A Guide to Christmas at Hearst Castle

  • 01 of 05

    Visiting Hearst Castle During the Christmas Season

    Fireplace Wreath, Hearst Castle
    Courtesy of Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument

    If it's possible to make the overly extravagant Hearst Castle even more spectacular, decorating it for Christmas is the way to do it. During the holiday season, the main houses are gussied up as they might have been during Hearst's heyday in the 1920s and 30s.

    The Assembly Room, The Refectory, and The Morning Room sport lavish decorations of handmade garlands and bright red poinsettias. Two 18-foot-tall Christmas trees glow with lights and traditional ornaments.

    The photos below will give you an idea of just how beautiful the place looks during the holidays.

     

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  • 02 of 05

    Why You Should See Hearst Castle at Christmas

    Docents Dressed as Guests, Hearst Castle at Christmas
    Courtesy of Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument

    You can see the holiday decorations during regular daytime tours, but—as those late night infomercials say—there's more. Hearst Castle also offers evening holiday tours. If you take one, you can pretend that you received a coveted invitation to visit newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst's house, a fun bit of make-believe.

    During those special events, the house is set up for a holiday party. Costumed docents dress in 1930s' attire, portraying servants or guests who play cards in the living room, drink cocktails, or play the grand piano. You might even catch a glimpse of a society columnist running off to his room to file an article about the day's events.

    All of it makes the place come alive. In fact, it's almost as good as taking a time machine back to Hearst's heyday in the 1920s and '30s when he threw extravagant Christmas parties for his friends. 

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  • 03 of 05

    When to See the Hearst Castle Christmas Decorations

    Holiday Decorations at Hearst Cas
    Courtesy of Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument

    It seems as if miles of garlands were used to surround every fireplace, doorway, and mantel throughout this lavishly decorated home. See the decorations during a Twilight Tour, which run from late November through the end of December. Get the dates and reserve tickets online at Reserve California.

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  • 04 of 05

    Tips for Hearst Castle at Christmas

    Hearst Castle Christmas Tree
    Courtesy of Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument

    The evening tour leaves the visitor center in the dark, and you don't get to see much on the way up the hill. To see more and get a different point of view, take one of their regularly scheduled tours in the afternoon. Use this guide to pick one that appeals to you

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  • 05 of 05

    More to Do Around Hearst Castle

    Hearst Castle Dining Room Decorated for Christmas
    Courtesy of Hearst San Simeon State Historical MonumentD

    You can probably use a little rest from all the holiday stress at home. For a double dose of Hearst at the holidays, ​make a weekend out of the visit. Stay in a nice hotel nearby, sleep late, and get a good breakfast.​​

    You can enjoy the Cambria Christmas Market at the Cambria Pines Lodge during your trip or watch the lighted holiday boat parade in Morro Bay. You can find more holiday events to enjoy in San Luis Obispo County, from elegant evenings to teddy bear tea parties.

    December is also the beginning of elephant seal season at Piedras Blancas when those adorable baby seals are born. Best of all, it's easy to see them just a short walk from the parking area.