San Jose for the Holidays

Downtown Ice by San Jose Downtown Association

Downtown Ice is not only located in a spectacular setting -- the Circle of Palms between the Fairmont Hotel and San Jose Museum of Art.  The South Bay’s largest seasonal outdoor skating rink, produced by the San Jose Downtown Association, has the coolest partners - Kristi Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation and Hawaiian Airlines.

The Downtown Ice rink opens its 60-day run at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, directly across Market Street from Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

The goal of the Downtown Association is to take care of all customers and make this ice rink the best skating experience anywhere.  

If you've never been to the ice rink, here's what to expect, a step-by-step guide to ensure a cool Downtown Ice experience.


Christmas in the Park

The Christmas in the Park tradition began in 1950 as a small holiday display. Don Lima, a local community leader, placed animated characters in front of his business on Willow Street in San Jose, drawing spectators, young and old. Each year, the display grew in size and became so popular with the San Jose community that a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam clogged the streets. In 1970, Lima donated his display characters to the City of San Jose where for several years; the display was set up on the lawn of City Hall.

In the early 1980’s, Lima gathered a group of community leaders to request that the City move the display to the downtown park now known as Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

Each year, the two-acre park is transformed into a holiday fantasy with over 60 musical and animated exhibits and glittering lights and the 60-foot City Community Giving Tree. Some of the original displays are housed in one of the largest exhibits, the Lima Train, and include a melting snowman, caroling mice and elf woodcrafters. The Victorian Village, a 25-foot Christmas tree surrounded by the animated Nutcracker Suite exhibit and Santa House welcome park visitors. Guests enter a winter wonderland of lights, songs and entertainment by local schools and groups, and stroll through a forest of trees decorated by San Jose schools, community groups and businesses.

Christmas in the Park draws over 450,000 people to downtown San Jose during the four-week holiday season. It is supported through fundraising efforts by the volunteer Board of Directors, is free to the public and is open from 9 a.m. to midnight daily. Children can have their photograph taken with Santa Claus, watch the nightly entertainment and enjoy refreshments.

Christmas in the Park is organized as a non-profit corporation known as Christmas in the Park, Inc. It is comprised of volunteer citizens who donate their time and energy to make the exhibit a reality year after year.

As a co-sponsor, the City of San José, Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, works closely with the Board of Directors in providing staff assistance. Board members and community volunteers donate more than 257,000 hours and raise funds year-round to bring San Jose this well-loved holiday tradition.


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