10 Kid-Tested and Parent-Approved Ways to Get Festive in Sacramento this Holiday Season


By Heather Crivellone

It’s the holiday season and it’s the time for making memories. Whether you choose to visit a local Christmas lights display, gather with friends to sing carols in your neighborhood or just stay in to bake cookies and watch movies, one thing is for sure – this is definitely the most wonderful time of the year.

Sacramento has many activities and events happening around the region that will get your family into the holiday spirit. Here is a list of my top 10 activities that are kid-tested and family approved:

  1. Wild Nights and Holiday Lights at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary. December nights at the zoo come to life with beautiful light displays. Enjoy carolers, rides on the “Starlight Express” train, photo opportunities with “Santa Paws” and an evening to view the Zoo animals after dark.
  2. Cinderella Carriage Rides at the Fountains in Roseville. Start your holiday season off like royalty and head to one of Sacramento area’s most upscale shopping venues, the Fountains in Roseville for some royal treatment! To live the dream of being Cinderella, the Fountains has special holiday Carriage rides fit for a princess this month.  You can purchase tickets for $4 to ride around the mall in a beautifully light carriage that is sure to make girls of all ages feel like royalty! Along with the carriage rides, Victorian carolers will be making appearances singing all our favorite Christmas songs.
  3. Lace up those sneakers and join in the 5th Annual Sacramento Santa Run. Burn off those Christmas cookies with over 1,000 Santa’s on December 16th. Choose between a 5K or a “Merry Mile”- each participant gets a Santa suit to run in!
  4. Visit one of the largest Christmas holiday light displays in the country at Cal Expo. Global Winter Wonderland is a multi-cultural celebration featuring illuminated exhibits celebrating holidays around the world. Tickets can be purchased online and visit starting December 1- 31.
  5. Santa’s Secret Adventure at Penryn Oak Stables is an experience not to be missed. Children will delight in riding in one of Santa’s personal carriages pulled by horses, enjoying hot cocoa, cookies and stories.
  6. No holiday is complete without a few laps around the ice skating rink. Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink is open daily through January 15. General admission is $12 that includes skate rental. Hours very, so check the website for session times.
  7. Take a ride through the 2nd annual Bayside Christmas Lights Drive-Thru at the Bayside/ Adventure Church in Rocklin. Grab some hot cocoa, turn on the Christmas tunes and enjoy almost a mile of spectacular lights. Reservations are required to control traffic flow, but this is a free event.
  8. Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo will bring your love for the wild and Christmas into one fun-filled day. December 9 from 10am-4pm, bundle up the family and watch as the animals on display receive special treats for the holiday season. Advance tickets are required for the early morning “Breakfast with Santa” before the Holiday Magic takes place.
  9. Everyone’s favorite classic tale of the Nutcracker comes to life with the Sacramento Ballet. Showing at the Community Center Theater in Downtown Sacramento from December 9-23.
  10. Grab some popcorn and get ready to relax and watch a holiday favorite on the big screen at the historic Crest Theater in Downtown Sacramento. Christmas classics of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Home Alone” are being shown this month. Check the website for dates and times.

There are so many fun and festive things to do this month in the Sacramento area. Whether you choose to fill up your calendars with activities or embrace the stillness and enjoy a quiet holiday season…we wish you and your family a very wonderful month full of joy.

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