24 Essential Holiday Events in the Sacramento Area
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Make sure you maximize the magic and wonder of the season at one (or several!) of the many holiday events in the Sacramento area — from ballet performances to 5Ks and tree lighting ceremonies to festive concerts.
Make a list of your favorite can’t-miss events — and be sure to check it twice!
November 2–January | Varying Times
Photo Courtesy of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership
The Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink has been a seasonal landmark in the city for over 20 years, providing a playful escape into a winter wonderland for both kids and adults. The ice rink is located in the heart of downtown at the doorstep of the Golden 1 Center, and operates from November 2 through January 21. The rink is open from 2 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. General admission is $13 for adults and $6 for children 6 and under, which includes skate rental. Make sure to check their website for special hours and peak pricing information during the holidays! Added rental and purchase fees include gloves, socks, skate aids, and more.
November 16–January 6 | Varying Times
Get the whole holiday experience at Global Winter Wonderland, a spectacular holiday festival and multicultural celebration at Cal Expo. You can expect awe-inspiring illuminated landscapes celebrating holidays around the world, live entertainment, holiday ice skating, a full carnival with family and thrill rides, delicious international cuisine, photo opportunities with Santa, holiday shopping, fun crafts, and much more. There are various options for tickets, but general admission costs $19 for adults and $17 for children and seniors.
November 23–25, December 1–2, 8–9 + 15–16 | 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Head to the Old Sugar Mill, one of our favorite urban winery hubs, in Clarksburg for a month-long celebration of wine and the holiday season! Holiday Weekends at the Old Sugar Mill will feature live music, food trucks, chef demos, wine tasting, wine tours, and much more. RSVP today to receive your complimentary wine glass.
November 28–December 23 | Varying Times
Presented by the Sacramento Theatre Company, this adaptation of the classic Dickens novel is by local artists Richard Hellesen and David de Berry, starring Matt K. Miller reprising his role as Ebenezer Scrooge. This age-old tale traverses Scrooge’s greed-filled past, his regrettable present void of forgiveness, and his fated future. Get your tickets for this holiday classic with a variety of showtimes throughout the month of December.
November 30 | 3 + 7:30 p.m.
Experience the jaw-dropping performance of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Golden 1 Center. This live show is America’s biggest rock holiday tradition, featuring exciting displays with fire, lasers, and other special effects, in addition to the exciting music of this talented musical group. Purchase tickets for the 3 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. show!
December 1–2 | 7:30 p.m. (Saturday) + 2 p.m. (Sunday)
Get in the holiday spirit at Holiday Spirit, presented by the Folsom Lake Symphony. Enjoy classics such as Sleigh Ride, March of the Toys, O Holy Night, Carol of the Bells, O Chanukah, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, selections from The Nutcracker, and many more. Purchase tickets for the evening performance on Saturday or the afternoon performance on Sunday.
December 1 | 4–8 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of El Dorado Hills Town Center
Don’t miss the annual El Dorado Hills Town Center tree lighting ceremony on December 1! Activities include a Stuff Your Stocking Game, a merchant open house, a live band, a caroling contest winner performance, and of course — Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Cookies, hot chocolate and kettle corn are available for purchase.
December 1–2, 8–9, 15–16 + 22–23 | Varying Times
This hilarious adaptation of the classic “A Christmas Carol” story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, who has had enough of his yearly redemption story. All the familiar characters are present as he fights through the night, providing fodder for his disdain but also pushing him to his ultimate absolution. Check out the various showtimes throughout the season and purchase tickets in advance for this unique twist on a holiday classic!
December 6 | 6 p.m.
Radio 94.7 presents the always-exciting Electric Christmas at Golden 1 Center, featuring performances from Thirty Seconds to Mars, Sublime with Rome, Elle King, Matt & Kim, and The Crystal Method. Tickets are on sale, starting at $40!
December 8 | 9–11:30 a.m.
Photo Courtesy of Becca Niles via the Cordova Recreation and Park District
The Cordova Recreation and Park District is hosting their annual Breakfast with Santa and Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, December 8. There are two different seating times: from 9 to 10 a.m. or from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. This family-friendly event is great for all ages and will be at the Neil Orchard Senior Activities Center. Bring the whole family for pancakes, sausage, coffee, juice and cocoa! Stop by the holiday craft fair for unique Christmas shopping. Bring the kids to visit Mr. Claus, to share Christmas wishes and take a picture in our festive photo booth. There will be a craft area for children to work on a special holiday project. Admission is $5 per child and adult (ages 2 and under are free).
Stay in your pajamas for the Polar Express Pajama Party at The Tower Theatre! Enjoy hot cocoa while you watch “The Polar Express,” an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. The story follows a young boy along an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole as he discovers that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.
December 8 | 2 + 7:30 p.m.
Don’t miss this downtown Sacramento tradition ushering in the holiday spirit at the Sacramento Community Center Theater! Catch the 2 p.m. matinée or the 7:30 p.m. evening performance of Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays, featuring radiant Christmas music, a candlelit procession, an audience sing-along, and more. Tickets are now on sale for $50, $40 and $35.
December 8 | 12–6 p.m.
Get your holiday shopping done at the Holiday Gifts & Goods Show at Sierra 2 Center. Vendors and local artisans will be selling a variety of goods, including art, jewelry, bath and body products, winter wear, home and garden decor, wood goods, and more! Admission and parking at the event are free.
December 8–9 | 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Saturday) + 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (Sunday)
This popular holiday tradition highlights five private residences in El Dorado Hills decked out in holiday splendor, displaying traditional and whimsical decorations and collectables to inspire your holiday decorating. After receiving decor inspiration, shop for gifts at the holiday boutique, visit with Santa, sip on wine or hot apple cider, and snack on homemade cookies and candy. This event is located at William Brooks Elementary School in El Dorado Hills. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Proceeds go to the Assistance League Sierra Foothills to assist homeless and disadvantaged children in El Dorado County.
December 8–9 + 15–16 | Varying Times
Placer Theatre Ballet is a youth ballet company dedicated to the joy of storytelling through the art of dance. Watch the story of the iconic Nutcracker come to life in front of your eyes with this exciting, quality performance at Placer High School in Auburn. You have eight opportunities to see the show — on Saturday, December 8 at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m., on Sunday, December 9 at noon or 4 p.m., on Saturday, December 15 at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m., or Sunday, December 16 at noon or 4 p.m. Get your tickets in advance!
December 8–9 + 15–16 | 1–7 p.m.
Photo Courtesy of Fairytale Town
Enter into a magical land filled with festive decor and a dazzling display of holiday lights at Fairytale Town’s Winter Wonderland. Enjoy holiday-themed hands-on activities, listen to strolling Victorian carolers, shop for gifts from local vendors, step inside a giant snow globe, and watch a flurry of snow fall each night near the Mother Goose Stage. And of course, don’t miss a special visit and photo opportunity with Santa in his workshop, located in the Children’s Theater, from 3 to 6 p.m. A visit with Santa is included with admission, and printed photos are available for $5 each.
December 9, 15–16, 18 + 20 | Varying Times
The Sacramento Master Singers are hosting their annual Christmas concerts, featuring a meditative candlelit processional, exuberant spirituals, timeless carols and more. Find out why this performance has become a family — and Sacramento — tradition. Choose from the many performances leading up to Christmas, on December 9, 15, 16, 18 or 20! Tickets range from $19 to $39.
December 9 | 7:30 a.m.
Be a part of the longest-running holiday-themed 5K race series anywhere — and join the fight to conquer arthritis. Benefitting the Arthritis Foundation, the Jingle Bell Run raises funds and awareness to cure America’s number one cause of disability. Put on your holiday costume, tie jingle bells to your shoelaces, and join in the festivities at Crocker Park! Register or donate to join this incredible cause.
December 13–16 | Varying Times
Photo Courtesy of Ben and Anne Hansen, AB Photography via Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet Theatre
The Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet Theatre presents a rendition of “The Nutcracker” with Conductor Ryan Murray and members of the Folsom Lake Symphony. Catch a performance of this enchanting story December 13–16 at varying times!
December 14–23 | Varying Times
The most beloved of all Sacramento traditions, the Sacramento Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is the crown jewel of holiday entertainment in the city. This year, choreographer Amy Seiwert has put a new twist on this classic performance. Follow the enchanting story of Clara as she encounters the Mouse King, the soaring Magic Balloon, the sparkling Snowflake Forest, and the radiant Sugar Plum Fairy. Choose from a myriad of performances at the Community Center Theater from December 14–23, including both matinee and evening performances.
December 15 | 8 a.m.
Photo Courtesy of the Folsom Christmas Classic
Don’t miss the 5th Annual Folsom Christmas Classic, featuring a Santa Fun Run for kids at 8 a.m., followed by 10K and 5K races. Both the 10K and 5K routes wind along beautiful paved trails in Folsom and the Santa Fun Run is about 200 yards in length. This festive annual event benefits the Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance, a local nonprofit with a mission to support children who have cancer and their families with emotional, educational, and financial support while increasing awareness and funding research toward a cure. Register in advance for the Santa Fun Run, 5K or 10K!
December 15 | 9 a.m.
Run amongst thousands of Santas at the 6th Annual Sacramento Santa Run 5K! Each participant will be given a free Santa suit to wear during the race; otherwise, all holiday-themed attire is encouraged! All participants are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys to packet pick-up or the start line main stage. Local law enforcement will distribute gathered toys to families in need in the Sacramento area throughout the holidays. Register in advance to participate in this fun and exciting race in the heart of downtown!
December 20 | 6 p.m.
For the first year ever, the Crocker Art Museum is featuring this interactive Sketch-a-Movie event featuring Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Before the screening, follow along a fun sketching lesson where you will learn how to draw Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie, and other characters in the film. Then, sketch along throughout the movie (starting at 7 p.m.), or simply sit back and enjoy the show! Limited sketching supplies will be provided; guests are encouraged to bring their own supplies (no pens or markers). Register online for this creative event in advance!
December 22–23 | 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.
After its sold-out performances in 2017, “An Irish Christmas” is returning to the Harris Center in Folsom, where the performance has become an established part of the holiday season for the community. The show displays the exciting traditions of Christmas in Ireland, including superb music, dancing and singing of Christmas carols, all led by an award-winning cast of Irish dancers. Catch one of the four performances of “An Irish Christmas” — at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $23–48.
What events are you looking forward to this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!