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SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

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Seattle, Washington
posts: 2
SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

We've traveled to SoCal around August 2011 and the weather in LA & San Diego was perfection. We did the Hollywood thing, visited the theme parks, hung out at the beaches while we were there. We're planning once again to vacation in SoCal but this time the week of Christmas 2012. Wondering what the weather will be like in that area around then, and if doing Disney, or the beach is a good idea, considering it's winter time??

Does anyone have any suggestions on fun family (kids are teens) things to do while there during that time that isn't the typical touristy traps? We'll be in LA and San Diego and everywhere in between so travel is not a problem to check out some of the suggested sites.

Thanks so much :)

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 24,229
reviews: 13
1. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

OK, beaches are still beautiful to watch the waves and walk along the shoreline any time of year, even sticking your toes in the water. But swimming in the ocean in December is not very popular, though some with wet suits do it year round...

The Southern California Theme Parks do big Christmas events starting in mid-November, Disneyland is the best known, but Knott's also does a lot for the season (including setting up special Craft Stands for shopping), Universal has entered the market in the last few years, its events are based on the Grinch.

Near Huntington Beach, maybe a tour of the Queen Mary and a Russian Submarine, and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

www.visitlongbeach.com

You might be around for the Parade of Lights, held along the Orange County shoreline in a few places. A nighttime event where boats are decorated in Lights and sail around the area.

So there are some ideas to start with...

Huntington Beach...
Destination Expert
for Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach
posts: 5,046
reviews: 146
2. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

Christmas Week is always a good time to visit Disneyland as the park is decorated and there are special attractions. The beaches will be fine for walking and kite flying and bike riding (you can rent beach cruisers) but you probably won't want to go into the cold water.

There may be a little rain but nothing like you get in Seattle. Fog can be expected especially in the morning near the beach.

If you like wildlife viewing, it is a great time as the migratory birds return to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Huntington Beach Wetlands.

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is one of the best in the country.

You should visit the Surf Museum in Huntington Beach. In Newport Beach, go the the Balboa Island fun zone. There are usually events going on at Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach at that time.

We have a wonderful performing art center in Costa Mesa but I'm afraid you'll probably be limited to performances of the Nut Cracker at that time.

Huntington Beach...
Destination Expert
for Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach
posts: 5,046
reviews: 146
3. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

I consider the Queen Mary to be the worst of tourist traps -- but if you like that sort of thing --

So Cal
posts: 4,124
reviews: 64
4. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

Actually, it looks like the Segerstrom Center has nothing Christmas-y on the week of Christmas. Huh. Well, Christmas is on a Tuesday, so that does make sense. The other stuff on the calendar might interest you.

www.scfta.org/home/Events/EventCalendar.aspx…

Los Angeles...
posts: 933
reviews: 73
5. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

I have to say I love the Queen Mary - but I'm an ocean liner buff with a history degree. She is a piece of history, a relic of a bygone era, pretty much the only one of her kind left.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Anaheim, St. George
posts: 18,219
reviews: 88
6. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

From your post it seems you are saying to want to visit the week of Christmas? That would be very busy at Disneyland during that time. Most Schools will take off the week of Christmas as well as the week after as a Christmas Break.

Huntington Beach...
Destination Expert
for Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach
posts: 5,046
reviews: 146
7. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

Checking the OC Performing Arts Center Calendar I see they will have

The Addams Family in the large theater (Segerstrom Hall) and

Teatro ZinZanni in the Concert Hall (Rene and Henry Segerstrom Hall)

scfta.org/home/Events/EventCalendar.aspx

They will have performances of A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory Theater.

Edited: 7:29 pm, September 10, 2012
Redlands, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 14,601
reviews: 3
8. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

I'm with Koda. I love maritime history and love the Queen Mary (just as I love the Star of India in San Diego and have since I was 15). She's not only a piece of maritime history, but a piece of WWII history as well. I don't know why anyone would call this ship a tourist trap.

That said, I think we really need some clarification on what you would consider a touristy trap or what it would be about someplace that would make you feel that "tourist trap" feeling. After all, some people do feel that way about Disneyland and we have recommendations for that already.

I remember when I went to Oahu in Hawaii I thought this main marketplace (can't remember the name of it) in Waikiki was a tourist trap. Walked in just because I was walking down the street and wanted to see what it was like. Walked right out after not more than two minutes. Yet, everyone I knew who had been there before thought it was just great. It just depends on your own tastes.

Huntington Beach...
Destination Expert
for Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach
posts: 5,046
reviews: 146
9. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

Redlands -- I can appreciate QM's history from the outside. At $12 to park (and it takes about 30 minutes to get into the lot sometimes) plus $25 for general admission -- That's a lot before you even step onto the ship. If you want the ghost tours and war films, that's more. Then there are plenty of ways to free yourself of money on-board. If you are a maritime buff, it may be worth it -- but not for me.

Redlands, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 14,601
reviews: 3
10. Re: SoCal Vacation Plans at Christmas Time

They can board the Queen Mary for dinner without paying and have a look around the main Promanade Deck which has exhibits. I don't care for the Ghosts and Legends tour. I think it is disrespectful. I know some people didn't like it when Disney managed the ship, but I think it was a better value then for what you paid in admission. They really added nice touches and they didn't mess with the ship to put in a haunted house type attraction (surprise). They had a nice on board show. So I understand you viewpoint.. I still think it is a great place to visit, though. There might be a possiblity of parking elsewhere and taking the shuttle over and back, which I thought was free. That said, the ships in San Diego are a bit easier to visit. I have never even been onboard the USS Midway but am in awe everytime I have walked around it.