What better time than now to take in some of San Diego’s most beautiful sights and sounds? We’ve put together a list of ten options for the holiday week while friends and family are in town; we wanted to offer a few alternatives to the typical holiday stuff around town, so a few even involve getting out of town to go play in the snow and getting out on the water. Check out our top Christmas week activities in San Diego!
1. Go Whale Watching Along the Coast
Partake in one of San Diego’s favorite attractions and go whale watching this year with the ocean experts at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Witness the longest mammal migration in the world, when approximately 20,000 gray whales pass San Diego on their annual 10,000-mile round-trip journey from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja California (December through April).
2. Play in the Snow at Laguna Mountain
Sitting at the highest elevation in all of San Diego County (almost 6,000 feet above sea level), Mt. Laguna receives the highest recorded snowfall each year – which makes for some great winter recreation activities for locals. After a big storm, visitors can enjoy sledding, snow play, and cross-country skiing on the mountain. The best spot to begin your adventure is the Laguna Mountain Lodge, where they’ll have the most up-to-date info regarding weather and the best spots to go sledding. Chains may be required if you want to get up on the Sunrise Highway or anywhere near the top of Mount Laguna.
3. Ice Skate Outdoors
San Diego is home to two festive holiday ice skating rinks this year: “Fantasy on Ice” at Liberty Station and, of course, Skating by the Sea at the always-beautiful Hotel Del Coronado. Enjoy a skating session with the family during the rinks’ normal operating hours (special holiday hours may apply). hoteldel.com & fantasyonicesd.com.
4. Visit a Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park
Explore a spectacular holiday wonderland full of fun for the entire family at Petco Park; walk through magical lighting displays themed around some of the holiday’s most iconic scenes, ride the polar express, check out a 40′ tree, and take a picture with Santa. sandiego.padres.mlb.com
5. Tour San Diego’s Best Holiday Lights
San Diego has some pretty awesome (and extravagant) holiday light displays, ranging from movie scene character cutouts to dazzling synchronized spectacles. Pack up the kids and some hot chocolate and make an evening out of it!
6. Check Out LegoLand Holiday Snow Days & Winter Nights
Build a snowman with LEGO accessories and throw real snowballs; witness the lighting of a more than 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas Tree and enjoy live entertainment from the Brickettes all at LEGOLand! Visit their website for holiday hours and ticket information. california.legoland.com
7. Go on a Christmas Day Brunch Cruise
Enjoy bottomless champagne and sparkling cider, a full brunch buffet featuring traditional holiday dishes, and a decadent dessert buffet all while sailing through the beautiful San Diego Bay. Santa will even be available to pose for pictures! www.hornblower.com.
8. Enjoy Christmas Tea at the Westgate Hotel
Experience a magical Christmas-themed afternoon tea at the Westgate Hotel this year. Indulge in a delightful array of teas, holiday beverages, and petit-fours as well as house-made canapes all while a harpist strums in the background. westgatehotel.com
10. Run the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon
The San Diego Holiday Half Marathon is a fast 13.1 mile course that starts on Penasquitos Drive in front of the Hotel Karlan (formerly, the Doubletree Golf Resort) then travels SW along Carmel Mountain Rd (your only ‘real’ hill at mile 1.5), along the 56 bike path and finishes at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Beach (pictured above!). The race includes a 711-foot net elevation drop along the “rolling” downhill bike path, which also makes it a personal best candidate. This popular winter half has been a sell out event every year and sure to sell out for 2019. sandiegoholidayhalf.com.
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