Main Street in Placerville, featuring festive music, live entertainment, visits with Santa, stagecoach rides, and of course — the tree lighting at 6 p.m. at the courthouse. This Placerville tradition will start at 5 p.m. and admission is free.
The Crocker Art Museum is partnering with the Creative Arts League of Sacramento for this shopping experience featuring distinctive, one-of-a-kind treasures. The Crocker Holiday Artisan Market will be held for three days at the Scottish Rite Center, from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. In addition to shopping from dozens of artisans, you can get your photo taken with Santa, enjoy delightful food served by Ambrosia Café, get your face painted, and hear live music throughout the event.
The Harris Center for the Arts presents the Emmy award-winning story by Charles Schulz, recreated for the stage. Get in the holiday spirit with all 11 members of the Peanuts gang, in addition to a live jazz trio playing the Vince Guaraldi score. See this spectacular performance at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 25, or 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 26.
The famous Mannheim Steamroller tour, now in its 30th year, is making a stop at the Harris Center for the Arts for two days of non-stop holiday fun. The shows will feature the favorite Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with state-of-the-art multimedia effects in an intimate setting. Get your tickets for the 7:30 p.m. shows on Monday, November 27 and Tuesday, November 28, or the 2 p.m. show on Tuesday.
Returning after a five-year hiatus, this adaptation of the classic Dickens novel is by local artists Richard Hellesen and David de Berry, starring Matt K. Miller reprising his role as Ebenezer Scrooge. This age-old tale traverses Scrooge’s greed-filled past, his regrettable present void of forgiveness, and his fated future. Get your tickets for this holiday classic celebrating its 30th anniversary on STC’s stages.
Head to the square in Roseville for their holiday edition of Friday Flicks. Bring blankets, a lawn chair, and your family and friends, for a free showing of “The Santa Clause” under the stars at 6:30 p.m.! Concessions are available for purchase.
Experience the jaw-dropping performance of Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Golden 1 Center. This live show is America’s biggest rock holiday tradition, featuring exciting displays with fire, lasers, and other special effects, in addition to the exciting music of this talented musical group. Purchase tickets for the 3:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. show!
The Benvenuti Performing Arts Center is putting a modern twist on a Christmas classic. The star, Ben Scrooge, is a young and wealthy video game designer who receives visits from spirits of the past, present and future. This updated retelling of the Charles Dickens novel is sure to put you in the holiday spirit! Get tickets for the 7 p.m. shows on December 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9, or the 2 p.m. show on December 9.
El Dorado Hills Town Center is hosting an extravagant holiday tree lighting event on Saturday, December 2 from 4–8 p.m. Activities include Stuff Your Stocking Game, a merchant open house, a live band, a caroling contest winner performance, and of course — Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Cookies, hot chocolate and kettle corn are available for purchase.
Starting on December 2 (the same day as the tree lighting!), El Dorado Hills Town Center starts giving carriage rides throughout the month of December on Fridays and Saturdays. Rides operate on a first-come, first-served basis, costing $15 per couple, $20 for three people, or $25 for a family of four or more. Purchases benefit 3Strands Global and Hands4Hope.
The Cordova Recreation and Park District is hosting their annual Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Neil Orchard Senior Activities Center. Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a delicious breakfast of pancakes, sausage and refreshments. Then stop by the holiday craft fair for some Christmas shopping and pose for a picture with Santa. Admission is $5 per person for those 9 years and over, or $2 for kids 8 and under.
Head to the historic Tower Theatre in Land Park for a “family flashback” showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — the live-action movie starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch. The movie starts at 10 a.m., and tickets cost $6 per person!
The holiday season can be difficult for many, as they remember the lives of loved ones who are no longer with them. The 16th Annual Candlelight Vigil will be a special and sacred time to remember loved ones by placing a decorative memorial ornament on a tree at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Ornaments are available in the CFCS office after Thanksgiving to decorate. The vigil starts at 7 p.m. on December 5 and 7.
Radio 94.7 and Sprint present the exciting Electric Christmas at Golden 1 Center, featuring performances from The Lumineers, Portugal. The Man, and Walk the Moon. Tickets are on sale, starting at just $29.50!
Don’t miss this downtown Sacramento tradition ushering in the holiday spirit at the Memorial Auditorium! Catch the 2 p.m. matinée or the 7:30 p.m. evening performance of Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays, featuring radiant Christmas music, a candlelit procession, audience sing-along, and more. Tickets are now on sale for $50, $40 and $35.
The Sacramento Premier Holiday Expo is a non-stop day of holiday fun at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center. With unique holiday shopping, food tasting, a live DJ, a fashion show, entertainment, and a photo booth — this is a must-do holiday event for small business owners and shoppers alike! Plus, there is something for the whole family at the Premier Holiday Expo! There will be a puppet show, an appearance from Santa, and much more. Tickets are now for sale for $9 in advance or $13 at the door. Tickets for children 12 and under are free and parking is free as well!
The Living Smart Foundation is hosting its annual holiday craft show in conjunction with its weekly farmers’ market. Shop from over 100 artisans and crafters selling unique handmade holiday gifts, visit with Santa from 10 a.m. to noon, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate all the while. This festive event is taking place at Vernon Street Town Square in Roseville from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Sierra 2 Senior Center presents their annual Holiday Craft Fair, a favorite amongst neighbors in the Curtis Park neighborhood. This wonderful shopping experience will feature 20 local artisans, makers, and crafters, festive food and drinks, raffle prizes and more! Admission is free.
This popular holiday tradition highlights five private residences in El Dorado Hills decked out in holiday splendor, displaying traditional and whimsical decorations and collectables to inspire your holiday decorating. After receiving decor inspiration, shop for gifts at the holiday boutique, visit with Santa, sip on wine or hot apple cider, and snack on homemade cookies and candy. This event is located at William Brooks Elementary School in El Dorado Hills, and is taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 10. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.
Placer Theatre Ballet is a youth ballet company dedicated to the joy of storytelling through the art of dance. Watch the story of the iconic Nutcracker come to life in front of your eyes with this exciting, quality performance at Placer High School in Auburn. You have eight opportunities to see the show — on Saturday, December 9 at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m., on Sunday, December 10 at noon or 4 p.m., on Saturday, December 16 at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m., or Sunday, December 17 at noon or 4 p.m. Get your tickets in advance!
The most beloved of all Sacramento traditions, “The Nutcracker” from Ron Cunningham is the crown jewel of holiday entertainment. Follow the enchanting story of Clara as she encounters the Mouse King, the soaring Magic Balloon, the sparkling Snowflake Forest, and the radiant Sugar Plum Fairy. Choose from a myriad of performances at the Community Center Theater from December 9–23, including several special enhanced performances with exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences.
DECEMBER 10, 16, 17 + 19 | VARYING LOCATIONS IN SACRAMENTO
The Sacramento Master Singers are hosting their annual Christmas concerts, featuring a meditative candlelit processional, exuberant spirituals, timeless carols and more. Find out why this performance has become a family — and Sacramento — tradition. Choose from the many performances leading up to Christmas, on December 10, 16, 17 or 19! Tickets range from $10 to $25.
The Bel Tempo Ringers return to the Crocker Art Museum for a special, family-friendly concert with favorite holiday songs performed in the unique style of a hand-bell choir. You will also hear a violin, an English horn, and a variety of percussion instruments throughout the show, which takes place on both Sunday, December 10 and Tuesday, December 12. Tickets cost $6 for members, $10 for students, youth, and Capital Public Radio members, and $12 for non-members.
The Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet Theatre presents a rendition of “The Nutcracker” with Maestro Peter Jaffe and members of the Folsom Lake Symphony. Catch a performance of this enchanting story December 14–17 at varying times!
Holiday Cooking Classes at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op
This annual children’s concert is a Sacramento tradition for kids of all ages. Jingle All the Way! showcases choral music in a way that is both accessible and education for children. This 45-minute program teaches musical concepts such as dynamics and song styles, and develops an understanding of what makes up a choir, from the conductor and the different singing parts to the accompanist. Guests will even enjoy a surprise visit from Santa Claus and a special holiday treat!
The 4th Annual Folsom Christmas Classic includes a 10K, 5K, and a Santa Fun Run for children under 10. Take part in the holiday festivities at Vista del Lago High School in Folsom whether you’re competing or simply looking for some fun exercise. Register in advance and get your festive costume ready! The Christmas Classic benefits The Keaton Raphael Memorial, a non-profit organization based in Roseville that supports families with children suffering from cancer.
The El Dorado Hills Fire Department is back for its 54th year of their Santa Run tradition. The event will conclude as Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves travel through the town center to collect canned food and new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots. Then, a spectacular fireworks show will light up the sky above Steven Young Amphitheater! This is a fun holiday tradition that should not be missed.
Run alongside thousands of Santas at the Sacramento Santa Run! Each registered participant receives a free Santa suit, but you are welcome to come dressed up as your favorite holiday character. The Santa Run brings a full day of fun for the whole family with a 5K run/walk and a Merry Mile, and a festive finish at the downtown plaza with cookies, milk, music, and snow.
Celebrate Christmas with Posada Navideña, a frolic-filled dance presentation with just the right sprinkle of theatrical flavor. The 30 dancers and musicians of Sacramento’s Mexican folk dance company, Ballet Folklórico de Sacramento, will take you on a whirlwind journey through the regions of Mexico. The performance includes a traditional Christmas processional, Mexican holiday songs, a visit from the Three Wise Men, a festive piñata scene, and captivating dance choreography. Don’t miss this spell-binding show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 22; purchase your tickets now!
“An Irish Celebration” is returning to the Harris Center in Folsom, where the performance has become an established part of the holiday season for the community. The show displays the exciting traditions of Christmas in Ireland, including superb music, dancing and singing of Christmas carols, all led by an award-winning cast of Irish dancers. Catch one of the three performances of “An Irish Christmas” — at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., or 7 p.m.!
Don’t miss the sixth and final year of “The Sound of Music” at the Crocker Art Museum! In addition to a special screening of this beloved film, take part in costume contests, door prizes, yodeling, singing and lots of laughs. This popular event sells out each year and space is limited, so make sure you register in advance.
Be part of the holiday concert tradition of the season as Grammy-nominated songwriter and piano sensation Jim Brickman returns to Sacramento for “A Joyful Christmas.” Join Jim as he brings the sound and spirit of the season to the Harris Center for the Arts in Folsom. Bring your family, friends or that special someone and make Jim Brickman your new holiday tradition! Tickets range from $17.50 to $50.