With Christmas and Hanukkah falling on the same weekend, festivity is sure to be in store. Whether you’re entertaining family a dozen family members or enjoying the company of a few loved ones, here are some activities to enjoy on the peninsula.

Live music at Bay of Pines

Thursday, December 22, 7pm

Bay of Pines Restaurant

Boscoe’s Brood and Kristin Gradwohl bring throwback pop and soulful ballads to downtown Monterey on Thursday. Grab an organic bite to eat while you listen, and enjoy the restaurant’s funky space- and ocean-themed decor

(Photo courtesy of oldmonterey.org)

Bruce Foreman, Rick Walker, and Steve Uccello

Thursday, December 22, 8pm

Pierce Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room

$5 (21+)

If sipping wine is more your pace, head to Pierce Ranch Vineyards for some “acoustic/swampy/jazz” steel guitar. Rick Walker is the founder of the Y2K International Live Looping Festivals in Santa Cruz and will bring an eclectic mix of percussive sounds to the show. 

A Christmas Carol reading

Friday, December 23, 6:30pm

Carmel Art Association

$10 advanced, $15 door

Actor Howard Burnham reads this quintessential Christmas story, bringing all 40 of its characters to life. Burnham is a true enthusiast: he has been the featured “Mr. Dickens” at the Myrtle Beach Dickens Christmas Festival for a decade. 

(Photo courtesy of kaboompics.com)

Peninsula Harmony Company Christmas Caroling

Saturday, December 24, 4:30-6:30pm

Carmel Hyatt Highlands


Enjoy treats and drinks while you listen to classic carols from Peninsula Harmony Company. While the ocean views from the hotel don’t exactly evoke a winter wonderland, what could be better for holiday cheer than a gorgeous vista

Jingle and Mingle at Restaurant 1833

Saturday, December 24, 5-8pm

Restaurant 1833

$60/adult, $30 children under 12, $30 wine pairing

For a trendy and sure to be delicious Christmas Eve dinner, grab a spot at 1833 on Saturday night. Offerings from the three-course menu include squash and shiitake soup, winter vegetable crudite, and California White Sturgeon. Make sure to head down early for a cocktail by the fire pits on the patio before dinner.  

(Photo courtesy of insidescoopsf.com)

Dinners on the peninsula

Saturday, December 24 and Sunday, December 25

Prices vary

Check out this list for more dining options from Big Sur to Pacific Grove. Many of the peninsula’s finest restaurants, including Carmel’s Aubergine and Bernardus Lodge, will offer brunches and dinners with a combination of traditional and seasonal, locally sourced menu items. 

Christmas day bowling

Sunday, December 25, 4pm-12am

Monterey Lanes

$14/hour per lane

If your holiday companions enjoy getting into the competitive spirit, head to Monterey Lanes for a game (or three) of bowling. Snacks and drinks are available, so you can keep things festive all evening. Have a large group? You can even make reservations online to make sure you can snag a spot. 

(Photo courtesy of skitterphoto.com)

Christmas on the Wharf

Friday 5-9pm, Saturday-Sunday 11am-9pm

If Fisherman’s Wharf wasn’t already on your list of places to take out-of-town guests over the weekend, put it on your list for the new lineup of holiday festivities that the Wharf Association has in store. Kids can meet Santa and holiday princesses and complimentary cocoa and treats will be available, along with live music and entertainment throughout the weekend. 

Kayaking at Elkhorn Slough


Kayak rental starts at $30/person

For more adventurous revelers, the trip up to Elkhorn Slough is a great way to show guests the area and work off some of those holiday calories. Rentals at Monterey Bay Kayaks or Kayak Connection are an easy way to go, and the calm waters of the slough will help even totally inexperienced kayakers feel comfortable. Bonus points if you can snag a family selfie with the sea lions!

(Photo courtesy of photographylife.com)

Hike the peninsula


Various locations

For another active option, gear everyone up for a hike. The Monterey Peninsula boasts some stunning trails, so take advantage of the fact that they are basically in our backyards. This list gives a good rundown of nearby spots, including favorites like Jack’s Peak, Point Lobos, and Garland Ranch.