Holiday Tree Lightings In South Orange County

crystal cove tree

Tree Lightings in South Orange County

It is officially that time of year again to enjoy all our amazing local Christmas Tree Lighting events throughout all of South Orange County! And South OC is definitely bringing the holiday cheer this year. They have it all from live reindeers to magical snow falls, to Santa visits and train rides. There really is something for everyone, including the child in all of us. Even better yet, most of these events are free to the public. So, wrap up the family in their matching holiday sweaters and come out to any one of these magical events where you can truly feel the spirit of the holidays in the air. 

Aliso Viejo


Annual Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting
Thursday December 1st 2022 | 5:00 pm – 8 pm | at the Grand Park at Aliso Viejo Town Center
Enjoy holiday cheer, train rides, ornament making, community and aerial performances, magical snow fall and a visit from jolly ole St. Nick as they light their 22-foot Christmas tree. My kids love the magical snow fall at this event, so don’t leave before they get to enjoy the snow fun. FREE

Dana Point 

Winter Festival and Tree Lighting
December 3rd 2022 |4:30 – 5:30pm | La Plaza Park, 34111 La Plaza St, Dana Point
Santa and his elves will be arriving at La Plaza Park on his Jolly Trolley to hand out pre-packaged treats for children up to 12 years of age.   The event is from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and features carolers, hot chocolate, cookies, and the tree lighting at 5:15pm. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Spark of Love Toy Drive. For more information call (949) 248-3536 or email FREE

Ritz Carlton Holiday Tree Lighting
Sunday November 20th 2022 | 4pm | One Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point
Join them as they kick off the most wonderful time of the year with their annual holiday open house and tree lighting ceremony. Holiday cookies and hot chocolate are complimentary with additional beverages available for purchase. Be sure to stick around and check out their annual Christmas themed sandcastle display in the lobby hallway.

Pine Park Tree Lighting
December 5th 2022| 4:30 – 5:30pm | 34941 Camino Capistrano, Dana Point
Santa and his elves will be arriving at Pines Park on his Jolly Trolley to hand out pre-packaged treats for children up to 12 years of age.   The event is from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and features carolers, hot chocolate, cookies, and the tree lighting at 5:15pm. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Spark of Love Toy Drive. For more information call (949) 248-3536 or email FREE

Laguna Beach


Crystal Cove Tree 
No physical event this year | Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove will be decorating their lovely tree on the beach the first weekend in December. Park and walk down to the beach to enjoy this stunning Christmas tree right on the beach. They always do an amazing job with this tree, and it is always a sight to see, especially at sunset or sunrise. FREE

Laguna Niguel


Laguna Niguel Christmas Tree Lighting
December 3, 2022 | 5 – 8:00pm | 30111 CROWN VALLEY PKWY, Laguna Niguel City Hall
Join the City of Laguna Niguel for our annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony! They will have performances, crafts, cookie decorating, games, food trucks, face painters, balloon twisters, character meet and greets, and activities for the entire family to enjoy. Don’t forget to a bring a camera for pictures with Santa, Mrs. Clause, and our other winter guests. A free shuttle services available from Crown Valley Park to City Hall from 4 pm – 9 pm. Shuttle will be available in front of Crown Valley Community Center at 29751 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA, 92677. FREE

Lake Forest


Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Saturday December 3rd, 2022 | 4:00pm | 100 Civic Center Drive Lake Forest Civic Center
2nd Annual Holiday Tree Lighting. The event will begin at 4 pm and will include free rides, entertainment, arts and crafts, vendors selling food, and more. They will light the tree as the sun sets, and I have a feeling we’ll even get a visit from a special visitor, too. FREE

Mission Viejo


Santa’s Arrival & Lighting Ceremony
Sunday, November 27, 2022|3:00pm – 6:00pm | Civic Center Plaza, 200 Civic Center Drive, Mission Viejo
Enjoy holiday music for children of all ages presented by “Sierra: An Acoustic Experience.” See Santa’s special friends from the North Pole. Santa will arrive atop of a fire engine at 6 pm and will help ring in the spirit of the season by turning on the holiday lights in Mission Viejo. FREE

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 3, 2022 | 5 – 7:00pm | 21472 Avenida De Los Fundadores, Rancho Santa Margarita
“A truly magical night, where memories are made, and moments cherished!” Members and guests are invited to enjoy the sights, sounds and treats of the season while singing along to holiday music and creating precious moments with family and friends at the 2022 Christmas Tree Lighting! The Christmas Tree Lighting festivities will begin at 5:00 pm at the Lakeshore, followed by a storytelling of “The Night Before Christmas” and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6:00 pm Musical performances by The Bridge Church will take place throughout the event. FREE

San Juan Capistrano


Capistrano Night Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 3rd, 4:00pm | 31872 El Camino Real, Historic Town Center Park of San Juan Capistrano
Don’t miss the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration which includes dance, orchestra, mariachi and musical theater performances and more! This will be a lovely night for the entire family, come and enjoy the community of San Juan Capistrano. FREE.

Inn at the Mission Night Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 30th, 2022 | 5:00 – 5:30pm | Inn at the Mission, 31692 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano
Treat yourself to a special celebration during the Holidays. Join them at the Inn at the Mission starting at 5:00 PM for the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. There will be visits from Santa, complimentary hot chocolate, and Holiday treats. Last year they had the most amazing chocolate filled churros, I hope they have them again! FREE

Capistrano Lights 
Starts December 3rd with weekend & weekdays throughout December 2022 | 4:00 – 6:00pm | Mission San Juan Capistrano
Christmas Tree Lighting and Music Program starts at 5pm, with performances by Dickens era Carolers and selfies with Santa courtesy of Farmers & Merchants Bank. Be sure to get to the tree right on time to get a good view of the magic that is about to take place. This beautiful tree will light up and change colors in sync with a musical performance. It is not to be missed. There is a large scale Nativity scene in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church, circa 1806. Enjoy the Mission in Lights, the Community Christmas Trees, Prayer Candles, Large Scale Wreath, Kids Craft Vendor, Sweet Treat Vendor, Serra Chapel Open After Hours, Surprise Performances throughout the Month Extended Holiday Shopping Hours in the Mission Store. Public Pricing: Adults: $19, Seniors: $17, Youth/Student: $14, Children (Under 4).

San Clemente


Outlets of San Clemente Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 19, 2022 | 5:00 – 7:30 pm | Outlets of San Clemente
The Outlets at San Clemente will kick off the holiday season with the 8th Annual Tree Lighting Concert. The free concert will begin at 5pm and will be headlined by the Good Newz Girls and include performances by FUTUREPOP and OCSA – Montage! The event will be hosted by American Idol’s JRAND. A lot of people attend this event and parking can be difficult, so be sure to get there early. Additionally, throughout the holiday season the Outlets will also have Snowy Nights beginning on November 19 and will go through New Year’s Day. Enjoy the magic of snowfall Friday through Sunday evenings at 5 pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm. Your kids will love looking up at the sky and feeling the gentle touch of snowflakes landing on their face.



I hope you enjoyed this list of fun Christmas Tree Lighting events all around South Orange County. There are certainly a lot to choose from, so figure out what dates and times work for you and your family and come out and enjoy these community stunners. And always remember to get there early to avoid parking and logistical issues. These events can certainly bring out the local crowds.

Chelsea Thornton

Chelsea Thornton

Guest blogger Chelsea Thornton @SouthOC_Moms
Born and raised here in SouthOC, I have a fond appreciation of how magical of a place we all live. I spent many years working and traveling overseas, only to come home to one of the most beautiful places in the world. Now my family and I are settled in the city of Aliso Viejo and I love sharing everything SouthOC has to offer with my kids. The mantra of my blog is to “Give Moms the Gift of Time.” I hope that all the time and energy I put into researching local Doctors, family friendly hikes, Schools, Parks, Photographers, Staycations, Restaurants, etc. save Moms in my area precious time. I hope to be that one-stop-shop for all things SouthOC.

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