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The Gamut

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The Gamut

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Festive Orange County destinations light up the holiday season

Photo By fortherock/Creative Commons

With two weeks of break from school and time to spend with family and friends, traveling to Orange County’s most festive winter destinations is a must — and perfect for capturing the joyous fervor of the holiday season. Whether your heart calls for delicious seasonal treats, last-minute shopping splurges, or a view of Christmas light spectacles, these festive destinations are undoubtedly worth visiting during winter break. 

Huntington Harbour Boat Parade and Cruise of Lights – Huntington Beach

Thousands of sparkling, light-studded boats parade the waterways of Huntington Harbour, one of which is the Cruise of Lights, a boat tour open Dec. 16-18 and 21-23 that gives visitors the experience of viewing the decorated harbor from the sea. Drowning the whole port in Christmas lights and festive animated displays, the Cruise of Lights is the perfect holiday destination to visit with family during the winter season! Additionally, Huntington Harbour is packed with hundreds of restaurants suited for all preferences, including seafood at Captain Jack’s and homestyle American cuisine at Harbour House Cafe. 

The Ice Rink at the Irvine Spectrum

Ice skating is synonymous with the winter season — and easily the best time of year to do it. The Ice Rink, open throughout the holidays up until Jan. 7 for only $25, is the perfect spot for ice skating with friends and family! The Irvine Spectrum’s extravagantly decorated Christmas tree and embellished shops overlook the rink, making for a stunning, picture-worthy display. After skating, savor a delicious meal at household favorites Little Sister or Luna Grill, or begin  Christmas gift shopping at stores like Adidas, Barnes & Noble, Brandy Melville, H&M, and Sephora. 

Winter Festival OC – Costa Mesa 

At the heart of the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa is Winter Fest, the largest seasonal celebration in Southern California! An immersive, magical winter experience starting at only $30 per person, the festival features ice tubing, an Arctic ice trail, sledding and live, Christmas-themed entertainment. Be sure to arrive with an empty stomach as Winter Fest is studded with hundreds of delicious food vendors from across Orange County, serving holiday favorites like hot cocoa and tamales, and timeless treats like fries and churros.  

Holidays at the Source – Buena Park

A frequently visited spot by Oxford students, the Source OC is the perfect destination for last minute shoppers and boba tea enthusiasts alike. With shops like Aritaum selling social media-viral beauty products, and N.CAT serving shoppers with the cutest jewelry, a trip to the Source is enough to curate flawless gifts for friends and family. Boba tea store Gong Cha is offering their specialty milk tea boba with a reinvigorated, holiday twist: adorable gingerbread man bottles. People craving a warmer, cozier drink can find relief through Basilur’s Ceylon tea, while those interested in street food can venture into Myungrang hot dogs, and enjoy a mouthwatering blend of sweet and savory flavors. 

Confining yourself to the cozy atmosphere of home may be tempting during the winter break, yet exploring destinations across Orange County is the perfect way to forge genuine memories with loved ones this holiday season.

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Your donation will support the student journalists of Oxford Academy. Your contribution will allow us to cover our annual operational costs and website hosting. Thank you for your support!

About the Contributor
Nathan Perera
Nathan Perera, Staff Writer
Nathan Perera will be beginning his second year in Gamut as a writer. He enjoys writing A&E, alternating between scathing reviews to praiseful columns. Writing is at the heart of Nathan’s passion, having first joined the Gamut to become part of a group of people that shared his love for writing. In addition, he is also the Vice President of the Creative Writing Club at Oxford Academy. Outside of school, he enjoys thrillers and dramas in the form of both books and TVs. “Cruel Summer” is among his favorite TV shows. He also enjoys alternative rock and pop. Lana Del Rey is his favorite artist, and his favorite album from her is Norman F. Rockwell. When asked what he likes most about her songs, he admitted he loved everything about it, ranging from their attractive visuals to heartfelt lyrics. Nathan is excited for the rest of his time in Gamut and Oxford, and he will continue to follow his passion for writing. 
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