What is a Christmas market?
A Christmas market brings food, drink, music and artisan gifts to the center of town during the Christian season of Advent. Visitors stroll the market, purchasing handmade goods as presents for loved ones, sipping mulled wine, noshing on gingerbread, and listening to live music. Christmas markets date back to 13th-century Germany, and today take place across the globe. These yearly street festivals are often characterized by Christmas lights strung all throughout the market, turning the city center into a magical twinkling fairyland.
History of The Cambria Christmas Market
Founded in 2011, the Cambria Christmas Market occupies the grounds of Cambria Pines Lodge and adjacent Cambria Nursery each year. The owner of Cambria Pines Lodge was inspired to host a European-style Christmas market after visiting Germany during the holidays. The Cambria Christmas Market features open-air stalls selling glühwein (hot mulled wine), traditional German foods, local vendors, and live entertainment. But the market is perhaps best known for its jaw-dropping lights display, featuring 30 miles of lights ― nearly 2 million LED bulbs in all. Installing the lights takes around 2,500 hours, and preparations begin very early every year. The market takes place on just six acres, with over 45,000 guests visiting annually. Activities include miniature train rides circling the market, Santa’s House, a biergarten, and live music from a wide array of local talent.
2019 Cambria Christmas Market Tickets
Admission to the Cambria Christmas market varies depending on the night you wish to visit. (Eg mid-week pricing is more affordable than weekend pricing.) Tickets are also most affordable when purchased online (a small service fee may apply) and in advance, with a fee added to tickets bought at the door. Children 10 and under enjoy free admission and don’t need a ticket to enter. Keep in mind that this event sells out almost every night. Plan ahead!
The Cambria Christmas Market runs from the day after Thanksgiving to December 23rd, nearly every day. Check the tickets page for details.
The market opens at 5 PM and closes at 9 PM each day. Admission is permitted up to 8:30pm.
The adjoining grounds of the Cambria Pines Lodge and Cambria Nursery provide the setting for the annual Cambria Christmas Market.
For nearly 50K visitors each season, the Cambria Christmas Market provides a complimentary shuttle from designated parking lots in town. Parking on-site is limited to guests of Cambria Pines Lodge and some vehicles with handicapped/ADA placards. On-site parking is also available with the purchase of a VIP parking pass. Complimentary parking shuttles pick up and drop off at three designated parking areas. Shuttles run all through the event, both coming and going. Early arrival is recommended; the last shuttles return to the parking lots at 9:15 PM.
Please leave Fido at home. Pets are not allowed on the shuttles or inside the Cambria Christmas Market.
Cambria Christmas Lights
Every year, the Cambria Christmas lights dazzle visitors and put even the grumpiest Grinch in the holiday spirit! With over 30 miles of lights and nearly 2 million bulbs, the Cambria Christmas lights attract thousands of visitors and even national media. Producing the lights display takes months of planning and preparing ― over 2,500 hours in all. Most famously, the twinkling, colorful “Light Tunnel” provide the backdrop to tens of thousands of selfies, family and group photos each year.
Christmas Market Events
Bring cash and cross holiday shopping off your list! Goods for sale at the Cambria Christmas Market include apparel like hand-knitted scarves and hats, and jewelry crafted from local seaglass and abalone. Other items include locally-made pies and brittle, original artwork, leather goods, teas, home decor, soaps, candles and more.
Biergarten & Entertainment at the Market
The Biergarten is a tented area complete with plentiful dining options to ensure your Cambria Christmas Market experience is a tasty one. The Biergarten menu includes Bratwurst and tri-tip sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, fondue and warm German potato salad. For dessert, enjoy bread pudding, cinnamon rolls, and brownies. And don’t forget drinks! Try the famous spiced glühwein, hot apple cider, eggnog and hot buttered rum. Enjoy your plate alongside a hearty helping of live entertainment. Artists in the Biergarten perform Christmas carols, jazz, acoustic rock, and Americana ― even a magic show.
Photos with Santa & Train Rides
Kids big and small will get a kick out of sitting on Santa’s lap and putting in a request for Christmas gifts. Photos with Santa can be purchased for a suggested donation, the proceeds from which benefit local charity. Santa is available for photos from 6 PM to 8:30 PM nightly. And don’t miss the Cambria Christmas Market Express! Purchase tickets for rides on this miniature train, and take in the Cambria Christmas Market from a whole new perspective.
On select nights the Cambria Christmas Market offers a family-style Christmas dinner with all the fixins. The traditional holiday dinner menu features turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans and rolls. As an alternative, the market also offers Santa Maria-Style BBQ dinners, with tri-tip and chicken, pinquito beans, salsa, and salad. The evening includes live music and a cash bar, as well as VIP access to the Cambria Christmas Market.
Christmas dinners at the Cambria Christmas Market are served on select Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Adult and children tickets are available for purchase.