December in San Diego isn’t your typical winter wonderland. In fact, this month is considered one of the sunniest times of the year. Although we don’t really get a white Christmas and miss out on winter traditions such as building snowmen and wearing puffy jackets and earmuffs, these San Diego events will definitely ring in the happiest time of the year. Make the most of this holiday season—San Diego style!
1. Balboa Park December Nights – Dec. 5 – Dec. 6
This two-day event is the perfect way to kickoff the holiday season! Bring your family and friends together to spread and experience holiday cheer. More than 350,000 visitors are expected to attend the free event.
2. Old Town Holiday in the Park & Las Posadas – Dec. 13 – Dec. 14
Holiday in the Park is a two-day celebration of the holiday season followed by Las Posadas on Sunday. Las Posadas is a re-enactment that tells the biblical story of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem.
3. Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park – Dec. 5-7, 12-14 & 19-24
Petco Park will be transformed into a Holiday Wonderland for 12 nights in December! Experience magic lighting displays, ride Polar Express trains, explore Candyland, feed live reindeer, take photos with Santa and so much more!
4. Little Italy tree Lighting & Christmas Village – Dec. 6
The Little Italy Association is presenting its annual holiday, shopping and dining with the Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village located on W. Fir Street, between India and Kettner. Enjoy musical talents of various musical and dancing groups and Santa Claus will be making a special appearance. Munch on free Italian cookies, cider and coffee while admiring the 25 feet tall Poinsettia tree that’ll be officially lit that night.
5. Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo – Dec. 13 – Jan. 4
The San Diego Zoo will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland to make yourholiday a wild one. Experience the perfect combination of holiday cheer and animal fun throughout the zoo! Admire the Twinkle Light Trolley lights, Doctor Zoolittle’s “Night Before Christmas,” the Toy Shop Hop, carolers and of course, Santa Claus.
6. Skating by the Sea – Nov. 27 – Jan. 4
Hotel del Coronado is continuing the tradition for its 10th year. Their ice rink is located seaside on Windsor Lawn and features stunning views of the Pacific and Coronado beach. Have the water as your background while listening to holiday music as you ice skate.
7. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights – Dec. 14 – Dec. 21
The 43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is bringing Children’s Stories! This San Diego boating tradition boasts more than 80 beautifully decorated boats. The parade starts at Shelter Island and continues past Harbor Island, the Embarcardero, Seaport Village and Ferry Landing in Coronado. QUESTION… you think people will be able to see the parade of lights from GD? Maybe we could enter a plug to view it from here?
8. The Nutcracker – Dec. 12 – 24 at Spreckels. Dec. 13 – 14 & Dec. 17 – 21 at Civic Theatre
The Nutcracker is presented by different companies, the California Ballet and at the City Ballet of San Diego. City Ballet of San Diego will be showing at the Spreckels Theater in downtown San Diego and the California Ballet will be performing at the San Diego Civic Theatre.
9. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Nov. 15 – Dec. 27
Watch your favorite childhood book come alive at the Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park. Get tickets here.
10. Garden of Lights – Dec. 6 – 23, 26 – 30
The Botanic Garden transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 100,000 sparkling lights that’ll glow the whole garden to create a joyful holiday experience! Adore the holiday crafts, marshmallow roasting, Santa, live music and snow amongst the plants and nature.