12 Days of Winter Activities for Kids in San Jose
December 21, 2023

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 be hard to find the motivation to go outside and look for winter activities and events 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 stir-crazy kids to start bouncing off the walls or complaining of boredom.

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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 the 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!

Winter events in San Jose this holiday season - Disney on Ice Presents Frozen and Encanto
Photo by: Disney On Ice

Disney on Ice Presents Frozen and Encanto

SAP Center
525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone Number: (408) 287-9200

February 7–12, 2024
Wednesday – Friday | 7:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday | 11:00 AM | 3:00 PM | 7:00 PM
Monday | 7:00 PM

For the first time, Disney On Ice invites families to step inside the magical adventures of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen, the #1 Animated feature of all time, and Disney Animation’s Encanto, the 2022 Academy Award®, BAFTA®, and Golden Globe® Award winner for Best Animated Feature, as they come to life like never before. This adventure on ice transports fans into two of the most popular Disney films as audiences can sing along to their favorite songs while embracing world-class ice skating, aerial acrobatics, and more when Disney On Ice presents Frozen & Encanto skates into SAP Center.

Our List of Winter Activities for Kids in San Jose

Sonic Runway
Photo by: City of San Jose

Sonic Runway

San Jose City Hall Plaza
200 E Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone Number: (408) 535-3500

November 5, 2021 – December 31, 2027
Monday – Sunday | 5:00 PM – 12:00 PM

The City of San Jose Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs will produce activation events throughout the duration of Sonic Runway’s installation at City Hall this winter season to showcase local creative talent and offer a unique art experience for artists and audiences. Created by a team of artists, including lead artist Rob Jensen and co-lead Warren Trezevant, and designed by Stockhausen, Sonic Runway is a light-art installation that visualizes the speed of sound.

Live audio input is converted into intricate light patterns that beam through a corridor of 25 arches, stretching 432 feet at the speed of sound so that sound and lights are synchronized. In addition to providing an engaging experience for City Hall Plaza visitors, Sonic Runway will again serve as a canvas for arts and events such as live and recorded musical performances, fashion shows, video, and photography, and will appear in countless selfies.

Winter activities for kids - Downtown Ice in San Jose
Photo by: Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice

Downtown Ice in San Jose

Circle of Palms Plaza
120 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone Number: (408) 213-8834

November 17, 2023 – January 15, 2024
Daily | 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Your kids would surely love to experience ice skating events in the fresh outdoors of downtown San Jose this winter season! Now in its 26th year, the holiday downtown San Jose ice rink has been one of the finest winter activities for kids in California with its seasonal displays. Skaters and spectators alike come to celebrate the holidays and make lasting memories in the only ice rink in the world surrounded by 32 palm trees – affectionately known as the Circle of Palms.

Skates will swoosh, people will glide, and lights will twinkle again in downtown San Jose, all thanks to Kristi Yamaguchi’s Downtown Ice in San Jose, presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union and Alaska Airlines.

Winter activities for kids in San Jose - Holiday Ice
Photo by: Solar4America Ice

Holiday Ice

Solar4America Ice – San Jose
1500 S. Tenth St., San Jose, CA, 95112
Phone Number: (408) 279-6000

November 19, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Daily | 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
(Time varies)

Looking for affordable family fun? Look no further than Solar4America Ice! Bring your family and friends to experience the Bay Area’s premier ice skating and hockey facilities! Public skating sessions and events during the winter season are available at all three Bay Area locations in Oakland, Fremont, and San Jose.

All facilities are open seven days a week. View their current schedule and pre-register for a session. Plus — they even have skates that you can rent!

Winterfest at Great America
Photo by: California’s Great America

Winterfest at Great America

California’s Great America
4701 Great America Pkwy., Santa Clara, CA 95054
Phone Number: (408) 988-1776

November 24 – December 31, 2023
(Select Nights Only)
Monday – Friday | 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday | 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM

The Bay Area’s most immersive holiday event returns this year, delighting kids with so many activities in San Jose this winter season, sparkling brighter than ever before. WinterFest brings holiday cheer to California’s Great America as the park magically transforms into a winter wonderland and holiday festival. Guests can ice-skate in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia, take in the dazzling sights, sip on crafted hot chocolate, and marvel at spectacular live shows. This amazing event features millions of lights, creating a Christmas event for the entire family.

With more than 60 rides and holiday attractions, such as sending letters to the North Pole, checking out Santa’s workshop and baking cookies in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, presented by Meriwest Credit Union, and all the scrumptious holiday fare at numerous dining locations—WinterFest has something for guests of all ages and appetites. This enchanted wintery world and Christmas celebration is dominated by one of the Bay Area’s tallest Christmas trees adorned with thousands of twinkling lights accompanied by giant toy soldiers greeting guests.

Santa’s Magic Timepiece
Photo by: Enchant San Jose

Santa’s Magic Timepiece

PayPal Park
1123 Coleman Ave., San Jose, CA 95110
Phone Number: (276) 262-4268

November 24 – December 31, 2023
Nov 24 – 29
Friday | 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM
Saturday | 4:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Sunday | 4:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Nov 30 – Dec 17
Thursday | 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Friday | 5:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Saturday | 4:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Sunday | 4:30 PM – 10:30 PM

Dec 18 – 24
Monday – Thursday | 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Friday – Sunday | 4:30 PM – 11:30 PM

Dec 25 – 31
Monday | 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Tuesday – Thursday | 4:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Friday – Saturday | 4:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Sunday | 4:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Santa’s Magic Timepiece is a full sensory adventure – explore far and wide in the search to find the eight missing star fragments that makeup Santa’s magic timepiece in order to save Christmas. Enchant is an immersive experience weaving magic into every corner of San Jose with so many activities and events for kids lining up, perfect for joyful seasonal celebrations. Adventure through Santa’s Magic Timepiece, a captivating, larger-than-life light maze that is the cornerstone of the Enchant experience.

Wander through the Village of tiny storefronts featuring artisan vendors, specialty crafters, and boutiques – perfect for holiday gift gatherings. As you shop, satisfy your festive cravings and indulge in a tasty seasonal treat or delightful beverage. Glide through a dazzling forest of Christmas lights. Lace up your skates and hit the trail on real ice. They’ll provide the skates, you’ll create the memories. Amidst Enchant’s festive wonder, families will find activities away from the hustle and bustle here.

Winter Wonderland San Jose - activities for kids
Photo by: Winter Wonderland SJ

Winter Wonderland San Jose

Downtown San José
201 South Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone Number: (408) 294-8324

November 24, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Daily | 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM
(Time varies)

There are so many things to do in San Jose with kids during the winter season, and this annual holiday tradition event in the Bay Area unites folks near and far in the heart of Downtown San José. The family amusement area on Park Avenue, between Market Street and Almaden Boulevard, next to Tech Interactive, offers a festive arcade of fun and entertainment.

Also, amusement rides will stretch down the Paseo de San Antonio between Market Street and First Street. Winter Wonderlands features family-friendly rides and delicious food that will create a magical experience for everyone during the Christmas season. 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.

Christmas in the Park
Photo by: Christmas in the Park

Christmas in the Park San Jose

Plaza de Cesar Chavez
1 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113
Phone Number: (408) 271-9627

November 24, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Monday – Friday | 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday | 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM

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.

Polar Play Days
Photo by: The Tech Interactive

Polar Play Days

The Tech Interactive
201 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone Number: (408) 294-8324

November 25, 2023 – January 15, 2024
Monday – Friday | 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Prepare to be amazed as The Tech Interactive presents a series of STEM challenges designed to make brains freeze with excitement. Engage in engineering feats as you construct ice hotels or unleash your creativity by building snowmen with mushroom bricks. Each activity will seamlessly blend the magic of winter with the wonders of science, putting the “ice” in science education. Plus, many of your favorite experiences will be getting surprising updates for the season that you’ll definitely want to see.

For the first time, The Tech Interactive will be transformed into a wintery wonderland, adding another family-friendly destination to the nearby holiday excitement of Christmas in the Park. When you need a break from the action, head over to our state-of-the-art IMAX theater and experience Arctic thrills like never before. Immerse yourself in breathtaking documentaries that will transport you to the stunning landscapes of the polar regions.

Winter activities for kids in San Jose - 
 Drive Thru Light Show
Photo by: Christmas in the Park

Drive Thru Light Show

History Park San Jose
799 Phelan Ave., San Jose, CA 95112
Phone Number: (408) 271-9627

November 29, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Sunday – Thursday | 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Friday – Saturday | 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Enjoy a fantastic light show programmed to holiday music! Christmas in the Park’s 2023 drive-through experience will create special holiday memories for all. Your ticket purchase helps fund Christmas in the Park, a nonprofit organization.

Fill the car with family and friends, and take a musical journey through a dozen themed lands for a dazzling synchronized light show. You’ll pass through a twinkling tunnel of lights and see over 200,000 lights sparkle to your favorite holiday tunes.

Gamble Garden’s Winter Festival
Photo by: Gamble Garden

Gamble Garden’s Winter Festival

Gamble Garden
1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone Number: (650) 329-1356

November 30 – December 2, 2023
Thursday | 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Friday – Saturday | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Ring in the holidays at the Gamble Garden Winter Festival! Enjoy one-stop shopping for holiday gifts, greenery, and décor in the festive Gamble Garden atmosphere. Activities include a Festive Marketplace with vendors in the Gamble house and outdoors under a canopy of twinkling lights and Over The Garden Fence – Winter Edition. Gamble’s signature sale always draws crowds to purchase previously loved and vintage treasures at remarkable prices.

Free entry to win a beautifully decorated tree! Purchase additional raffle tickets, 1 for $5 or 5 for $20. Bid for holiday gift baskets and exclusive experiences at more at the Silent Auction. All ages are welcome. Children ages 2 and under are FREE (no ticket necessary).

Winter activities for kids in San Jose - Santana Row Snow Showers
Photo by: Santana Row

Santana Row Snow Showers

Santana Row
377 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128
Phone Number: (408)551-4611

December 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30, 2023
Tuesday & Saturday | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (Every 30 minutes)

It’s snowing on The Row! Santana Row kicks off the winter season with some snow showers, one of the best activities for kids in San Jose. Bring your family and friends to one of the best winter activities for kids in San Jose and celebrate with the community.

Let your kids experience the magic of the holidays as Santana Row brings the North Pole to San Jose for a fun holiday celebration. Enjoy outdoor snow showers and holiday tunes every 30 minutes in Park Valencia in front of Maggiano’s.

12 Days of Winter Activities for Kids in San Jose

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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Winter Activities for Kids in the Sacramento Area

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