The holiday season is in full swing and peninsula communities are ready to celebrate. Feeling Grinch-y? There are a few non-seasonal events going on as well. 


Community Open House at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

December 3-11, 10am - 5pm

Free

If you can’t get enough of one of the peninsula’s greatest attractions, this is your week! Residents of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties can visit the aquarium for free from December 3-11. Catch a sea otter feeding, check out the new exhibit featuring the wildlife of Baja California, or spend an hour staring at the open sea. Don’t forget to bring a California ID card, school ID, utility bill, or bus pass to prove that you live in one of the eligible counties. 

(Photo courtesy of sitebuilderreport.com)

Monarch Film Festival

December 8-10

Lighthouse Cinemas Pacific Grove

$5-$25

Pacific Grove natives Cristiana DiPietro and Matthew Kalamane want to bring international film to the area as well as showcase local filmmaking talent and encourage independent film production. Features range from a film using the form of spoken word to an Indian story of a missing child to a mystery involving a tennis star. Join in for a short film ($5) or buy day passes to see as much as possible. 

Monterey Symphony: Christmas Potpourri

Thursday, December 8, 7:30pm

All Saints Episcopal Church

$10-$25

Start your weekend off with string quartet renditions of favorite holiday tunes along with Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto” and other selections that will put you in the spirit. The Monterey Symphony is in their 71st season and will be sure to satisfy your musical cravings during this holiday season.

Comedian Lewis Black

Friday, December 9, 8pm

Golden State Theater

$42-$86

If you don’t already know his name, you’d probably recognize popular comedian Lewis Black from his appearances on the Daily Show. His rants about popular culture and politics have made him a fixture of the comedy world for over a decade, and his show is sure to please fans of the form. 

(Photo courtesy of dosvannah.com)

Carmel-by-the-Glass Winter Holiday Party

Friday, December 9, 5-8pm

La Playa Hotel, Carmel

$75

A five-year-old tradition in Carmel, this is a party to celebrate the wines of the village. Tickets include wine tasting and appetizers prepared by local chefs. In addition to bolstering the reputation of Carmel as a wine destination, the celebration aims to raise funds to restore the Carmel Mission Basilica. 

(Image courtesy of kaboompics.com)

33rd Annual Christmas in the Adobes

December 9-10, 5-9pm

Pacific House Museum, Monterey

$25, $40 for a two-night pass

Experience Monterey’s rich history by exploring 22 of the adobes downtown during this beloved annual event. With each building decorated for the holidays, living history portrayers, and festive music, you’ll go back in time. Many of the adobes are only open once a year, so you won’t want to miss out. 

Dance Kids Presents The Nutcracker

December 9-11, 7pm

Sunset Center

$26-$35

If you can’t get enough of historical holiday cheer, add the Monterey take on the classic story of the Nutcracker to your weekend at the Adobes. Set in the 1930’s, the production uses Tchaikovsky’s score but incorporates peninsula history, with characters including painter Salvador Dali. 

(Photo courtesy of libreshot.com)

Jingle Bell Run

Saturday, December 10, 7:30am

Lovers Point Park

$5-$35

The holidays can be a time for health, too! Join friends and neighbors for the Jingle Bell 5K run/walk and don’t forget your costume. Participants - including kids, dogs ,and adults - are encouraged to dress up as their favorite holiday character, with a costume contest and photo session at the end. It’s even for a good cause: the run benefits research and treatment for arthritis. 

Got Party? At Move Studios

Saturday, December 10, 6pm

Move Studios, Monterey

$30-$35

This holiday party will keep you on your feet at one of the Peninsula’s coolest new venues. With a fashion show by Grace Lifestyle Boutique, the newest addition to Alvarado Street’s slew of fresh businesses, plus craft cocktails and DJ Willi Entertainment, you’ll surely be entertained. If you can’t make it on Saturday, be sure to check out Move Studios’ class list; all levels are welcome for classes in ballet, hip-hop, jazz, salsa, and more in their beautiful and historic space. 

Wreath Workshop at McShane’s Nursery

Saturday, December 10, 1:30pm

McShane’s Nursery & Landscape Supply, Salinas

$10

Bring your holiday cheer home with the help of decorating pros. Learn how to spruce up your wreath, tie beautiful bows, and more just in time to host your own get-together.