Travelicious: Favorite holiday happenings in Stockton/San Joaquin County, December, 2014



It's a Wonderful Life, with James Stewart and Donna Reed, plays in big screen splendor at the Fox/Bob Hope Theater, December 14.



For many, the Christmas holiday is a favorite time of the year.  Here are some of our favorite things to do, in and around Stockton, during the holiday season:

Christmas lights on Meadow Avenue, between Pershing and Alexandria, Stockton

No city street has more Christmas lights and fun for the family than touring the lights on this six-block stretch of Meadow Avenue in Stockton.  Take a thermos of hot cocoa, and make an evening stroll with other families.  Best of all, it’s free!

Festival of Lights at San Joaquin Historical Society, Micke Grove Park, south of Lodi
With more than 70 beautifully decorated unique Christmas trees, the San Joaquin County Historical Museum’s 23rd annual Festival of Trees is Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum (located in Micke Grove Park south of Lodi about one mile west of Highway 99 and south of Armstrong Road).

Visitors will be greeted by docents in vintage Victorian and pioneer clothes, lending a feeling that guest have stepped back in time to celebrate Christmas! The museum’s exhibit buildings will overflow with scores of festive trees, each decorated according to a unique theme by different individuals and groups from throughout San Joaquin County.

The festival also features holiday exhibits, entertainment, model trains, and many activities including vintage craft demonstrations like wood carving, woodturning, jewelry making and quilting. Children can partake in numerous hands-on activities including decorating cookies, making cornhusk dolls, dipped candles, and punched tin ornaments. A nominal fee is charged for children to make the crafts. Kids will be able to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, and families can purchase photographs of their children with Santa.

Entertainment fills both days; food and drink will be available for purchase.  General admission tickets are $10, and $1 for children 2 to 12 years old (kids under 2 are admitted free). Tickets may be purchased at the event or in advance at the Music Box in Stockton and Lodi or by calling the museum at, (209) 331-2055 or 953-3460, or By getting tickets in advance, the $6 parking fee into Micke Grove Park is waived.

Christmas Tree Lighting at Weber Point Event Center, Saturday, December 6, 2014, 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM.

Enjoy live caroling, Frosty the Snowman, and a tree lighting ceremony with the family!  Weber Point Event Center, Center Street and Miner Avenue, Stockton, California,  FREE! The City of Stockton will hold its annual holiday tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, December 6, 2014. Gates open at 4:30pm and the Tree Lighting is at 5:45pm. Traditionally, the mayor lights the holiday tree for the entire community. This year members of the Lincoln High School Choir will perform, under the direction of Paul Kimball. The ceremony will take place at Weber Point Event Center, located at Center Street and Miner Avenue.

Go Fishing!

With this mild weather, plenty of time for nearby comfy fishing, says the Record’s Pete Ottesen: Go to his Fish Finder for latest updates:  And, your license probably expires in January, so get in a trip or two!


Stockton Civic Theatre presents “The Sound of Music”
Enjoy live musical theatre with the 3rd longest continuously operating community theatre in the US! Stockton Civic Theatre, 2312 Rosemarie Lane, Stockton. A variety of shows through December 14, 2014, contact the theatre for details;

Polar Express Train Rides and tours for the family at Railtown 1897 in Jamestown
Just 60 miles from Stockton is an operating steam railroad, complete with 100 year-old steam engines, the oldest continuously operated roundhouse in the West and movie history literally dripping from the rafters!  Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, on the edge of Jamestown, CA, is open for the holidays and makes a great place to let kids explore!  Toss in the Gold Rush history of Jamestown itself, and you have a full day’s worth of memories just waiting for you!

The popular Polar Express holiday train rides operate now through Christmas, offering kids and adults an hour-long trip to the North Pole on an old train decorated for the holidays on Fridays through Sundays, December 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21, departing at 4, 6 and 8 PM.  Once the train reaches the “North Pole”, Santa will come on board to give each passenger a silver sleighbell!  Hot chocolate and cookies are also provided in route! Tickets for the Polar Express are $40 Coach and $55 First Class, with kids under 2 free (must be seated on adult’s lap).
Jamestown itself is a stalwart holdover from the Gold Rush.  Both a site of gold diggins itself, and a stopping off point for the Mother Lode mines, it grew to quite the city with numerous restaurants, saloons and hotels.  Many still survive, preserving their history dating to the 1860s. 

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park is open daily through March, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and April through October, from 9:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m., (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). The Polar Express train operates though the next three weekends. To get there, go east on State Hwy. 4 to Copperopolis, then southwest on O’Byrnes Ferry Road, then east on Highway 108 to Jamestown (it’s about an hour’s drive from Stockton). For more info: Regular admission: $5 adults; $3 youths ages 6-17; children ages 5 and under are free; if purchasing excursion train ride tickets, admission is included in the train ticket price.  See Railtown’s website for hours and special programs,; write Railtown 1897, PO Box 1250 / 18115 5th Avenue, Jamestown, CA 95327; or call (209) 984-3953.

It’s A Wonderful Life – Sunday, December 14; Santa, entertainment at 1, movie at 2 PM at the Fox/Bob Hope Theatre, downtown Stockton                                                                   
James Stewart and Donna Reed star in the Christmas classic about a man who wishes he had never been born. Things really get interesting when he tries to kill himself but is rescued by an angel who gives him a tour of what the world would have been like without him. Thomas Mitchell, Lionel Barrymore, Ward Bond, and Beulah Bondi have great supporting roles in this 1948 film directed by Frank Capra.

Santa is in the lobby (for photos) and the Barbershoppers singing Christmas carols at 1:00, the “Mighty Morton” organ concert at 1:30 and movie at 2:00 PM. Complimentary wine, snacks, bottled water and soft drinks served in the lobby (donations accepted).  Purchase your tickets at the box office (open 1 PM) for admission and raffle tickets, day of the show.  Theatre is located at 242 E. Main, Stockton.

Miracle Mile Third Thursdays on Pacific Avenue
See Santa and enjoy carolers, wine tasting, and merchant specials on the Mile on Thursday, December 18, 2014, 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Join the fun with participating businesses on the Miracle Mile, Pacific Avenue & Adams Street, Stockton, California.

Ho, Ho Holiday Bicycle Rides are December 18 and December 23, 6:00 PM!
“The Ho, Ho Holiday Bicycle Rides” will take place on Thursday, December 18 and Tuesday, December 23,  6 PM.  The December 18 ride starts at Valley Brew, 157 W. Adams; the December 23 ride begins in front of Performance Bicycle, Lincoln Center South, 6555 Pacific Avenue, Stockton.  Both rides are presented by the San Joaquin Bicycle Coalition and are free to participants.

Rides will be at a leisurely pace; the December 18 ride will tour through nearby neighborhoods and the Miracle Mile, to admire the Christmas lights along the route; the December 23 ride will tour the lights of Lincoln Center.  Participants are urged to decorate their bikes with lights and holiday decorations.  All riding levels will be accommodated; youth under age 18 must ride with helmets; adults are strongly encouraged to ride with helmets. 

Riders will return to Valley Brew around 7 PM, for no-host libations and snacks. At Performance Bikes, participants have a choice of night spots to toast the holidays.  Last year’s event drew about 50 families; more are expected this year!

For additional events and activities, see:; for more travel destination inspiration, see my blog: travel; to contact me,

Happy travels in the West!

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