I love the winter holiday season! I love Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and Christmas music. (In fact, I’m listening to my new Christmas station on Pandora as I type this. I love Christmas parties and I love giving Christmas presents. And in Oakland, the best part of the holiday season is that we get a flurry of great events and community celebrations.
My hands down favorite of all the seasonal Oakland events is the Holiday Parade.
What is not to love about the holiday parade? The parade ranks right up there with Art & Soul and the Laney College Carnival as one of the best things that happen in Oakland all year. Downtown gets just about as crowded as you ever see it and the sidewalk on Broadway from 11th all the way up to 20th is packed with adorable smiling children, jumping up and down and squealing at the balloons and floats with their favorite cartoon characters. All the jubilant energy in the air and happy crowds give me shivers. The floats might not be quite as elaborate as we had in the Mardi Gras parades I used to go to growing up in Louisiana, but the whole thing is just a really fantastic event anyway. You’ve got all the biker clubs riding down Broadway in their santa hats, you’ve got giant balloons of cartoon characters I’m too old to recognize, and all the high school marching bands in the area. And oh yeah, dancing Christmas trees!
If you’ve never been, you are totally missing out and should make sure to get downtown this Saturday, December 6th. The parade starts at 2.
The parade isn’t the only awesome holiday event in town, just the best one. If you, like me, missed last week’s tree lighting in Jack London Square, don’t worry. You’ve got plenty of opportunities left to celebrate in Oakland. Here are a few of them you might want to consider checking out:
- Montclair Village Holiday Stroll: Tonight! Thursday, December 4, 6-9 PM. I hardly ever go to Montclair, but every time I do, I’m charmed. Their little village really is adorable. So if you haven’t been in a while, why not do it tonight, so you can enjoy it with the crowds and music and a little trolley car to ride around.
- Jingletown Holiday Art Walk: Another cute part of town I don’t get to nearly often enough. This weekend, Jingletown artists will be opening up their studios, and it’s a great opportunity to do some Christmas shopping or just enjoy this underappreciated neighborhood. Opening reception with drinks, food, and music at 420 Gallery on Friday, December 5, 6-8pm. Art walk Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7, 11am-5:30pm. Event flyer here (PDF).
- Lighted Yacht Parade This is another great one. All the boats get all done up with Christmas lights and drive up and down the Estuary. And there’s usually a band playing festive music in Jack London Square for the event. Saturday December 6. 5:30 PM.
Is there a holiday event in your neighborhood? Or one anywhere in Oakland you’re particularly fond of? Share it in the comments.