Christmas in Southern California
Courtney is doing American Studies at Leicester University, with a year abroad studying in Texas. She spent that Christmas in Southern California with her family - here's how she got on with the shopping, food and beaches!
It’s almost a year to the day since I flew from Dallas-Fort Worth, where I spent my year abroad, out to Southern California to spend Christmas with my family, eagerly awaiting the arrival of my parents on New Year’s Eve. Now, the reason I travelled to California at Christmas is obviously because of my family links, but I’m pretty sure it makes a great place to travel in anyone’s book, particularly at Christmas.
Firstly, Southern California is home to some of the best shopping in the world. Although the exchange rate isn’t all that fantastic, British visitors to SoCal can take advantage of the fantastic malls. Fashion Island in Newport Beach is a high-end plaza-style mall right off the Pacific Coast Highway. If you’re looking for upscale brands like Bloomingdales or Urban Decay then look no further. If you want even more variety, just a little way away in Costa Mesa is South Coast Plaza, a fantastic mall that has something to offer everyone whether you’re looking for Louis Vuitton or H&M. Look at that: you can shop wherever and however you want without even straying too far away from the beach.
If you’re more fashion conscious than me, you’ll enjoy the shopping!
2. Then, you’ve got the food.
All over Southern California there are great places to eat out or to shop for fresh produce if you’d prefer to cook for yourself. You can feel the influence from South of the Border in the sheer variety of Baja style (soft) tacos filled with almost any meats, fish, or veggies your heart could desire. There are also authentic Mexican restaurants, cafés, and stands offering up everything from burritos to flautas. That, combined with the surprisingly good BBQ found at the BBQ Beach Pit in Costa Mesa made my stomach happy and kept the withdrawals from Texas at bay.
Insta-Worthy Eats from brunch at the Beachcomber Café in Crystal Cove
You’ll even be able to enjoy all of the great food and shopping outside, because the weather (although it will get cold at night time) will still feel balmy to most Brits. You’re very unlikely to get below 15oC in the day time, and the high for the upcoming week is 28oC. Even if you think that’s a little on the cold side, you’ll at least have sunshine for most of your time there. Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas in the warmth and sunshine?
Is there anywhere else you’d rather be doing your Boxing Day walk?
Finally, there are the beaches. If you stay around Costa Mesa or Newport Beach you’re just a stone’s throw away from Huntingdon Beach, Crystal Cove, or the beach on the Balboa Peninsula. Although there’s no guarantee it will be bikini weather on Christmas Day itself, you can absolutely still go for long walks or bike rides along the miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Sure beats a freezing cold ‘Boxing Day Swim’ if you ask me!
I hope my article has inspired you to visit SoCal, at Christmas or otherwise. If you’re considering travelling at Christmas make sure you have the right insurance for the duration of your trip, you have all necessary and valid travel documents, and you take good care of those gifts.