Must-Do Holiday Activities in Silicon Valley

The holidays are upon us! Glittering lights, crisp wintry air, and festive decorations abound. If you and your family want to get out of the house and immerse yourselves in joyeux noël festivities, Christmas in the Park, Fantasy of Lights, and Holiday Carriage Rides are three delightful — and socially distanced — options.

Christmas in the Park

A Silicon Valley holiday tradition for 70 years, San Jose’s Christmas in the Park is for the first time, being transformed into a drive-through experience.

In 1950, the first holiday tableau graced the front lawn of the Lima Family Mortuary. People from all over the area would flock to see the light display, which was relocated to the front lawn of City Hall in 1970. In 1980, it had once again outgrown its location and made a final move to San Jose Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park in downtown.

This year, it has been temporarily relocated to History Park, 14-acres of both original and reproduction homes and businesses that transports visitors into the Santa Clara County of yesteryear. The largest expansion in decades, Christmas in the Park at History Park includes a spectacular LED light show set to music, a forest of 300 hundred decorated trees, and a “land of imagination and illumination” sure to be enjoyed by all ages. According to the non-profit organization that puts on the event, there has never been a holiday light show of this size in San Jose.

The reimagined 2020 version of Christmas in the Park – A Drive-Thru Holiday begins on November 27th and runs daily through January 3, 2021. Tickets must be purchased for a specific time, in advance, and are per vehicle. For twilight tours between 4pm and 5pm, tickets are $10. If you prefer to experience the lights after dark from 6pm to 10pm, tickets will cost $20. Tickets are nonrefundable and will not be exchanged, so be sure to choose your date and time carefully, and arrive within your designated 15-minute window.

Tickets are limited and can be purchased here. Help those less fortunate by participating in the Buy One, Give One ticket option at check out.

Fantasy of Lights

Celebrating its 22nd year, Fantasy of Lights in Los Gatos has been a holiday celebration staple since 1999. The one-and-a-half-mile LED light extravaganza is filled with a variety of holiday scenes including a twinkling light tunnel, a den of life-size dinosaurs, and Santa playing hoops. More so than ever, families are sure to flock to this seasonal socially distanced festive experience.

The event is held in Vasona County Park, with the entrance on Blossom Hill Road. Tickets range from $20 to $50 per vehicle and must be purchased in advance for a designated 30-minute timeslot between 6:00pm and 9:30pm. Fantasy of Lights opens on December 4th and runs through the 30th (it is closed December 25th). Unlike previous years, there will not be a walk-through event to herald in the opening of the illuminated excursion.

Purchase tickets on EventBrite here.

For more about the Fantasy of Lights, read our blog from 2016.

Holiday Carriage Rides

Carriage rides are another Los Gatos holiday tradition sure to have you feeling the nostalgia of Christmas past. The festivities begin in Town Plaza when you snuggle into an elegant carriage drawn by horses wearing holiday bells. Each 15 to 20-minute ride meanders through the Almond Grove district past by beautifully decorated, historic homes and through downtown along North Santa Cruz Avenue.

A maximum of six adults from the same household can fit comfortably in the large carriage, and four adults and two children in the smaller carriage. All individuals are required to wear masks at all times. Tickets range from $110 to $130 per carriage ride. All reservations are final, with some exceptions.

Hosted by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, the carriage ride booth is located in Town Plaza, at the corner of South Santa Cruz Avenue and Montebello, across from the Post Office.

Tickets can be purchased on EventBrite here.

Bring joy and some normalcy to your holiday season. These festive events are sure to sell out, so be sure to get tickets for your favorites soon.

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