You can throw a legendary Super Bowl party—even when you’re only watching for the commercials. Here’s what to do!

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It seems that the best parties in the winter all revolve around football. Even if you don’t love sports, fear not. Throwing a Super Bowl party can be just as fun for the host as it is for sports fans. Stock up on tailgate snacks and slammin’ Super Bowl cocktails and let’s get going!

Cooler of beerBRIANNA GRIEPENTROG/TASTE OF HOME

Bring on the Drinks

Football wouldn’t be a great American sport without a great American beverage. Before the party, snag a local beer from the cities of the teams competing or pick up one of our favorite cheap beer brands for your shindig. If they’re not into beer, pick a signature cocktail for each team based on their city, mascot or team colors. Mix up a pitcher of each drink ahead of time with a little splash of food coloring to match each team’s jerseys.

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Do a Dip

Cheesy dips are a staple of any legendary tailgate, and a Super Bowl party is no different. Look for a few creative recipes and choose one that is cheesy, one that is meaty, one that is spicy and one that is vegan to appease all the different taste preferences of your group. Look to these dip recipes for inspiration.

2021 Super Bowl Ecomm Via Etsy.com 2VIA PROPARTYPLANNER/ETSY.COM

Play Some Games

Keep the competition alive with adult party games, like team and city trivia or football bingo. If your guests are more into the ads than the game, this Super Bowl commercial bingo will be sure to bring on some fun. Bake some football-shaped cookies to hand out as prizes.

Super bowl snack stadium TASTE OF HOME

Build a Snack Stadium

To be the envy of all your friends (and the star of their Instagram stories) build yourself a snack stadium. Fill a few cardboard boxes or aluminum pans with all your favorite snacks (including some of these healthy Super Bowl recipes, for a well-balanced selection). Make a field out of a frosted cake and place it in the center. Learn how to build a snack stadium with our step-by-step guide.

Astroterf Football Coaster VIA MERCURIALCREATIONS2/ETSY.COM

Set the Scene

Make your guests feel like they’re watching the game from the sidelines with plenty of creative decorations. From AstroTurf coasters to football drink stirrers to a festive concession stand sign, decorating for your party can be just as fun as the party itself. Decorate one half of the living room with one team’s colors, and the other half of the living room with the other team’s colors. Your guests can choose where they want to sit and cheer on their favorite team.

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Wing It

The staple of any great sports viewing party is a tray of sticky, sweet and tangy chicken wings. Prepare a range of flavors from extra spicy to sweet and mild and have a few dipping sauces (like ranch or blue cheese dressing) on the side. Wings are the perfect finger food, but be sure to have plenty of cocktail napkins ready for these fall off the bone, finger-licking goods!

Ucanbe Athena Face Body Paint Oil PaletteVIA AMAZON.COM

Show Your Spirit

Throw a competition to see who has the most (and most creative) team spirit in the group. Have a face painting kit at the ready with some colorful streamers and spray on hair dye. Challenge your friends to create the craziest costumes and have a makeshift catwalk for them to show off their team spirit.

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Pick a Winning Dessert

What better way to wash down all those wings and beers than with sweet and decadent Super Bowl desserts! Help ease the pain for the losing team with a crowd-pleasing classic like caramel brownies or ice cream and cookie pie. Even if their team lost the game, we bet your guests will leave with a full belly and happy heart.

I Just Hope Both Teams Have FunVIA NINETY5PRINTS/ETSY.COM

Hand Out Swag Bags

To help your guests feel extra special, prepare swag bags as a parting gift. Fill your football treat bags with a few festive football cookies, candies, Gatorade, funny sweatshirt and a custom Super Bowl ’22 pint glass. They’ll be tickled you went the extra mile for them.

Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.

Show the love with Cupid-inspired, romantic dinners, heart-shaped pizzas, pies, doughnuts & more V-Day specials throughout Orange County.

ORANGE COUNTY, CA — Valentine’s Day this year falls smack in the middle of the week — Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Whether your celebrations are swanky or low-key, reservations are imperative.

So check out our annual, V-Day dining guide for some of the sweetest offers — for all tastes and budgets —at restaurants, bakeries and pizzerias throughout Orange County.

Find what appeals, scroll through the photo show above for visual inspiration, then get to booking.

And XOXO, from Patch!

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ACAPULCO: Celebrate V-Day Feb. 14-17 with three-course, “Sweetheart Menu for Two” ($55). Begin with tortilla soup or Caesar salad, then choose entrée of chicken, shrimp or steak fajitas, a fajitas duo, crab & shrimp enchiladas, or Muy Grande Platter (chicken, carnitas, enchilada, vegetables, refried beans & rice). Shareable desserts selections: Mrs. Field’s Sizzling Cookie; Oreo cookie ice cream torta; flan; or caramelo cheesecake. Info/bookings. Find restaurant here in Costa Mesa.
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BAYSIDE RESTAURANT: Wow your sweetheart Valentine’s Day at this harbor-front spot with three-course dinner. Selections for lobster bisque, beef tartare, filet mignon, mushroom-crusted seabass & flourless chocolate tarte or crowd-favorite, lemon meringue tart. Live music, too. Plus seating options for inside dining room or covered & heated open-air terrace. $125 per person. Reservations. At 900 Bayside Drive, Newport Beach.

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BISTANGO: Cue the romance on V-Day with this eatery’s art gallery walls & live music, plus a chef-curated, three-course dinner with surf-n-turf focus. Served Feb. 14 from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. $125/person. Seatings either under palms on open-air, heated patio, or in dining room’s private booth. Reservations. At 19100 Von Karman Ave., Irvine.

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BLACK ANGUS STEAKHOUSE: Choices here! Valentine’s Day options include “Campfire Feast Dinner for Two”($68), with starter, two entrees including prime rib & salmon, two sidekicks, broccoli & mashed potatoes, plus dessert. For couples wanting a little more “Surf ‘n’ Turf Dinner for Two” ($115), with two filet mignons, two lobster tails, starter, four sides, molasses bread, dessert & two prosecco splits. BookingsFind locales in Buena Park, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana.

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CAFE SEVILLA: Spanish-inspired menu, Latin music & flamenco entertainment are planned Valentine’s Day. Choose from four-course, prix-fixe special, with warm goat cheese dip & Spanish charcuterie to start, followed by lobster cake & citrus salad, pan-seared duck with Spanish beer glaze or lobster paella, and orange tart dessert with raspberry meringue. ($150/couple with live music 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.) Evening options include dazzling, flamenco show & dinner with three-course, lobster paella feast. ($119/person.) Plus, all Feb. 14 diners receive complimentary entry to Sevilla Ultra Lounge with live DJ & dancing. Details/reservations. At 1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa.

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CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN: Specials, including heart-shaped pizzas with crispy, thin crust, are back Feb. 9 to Feb. 14, for Valentine’s week. “Sweet Deal for Two” offers one appetizer, two entrees & one dessert for $50 (classic) or $60 for “Adventure Package.” Sweet Deal diners also score BOGO-offer bounceback card, redeemable Feb. 15 to Feb. 22. Details. Find locations here.

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EDDIE V’S PRIME SEAFOOD: Dine in style Valentine’s Day with such menu options as oysters, crab cakes, lobster, steaks, scallops, sea bass & more. And don’t miss new V-Day cocktail: “With Love, Eddie,” a bourbon indulgence. ReservationsLocation in Newport Beach.
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EL TORITO: Treat your sweetheart Feb. 14-17 to three-course, Valentine special for two ($55), featuring options for tortilla soup, Caesar salad, entrées of fajitas, salmon or Macho Combo (pasilla chile relleno, chicken & sour cream enchilada, beef barbacoa taco & chicken tamale). Finish with shareable dessert of mudd pie, deep fried ice cream or cinnamon-crisp cheesecake. Website. See locales.
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FARMER BOYS: Award-winning burger chain plays Cupid this Valentine’s Day with debut of “Burger Bouquet.” As alternative to roses & chocolates, this “bouquet” ($30) is five Big Cheese burgers in special box with V-Day card. Sold via drive-thru, dine-in or phone-ahead, while supplies last. WebsiteFind restaurants in Orange County.
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FLEMING’S PRIME STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR: Three-course, V-Day menu for two — starring Prime Surf & Turf — will be served Feb. 8-19. Included: oysters Rockefeller & shrimp cocktail starters; bone-in NY strip; filet mignon; two crab-stuffed lobster tails; & dark chocolate torte dessert. ($230 for two.) Specialty cocktail: the Berry Basil Bliss, with gin, sherry, lemon juice & strawberry ($17). Per-guest menu options for filet mignon with crab-stuffed shrimp or Chilean sea bass available. Eateries open early at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14. Details. Locations here in Anaheim, Newport Beach.

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GELSON’S MARKETS: Create romantic V-Day celebration at home with to-go dinners for two. Options: steak & lobster; salmon & lobster tail; or cordon bleu with lobster tail. Sides include pomegranate apple salad & roasted garlic asparagus. Floral arrangements & chocolate-dipped strawberries also available for a finishing touch. Place orders online for pick-up Feb. 13-14. See info here. Find stores near you.

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KHAN SAAB DESI CRAFT KITCHEN: This twice Michelin-recognized, 100% Halal restaurant is prepping a five-course, Valentine’s Day prix-fixe feast, for Feb. 14 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. $80 per person. Among highlights: sweet & sour potato chaat; Bazaar Salad of tomatoes, charred watermelon & cucumber; roast mashed eggplant bharta; such entrees as Manchigo corn kofta; lemon chili shrimp; chopal kabob & malai chicken tikka masala; plus banana crème brulee dessert. V-Day mocktail special is Chocolate Martini with Ghirardelli chocolate, caramel, cream & Seedlip Spice 94. Reservations. At 229 East Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton.

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KING’S FISH HOUSE: Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the “House that Seafood Built” with three-course menu starring steak & seafood specials. Among menu selections: eight-ounce filet mignon; South African lobster tail; plus appetizer, choice of sides & dessert. $80 per person. Regular menu, including Chilean sea bass, wild California spiny lobster & more, also available. ReservationsLocations here in Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills & Orange.
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KRISPY KREME: Sweeten V-Day with heart-shaped doughnuts in “Dough-Notes” box with your heart-felt sentiments. This year’s four, new flavors: You Color My World (cake batter filling, red icing & rainbow heart sprinkles); I Love You A Choco-Lot (chocolate filling & icing with rose piping); You’re Berry Sweet (white Kreme filling, strawberry icing & sprinkles); & Without You I’d Crumble (cookie dough filling, chocolate icing & cookie crumble). The Dough-Notes dozens box includes space for handwritten notes from giver to receiver. Available through Feb. 14. DetailsShop finder.
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LAS BRISAS: Enjoy romantic, waterfront setting, plus special five-course, prix-fixe dinner from 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 18. $140/person. Menu highlights include lamb chops, filet of beef & butternut squash tamale. Or select $325 per couple option, with tomahawk steak or lobster. Champagne upgrades available for all window tables, starting at $350 per person, on Valentine’s Day. Details/bookings. At 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

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LUCIANA’S RISTORANTE: Indulge in romantic ambiance & Italian cuisine with four-course, prix-fixe, Valentine’s Day dinner in historic Lantern District. ($85/person.) Begin with crostini flight. Then select from options as: Insalata di Barbabietole (red & yellow beets, baby greens, balsamic reduction, whipped honey goat cheese); Zuppa di Aragosta with crème fraiche & lobster; filet mignon with porcini sauce, broccolini & Luciana’s famous butter beans; osso buco; braised chicken; salmon; Ravioli di Aragosta (homemade lobster ravioli); squid ink pasta with shrimp, scallops & crab; plus exotic desserts. MenuReservations. At 24312 Del Prado Ave., Dana Point.

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MARUFUKU RAMEN: This eatery is V-Day, date-night ready with menu featuring such dishes as: appetizers of pork cha-shu in Japanese steamed buns; pan-fried pot stickers; fried shishito peppers; authentic Hakata-style Tonkatsu ramen with ultra thin noodle, broth & pork & more. Night cap options include sake, imported beer & craft cocktails. Website. Location here at 8543 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine.

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MIX RESTAURANT AT HILTON ANAHEIM: Win your Valentine’s heart with deluxe, Feb. 14 dinner for two, served 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. & crafted by Executive Chef Juan Lopez & team. Menu highlights: lobster seafood bisque; beet salad; pan-seared “Naked Scallops” with saffron cauliflower puree; seafood ravioli; salmon; chicken; herb-crusted steak; plus “Amore” dessert of strawberry & chocolate. Reservations via OpenTable. At 777 W. Convention Way, Anaheim.

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MORTON’S THE STEAKHOUSE: Treat your Valentine to romantic dinner for two, served Feb. 9-17. Included are starters & sides, with entree choices of bone-in New York strip and twin, lobster tails. $169 for two. Dine-in only. Details/reservations. Find locations in Anaheim & Santa Ana.
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MOUNTAIN MIKE’S PIZZA: For entire month of February, heart-shaped pizzas are available for dine-in, takeout & delivery — with toppings of choice, like the chain’s signature crispy, curly pepperoni. To sweeten the deal, bite-sized Mini Churrs are $2.99 with purchase of any heart-shaped pizza. Details. Find stores.

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OJI SUSHI & SAKE BAR: Treat your sushi-loving sweetheart to luxury, all-you-can-eat Valentine’s Day dinner Feb. 14, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Adults/$38.99; kids, 8-13/$19.99; kids, 4-7/$14.99; & 3 and under free. For reservations, call 949-515-7400. At 1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa.

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PIEOLOGY PIZZERIA: V-Day special, Red Velvet Cookies, are back for limited time beginning Feb. 13. Freshly baked with white chocolate chips, Hershey’s milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate chunks & milk chocolate chunks, they are available for purchase & also as free “perk” option for “Pies and Perks” members. Find locations statewide.

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POLLY’S PIES: Add a delicious twist to Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped, hand pies — in boysenberry, apple & cherry — from family-owned legacy business, founded in 1968 in Fullerton. $7.99 each. Pre-order for pick-up, or schedule a delivery/shipment of four for $35.99. Details. With 13 SoCal locations in Los Angeles, Orange & Riverside counties.

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POSTINO WINE CAFE: Make V-Day a date night to remember with “Takeout & Makeout” & “Snacks in The City” to-go packs available through Feb. 18. Or book reservation for parties up to eight from Feb. 10-18. “Takeout & Makeout” ($55) includes one “snacky thing,” bruschetta, board & salad and feeds two. “Snacks in The City” feeds four to six ($80) with three “snacky things,” one bruschetta, board & salad. Reservations/order info. At 2981 Michelson Drive, Irvine.

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ROUND TABLE PIZZA: Heart-shaped pizzas are on the menu for Valentine’s Day, plus get $5 off a large, heart-shaped pizza OR regular XL pizza with code HEART5 at checkout. Find locales statewide.

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RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE: Treat your Valentine to “Porterhouse Dinner for Two” or “T-Bone with Horseradish Crust.” Porterhouse is paired with lobster tails & offered only Wednesday, Feb. 14. T-bone special is served Feb.9-18. DetailsSee sites in Anaheim, Irvine.

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SEASONS 52: Celebrate V-Day with elegant, on-site dining of seasonal favorites & rotating wine flights, or plan romantic, at-home dinner for two with takeout option. To-go meal offers filet mignon, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, broccolini, salad, two Mini Indulgence desserts & bottle of wine for $115. Pre-order takeout 24 hours in advance for Feb. 10-18 pickup. Reservations/ordering detailsLocation in Costa Mesa.
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SKÅL PIZZA: “Pizza My Heart: Valentine’s Day Specials” planned Feb. 9 through Feb. 14 (closed Feb. 13) at the health-conscious, stylishly casual eatery, AKA Malibu Farm’s cool “little sister” restaurant along Lido Marina Village boardwalk. Enjoy chef/restaurateur Helene Henderson’s offerings, including two heart-shaped pizzas: Everything Crust & Lox Pizza: white sauce, smoked salmon, tomatoes, cucumber, dill, caper berries & pickled onions; and Tomato & Spanish Chorizo: tomato sauce, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, chorizo & oregano. Half-off bottles of wine, too. Website. At 3400 Via Oporto, Newport Beach.

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SNOOZE A.M. EATERY: Celebrate your Valentine with limited-time, sweet treat — Double Chocolate Brownie Pancakes. Offered Feb. 8 through V-Day, Feb. 14, this decadent dish features brownie buttermilk pancake topped with chocolate ganache, strawberries, blueberries & powdered sugar. Find locations in Huntington Beach, Laguna Niguel, Orange, Tustin.

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SUSIECAKES: Keep it sweet & bring home cookies, cupcakes, mini-cupcakes & cakes decorated with Valentine’s Day themes. A super cute, bakery highlight is 4-inch, “Sweetheart Cake,” perfect for two with vanilla buttercream & red and pink hearts. ($42.99.) Order infoFind shops statewide in Costa Mesa, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach.

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TAVERN + BOWL: For a fun, V-Day with friends & family, book a lane & enjoy dinner & bowling. Menu offerings range from steak & burgers to pizza & vegetarian options. Open Feb. 14, on Valentine’s Day, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call 949-438-2320. OC reservations. At 1875 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa.

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TENDER GREENS: Sweet, V-Day freebie! Diners at the chef-drive, healthy living, sustainable-focused eateries score free dessert of choice with any entree purchase on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. WebsiteLocations at UC Irvine & Irvine Spectrum.
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THE CAPITAL GRILLE: Valentine’s Day dining promises a chef-prepared, dining experience, featuring variety of wine & champagne selections, dry-aged steaks & complimentary, chocolate-covered strawberries, prepared by in-house pastry chef. Bookings. Location here in Costa Mesa.
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URBAN PLATES: Three-course, Valentine’s special ($55) will be served Feb. 9-19 for dine-in or takeout. Selections include: tomato basil soup, house or Caesar salad; char-grilled steak; chimichurri steak; salmon; two sides; rustic bread; & dessert of cookies, cakes or mango tarts. In-house diners get half-off bottles of wine, too. Find locales statewide in Aliso Viejo, Brea, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Tustin.

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WATER GRILL: Book a Valentine’s date night with chef-curated, four-course menu, along with interactive photo booth & commemorative hand-poured candle ($135/person). Dinner highlights: oyster sampler or jumbo lump crab cake; clam chowder & roasted beet salad; plus such surf n’ turf entrées as filet mignon or lobster. Dessert array offered, too, including New York cheesecake & caramel bread pudding. Optional wine pairing: $50. Reservations. At 3300 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.

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WATERTABLE AT HYATT REGENCY HUNTINGTON BEACH: Cue the romance with three-course, Valentine’s Day dinner, featuring such options as hamachi crudo, pan-seared scallops, lamb chops, tiger prawns, elk loin, NY steak, tofu, fennel & squash, plus dessert selections of orange almond cake, Six Degrees of Chocolate Cake, berry torte & more. Reservations. At Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach.

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It’s never too early to start planning for Valentine’s Day or just having a handy list of ideas for a romantic date with your sweetheart!  We’ve gathered ideas with the help of an old OC Register post.  We hope you’ll enjoy this list!  Though we’ve taken steps to ensure these places are still operating, definitely do your due diligence before heading out!  🙂


1. Find a lookout point: There are plenty of romantic views around the region, from cliffs that overlook the glistening Pacific Ocean to quiet places where you can park your car and gaze over shining city lights.

Trails that sit above the ocean, such as Point Vicente in Palos Verdes, Corona del Mar’s Inspiration Point, Crystal Cove State Beach’s cliffside trails or the Dana Point Headlands, offer ocean vistas for light daytime strolls. Hilltop Park in Signal Hill is known for its epic city views above the twinkling lights. Further inland, check out the Mt. Rubidoux Trail just west of downtown Riverside, which showcases mountain ranges and the city below, but note that parking and the trial close at dusk.


Several boat charters will offer sunset rides in the Dana Point Harbor this weekend for Valentine's Day weekend. (File photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register)
Several boat charters will offer sunset rides in the Dana Point Harbor this weekend for Valentine’s Day weekend. (File photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register)

2. Take a mini cruise: Southern California has several harbors and a vast coastline for special trips out on the water.

In Long Beach, check out Harbor Breeze Cruises’ historical tour of the Los Angeles Harbor, a 45-minute narrated cruise that includes the Long Beach skyline, the Queen Mary and wildlife hanging out in the harbor like sea lions or, if you’re lucky, gray whales.

In Newport Beach, you can charter your own Duffy boat for a more intimate cruise, packing wine and cheese or grabbing a meal from a dockside restaurant at Lido Marina Village.

In Dana Point, stop by the harbor’s  “Love Wall” mural for a photo op with your own love before heading out on a cocktail cruise on Saturday or Sunday with Aventura Sailing. Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari will host sunset safaris for sweethearts and also offers romantic private charters, or join Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching all weekend for cruises at sunset with a complimentary drink and treats.


Picturesque views of Avalon are among the amenities of staying or dining at Mt Ada, formerly known as the Wrigley Mansion. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Picturesque views of Avalon. (Photo by David Dickstein)

3. Catalina Express now boarding: If you want a longer excursion, Catalina Express has charters from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point. Cruise around the island on a golf cart to take in the sights, or take some hiking shoes to traverse the scenic trails.


A gondola cruises through the Naples Island canals on an excursion booked through Gondola Getaway, which offer couples romantic gondolier boat rides through the canals in Naples. Other gondolas offer rides in Redondo, Newport and Huntington Harbour, but space is limited on Valentine's Day weekend. (File photo by Bill Alkofer, Contributing Photographer)
A gondola cruises through the Naples Island canals on an excursion booked through Gondola Getaway, which offer couples romantic gondolier boat rides through the canals in Naples. Other gondolas offer rides in Redondo, Newport and Huntington Harbour, but space is limited on Valentine’s Day weekend. (File photo by Bill Alkofer, Contributing Photographer)

4. Romantic gondola ride: Taking a romantic trip to Italy might not be in the cards this year, but you can enjoy a gondola ride around Naples in Long Beach, Huntington Harbor, or Newport Beach in Orange County. Most companies offer Valentine’s Day specials, though some are already sold out, so you may need to be flexible and book an excursion on a different day.


The UCR Botanical Gardens can be a great, scenic way to enjoy an afternoon with a loved one. (File photo by Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
The UCR Botanical Gardens can be a great, scenic way to enjoy an afternoon with a loved one. (File photo by Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

5. Visit a lush garden: Botanical gardens can be beautiful places to explore, filled with flora and fauna of the region. Check out UC Riverside’s impressive garden located in the foothills of the Box Springs Mountains. The 40 acres on the east side of the campus feature four miles of trails, or just soak in the beauty of its 3,500 plant species from one of the benches.

Smaller botanical gardens can be found throughout the region, such as the Niguel Botanical Garden in Laguna Niguel. In the South Bay, check out the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden in Polliwog Park or South Coast Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes.


6. Movie under the stars: Southern California is home to a handful of still operating drive-ins, including in the City of Industry, Montclair, Paramount and Riverside, that are easily found with an internet search and there are pop-ups that bring outdoor screens to even more communities.  Or watch a romantic movie from the comfort of your own car at The Roadium in Torrance!


A bundled up couple takes a walk on the trail by the Point Vicente Lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes Saturday November 7, 2020. Walking trails near the ocean can be a great place for a romantic stroll. (Photo by Chuck Bennett, Contributing Photographer)
A bundled up couple takes a walk on the trail by the Point Vicente Lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes. Walking trails near the ocean can be a great place for a romantic stroll. (Photo by Chuck Bennett, Contributing Photographer)

7. Soak in the beach scenes: There’s nothing more simple or romantic than a leisurely stroll on one of the region’s idyllic piers. Grab a meal from a local restaurant and head to the Malibu, Huntington Beach or San Clemente piers and find a spot to sit while watching surfers ride waves. The region’s other piers – from Hermosa Beach to Newport Beach and beyond – have eateries with a view or that can pack up food to go for a picnic in the sand.

Another beach-themed idea? Snuggle up with your loved one at a fire ring with the flames keeping you warm. Grab some S’mores fixings, a few hot dogs and watch the sun go down at any Huntington Beach stretch, Bolsa Chica or Aliso Beach in South Laguna, which have rows of fire rings available. Another popular place is Corona del Mar, but make sure you bring charcoal to burn, wood is not allowed.


Tides will be low at around sunset this weekend, making for great exploration at areas like Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
Tides will be low at around sunset this weekend, making for great exploration at areas like Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

8. Explore tidepools: Plan a great sunset stroll to explore sea creatures at local tidepools in Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach and Dana Point.  You can look up the tide report at U.S. Harbors.


9. Shop an open-air market: Been limiting your time shopping inside? There are a few open air markets where you can stroll with your loved one to pick up something special, while at the same time supporting small businesses.  Check out our Farmer’s Market post or our Shopping Center Guide to get ideas!


Snowplay at Alpine Slide At Magic Mountain recreation park is one way to enjoy the Southern California mountain town. (File photo by Rachel Luna, San Bernardino Sun/SCNG)
Snowplay at Alpine Slide At Magic Mountain recreation park is one way to enjoy the Southern California mountain town. (File photo by Rachel Luna, San Bernardino Sun/SCNG)

10. Snuggle in the snow: Get cozy with your loved one on a ski lift or maybe take a scenic chair lift ride, but make sure to bundle up.  If you want a snowboard or ski getaway, be warned…with President’s Day the following Monday, it’ll be busy.  Snow Summit, Bear Mountain, and Snow Valley are the local ski resorts.

Enjoy a day of snow play at Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain recreation park in Big Bear Lake if you want to avoid the resort crowds, but still want a thrill. There is a bobsled experience and snow play areas where you can tube down the hill.

If you’re not into playing in the snow, but want to enjoy the mountain views, check out Mount Baldy’s scenic lift rides, which take people to the Top of the Notch Recreation Area. It’s a 20-minute ride to 7,800 feet that has views all the way to the Pacific Ocean.


Sandy Toes and Popsicles | Jan 7, 2024

Lunar New Year is just around the corner!  These Orange County kid/family friendly Lunar New Year events are listed by City and span between Jan 23 to Mar 12. Happy Lunar New Year!


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN ANAHEIM

Celebrate Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure Park
January 23 through February 18, 2024
All Day
Disney California Adventure Park
Anaheim, CA

A multicultural celebration filled with auspicious wishes for health, luck and prosperity throughout the new year! Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession, kid-friendly crafts and activities, and Hurry Home – A Lunar New Year Celebration pre-show. Ring in the Year of the Dragon with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Mulan, Mushu and friends dressed in vibrant attire inspired by Lunar New Year. Stroll beneath strings of ornamental lanterns, make a wish for the new year.

LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN BREA

Lion Dance Performance
Saturday, February 10, 2024
11am
Brea Library
1 Civic Center Circle, Brea, CA, CA

Join us for a festive Lion Dance performance to celebrate Lunar New Year. Stay after for fun crafts!


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN COSTA MESA

O.C. Lantern Festival 2024
Saturday, March 2, 2024
11am
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall Samueli Theater
615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

ree Family event! Bring the entire family and join us for Pacific Symphony’s annual Lantern Festival, celebrating the Year of the Dragon! The Lantern Festival, which can be traced back 2,000 years, marks the return of spring and the reunion of family. The act of lighting and appreciating lanterns is a way for people to let go of the burdens of their old selves and express their best wishes for themselves and their families for the future.

Lunar New Year with Pacific Symphony
February, February 10, 2024
8pm
Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall Samueli Theater
615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Join Pacific Symphony’s annual festivities honoring the Lunar New Year! Celebrating the Year of the Dragon, this performance is sure to sell out once again as audiences from across our communities come together to feast on a colorful presentation of Eastern and Western music and dance.

42nd Annual UVSA Tết Festival
February, 9 – 11, 2024
Times Vary
OC Fair & Event Center
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Join Pacific Symphony’s annual festivities honoring the Lunar New Year! Celebrating the Year of the Dragon, this performance is sure to sell out once again as audiences from across our communities come together to feast on a colorful presentation of Eastern and Western music and dance.


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN FOUNTAIN VALLEY

Teen Paper Lantern Workshop
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
4pm
Fountain Valley Library
17635 Los Alamos, Fountain Valley, CA

It’s the year of the Dragon! Celebrate the Lunar New Year by making a dragon head made out of felt! All supplies will be provided.

Family Craft Night – Felt Dragon Head
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
4 – 6pm
Fountain Valley Library
17635 Los Alamos, Fountain Valley, CA

It’s the Year of the Dragon! Join us in making paper lanterns to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN GARDEN GROVE

Lunar New Year Festival 2024
Saturday, February 10, 2024
1 – 10pm
SteelCraft Garden Grove
12900 South Euclid Street Garden Grove, CA

Join us for pop-up shops, lion dancers, live music and more!

Lunar New Year Celebration
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
4pm
Garden Grove Tibor Rubin Library
11962 Bailey Street, Garden Grove, CA

Join us for a Lunar New Year themed craft, activity and snacks. Fun for the whole family!

Tết Themed Storytime
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
10:30am
Garden Grove Chapman Library
9182 Chapman Avenue, Garden Grove, CA

Join us for a special dragon themed storytime to celebrate Lunar New Year! Dragon plushie craft to follow. Registration required, starting January 22.


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN HUNTINGTON BEACH

Lunar New Year Maker Market
Saturday, February 3, 2024
12 – 5pm
Bella Terra
7777 Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA
Join us as we celebrate Lunar New Year with a Maker Market! 30+ small business vendors, Chinese musical performance by Galaxy Arts Center, Cultural Characters, and Kids Games and Activities.


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN IRVINE

Lunar New Year Celebration
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
4:30pm
Irvine University Park Library
4512 Sandburg Way, Irvine, CA
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with fun Lunar New Year crafts and activities.

Lunar New Year Fest
Saturday, February 17, 2024
2:30 – 4pm
Irvine University Park Library
4512 Sandburg Way, Irvine, CA

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with fun games and prizes and an exciting performance at 3pm. No registration required. Free for the whole family!

Celebrate Lunar New Year at Pretend City
February 10 & 11, 2024
11am – 2:30pm
Pretend City
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA

Celebrating the beginning of spring into the New Year. At 11am, enjoy a Kishin Daiko Drummers performance that embodies the translation of Kishin which is energy, spirit, and heart.  At 2:30pm, Ane Thanh Lion Dance will perform traditional lion dancing with acrobatics and a live instrumental troupe to bring good luck into the New Year.

Lion Dancers
Saturday, February 24, 2024
2:30pm
Laguna Niguel Library
30341 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA

Please join us for a Chinese Lion Dance performance presented by the Southern California Youth Cultural Association. Fun for the whole family!


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN LA HABRA

Lunar New Year Performance
Saturday, January 27, 2024
2pm
La Habra Library
221 East La Habra Blvd., La Habra, CA

Enjoy a themed craft, snacks and a performance by the Southern California Youth Dragon and Lion Dance Team.

LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN LA PALMA

Lunar New Year Celebration
Thursday, February 8, 2024
4pm
La Palma Library
7842 Walker Street, La Palma, CA

Let’s celebrate Lunar New Year with stories, lucky treats and fun crafts! Fun for the whole family!


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN SAN CLEMENTE

D. Yoder Family Sundays: Lunar New Year
Sunday, February 4, 2024
10am – 2pm
Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, CA

Enjoy free admission to Casa Romantica and celebrate the year of the Dragon in the upcoming Lunar New Year! Featuring lucky envelopes with fortunes (some including prizes!), and a performance with lion dancers with a martial arts demonstration.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, February 10, 2024
11am – 2pm
Outlets at San Clemente
101 W Avenida Vista Hermosa, San Clemente, CA

Details to follow

LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN SANTA ANA

Tết (Lunar New Year) Festival
Saturday, February 3, 2024
2 – 7pm
Centennial Park
2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA

The City of Santa Ana will be holding its first ever Santa Ana Tết (Lunar New Year) Festival. Everyone is invited to join us for a day full of celebrating the Year of the Dragon. This event will be family-friendly and open to all residents and non-residents. Look forward to  live entertainment, dancing, vendors, inflatables, and fireworks!

Chinese New Year Festival
Sunday, February 4, 2024
11am – 3pm
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with a lively Chinese New Year Festival! Enjoy free art activities, face painting, and exhilarating dance and music performances. Join us in welcoming a year of strength, confidence, and luck!

Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, February 17, 2024
12 – 2pm
MainPlace Mall
2800 N Main Street, Santa Ana, CA

Join us as we celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dragon! We’ll have activities for the whole family!

LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN SILVERADO

Lunar New Year Celebration in Silverado
Saturday, February 3, 2024
11:30am
Library of the Canyons
7531 E. Santiago Canyon Road, Silverado, CA 

Join us as we celebrate the Lunar New Year with a Lion Dance followed by a special lantern craft. Fun for the whole family!


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN VILLA PARK

Villa Park Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, February 10, 2024
10am – 2pm
Villa Park Town Center
17767 – 17871 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park, CA

Visitors can enjoy a free festive event with a photo booth with props, red envelopes with surprises and student performances.


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN WESTMINSTER

Tết Celebration at the Westminster Library
Saturday, February 3, 2024
10am
Westminster Library
8180 13th Street, Westminster, CA

Join us for cultural performances, a children’s craft and a chance to win a prize! Traditional dress encouraged!

Westminster Tet Parade
Sunday, February 10, 2024
8:30am
The City of Westminster
Bolsa Avenue and Magnolia Street, Westminster, CA

The Tet Parade is a grandiose event that has celebrated the Lunar New Year in Little Saigon for over two decades. Every year Vietnamese communities across the globe tune in to watch the event broadcasted by local TV stations and social media platforms. The Tet Parade features floats, marching bands, lion dances, color guards, veterans and youth organizations, martial arts, multi-cultural attires, elected officials, scout organizations, community organizations, and an array of local and international businesses.


LUNAR NEW YEAR EVENTS IN YORBA LINDA

Lunar New Year at the Nixon Library
Monday, February 12, 2024
5 – 8pm
Richard Nixon Library & Museum
18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, CA

2024 is the year of the Dragon! Celebrate family, friends and fortune with cultural performances at the Nixon Library.

LivingMiVidaLoca.com | December 6, 2023

New Year’s Eve events in Orange County are best celebrated with kids in tow… especially if they are daytime celebrations! What better way to celebrate the New Year than getting the kids in to bed early?

Scroll down for a great list of places that host family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations in Southern California.

Check back throughout the season as we’ll be adding more New Year’s Eve events to this list as they become available to us.

For ease of use, this New Year’s Eve events in Orange County list is organized by city in alphabetical order. Take a look and let us know if we missed one of your favorite winter holiday events! Email (SoCal@LivingMiVidaLoca.com) or message us on Facebook.

You might also like: New Year’s Eve celebrations in Orange County

If you’re wondering what to do during the holidays in Orange County, check out our growing list of winter and holiday events.


New Year’s Eve Celebrations 2023 for families in Orange County


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Anaheim

The Family Soulful New Years Eve Celebration | The Stuffed Potato – Packing House, 440 S Anaheim Blvd
December 31, 2023 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tickets: $55
Get ready to ring in the new year with a night full of fun, laughter, and great music. This in-person event will take place on Sunday, December 31, 2023, starting at 9:00 PM

At The Stuffed Potato, we believe in creating memorable experiences, and this New Year’s Eve will be no exception. Our venue provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for celebrating with friends and family. Each person in attendance will receive a beautifully designed, generous and delicious charcuterie tray, party favors, and of course champagne for the New Year Toast. 

The Family, a renowned local band, will be taking the stage to entertain you all night long. Their energetic performances and diverse repertoire of music will keep you dancing and singing along throughout the evening.


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Buena Park

New Year’s Eve Bash | John’s Incredible Pizza
December 31, 2023 | 7:00 pm – 1:00 am
Watch the BALL DROP at midnight on our BIG SCREENS! Space limited. Event may sell out.  BONUS! Buy by Dec 26 to get an extra 20 Fun World Credits! 

Celebration Package ($34.99)

Each Guest Receives:

Premium Package ($44.99)

Each Guest Receives:

Upgrade your NYE experience! Get your glow on in your own private room with glow supplies. ($100/room)

Each Room Includes:


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Costa Mesa

Winter Fest OC NYE Celebration | OC Fair & Event Center
December 31, 2023 | 2:00 pm – 12:30 am
Countdown to an unforgettable New Year’s celebration at Winter Fest OC! Join us for double the fun as we ring in the new year with two incredible celebrations. At 6pm, groove to the sounds of Tribute by Twist on Taylor, and later, at the stroke of midnight, let 24k Bruno Mars Tribute dazzle you into 2024. It’s a night of music, dancing, and joy, promising to make your New Year’s Eve truly spectacular. And to add even more magic to the night, be sure to catch our dazzling fireworks shows that will light up the sky. Don’t miss out on this double dose of fun as we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one with a bang!

New Year's Eve at WinterFest OC

Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Fullerton

First Night Fullerton | Garden Grove Main Library
December 31, 2023 | 7:00 pm – midnight
Ring in the New Year with us at ‘First Night‘ at the Downtown Fullerton Plaza! Join the city’s most exciting New Year’s Eve event on Sunday, December 31, 2023

 • Live Music: Enjoy electrifying performances from local bands and talented artists
on multiple stages throughout the festival grounds. Journey Through Time will be on the Mainstage, Soundbytes will be rockin’ on the Harbor Stage, & Latin Soul Band LA will have you dancing on the Pomona Stage.
• Culinary Delights: Savor an array of delicious food and beverage options from
gourmet food trucks and local vendors offering a diverse selection of cuisines to
tantalize your taste buds.
• Family Fun Zone: Delight in an assortment of activities designed for all ages,
including face painting, balloon and character artists, stilt walkers, a kids lane with
interactive games, and much more. Let the little ones revel in the festive
atmosphere with dedicated entertainment just for them.
• Fireworks Extravaganza: Prepare to be awe-inspired as the night sky illuminates
with a breathtaking fireworks display at midnight, marking the start of a promising
New Year.


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Garden Grove

Noon Year’s Eve | Garden Grove Main Library
December 31, 2023 | 11:30 am – 12:15 pm
Balloon Drop at 12:00 pm

Join us in celebrating Noon Year’s Eve. Activities include Balloon Drop at Noon, bubble room, photo booth, and craft. Supplies are available while they last.

Questions? Call the library at 714-530-0711 or email ocpl.ggr@occr.ocgov.com 


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Irvine

Noon Year’s Eve | Irvine Heritage Library
December 31, 2023 | 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Celebrate the new year at NOON! Crafts, treats and a countdown to noon with a balloon drop! Make sure to bring your camera!

Noon Year's Eve in Irvine

New Year’s Eve – East Coast Style | Hanger 24 – 17877 Von Karman Ave, Unit 110
December 31, 2023 | 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Live music from 1-5pm, face painting 1-3pm, balloon artist 3-5pm, plus games and inflatable fun all day long! Open 11am to 8pm New Year’s Eve.

Noon Year’s Eve Party | Pretend City
December 31, 2023 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Twas’ the day before New Year’s and all through the city the citizens are stirring and buzzing about! With sparkling streamers, blowouts, noise makers, and confetti that will make this the party of all parties! 
“It’s Midnight Somewhere” Confetti Countdown Times:   


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Orange

New Year’s Eve Party | Holiday Skate Center
December 31, 2023 | 8:00 pm – 1:00 am
$30 includes skates, pizza, and balloon drop. Come watch the balloon drop and win cash & other prizes.

New Year’s Eve All Ages Bounce | BounceU of Orange
December 31, 2023 | 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Join us for lots of playtime to end 2022. Best way to welcome the New Year! Don’t forget to bring your SOCKS! Lunch and sparkling apple cider are INCLUDED!!!

New Years Celebration | Dave & Buster’s
December 31, 2023 | 9:00 pm
Bottles popping! People cheering! Power Cards tapping! New Years Eve at Dave & Buster’s is more than just a good time — it’s the ultimate way to kick off a year of FUN! Grab tickets for your whole crew and stop by for an exclusive New Year’s event at D&B — a jam-packed night of unlimited video game play, & yes, lots & lots of toasts! Cheers!

General Admission ($85.57 +$6.73fee) includes: Access to our delectable appetizer banquet, unlimited soda, coffee & tea, a $20 Power Card® with Unlimited Video Game Play, a special New Year’s Eve toast, suggested 18% gratuity, and taxes. 

Premium Admission ($115.57 +$8.53 feeincludes: Access to our delectable appetizer banquet, unlimited soda, coffee, & tea, a $20 Power Card® with Unlimited Video Game Play, a special New Year’s Eve toast, two (2) drink tickets valid for beer, wine, or specialty cocktails, suggested 18% gratuity, and taxes. 


Family-friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Yorba Linda

Noon Year’s Eve | My Gym YORBA LINDA
December 31, 2023 | 11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Join us for a Countdown to Noon Year party, instead.  We’ll have games, rides, gymnastics, adventures, and more for the kids.  We’ll countdown to noon with a balloon drop and dance party! 0yrs to 8yrs


Thank you for reading! Stay updated on fun things to see, eat and do in Orange County by following us on FacebookInstagram and TikTok!

Originally published on December 6, 2023. Last Updated on December 26, 2023 by Pattie Cordova

Looking for delicious food at a local establishment to celebrate Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but don’t know who’s open? OpenTable.com might be a handy resource. The restaurants listed on OpenTable are by no means a comprehensive list, but mostly restaurants that conveniently accept reservations. Type in your city/metro and see what pops up for your next dining experience…holidays or not!

https://www.opentable.com/…/christm…/metro/orange-county

💡 For more home maintenance tips, real estate advice, and fun family ideas, follow us at @carealestategroup — we are more than just real estate!

DayTrippinMom.com

*** PLEASE VERIFY THESE EVENTS BEFORE VISITING ***

One of our favorite things to do as a family, is to get in the car, turn on the Christmas station, stop at Starbucks or McD’s for some peppermint hot chocolate, and go looking for Christmas lights. It is one of our absolute favorite Christmas traditions. It gets us in the holiday spirit, and it is doesn’t cost a cent, other than gas money. We can’t wait to do it again this year. If you’re looking for some fantastic places to watch Christmas lights, here is a list of the best neighborhoods and streets in So Cal. Enjoy!!!

*** PLEASE VERIFY THESE EVENTS BEFORE VISITING ***

Los Angeles:

  • Sleepy Hollow Christmas Light Extravaganza – Torrance
  • Naples Island – Long Beach
  • Index Street – between Louise and White Oak – Granada Hills
  • Candy Cane Lane -Lubao Ave and Oxnard Street – Woodland Hills
  • Yolanda Lights – Reseda
  • Christmas Tree Lane, Long Beach
    Daisy Avenue between Willow Street & Pacific Coast Highway
  • Christmas Tree Lane – (Santa Rosa Avenue, between Woodbury Avenue and Altadena Drive) Altadena
  • Candy Cane Lane – 1200 block of East Acacia Avenue – El Segundo
  • St Albans Drive- St Albans Drive at Huntington Drive- San Marino
  • Wakefield Court – Saugus
  • Hastings Ranch – Pasadena

Orange County:

  • Candy Cane Lane – El Corzo St, Rancho Santa Margarita
  • Eagle Hills Christmas Lights – 2970 Primrose Ave, Brea
  • La Palma Christmas Lights – 7400 Dallas Dr, La Palma
  • Fountain Valley Christmas Lights – Stanislaus St & Apache River Ave, Fountain Valley
  • Sea Side Neighborhood – San Clemente
  • Yale Loop – Fullerton
  • Oak Knoll/Flintridge Village Neighborhoods – Ladera Ranch
  • Nellie Gail – Laguna Niguel
  • Eastlake Village (around the lake) – Yorba Linda

Inland Empire: 

  • Festival of Lights – Mission Inn, 3649 Mission Inn Ave, Riverside
  • Bainbridge Circle Holiday Extravaganza Bainbridge Cir, Murrieta
  • Candy Cane Lane – 20166 Winton Rd, Corona
  • Menifee Lakes Neighborhood – 28871 Loire Valley Ln
  • Thoroughbred Christmas Lights – 8287 Thoroughbred St, Rancho Cucamonga
  • Chino Christmas Lights – 12388 Lemon Pl, Chino
  • Festival of Lights – Tom’s Farms, 23900 Temescal Canyon Rd, Temescal Valley

San Diego:

  • Carmel Mountain Ranch – Fairway Village/Stoney Gate Place – Carmel Valley
  • Jingle Bell Hill – Pepper Dr Holiday Lights – El Cajon
  • Tinseltown – Paseo Palmas Drive- Lakeside
  • Candy Cane Lane – Poway
  • Christmas Card Lane – Oviedio Street – Rancho Penasquitos
  • Holiday Hill – Stadler Street- La Mesa
  • Hotel Del Coronado – Coronado
  • Sunburst Santee – Tomel Court, off Magnolia- Santee
EnjoyOrangeCounty.com


Volunteer Opportunities in Orange County

Volunteer opportunities are everywhere in Orange County. Whether you’re looking to help with shelter animals, homeless outreach, or literacy programs, there’s something for everyone with different levels of involvement. Here are a few opportunities that residents can take part in to help make a difference in the community.

Volunteer Opportunities In Orange County

Volunteer With Animals

WAGS Westminster

6621 Westminster Boulevard, Westminster
714-887-6156

Animal shelters all over the county need volunteers for everything from fostering pets to walking dogs. WAGS Westminster is one of those locations that needs help, and they have a variety of opportunities that are available for adults, families, and even minors.

Volunteer opportunities include transporting animals to educational and elder settings for outings, bottle-feeding babies, dog walking and training, construction projects, fostering, and more. Those under 18 can help out with cleaning, rabbit care and play, creating home adoption kits, and playing with cats.

More Opportunities to Volunteer With Animals

OC Animal Care: Volunteer opportunities include socializing and grooming animals, hosting donation drives, leading shelter tours, and participating in shelter and community events. Opportunities are available for adults. For those under 18, OC Animal Care has a list of community service projects that can be completed to help the animals.

Orange County Humane Society: Volunteer opportunities include cat cuddling, walking dogs, participating in charity events, and help with fundraising. Opportunities are available for those 18 and up with current health insurance and they ask that you commit to 8 hours per month.

Therapeutic Riding Center of Huntington Beach: TRCHB is equal parts working with horses and working with people. The primary goal of TRCHB is to empower people with physical and developmental challenges to discover and gain self-confidence, strength, and self-reliance through developing a relationship with horses. The therapeutic riding programs they offer are very low cost for their students, so the organization relies on the help of donations and volunteers. As a volunteer, you will help support riders during their therapeutic riding sessions.


Fight Food Insecurity

Second Harvest Food Bank

8014 Marine Way, Irvine
949-653-2900

Second Harvest Food Bank provides nutritious food to those in need with over 59 million pounds of food distributed annually. Volunteers from the community age 13 and up are able to work in the food distribution center alongside the Food Bank team to ensure all are well fed in Orange County.

There’s even an outdoor opportunity at Harvest Solutions Farm for individuals and volunteer groups to help plant and harvest nutritious seasonal produce for the community. The product harvested from Harvest Solutions Farm is ultimately distributed to individuals and families in Orange County through Second Harvest’s network of distribution sites.

More Opportunities To Help With Food Distribution

Food Finders: Food Finders focuses on reducing food waste and distributing it to those in need. Volunteers can download the app and choose from the available food rescues to pick up donations and deliver them to a designated site.

Friendly Center: Volunteers aged 14 and up can help distribute food on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. They also need help with administrative tasks, holiday events, and after-school tutoring.

Laguna Food Pantry: Serving over 800 families each week, volunteer opportunities here include picking up groceries, sorting and stocking shelves, greeting guests, administrative tasks, and fundraising. Volunteers ages 14-17 are welcome when accompanied by a responsible adult.

OC Food Bank (Community Action Partnership of Orange County): Volunteers at the OC food bank help assemble food boxes for seniors and kids. There are also opportunities to deliver food via the Mobile Food Trolley, get dirty by working at The Giving Farm at Westminster High School, distribute food at a community drive-thru, and more.

Saddleback Church Grocery Distributions: Saddleback Church has grocery distribution programs at locations throughout Orange County. They also host Grocery Pop-Ups at schools and other locations to serve those in the community. Volunteers are needed for grocery distribution, sorting and packing food at the warehouse, driving for food rescues, and picking up and delivering pantry items. Volunteers as young as 8 are encouraged to help in the Warehouse. Those 8-12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

South County Outreach: Volunteer opportunities include sorting and stocking food, picking up donations, working the thrift store, office support, driving a truck, hosting a food drive, participating in seasonal events, and more.

*Note that many churches also have food distribution programs and they often need volunteers and donations to help the food insecure in the immediate community.


Support For Senior Citizens

Senior Citizen Assistance Programs

Huntington Beach seeks volunteers to help provide assistance to senior citizens. Most communities have a senior outreach program so check the website for your city of choice to find out how to volunteer. Huntington Beach needs volunteers to deliver meals to seniors in their homes, provide transportation, serve hot lunches to seniors at the community center, and provide friendly visits to those in need. While many seniors spend their days alone, this is a great opportunity to provide much needed human interaction for people who are lonely and unable to get out and socialize.

*Many cities in Orange County have senior assistance programs that can be found on the official city website.

More Ways To Volunteer With Seniors

Council On Aging Southern California: Volunteer opportunities include visiting homebound seniors, assisting with Medicare and health care, being an advocate for long term care facility residents, and connecting with seniors during the holiday season.

Meals On Wheels: Volunteer opportunities include delivering meals to homebound seniors, senior lunch service and activities, friendly visitors, helping with activities at adult day care centers, and office and administration assistance.


Military & Veteran Support

Operation Help A Hero: This organization has been supporting Camp Pendleton military members and families since 2001 and have since extended support to military communities across the nation. Volunteers here can help with a number of projects like Operation Christmas Spirit, Operation Rack Pack, OHH Baby Showers, and Operation Enduring Support.

San Clemente Military Family Outreach: Volunteers can provide support and assistance to military members and families stationed at the northwest area of Camp Pendleton by participating in several morale events including distributing Easter Baskets, hosting baby showers for expecting mothers and social teas for military wives, assisting with the Christmas “Thank A Family” program, and distributing over 1,000 turkeys and Thanksgiving Meals.

USO: Opportunities are available with the USO through John Wayne Airport and Camp Pendleton. Opportunities include working shifts at USO centers and providing support for events, homecomings and deployments, on-base activities, and holiday celebrations.

*Many cities in Orange County have adopted military units to which they regularly provide support including Mission Viejo, Irvine, Anaheim, and Rancho Santa Margarita.


Environmental Volunteer Opportunities

OC Parks & Zoo

Orange County Parks and Zoos always need people to help out. Parks need volunteers to help restore trails, provide education to visitors, help out in the nature centers, and serve as additional staff during high traffic times. At the zoo, volunteers can provide guided tours, help prepare food for the animals, and assist with other zoo activities. Volunteering at community parks and zoos is a great way to help educate and inform other people in the community.

More Ways To Get Outdoors and Help the Environment

Bolsa Chica Conservancy: Volunteer opportunities include one-time events and long-term commitments. Participate in wetland restoration days, clean up via kayak, become a host at the interpretive center, be a site monitor, and more. Volunteers as young as 6 are welcome to participate in restoration days.

Irvine Ranch Conservancy: Volunteer opportunities include trail maintenance, working in the Native Seed Farm, pulling weeds, and more, all within Irvine Ranch Open Space. Opportunities range from one-time to long-term.

Laguna Canyon Foundation: Short term opportunities include trail maintenance and habitat restoration, and working in the nursery with native plants. Long-term certified volunteers will have access to additional opportunities.

Newport Bay Conservancy: Conduct tours, participate in hands-on restoration, and take the lead with coastal cleanups when you volunteer here.

Orange County Coastkeeper: Volunteer to clean up the coast to protect our environment and the natural habitats of our wildlife both on and offshore. In addition to beach cleanups, you can find garden opportunities, creek cleanups, and more.

Sea & Sage Audubon Society: Find a selection of environmental volunteer opportunities at various locations throughout Orange County. Opportunities may vary.


Other Volunteer Opportunities In Orange County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County is in need of volunteers who are interested in mentoring children to help them make meaningful connections and reach their fullest potential. Mentors spend a few hours a day twice per month with their match doing meaningful activities.


Library Volunteers

Local libraries always need volunteers. Teens are especially welcomed as volunteers for libraries, providing help with story times, crafts, and other youth programs and providing much needed help by sorting and shelving books. Literacy programs and outreach for arts and culture is a great way to spend time volunteering in the community.


Habitat For Humanity

714-434-6200

Habitat for Humanity builds and restores homes to provide reasonable living accommodations for at risk and low income families. There are many different ways that volunteers help with Habitat For Humanity. The main volunteer function is construction, helping to build and restore homes. Other volunteer opportunities include graphic design, provide homeowner education to selected families, write press releases, answer phones, and provide data entry services. Volunteers for Habitat For Humanity help improve lives by giving people a place to call home.


CHOC Children’s Hospital

Volunteers at CHOC Children’s Hospital will make a difference in the lives of sick children and their families. Volunteer opportunities at CHOC include clerical support, providing activities like coloring and reading to patients in waiting areas, assisting in play rooms, showing families around the hospital and more. Volunteers at CHOC Children’s Hospital help to brighten the day of sick or injured children and their families.


Ronald McDonald House Orange County

The Ronald McDonald House provides a safe and comfortable place for families to live together while children receive treatment for cancer and other severe illnesses and injuries. Volunteers for the Orange County Ronald McDonald House can provide a variety of services like light housekeeping, administrative tasks, helping families, stocking supplies, and answering phones. Long term volunteer opportunities are only available here, so no short term or summer only volunteers will be accepted. Volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House provides comfort and support to families so they can focus on being together as they help their children through the recovery process.


United Way Orange County

The United Way fights for financial stability, quality education, stable housing, and good health for everyone. Volunteers for the United Way can help in a variety of ways. Teens can help out by leading youth summer camps and providing tutoring to younger kids. Other opportunities like distributing food, volunteering at shelters, collecting bedding and clothing, mentoring children, and creating welcome home baskets are some of the many ways you can lend a hand with the United Way. The United Way is a great opportunity to help families find stability and learn more about the steps they can take for a brighter future.

For more, visit OC Nonprofit Central which helps volunteers and donors find local community nonprofits. Find detailed information about local organizations, make informed charitable decisions and give all in one place.

For more volunteer opportunities see our Christmas Donation & Volunteer Ideas pages.


Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.

These local craft fairs in Orange County are scheduled to make their showings in early November, helping you get started on your Christmas shopping or get some inspiration early on in the holiday season!  Specialty items you’d find at these booths are handmade and let the gift recipient know that you care, but without spending a fortune.  Win-win for all!

*** Please confirm the dates/times/locations for the following events as they are subject to change.


Holiday Faire


Holiday Boutique


Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival


Farmakis Farms Fall Holiday Craft Market


RC Palmer Arts & Crafts Show


Unique Holiday Boutique


Timeless Treasures Boutiques


Holiday Faire


Nutcracker Craft Boutique


MVAC Gifts & Goodies Holiday Boutique


Sawdust Winter Fantasy


Swedish Christmas Fair at Old World


Winter In The Grove Craft Boutique


Holiday Market


Candy Caneland & Craft Fair


Sugar Plum Arts & Crafts Festivals

AND

AND


Christmas Boutique & Craft Faire


Winterfest Boutique


Creative Babe Holiday Market


Annual Holiday Artisan Faire

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