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San Jose Christmas Events – Christmas in the Park & More!

San Jose Christmas Events – Christmas in the Park & More!

San Jose, CA hosts a lot of family-frinedly Christmas events! From Christmas in the Park to Winter Wonderland, San Jose Christmas events run the gamut from holiday tradition to thrill-seeking, so every young holiday reveler will find something to enjoy.

Much of the downtown San Jose holiday scene centers around Plaza de César Chávez. This means you can simply park your car and walk to numerous exciting attractions. Updated for 2023!

San Jose Christmas Events in 2023

Christmas in the Park San Jose 2023

Christmas in the Park
By Oleg Alexandrov

Plaza de César Chávez transforms into a forest of holiday delights for one of the grandest San Jose Christmas events of all Christmas in the Park! Acres of Christmas trees are decorated by local schools, community groups, and businesses.

Traditionally, there are over 40 animated exhibits, glittering lights, and the 60-foot Community Giving Tree, adding joy for visitors of all ages. Get a photo with Santa before heading off to enjoy carnival rides, or share a delicious cup of Snowman hot chocolate!

Christmas in the Park has been a San Jose holiday tradition for over 40 years. It is free of charge.

Christmas in the Park includes weekend music on the Jingle Bell stage, a 65′ tall walk-through Christmas tree, and Blinky’s Tavern – an inflatable beer and wine garden! There is also an Enchanted Forest of Trees filled with community-decorated trees.

San Jose Chirstmas events include Blnky's Holiday Drive Through
Photo by Kristine Dworkin

If crowds aren’t your thing, don’t worry! There’s a Drive-Thru Christmas in the Park. Born during the height of the pandemic, the newest of the San Jose Christmas events debuted as an alternative to Christmas in the Park in 2020.

You can enjoy this spectacular light show programmed to music while navigating the storied streets of History Park San Jose. The cost of admission is $30-$35 per car.

Christmas in the Park Downtown opens on November 24, 2023, and Drive-Thru Christmas in the Park will open on November 26. Both will run through January 1, 2024.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland San Jose
Winter Wonderland, Photo by Flickr/Jonathan Dinh

There are other attractions to take in around Plaza de César Chávez during the holidays; here’s a brief guide to San Jose Christmas events downtown:

Winter Wonderland is a fun carnival set up next to Christmas in the Park along Paseo de San Antonio.

Enjoy glimpses of Christmas in the Park from atop the giant Ferris wheel. Play classic carnival games. Dodge in and out of fun houses and enjoy treats like cotton candy, churros, and kettle corn.

Be sure to avoid having a meltdown when it’s time to go home! Santa is granting visits in the area, after all, and he does have his eye on you!

Winter Wonderland is open from November 24, 2023, through January 1, 2024.

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Christmas events in San Jose include the Santa Train
Santa’s Train, Photo by Flickr/ Don DeBold

Downtown Skate

San Jose’s traditional ice rink returns to Circle of Palms this year after being replaced by a roller rink last holiday season. Open to skaters from November 17, 2023, through mid-January 2024, skating under the lights between the San Jose Museum of Art and the Signia San Jose by Hilton is a much beloved holiday tradition.

Santa Run

Santa Run San Jose
Photo by Kristine Dworkin

The Santa Run Silicon Valley is a family-friendly 5K Run/Walk benefiting Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice.  This year’s event is on Sunday, December 17.

Most entrants dress up as their favorite holiday character or tradition: Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, reindeer, elves, dreidel, menorah, ornaments, tree, presents — the ideas are endless! 

Spend more time in the city. Here are the Top 10 Things to do in San Jose with Kids

San Jose Nutcracker

The San Jose Ballet‘s production of The Nutcracker is one of the longest-running San Jose Christmas events. The San Jose Dance Theatre returns to the stage with the 57th annual favorite at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.

The Nutcracker runs from December 8-10, 2023. Performances include a show modified for toddlers, preschoolers, and young children!  

Once Upon a Nutcracker, excerpts of the production, two shows only, December 8, 2023. It is a shorter show that is perfect for young children.

Find more Christmas events around Northern California

Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House Christmas
The holiday season at the Winchester Mystery House, Photo by Kristine Dworkin

Sarah Winchester’s fabulous 160-room Victorian mansion is elegantly decorated for the holidays with garlands, wreaths, candles, and handcrafted ornaments. Enjoy daily mansion tours featuring a sprinkling of holiday traditions, music, and more from November 17- December 31, 2023. 

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

Pin this to bookmark all the holiday fun; we update it yearly:


Kristine Dworkin