Holiday magic is alive in Gilroy as Santa Claus readies his sleigh to visit the Garlic Capital of the World! Revel in beloved holiday traditions and create new ones when you visit Gilroy during our heartwarming celebrations, including the all-new North Pole Nights at Gilroy Gardens and our Holiday Festival and Parade throughout Downtown Gilroy.
Journey to the North Pole
A glittering winter wonderland awaits you at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, home to the world-famous Circus Trees and more than 40 rides and attractions. Join in the merry-making with Santa and his friends at North Pole Village during North Pole Nights, an all-new immersive holiday experience.
Discover awe-inspiring light displays and decorations that bring the wonder and joy of the season to life. Stroll through Candy Cane Lane and be transported to the North Pole where you’ll be greeted by holiday music, twinkling lights, and the Illions Supreme Carousel, which is beautifully restored and dates back to 1927. See more amazing lights at the 100-foot-long North Pole Light Tunnel with synchronized holiday music and lights, and Tinsel’s Tree Trail, a giant greenhouse filled with dozens of decorated Christmas trees.
Mark the festive occasion with jolly fun throughout the park. Visit and take photos with Santa at Santa’s Workshop, view the new musical show The Magic of Santa, ice skate under the stars, mail a Christmas wish to Santa at the North Pole Post Office, and decorate holiday cookies at Mrs. Claus’s Cookie Corner. Ride through the Redwood forests on Tinsel’s Groove Train to see the park all aglow and hop aboard select attractions throughout the park, including Balloon Flight, the Mushroom Swing, and the Panoramic Wheel, which resembles a giant sparkling snowflake.
Indulge in a holiday feast at Snowflake Square’s buffet-style dinner, which features hand-carved roast turkey and honey-baked ham, a mashed potato bar with yummy toppings, roasted vegetables, kale salad, as well as stuffing and gravy, hot dogs for younger guests, unlimited soft drinks and hot chocolate, plus pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream for dessert. You’ll find more festive food and drinks around the park, including hot cocoa bombs, mulled apple cider, peppermint soft-serve, and specialty mocktails and cocktails like Candy Cane Martinis and White Christmas Margaritas. North Pole Nights is open on select nights through December 31. The park will also host a special New Year’s Eve celebration ending with a fireworks show at midnight.
Join the Festive Fun in Downtown Gilroy
Santa’s sleigh will also touch down at Gilroy’s Holiday Festival and Parade on Saturday, December 2. Experience the magic of our old-fashioned hometown parade and festivities in the heart of downtown Gilroy. Watch Santa help light our beautiful tree after dazzling floats make their way through downtown.
Delight in the enchanting sights and sounds of the season with performances by local musicians and festive shop window displays. Your children won’t want to miss visiting Santa’s Village—and even choosing a special free gift to receive from Santa—and witnessing the mischievous antics of the Grinch in Grinchville. Savor holiday goodies hosted by downtown merchants and vendors while shopping for gifts. Seasonal sweets along the “Trail of Treats” include hot cocoa and donut holes from Bay Area favorite Psycho Donuts—and delicious decorate-your-own cookies.
While taking in the wonder and beauty of our Festival, we invite you to peruse Downtown Gilroy’s specialty boutiques and stores, including IVORI Boutique, Celestial Trading, and antique shops, and admire the storefront window displays and festive decorations. Warm up with a hot drink or meal at one of the unique restaurants lining our historic downtown.
Shop & Savor
A trip to Gilroy wouldn’t be complete without visiting Gilroy Premium Outlets, your one-stop-shopping destination. From jewelry and toys to home décor and clothing, you’re sure to find the perfect gift at more than 145 stores. For gifts unique to Gilroy, stop by the California Welcome Center Gilroy at the Outlets (near Forever 21). It’s also the ideal spot to shop for souvenirs from your trip and pick up helpful maps and guides to help you make the most of your time in Gilroy.
To cap off your day, enjoy a memorable meal at one of our more than 75 restaurants, serving up cuisine from around the globe. Discover the perfect spot for your next family dinner or romantic date night at one of our neighborhood bistros or downtown favorites. From barbecue and sushi to steak and seafood, your options are virtually limitless.
We look forward to welcoming you to celebrate the warmth and joy of the holidays in Gilroy. Join Santa in charting a course to Gilroy to ring in the holiday season and spread yuletide cheer!
Kelly Barbazette is a freelance writer who has lived in Gilroy for more than 20 years. Winter holidays in Gilroy are her favorite time of the year.