There’s always something to do in San Diego and the holidays are no exception! Here are eleven of the most exciting events happening across the county this year:
Global Winter Wonderland
November 19th-January 7th
SDCCU Stadium (Formerly Qualcomm Stadium)
Global Winter Wonderland arrives in San Diego for the first time this holiday season! Featuring a lighted display with over 50 scenes from around the world, this is one-of-a-kind event also offers entertainment in the form of acrobatic performances, music, rides and games, food, and a holiday market. Kids can also write a letter to Santa and get their picture taken! Learn more about the Global Winter Wonderland here.
Coronado Skating By the Sea
November 23rd-January 1st
Hotel Del Coronado
A uniquely San Diego event, go ice skating in the shadow of the famous Hotel Del Coronado while feeling the sea breeze and smelling the salt air. Open from Thanksgiving through New Years, Skating By The Sea is $30 per person and includes skate rental. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will go to Make-A-Wish San Diego. For ice rink hours, click here.
It’s safe to say that Balboa Park’s December Nights is one of San Diego’s favorite holiday events! Thousands turn out every year to kick off the holiday season in the park. With two days of incredible entertainment, food, shopping, music, and fun, if you go to one event this holiday season, let this be it! You can find out more about Balboa Park’s December Nights on their website.
Encinitas Holiday Parade
One of North County’s best-loved traditions, the Encinitas Holiday Parade will take place on December 2nd from 5-7:30pm. Enjoy festive floats and music as the parade rolls down Coast Highway 101. The parade officially gets started at 5:30, with a tree lighting ceremony at the lumberyard taking place at 5pm. Rumor has it that Santa will be there!
Holiday Celebration at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center
Del Mar Highlands Town Center
Celebrate the holidays in Carmel Valley! The Del Mar Highlands’ event includes falling “snow”, a laser light show, a caroling quartet, photo ops with Santa and Mrs. Claus, performances from the local schools, and more. The event starts at 5pm on December 6th.
Atomic Groove’s Twilight Xmas Show
Local favorite, Atomic Groove, will be at The Belly-Up on Thursday December 7th for a fun holiday show. They’ll be playing all of your favorite dance floor grooves with a holiday twist, so put on your dancing shoes for a night of fun! Each person receives a free raffle ticket to win some great prizes, but if you’d like to double your chances with an extra ticket, bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys For Tots. Tickets are available here.
December 8th-January 1st
San Diego Zoo
Celebrate the holidays at the San Diego Zoo! After dark, the zoo is transformed into a twinkling, winter wonderland with festive food, light sculptures, music, and entertainment. Meet Santa, learn more about the residents of the zoo during animal encounters, participate in the Reindeer Games, and listen to a zoo version of the classic poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Jungle Bells activities are included with your zoo admission ticket (unless noted). For more details about the event, visit the San Diego Zoo’s website.
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
December 10th & 17th
San Diego Bay
Over eighty decorated boats will sail San Diego Bay on the evenings of December 10th and 17th. There are multiple viewing opportunities along the parade route, which stretches from Shelter Island to Seaport Village and over to the Coronado Ferry Landing. For more information on the best viewing locations and approximate timing of the parade, click here.
Menorah Lighting at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center
Del Mar Highlands Town Center in Carmel Valley
Kick off Hanukkah by attending the Menorah Lighting at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, hosted by Congregation Beth Am! The event starts at 6pm and refreshments will be available.
Nutcracker Holiday Tea
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Now in its ninth year, The Grand Del Mar’s Nutcracker Holiday Tea is one event you won’t want to miss. The Scripps Performing Arts Academy will perform an abridged version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, “The Nutcracker”, while you enjoy tea, sandwiches, and French pastries. $10 of each ticket sold will go to Isabella’s Giraffe Club, a non-profit organization that supports parents with infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. You can find more information about the Nutcracker Holiday Tea, including ticket pricing, on the Grand’s website.
New Years Eve Yacht Party
San Diego Bay
Ring in the New Year in style aboard a yacht on San Diego Bay! Enjoy an open bar, three levels of music and dancing, and panoramic views of San Diego Harbor as you wait for the midnight countdown! Tickets are available here.