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California, the Golden State, is where dreams become reality. Popularly called the “Home of Hollywood”, this bustling state of the United States of America is a paradisiacal place where everything is beautiful. With scenic coastline, artistic heritage, exotic beaches, diverse culture, high mountains, thriving nightlife, breathtaking landscapes and much more, California promises a fulfilling vacation to one and all. California in December is perfect for indulging in exciting activities like hiking, biking, and camping excursions. There is festive cheer all around with different theme-based events being hosted in different corners of the city. The city also offers you the opportunity to enjoy various kinds of food, music and culture.

Weather In California In December

The weather in California depends on which part of the state you are visiting. For example, the deserts are much warmer than the coastal areas. The days are mostly sunny with 8 hours of sunshine, however, you will experience some light rain showers. The temperature drops to 8.3-degree celsius, especially at night while during the daytime, the temperature is around 19.4-degree celsius.

5 Places To Visit In California In December

The month of December makes California a picturesque location. The beaches are less crowded and the temperature is welcoming with a slightly cooler breeze. Here is a detailed list of some interesting places that are worth exploring with your friends and families, or even solo. Let’s get started..!

1. San Francisco


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The first on the list is San Francisco, packed with vibrant neighborhoods, ferry buildings, impressive art galleries and the indisputable charm of the City by the Bay. Regarded as America’s greatest city, San Francisco boasts a number of eye-popping sites, multi-cuisine restaurants, cafeterias and not to miss the high-spirited nightlife.

San Francisco in December turns into a dazzling beauty with amazing light displays and fireworks. We recommend you to visit The Golden Gate Theatre or The Curran for some mind-blowing Broadway hits and shows. You can also indulge in thrilling activities like ice-skating, which is a popular winter sports activity in the US.

Key attractions: Alcatraz Island, Museums in SFO, Japanese Tea Garden, Muir Woods National Monument, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge.
Best Hotels to Stay: Argonaut Hotel, Club Quarters Hotel, Palace Hotel, Fairmont San Francisco, Four Seasons Hotel, Loews Regency and The Ritz-Carlton

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2. San Diego

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If you are looking for a spellbinding vacation and love to enjoy Mexican food and margaritas, there is no better place than San Diego. The city offers a wealth of sightseeing places and continues to lure tourists with its warm and welcoming weather. Spotting gray whales of San Diego’s coast is undeniably the best thing to do here.

If you are in San Diego in December, then do visit Balboa Park’s December Nights, Parade of Lights and Old Globe Theater with an annual rendition of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Also, do remember to catch some of the world’s amazing sunset views at Sunset Cliffs, Point Loma. Just for your information, the sunset here occurs between 4:50 and 6:00 in December.

Key attractions: Gaslamp Pet Parade, Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Christmas Parade, Parade of Lights, Balboa Park December Nights, Holiday Bowl, Neighborhood Holiday Lights.
Best Hotels to Stay: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, The US Grant, Hard Rock Hotel and Kimpton Hotel Palomar

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3. Monterey


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This delightful location located off the sea is a must-visit destination if you are planning a vacation in California in December. The huge and spectacular aquarium overlooking Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the major crowd puller. This world-class aquarium exhibits rich marine life including sea lions, dolphins, and sharks.

The cluster of restored buildings from the Spanish and Mexican Era surrounded by incredible coastal views will surely leave you enthralled. Gorgeous sunsets, challenging hiking trails and delicious seafood have made Monterey a hot favorite destination among the locals as well as international tourists.

Key attractions: 17-Mile Drive, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Coast Guard Pier, Monterey State Historic Park, Monterey Museum of Art
Best Hotels to Stay: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Monterey Marriott, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa, Monterey Bay Inn and InterContinental The Clement Monterey

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4. Palm Springs


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Replete with luxurious hotels, hot springs, spas, modern architectural buildings, vintage boutiques, swanky restaurants and much more, Palm Springs is certainly one of the best places to visit in California in December. Regarded as one of the warmest places in California in winter, Palm Springs offers plenty of opportunities to keep you engaged.

Not to miss, Palm Springs is the center of the RoboLights, America’s largest residential holiday destination with over 8 million lights. If you are the kind of person who wishes to stay, dine and shop under one roof, Palm Springs is the place to be.

Key attractions: Palm Springs Air Museum, Indian Canyons, Palm Springs Art Museum, Coachella Valley Preserve, Moorten Botanical Gardens, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Mount San Jacinto
Best Hotels to Stay: Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel, Best Western Plus Las Brisas Hotel, Best Western Plus Las Brisas Hotel, Colony Palms Hotel and Hilton Palm Springs

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5. Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is a beautiful city in Southern California and happens to be the heart of its film and television industry. Famed for its iconic Hollywood sign as well as studios such as Paramount Pictures and Universal and Warner Brothers, Los Angeles is a dream destination for not just acting aspirants, but all travelers and beach bums across the world. There’s a lot to do here for all kinds of travelers, especially adventure seekers, couples, youngsters, and surfers. You can take a behind-the-scenes tour in Warner Brothers studio, bask in the sun on the beaches, watch a movie or two, meet celebs at Walk of Fame, and much more.

Key attractions: Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Warner Brothers
Best Hotels to Stay: Freehand Los Angeles, Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles Montebello, Libra Hotel, Holiday Inn Los Angeles

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5 Things To Do In California In December

While you’re at it, why not indulge in these fun and exciting activities in California to add a dash of adventure to your trip. Find experiences for all types of travelers and age groups here.

1. Yosemite National Park: Go Skiing


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Badger Pass Ski Area in Yosemite National Park is opened in winter in December and is a phenomenal site for enjoying skiing. There are several instructors at Badger Pass offering courses for skiing so that you don’t hurt yourself. Operated by the National Park Service, Badger Pass is a fantastic place to experience both downhill skiing as well as snowboarding activities. Almost every year, there is a snow of 3 feet at the Badger Pass Ski Area.

Timings: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for Ski area
Price: INR 3,700 ($52) for adults and INR 1,800 $25 for children

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2. Death Valley: Enjoy Scenic Views


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Despite the forbidding name, Death Valley is one of the world’s best desert wonders. The dramatic hiking trails of this valley covering around 3,000 square miles, is quite popular among adventure junkies. The stunning panoramas of this picture-perfect location with rising mountains in the backdrop will definitely spell magic on you. Death Valley is an ideal place to admire gold, orange, and brown shades of earth. Even if you don’t wish to hike, you can just hop on the ridges and soak yourself in the beauty of nature.

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3. Lake Tahoe: Ski, Snowboard, And Snowshoe


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Whether you are on a trip with friends, family or solo, a visit to Lake Tahoe is a must. This pristine location offers a perfect base for enjoying heart-pumping activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding. To make your trip memorable, visit the SnowGlobe Music Festival, held in December every year.

This three-day musical fest in Lake Tahoe’s snowy weather is attended by some of the world’s best musicians and is truly a magical experience. For more thrill and adventure, head to the Sierra Nevada mountains or Mammoth Mountain, California’s tallest peak standing over 11,000-feet. Plenty of sporting activities and live events are carried out here in December.

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4. Bodega Bay: Catch A Glimpse Of Gray Whales


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A trip to California is incomplete without catching a glimpse of gray whales sailing along the California coast from the Arctic. This is an annual migration taking place, and one could see mother whales and their newborn calves embarking on this long journey. Bodega Bay along Sonoma County’s coast, Point Montara Lighthouse, Año Nuevo State Park, Rodeo Beach and Point Reyes peninsula are the top five places to catch a glimpse of this amazing activity.

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5. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens: Attend The “Festival Of Lights”

Festival Of Lights

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Each Winter, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens turns into a visual spectacle with thousands of inventive lights and displays. This 47-acre coastal garden, engulfed in the natural grace of glittering flowers is a pleasing treat to one’s eye. A trip to this botanical garden will surely brighten up your trip. You will find plenty of tents serving sweets and some of Mendocino’s best wine. The live music in the background further uplifts the vibe and mood of the entire festival.

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What To Pack For California In December

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No matter which part of California you are planning to visit, make sure to pack the following things:

  • A warm winter jacket
  • Long-sleeved T-shirts and hoodies are comfortable
  • Denim shorts or pants are also a good option
  • You can even carry some of your best dresses
  • Pack plenty of sunscreen creams or lotions
  • Carry a good pair of shoes or boots, that are ideal for hiking
  • A lightweight and multi-fold umbrella
  • Lip balms to avoid chapped lips
  • Electronic gadgets like power bank, mobile charger, etc
  • Beach attire, if you wish to enjoy swimming in the beaches

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California is connected by various international flights from different corners of the world. So, without any second thought in mind, book your tickets now and enjoy a fun and relaxing holiday in the USA. Don’t forget to explore all these amazing places in California in December that will give you memories for a lifetime!

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Frequently Asked Questions About California In December

Is December a good time to visit California?

Needless to say, California enjoys the best weather in December. The temperature in South California varies from the mid-50s to the mid-70s and is mild for exploring the places with joy.

How cold is California in December?

California in December witnesses light rain showers, but there is sunshine for at least 8 hours a day. The temperature drops to 8.3-degree celsius, especially at night while during the daytime, the temperature is around 19.4-degree celsius.

What is there to do in California in December?

Skiing and Snowboarding and Snowshoeing are the three most popular winter activities to do in California in December.

What part of California gets snow?

The Lake Tahoe area, perched at Sierra Nevada mountain range in the northern part of California experiences snowfall.

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