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Guide To OC For The Holidays

Boats And Yachts Take Part In The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

When you arrive at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, you have landed in the heart of Orange County for the holidays. With the 405 and 55 Freeways nearby, you are 20 minutes from all of the OC winter attractions and hotels, and you’re well on your way to a happy holiday season in the OC. Whether you’re looking for an artsy evening, a fantastic adventure or an exquisite dining experience, these local allures, along with nearby hotel accommodations, will fascinate and delight this holiday season.

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade - Newport, CA
(Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
600 E. Bay Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92661
(949) 729-4400
Date: Dec. 18-22, 2013

Join the holiday fun at the 105th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. This year’s theme is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, so spectators can expect to see vessels replete with trees, music and lots of lights as they make their way around the Newport Harbor. The Balboa Fun Zone offers some of the best views of the parade route, in addition to plenty of parking and tons of other fun activities including an arcade and a ferris wheel. Admission to the Fun Zone is free, as is all viewing along the Newport Harbor.

(credit: South Coast Repertory

A Christmas Carol
South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92628
(714) 708-5555
Date: Through Dec. 26, 2013

Treat your family to some fine arts this holiday season with a visit to the award-winning South Coast Repertory. Enjoy Charles Dickens’ classic "A Christmas Carol" as Ebenezer Scrooge, the Christmas ghosts and Tiny Tim teach lessons about generosity and compassion as they bring a traditional London Christmas to life on stage. Create a household holiday memory with some art and culture both kids and parents will enjoy. After the play, take a stroll to view the many sculptures just outside the repertory before enjoying some delicious Italian cuisine at nearby Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant.

California Screamin' at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, CA
(credit: superstrikertwo)

Disney California Adventure
1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4565

To add just another reason to visit the incredible Disneyland theme parks, from now through the first week of the New Year, the happiest place on earth will be in full winter array for the holidays. This year, visitors will be amazed by the new World of Color – Winter Dreams nighttime water show at the Disney California Adventure Park. Music, water and lights come together for a remarkable and memorable experience for the family. Also new this year is the Disney Viva Navidad Street Party, where guests can get up close and personal with Disney characters as they listen to live music and dance in the streets.

Related:  Best Cheesecake In Orange County

Filet Mignon Helder w 3 Sauces %28creme fraiche mash%2c summer veggies%29
(credit: Hobbit Restaurant)

The Hobbit Restaurant
2932 E. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 997-1972

For a mouth-watering holiday meal you'll never forget, be sure to reserve a seat at the Hobbit Restaurant in Orange. With award-winning food and service, and an extensive top-shelf wine list, the Hobbit is a dining experience to top all others. An exquisite seven-course meal, split up into three acts, gives visitors a glimpse of the wine cellar and a chance to chat with the executive chef and owner as he gives advice on food and wine choices. Special this holiday season is filet mignon served with a morel mushroom sauce, and be sure to reserve a place at the table for the Hobbi's New Year's Eve dinner, starting at 6pm.

Disneyland Staycation Slide at Disneyland Hotel km
(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Disneyland Hotel
1150 Magic Way
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 778-6600

For hotel accommodations right in the middle of some serious holiday fun, a stay at the Disneyland Hotel could not be more convenient. Located at the center of the Downtown Disney District, guests have immediate access to last-minute Christmas shopping at the Build-A-Bear Workshop or the Lego Store. Enjoy a delicious palate of dining options at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen or Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria. Located just next door to the Disneyland Hotel, guests can enjoy a whimsical all-you-can-eat breakfast or dinner buffet at Goofy’s Kitchen. While dining, your favorite Disney characters can be seen strolling around the restaurant and stopping for photos your children will cherish for years.

Related: Best Stores With A Cause In OC

David McDonald is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on


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