Magical Mission Inn and the Fantastic Festival of Lights

This is truly the most wonderful time of the year.  There are so many things to see and do all over Southern California.  Many of these events are free to attend and I love being able to share those places with you.

One of my favorite free events is The Mission Inn and Spa in Riverside is home to the Festival of Lights. More than 3.6 million (Yes Million!) lights transform this beautiful hotel into a holiday wonderland. The festival features nightly live entertainment, “fresh snow”, and even appearances by Santa and his reindeer. You can even ride around a horse drawn carriage around the hotel grounds.

Mission Inn Festival of Lights by

The City of Riverside has adopted The Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights as a citywide initiative with a vision of a Dickensian holiday spectacle featuring lights and decorations throughout downtown Riverside, an outdoor ice-skating rink on the Main Street pedestrian mall, holiday vendors and family-friendly entertainment.

The Festival of Lights at The Mission Inn Hotel is now open and continues until January 6th, 2015.  The Festival of Lights begins every night at sunset. For additional information head here.

Creatively Fun Family Day at the Sawdust Art Festival

I always try to find any excuse to head on over to Laguna Beach. I absolutely love Laguna and the city’s renowned Art Festivals. On Saturday the Sawdust Festival will present the Creatively Fun Family Day which sounds like a treat for the whole family .

Entrance to the festival allows your kiddos to participate in unlimited hands on art activities!! Some of the activities featured are:

  • Ceramics Booth
  • Childrens’ Art Spot
  • Sawdust Studio plus..
  • Painting with Doug Miller
  • Recycled Critters with Reem Khalil
  • Glass blowing demonstrations with John Barber & Christopher Jeffries!

The Sawdust Art Festival’s, “Creatively Fun Family Day” highlights local performance groups and musicians including: Ghungaroo Indian Dance from Soka University, singer/songwriter Brooke Ramel, and the Laguna Community Concert Band! (more entertainment TBA)

I love great deals and this event is most definitely a good deal. Admission to the Family Day includes unlimited art projects and crafts and is $2.00 for children 5-13 , $4.00 for adults and children under five are of course free. You can also opt for a family four pack for $10.00. So basically for the price of one ticket to your local cineplex- your entire family can enjoy a day of arts and crafts. You can’t beat that!!

I’m going to stop in for an hour or two. If you see me there stop by and say hello!!

Saturday, April 18th
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sawdust Art Festival935 Laguna Canyon RoadLaguna Beach 92651

Metered parking is available along Laguna Canyon Road with complimentary parking on Frontage Road courtesy of the City of Laguna Beach.

psst… I would make a day of it with a stop at main beach and then head for some yummie desert at Scandia Bakery on Forest Avenue. It’s a must stop when you visit Laguna!!

For additional information click here

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Are you ready to really swing into the holiday spirit?? Looking for something that is fun to do and absolutely free?? Look no further and mark the dates on your calendar. The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is celebrating it’s 100th year and better than ever. Watching the parade is one of my family’s favorite Christmas tradition.

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is a definite must see. The parade begins on Wednesday Dec 17 and ends on Sunday December 21st. The parade starts off at Bay Island at 6:30pm and ends there at approximately 9:30. This year in celebration of the parade’s 100th anniversary fireworks will be set off at at 6:25 from the Balboa Pier.

Just a couple of tips to make your evening as enjoyable as possible.

1. Dress warmly. I forgot to bring gloves last year and I will make sure not to forget them this year. I also will remember to bring a blanket for each of my kiddos.
2. Arrive as early as possible. Traffic is horrible and arriving early will assure you a spot and less congestion.
3. Be prepared to pay for parking. Whether you are parking in one of the state lots to an improvised private lot make sure to bring at least 10 dollars for parking. If you want to save on parking make sure to bring good walking shoes and park a little further away from the bay area.
4. Bring something warm to drink. I forgot to do this last year and I ended up paying a small fortune for hot chocolate and donuts in Balboa island.
5. Some of the best viewing spots are the Balboa Peninsula/Ferry area and Balboa island. You can’t miss at any of these two spots.
6. If you would like to view the parade in luxury many of the waterfront restaurants along the parade route have dinner/viewing packages. Check to see if your favorite restaurant is offering a deal.
7. check out this website for additional information.

I know that your family will enjoy this as much as my family does!! I promise!!!
Don’t forget to enter the Disney on Ice giveaway. To enter click here