Ryan Chartrand

The holidays are upon us and for many that means leaving San Luis Obispo to spend Christmas at home with family and friends. However, for those who are staying in the area, San Luis Obispo offers a wide variety of activities and events for everyone to participate in this holiday season.

1. Santa’s House

In an effort to make downtown San Luis Obispo holiday friendly and inviting for holiday shoppers, Santa’s House gives people a chance to take photos with Santa Claus. Located in downtown’s Mission Plaza, Santa’s House is open every day until Christmas Eve.

2. The 33rd Annual Holiday Parade

Court Street presents Silver Bells, the annual holiday parade that begins Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5. The annual holiday parade will bring the community together starting at the Palm and Chorro streets intersection and ending between Nipomo and Monterey Street.

3. Cal Poly Choirs’ “A Christmas Celebration” at the PAC

The Cal Poly Music Department presents Cal Poly Choirs’ “A Christmas Celebration” at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. Composed by Cal Poly music professor Meredith Brammeier, the show will feature carols from around the world and a guest appearance by the Cal Poly Brass Ensemble.

4. Holiday in the Plaza Art and Craft Fair

The City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department will host the Holiday in the Plaza Art and Craft Fair Saturday, Dec. 6,beginning at 9 a.m. in downtown’s Mission Plaza. More than 40 local craftspeople will be displaying their homemade items Musical entertainment will be provided as customers shop for the holiday season.

5. Hearst Castle Holiday Feast

At a price of $1,000 per person, attending the Hearst Castle Holiday Feast would be the splurge of the century. On Dec. 6, a limousine will take you and your party to the castle to join 88 other guests. Guests will dine in the Refectory for an elegant, multi-course dinner, which will include fine wine of the central coast. Live holiday music will be provided and each guest will receive a one-of-a-kind gift inspired by the castle.

6. Classic Carousel in Mission Plaza

From Dec. 8 through the 28th, a magical carousel will delight San Luis Obispo natives and tourists alike in downtown’s Mission Plaza. It usually opens at 10 a.m., but hours vary. Be sure to visit www.downtownslo.com for a complete carousel schedule.

7. Donate to those in need

The holidays are a time for giving and when those in need call for help, there is nothing better than donating to save their Christmas spirit. The Salvation Army is one of the many aid groups raising money for food, clothes and housing this holiday season. The San Luis Obispo station holds an annual Christmas dinner and raised approximately $44,000 last year.

8. Free Movie at Downtown Centre Cinemas

Get yourself in the Christmas spirit and come to a screening of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” free with one non-perishable food item or a $2 donation. The film begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 at Downtown Centre Theatre. All donations will go to the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County.

9. The Nutcracker and Sugar Plum Tea Party at the PAC

The Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo presents “The Nutcracker” at the Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14 with performances at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday’s performance will be at 6 p.m. A production for more than 30 years, it will dazzle of all ages.

Sugar Plum Tea Party, an exclusive tea party with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her friends, will show at the Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. Photo opportunities will be available. Seating is limited so ticket reservations are highly encouraged.

10. The 2nd Annual ’60s Rock ‘n’ Roll New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance Party

Ring in the new year at the New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance Party, which includes a buffet dinner, dance contest, door prizes, party hats and favors and a midnight champagne toast. Music will be provided by Unfinished Business. The event will be held on Dec. 31 at St. Patrick’s School Events Center in Arroyo Grande. Doors open at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Tickets cost $60.

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