This Weekend in Santa Cruz: December 9th – 11th, 2016


It’s very clear that we’re in the midst of the holiday season this weekend with toy drives, a chance to eat waffles with Santa, ocean-inspired holiday craft fairs and more festive surprises! There’s even a bar crawl/scavenger hunt for adults led by Santa himself!

And if you’re not quite ready to get into the holiday spirit just yet, watch the Santa Cruz Warriors play the Austin Spurs on Friday, try a cedar wood inspired beer from a local brewery, or check out a free screening of the newest full length video from the people that brought you the “screaming hand,” legendary Santa Cruz Skateboards.

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.


Santa Cruz Warriors vs. Austin Spurs

When: 12/9 at 7:00 pm
Where: Kaiser Permanente Arena
Cost: $20 – $51

Get in on the action of the Santa Cruz Warriors taking down the Austin Spurs at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in downtown Santa Cruz. Bring the whole family to experience an elite professional basketball game at an affordable price. Plus, it’s a fun environment with snacks, drinks and plenty of entertainment between the slam dunks and free throws. A great Friday evening event to start off the weekend!

Get more info here.

Nibs & Hops


When: December 9 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Mutari Chocolate

Chocolate and beer, need we say more? Yes…it’s also a benefit for the Coastal Watershed Council in support of a healthier San Lorenzo River.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Holiday Contra Dance

When: 12/9 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Live Oak Grange 1900 17th Ave
Cost: $12 regular, $11 for members, $8 for full-time students w/student ID card.

Put your dancing shoes on and get into the holiday spirit at the last Santa Cruz Contra Dance of 2016! Pull out that gold sequined party dress, too, because this is a  festive affair and semi-formal and holiday attire is encouraged.  Don’t know the steps? Who cares! Everyone is welcome and partners and dancing experience are not necessary. Dance forms during the evening are taught and prompted, so just follow the lead. However, if you are a beginner, the introductory lesson at 6:40 is encouraged. There will be holiday lights, decorations and plenty of treats too!

Get more info here.

Also on Friday

email iconWant to see all the best events in Santa Cruz every weekend? Click here to get these Weekend Roundup posts delivered straight to your inbox.


Breakfast with Santa


When: 12/10 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Where: Chaminade Resort & Spa
Cost: $36.95 Adults, $17.95 Children 6-12, $11.95, Under 6 years

Santa Claus is as big of fan of brunch and he’ll be at Chaminade Resort & Spa this Saturday to enjoy a holiday buffet of waffles, omelets and more in the beautiful dining area overlooking the Monterey Bay. Dress your best for photos with the man himself and if you’ve been nice this year, bring your wish lists to share with Santa. Insider tip: he’s in a much more Christmas wish giving mood after a couple cups of coffee.

Get more info here.

2nd Annual Downtown SANTA Cruise

When: 12/10 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Downtown Santa Cruz
Cost: $20 in advance / $25 of the event

Santa Cruise is a holiday scavenger hunt for adults, back by popular demand. If you like your hot toddies with a side of adventure and mystery, then this is the event for you. Your journey starts with a Santa hat and a cryptic message from Santa himself, leading you on an outrageous treasure hunt through the streets of Downtown Santa Cruz. Get a group together to hunt for the goods and drink at Santa’s favorite spots along the way.

Get more info here.

Santa Cruz Skateboards Presents “Right To Exist”


When: 12/10 from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Rio Theatre
Cost: Free

Santa Cruz Skateboards presents it’s newest full length video for free! Come see what the legendary skateboarding company, known for it’s screaming hand logo, has in store for viewers. If it’s anything like the rest of their brand, its sure to be a thrilling time that will leave you feeling like a rebel.

Get more info here.

Cedar Saison Beer Release Party


When: 12/10 from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: 925 41st Ave.
Cost: $5-$39

Popular local brewery, Humble Sea Brewing Co. will be releasing its unique cedar-infused saison beer, inspired by its collaboration with Ventana Surfboards and Supplies, maker of reclaimed wooden surf crafts. The event will feature live “western swing/ party music,” Gordo Gustavo’s BBQ, and of course delicious beer. And it’s for a good cause too! 10% of profits go to Save Our Shores.

Get more info here.

Toys for Tots Breakfast


When: 12/10 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Hotel Paradox
Cost: Come with a new unwrapped toy [$15 value]

Drop off a new unwrapped toy at Hotel Paradox for a local child in need, and enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the Sequoia Ballroom. The NBA Santa Cruz Warriors D-League and the UCSC Women’s Basketball team will be there to meet and greet all generous gift givers. This is your chance to help spread holiday cheer while experiencing something a bit out of the ordinary. It’s not everyday you get to eat pancakes with the Santa Cruz Warriors, right?

Get more info here.

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.


Jingle Shells Art & Craft Festival


When: 12/11 from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Where: Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Cost: Entrance fees to the Center are reduced during the entire day. Adult admission is $6; seniors and students $4; kids 2 and under are free.

Find the perfect gift for that special someone while supporting ocean conservation and learning about marine science in the Monterey Bay! This holiday event features ocean-inspired gifts created by local artists, as well as live music, festive treats, free gift wrapping and activities for kids. You’ve heard of holiday tree lightings, but are you ready for a whale lighting? At 5:30 head outdoors and gather ’round Ms. Blue, the largest displayed whale skeleton in the world, for a group sing along of Jingle Shells.

Get more info here.

Jingle Bell Rock 5K


When: 12/11 at 7:30 am
Where: San Lorenzo Park
Cost: Prices for adults vary between $30 and $40 

Good for your health and your conscience! Bring a toy and run to support this annual holiday event that donates toys to Toys for Tots, bringing  smiles to children in our community. Dress in your best holiday attire because there will be prizes given to best dressed runner, best dressed team, best dressed canine, and best decorated stroller. This short 5k around San Lorenzo Park will be your most impactful and memorable work out of the season!

Get more info here.

Also on Sunday

Featured Upcoming Event

Holidays on the Ranch at Wilder Ranch

What: Holidays on the Ranch
Where: Wilder Ranch State Park
When: 12/17/2016 

We like any excuse to go to Wilder, and this is a good one. Enjoy an old-fashioned holiday celebration on the ranch with activities such as wreath making, singing around the player piano, and draft-horse carriage rides. Get in the spirit and dress in your best turn-of-the-century costume!

Get more info here.

PS – Get coverage of the best Santa Cruz events and other Santa Cruz Life content delivered straight to your inbox by signing up below…

About Leslie Chavez

Leslie Chavez moved to Santa Cruz to study literature at UCSC some years ago and loved it so much she decided to stay! She now works in travel and tourism and enjoys writing about the things that make Santa Cruz so great! You can find her running along West Cliff, hiking in the redwoods or exploring the newest restaurant or happening around town. Follow her adventures here.