What are your favorite holiday activities to do in the bay area? — The Bump
Northern California Babies

What are your favorite holiday activities to do in the bay area?

Anybody know of any fun things to do in the bay area for Christmas?

Some ideas I have are:

- Christmas in the Park in San Jose - free

- Visiting Santa

- Cable Car Tour of Lights - There is a groupon for this $$$$ - I think DS is too young to sit for 90 minutes to enjoy this but it could be fun for older kids.

http://www.groupon.com/deals/ride-the-ducks-sf-1

 

 

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Re: What are your favorite holiday activities to do in the bay area?

  • We are planning a few things:

    Holi-Day Out with Thomas at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  Includes ride on Thomas PLUS SANTA!  :)  DS doesn't know yet but I'm excited enough for both of us.

    http://www.beachboardwalk.com/thomas/

    We also plan to make at least one trip to Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos to ride our favorite little train to see the lights at Vasona.  http://www.bjwrr.org/fantasy-of-lights-2011.html

    The light set up at Vasona is a popular but expensive attraction and we've never been to it.  I gather that you drive up, car loaded with kids and cocoa, wait in a long line, pay $15 to drive through the park with an elaborate set up of lights.  We are opting instead to park at Oak Meadow (or on the street or at the old AAA office parking lot), walk to the station and ride the train as it goes through to Vasona and see the few lights we can see from the train.  We might walk some after that to see the others, but it will be dark so I'm not sure how far we'll go.

    Other than that, we plan to drive around a few neighborhoods near us that do crazy light displays.  Maybe walk our 'hood if there are lots of lights up.

    We'll be skipping Christmas in the Park this year.  Parking is insane, the crowds are crazy, and it is very commercial, especially for a "free" community event.  The stands selling trinkets, plus food booths, plus long lines for very expensive Santa photos would make it a "maybe" but add in the Michael Jackson Neverland carnival rides (I am not kidding) lining the whole area and it's a "No" for us.

  • We're headed to the Vacaville Festival of Trees tonight.  It runs through tomorrow.

    I might also take the girls to Union Square next week to see the decorations and meet Santa. 

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  • - Taking BART to Union Square to see the decoratoins!

    - Driving around in the evening to look at the houses/neighborhoods decorations!

    http://lightsofthevalley.com/

    Andrew - Turns 3 on March 22!
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  • image futrkingsley:

    We'll be skipping Christmas in the Park this year.  Parking is insane, the crowds are crazy, and it is very commercial, especially for a "free" community event.  The stands selling trinkets, plus food booths, plus long lines for very expensive Santa photos would make it a "maybe" but add in the Michael Jackson Neverland carnival rides (I am not kidding) lining the whole area and it's a "No" for us.

    You are not joking. DH and I went to it last year (we had a date night) on a Thursday night and it was INSANE.

    We usually drive around the neighborhoods to look at the lights and get ideas for next year. Big Smile

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  • We did the san carlos neighborhood lights last year. A cute little area right by burton park does the most AMAZING lights. We parked a couple blocks away and walked it with Logan, Dylan was ity bity. So fun! 
  • image abvernon:
    image futrkingsley:

    We'll be skipping Christmas in the Park this year.  Parking is insane, the crowds are crazy, and it is very commercial, especially for a "free" community event.  The stands selling trinkets, plus food booths, plus long lines for very expensive Santa photos would make it a "maybe" but add in the Michael Jackson Neverland carnival rides (I am not kidding) lining the whole area and it's a "No" for us.

    You are not joking. DH and I went to it last year (we had a date night) on a Thursday night and it was INSANE.

    We usually drive around the neighborhoods to look at the lights and get ideas for next year. Big Smile

    I don't know we have done it but it always has been dead when we have been there.  We have never been there when Santa was even there.  We usually go in the morning on a weekend day so you'd think there'd be someone there but no it is usually just us and maybe 3 or 4 other families.  I guess I'll have to check the schedule.  The one thing that is true is that parking sucks even with no one around.

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  • image futrkingsley:

    The light set up at Vasona is a popular but expensive attraction and we've never been to it.  I gather that you drive up, car loaded with kids and cocoa, wait in a long line, pay $15 to drive through the park with an elaborate set up of lights.  We are opting instead to park at Oak Meadow (or on the street or at the old AAA office parking lot), walk to the station and ride the train as it goes through to Vasona and see the few lights we can see from the train.  We might walk some after that to see the others, but it will be dark so I'm not sure how far we'll go.

    I've been... and was not personally impressed. 

     

    image NorcalLinds:
    We did the san carlos neighborhood lights last year. A cute little area right by burton park does the most AMAZING lights. We parked a couple blocks away and walked it with Logan, Dylan was ity bity. So fun! 

    You reminded me.  There is a small neighborhood like this in Alameda.  I think its called Christmas Tree lane.  Its a very short two blocks, but EVERY house is decorated, there is Santa and some Girl Scouts selling hot coco.  Very cute!    

     

    Andrew - Turns 3 on March 22!
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  • Bart ride to SF to get his orniment from Macy's is at the top of my list. We didn't get tickets to Polar Exspress this yr. Sad So we won't be doing that. I love driving around to see the lights and listen to Chirstmas music and am excited that this year Riley might like it a bit more.

    ETA: This weekend is Snow in Martinez! We took Riley last yr and he loved it and I am hopeful he will love it even more this yr.

  • image My.ABC.Life:
    image futrkingsley:

    The light set up at Vasona is a popular but expensive attraction and we've never been to it.  I gather that you drive up, car loaded with kids and cocoa, wait in a long line, pay $15 to drive through the park with an elaborate set up of lights.  We are opting instead to park at Oak Meadow (or on the street or at the old AAA office parking lot), walk to the station and ride the train as it goes through to Vasona and see the few lights we can see from the train.  We might walk some after that to see the others, but it will be dark so I'm not sure how far we'll go.

    I've been... and was not personally impressed. 

    Oh, Alison, which part was not impressive? The Vasona/car thing or the train ride?  DS loves that train so much in the middle of day that I've convinced myself that he'll love riding it in the dark to see some lights.  I hope it's not a huge let down for me!

  • image love22:
    image abvernon:
    image futrkingsley:

    We'll be skipping Christmas in the Park this year.  Parking is insane, the crowds are crazy, and it is very commercial, especially for a "free" community event.  The stands selling trinkets, plus food booths, plus long lines for very expensive Santa photos would make it a "maybe" but add in the Michael Jackson Neverland carnival rides (I am not kidding) lining the whole area and it's a "No" for us.

    You are not joking. DH and I went to it last year (we had a date night) on a Thursday night and it was INSANE.

    We usually drive around the neighborhoods to look at the lights and get ideas for next year. Big Smile

    I don't know we have done it but it always has been dead when we have been there.  We have never been there when Santa was even there.  We usually go in the morning on a weekend day so you'd think there'd be someone there but no it is usually just us and maybe 3 or 4 other families.  I guess I'll have to check the schedule.  The one thing that is true is that parking sucks even with no one around.

    We usually go in the evening (weeknights/weekends are the same all month long) to see the lights when I guess I thought it would be more magical/holiday-like.  It was a zoo the last time we went. :(  Even in the day time, all those carnival ride attract kids like moths to flame as they are clearly visible nearby.  The rides are spendy and look rickety.  I like my light displays quieter, more peaceful.  ;)

  • image futrkingsley:
    image My.ABC.Life:
    image futrkingsley:

    The light set up at Vasona is a popular but expensive attraction and we've never been to it.  I gather that you drive up, car loaded with kids and cocoa, wait in a long line, pay $15 to drive through the park with an elaborate set up of lights.  We are opting instead to park at Oak Meadow (or on the street or at the old AAA office parking lot), walk to the station and ride the train as it goes through to Vasona and see the few lights we can see from the train.  We might walk some after that to see the others, but it will be dark so I'm not sure how far we'll go.

    I've been... and was not personally impressed. 

    Oh, Alison, which part was not impressive? The Vasona/car thing or the train ride?  DS loves that train so much in the middle of day that I've convinced myself that he'll love riding it in the dark to see some lights.  I hope it's not a huge let down for me!

    I personally love the Vasona Festival of Lights. We go early in the season (first weekend of Dec) and there was no line and its before they raise the prices ($10 a car). If you go close to Christmas there will be a line. 

  • I haven't been but I know there are several holiday parades around this time of year. LG has theirs on Saturday (and the tree lighting on Friday).
  • image tonic:
    image futrkingsley:
    image My.ABC.Life:
    image futrkingsley:

    The light set up at Vasona is a popular but expensive attraction and we've never been to it.  I gather that you drive up, car loaded with kids and cocoa, wait in a long line, pay $15 to drive through the park with an elaborate set up of lights.  We are opting instead to park at Oak Meadow (or on the street or at the old AAA office parking lot), walk to the station and ride the train as it goes through to Vasona and see the few lights we can see from the train.  We might walk some after that to see the others, but it will be dark so I'm not sure how far we'll go.

    I've been... and was not personally impressed. 

    Oh, Alison, which part was not impressive? The Vasona/car thing or the train ride?  DS loves that train so much in the middle of day that I've convinced myself that he'll love riding it in the dark to see some lights.  I hope it's not a huge let down for me!

    I personally love the Vasona Festival of Lights. We go early in the season (first weekend of Dec) and there was no line and its before they raise the prices ($10 a car). If you go close to Christmas there will be a line. 

    The train, is of course, awesome - rain or shine!  ;)  I guess I didn't "love" the lights cause I just felt it was very commercial... does that make any sense.  I'm glad Tonic gave it a good review.  Would hate to stray anyone who was interested. 

    Andrew - Turns 3 on March 22!
    image

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  • image My.ABC.Life:
    image tonic:
    image futrkingsley:
    image My.ABC.Life:
    image futrkingsley:

    The light set up at Vasona is a popular but expensive attraction and we've never been to it.  I gather that you drive up, car loaded with kids and cocoa, wait in a long line, pay $15 to drive through the park with an elaborate set up of lights.  We are opting instead to park at Oak Meadow (or on the street or at the old AAA office parking lot), walk to the station and ride the train as it goes through to Vasona and see the few lights we can see from the train.  We might walk some after that to see the others, but it will be dark so I'm not sure how far we'll go.

    I've been... and was not personally impressed. 

    Oh, Alison, which part was not impressive? The Vasona/car thing or the train ride?  DS loves that train so much in the middle of day that I've convinced myself that he'll love riding it in the dark to see some lights.  I hope it's not a huge let down for me!

    I personally love the Vasona Festival of Lights. We go early in the season (first weekend of Dec) and there was no line and its before they raise the prices ($10 a car). If you go close to Christmas there will be a line. 

    The train, is of course, awesome - rain or shine!  ;)  I guess I didn't "love" the lights cause I just felt it was very commercial... does that make any sense.  I'm glad Tonic gave it a good review.  Would hate to stray anyone who was interested. 

    Phew!  Thank you!  I've seen a few of the lights already since we just rode the train a few weeks ago and some of them appear to be sponsored so I totally get the commercial complaint.  I'm so looking forward to walking through the park in the dark towards the lit up train it's sort of silly. DS loves it (and the staff, the station, the whole shebang) so much and I feel like seeing it all lit up will be sort of our holiday magic.  I'm planning to bring a picnic dessert (cocoa in a thermos and cookies).  :)

  • image My.ABC.Life:
    image tonic:
    image futrkingsley:
    image My.ABC.Life:
    image futrkingsley:

    The light set up at Vasona is a popular but expensive attraction and we've never been to it.  I gather that you drive up, car loaded with kids and cocoa, wait in a long line, pay $15 to drive through the park with an elaborate set up of lights.  We are opting instead to park at Oak Meadow (or on the street or at the old AAA office parking lot), walk to the station and ride the train as it goes through to Vasona and see the few lights we can see from the train.  We might walk some after that to see the others, but it will be dark so I'm not sure how far we'll go.

    I've been... and was not personally impressed. 

    Oh, Alison, which part was not impressive? The Vasona/car thing or the train ride?  DS loves that train so much in the middle of day that I've convinced myself that he'll love riding it in the dark to see some lights.  I hope it's not a huge let down for me!

    I personally love the Vasona Festival of Lights. We go early in the season (first weekend of Dec) and there was no line and its before they raise the prices ($10 a car). If you go close to Christmas there will be a line. 

    The train, is of course, awesome - rain or shine!  ;)  I guess I didn't "love" the lights cause I just felt it was very commercial... does that make any sense.  I'm glad Tonic gave it a good review.  Would hate to stray anyone who was interested. 

    Some are a bit commercial (especially the tooth!). I love most things holiday though. My husband gets more bored with it ;) I like having my latte and riding through the park in the Mini convertible with the top down. 

  • We love driving around to look at Christmas lights. Growing up we always went to SF to look at Christmas decorations and I will be doing that with D this year.

    We may go to the Snow in Martinez this weekend. 

    We went on the Polar Express once and never again, I was not impressed especially for the $$$$ it cost. 

  • I believe Roaring Camp railroad decorates the smaller train (that goes through the trees) with lights. It's supposed to be really cool.
  • We also drive around a couple of different nights to check out all the Christmas lights. There is apparently an amazing house out in Livermore I want to check out this year. 

    Otherwise, we've done the Zoo lights at Oakland Zoo.  

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