Best Ways to View the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

The event the New York Times calls, “One of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation,” will be back for its 110th year in Newport Harbor. The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade takes place five consecutive nights, starting Wednesday, December 19th through the 23nd. The parade starts from Bay Island at 6:30PM and finishes in the same location around 9PM each evening. Want to see the spectacle but not sure where the best view is? Here’s a helpful list of the top places to catch a view of the enchanting parade.

View from a Boat

With thousands of people viewing the parade each evening, it could be hard to get a glimpse from ashore. Get up close and personal on a Newport Harbor cruise during the parade.

  1. YOU Drive- You’re the captain when you rent your own boat. Be sure to bring your own food and beverages for a tasty cruise. Local boat rental companies include Balboa Boat Rentals, Marina Boat Rentals, and Newport Pontoons.
  2. Public Cruise- Pre-scheduled skippered cruises let you sit back and relax, or dance and dine during the boat parade; some boats are even decorated and part of the parade. Try Davey’s Locker, Newport Landing & Sportfishing, HornBlower Cruises, and Pacific Avalon Yacht Charters.
  3. Private Chartered Cruise— Private cruises allow for a customizable view. You play event planner and choose the music, food, decorations and guests. Electra Cruises Inc., Gondola Adventures, and Marina Sailing Newport Beach are just a few options.

While you can always shovel out the cash for the great view, bumming a ride on a friend’s boat is also a highly recommended plan!

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

View from a Restaurant

It doesn’t get much better than dinner and a show. Get a warm and exclusive view of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade by making a reservation at one of the following restaurants with views of the Newport Harbor:

  1. Balboa Bay Resort’s First Cabin Restaurant – With a special 3 course Pre Fixe Christmas Boat Parade Dinner Menu, including Braised Beef Short Ribs, Prime Rib, and Wild Caught Shetland Salmon, this is one viewing spot that will satisfy all of your senses.
  2. Harborside Restaurant – This restaurant also spotlights a Christmas Boat Parade Pre Fix Menu, but with 4 courses. Items featured include Alaskan King Crab Legs, Chilean Sea Bass, and New Zealand Rack of Lamb.
  3. Rusty Pelican Restaurant, Inc. – A seafood focused menu at this dining option will have something to please everyone during the Christmas Boat Parade.
  4. The Crab Cooker – As “Orange County’s Best Seafood Restaurant,” the Crab Cooker is great for family dining.
  5. Sabatino’s Lido Shipyard Sausage Company – All food is prepared Sicilian style and fresh to order at this authentic dining establishment.
  6. Malarky’s Pub — No reservations are required at the Irish bar; for exclusive views with a fun atmosphere, Malarky’s is the perfect place to view the splendid event for the young and young at heart.

Free Viewing

For those of us who don’t have the cash to shell out to see Christmas decorated boats, there are many locations along the Newport Harbor with FREE admission.

  1. Balboa Village — If it’s your first time seeing the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, maybe even Newport Beach period, a great place to visit and view the parade is at the Fun Zone.
  2. Local Spot — Tyree from Newport Beach said, “Take the ferry, turn right, grab some hot cocoa, and keep strolling. There will be an open dock on your right. Best spot.”

And you heard it there, all the best spots to view the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade extravaganza! Have you ever been to the Newport Beach Boat Parade? What are some great spots you would recommend?

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