In the Loop

Travel Column

(by) Donna McCrohan Rosenthal

The holiday season returns with many favorite traditions from years past, as you will see in this month’s round-up of ideas for short hops and trips around the Golden State.

Down below in Los Angeles, the Ahmanson Theatre launches its 2021-22 season with the Old Vic’s interpretation of the five-time Tony Award winning play “A Christmas Carol,” Tuesday, November 30 – Saturday, January 1. It stars three-time Emmy winner Bradley Whitford, Tony and Emmy Award nominee Kate Burton, and Grammy, SAG Award, Critics Choice, and Hollywood Critics Association Award nominee Alex Newell (; 213-628-2772).

To the southwest in Oceano, the Great America Melodrama’s Vaudeville Revue combines heartwarming storytelling with side-splitting humor in a holiday triple-bill and an inventive take on Scrooge, Thursday, November 18 – Friday, December 31. The Melodrama rings in the New Year with extravaganza, dinner, dessert, champagne or sparkling cider toast, soda and popcorn (; 805-489-2499).

Down the coast, Friday-Saturday, December 17-18, Ventura Harbor’s Boat Parade “Back to Seality!” pays homage to all things ocean and sea with shimmering lights, LED performers, whirling carnival rides, boutique gift shopping, dining, fireworks (depending on weather), and more ( At the Ventura County Fairgrounds to January 2022, the Snow N Glow features snow tubing on real snow, millions of lights, community fire pits for roasting s’mores, live entertainment, and the opportunity to rent a private igloo for your party (; 805-585-7811).

Slightly farther south on the coast, the 113th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights dazzles with decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes in the harbor, Wednesday through Sunday, December 15-19. Fireworks will kick off the festivities at approximately 6:15 on opening night and will fill the sky with a spectacular finish on closing night from Balboa Pier beginning around 9:00 p.m. (

For one of the nation’s largest holiday light collections, voted “Best Public Light Display” by USA Today, head south to Riverside’s Mission Inn & Spa between Friday, November 26 and Thursday, January 6 (; 951.784.0300). A short block away, “The Nutcracker” enchants at the Fox Performing Arts Center when Island Pacific Ballet presents the beloved classic with 60 dancers, falling snow, and a 40-foot Chinese dragon, Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12, and Saturday and Sunday, December 18 and 19 (; 951-779-9804).

Up north on Hwy 395, Bishop celebrates the yuletide on Saturday, December 4, with the Santa Mile fun run and walk, main street parade, Christmas tree lighting, then stroll downtown for the Street of Lights merchant party. Many shops will stay open. Get your official Street of Lights Map stamped by participating merchants for a chance to win raffle prizes and $500 cash (; 760-873-8405).

Story First Published: 2021-11-26