’Tis the Season of Experiences: 26 Epic Holiday Dining Events

With brighter days ahead and more opportunities to gather than we’ve had in months, it feels like this season is defined less by presents, and more by presence. In fact, when OpenTable asked diners how they’d like to spend the holidays, 93 percent said they’re most excited to make up missed celebrations with family and friends over a dinner at their favorite restaurant. 

In other words: ’tis the season of experiences. OpenTable experiences help diners discover and book tickets for special events, from wine tastings to New Year’s Eve dinners at top restaurants across the country, such as Adalina in Chicago, MIDA in Boston, Justine in New Orleans, Turner’s in Houston, and Republique in Los Angeles.

For holiday inspiration, look no further than this round-up of some of the most festive experiences across the U.S. and Canada — to see the full list of experiences near you, visit your local experiences hub and be sure to check local public health guidelines and communications about COVID-19.

’Tis the season of … destination celebrations

Earth at Hidden Pond (Kennebunkport, ME)

Head to Kennebunkport to experience the town’s beloved Christmas Prelude — a multi-weekend celebration that includes the lighting of a “tree” made from lobster traps, boat rides with Santa, and caroling. After you’ve had your fill of festivities, book an idyllic four-course menu by Earth at Hidden Pond, a farm-to-table restaurant located on a 60-acre resort tucked back in the woods right outside of town. December 3-4 and December 10-11, 2021; Book now 

The Lookout at Gray Monk (Lake Country, British Columbia) 

Situated on the shores of Lake Okanagan, The Lookout at Gray Monk Estate Winery is a destination any time of year, offering a scenic backdrop to try the estate’s wines and the restaurant’s locally sourced, European-inspired menu. But the dining room is extra cozy on Sundays, when you can book an experience to hear a rotating lineup of local musicians play. Sundays through December 26, 2021; Book now

Gabriel Archer Tavern (Williamsburg, VA)

Dine among the vines on Christmas Day with a three-course meal at this restaurant located on the grounds of the Williamsburg Winery. Unsurprisingly for a town that loves history, the menu is full of old favorites such as local, roasted turkey with all the fixings, and contemporary dishes such as a lingonberry and baked brie tart. December 25, 2021; Book now

Eiffel Tower (Las Vegas, NV) 

There are few restaurants as quintessentially Vegas as the Eiffel Tower restaurant. Housed, as the name suggests, in the replica Eiffel Tower in the Paris Hotel, the restaurant offers panoramic views of the Strip and Bellagio’s famed fountain show. The restaurant is pulling out all the stops for Christmas and New Year’s, booking multi-course dining experiences with add-ons such as roses, Champagne toasts, and more. December 24-25 and December 31, 2021; Book now

Merriman’s (Kauai, HI)

If simply spending the holidays in Hawaii isn’t epic enough, level up with a three-course meal at Merriman’s — one of the island’s leaders in local and sustainably sourced food. The menu is sure to include holiday classics alongside island fare, all of which are best washed down with a Merriman’s mai tai. December 24-25, 2021; Book now

’Tis the season of … holiday tea

Brindille (Chicago, IL)

Known for being a reliable, excellent spot for traditional French food, Brindille also sticks to the classics during holiday tea service, rolling out a variety of teas, crumpets and jam, pastries, finger sandwiches, and even a little bit of Champagne. December 10-11 and December 17-18, 2021; Book now

Le Cavalier (Wilmington, DE)

Le Cavalier likes to play with the classics, and the acclaimed restaurant’s winter tea service is no different. Teas blended at a local teahouse are served alongside pastries and Parisian sandwiches, with the ability to add on an a la carte cocktail or glass of natural wine. Fridays through December 17, 2021; Book now

Dry Creek Kitchen (Healdsburg, CA)

High tea goes even higher-end at Charlie Palmer’s renowned restaurant in the Hotel Healdsburg. Enjoy a set menu that will please the whole family, including tea sandwiches, scones, desserts, tea, and hot chocolate for kids. Saturdays and Sundays through December 19, 2021 ; Book now

The Garden Court (San Francisco, CA)

You’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive setting for tea than under the stained glass dome of famous The Garden Court restaurant in the Palace Hotel. The tea service is just as opulent, featuring all of the usual trimmings as well as an exclusive Nutcracker tea, boasting a rich aroma, nutty palate, and high caffeine content. Various dates through December 24, 2021; Book now

Hotel Boulderado (Boulder, CO)

For solid people-watching and delicious tea, book a spot for holiday tea on the mezzanine at the Hotel Boulderado, which overlooks the lobby of Boulder’s oldest luxury hotel (and its grand Christmas tree). On “Nutcracker tea” days, a portion of your ticket will benefit the Boulder Ballet. December 11 – December 20, 2021; Book now

’Tis the season of … breakfast with Santa

The Chocolatier (Hershey, PA)

Breakfast with Santa is sure to be sweet when it’s hosted by The Chocolatier, a restaurant attached to the candy-themed Hershey Park. Adults and kids alike have something to look forward to at the buffet breakfast, which offers savory options and a dizzying array of chocolate toppings for pancakes and French toast. Friday – Sunday, December 3 – December 24, 2021; Book now 

Colonial Room at Drake Oak Brook (Oak Brook, IL)

Move over Santa — Mrs. Claus is also making an appearance at this weekend brunch experience. Located in the sophisticated dining room of The Drake hotel, expect classic brunch dishes with mimosas for the adults and hot chocolate for the kids. December 18 – December 19, 2021; Book now

La Gran Terraza (San Diego, CA)

Make sure to wear your holiday finest, or your finest ugly holiday sweater: this brunch with Santa comes with a free photo. With stunning views of Tecolote Canyon and Mission Bay, the restaurant’s dining room and terrace are also prime locations to capture a beautiful family photo. December 12, 2021; Book now

The View at Battery Park (New York, NY)

This waterfront restaurant is pulling out all of the stops when Santa comes to the Big Apple, offering live music, crafts, and maybe even a few gifts. And while the kids are making their Christmas lists, adults can enjoy dishes such as braised short ribs and a bloody mary. December 11, 2021; Book now

’Tis the season of … wine tasting 

Elements (Princeton, NJ)

One of Princeton’s premier restaurants is marking the end of white truffle season with a decadent five course truffle & barolo dinner. Elements’s hyper-seasonal menus will be paired with five rare barolos in an intimate setting that will allow lots of interaction with both the chef and sommelier. December 9, 2021; Book now

The Elderberry House (Oakhurst, CA)

Nothing marks the season of celebration like popping open a bottle of bubbly. The wine 

professionals at the Elderberry House have selected eight bottles of Champagne that they feel are truly exceptional to share with diners at this one-day-only tasting. December 11, 2021; Book now

Sequoia Grove Winery (Napa, CA)

At Sequoia’s signature terroir tasting, diners don’t just sit around and sip — this interactive experience includes a tour of the grounds and a walk through a demonstration vineyard before ending with food and beverage pairings at the historic barn that doubles as the winery’s tasting room. Thursdays through Sundays until December 11, 2021; Book now

Paradiso (West Palm Beach, FL)

White truffles are the star of this five-course wine dinner, where they’ll be shaved over classic Italian dishes such as egg yolk ravioli, veal tenderloin with wild mushrooms, and even a chocolate hazelnut tart. December 10, 2021; Book now

Modern Barn (Bethel, ME)

Over the past few years, Greek wines have started to trickle onto restaurant menus across the country. Get a crash course in these island wines at Modern Barn’s OPA! wine dinner, which will pair them with classic Greek dishes and may even include some traditional Greek dancing. December 13, 2021; Book now

’Tis the season of … themed tasting menus

Hearth (New York, NY)

On Christmas Eve, Hearth is bringing back the restaurant’s annual Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner, an Italian-American tradition that stems from the Roman Catholic custom of refraining from meat on the eve of feast days, such as Christmas. Hearth’s menu relies on local ingredients, and diners can also add an optional wine pairing focused on bottles from Italy’s coastal regions. December 24, 2021; Book now

Tonga Room (San Francisco, CA)

Spend an unforgettable New Year’s Eve at the iconic Tonga Room — the San Francisco hotel restaurant and bar with an indoor lagoon and a house band that plays live from a floating, thatch-covered barge. The luau-themed party includes a multi-course menu, music, dancing, and, of course, the bar’s famous mai tais. December 31, 2021; Book now

Cafe La Vie (St. Louis, MO)

Snag a spot at one of Cafe La Vie’s Van Gogh dinners for an art-inspired evening where each dish is named after and inspired by one of the iconic artist’s paintings, such as the “​​Lying Cow” with beef short rib, Tuscan kale risotto, and tapioca-crusted vidalia onion. Wednesdays through December 29, 2021; Book now

Honey Badger (Brooklyn, NY)

Get wild in the heart of Brooklyn with this omakase experience composed of ingredients that were caught, foraged, or grown in the Northeast. To add to the ambiance, the meal is served to diners in individual wooden chalets that were designed and built by Honey Badger’s owners. Thursdays through Saturdays until December 18, 2021; Book now