Updated: Jan 7, 2022
If you are ever in Temecula, CA in December then you will have to check out Temecula Chilled. In a nutshell, it is the time of year when all the fun stuff happens around town this time of year. It may not be as cold here as it is in other parts of the country, but Temecula makes it festive, family-friendly, and full of activities.
This tourist destination based in wine-country is really a hidden gem. It is located about 1 hour from downtown San Diego, about 2 hours from Los Angeles, About 1-1 ½ hours from Orange County, and 1½ hours from Palm Springs (very centralized).
Of course, you will want to make sure you can say the name, I got your covered, repeat after me, Tem-eck-you-la, try it again,Tem-eck-you-la. You’ll get it. Originally it is a word from the Luiseño Indian tribe and was translated by the Spanish as “where the sun breaks through the mist.”
Ice Skating in Old Town
In winter, Old Town is transformed into a winter wonderland. At the Civic Center, the city installs an ice skating rink. For a fee, you can rent skates and have a great time with the family and get some exercise too. There are a few outdoor vendors selling hot cocoa and treats.
Santa’s Electric Light Parade
Hundreds of people line the streets to catch a glimpse of Santa’s Electric Light Parade. This event takes place in Old Town and features dancers, school marching bands, and various participants from local organizations. Come and be a part of this fun-filled event. Get there early to get a good spot.
Breakfast With Santa
We took our son to this event and he had a great time. This is an event you will have to register through the city to attend and pay a fee. They serve you breakfast, cookie decorating, and photos with Santa himself who is in attendance for this event. Great photo ops!
T’was The Lights Before Christmas Bus Tours
This is such a fun event. You register in advance through the city’s leisure guide as this event books up fast. There is a fee of $10 per person as of 2018. When we went, they had a double-decker bus with an open-air top. The kids chose to sit up top. Luckily we were bundled up, as it was pretty cold up there. They take you on a tour of the best Christmas lights with a couple of stops along the way. To meet the homeowners and share in light refreshments. While on the bus, you are entertained with interactive Christmas trivia, games, and Christmas sing-alongs.
Temecula Museum Hosts Christmas Open House
They had a nice assortment of cookies and cakes when you walked in. There was a station set-up for hot chocolate, and two other stations for making a take-home Christmas decoration. In the center of the room was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Upstairs was a little craft and coloring activity for the little ones.
While exploring the museum, guests were called when it was time for a group to be taken out for a horse-drawn carriage ride through Old Town Temecula. The Temecula Carriage Company provided the ride which showcased two amazing Clydesdale horses weighing over a ton pulling the passengers.
It was so festive and fun, I recommend it highly.
Bainbridge Circle Holiday Extravaganza
Additionally, in neighboring Murrieta, CA we love to visit the Bainbridge Circle Holiday Extravaganza. It is a neighborhood that puts up a beautiful display of lights, good cheer, and is a great family outing. Bundle up, it does get cold if you decide to park and walk! There is a house that always sets-up a hot chocolate station that is donation only. Otherwise, feel free to cruise through the neighborhood in a parade of cars taking in the awe-inspiring festivities from the warmth of their vehicles. It is a sight you won’t want to miss.
1st Annual Winter Solstice
This is a new tradition here in Temecula, so we were excited to check it out. This being the first year, it was a nice low key event. As you walked the path toward the Old Town Museum, it was lit by luminaries. The gazebo was set up for the Broadway in the Park performance by The Barn Stage Company. They sang Christmas songs and entertained us. Our family enjoyed the sing-a-long at the end. I recommend bringing your portable chairs or something to sit on in the grass as there is no seating.
We were there a few minutes early so we took the kids to see Santa who was sitting cozily inside the museum, in front of their beautiful Christmas tree. He was asking kids what they wanted for Christmas and exchanging stories with parents.
Upstairs kids were playing in the touch/play area and having a great time. We returned outside to listen to music. At that time, refreshments were being handed out. This included delicious hot chocolate from Corner Bakery and about 4 varieties of cookies. The staff and helpers were very friendly and welcoming.
Also, the museum had the horse-drawn carriage rides through Old Town Temecula, like the one I mentioned above in the Open House at the Old Town Museum. The same ride through Old Town, but the carriage was decked out in Christmas lights. This is a great time to take a ride. This is a great family tradition. So put on your hat, gloves, jacket, and check it out.
Visit Temecula Chilled
So there you have it. If you are ever in the area this time of your year, come on over for a visit. It is family-friendly, fun, and festive. There is a lot to do if you want to keep busy for the season or during vacation. Hope this gives you a few ideas on ways to make some new family traditions, or just to check out what happens in this area. Stay chilled!