Looking for Winter fun in San Diego? Pull out your calendar and fill it in with these budget-friendly family ideas. Some start as early as this weekend!
Friday Dec 5th from 3-11pm
Saturday Dec 6th from Noon-11pm
The 37th consecutive year of San Diego’s largest free community festival! Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 pm both evenings. This is always a busy event so arrive early!
Enjoy food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages. Watch the traditional Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California. Gift shop at the museum stores and Spanish Village. There are also musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree.
New this year is the “December Flights” Zipline. Take a two hundred foot Zipline ride past the historic and beautifully lit Moreton Bay Fig Tree!
December 5-7th at 6pm
Exclusive viewing of the movie Frozen will take place at the Viejas Ice Rink. Plus, the Snow Queen and Snow Princess will visit the Outlets on Friday, December 5, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm!
Guests can skate at the rink (for a fee) from November 1, 2014 through January 4, 2015.
Opens November 21, 2014
Every 15 Minutes, 5pm – 10pm, 7 Days a Week
Enjoy enchanting holiday vignettes that combine fire and snow, water and light. The show features water fountains, lasers, fire cannons, pyrotechnics and state-of-the-art special effects, all choreographed to best loved Christmas music!
Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 5pm-10pm
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 5pm-10pm
Pre-Parade starts at 4:30 with our Salute to America. Holiday Parade starts at 5pm both nights.
Santa will be at the Goodwill Plaza this year at 8250 La Mesa Blvd. Come and see Santa right after the Parade to 10 pm. (No charge to see Santa)
The Village is transformed into a Victorian Wonderland complete with strolling minstrels, carolers and street entertainers. Live Music is featured in a number of stage areas. There will be carnival rides, ponies and puppet shows for the kids. Warm up at one of the many bonfires that fill the Boulevard and enjoy the shop, boutiques and restaurants that stay open late during event.
December 13th & 14th from 6pm – 9pm
Museums, historic homes, stores and restaurants in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be open late and richly decorated in period holiday adornment (admission fees still apply to some locations). Enjoy special holiday treats, activities and extended shopping hours, along with strolling carolers and do some holiday shopping at the same time.
63rd Annual Las Posadas re-enactment begins at 2:30pm on December 14th. This centuries-old tradition is a re-enactment of the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph through the town of Bethlehem. The event begins at 2:30 PM with carolers and children’s choirs in the state park, with the live theatrical procession starting promptly at 5:00 PM. A piñata party for all the children follows the parade.
Saturday, December 6th
Parade 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Festival 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
All day parking will be available at the North Park Parking Garage for $1.
For the 51st year, this joyous holiday parade marches through the historic neighborhood of North Park From University Avenue between Utah and Iowa Streets, the parade includes marching bands, dance groups, vintage cars and of course, Santa Claus will be riding atop a red fire engine!
Sunday December 7th, 1:30pm
The event through downtown La Jolla includes marching bands, floats, equestrian units, vintage automobiles and an appearance by Santa Claus. The theme for this year’s parade is “Spirit of Christmas – Peace on Earth.”
December 26th at 3pm
Free street-side viewing or purchase a seat in the grandstands for $20, here.
This is “America’s Largest Balloon Parade”! World-class marching bands, magnificent floats, drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons (more than any other parade!) This parade is broadcast to a nationwide television audience.
Sunday December 14th & Sunday December 21st
The procession will start at 5:30 p.m. and will follow the predetermined parade route.
More than 80 boats lavishly decorated according to a new theme each year (Theme for 2014 is Children’s Stories). The parade takes approximately one hour to one and a half hours to pass any given point along the parade route. The approximate arrival time of the parade at various locations are:
- Shelter Island (start of parade) -5:30 p.m.
- Harbor Island -6 p.m.
- The Embarcadero -6:30 p.m.
- Seaport Village -7 p.m.
- Ferry Landing on Coronado -7:30 p.m.
Dozens of vessels take to the water for the annual parade. The boat parade starts at Quivira Basin. Best viewing is from Crown Point, the east side of Vacation Island or the west side of Fiesta Island.
Open for 12 nights in December.
Event hours are 5-10 pm.
Adult admission is $15 and child admission is $10. Kids under three will be admitted free of charge. Military, group and event discounts are available.
Walk through the magical lighting displays, ride Polar Express trains, explore Candyland, feed live reindeer, take a photo with Santa near a 40′-tall Christmas Tree, enjoy the festive fare and so much more! Parking will be available in the Lexus Premier Lot, Padres Parkade and Tailgate Parking Lot for $10.
It was at the Hotel Del Coronado in 1904 that America experienced the first electrically-lit outdoor Christmas tree! This year’s holiday theme is “Building Seaside Memories”. The resort’s lobby Christmas tree will be decorated in an elegant ocean theme. Stop by to admire the holiday decor, book a Sunday brunch with Santa or the Holiday Tea, purchase tickets to see An American Christmas performed by Lamb’s Players Theatre and enjoy outdoor Ice Skating at Hotel Del Coronado Skating by the Sea.
Garden of Lights at the San Diego Botanic Garden
December 6th – 30th from 5 pm to 9 pm (Closed on December 24-25)
Price: Members – $8
Non-members Adults – $14
Seniors, Active Military & Students – $10
All Children 3-12 – $6
Children 2 and Under – Free
The Garden has been transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 100,000 sparkling lights. Activities include horse-drawn wagon rides, holiday crafts, marshmallow roasting, visits with Santa, live music, refreshments and hot mulled wine (on select evenings). Some of these activities are included, others are an added cost. Snow also ‘falls’ on select nights!