It’s the merriest time of the year. Here’s what’s on tap at the parks for the holidays

The weather is cooling (mostly), the stores are packed with shoppers, and the end of the year is nigh.

The holiday season is in full effect, and our Northern California theme parks are decked out to the fullest. Here’s a brief overview of what’s going on.

California’s Great America: WinterFest is back on select nights through Jan. 9. CGA’s newest holiday tradition, guests can ice skate in front of Carousel Columbia (aka the world’s tallest carousel), send letters to the North Pole, and check out themed areas such as London Town and Gingerbread Village. Local artisans also have booths set up near RailBlazer. Most rides are also open throughout the park. For information, visit

Photo: Nicholas Laschkewitsch

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom: Holiday in the Park is back through Jan. 2, after being only offered on a drive-thru basis last year due to COVID-19 mandates. New for 2021 is the Victorian Christmas Village, a themed area with characters in vintage costumes, food, handcrafted wares, and décor. SFDK is also decked out in millions lights of lights, according to the park. For information, visit

Photo: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: The Boardwalk’s Winter Wonderland runs through Jan. 2, with a three-story-tall Christmas tree, centered in the main entrance, the highlight of the decorations. The Boardwalk Racers pedal karts are set up in the main plaza, and hungry visitors can sample traditional Boardwalk fare. A series of special events are also planned throughout Winter Wonderland’s run. For information, visit

Photo: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Gilroy Gardens: The Holiday event is back through Dec. 31, featuring ice skating, a feast and the Charlie Brown Christmas Show. The Gardens are also decked out in festive lights. For information, visit

Photo: Gilroy Gardens

About Erik Chalhoub

Erik Chalhoub is the Magazine Editor at New SV Media in Gilroy (and a roller coaster fanatic!). He is also the proud recipient of the 2016 ACE NorCal Richard Tuck Spirit Award.

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