10 San Diego holiday celebrations you can’t miss

Dec 05, 2019 - Heather Dewis

It's that time of year again in San Diego. The trees are lit, the decorations are up, and all of a sudden, it's below 60 degrees and you need a jacket. If you're looking for fun (mostly free) ways to spend your sweater weather days, check out our list of top 10 San Diego holiday celebrations below. There is sure to be something for the whole family, and it all starts THIS WEEKEND!

 

Balboa Park December Nights

Where it is: Balboa Park

When you'll go: Friday, Dec. 6 from 3 - 11 pm & Saturday, Dec. 7 from 12 - 11 pm

How much it costs: Free admission, limited free & paid parking

What you'll do: Enjoy Balboa Park dressed up for the season: holiday lights, cultural entertainment, local craft vendors, and more. Balboa Park's museums are in the holiday spirit too, offering free admission to local favorites like the Fleet Science Center and the San Diego Museum of Art.

>> Learn more.

 

Chula Vista Starlight Parade & Children's Faire

Where it is: Chula Vista

When you'll go: Sunday, Dec. 15 from 2 - 5 pm (faire), 5 pm (parade)

How much it costs: Free

What you'll do: Arrive early for pictures with Santa, games, crafts, and a real snow hill at the Children's Faire. At 5 pm, watch local marching bands, floats, and small businesses walk along Third Avenue under holiday lights, competing for awards like "Best Use of Lights", "Most Enthusiastic", and "Best Starlight Spirit".

>> Learn more.

 

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Where it is: Downtown San Diego

When you'll go: Sunday, Dec. 8 & 15, 2019 at 5 pm

How much it costs: Free

What you'll do: Always a San Diego must-see, the Port of San Diego's Parade of Lights will host 80 boats decked out in Comic-Con themed light and music displays. Bring blankets and coats, and snag a spot – think Seaport Village, Waterfront Park, or the Embarcadero – to enjoy the show.

>>Learn more.

 

Season's Showcase

Where it is: Downtown San Diego

When you'll go: Sunday, Dec. 8 from 4 - 8 pm

How much it costs: Free, with free parking

What you'll do: Catch a live stream of the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights from the comfort of the San Diego Convention Center's waterfront terraces. When the parade ends, stay for free, family-friendly entertainment from local music and dance groups, and purchase festive food and beverages.

>>Learn more.

 

Holiday in the Village

Where it is: La Mesa

When you'll go: Friday, Dec. 13 from 4 - 9 pm & Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 am - 9 pm

How much it costs: Free

What you'll do: At Holiday in the Village, enjoy La Mesa's small-town, family-friendly vibe with plenty of added holiday spirit. Explore historic La Mesa Village while picking up gifts from local food and crafts vendors, enjoying festive entertainment, and helping your kids do holiday crafts.

>> Learn more.

 

Las Posadas

Where it is: Old Town

When you'll go: Saturday, Dec. 14 from 12 - 8 pm

How much it costs: Free

What you'll do: Become part of a nearly 70-year Old Town San Diego tradition – experience festive decorations, holiday entertainment, and the traditional Las Posadas procession, based on the story of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. After the procession, wrap up your evening with a piñata for kids, and a campfire and s'mores.

>> Learn more.

 

Christmas in the Park 2019

Where it is: Poway

When you'll go: Saturday, Dec. 14 from 3:30 - 8:30 pm

How much it costs: Free, with free shuttle services

What you'll do: Family-friendly Poway stays true to its roots with Christmas in the Park 2019. With free kids crafts and a Santa visit, this event is perfect for families. At Old Poway Park, all ages will enjoy caroling, horse-drawn hay rides, a craft boutique, and an annual community Christmas tree lighting – a perfect way to kick off your holiday season.

>> Learn more.

 

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Where it is: Downtown San Diego

When you'll go: Sunday, Dec. 15 from 12 - 5 pm

How much it costs: Free for spectators, $15 - 20 for participating pets

What you'll do: If your favorite question is "Can my dog come?", the answer is yes for this event. Pet owners and their festively-costumed companions can enjoy a parade through the Gaslamp Quarter, a Holiday Pet Market, and a costume contest – plus free goodie bags for participating pets.

>> Learn more & purchase tickets.

 


(SD Holiday Half Marathon 2017 1080p from EZDrone on Vimeo.)

San Diego Holiday Half-Marathon

Where it is: North County

When you'll go: Saturday, Dec. 21 starting at 7:30 am

How much it costs: $109 for participants

What you'll do: The holidays are the perfect time for rest, relaxation, and…half-marathons? Start your run in Rancho Peñasquitos and make your way down the State Route 56 bike path to finish in Del Mar. We applaud your energy, and we’ll cheer you on from the sidelines.

>> Learn more & purchase tickets.

 

Skating by the Sea

Where it is: Coronado

When you'll go: Nov. 26 - Jan. 5

How much it costs: $30+ per person

What you'll do: Skate under palm trees just moments from the beach at the famous Hotel del Coronado. When it's time to rest, reserve space at its rink side lounge to enjoy plush seating, food and beverage service, and a warm fire. On December 26, make a special trip for the Chanukah on Ice celebration (4:30 - 6:30 pm) to enjoy a Menorah lighting and Chanukah treats provided by the Chabad of Coronado.

>> Learn more & purchase tickets.

 

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