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Do You Want To Watch The Boat Parade This Holiday Season In Newport Beach?

  • Dec 18, 2019
  • David Wilhelm
Newport Beach Boat Parade - Boat with blue lights Newport Beach Boat Parade - Boat with blue lights

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Celebrate Christmas Newport Beach style! Visit Tavern House and enjoy a delicious meal either before the parade or after. 

 It is starting to look like Christmas out on Balboa Island, and the timing is perfect since, in just a few days, the Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade will be here. The Parade of Lights is set to brightly shine from December 18th through December 22nd. The parade starts and ends at the tip of Lido Isle and it goes from 6:30 pm and continues until 9:30 pm.

Early images of the Newport Beach Parade of Lights circa 1900
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The Christmas Boat Parade dates all the way back to 1907. An Italian gondolier named John Scarpa took out his gondola and decorated it with lighted Japanese lanterns. He was in his gondola touring Newport Harbor with people from Pasadena. Scarpa's decorated and lit up gondola inspired a tradition that continued the following year in 1908 that featured more lighted boats.  

We recommend Balboa Island as the ideal place to watch the Christmas Boat Parade. The island is full of holiday cheer every night from both visitors and locals who have taken their front-row places on the South or North Bayfront. The public docks around the bay front are the places with the best views. It is the closest view you can have without being on a boat. 

Newport Beach Parade of Lights - boat with green lights
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The Newport Harbor Parade this year will be featuring more than 100 boats. It is the West Coast's biggest Christmas Boat Parade. You can find free parking on the residential streets of Balboa Island for the Boat Parade. You should get there as early as you can since parking definitely fills. There is also metered parking on E. Bay Street on Balboa Peninsula or the Balboa Island Pier parking lot normally has parking available during the weekdays that the parade is held. After 6 p.m. metered parking is free, if you can find it. 


buttermilk fried chicken

To enjoy a great view place on the Bayfront, arrive early and dine with us at Tavern House, located at 333 Bayside Drive in Newport Beach. Tavern House’s winter menu offers a variety of comfort food dishes like our popular buttermilk fried chicken, short rib stroganoff and snapper Veracruzana that are ideal for a holiday meal prior to watching the parade and is open at 5:00 every evening. The best nights to watch the boat parade are Wednesday and Thursday since they are the least crowded out of all five consecutive nights. Make sure to bundle up. After all, the Boat Parade is an evening festive event in December!

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