12 Days of Winter Activities for Kids in San Jose
November 8, 2019

Keep your little ones occupied during the chilly winter season by getting them excited about these fun-filled winter activities for kids in San Jose!

During the winter season when days are much shorter than nights, it can oftentimes make it hard to find the motivation to go outside and look for winter activities for kids in San Jose. When it’s freezing cold outside, we all prefer to stay home where it’s warm and cozy. But as for kids, they are always up for fun and exciting things to do in San Jose. However, the cold weather may hamper their spirits.  So, when everyone is stuck at home, expect to have stir-crazy kids start bouncing off the walls or complaining of boredom.


So, when the snow days come and the winter season leaves you with a house full of bored and bickering kids, don’t panic! We have a dozen of winter activities for kids in San Jose to keep your little ones pepped up and amused. Just because we’re in the depths of winter doesn’t mean the outdoors is off-limits. Get outside and have fun with the whole family. Wrap your kids up warm from head to toe and you’ll see a smile on their faces knowing they’re up for some epic winter action!

 Santana Row Tree Lighting Ceremony - winter activities for kids in San Jose
Silicon Valley’s premier destination Santana Row gets into the spirit with festive events and happenings this holiday season.

Santana Row Tree Lighting Ceremony

377 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 | 5 – 9 PM

Santana Row kicks off the winter season with the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Bring your family and friends to one of the best winter activities for kids in San Jose and have a joyous celebration with the community. Let your kids experience the magic of the holidays as Santana Row lights up the night, coupled with a snow shower of confetti and more.

Come and enjoy an evening of live music, costumed characters, and family activities. Festivities include holiday photos with The Grinch, character meet & greet, an Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt (begins at 3 PM), and guest performances by local theatre groups including a special performance by San Jose Dance Theatre’s The Nutcracker!

Downtown Ice

Downtown Ice

120 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Nov. 15, 2019 – Jan. 12, 2020
Event Hours:
Monday to Thursday | 5 – 9 PM
Friday | 5 PM to midnight
Saturday | 12 PM to midnight
Sunday | 12 – 9 PM


Your kids would surely love to experience ice skating in the fresh outdoors of downtown San Jose! Skate under the stars and 32 palm trees on an iconic concentrically-circled ice rink. It has been 15 years of a holiday tradition in the Circle of Palms, Kristi Yamaguchi’s Downtown Ice started in 1994 at San Carlos and Market streets at what is now the Marriott Hotel. 

The ice rink moved to Market and Balbach streets prior to the Circle of Palms. Kristi Yamaguchi has been part of Downtown Ice for nine seasons already. Since moving to the Circle of Palms, Downtown Ice has attracted 592,000 skaters and more than 1 million visitors.

Winter Wonderlands San Jose

Winter Wonderlands San Jose

Downtown San Jose, San Jose, CA

Paseo de San Antonio (between Market and Second Streets)
Park Avenue (between Market Street and Almaden Blvd.)

Nov. 27, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020
For a complete list of hours, click here.

There are so many things to do in San Jose with kids during the winter season and this annual holiday tradition in the Bay Area unites folks near and far in the heart of Downtown San José. It has served as the perfect complement to Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice for over 15 years. Featuring family-friendly rides and delicious food that is sure to create a magical experience for people from all over the Bay Area during the holidays.

Winter Wonderlands feature family-friendly rides and delicious food that is sure to create a magical experience for everyone during the Christmas season. Since 2001, it has brought people from all over the area to experience the charm of the holidays. Whether you visit to enjoy a breathtaking view of Downtown San José from the beautiful 60 foot-tall Ferris Wheel, bring your kids to experience a charming classic carousel, or ride the towering 10-story high gondola ride. There are so many San Jose kids activities happening in Downtown San Jose for the month-long winter festivities.

Christmas in the Park - winter activities for kids in San Jose

Christmas in the Park

Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park
S. Market Street, San Jose, CA 95136
(between San Carlos and San Fernando Streets)

Nov. 29, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020
Event Hours: Daily 9 AM – Midnight

Don’t miss this annual holiday tradition that takes place in the heart of Downtown San José. Christmas in the Park at Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park is a whimsical walk-through event that has brought people from all over the Bay Area together during the holidays. Each year, the two-acre park is transformed into a holiday fantasy with over 40 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights, and the 60-foot Community Giving Tree.

Some of the original displays housed in one of the largest exhibits, the Lima Train, include a melting snowman, caroling mice, and elf wood crafters. Guests enter a winter wonderland of lights, songs, and local entertainment while strolling through an enchanted forest of trees decorated by San José schools, community groups, and businesses. This is definitely one of the must-go winter season activities for kids in San Jose.

Nutcracker in San Jose - winter activities for kids in San Jose

The Nutcracker in San Jose

San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
255 S. Almaden Blvd., San Jose, CA 95113

Dec. 6-8 & 13-15, 2019 | 10:30 AM | 2 PM | 7:30 PM

This winter season, experience the beauty and splendor of The San José Dance Theatre’s, The Nutcracker, a San Jose family tradition since 1966. Celebrating the tradition for the 54th year, San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley dancers take part in this iconic production at the San José Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose.


The longest-running San Jose Nutcracker will capture your imagination and transport you to a magical world of brave toy soldiers & dancing snowflakes. Audiences will be awed by the grace and talent of world-class guest artists Sasha De Sola and Tiit Helimets (Principal Dancers, San Francisco Ballet) Dec. 6-8, and Claire Rathbun (of Syracuse City Ballet) and Jake Casey (formerly of Cincinnati Ballet and most recently the Estonian Theatre Vanemuine Ballet) Dec 13-15. The Cambrian Symphony’s 52-piece orchestra will be masterfully led by conductor Scott Johannes Krijnen.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical

Matilda The Musical

Montgomery Theater (TSJ)
271 S Market St San Jose, CA 95113

December 6-15, 2019 | 1 PM | 2 Pm | 6 PM| 7 PM | 7:30 PM

Among the numbers of San Jose kids events in the theatre department,  Matilda The Musical should be on your kid’s bucket list this winter season. Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, the Tony Award-winning Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical is the captivating masterpiece that revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination, and the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of a better life. Packed with high-energy dance numbers, catchy songs, children and adults alike will be thrilled and delighted by this magical story!

Matilda is a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence, and psychokinetic powers. She’s unloved by her cruel parents but impresses her schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. As friendship blossoms between the two, Ms. Honey learns to appreciate Matilda’s extraordinary personality. However, school life isn’t completely smooth sailing, the school’s mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, hates children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who don’t abide by her rules. But Matilda has courage and cleverness in equal amounts, and could be the school pupils’ saving grace!

Cirque Dreams Holidaze  - winter activities for kids in San Jose

Cirque Dreams Holidaze San Jose

135 West San Carlos St., San Jose, CA 95113
December 11-12, 2019 | 7:30 PM

Cirque Dreams Holidaze brings its latest electrifying and reimagined live family holiday spectacular to the San Jose Civic with two unforgettable performances (December 11-12) presented by Nederlander Concerts. This critically-acclaimed extravaganza is both a Broadway musical and a new Cirque adventure wrapped into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family!

Broadway singers perform original music along with a new twist on seasonal favorites such as “Deck The Halls,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” On the edge-of-your-seat feats are performed by toy soldiers, snowmen, penguins, candles, reindeer, gingerbread, carolers, Santa, and colossal ornaments flying, balancing, and stretching imaginations in this groundbreaking holiday stage spectacular. This is one of the best San Jose winter activities that would surely find a delight to kids of all ages.

Breakfast With Santa - winter activities for kids in San Jose

Breakfast With Santa

Almaden Community Center
6445 Camden Ave., San Jose, CA 95120
Saturday, December 14, 2019 | 9:30 AM – 12 PM

One of the best things for kids to do in San Jose is the Annual Breakfast with Santa event. The morning will begin with a tasty breakfast and seasonal arts and crafts. Then, they will have a special visit from Santa. There will be opportunities to take pictures with Santa, so make sure to bring your own camera.


Everyone must be registered to enter this private event that includes all adults and youth attending the event. If you have a child that is under 1.5 yrs. old, please call 408-268-1133 to place your child’s name on a list to ensure they have a seat the day of the event. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

San Jose Craft Holiday Fair

San Jose Craft Holiday Fair

South Hall, 435 S. Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113
December 14-15, 2019 | 11 AM – 5 PM

Winter activities for kids in San Jose wouldn’t be complete without a holiday fair! Join San José Made and hundreds of amazing makers, artists, designers, food producers, and emerging brands for this year’s San José Craft Holiday Fair! Over the course of two days on December é Craft Holiday Fair will offer a festive, large-scale, all-in-one holiday shopping experience featuring an amazing showcase of brilliantly designed and meticulously made goods perfect for gifting this holiday season!

Santa Run Silicon Valley

Santa Run Silicon Valley

225 W Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 | 1 – 5 PM

Join the 8th Annual Santa Run Silicon Valley, benefiting Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice. This 5K Run/Walk and Kids Reindeer Dash (ages 2-7) is fun for the whole family. This is one of the winter activities for kids in San Jose people look forward to every year. Dress up as your favorite holiday character or tradition like Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, reindeer, elves, dreidel, menorah, ornaments, tree, candlestick, or anyone you like. The racecourse winds through downtown San Jose and concludes at Christmas in the Park, where you can enjoy the festivities with Santa’s milk and cookies!

All kids receive a cotton shirt and fun prizes.

Winter Season Outdoor Camp at Alum Rock Park

Winter Outdoor Camp at Alum Rock Park

15350 Penitencia Creek Rd. San Jose, CA  95127
Dec 23 – Dec 27, 2019 | 8 AM – 3 PM

During the winter season break when school is off for the holiday, winter activities for kids in San Jose such as the Outdoor Camp have lots of fun to offer. Kids ages 5 to 12 years old can spend their holiday break at Alum Rock Park. Activities include nature hikes, outdoor games, crafts, campfire and smores, educational lesson plans on wildlife, plants, and the history of the park. The pick-up and drop-off location is at the Visitor Center at Alum Rock Park. Participants must bring their own lunch, snacks, and drinks to camp every day.

Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party

Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party

SAP Center
525 W Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113
Feb. 19-23, 2020 | 10:30 AM | 11 AM | 3 PM | 6:30 PM | 7 PM

Join Mickey Mouse and his friends at Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party. The lineup of winter activities for kids in San Jose has included a brand-new adventure filled with world-class skating, high-flying acrobatics, and unexpected stunts! Help them follow Captain Hook’s treasure map and look for clues in the search for Tinker Bell in immersive, fantastic worlds.

Explore the colorful spirit realm of Coco in Miguel’s Disney On Ice debut, sail away with Moana as she bravely saves her island, see Belle in the sky above you as the enchanted chandelier comes to life, and sing-along with Elsa in the icy world of Frozen. Make memories with your whole family during Aladdin, Toy Story, and The Little Mermaid as the search party becomes an all-out magical celebration on the ice, in the air, and all around!


Winter can bring lots of family fun — from holiday events, theatrical and musical play, to winter camps, and everything in between. It’s the time of year parents look for various activities and events to keep their kids fruitfully occupied when they are cooped up in cold weather. This roundup of winter activities for kids in San Jose can surely bring joy and delight out of a chilly situation.

San Jose offers so many opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of resources, or browse through our Places to Go section.

Looking for fun happenings for kids during the winter season? Check out our highly recommended indoor play areas in Santa Clara County kids must try.

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Troy A. View All Posts