What to do in San Diego for the Holidays

Tis the season! Except San Diego is still in the 80s this season!

Looking to make the holidays seem like well, the holidays? I have compiled a list of things to do with your family and around San Diego to get in the spirit!

Take Pictures with Santa: There are many places to take your little ones to see dear old St. Nick

  • Various Malls
  • Seaport Village
  • Sea World
  • Legoland [Lego Santa]
  • The Zoo
  • & more!

Check out Neighborhood Christmas Lights: Taking a drive and seeing all the amazing displays is a great way to connect with your family/friends during the holidays.

  • Candy Cane Lane [Poway]
  • Christmas Card Lane [Rancho Penasquitos]
  • Belardo Lights [Tierrasanta]
  • Garrison Street [Point Loma]

Want to see hotels all decked out too? Check out the Hotel Del and La Valencia La Jolla hotel. These hotels go big and have various events and activities throughout the season. The Del has an outdoor skating rink!

More San Diego Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks: As you know, the Hotel Del

  • The Del’s Skating by the Sea: partially benefits Make-A-Wish San Diego. From Nov. 23 – Jan. 1 | Various times | $30 a person
  • Viejas Ice Rink: is the largest outdoor rink in California. It’s even bigger than the one at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Now – Jan. 28 | 5-10 pm | $14-16
  • Rady Children’s Ice Rink: is located at Liberty Station. All proceeds from this event benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s. From Nov. 25 – Jan. 7 | 10 am-10 pm | $10-$14
  • Inn at Rancho Santa Fe: is a synthetic ice skating rink. From Dec. 1 – Jan. 1 | Various times | Wristbands purchased on site

San Diego Bay Parade Of Lights

The 46th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights features more than 80 private boats decorated with holiday lights and sailing along the waters of San Diego Bay. This year’s theme is Arrrgh!  A Pirate’s Christmas. Sundays, December 17 from 5:00pm—9:00pm. Fireworks follow the parade.

Enjoy San Diego’s favorite neighborhoods getting festive!

  • Balboa Park: Enjoy free organ concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park beginning at 2:00 PM each Sunday. You can also check out The Nutcracker Ballet at Balboa Park or fan favorite Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas play!
      • The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park will be hosting an Ales N’ Rails Beer Tasting and Ugly Sweater party. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Friday, December 15 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Old Town: On Saturdays and Sundays, learn how residents celebrated the holidays in the 1800s with candlelight tours, holiday singers, live performances and complimentary refreshments.
  • Little Italy: Enjoy its wondrous, romantic, Christmas Village.
  • Julian: Drive to the mountain town of Julian for a warm mug of hot apple cider and a delicious piece of Julian’s legendary homemade apple pie. On Saturdays, stroll through the quaint neighborhood streets and enjoy the sounds of wandering Christmas carolers and a living nativity scene.

Go to Park Hyatt Aviara: An exceptional family tea experience with storytelling by the Peppermint Princess. Each child is asked to bring a teddy bear to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House at Rady Children’s Hospital. Price per adult is $50 and $35 for children 6–12 (taxes and gratuity not included). Saturdays and Sundays in December (starting December 3) from 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

    • Festival of Trees [Nov. 24-Dec. 27]
    • Roasted Chestnuts [Dec. 19-24 5-8 pm]
    • Gingerbread Class [Dec. 17-20 1:30-3:30 pm]

Holiday Bowl Big Bay Balloon Parade

It’s the country’s largest balloon parade. Floats, balloons and marching bands are just some of the offerings in this colorful holiday parade that takes place along San Diego Bay in downtown San Diego. Grandstand tickets are $22. Thursday, December 28 at 10:00 a.m.

If you have passes, or just decide the holidays are the best time to visit one of San Diego’s amusements parks, check out these festive favorites!

Jungle Bells At The San Diego Zoo

Seaworld’s Christmas Celebration

Holidays At Legoland California

No matter what you decide to do, San Diego can be full of holiday cheer!

Don’t want to go out? Here are a few ideas to do at home:

  • Decorate Cookies
  • Build and Decorate Gingerbread Houses
  • Decorate the Tree and House
  • Cut Paper Snowflakes

There are so many things to do out there to put you and your family in the spirit!

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