This Weekend in Santa Cruz: December 1st – 3rd, 2017

santa cruz christmas parade 2017

Hello, December…wow, that was quick!

Some of our favorite local holiday traditions take place this weekend and it looks like we may get to leave our umbrellas at home. Saturday’s a biggie—we’ll be in our usual spot for the Downtown Holiday Parade and bundle up later for the Lighted Boat Parade, plus we’ll squeeze in some holiday shopping in between.

On the non-holiday front, you can take in a tribute to Johnny Cash, cheer on our Warriors, and support a fundraiser for Napa and Santa Rosa fire victims.

See our picks for the top events each day this weekend:

Santa Cruz Holiday Guides

Looking for craft fairs, time-honored traditions, and all the best holiday events in Santa Cruz? We’ve got you covered.

Plan your itinerary with our local holiday guides, including our annual Holiday Event Guide & Holiday Craft Fair & Shopping Guide.

Jump to the Santa Cruz Holiday Guides


Family Friendly First Friday

When: 12/1 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Tannery Arts Center

Families are invited to welcome winter and celebrate community! There will be tons of activities for the kids, the Tannery’s own studio and loft artists will be showing and selling their work, live music, a festive Light Up the Night bike ride, and more.

Get more info here.

35th Annual Music for the Feast of Christmas

When: 12/1 – 12/2 at 8:00 pm; 12/3 at 4:00 pm
Where: Holy Cross Church, 126 High Street, Santa Cruz
Cost: $25 general admission, $21 senior, $20 students

Join the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus, Cabrillo Youth Chorus, and Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra as they bring you music of the season and traditional sing-along Christmas carols. Enjoy a featured performance of Imant Raminsh’s Peace of Wild Things, with composer Raminsh speaking at each performance. This is a wonderful way to kick off the holidays!

Get more info here.

Johnny Cash Tribute, a Benefit Concert for LEO’s Haven

When: 12/1 Doors open at 5:30 pm
Where: 1500 Green Hills Rd., Scotts Valley
Cost: $30

James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash will be an evening of entertainment in support of LEO’s Haven, the first inclusive playground in Santa Cruz County for children of all abilities. Come walk the line and enjoy this not-to-be-missed tribute to the Man in Black featuring Cash’s biggest hits. Santa Cruz’s own Rye Dawn, will get the party started.

Get more info here.

Senderos December in México

When: 12/1 – 12/2 at 7:00 pm
Where: Harbor High Theater
Cost: $10 General; $5 Students/Seniors

Take in dinner and a show at Harbor High. Senderos presents its winter dance performance, México Lindo y Querido (Mexico Beautiful and Beloved), featuring Centeotl Danza y Baile dance troupe and Ensamble Musical youth band. Arrive early to enjoy delicious Mexican food. This fundraiser helps support Senderos, an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides free after school dance and music classes, tutoring, and scholarships for Latino youth.

Get more info here.

Cosmic Hosts: Choose Santa Cruz PopUp Market – Holiday Edition

When: 12/1 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Design by Cosmic 
Cost: Free – RSVP requested

This holiday edition of the Choose Santa Cruz Popup Market makes one-stop local shopping easy. A variety of unique gifts awaits, with vendors ranging from This Tiny Ocean to Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association to Yarn Shop Santa Cruz and more. Bonus: Bring the kids for family-friendly holiday crafts and enjoy drinks and food while you shop.

Get more info here.

ParkStore Holiday Sale 2017

When: 12/1 – 12/3
Where: 4 ParkStore locations: Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz Mission, Wilder Ranch and Seacliff 
Cost: $10 day use fee (except Santa Cruz Mission)

Shop thoughtful holiday gifts while supporting our state parks and beaches. The annual ParkStore Holiday Sale includes a preview sale on Friday and last chance shopping on Sunday, but you won’t want to miss Saturday’s “Tacos on the Terrace” following the Downtown Holiday Parade. Make your way to the Mission for tacos and holiday discounts: 30% off for members and 20% off for non-members.

Get more info here.

Frosty Fun Fest

When: 12/1 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Cost: Free Admission

Get festive, get creative, and maybe even get your team together for the Graham Cracker House Contest. Enjoy family-friendly fun including a Snowflake Creation Station, Winter Wonderland community mural, and hot cocoa. Holiday fashion encouraged!

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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Tannery Winter Art Market

When: 12/ 2 – 12/3 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Tannery Arts Center

Here’s a chance to buy direct from over 25 Tannery Studio and Loft artists. While you’re busy crossing loved ones off your gift list (or hey, shopping for yourself), kids can enjoy cardmaking and a treasure hunt. Bring your appetite too, because the cafe is open with kid-friendly meals and an adult menu.

Get more info here.

Scotts Valley Friends Holiday Book Sale

When: 12/2 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Scotts Valley Branch Library
Cost: Free

Time to stock up on some books for winter reading, and even get some holiday shopping done. Come and browse through hundreds of gently used books, CDs, and audio books in many genres at this fundraising event sponsored by the Scotts Valley Friends of the Library.

Get more info here.

Lighted Boat Parade

When: 12/2 at 5:30 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Harbor

The Lighted Boat Parade is a Santa Cruz tradition and is always one of the most anticipated events of the season. Dress warm, grab some hot chocolate, and find a spot to take in 50 boats decked out in holiday lights as they parade through the yacht harbor.

Get more info here.

Holiday Parade


When: 12/2 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
Where: Downtown Santa Cruz

The Annual Downtown Holiday Parade has everything you would hope for. There will be floats, marching bands, classic cars, horses, crowd favorites like the Santa Cruz Public Library Precision Book Truck Drill Team, and naturally, Santa Claus. The parade takes place rain or shine.

Get more info here.

Music for the Feast of Christmas

See Description Under Friday Section

Senderos December in Mexico

See Description Under Friday Section

ParkStore Holiday Sale 2017

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Saturday

santa cruz instagramKeep up with us all weekend long, and see which events we’re attending, by following Santa Cruz Life on Instagram.


SCM Makers Market Holiday Pop-up Market at Oasis Tasting Room & Kitchen

When: 12/3 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Oasis Tasting Room & Kitchen 
Cost: FREE Admission

There’s a running theme in our holiday shopping guide—shop local, listen local, eat local—and this holiday pop-up is no exception. Enjoy live music by Sugar by the Pound, a special beer release by Uncommon Brewers, and over 20 local vendors. If you haven’t visited Oasis yet, this is a good opportunity to check out their new digs.

Get more info here.

Climb for Fire Relief 2017

pacific edge fundraiser

When: 12/3 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Pacific Edge Climbing Gym
Cost: $20 Suggested Donation

Join in on a great cause with Pacific Edge and other Northern California climbing gyms in support of victims of the recent wildfires. There will be climbing opportunities for any level, from new to expert. A $20 donation is suggested at the door. There will be live music, a silent auction and a bake sale, too.

Get more info here.

Warriors Vs Skyforce

When: 12/13 at 6:00 pm
Where: Kaiser Permanente Arena
Cost: $20 – $63

Finish out the weekend by cheering on the Warriors as they take on the Midwest Division’s first place team. Be sure to show up early as the first 1,500 fans will receive a free Warriors T-shirt.

Get more info here.

Music for the Feast of Christmas

See Description Under Friday Section

Tannery Winter Art Market

See Description Under Saturday Section

ParkStore Holiday Sale 2017

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event

What: POP UP! A Night in Oaxaca
Where: Lúpulo Craft Beer House
When: Monday, December 4 from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Calling all mole lovers, don’t miss this popup celebrating the traditional cuisine of Oaxaca. Chef Ana Fabian Mendoza will take you on a mouthwatering journey and introduce you to the dishes common to her region in central Oaxaca, San Martín Tilcajete.

Get more info here.

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About Christine Candelaria

Christine Candelaria is a local mom of four who enjoys sharing her Santa Cruz adventures. You can follow her #santacruzlife on Instagram at @theaumsmama.