For more than four decades, the heart of Downtown San Jose has been the center of a unique holiday tradition that brings together residents from the entire San Francisco Bay Area, Christmas in the Park in San Jose. This festive event is a much-awaited annual celebration that transforms the Plaza de Cesar Chavez into a captivating holiday spectacle.
Table of Contents
- A Historical Perspective
- The Charismatic Charming Park
- What’s on Offer?
- A Non-Profit Initiative
- The Grand Opening
- The Downtown Ice
- Special Events
- Sponsoring Partners
- How to Visit
- Christmas in the Park Photo Gallery
Year upon year, for over 44 seasons, this enchanting event has worked its magic, turning the two-acre park into a fantasy world of the holiday season. The park is adorned with more than 40 musical and animated exhibits, twinkling lights, and the centerpiece, a 50-foot Community Giving Tree. The event has been a mainstay of the city’s holiday festivities, and its historical significance is deeply ingrained within the community.
Visitors are welcomed into a magical winter wonderland of lights, music, and local entertainment. An enchanted forest of trees, decorated by San Jose schools, community groups, and businesses, adds an extra sparkle to the festive atmosphere. The most significant displays, including a melting snowman, caroling mice, and elf woodcrafters, are housed in one of the largest exhibits — the Lima Train.
Christmas in the Park is much more than just a visual spectacle. Children have the opportunity to have their photograph taken with Santa Claus, watch nightly entertainment, and enjoy holiday-themed refreshments, all free of charge. The event is a cherished holiday tradition for families, creating lasting memories and providing a warm, festive experience for everyone.
Christmas in the Park is a non-profit organization that operates through fundraising efforts. The event is free to the public, with the aim of bringing joy and holiday spirit to as many people as possible. The community’s support has been instrumental in keeping this tradition alive and accessible to all, regardless of financial circumstances.
The annual tree lighting ceremony marks the official start of Christmas in the Park. This year, the event kicks off on November 25th at 6:30 pm. The tree lighting ceremony is a special moment that symbolizes the beginning of the holiday season in San Jose and brings the community together in celebration.
In addition to Christmas in the Park, the city of San Jose also hosts Downtown Ice. This popular ice-skating event returns this winter season, promising to be bigger and better than before. To celebrate 15 years, the rink is getting a fresh look with new boards, rail caps, and mats. The ice rink will be home to Downtown San Jose for the Holidays, in partnership with Christmas in the Park and Winter Wonderland.
There are several special events planned throughout the season. For example, local Olympic Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi is hosting a grand opening celebration. The College Football Playoff Host Committee plans to utilize Downtown Ice and call it “Championship Ice” from January 4th to 7th. The rink will also have a different look for that week.
Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice are supported by several partners. New sponsors this year include the College Football Playoff Host Committee, Alaska Airlines, National Hockey League, San Jose Sports Authority, Google, Adobe, and Amazon. Loyal partners returning this year include Swenson, PG&E, The Sobrato Organization, Wells Fargo, The Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of San Jose, Republic Services, and Valley Transportation Authority.
Christmas in the Park is open from November 25th to January 1st, from 12 pm to 10 am. The event is located at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Downtown San Jose, 1 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113. There is no public parking at the Park. It is recommended that visitors use light rail or one of the nearby pay lots.
Christmas in the Park is a testament to the spirit of the holiday season, bringing joy, wonder, and a sense of community to the heart of San Jose. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, make sure to add this enchanting event to your holiday itinerary.