29 Holiday Events in the Sacramento Area
NOTE: This includes events for 2016. For an updated list of 2018 holiday events, click here.
The holiday season is all about coming together as a family and as a community to celebrate the most wonderful time of year. With all the feasting, singing, laughing and partying taking place, it can be hard to narrow down what area events to attend.
We found our favorite, most anticipated festivities in and around Sacramento to help you plan your holiday. You’ll have opportunities to shop for gifts, sing along to carols, attend the ballet and even keep the Christmas celebrations going past December 25th. As your family gathers for the holiday, get them out of the house to celebrate the only way Sacramento knows how — with art, music and food!
November 18 – 20 | Cal Expo, Sacramento
The Sacramento Harvest Festival is the perfect place to shop for Thanksgiving hostess gifts and holiday presents. Grab a homemade treat for yourself while you shop locally-made and hand-crafted goods. Live music and Christmas characters — including Mama Claus and Eddie the Elf — will fill the festival with holiday cheer! You can purchase tickets for the whole family online.
West Sacramento Chili Cook-off
November 19, 6 – 10 p.m. | Raley Field, Sacramento
There’s no better way to celebrate chilly weather than with chili! Now in its fourth year, this festival has become the premier competition of its kind in Sacramento and Yolo counties. The area’s top chefs and restaurants sample their best recipes and you get to taste them all!
The event features a cash bar, unlimited chili samples, silent auction and raffle. Ticket cost includes admission, auction registration fees, and complimentary parking. Proceeds benefit Holy Cross Academy and tickets sell out fast, so get yours online today!
Global Winter Wonderland
November 19 – January 8 | Cal Expo, Sacramento
Global Winter Wonderland is a festival of holidays and culture. Lit up for the season, you’ll get the chance to explore Santa’s Village, Toy Land, Candy Land, Snow Land, Fantasy Land and Under the Sea. You don’t want to miss the enormous, illuminated jellyfish!
While you’re there, rent ice skates for Holiday Ice Skating. Then, hop on a ride and play games at the carnival! Don’t forget to get a photo with Santa, taste international cuisine and get some holiday shopping done. Buy individual tickets or season passes here.
Sacramento Youth Symphony
November 20 | Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
You may remember the rousing success of Symphony of 1000 two years ago. This holiday season, Sacramento Youth Symphony is making the musical event bigger with 1000 instruments and 1000 voices. Symphony of 2000 invites community members, singers and musicians of all skill levels and ages to play. If you want to join them on stage, register here. If you want to experience the sound from the seats, you can purchase tickets here.
Thanksgiving Camp: Art Lab
November 21 – 23, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Blue Line Arts, Roseville
This three-day kids camp is combining art and science for the holidays. Your children will get to experiment with solar systems in a jar, exploding paint, and Da Vinci-inspired flying machines. Get your lab coats ready and register online by November 14.
Run to Feed the Hungry
November 24, 8:15 a.m. | Race starts on J Street, west of Sacramento State campus
Photo courtesy of Run to Feed the Hungry
On Thanksgiving morning you can run to help feed the hungry! Children and adults of all ages are welcome in either the 5k or 10k race so you can turn this into a fun family outing! Proceeds go to Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. This is a great way to help the community this holiday season and get exercise at the same time.
The Sacramento Hmong New Year Celebration
November 24 – 27 | Cal Expo, Sacramento
California is the home of the largest population of Hmong people in the country — and Sacramento hosts the second highest concentration within the state! Join them and the rest of our community in the 12th Annual Sacramento Hmong New Year Celebration to celebrate their culture. There will be games, authentic foods, cultural entertainment, music and traditional outfits all weekend.
An Irish Christmas
November 25 + 26 | Harris Center for the Arts, Folsom
Photos courtesy of An Irish Christmas / Alberto Rodriguez
If you want to spend Christmas in Ireland but don’t want to get on a plane, this is the show for you. Traditional dances, music and a few Christmas carols will transport you right to the snow covered Emerald Isle! Purchase tickets in advance before it sells out!
Crocker Holiday Artisan Market
November 25, 12 – 6 p.m. | Scottish Rite Masonic Center, Sacramento
This market is an excellent option to get some holiday shopping done and spend time with your family. While you shop for handcrafted goods from over 100 area makers, you’ll be serenaded by local musicians. You can also grab a bite to eat provided by Ambrosia Café and get your face painted by elves. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet a Victorian costumed Santa as well! Tickets range from $4 – $6, but admission for children 12 and younger is free.
December 1, 7 p.m. | Sacramento Convention Center
Celtic Woman always puts on an enchanting performance, taking you to an ethereal world full of Irish song, sound and dancing. To celebrate the upcoming holidays, their performance will cover their album Home For Christmas — including holiday classics such as “Silent Night” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Buy tickets in advance here.
Annual Tree Lighting
December 1, 5 p.m. | Carmichael Recreation and Park, Carmichael
Carmichael Park will be packed with live music, crafts, vendors and food trucks to celebrate this holiday season. After the trees are lit at 6:15 p.m., keep an eye out for Santa and meet him for a photo! Visits with Santa and event admission are free with a donation of one canned food item. All food will be donated to Sacramento Food Bank.
Friday Flicks: The Polar Express
December 2, 6:30 p.m. | Vernon St. Town Square, Roseville
About a half an hour from Sacramento in Roseville, celebrate the holidays with a movie in the square. Bring the whole family along — with a few blankets and pillows — to watch “The Polar Express” under the stars!
Cordova Gardens Elementary Annual Vendors Fair
December 2, 2 – 8 p.m. | Cordova Gardens Elementary School, Rancho Cordova
At the Annual Vendors Fair at Cordova Gardens Elementary School, you can purchase handmade and crafted arts, crafts, jewelry, decor and much more. All made and curated by local makers, it’s a great way to find holiday gifts and support the community!
22nd Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Show
December 3 – 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Sacramento Fine Arts Center
For 22 years, the Sacramento Fine Arts Center has been celebrating gift giving season with the Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Show. Their goal is to encourage the creation and presentation of original visual arts, to support the cultural life of the community, and to encourage all artists to fulfill their potential. You can help by perusing and purchasing from local vendors!
“A Christmas Story”
December 5, 7 p.m. | The Tower Theater, Sacramento
For one night only, you can celebrate Christmas watching Ralphie and friends up on the big screen. This nostalgic holiday film is the perfect way to usher in the holidays. So get the whole family together and buy your tickets online!
Jim Brickman’s Comfort & Joy Tour
Tuesday, December 6 | Crest Theatre, Sacramento
Simplicity is the heart of Jim Brickman’s solo piano songs. This holiday season, experience his signature style that has earned him a plethora of awards, including two Grammy nods, four Gold albums, and 30 charted AC radio hits. His Comfort & Joy tour will make another stop at The Crest for some original holiday songs — the hits that made him America’s piano sensation. Please bring canned food items to the concert that will be donated to the Union Gospel Mission! It’s not too late to get your tickets for this amazing performance.
Handel’s Messiah: The Choir of Trinity Wall Street & Trinity Baroque Orchestra
December 9, 7 p.m. | Harris Center for the Arts, Folsom
The very first time Handel’s Messiah was performed in the United States, it was played in a New York tavern. The second, more famous, performance was at Manhattan’s Trinity Wall Street just down the street in 1770. Combining the rich history of the performance with modern developments, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra promise to put on an unforgettable show. So buy tickets online and enjoy the holidays in classical style.
Sacramento Ballet Presents The Nutty Nutcracker
December 9 + 16, 7 p.m. | Community Center Theater, Sacramento
Photo courtesy of Sacramento Ballet / Keith Sutter
Last year, Sacramento Ballet performed The Nutty Nutcracker, a riotous take on the holiday classic. With pop culture influences, it’s packed with rowdy characters, racy action and laughter from start to finish. The performance was so popular, they’re bringing it back for two nights this season! Tickets are available now so get yours before they sell out.
Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays
December 10, 2 p.m + 7:30 p.m. | Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
This Sacramento holiday tradition was completely sold out last year. This year, it’s promised once again to be a spectacular, festive concert. Chorus and band will spread cheer together — including performances of all our favorite holiday classics. Get tickets online today!
Sacramento Ballet Presents The Nutcracker
December 10 – 23, various showtimes | Community Center Theater, Sacramento
The crown jewel of family entertainment, Sacramento Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker has become an area tradition. Follow along with Clara on her journey through the sparkling Snowflake Forest to the delicious Land of the Sweets. Select performances throughout the season will feature the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra! Choose your date and get tickets here.
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: Holiday Show
December 13, 7 p.m. | Mondavi Center, Davis
If you can’t already tell from the name, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a hilarious, twanging and foot-stomping troupe of musicians. They play the instrument in ways you’ve never heard before. And once you’ve heard them play your favorite holiday classics, you may never want to hear the songs another way again! Get tickets in advance.
Holiday Crafts and Cocktails
December 16, 6 – 9 p.m. | Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
Each ticket to Holiday Crafts and Cocktails includes a holiday-themed cocktail. You can sip a libation while you create seasonal decorations, last minute presents or special creations to gift yourself. Supplies will be provided so just bring your imagination and cheer! And register online in advance.
Sounds of the Season
December 16, 7 p.m. | Benvenuti Performing Arts Center, Sacramento
For a night filled with sweet, holiday music, experience Sounds of the Season. In classic instrumental fashion, the concert will make you want to cozy up in front of a fire with a cup of hot cocoa afterward. Get tickets here.
Folsom Christmas Classic
December 17, 8 a.m. | Lembi Park, Folsom
Photo courtesy of Folsom Christmas Classic / Todd Pickett / Judy Vanderbundt
The Folsom Christmas Classic includes a 10K, 5K and a Santa Fun Run for children under 10. Whether you’re competing or just looking for some fun exercise this season, everyone is welcome! So register online and get your most festive costume ready! The event benefits The Keaton Raphael Memorial which supports families with children suffering from cancer.
Jingle All the Way
December 17, 2 p.m. | Saint Francis Church, Sacramento
Join the Sacramento Master Singers for their children’s holiday concert. They’ll perform holiday classics and invite families and kids to sing along. Don’t tell the kids, but there will even be a surprise visit from Santa! Buy tickets online here.
Broadway Sacramento Presents Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
December 27 – January 1 | Community Center Theater, Sacramento
Photo courtesy of California Musical Theater / Kevin White
Based on the 1954 holiday classic, this musical is filled with laughter, dancing and some of the greatest songs ever written. It’s the perfect way to keep Christmas going until 2017. Buy tickets for yourself, your family or give them as a gift. Either way, you don’t want to miss this unforgettable event!
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve
December 28, 3:30 p.m. | Golden 1 Center, Sacramento
Trans-Siberian Orchestra has been a must-see for the past 20 years. Their progressive rock style has cemented them as a multi-generational holiday tradition. Don’t miss your chance to see them live right here in Sacramento! This year, they’re bringing back their treasured tale, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” to celebrate the holidays even after Christmas has passed. Get your tickets online.
“The Sound of Music” Holiday Event
December 29, 1:30 p.m. + 6 p.m. | Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
For the fifth year, Crocker Art Museum is hosting its annual “The Sound of Music” Holiday Event. Celebrate the holidays and the new year with costume contests, door prizes, yodeling and lots of laughs. Then, get together with everyone and sing along to “The Sound of Music”. Register online here.
Noon Year’s Eve
December 31, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
Welcome the new year early at Crocker Art Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve. This high-energy family event is the perfect way to let the whole family celebrate without staying up all night. There will be live music, dance performances, and festive art activities happening throughout the Museum. This is one New Year’s celebration everyone can stay awake for — and it’s free! Just show up on New Year’s Eve with your party hats on.
Have a happy holiday!
Share your favorite area holiday traditions and events with us. And however you celebrate this season, have a safe, merry and bright holiday from all of us at Lyon Real Estate.
Category Local Events
Cathy Harrington is Lyon Real Estate’s director of marketing, overseeing the content on the Lyon Local blog, website and social media channels.