San Jose's Annual Christmas in the Park - Giant Christmas Tree with Presents © Nam Nguyen

© Nam Nguyen

Great Options For Fun Over Thanksgiving Weekend

By Kim Wonderley

November 10, 2018

(KCBS RADIO) — California is a great place to be on Thanksgiving with so many special events that take place over the long weekend. 

It's always fun to find new traditions or uphold old ones while spending time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Holiday Lights Train leaves from the Beach Boardwalk both Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Vintage railcars adorned with holiday lights chug along with musical singalongs and hot cider.

Another sign of the season is just over the mountain and into the Silicon Valley where Christmas in the Park returns at San Jose's Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The family traditions since the 1950s reopens the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas in the Park features holiday lights and 40 animated musical exhibits. Tree lighting happens at 6 p.m. on November 23. 

For an immersive time-travel experience, consider the Great Dickens Fair, which opens at the Cow Palace on November 17. They call it a Victorian Christmas card that's come to life. The exhibit halls of the Cow Palace are magically transformed into Dickens' London complete with lanes lit by lamps and filled with charming shops, pubs,, food stalls and characters that have stepped right out of the pages of A Christmas Carol. 

In Southern California, there's the 80th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade. This year the parade takes place Sunday Nov 25 and begins on Hollywood Boulevard near Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Gigantic balloons like the Cat in the Hat and Gumby are similar to the scenes from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan.