Best Family-Friendly Holiday Activities in Orange County 2021

November 09, 2021
irvine spectrum center at night

As the holiday season fast approaches, the familiar sound of carols fills the air and the weather turns (slightly) colder. With holiday shopping, craft workshops, spectacular light shows, and more, there is no shortage of ways to participate in the festivities. This year, we get to celebrate the season with activities that families and friends can enjoy together. There are numerous ways to enjoy all that Orange County has to offer in November and December and we’ve gathered a few exciting events so that you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.


Festivities at Irvine Spectrum Center 

Skating Under The Stars

The Ice Rink is back at the Irvine Spectrum Center! Starting November 5th, guests of all ages can enjoy this exciting winter activity without the winter weather here in Irvine. Gather your family and friends and experience the fun in Giant Wheel Court.

Tree Lighting Show

Get dazzled by the nightly tree lighting show. Beginning Black Friday, November 26th, you will be able to view the stunning 78-foot tree illuminated with lights and ornaments as it comes to life with a choreographed light display. The show starts at 5 pm and runs every 30 minutes in Giant Wheel Court.

Virtual Santa Visit 

No holiday season is complete without saying hello to Saint Nick. Once again, the Irvine Spectrum Center is hosting virtual visits with Santa Claus. Since Santa won’t be leaving the North Pole, you can schedule a day and time to say hello and take a picture for a virtual photo experience.


Family Craft Events at The Market Place

Paint the Holidays

Get in the yuletide spirit with some festive painting! On December 5th, enjoy a holiday painting event with snowman painting, hot apple cider, gingerbread cookies, and seasonal tunes. This event will be held from 12 pm to 3 pm at the food court near Mathis Brothers, and reservations are required. Visit to make your reservation.

Ornament Decorating 

Dress up your tree with a custom ornament! Create memories and a meaningful keepsake this year at The Market Place while you and your family enjoy seasonal peppermint cotton candy. On December 12th  from 12 pm to 3 pm, ornament decorating will take place at the food court near California Pizza Kitchen. Reservations are required—secure your spot at

Wreath Workshop

Eat, wreath, and be merry! Design a custom festive wreath, perfect to display on your door all season long. Seasonal treats will be offered and tunes will be playing at this event for all ages. Find the workshop on December 19th at The Market Place in Tustin in the courtyard near Regal Edward Cinema from 12 pm to 3 pm. Reservations are required, visit for more information.


Holiday Fun at the OC Fair and Events Center 

Night of Lights

Soak in the holiday scenery from the comfort and safety of your car at the OC Fair and Events Center’s Night of Lights! Featuring over one million lights, this interactive drive-through showcases a wide variety of decorated trees, light displays, and your favorite seasonal characters, including Santa. Beginning on November 26th and continuing until January 2nd, tickets are $40-$60 per vehicle. Time slots and tickets are limited—visit for reservations and more information.

Truffle Making Workshop

Calling all chocolate lovers! Learn how to melt, mix, chill, and roll truffles to share at holiday parties or keep for yourself! The class will teach participants how to make ganache and decorate truffles with gourmet toppings, plus, you’ll receive gift boxes and holiday ribbons to package your sweets. This workshop will take place on Saturday, December 4th from 10 am to12 pm or 1:30 pm to3:30 pm at the OC Fair and Events Center in the Silo Building at Centennial Farm. Spots must be reserved by November 30th, see website for details.


Gifting in Style

Get in the holiday spirit while you shop. Whether it’s for those on your list or just a treat for yourself, Fashion Island is your luxury shopping destination all season long. Beginning November 19th  and continuing until January 1st, make sure you stop and admire the fully decorated 90-foot-tall tree! It’s de-fir-nitely something you don’t want to miss!


Irvine Park Railroad

From November 26th through December 23rd, experience food, games, and fun at Santa’s Village in Irvine Park! Enjoy the magic of the North Pole with children’s games such as Blizzard Ball, Ice Fishing, and Rudolph Racing. After participating in the carnival game fun, stop by the craft corner or the cookie decoration station, where you can decorate a cookie just for Santa. Visit the website for daily hours and pricing.

These are just a few of the many family-friendly holiday activities happening throughout Irvine and Orange County. Learn more about the life in Irvine and new homes now selling in the Villages of Irvine.

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