The Complete Guide to Celebrating the Holiday Season in Riverside, California

With its sunny days and mild temperatures, Riverside, California, is not exactly the North Pole—but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a jolly time this holiday season. As a matter of fact, Riverside is full of fun festive activities throughout the holidays, from Christmas concerts to holiday markets. 

Whether you are looking for ideas for adults, kids, or the whole family, here is your complete guide to celebrating the holiday season in Riverside, California.


No matter your age or taste, you can find a wide range of holiday activities in the Riverside area. Here are a few to consider attending this year:

Mickey’s Christmas Party: This one is for the kids: On Saturday, December 3, from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., The Adventure Markets in Riverside is hosting Mickey’s Christmas Party, a free event that includes a character meet and greet, a gift exchange, tree decorating, hourly raffles, adventure packs, and more. Bring your kids to celebrate the Christmas season with their favorite characters!

“Grinchmas” Paint N’ Sip: Now, this one is for the adults: The Paint Sesh is putting on a “Grinchmas” Paint N’ Sip on December 9 from 10:00 p.m. to midnight. This is a Christmas-themed painting night located at Retro Taco in Riverside. An instructor will guide you as you paint and sip drinks from the bar with your friends. No painting experience is required, so anyone 21 years or older can come for a good time!

Nuestra Navidad Breakfast: For the 24th year running, the Latino Network is having a Nuestra Navidad Breakfast. This year, it will take place at 8:30 a.m. on December 14 at the Marriott Riverside at the Convention Center. The breakfast will include a Mariachi band performance and an auction to benefit local community programs, scholarships, educational programs, and cultural events.

Riverside Festival of Lights: One of Riverside’s biggest holiday events, the Festival of Lights will begin on Saturday, November 26, and continue through December 31. On November 26 from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. will be the grand switch-on ceremony at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. Not only will the hotel be lit up, but all of Main Street will be filled with holiday light displays and décor. Stop by any day during the festival from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. to walk the lit-up street, visit with Santa, watch street performers and entertainers, participate in holiday activities, and support local businesses!

Shows and Performances

After a day filled with outdoor fun, head on over to the theaters for a holiday experience from your seat. Check out these shows and performances happening this year:

CBU Christmas: Every year, California Baptist University’s performing arts college puts on a special Christmas performance, featuring world-class artists, accomplished faculty, and gifted students, all coming together for one grand production. The performance will take place on December 3 at 7:00 p.m. and December 4 at 2:30 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

The Nutcracker: Don’t miss out on this holiday classic. The Nutcracker, presented by Inland Pacific Ballet, is coming to the stage on December 17 and 18. This magnificent and imaginative ballet tells the story of a young girl who goes on an adventure in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Bring the whole family to watch the dolls dance, the toy soldiers march, the snowflakes fall, and the flowers waltz. View times and tickets here.


Visiting the holiday fairs and markets is a must. Lucky for you, Riverside has no shortage of festive shopping opportunities. Here are a few to choose from:

Holiday Gift Show by Inland Empire: Are you shopping for anyone passionate about health and fitness? This Holiday Gift Show has a special focus on health, wellness, and fitness products, along with other gift items, such as jewelry, bags, clothing, crafts, and more. The goal is to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, so not only will you find unique gifts for your friends and family, but you will also be supporting local businesses in the community. The gift show will take place on Saturday, November 19, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the 5 River Banquet Hall. 

Festival of Trees Holiday Fair: Combine your holiday shopping with a visit with Santa and his elves along with a view of the beautifully decorated trees inside the Riverside Convention Center. The Festival of Trees Holiday Fair will include these things as well as a holiday marketplace, featuring local artisans, holiday vendors, and children’s activities. The fair will be on November 25 and 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., so it’s a great opportunity to say goodbye to turkey and pie and hello to bells and elves as you kick off the holiday season.

Sip n Shop Holiday Market: Get your holiday shopping on as you sip your favorite beverage! This market at the Eastvale Community Center will be open on December 2 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and December 3 from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. There will be over 50 vendors, and the first 10 shoppers on December 2 will receive a free swag bag with items donated by the vendors. On Saturday, bring the whole family for shopping, food trucks, snow play, and a tree lighting.

Soffel’s 3rd Annual Holiday Market: Don’t forget to get your Christmas tree as you do your holiday shopping! Soffel’s Holiday Market is located at their Christmas tree farm in Redlands. With Christmas trees and local vendors, it’s a one-stop shop for your holiday shopping needs. You can even get your photo with Santa while you are there! The market will be open on December 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Opportunities to Share

One of the best parts about the holiday season is making other people’s seasons a little brighter. Here are a few ways you can give while celebrating the holidays:

A Christmas Carol Benefiting Rebirth Homes: The Riverside Community Players are putting on a production of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, with proceeds supporting Rebirth Homes’ residential program for survivors of human trafficking. The show will be Thursday, December 8, at 10:30 p.m., and tickets are $20. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a classic holiday tale while supporting an important cause.

Salvation Army: The Salvation Army in Riverside offers a number of opportunities to give back this holiday season:

  • Donate money to a red kettle to contribute toward providing food, shelter, and other necessities to the needy.
  • Donate to the toy drive by dropping off toys or ordering online from the Amazon wishlist.
  • Volunteer your time to adopt a day of bell ringing or help sort and distribute donations.

Adopt a Family: You can make a difference this season by sponsoring a family and shopping from their wishlist for clothing, toys, household items, school supplies, etc. The deadline to sign up is November 18, and the culminating event will be held on Wednesday, December 14. Those interested can reach out to the contact given here.

Safe Celebration

Just as important as it is to have a fun holiday season is to have a safe holiday season. In the United States, there are nearly 156,000 fires during the holiday season. To keep everyone safe, here are a few best practices:

  • Make sure live trees have plenty of water so they don’t dry out.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Don’t use lights that are frayed, damaged, or have loose connections.
  • Use ladders only on flat, sturdy ground and follow appropriate ladder precautions.

There you have it—here is all you need to know to have a cheery and joyful holiday season this year in Riverside. From Mission Lofts apartments, we wish you the happiest of holidays.

We’d love to see your holiday fun! If you decorate for the holidays or try out one of the activities above, post a photo on social media, tag us, and use #TisTheSeasonAtAMC.

From all of us at Countrywood Apartments in Redlands, Happy Holidays!

Come On In


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3050 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92507