This Weekend in Santa Cruz: December 15th – 17th, 2017

Photo by Valerie Lemke

The weather forecast calls for continued sunny and mild conditions, which makes it the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy a late fall weekend!

Families can enjoy a puppet show at the library, have breakfast with Santa, and experience the ultimate holiday tradition, The Nutcracker (with performances at three different venues in the county).

For the foodies out there we have a vegan chocolate tour and tasting event, and authentic Indian cuisine for a great cause, Adopt-A-Family.

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


iSKATE Capitola

When: Open daily 12/15 – 1/7/2018 
Where: Capitola Village
Cost: $10 – $15

Right on the heels of Surfin’ Santa comes a new tradition to Capitola Village…ice skating by the sea, in fact, just steps from the sand and waves. Check out the new pop-up, synthetic ice rink in the Village and enjoy free parking while you’re at it!

Get more info here.

Holiday Cookie Decorating Party

When: 12/15 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm & 12/22 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Buttercup Cakes
Cost: $10

Spend a little time relaxing after a busy week and decorate some delicious holiday treats. Six cookies are provided for each guest. Frosting and sprinkles are priced per ounce.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Warriors vs Memphis Hustle

When: 12/15 at 7:00 pm
Where: Kaiser Permanente Arena
Cost: $35 – $63

Come out to the Kaiser Permanente Arena and spread some local team cheer as our very own Santa Cruz Warriors host the Memphis Hustle at home. Buy your tickets early for the best seats.

Get more info here.

AFE Theatre Presents Gulliver Unlimited

What: Gulliver Unlimited
Where: The Broadway Playhouse, 526 Broadway
When: Dec. 15 at 7pm; Dec. 16 at 4pm; Dec. 17 at 11am

Cost: $10 at the door

Alternative Family Education presents a steampunk tale based on Gulliver’s Travels. Follow Samantha Gulliver in this coming of age story set in a steampunk industrial revolution. The show stars AFE 6th – 8th graders and runs approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes with no intermission. Sweet and savory treats will be available for purchase before and after each show. Proceeds help support AFE’s theater program.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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3rd Annual Merry Spikemas (Powered by SAVAGE) Roundnet Tournament

When: 12/16 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Main Beach
Cost: FREE to watch! Registration is closed.

Described as a fusion of volleyball and foursquare, Roundnet is sure to please the sports enthusiasts out there. More than 45 teams are expected to participate in this tournament. Watch the fun or sign up to participate.

Get more info here.

Caterpillar Puppets Holiday Surprise Puppet Show

When: 12/16 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm & 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Public Libraries – Downtown Branch at 11:00 am; Scotts Valley Branch at 3:00 pm
Cost: Free

Bring the kids for a 30-minute program of holiday puppet fun for the entire family. An elf, artist mouse and a caterpillar are just a few in this cast of characters.

Get more info here.

Nutcracker: Experience the Magic

When: 12/16 – 12/17 at 1:00 pm & 4:30 pm
Where: Cabrillo Crocker Theater
Cost: $30/$35/$40

Santa Cruz City Ballet presents their premier holiday performance with two shows each day. Experience the magic of this favorite holiday classic with your family, friends, or out of town guests.

Get more info here.

Vegan Chocolate Tour + Tasting

When: 12/16 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Where: Mutari Chocolate House & Factory, 504 Front Street
Cost: $20

Learn how chocolate is made, hear the latest on fair trade and organics and find out about the best cocoa beans. You will even learn how to make your own perfect cup of hot cocoa!

Get more info here.

Breakfast With Santa

When: 12/16 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Where: Aquarius at Dream Inn
Cost: $9 for kids 12 and under, $19 for adults

Santa is in town for breakfast! Enjoy a buffet breakfast, cookie decorating and a visit with Santa. Author Lois Ackerman Lawson will host a story time for kids.

Get more info here.

AFE Theatre Presents Gulliver Unlimited

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.


Of the Sea: Fishermen, Seafood, and Sustainability

When: 12/17 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Cost: Free

This film features five fishermen from California who talk about how seafood choices affect the sustainability of the ocean and the efforts to revive the small-scale fishing industry. A question and answer session with co-producer, Melissa Stevens, will follow the film.

Get more info here.

Eat For a Cause – Adopt A Family Project

When: December 17 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Cost: Donations are welcome and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Adopt-A-Family Project

There’s a lot of generosity going around…Karma Khana is providing authentic Indian food at no charge, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is hosting the event, and it’s all for a good cause: Adopt-A-Family, a project run by Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. Your donations are welcome and 100% of the proceeds support Adopt-A-Family.

Get more info here.

AFE Theatre Presents Gulliver Unlimited

See description under Friday section.

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event


What: Winter Solstice Contra Dance
Where: Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building
When: December 22 from 6:40 pm to 10:00 pm

Cost: Suggested admission donation $12 regular, $11 members, $8 full-time students w/student ID card

Everyone is welcome! Partners and dancing experience are not necessary. Each of the dozen or so dance forms during the evening are taught and prompted. Come see what this traditional New England style of folk dancing is all about and celebrate the longest night of the year!

Get more info here.

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About Valerie Lemke

Valerie Lemke is a transplant from the Bay Area to Santa Cruz County over 25 years ago, and hasn't looked back since. She is a local freelance writer and photographer who loves writing about and photographing one of the most beautiful regions in the world, the Central Coast.