December in San Diego is one of the most beautiful (and busy!) times of the year. There are a ton of things to do during the holidays, for both residents and visitors alike. From special visits from Santa Claus, to sporting events, to ice skating on the beach, San Diego is hosting a wide array of events this year that the whole family will enjoy! Here we have compiled a list of some of the best so that you don’t accidentally miss out this holiday season!
Skating by the Sea
November 27th – January 5th, Coronado
The Hotel Del in Coronado is celebrating its 9th annual Skating by the Sea. They will be transforming their Windsor Lawn into an ice rink creating a very unique holiday experience – ice skating that looks right out onto the beach and Pacific Ocean! This is a great activity that will be memorable for the entire family. Also a portion of ticket sales will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation! For tickets, times, and more, click here.
Light up the Night
December 1st, Coronado
Join Mayor Casey Tanaka who will be the master of ceremonies for this grand event. Kicking off with a tree lighting, and will include complimentary treats, music, photos with Santa, and many more activities. Info here!
Hotel Del Coronado Holiday Festival
December 3rd, Hotel Del
This holiday extravaganza is featuring a ton of events this year, including holiday performances, games and prize booths, ice skating, s’mores on the beach, caroling by local Coronado students, property lighting, and even a fireworks display! With so many activities and events, it is something everyone will enjoy. More info here.
Oceanside Annual Tree Lighting
December 4th, Regal Center Plaza
This annual event is welcoming many new additions this year. Aside from its usual cookie decorating, crafts, and live music, they are introducing a giant inflatable slide, bounce inflatables, horse carriage rides, a bungee pull, a coconut tree climb, and a kids toss game. More information here.
December 5th-6th, Balboa Park
During Balboa Park’s December Nights, San Diego’s premier holiday festival, participating museums open up their doors free of charge for this all-encompassing multicultural extravaganza. With music, food, and entertainment from around the globe, this is a great event for the entire family. They have even added a two-hundred foot zip-line this year! All of the information can be found here.
Encinitas Holiday Parade
December 6th, Encinitas
This marvelous event kicks off at the Lumberyard shopping center at 5pm with Santa lighting the community Christmas tree. The parade follows half an hour later on Coast Highway 101 and will include many floats and other entries. This year’s theme is action sports. All the info can be found right here.
Solana Beach Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 7th, Fletcher Cove Park
Solana Beach’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Featuring cookies, live music and entertainment, and even a surprise visit from Santa! Details here.
La Jolla Annual Christmas Parade
December 7th, La Jolla
Marching Bands, vintage automobiles, equestrians, and floats are all part of this yearly event. After the parade there will be a holiday festival with craft booths, food, entertainment, carnival rides, a tree lighting ceremony, and much more. Click here for information.
Del Mar Holiday Happenings
December 7th, Del Mar Amphitheater
Starting at 2-5pm there will be pictures with Santa and live caroling. In addition, participating retailers will be hosting “passport stations” enabling kids to qualify for various special prizes. After this, there will be a community tree lighting, hot cocoa, and cookies! Info here.
Holiday at the Rancho
December 7th, Carlsbad
A classic holiday event held in the Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park. Participants can enjoy a tree lighting ceremony, cookie decorating, crafts, and of course a special visit from Santa himself! There will also be a handmade craft boutique, an outdoor movie, and horse and carriage rides. For tickets and info click here.
December 13th-14th, 17th-21st, San Diego Civic Theater
A quintessential holiday activity, the Nutcracker will be brought to life this season at the San Diego Civic Theater featuring a live orchestra! Don’t miss out on this timeless holiday tradition. Perfect for all ages. Information and tickets here.
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
December 14th and 21st, San Diego Bay
San Diego’s boating community is hosting its 43rd annual Parade of Lights this holiday season. This event is comprised of more then 80 boats all decorated and displayed on the beautiful San Diego Bay. There is a different theme each year, with this year’s theme being “Children’s Stories.” A must see! Info here!
December 23rd, Qualcomm Stadium
The 2014 Poinsettia bowl kicks off at 6:30pm. A top team from the Mountain West conference will face off against the U.S. Naval Academy (assuming bowl-eligibility). One dollar from each ticket sold will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. For more info and tickets, click here.
Peter Sprague’s Annual Del Mar Christmas Eve Concert
December 24th, Del Mar Amphitheater
This annual Christmas Eve concert, starting at 1pm, will feature critically-acclaimed Jazz guitarist Peter Sprague as well as many other talented musicians. Great for the entire family! For more information click here.
December 27th, Qualcomm Stadium
Teams from the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences will square off this year in the annual National University Holiday Bowl! For tickets and more info, click here.