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From Thanksgiving dinner at the Queen Mary to Santa Claus encounters all over the city, see how to spend the holidays with your family in Long Beach!
With a plethora of kid-friendly events including holiday parades and breakfast with Santa, Long Beach is the perfect Southern California getaway for families looking to ring in the holiday season. Trying to figure out what to plan your holiday itinerary with? Look no further - we’ve crafted the ideal seasonal guide that will bring the whole family together, for locals and visitors alike:
Experience the holidays in style when you board The Queen Mary on Thanksgiving Day. Not only is The Queen Mary an iconic Long Beach staple, rich with history and charm that’s been adored by locals for decades, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a world-class Thanksgiving meal with the family. First embarking on her voyage in 1936, the ship has now been popularized as a main attraction, hotel, and event venue. Every Thanksgiving, the iconic vessel offers first-class dining, which makes for a lavish holiday dinner experience on the water, equipped with a cornucopia of food and endless desserts! If you’re feeling bold, The Queen Mary also provides the option to host your own holiday party to impress your friends and family with. Spend time with your loved ones while also feeling Long Beach’s calming sea breeze!
Photo Courtesy of The Queen Mary | Photographer: Anne Watson.
Take a step back in time when you visit Rancho Los Alamitos and its gorgeous, historic ranch and gardens. This area is rich with history of the lives of native people who converted this land into the Long Beach we know and love today. The sacred ranch now hosts annual events for all ages, perfect for the whole family to enjoy. The holiday open house lets you tour the decorated ranch house, perhaps sparking inspiration for your own festivities. This event also features drinks, music and an unforgettable holiday spirit. Rancho Los Alamitos also hosts other seasonal events, including Breakfast with Santa and a Holiday Workshop. Check out the whole event calendar here to see the latest happenings!
It’s not a proper celebration without a parade for the whole family to enjoy. Every year, Belmont Shore puts on a parade that marches down East Second Street - free of charge. With Belmont Shore priding itself on its local community and vibrant events, the parade lets you experience Christmas like the locals – with sunshine and plenty of Long Beach pride. The parade features marching bands, extraordinary floats, local personalities and even an appearance from Santa Claus himself!
Long Beach’s beloved aquarium kicks off the holidays with their annual festivities including holiday décor, gingerbread house displays, daily Penguin Parades, snowfall in the Great Hall, and, of course, special appearances by Santa Diver. Santa Diver delivers a wave of gifts to the Aquarium of the Pacific’s animals. Not only does the holiday spirit bring joy to grinning onlookers, but to penguins, sea otters, seals, and fish too! Nobody gets excluded from Kris Kringle’s treats at the local aquarium. Instead of going down a chimney, watch as scuba-ready Santa Clause plunges in the tank - a photo op for the entire family. For specific dates and activities at the Aquarium of the Pacific, visit their full holiday schedule here.
If we’ve already convinced you to visit the iconic Queen Mary for Thanksgiving, get ready to have another holiday blast with the family aboard the ship for New Year’s Eve. The world-famous venue is celebrating the new year in style by hosting a New Year's Eve: Past and Present party. Bring your younger kids in before 3pm for all-ages fun, but don’t forget that the nighttime festivities are for the 21 and over crowd. The party will be all decked out with decorations, lights and multiple stages. You won’t want to miss out on the live music and immersive entertainment, either. And to top it all off, the midnight fireworks display is a must-see SoCal staple - you can’t ring in the new year without a dazzling light show! The fact this over-the-top celebration sells out every year should be enough reason to spend the last hours of 2019 aboard The Queen Mary.