December to Remember in Downtown Davis [for 2023]

by | Oct 31, 2023 | Community

Last updated: November 22, 2023

A community announcement from Abaton Consulting – Website Design and Photography.

Davis Holiday Candlelight Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony, Davis Downtown’s Window Decorating Contest, and more – all happening in downtown Davis this Holiday Season.

You think summertime in Davis is awesome? Wait until you read about the line-up for this December.

That’s right. We just wrapped-up the Zombie Bike Ride and Halloween in Downtown Davis (aka The Treat Trail). Shop Small Weekend in Davis is just around the corner. Now we are looking at tons of things to do to celebrate the holidays, chase off the winter chill, and support businesses in Downtown Davis.

Quick Links

Jump right to the exact information you are looking for. But be sure to come back here and check for other fun events happening in and around the downtown.

Davis Downtown Candlelight Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony

The 42nd Annual Holiday Candlelight Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for November 30, 2023.

The Parade and Tree Lighting is a wonderful event for people of all ages. This magical event brings visitors from Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano Counties to Davis, CA to enjoy this celebration of the holidays and downtown Davis.

Holiday Candlelight Parade

The 42nd Annual Holiday Candlelight Parade (2023) starts at the Davis Food Coop and ends at the Tree Lighting Ceremony in E Street Plaza. An announcement from the City of Davis provided the details for the parade.

  • Participants must arrive in the Davis Food Co-op parking lot by 5:45 p.m.
  • No parade parking will be available in the Food Co-op parking lot or in E Street Plaza.
  • The parade starts promplty at 6:00 p.m.
  • The parade will travel south (towards downtown) on G St, turn west (right turn) onto 3rd St, south (a left turn) onto E St, and will end at E Street Plaza.

Street Closures

The streets along the parade route will be temporarily closed immediately before and during the parade. If you are in a hurry to be somewhere, find a route around the area.

E St, between 2nd St and 3rd St, will be closed from noon (12:00 p.m.) to 10:00 p.m. for the festivities and for clean-up afterwards.

So put this in in your calendar and get your best Holiday outfit ready! Remember, it does get cold and it can certainly rain. Dress accordingly.

UC Davis double-decker bus

The UC Davis double-decker bus and the Davis Fire Department emergency vehicle lead the way from the Davis Food Co-op to E Street Plaza as part of the 2018 Davis Holiday Candlelight Parade.


Parade Map

Tree Lighting at E Street Plaza

Beginning at 6 p.m. at E Street Plaza, the community gathers for entertainment, food, and festivities.

The ceremony for lighting the Christmas Holiday Tree will begin at 6:30 p.m. when the parade arrives in E Street Plaza. The ceremony will be led by Mayor Wil Arnold and members of the Davis City Council.

Festivities Include

  • Performances by local groups starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Photos with Santa and Ms. Clause starting at 6:30 p.m.
  • “Shrek the Halls” will be showing at the Varsity Theater at 6:00 p.m., 6:40 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. The showing of this short film is FREE!
  • Roaming mascot characters
  • Santa letter writing activity station
  • Plus more things to do on this special evening
E Street Plaza - Christmas Tree

On a frosty evening in downtown Davis, the Christmas tree in E Street Plaza can easily warm the heart.


Ugly Sweater Contest in Downtown Davis

Sam Shane, local TV and radio celebrity, host the Davis Downtown Ugly Sweater Contest from a previous Tree Lighting Ceremony.


Downtown Davis Candlelight Parade

Participants in the  Davis Candlelight Parade gather at E Street Plaza in Downton Davis awaiting the annual tree lighting [from 2018].

Santa Claus at E Street Plaza

Will Santa be in E Street Plaza for the Christmas Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony? Absolutely! Check out what Santa has in store for Downtown Davis. His exact location in E Street Plaza is still a mystery. But, I am sure he will be easy to find. Just follow the Christmas spirit.

Breakfast with Santa

But don’t worry if you don’t get to see him at the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Santa will be back December 16 for Breakfast with Santa at the Odd Fellows Lodge.

If you want to chat with Santa and his elves, get your tickets to the Davis Odd Fellows Breakfast with Santa. Santa returns to the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge for a wonderful breakfast, and meet and greet. Let Santa know what you want for Christmas while you get your photograph with Santa – just in time for that personalized Christmas card.

Breakfast with Santa is on December 16, 2023 at the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, 415 Second St in Downtown Davis.

This is an extremely popular event. Get your tickets later in November.

Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Downtown Davis

Santa and Mrs. Claus make an appearance in Downtown Davis for the 2018 Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Christmas at the Varsity

Another great tradition of the Tree Lighting Ceremony is the free screening of films at the Varsity Theater. This year, enjoy the free screening of the short film “Shrek the Halls.”

Showtimes are on November 30, 2023: 6:00 p.m., 6:40 p.m., and 7:20 p.m.

Custom Product Portrait Photography

Enhance your website or personal portfolio with custom photography from Stewart Savage Photography

YouTube Video

In past years, Davis Downtown has organized a photo booth to take lots of fun pics. Here is a video slideshow from 2017. Fun stuff!


Davis Downtown Window Decorating Contest

The 12th Annual Davis Downtown Window Decorating contest is starts on November 30, 2023.

The downtown is alive with festive lights and window displays as part of the Davis Downtown Window Decorating Contest. Enjoy a fun and festive holiday shopping experience throughout the downtown.

For 2023, twenty-two (22) business are vying for the best decorated window in the downtown. The competition is fierce. Many of the businesses have participated in the past and their creativity is unbelievable!

As I mentioned before, this will be the 12th anniversary of the Davis Downtown Window Decorating Contest. Created in 2012 by Stewart Savage (Yes, that would be me), Executive Director (former) of the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA), the contest was designed to bring life and excitement to the downtown and encourage people to visit, shop, and enjoy the center of our community.

My recommendation for the Window Decorating Contest is to come downtown, enjoy a nice meal, visit a few of our retailers to pick-up some Christmas gifts, grabbing a cup of coffee or cocoa at Mishka’s or Cloud Forest Cafe, and then stroll through the downtown viewing the wonderful window displays.

This year, the contest runs from November 30, 2023 through December 22, 2023.

Participating Businesses

Are you curious as to which businesses are participating in the Window Decorating Contest? Well, the wait is over.  Here is the list of businesses in the order published by the DDBA.

  1. Avid & Co.
  2. Bella Luna Jewelers
  3. Bohème Clothing & Gifts
  4. Bubble Belly
  5. Coldwell Banker Select Real Estate
  6. Davis Creamery
  7. European Wax Center (decorations coming soon!)
  8. Fleet Feet (decorations coming soon!)
  9. Let Them Eat Cake
  10. Logos Books
  11. Lu’Ro Jewelers
  12. Mabel’s Farm Box
  13. Mamma Davis Eatery
  14. Mishka’s Cafe
  15. Pomegranate Salon
  16. Pure Barre Davis
  17. Starchild Massage Therapy
  18. The Artery
  19. The Paint Chip
  20. UC Davis Downtown Store
  21. Woodstock’s Pizza
  22. Zumapoke

Window Decorating Contest Map

Need a map so you can visit downtown Davis businesses?

Or you can view the window decorating contest map here.

People’s Choice Award – Voting is Closed

Not only will a team of judges select the best decorated window(s) in downtown Davis, there is People’s Choice award. This is where you can vote for your favorite decorated business in the downtown.

For 2023, customers can scan a QR code that will be available at participating businesses and can vote online.

Let your favorite downtown businesses know that they have a fantastic Holiday window display.

Downtown Window Decorating Contest Entries for 2023

The 12th Annual Davis Downtown Window Decorating Contest is shaping up to be fantastic celebration of the Holidays. Here are some of the entries from this year that you can see while you explore and shop in downtown Davis. The windows are making the downtown look absolutely festive. You can definitely see the creativity at our local businesses.

Elf on a Shelf Scavenger Hunt – SHELVED

In 2022, this elusive elf who seems to have “ninja like” abilities visited businesses throughout the holiday season bringing fun and adventure to Davis Downtown.

Unfortunately, the Elf has been “shelved.” No plans for this downtown exploration and shopping adventure for downtown Davis.

Open Mic @ E Street Plaza

Musician? Comic? Poet? Storyteller? Well, Open Mic @ E Street Plaza is an event just for you.

This distinctively Davis Downtown 2023 holiday event is still in the planning stages. But, this is what is known so far:

  • Open Mic Event in E Street Plaza will run from from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. Not exactly sure what day(s). I’m guessing that info will be out soon.
  • Davis Downtown is looking for poets, musicians, speakers, storytellers, and comics to share their “Holiday Cheer.”
  • Free for all interested community members!
  • Sign-up form is to be available by December 4, 2023.

Stay tuned for more information.

“Let’s Go!” Shop Local

From December 1 to December 22, “Let’s Go!” shopping and dining in downtown Davis and support our local businesses. There is so much to see and do in our fair community. Enjoy this Holiday Season in downtown Davis.

More info to come.

Stewart Savage Portrait

Stewart Savage is a website designer and photographer with over 25 years of experience. Learn more about Stewart Savage and Abaton Consulting.

Photography services from Stewart Savage Photography

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