The holidays are a-knockin’ on your door! Along with the holidays come the questions of how to spend them. Will you be spending all your holidays with your family or with friends? Maybe you’d want to reach out and spend time with the folks you haven’t seen for a while? Perhaps you’re planning a relaxed weekend at home with your significant other to unwind and recharge. Recently, more people have been staying local this holiday season. Why the change? Simply forgoing the crowded airports is one pretty good reason. Also, no overpriced tour packages, no jet lag, and no hunting for budget accommodation on the internet. What’s more – you will find more than enough events and activities near you.
If you’re staying local or are on a (to use the fancier term) ‘staycation’, you’re probably wondering what things to do during this holiday season. Don’t worry, let’s help you take advantage of all the holiday cheer this season brings and enjoy what’s around you.
Staycation ideas near you
Once you’ve decided to stay local during the holidays, you’ll find that there are plenty of things to do near you – many of them very budget-friendly or even free! You could join a Turkey Trot race, go on a hike or bike ride, watch a nearby Thanksgiving Parade, or simply veg out on your couch with a holiday movie marathon! For more specific location-based activities, see below.
Things to do in Los Angeles during the holidays
- Head onto Knott’s Berry Farm, which transforms into Knott’s ‘Merry’ Farm during the holidays. You can meet Santa, visit his Christmas Cabin and relish Knott’s famous holiday treats.
- Enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving buffet at a very non-traditional location – the Aquarium of the Pacific, amidst a bunch of adorable sea creatures.
- Enjoy the stunning holiday light displays at Beverly Hills and immerse yourself in holiday cheer.
- Head on to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and watch the dazzling Hollywood Christmas Parade.
- Go on a south-of-the-border day trip to Tijuana to experience Mexican culture, food, and shopping.
- Let your family experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and see Hogwarts all decked out for the holidays.
Things to do in San Francisco during the holidays
- Spend some quality time with your family at the Exploratorium. With its interactive exhibits are that kids and adults will enjoy, it’s an awesome way to create cool holiday memories. (Tip Book skip-the-line tickets online so that your kids don’t get cranky waiting in line.)
- Here’s a unique and fun activity that’s sure to keep you entertained – go on a family-fun-packed two-hour Karaoke tour of San Francisco.
- Check out the California Academy of Science’s holiday exhibit. It’s a winter wonderland featuring reindeer encounters and snow flurries that will entertain and educate viewers of all ages.
- Take your kids to see the ginormous Gingerbread House at the Fairmont on Nob Hill. Let them walk around the two-story house made with real gingerbread bricks, icing, and candy
- If you’re in SF during the holidays, you just have to go ice skating on the Union Square Ice Rink, a quintessential San Francisco tradition.
- Experience the holiday magic at Pier 39 with its nightly tree lighting show set to holiday music.
- Book tickets to watch the holiday favorite, Nutcracker Ballet, and enjoy the dazzling display of classical ballet and music.
- Gaze at boats decorated with holiday lights and decorations as they parade along the San Francisco waterfront during the lighted boat parade.
- Enjoy a sumptuous traditional Thanksgiving meal while cruising around the San Francisco bay, listening to a live band.
Things to do in New York during the holidays
- Watch the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade up close while enjoying a delicious private brunch at the Toast Café.
- Try something different and have your Thanksgiving Lunch aboard a cruise ship with a delicious 3-course Thanksgiving meal and a live DJ. You could also sign up for a Thanksgiving Dinner cruise if you’d prefer to have lunch at home.
- Take your kids to the Bronx Zoo and spend the day exploring all 265 acres and seeing over 4,000 animals!
- Escape from the hustle and bustle of NYC with a relaxing day-trip to the Hunter Mountain in the Catskills. Don’t forget to pack your ski boots!
- Trawl the city for really cool Black Friday bargains. With a little luck, you’ll even be able to buy everything on your Christmas gift list in advance.
- Gather on the Plaza to view the iconic Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center or opt for a VIP experience of the ceremony while seated at the Brasserie
- Experience the magic of the spectacular Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in Brooklyn. This neighborhood goes all out with the Christmas lights, decorations, and displays.
- Go on a Christmas Tree Crawl through NYC and see all the best Christmas trees in New York.
- Sail into the spirit of the holidays with a yacht cruise around Manhattan. Gorge on a lavish brunch spread with bagels, muffins, pastries, gingerbread, waffles, and more.
Things do in Boston during the holidays
- Go back in time with a trip to Plimoth Plantation – understand native Wampanoag history and experience the way of life in colonial New England.
- Grab a drink and settle down for a Holiday sunset cruise around Boston Harbor in an old-fashioned 1920s style yacht.
- Go on a Fall Foliage tour through New England as you wind through the quaint backcountry roads of Massachusetts and New Hampshire while taking in the brilliant fall foliage.
- Experience Christmas in one of America’s most fascinating cities, Newport, on a day trip from Boston. Your tour also includes a visit to William K. Vanderbilts’ summer home – Marble House.
- Get into the holiday spirit by stepping aboard a luxury yacht festooned with holiday lights and cruise into an evening of hot cocoa and caroling in Boston Harbor.
- Relish a delicious three-course gourmet brunch on a 2-hour scenic holiday cruise of the Boston Harbor that will get into the holiday mood
- Enjoy Blink, the free light and sound show at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Holiday lights will usually be up the week before Thanksgiving, and you can take a leisurely stroll among the displays.
Things do in Chicago during the holidays
- Take to the skies on a very special Chicago Helicopter Tour With Holiday Lights and take in the dazzling nighttime views of the festive lights display below.
- Spend Thanksgiving gazing in awe at the stunning views of the Chicago skyline on a cruise down Lake Michigan while also enjoying a traditional plated Thanksgiving meal.
- Go on a winter holiday walking tour and see some classic holiday sights and listen to the off-the-beaten–path stories of Christmas past over a couple drinks.
- Take a 3-hour guided walking and food tour through the Chicago Loop, and sample Chicago’s favorite winter treats like deep–dish pizza, hot apple cider, craft beer, chocolate brownie, etc.
- See Chicago decorated in holiday lights on a Segway sightseeing tour of the city’s sparkling downtown.
- Take your family to the Lincoln Park Zoo and let them marvel at the fascinating 3D displays and zoo lights.
- Indulge in some shopping and food at Chicago’s famed Christkindlmarket, a combination of a charming Christmas craft fair and delicious German food.
Save time and money by pre-booking your city parking spots
If you’re planning to stay local this holiday season, make sure you don’t waste precious holiday time driving around looking for parking spots. The Holidays can be stressful enough without trying to hunt down that elusive parking spot among all those frenzied holiday shoppers. Parking rates in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Chicago depend on demand. During holidays there’s more demand for prime parking spots especially those near shopping districts. You really don’t want to dish out extra money on parking during what is already a rather expensive time of the year. The best option to deal with that is by booking your city parking in advance. The season won’t be quite so jolly if you end up with parking tickets, now would it?
New York City Parking
Parking in the Big Apple is no easy task in the best of times and more so during the holidays. If you haven’t booked your New York City Parking Spot in advance you can expect high blood pressure and frustration. You’ll probably end up with a city of New York parking ticket too! NYC has so many must-not-miss events like the Macy’s parade, Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting, and Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Do not forget to book your New York City Parking spot nearby in advance before they all get sold out.
Los Angeles City Parking
Parking lot activity increases exponentially during the busy holiday season, making parking in the city of angels quite the hellish experience. Usually quite affordable, LA parking rates do tend to soar during the holidays as everyone rushes around doing their Christmas shopping. Plan ahead to avoid getting a Los Angeles parking ticket and the headache of finding a decent parking spot in LA during the holidays. Finding a free parking spot in LA at this time of the year will be rather tricky. You’d be better off paying for parking. Go online and book your LA parking spot in advance. Here’s a tip – choose valet parking if it’s available. Spending a little extra might be well worth the time and effort saved.
San Francisco City Parking
A city of some notoriety for its high parking fines, San Francisco is always a ticket-happy city, more so during the holidays. You don’t really want to go holiday shopping and come back to your car to see it festooned with a San Francisco parking ticket! With a little planning ahead, you won’t have to. Check for a suitable San Francisco parking spot online. Compare parking rates, check what amenities they provide, current offers, and discounts, and then make your decision. To make your holiday parking experience painless you can download the San Francisco parking app – Way on iOS or GooglePlay.
Chicago City Parking
Chicago road rules are a bit different from those in the rest of the country, and this goes for their parking laws too. Chicago does get some snow during the holidays, so you need to keep that in mind while planning your holiday shopping. Opting for paid Chicago parking garages is usually your best bet during harsh weather conditions. This way you needn’t worry about street cleaning schedules or winter parking restrictions. You can be sure that your car will be safe and snug and, more importantly, ticket-free while you shop to your heart’s content. Chicago parking tip- preferably choose covered parking to protect your car from detrimental weather conditions. Heated parking would be a bonus too.
Now that you’ve figured out how to have a fun staycation this holiday season, let’s not forget the most essential part – Keep calm, stay safe, and don’t stress out! Remember, things don’t have to be perfect to be fun!