This Weekend in Santa Cruz: December 2nd – 4th, 2016

santa cruz lighted boat parade

Hello, December!

Enjoy local holiday traditions this weekend and maybe start some new ones.

On the non-holiday front, we’ve got beautiful dancing and music from different regions in Mexico, a comedy show about psychedelics, and a Steam Punk aerial murder mystery costume dance party. Yup, you read that right.

Be sure to scroll down to the end for our Featured Upcoming Event and mark your calendar.

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

Holiday Events in Santa Cruz

Want to jump straight to the best holiday events? We’ve got you covered. The guides below will keep you full of holiday cheer this weekend and throughout the month of December.

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.


México de Antaño / Mexico of the Past


When: 12/2 – 12/3 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 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.

A Good Trip: Shane Maus at the Center Stage


When: 12/2. Shows at 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm
Where: Center Stage Theater
Cost: $15 – $25

Don’t worry, this isn’t just going to be a bunch of pot jokes. It’s about mushrooms, LSD, and DMT, too. This is a comedy show about psychedelics, that is part stand-up, part memoir, and part Ted Talk. Enjoy the trip!

Get more info here.

Open House and Holiday Sale


When: 12/2 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm & 12/3 – 12/4 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Museum Of Natural History
Cost: Free Admission

Free admission and a storewide sale are happening all weekend long. On Saturday, enjoy special holiday crafts, activities, and yummy snacks.

Get more info here.

Frosty Fun Fest


When: 12/2 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Cost: Free

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 and hot cocoa. Festive sweaters encouraged!

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

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Winter Book Sale

scotts valley library winter book saleWhen: 12/3 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Scotts Valley Branch Library
Cost: Free Admission

Shop from hundreds of gently used books at the Friends of the Library – Scotts Valley Holiday Book Sale! You’ll find a selection of audio books, DVDs, coffee table books, cookbooks, collectible classics, history, fiction, and kids books—most under $5.

Get more info here.

Downtown Holiday Parade


When: 12/3 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Pacific Ave., Downtown Santa Cruz
Cost: Free

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.

Get more info here.

31st Annual Lighted Boat Parade

When: 12/3 at 5:30 pm
Where: South Harbor
Cost: Free

The harbor is one of the most picturesque locations in Santa Cruz on a regular day. But this isn’t just a regular day. The Lighted Boat Parade is your chance to see 50 boats decked out in holiday lights as they parade through the yacht harbor.

The Lighted Boat Parade is a Santa Cruz tradition and is always one of the most anticipated events of the season.

Get more info here.

Capitola Village Winter Festival


When: 12/3 from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Where: Capitola Village
Cost: Free

Celebrate holiday magic in Capitola Village! Enjoy an afternoon of kid-friendly activities, complimentary snacks, caroling, gift certificate giveaways, and a window display contest leading up to the tree lighting and grand prize drawings at 5:30pm.

Get more info here.

México de Antaño / Mexico of the Past

See Description Under Friday Section

Open House and Holiday Sale

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.


Steampunk Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre & Ball


When: 12/4 from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Bret Harte Hall at Roaring Camp Railroads
Cost: $30 – $325

Whoa! A Steam Punk, aerial murder mystery, costume dance party, Edwardian magical ball extravaganza AND bottomless s’mores…sounds like an amazing evening to us.

Get more info here.

Little Craft Pop-Up

Little Craft Popup at Childish

When: 12/4 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Childish
Cost: Free Admission

If you’ve got some kiddos in your life that you want to shop for this holiday season, then this is an event you don’t want to miss. We’ve attended these Little Craft Pop-Ups in the past and love them! It’s like an in-person Etsy extravaganza. Kids will love spending time at the Kaiwa Art & Play Space table, and we highly recommend the mini photo session with Renee Fox.

Get more info here.

Open House and Holiday Sale

See Description Under Friday Section

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event


What: Community Day – Free Admission
Where: UC Santa Cruz Arboretum
When: 12/6 and first Tuesday of every month

The arboretum is a wonderful place to visit and take in a diverse collection of plants as well as native plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and California. During November’s Community Day, we spotted the rare white Anna’s Hummingbird that has been frequenting the arbortum’s hummingbird garden since May! This is also a great chance to see the Art in the Arboretum sculpture exhibit that ends on January 10.

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.