December 3, 2008 > Winter Wonderland
By Mona Shah
The buzz and excitement that surrounds downtown San Jose when the heart of the city undergoes its annual magical transformation, captivates once again. This holiday season, even with the economy tightening, has some fun things close to home to get you in the spirit (some are free). Here is a listing of a few events and attractions to fill a weekend without breaking the bank.
Skate under the Palms
November 14 - January 11
Skaters flock to the circular-shaped outdoor ice rink to skate under the stars - and palm trees. These are the most beautiful palm trees, wrapped in bright lights, and the feel is distinctly Californian. Where else can you ice skate under balmy, sunny skies. The ice rink is open until 10 p.m. during the week and midnight on weekends. Cost is $13 for children and $15 for adults, but $2 discounts can be found online at www.sjdowntown.com. Price includes skate rentals.
November 21 - January 1
From the giant gondola towering 10 stories to the classic carousel, families are attracted to the festive arcade of rides and attractions. To heighten the season, explore a magical arts-and-crafts marketplace, international desserts and glass-blowing demonstration that everyone can enjoy. For more information, please visit www.winterwonderlandsj.com. Free.
Christmas in the Park
November 28 - January 1
Downtown's Central Park transforms into a magical holiday fantasy. Explore for free a holiday village of more than 60 animated displays, hundreds of decorated trees and thousands of glittering lights. Visit with Santa and enjoy nightly entertainment. For more information, please visit www.christmasinthepark.com. Free.
All three of these are within walking distance of each other. Several cafˇ's and restaurants dot the area. To plan ahead, visit www.sjdowntown.com. For parking information: www.sjdowntownparking.com.