Your Guide to Viewing the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
The 115th anniversary of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is here! This merry and bright celebration will showcase a fleet of beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes from Dec. 13-17 at 6:30 p.m. First-timer? Fret not! We’re breaking down exactly where you can watch the parade this year in true Newport Beach fashion. From waterfront restaurants to seaside hotels, these prime viewing spots are the perfect places to watch the boats jingle on the waves this season!
STAY & WATCH
Situated at the harbor’s edge, Balboa Bay Resort is a Forbes Four-Star hotel that offers a front-row seat to this year’s parade! Reserve one of 159 renovated guest rooms this December where you can cozy up on your private balcony with a cocktail or hot cocoa and watch the decorated boats float by!
Located in the heart of it all, Lido House is the ideal destination for a winter staycation! This Cape Cod-inspired hotel is all things coastal-chic and sits in the center of it all. Head to the hotel’s rooftop bar, Topside, for a craft cocktail and a bird’s eye view of the parade, or walk next door to Lido Marina Village to watch from one of the center’s many bayside restaurants.
DINE & WATCH
One of Newport’s most beloved dock-and-dine restaurants, Billy’s at the Beach boasts tiki-inspired fare, tropical drinks and a waterfront view. Sip on one of their world-famous mai tais, order some pupus and watch the harbor light up with decorated boats.
For bayfront views and cocktails by the fire, grab a table at A+O Restaurant | Bar at Balboa Bay Resort! This waterfront restaurant features an expansive wrap-around patio and pairs live music with a menu of fresh seafood.
Feeling fancy this holiday season? Cozy up with a cocktail at Nobu Newport Beach for a festive evening out with your crew. Nobu’s two-story Newport Beach location offers a prime viewing spot for the boat parade, and the Japanese fare is next level—just ask any celeb.
Prized for its fresh, seasonal cuisine and seaside location, Lido Bottle Works is Michelin-recognized and one of Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in the US.” Cozy vibes and farm-to-table dishes make this Lido Marina Village hotspot a must-visit dining destination during the parade.
Holiday lights and harbor views from the comfort of an Italian steakhouse? We couldn’t dream up a better situation if we tried! You’ll feel right at home this holiday season at Louie’s by the Bay. Sip a glass of champagne and dig into dishes like cioppino, scallop risotto and Colorado lamb with balsamic apple dressing as the bright and decorative boats cruise by.
Located within the historic Balboa Pavilion, Harborside boasts an award-winning seafood and steak selection. The restaurant sits just steps from the Balboa Fun Zone, so after you dig in, you can take a ride on the Ferris wheel while watching the parade!
PARK & WATCH
Take a stroll down the charming Marine Avenue on Balboa Island, grab dinner at one of the many family-owned restaurants and enjoy a night by the harbor. Be sure to check out the island’s fully decorated homes participating in the Ring of Lights Competition!
Shop from local vendors at the Opening Night Holiday Pop-Up Market at Marina Park (Dec. 13, from 4 to 8 p.m.), then grab a seat on the grass for a great view of the parade. While you enjoy the festivities, your kids can play on the park’s nautical-themed playground! Please note the Marina Park Parking lot will be CLOSED to the public on opening night. Parking is available on the street or surrounding lots.
Get some last-minute Christmas shopping done at Lido Marina Village, then grab a table at one of the village’s charming bayside restaurants or a seat on the Lido Deck. There’s no better place to watch the decorated boats set sail this year.
BOAT & WATCH
Cruise the dazzling harbor this season in your very own electric boat! Vision Electric Boat Rental in Lido Marina Village has a colorful fleet of vessels available for rent. Each boat can fit up to 10 passengers and can be embellished with a balloon garland for extra merriment.
Book one of City Crusies’ festive holiday excursions for an epic view of the parade from the comfort of a luxury yacht. From boozy brunch cruises to elegant dinner cruises, this events company is sure to make your holiday season one to remember.
Cruise the bay with your Mrs. Claus in a romantic gondola! Gondola Adventures’ cruises include Christmas treats, a non-alcoholic beverage of your choice and a spectacular view of the parade. Talk about the perfect date night!
In the heart of the historic Balboa Village, lies Davey’s Locker—a local company with an array of boats for rent that can accommodate almost any size group. Gather your friends and family this season and set sail on a private yacht or electric boat.
Written By: Kaylin Waizinger