When December comes around I start to feel completely rushed. I like to pre-plan my month for my family so that I know what I could do to maximize the spirit the Christmas. From traditional holiday parades, to watching the grey whales along our pristine coastline, San Diego offers a plethora of free, festive experiences for all. It has all the elements for the perfect holiday celebration. The beach-front ice skating rinks to concerts, ballets, theater and endless holiday shopping, San Diego has exactly what you’re looking for to get into the holiday spirit.
I compiled a list of events you can attend with your families, making it a little bit easier to pre-plan your month.
DECEMBER 4th: The Coronado Christmas Parade is a must see. I love how Santa arrives via Ferry following a parade down Orange Avenue. The kids will have a chance to see Santa light the Christmas tree at Rotary Plaza. There is something very magical about Coronado for me, it has such a Nantucket/Maine type of feel that I simply adore. There is also snow for the children to play in. Read more about the Coronado snow Mountain here.
DECEMBER 4-5: Balboa Park December Nights. The nation’s premier holiday festival, will take place for the 38th consecutive year. As always, the event brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy, learn more about the cultural value of Balboa Park and kick-off the “most wonderful time of the year.” Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5:00 to 9:00 PM both evenings and more than 350,000 visitors are expected to experience the joy of San Diego’s largest free community festival. Those who attend will participate in a truly multicultural experience, enjoying food, music and entertainment from around the world.
NOVEMBER 26th- JANUARY 7th: Skating by the Sea… If you follow my blog you will know how much I love this highlight in San Diego. This is definitely a family tradition for us. Its a must see. Click here for all the details.
DECEMBER 4th- DECEMBER 23rd: Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park. Our family did this last year and it was truly magical. The lighting displays were spectacular and the kids loved playing with the snow. Riding the polar express with Santa was a highlight.
DECEMBER 5th– Holiday at the Rancho– Get into the holiday spirit the way Leo Carrillo did with Holiday at the Ranch. Enjoy holiday themed activities, face painting, crafts, holiday shopping, food, and beverage sales. The Carlsbad teen program, L.I.T.E., will sell hot dogs, bratwurst, nachos, chips, and popcorn for the movie.
DECEMBER 5th: This IS Encinitas Life! Thousands of people will be on floats and in bands with tens of thousands more cheering them on as the 2015 Encinitas Holiday Parade rolls along Coast Highway 101. Tree lighting at 5:00 followed by the parade at 5:30. For more information about this great event click here! We may need to check this one out as this will be our new stomping grounds.
DECEMBER 6th: Hanukkah Happening, La Jolla! Join the Lawrence Family Jewish Center for the Hanukkah Happening! Games, dress-up, prizes, and character appearances. For more information click here!
DECEMBER 6th: Solana Beach Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Solana Beach Parks and Recreation Commission invites you to join your friends and neighbors in lighting the Holiday Tree. Enjoy cookies and live music, as well as a visit from Santa. For more information call 858-720-2453 or simply click here!
DECEMBER 6th: La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival on Girard Avenue. The annual La Jolla Christmas Parade returns this year. For all information regarding parking, street closures, and parade timeline click the link above.
DECEMBER 6th: Santa by the Sea, L’Auberge Del Mar Amphitheater. The holiday season will come to life at the annual Santa by the Sea. During this magical celebration, the L’Auberge Del Mar Amphitheater will be transformed into a festive holiday wonderland, featuring sweet treats from local restaurants, carolers performing seasonal tunes and free pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus (bring your own camera). The event will run from 3pm-6pm, with the ceremonial tree lighting commencing at 5pm.
DECEMBER 10th: San Diego Arts Foundation is having their annual Holiday and Christmas Gala event. This event is from 6-10 pm and benefits the San Diego Arts Foundation and Toys for Tots. Bring an unwrapped toy or a can of food. This event is at The Darlington Mansion House in La Jolla. For Tickets and More Information please click the link above.
DECEMBER 12th: 2nd Annual Christmas on The Prado for the entire family. This event will be located at Spreckles Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park. Come out and enjoy photos with Santa, Christmas Music, and lots of Entertainment. This event is from 4-8 pm. They are accepting toys for children so please bring an unwrapped toy.
DECEMBER 13-20th: SD Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
This free, distinctly California celebration features boats decorated for the annual holiday season that will sail around SD Bay. The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community. More than 80 boats lavishly decorated according to a new theme each year. The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is held two consecutive Sundays each year in December. The Parade proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Ferry Landing in Coronado.
DECEMBER 13th– Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade, 401 K Street, Downtown
Deck those paws with bells so jolly and jingle all the way through the Gaslamp Quarter for the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade presented by Downtown Ace Hardware and VCA Market Street. Pet owners and their furry, feathered, and scaled companions are invited to don their favorite costumes for this jolly promenade and pet expo. More details here.
DECEMBER 23rd: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Qualcomm StadiumThe 2015 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is set to kick-off Wednesday, December 23rd at 1:30pm! This year’s game will feature a top team from the Mountain West against the Army Black Knights (assuming bowl-eligibility). More information here.
DECEMBER 23rd: 2015 Carlsbad Road Runner Sports Adventure Run
You’re in for one mind-blowing evening of FREE, prize-tastic fitness FUN when you join runners LIKE YOU for the nation’s BIGGEST group fun run at your Carlsbad Road Runner Sports retail store! Enjoy 60 minutes of FUN as you run (or walk) at your own pace & collect FREE raffle tickets along the way. Then, toast to your adventure & meet new friends in the Stone Brewing beer garden while scoring up to $3,000 in FREE raffle prizes! All the information is here.
DECEMBER 30th: National University Holiday Bowl, Qualcomm StadiumThe University of Southern California Trojans and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have accepted invitations to play in the 37th annual National University Holiday Bowl. It marks the first appearance in the San Diego bowl game for the Trojans and fourth appearance for the Cornhuskers. The parade is a must see. That starts this year at 10am.
DECEMBER 31st: New Years at The Grand Del Mar
Usher in the new year, bite by bite, with exquisite seasonal menus and sparkling wines to toast 2015 in Grand style. Treat your taste buds to four- or seven-course celebrations prepared by Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef William Bradley of Addison or Amaya’s Chef Matthew Sramek.