The Cambria Christmas Market: A Winter Wonderland

When I was little, I always wanted to go to the North Pole to see Santa’s castle, and meet all of the elves. Now that I’m older I can go to the Cambria Christmas Market instead!

This winter extravaganza of lights is located only 30 minutes outside of San Luis Obispo, and is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.


The Cambria Christmas Market is a celebration of vendors, lights, music, and food in the style of Germany’s Christmas markets- only right here in the Central Coast’s own backyard. This year it’s open from November 29th-December 23rd from 5pm-9pm. The gate into the market closes at 8:30 pm and the market shuts down at 9pm. The walk through the lights combined with enjoying the opportunity to eat all of the yummy food from vendors takes at least a couple hours to enjoy- so make sure you give yourself enough time to experience everything!

Tickets run between only $10-$25 depending on the night. It’s a smart idea to get tickets online beforehand rather than buying them at the door because they do sell out.


Parking can be tricky but is free at Coast Union High School, East Village (Shuttle Pickup at Burton Dr. and Center St.) and West Village (Shuttle Pickup at Main St. and Arlington St.). The first pick up is at 4:45pm, and shuttles run throughout the event, with the last shuttle pick-ups from parking lots at 8:15pm. The last shuttle leaves the Christmas Market parking lot to go back to cars at 9pm.


Be sure to grab a hot chocolate immediately when you arrive- because it was one of the best hot chocolates that I’ve tasted in my life. If you’re over 21, you can enjoy some peppermint schnapps in that hot chocolate too for a few extra dollars… 😉 There are a variety of foods and beverages available at the market as well as a Biergarten.

It’s spiked with peppermint schnapps… YUM

There’s an amazing variety of other vendors including homemade holiday gifts for sale like candy, ornaments and jewelry. Santa is in the house too! Visit him to let him know what you’re dreaming about having him bring you this Christmas. Maybe a ticket to Germany so that you can go to a real German Christmas market?…


The walk along the path to see all of the light arrangements takes about half an hour, with a seemingly never ending stream of twinkling and creative displays. Open fire pits are scattered throughout the walk just in case you’re like me and get cold at any temperature below 60, and Christmas music follows you along the way in speakers spread throughout the grounds to add to the jolly atmosphere. After the walk of lights, you will cross the street and come out to a nursery/garden area featuring all sorts of fun trinkets and plants.

View the slideshow below for photos of my favorite light displays….

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The Christmas Market is the perfect way to get into the seasonal spirit and enjoy time with friends and loved ones, while spreading holiday cheer. I will definitely be back every year moving forward.


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