Half Moon Bay is a magical place during the holidays. With it's small town charm and mild weather, the Coastside shines as the days grow short. Here are some of our favorite things to do and see this yuletide season.

Night of Lights

December 7th,  2018 from 6pm to 9pm. Night of Lights is free event hosted in downtown Half Moon Bay, an old-fashioned holiday celebration that brings together locals and visitors alike. Come enjoy the traditional tree-lighting ceremony, followed by the Parade of Lights down our historic Main Street. Of course, Santa will be in attendance, meeting children in Mac Dutra Park, and carolers and musical acts will be out in abundance. Take some time to do some holiday shopping in some of Main Street's unique stores, and partake in roasted chestnuts and family-friendly activities.

Night of Lights
The Lighted Parade is the highlight of the Night of Lights festivities.

Pillar Point Harbor Lighted Boat Festival

December 8th, 2018 from 6pm to 8pm. Another amazing free holiday event, the Pillar Point Lighted Boat Festival is in effect throughout December, but the best night to visit is on December 8th when the annual boat decorating contest is held. The harbor comes alive with festively adorned boats, and local businesses come out to serve holiday snacks and drinks to all. Santa Claus will make an appearance, and holiday music will be performed by the Half Moon Bay Choir and San Mateo Elks Band.

Harbor Lights
Pillar Point Harbor is aglow each December during the Lighted Boat Festival

Christmas Tree Farms

As soon as the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us, the talk turns to Christmas trees. Farms on the Half Moon Bay Coastside have been providing trees to nearby residents and visitors for so long that a visit to a local tree farm is a time-honored tradition for many families. Here are a few farms we know you'll enjoy:

  • A. Repetto Nursery – Along with an abundance of Christmas trees, A. Repetto Nursery has some of the best deals on fresh flowers ideal for a holiday centerpiece. 
  • H. Pastorino & Son Company - Once the pumpkins are gone, the barn is transformed and filled with the magic of Christmas along with holiday trim, ornaments, trees, gifts, garland, poinsettias, and fresh wreaths.
  • Lemos Family Farm – During the autumn you know them for pumpkins and their famous haunted house, but Lemos Family Farm transforms into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season. You can find Douglas Fir, Incense Cedar, and other pines, and let the kids enjoy a holiday hayride, train ride, or a pony ride. 
  • Santa’s Tree Farm – You can pick out your own Christmas tree at this farm on Highway 92, and enjoy complimentary hot cider and candy canes with your purchase. Santa visits frequently as well - check their website for his schedule.

Ritz Holiday Dining and Drinks

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay offers a wealth of fine dining events during the holiday season, with special dinners at Navio for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, brunches Christmas weekend and Christmas Day, and special dining events for the New Year's holiday as well. Reservations are required for all holiday dining events and early reservations are strongly recommended. 

During the month of December, you can also enjoy winter cocktails at The Conservatory like their Under the Mistletoe, made with Tanqueray, Rosemary-infused sweet and sour and topped with Slingshot Cabernet plus a rosemary sprig and Luxardo cherry garnish.

Sweet Treats at Harley Farms

Harley Farms, best known for their award-winning goat cheese, gets in the holiday spirit with their seasonal goat milk fudge, peppermint cheesecakes, and peppermint truffles. All of them make perfect gifts for Christmas time, and they're just the sort of thing that you won't find anywhere else! The farm's shop is open Fridays through Sundays from 11am to 4pm.

Barrel to Bottle Days

December 8th, 2018. You can bottle your own unique Christmas gifts at La Nebbia Winery's Barrel to Bottle event, which offers wine lovers a chance to bring a clean, empty bottle and fill it with wine from their barrels. After bottling, corking, and labeling your wine, stick around to check out their tasting room, picnic in the gardens, or play some bocce ball. Prices start at $6 per bottle if you bring your own empties.

Hand-Blown Holiday Ornaments

Half Moon Bay Art Glass (right next to La Nebbia) offers a chance to learn the art of glass blowing and make your own holiday ornaments for your tree. These family-friendly classes are open to children as young as six years (with an adult).

Kevin Henney is a web developer and photographer who can often be found behind the scenes of VisitHalfMoonBay.org. He's a sixth-generation resident of the Coastside, but never fails to find something new to experience in our little seaside towns.