- SCHOOLS &
Winter season is here! When temperature drops and the blizzard-like condition is upon us, hunkering down at home is very enticing. The chilly weather and short days can lead everyone, parents and children alike, to poor motivation and idleness. The idea of another long winter spent hibernating indoors with kids hooked on their gadgets and increased screen time leaves you shivering and panicking. Before you hear them complaining about boredom, make sure you have a list of winter activities for kids in Santa Clara ready!
1. Downtown Ice
120 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Nov. 15, 2019 – Jan. 12, 2019
Monday to Thursday | 5 – 9 PM
Friday | 5 PM to midnight
Saturday | 12 PM to midnight
Sunday | 12 – 9 PM
Skating season is here! If you have a future Olympic figure skater in the family, let them practice spins and jumps on the ice rink. Get your thrill fill at Kristi Yamaguchi’s Downtown Ice. Welcoming both beginning and advanced ice skaters, rent a pair of double-bladed skates for newbies, or bring a pair of your own. Skate under the stars and 32 palm trees on an iconic concentrically-circled ice rink that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.
It has been 15 years of a holiday winter season tradition in the Circle of Palms which first 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.
2. Santana Row Tree Lighting Ceremony
377 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 | 5 – 9 PM
Kick-off the winter season with Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Santana Row dazzles us with lights, sights, and sounds, coupled with a snow shower of confetti and more to transform into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other. Bring your family and friends to one of the best winter activities for kids in Santa Clara and have a joyous celebration with the community. Let your kids experience the magic of the Christmas season.
3. A Christmas Story, The Musical
Lucie Stern Theater
1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94301
November 9 – 24, 2019 | 2 PM | 7:30 PM | 8 PM
Get into the holiday spirit with a little musical play watching with your kids and the whole family at the Lucie Stern Theater. From the songwriting team behind the smash-hit Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen and the Academy Award-winning film La La Land and recent blockbuster The Greatest Showman, A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® BB gun (“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”).
An infamous lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas wish. Warm up for your holiday season with this inspired stage musical adaptation of the perennial film classic!
4. Santa Clara Ice
969 Kiely Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95051
Nov. 21, 2019 – Jan. 20, 2020 | 11 AM – 10 PM
Get your skates ready and come experience outdoor ice skating in the City of Santa Clara’s Central Park. Enjoy this unique outdoor skating experience by trying a class, reserving the rink for a special holiday group outing or birthday party! Private ice rentals available before and after scheduled hours is open to the public.
The Outdoor Ice Rink at Central Park brings in another amazing winter season that will create fun family memories and even more Santa Clara kids events happening during the holidays. Check out their general public skating and holiday skating schedules. Come and join the community and feel the spirit of an updated tradition!
5. Winter Ice Rink
250 S Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Nov. 22, 2019 – Jan. 22, 2020 | 11 AM – 10:30 PM
If you think the best winter season activities for kids in Santa Clara is to go outdoor ice skating, then head off to downtown Sunnyvale. Bring your family and friends and start a new holiday tradition. The Winter Ice Rink Downtown Sunnyvale makes its debut this year bringing a season of outdoor skating and holiday festivities. The Winter Ice Rink will kick off its inaugural season with an Opening Ceremony that’s not to be missed!
Throughout the season there will be something for everyone in the community to enjoy from Learn to Curl sessions, Rock n Roll Skate Nights, Robots on Ice, Food Truck nights, and more. Whether you want to take your little ones for a lap around the rink, share a winter afternoon date, start a holiday tradition with friends and family, or host a private or corporate event, The Winter Ice Rink will help you connect with your community and celebrate the holiday season in a magical way.
6. Frozen Fest
Central Park Library – Redwood Room
2635 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA 95051
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 | 10:30 AM – 4 PM
Let your kids build a snowman with Elsa at the Santa Clara City Library as they have lined up fun-filled winter activities for kids in Santa Clara with Frozen Storytime, Kristoff’s Crafts, and Family Movie: Frozen 1 while we are all waiting for the release of Frozen II.
All ages welcome to the Frozen Fest at Central Park Library! Please keep in mind this is a high-volume program, so we recommend early arrival. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors will close when the event reaches capacity. Your attendance at this program grants permission to the City of Santa Clara to take your photograph and/or your child’s photograph for marketing purposes.
7. Snowfest Campbell
Sports Basement Campbell
1875 S Bascom Ave. #240, Campbell, CA 95008
Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 | 12 – 4 PM
There will be loads of winter season activities as Sports Basement Campbell will be hosting its 14th Annual SnowFest event where you’ll have access to sweet deals on winter gear & resort passes. Plus, their raffles have upped the ante so you definitely won’t want to miss this.
When you spend $100 or more you’ll get a 2-for-1 voucher to Squaw | Alpine* and a raffle ticket to win tons of prizes. RSVP to learn more about deals and discounts. Some of the many raffle prizes include:
Ikon Unrestricted Pass
Snowboards from K2
Outerwear jackets and pants from Roxy, Pret Helmets, Blizzard Skis, and swag from many of your favorite brands!** Raffles will be held every 30 Minutes!
8. 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
Little ones will be dazzled by the winter wonderland-esque atmosphere right at 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. Winter Wonderlands feature family-friendly rides and delicious food that is sure to create a magical experience for everyone during the Christmas season.
9. Saratoga Holiday Wine Stroll and City Tree Lighting Ceremony
Saratoga Chamber of Commerce
14460 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070
Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 | 5 – 8 PM
Tis’ the season to be jolly! Bring the whole family to Saratoga Chamber of Commerce and enjoy winter activities for kids in Santa Clara with free horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday music, Christmas caroling, father & mother Christmas, performance by Los Gatos Ballet, pictures with Santa, free photo kiosk, and the much-awaited City Tree Lighting Ceremony. And for parents, taste over 40 wines in the valley’s most beautiful village, aglow with lights and shopping specials. Check-in at the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce to get your wristband, glass, and wine stroll map.
Tickets to participate in the “Wine Stroll” are $45 in advance and $55 on the day of the event. There is no charge to participate in other activities
10. Aria Holiday Bazaar 2019
1535 Landess Ave suite 106, Milpitas, CA 95035
Fri-Sun, Nov. 29 – Dec 1, 2019 | 9 AM – 9 PM
Planning to buy Christmas presents this holiday season? Then head to Aria Studio in Milpitas. Don’t come empty-handed during your upcoming holiday gatherings. It would be easier for you to find the perfect gift for each person on your list, all in one place!
Come out and visit the 3-day FREE ADMISSION Holiday Bazaar. There will be lots of stuff to choose from. Plus, they are going to be giving away treats for the kids and a chance for you to win on their Daily Raffle!
11. Great America’s Winterfest
California’s Great America
4701 Great America Pkwy., Santa Clara, CA 95054Winter Lodge Ice Skating
Nov. 29 – Dec. 31, 2019 | 5 – 10 PM | 5 – 12 AM | 6 – 10 PM
WinterFest, one of the sought-after winter activities for kids in Santa Clara, brings the holiday spirit to California’s Great America as it is magically transformed into a winter wonderland and holiday festival where guests can skate in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia. Christmas activities include magnificent displays of lights and décor, viewing spectacular live holiday shows, experiencing more than 60 rides and holiday attractions, seeing Santa’s workshop and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and enjoying scrumptious holiday fare at numerous dining locations.
The winter season and Christmas celebration are dominated by one of the Bay Area’s tallest Christmas trees adorned with thousands of twinkling lights accompanied by giant toy soldiers greeting guests. This amazing event features millions of lights, creating a Christmas event for the entire family.
12. 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 activities for kids in San Jose.
13. Santa Photos at Westgate Center
1600 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129
Nov. 30 – Dec. 24, 2019 | 11 AM – 8 PM
Santa Claus is coming to town! We know there are a lot of things for kids to do in Santa Clara this winter season and one of those is picture taking with Santa. Your eager elves can whisper their wish lists and get a snapshot with the jolly old fellow. Make a day of it at Westgate Center where your kids can mingle with Kris Kringle for longer than a flash. Your little ones don’t just love to get presents from Father Christmas but they also would love to catch him delivering those gifts.
14. Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade
P.O. Box 996, Los Altos, CA 94023
Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 | 6 – 8 PM
Brighten your winter nights with a parade of lights at downtown Los Altos. Come and join your neighbors at the 42nd annual Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade! The community has been bringing the magic of the holiday season since 1977, and you surely don’t want to miss their line-up of winter activities for kids in Santa Clara this year!
15. Winter Lodge Ice Skating
3009 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94306
Winter Session | Dec. 2, 2019 – Feb. 8, 2020
(no classes Dec. 23 & Jan. 4)
When the cold weather hits, it’s time to bundle up for the best ice skating experience. Take it as one of our favorite winter activities for kids in Santa Clara. Winter Lodge offers group classes for ages 4 & up. Basic skill classes are offered weekday afternoons or Saturday mornings and include free rental skates, free practice time during the skating session in progress plus 2 extra practices to use during the lesson session! Gloves and helmets are recommended for all skaters. Registration begins Monday, November 18, 2019.
Winter Lodge is also open for public skating and group event reservations! They offer multiple daily public skating sessions that are open to everyone.
Little Bear Sessions | Sat & Sun | 3 – 5 PM
Little Bear sessions” are for younger, less experienced skaters who need the help of their Polar Bear skating aids. During Little Bear Sessions, their skating bears will be available to share on the indoor ice only.
As always, the Little Bears are meant to be shared throughout the session in progress (15-minute time limit).
Thanksgiving Week Skating Sessions | Nov. 25 – Dec. 1 | 3 – 5 PM
Note: During busy sessions, strollers will not be allowed on the ice.
Holiday Skating Session | Dec. 23, 26-31, 2019 & Jan. 2-4, 2020
These special mid-day sessions will be held on half-ice due to the sun. Because of the smaller ice surface, these are great sessions for young skaters and families.
16. Holiday Tree Lighting
Los Gatos Town Plaza Park
110 East Main St., Los Gatos, CA 95030
Friday, December 6, 2019 | 5 PM – 7 PM
Good times are within reach for the whole community as Los Gatos brings its signature celebration of its annual Los Gatos Tree Lighting! It’s a free night of family fun that will feature live music from Los Gatos school bands, choirs, and local musicians along with appearances by the Town Council and other town dignitaries.
The historic fir tree planted in 1923 by the Los Gatos History Club comes to life when the mayor flips the switch at 6 PM and the magnificent tree lights up. Just then Santa will arrive on a classic fire truck along with the Santa Clara County Fire Department and the Los Gatos Police Department. Once Santa arrives you’ll have the opportunity to take a photo with him while you enjoy free holiday treats, arts & crafts, and play in the “snow,” storm! There are just so many winter activities for kids in Santa Clara happenings this year and Los Gatos is waving at you!
17. 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
This cold season sees a heap of headliners coming to town. The little wonder girl Matilda should be on your top list in the entertainment department and make sure to grab your tickets ‘coz they’re selling like hotcakes. 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!
18. Annual Holiday LEGO® Extravaganza
The Museum of American Heritage
351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301
Dec. 6, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020 | 11 AM – 3:30 PM
(Opens only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays)
Be delighted with the creativity at BAYLUG’s Annual Holiday Pop-Up Exhibit featuring LEGO®. The Museum of American Heritage (MOAH), the Bay Area LEGO® User Group (BayLUG), and the Bay Area LEGO® Train Club (BayLTC) will once again co-host the Annual Holiday Show featuring LEGO® at MOAH. Visitors will enjoy a variety of LEGO® creations made by members of the club, featuring train layouts, Bay Area landmarks, castles, miniature cities, sculptures, portraits, and more! This year’s theme is BayLUG at the Beach, featuring a whimsical beach scene.
19. Los Gatos Children’s Christmas/Holiday Parade
Los Gatos Lions Club, Los Gatos, CA 95032
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 | 11 AM – 1 PM
Take your curbside seat early in the day in Los Gatos! Rain or shine, don’t miss to watch the 63rd annual Los Gatos Children’s Holiday Parade. The parade features over 230 entries. The route starts at the Bank of America on Santa Cruz Ave., and ends before Los Gatos High School on Main St. This is an exciting fun day for family, kids, and friends.
Help reduce traffic and avoid parking hassles by riding your bike to the parade! A free bike valet service is available for parade participants and spectators from 7:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Municipal Lot #1 (Highway 9 between Village Lane and University Avenue, behind Hult’s Restaurant).
20. Holiday Train
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300, Mountain View, CA 94040
Sat & Sun | Dec. 7 – 8, 2019 | 4 – 8 PM
Among the best things to do in Santa Clara this winter season is going for a train ride. This December, the Caltrain Holiday Train will fire up its engine for the 17th year to delight Bay Area families with glittering lights and holiday giving. This festive tradition brings holiday treats, entertainment, and characters including Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, and Santa’s elves to nine stations between San Francisco and Santa Clara.
Caltrain and SVCF also partner with local organizations to collect toys at each station for underserved children in our communities. Last year, the event brought together over 35,000 Bay Area residents and collected over 3,000 toys. Bring the family to join in the fun, and bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Holiday Train Toy Drive.
21. Fantasy of Lights Walk-thru
Vasona Lake County Park
333 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos, CA 95032
Sat & Sun | Dec. 7 – 8, 2019 | 4 – 9 PM
Bundle up and stroll through Fantasy of Lights on foot to see thousands of twinkling lights and larger-than-life animated light displays. This year, it’s going to be bigger, better, and brighter than ever before thanks to the transition to environmentally friendly LED displays. See Santa shooting hoops, a pen of playful penguins, cannons blazing into the night, a tunnel of moving lights, a den of dinosaurs, a 90-foot twinkling tree, and more!
22. Fantasy of Lights Drive-Thru
Vasona Lake County Park
333 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos, CA 95032
Dec. 10-30, 2019 | 6 – 10 PM
(Closed on December 25, 2019)
If you miss the 2 nights only Fantasy of Lights Walk-thru, there’s no need to worry! Just fasten your seatbelts and explore a magical evening in the warmth of your own vehicle as you drive your kids and the whole family through a 1.5-mile extravaganza of holiday lights and large animated displays while listening to Christmas music on your car radio. See the sights and sounds of an erupting volcano in the dangerously fun Dinosaur Den, cheer on Santa shooting hoops, wave at a pen of playful penguins, watch blazing Pirate Cannons and sail through tunnels of moving lights.
Now on its 21st year, Santa Clara County Parks’ Fantasy of Lights Drive-Thru has become a cherished family tradition every winter season. Over 50 themed displays and a 90-foot twinkling tree will have you “oohing and aahing” throughout your adventure. Make sure to purchase your tickets online before arrival as no tickets will be sold at the park entrance.
23. Cirque Dreams Holidaze San Jose
135 West San Carlos St., San Jose, CA 95113
Dec. 11 – 12, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Buckle up and take your winter family outing to all new heights. Cirque Dreams Holidaze brings its latest electrifying and reimagined live family holiday spectacular to the San Jose Civic with two unforgettable performances 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 Santa Clara winter activities for kids of all ages to enjoy the most.
24. Laser Holiday Magic
Fujitsu Planetarium at De Anza
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019 | 5 – 9:15 PM
This winter season, take your kids on an outer-space-like adventure for a very special view at the De Anza College Planetarium. This highly popular Laser Holiday Magic Show features a mix of everyone’s favorite holiday music, and gives new meaning to the term “holiday lights”.
The show contains holiday music selections such as Joy to the World, Jingle Bell Rock, White Christmas, Snow Miser, Rockin‘ Round the Christmas Tree, and more. Each light display will run for an hour with the opening show at 5 PM and the last show at 8:15 PM.
25. Christmas Bird Count
Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
438 Coleman Avenue, San Jose CA 95110
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 | 8 AM – 12 PM
How about counting birds out in the fields during the winter season? The Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count is a census of early winter bird populations. More than 50,000 volunteer observers across the Americas take part in counting birds in their particular area. The result is over a century of data on bird populations from North to South America, which is used by scientists to monitor bird population changes over time.
Come and join one of the most anticipated winter activities for kids in Santa Clara during the holiday season and help complete the census of birds in the section of Guadalupe River Park & Gardens from Coleman Ave. to Hedding St. No experience is necessary, though some bird identification skills are desired to provide the best feedback possible.
26. Santa Run Silicon Valley
225 W Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019 | 1 – 5 PM
Lace up your running shoes, dress up as your favorite holiday character or tradition, and get moving! Join the 8th Annual Santa Run Silicon Valley and register for the 5K Run/Walk and Kids Reindeer Dash (ages 2-7) for some Santa Clara fun run activity. This is one of the winter activities for kids in Santa Clara everyone looks forward to every year. The racecourse starts at downtown San Jose and concludes at Christmas in the Park, where you can enjoy the festivities with Santa’s milk and cookies!
27. Drop n’ Shop!
My Gym Santa Clara
1171 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA 95050
Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 | 9 AM – 1 PM | 3 – 7 PM
(2yrs 5mos to 10yrs old)
The Christmas season is going to be so busy for everyone. There are plenty of winter activities for kids in Santa Clara in every corner of the county. And if you’re up for any last-minute holiday shopping, no worries! Drop your kids off at My Gym Santa Clara for a few hours and take your time! Drop n’ Shop Camp will include pizza, healthy snacks, games, gym activities, and more!
28. Winter 2019 Prospect Camp
Stephen Schott Stadium
443 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Sat & Sun | December 21 – 22, 2019 | 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
The Santa Clara Baseball Academy Winter Prospect Camp is an intense two-day skills camp designed for any serious baseball player to improve and develop skills in the game of baseball. During the two-day session, each camper will be exposed to the Santa Clara University Baseball staff.
Day one of camp will consist of instruction and evaluation on hitting and defense. Day two will begin with a campus tour and recruiting talk with the coaching staff. Every camper will have the opportunity to compete in at least one game.
This winter camp is open to all high school ages.
29. 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 break when school is off for the holiday, winter activities for kids in Santa Clara 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 are at the Visitor Center at Alum Rock Park. Participants must bring their own lunch, snacks, and drinks to camp every day.
30. Winter Drop Off Sessions at Safari Run
1180 Kern Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085
Dec. 23, 2019 – Jan. 3, 2020 | 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Drop off your kids for 4 hours and enjoy make those holiday returns or take time for yourself after a full holiday season. Kids will have a good time while playing tons of games, exploring the play structure, creating fun art projects, and sharing holiday cheer. A light snack is provided, pack a lunch (please no peanuts). Space is limited.
Winter Drop Off Camp will have eight sessions for specific ages. Each day will have different kinds of winter activities for kids in Santa Clara from relay races and ball tag, pass the antlers, and pin the nose on the reindeer, to running on the track with games like snowball relay, dodge ball, and pass the ice. This camp is all about winter fun activities kids can enjoy indoors!