‘Tis the season for holiday events and attractions across Southern California, including parades, light displays, toy drives, and more. Trade road trip hassles for scenic views, comfortable onboard amenities, and quality time with family and loved ones when you travel by train. 

Here are our top picks for festive events near Pacific Surfliner stations: 

Capistrano Lights – Select Nights Through December 30, 2023

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano on select nights for extra holiday fun. Take photos under a giant wreath, watch the tree lighting, enjoy performances by Dickens era Carolers, and take a photo with Santa. The grounds are beautifully decorated in lights. Details

How to Get There: Ride to the San Juan Capistrano Station and walk to the Mission.

Holidays at The Disneyland® Resort - Through January 7, 2024

Both Disneyland® and Disney California Adventure feature festive sights and events all season long, including special holiday foods, parades, entertainment, and decorations. Use a recent or upcoming reservation number to unlock a 5 percent savings on admission. Details

How to Get There: Ride the train to Anaheim. From there, request a shuttle ride from Anaheim Resort Transit through the A-Way WeGo app (free when you show your train ticket). The bus drops off and picks up passengers at the Disneyland® Main Transportation Center. Learn more

Rose Parade - Monday, January 1, 2024 

Visit Pasadena to experience the historic Rose Parade, an internationally recognized New Year’s Day celebration. This tradition has been part of the community for more than 100 years, with floats that are meticulously decorated with flowers and plants by hundreds of volunteers. Details

How to Get There: Ride to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles and connect to the Metro Gold Line which stops near the parade route.

Holiday Parade of Lights – December 10, 2023

Celebrate the season California-style in the seaside town of Santa Barbara. On December 10, participate in a tree lighting at historic Stearns Wharf and watch 30 boats adorned with lights and holiday decorations coast along the shore. The night will end with a fireworks show over the water. Details 

How to Get There: Ride to the Santa Barbara Station and walk two blocks to the beach.

Julefest – Through January 6, 2024 

Considered one of the “10 most Christmassy towns in America,” the Danish village of Solvang brings Old World traditions to the holiday season with beautiful lights, pop-up shops, Santa’s Village, a parade, candlelight tours, and more. Details 

How to Get There: Book a Pacific Surfliner trip to Solvang (SLV). Riders connect to an Amtrak Thruway bus at the Santa Barbara Station for a 50-minute ride to downtown Solvang.

Holiday Plaza – Through December 24, 2023 

Visit Mission Plaza in Downtown San Luis Obispo to ride a classic carousel, watch a musical light show, send a letter to Santa, and stop by Santa’s house! There is also live entertainment, lights throughout the downtown area, and more. Don't miss the holiday parade on December 1. Details

How to Get There: The downtown area is a short walk from the San Luis Obispo train station.

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season! 

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