012California does a lot of things right, but one thing it doesn’t get a lot of credit for is Christmas. Maybe it’s because we’re seen as a warm and sunny place, but trust us, check out these 5 unique Christmas attractions in California and you’ll be convinced that we’ve got what it takes to do the holidays right:

Nutcracker, San Francisco It’s hard to go wrong with the Nutcracker, especially when it’s performed by the acclaimed San Francisco Ballet. Taking place at the War Memorial Opera House, this holiday tradition is in-demand and often sells out – and for good reason! It’s a great experience for the whole family and includes complimentary food and beverages.

Gilroy Gardens Holiday Lights, Gilroy  If you love gorgeous holiday displays, don’t miss this. All the trees here are lit up with gorgeous lights. When you’re done gawking, take in the live Peanuts Christmas Special, then get some hot chocolate and ride the train around the park. It’s a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit!

Union Street Fantasy of Lights For many, the Christmas season is not complete without a spectacular lighting display. In our region, we’ve been blessed with a big, bright celebration that has been going strong for 25 years. The Union Street Fantasy of Lights features a jump back through history, face painters and jugglers, Santa at Cudworth Manson, and much more – and of course, a lot of lights and holiday decorations! This year, the event takes place on Dec. 5 from 3-7pm on Union Street between Van Ness Avenue and Steiner Street, and on Fillmore Street from Union to Lombard streets.

Winter Lodge Outdoor Skating, Palo Alto Who says New York has to have a monopoly on holiday season ice skating? For over six decades, families have skated at the Winter Lodge in Palo Alto, the West Coast’s answer to New York’s popular Rockefeller Center ice skating tradition. Here you’ll find public skating, classes and group outings. It’s a beautiful way to spend a day, and it’s a relatively easy drive from San Bruno.

Great Dickens Christmas Fair Is it Christmas without a trip into Charles Dickens’ Victorian London? We think not! Starting Nov. 21, Daly City will be hosting a month-long Christmas Fair that will transform itself into Ye Olde Christmas with the help of scores of costumed carolers, exhibit halls, toy parades, puppet shows, and of course, visits from Santa. It’s an epic celebration that is perfect for the entire family. Look for it at the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave. The Fair is open on weekends; tickets are required.

What are YOUR favorite Christmas attractions in California? Let us know in the comments!

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