Your Guide to a Holiday Night on Balboa Island
It’s the most festive time of the year! Rooftops are lined with lights, homes are filled with the smell of fresh pine and the holiday magic is alive and well—especially in Newport Beach. Our coastal town is known for its December magic, and if you aren’t in the holiday spirit yet, we’ve put together the perfect evening itinerary that’s full of cheer. Head to Balboa Island for a cozy winter night you won’t soon forget!
Shop for Gifts on Marine Ave.
If you haven’t quite checked everyone off your gift list this year, take a stroll down Balboa Island’s Marine Ave! This charming street is lined with locally-owned boutiques with everything from beachy apparel and handcrafted art to home decor and hostess gifts! Stop by Isabelle’s Cabinet or Etc. Etc. to find the perfect present for the trendy gal in your life, or visit Shirley’s Heart and Sur La Mer Coastal Goods for some tasteful home decor. A trip down Marine Ave is a fun and easy way to shop small this holiday season!
Wine and Dine Island-Style
Eager for an intimate dining experience? Balboa Island is home to several family-owned restaurants that offer a candlelit ambiance and a delicious menu to match. A few of our favorites include Ciao Balboa, a New York-style Italian eatery, Basilic, a charming French-Swiss eatery with a seasonal menu and The Village Inn, a cozy tavern with a fireplace, American bites and nightly live music. However, you can’t go wrong with any of the island’s restaurants!
After dinner, treat yourself to something sweet with a stop at Balboa Candy—the island’s time-honored candy store! This family-run shop has been an island staple for over 16 years and continues to satisfy the sweet tooths of its patrons. Here, you’ll find everything from housemade fudge, retro sodas, chocolates, jelly beans and barrels of salt water taffy! Pick out some sweet stocking stuffers, or make a goodie bag for yourself to enjoy!
Snag a Hot Cocoa
Before your last stop, you’ll want to cozy up! Keep warm with a cup of hot cocoa from Succulent Coffee Roasters, a quaint coffee bar located inside 501 Park Avenue Bistro. And for those who prefer to stay caffeinated, Succulent Coffee Roasters offers a full espresso bar plus a rotating selection of robust blends and single origins pour overs. Snag a fresh pastry from Balboa Island Baking Company after!
See the Lights
Balboa Island is home to the annual Ring of Lights Competition—a festive Newport Beach holiday tradition. During the month of December, participants of the competition on Balboa Island decorate their houses with dazzling lights. Take a walk around the island at night and explore the beautiful and festive displays as you sip your cup of hot cocoa! This annual decorating competition adds to the festive feel of Newport Beach and is an essential part of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, which will take place this year from December 15-19.
Written by: Kaylin Waizinger