This Weekend in Santa Cruz: December 16th – 18th, 2016


Holiday events continue this weekend with performances of The Nutcracker, Winterpalooza, Holidays on the Ranch, and a few more local artisan shopping events.

Even the Warriors are spreading the holiday cheer with a festive ugly sweater t-shirt giveaway (yeah, you read that right).

There are plenty of non-holiday events to choose from too, including a food truck event and a rockin’ anniversary celebration.

Holiday Events in Santa Cruz

Want to jump straight to the best holiday events? We’ve got you covered with the two guides below…

Holiday Event Guide

Santa Cruz Holiday Events 2016Catch every holiday event in Santa Cruz County with our Santa Cruz Holiday Event Guide.

Holiday Craft Fairs & Shopping Events

santa cruz holiday shopping eventsThere are dozens of local craft fairs and shopping events in Santa Cruz County, many of which take place this weekend. You’ll find them all here.


Etienne Charles & Creole Soul: A Creole Christmas

When: 12/16 at 7:30 pm
Where: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Cost: $25/Advance $30/Door – 1/2 Price for Students (5% city tax and service charge additional)

Celebrate the holidays with Trumpeter Etienne Charles and his band as they put a fresh Caribbean inspired jazz twist on holiday classics from the Carribean, American and European holiday songbooks.

Get more info here.

3rd Friday: Winterpalooza

Winterpalooza 2016

When: 12/16 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Cost: $5 General, $3 Students, Seniors and Kids, FREE for MAH Members and Children under 4

Every family has a toy train lover young or old, and often both! Bring the whole crew down for the opening of the Toy Trains exhibit, hands-on crafts, gift shopping at the Teen Art Market, and a performance by the multigenerational choir Hark, the Family of Carolers.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Warriors vs. Northern Arizona Suns

Santa Cruz Warriors Ugly Sweater Night

When: 12/16 at 7:00 pm
Where: Kaiser Permanente Arena
Cost: $20 – $68

What’s more festive than an ugly holiday sweater? How about an ugly sweater T-shirt!

The Santa Cruz Warriors will be sharing the holiday cheer this Friday night with this giveaway presented by New Bohemia Brewing Company.

Get more info here.

The Nutcracker

When: 12/16 at 8:00 pm, 12/17 at 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm, 12/18 at 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Cost: $15 – $58

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre presents the Nutcracker at the Civic Auditorium.  This classic holiday show features a full professional orchestra and over 70 local performers.

Sweet Treat tickets are available for the Saturday and Sunday shows.  These special tickets include photo opportunities with the Nutcracker characters, and free cookies from Pacific Cookie Company prior to the performance.

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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Holidays on the Ranch

Holidays on the Ranch at Wilder Ranch

When: 12/17 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Where: Wilder Ranch State Park
Cost: Free with $10 day-use parking per vehicle

Enjoy an old-fashioned holiday celebration at Wilder Ranch.  The Holidays on the Ranch Festival takes you back to a simpler time with crafts, games, and music from the early 20th century. Get in the spirit and dress in your best turn-of-the-century costume and hop on a draft-horse carriage ride!

Get more info here.

Free Family Movie – Polar Express

When: 12/17 from 10:00 am to 11:45 am
Where: Del Mar Theatre
Cost: Free

Support Second Harvest Food Bank and catch a holiday classic on the big screen this Saturday at the Del Mar.

Get more info here.

Artisan’s Holiday Market

When: 12/17 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Homeless Garden Project Downtown Store, Santa Cruz Art Center
Cost: Free

Find an extensive collection of handcrafted gift items sourced from the Homeless Garden Project’s certified organic farm and created by Project trainees. Gifts include bath and body products, beeswax candles, dried floral wreaths, and goods from over twenty artisans.

Get more info here.

Holiday Artisan Food & Gift Market

When: 12/17 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Food Lounge
Cost: Free Admission

It’s not too late to shop local and take care of all your holiday needs, from unique gifts to food and holiday staples. Shop locally-made jewelry, body products, candles, scarves, textiles, and art. Artisan foods include olive oil, jams, honey, chocolate, and mole. There will also be fresh foods to enjoy such as baked goods, empanadas, and meat pies.

Get more info here.

Food Trucks at East Cliff Brewing


When: 12/17 from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: East Cliff Brewing Company
Cost: Free Admission

East Cliff Brewing will play host to the latest food truck event this Saturday. Enjoy cask conditioned ales and draught beers and grab some grub from the Holopono or Ate3One food trucks.

This event is weather permitting, so check @foodtrucksagogo for updates if it’s wet outside.

Get more info here.

The Nutcracker

See description under Friday

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.


Moe’s Alley 25 Year Anniversary Celebration

When: 12/18 at 4:00 pm
Where: Moe’s Alley
Cost: $16 advance, $20 day of show

Help Moe’s celebrate 25 years of live music this Sunday night. Mighty Mike Schermer & The Soul Drivers will headline with special guests Chris Cain, Tommy Castro and Randy McDonald.

The Nutcracker

See description under Friday

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event

What: Elephant Seal Guided Walks
Where: Año Nuevo State Park
When: December 15 – March 31

This weekend marks the opening of the elephant seal breeding season at Año Nuevo. You can enjoy guided tours from Dec. 15 – Mar. 31. Reservations fill up quickly so be sure to secure your spot soon.

Reservations can be made here or by calling 1-800-444-4445

Get more info here.

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About Ethan Oates

Ethan Oates fell in love with Santa Cruz while visiting as a child. He has lived in Santa Cruz since the mid '90's, and is happiest when spending time with his family.

  • Joseph says:

    the links for the agape dance co. nutcracker are faulty; please fix

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