Top 10 Things To Do in San Diego This December

Holiday season is almost upon us! December is going to be full of activities that are great for the whole family; Balboa Park, Coronado, La Jolla, and more communities throughout San Diego are all getting in the Christmas spirit with their own unique events this year. Check out our list of the top 10 things to do in San Diego this December and start enjoying the holidays with friends and family.

1. Balboa Park December Nights

things to do in san diego this december
December 5 & 6
Balboa Park December Nights will take place for the 36th consecutive year on the weekend of December 5 and 6, during which participating Balboa Park museums will open their doors free of charge from 5pm – 9pm both nights. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.

2. Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

things to do in san diego this december
Friday, December 5
Guests can get in the holiday spirit with Santa Claus arriving by ferry across San Diego Bay and a Snow Mountain play area at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Afterwards, a colorful holiday parade and Merchants Open House takes place along Orange Avenue, followed by the traditional tree lighting of a 50-foot Christmas tree and a free community concert in Rotary Park at the end of the evening. Plus, the outdoor skating rink on the beach at the Hotel Del is open from November through January – so don’t forget to take a spin on the ice while you’re there!

3. North Park Toyland Parade & Festival

things to do in san diego this december
Saturday, December 6
The annual North Park Toyland Parade is back for its 51st year. On Saturday, December 6th, the historic neighborhood of North Park will warmly welcome friends and family to bundle up and delight in San Diego’s most joyful parade. Gliding down University Avenue between Utah and Iowa Streets, this cheerful parade will feel like a Winter Wonderland; melodious marching bands, upbeat dance groups, cool vintage cars, beauty queens, and more will take to the streets. ‘Tis the season to celebrate the continued rejuvenation and growth of North Park! The parade will be from 11am-1pm and the festival is from 10am-4:30pm.

4. Encinitas Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 6
Join the community of Encinitas for a beloved tradition. Thousands of people will be on floats and in bands with tens of thousands more cheering them on as the 2014 Encinitas Holiday Parade rolls along Coast Highway 101 on December 6. This year’s theme is “Droppin’ In for the Holidays,” celebrating Encinitas’ reputation as THE mecca for Action Sports. Expect to see plenty of big name surfers, skateboarders, snowboarders and terrific representations of the action sports lifestyle on the many floats and entries in the parade. The parade begins at 5:30pm after a 5pm tree lighting ceremony a the Lumberyard (near Starbucks coffee).

SEE ALSO: Support LJBB’s TOYS FOR TOTS Campaign 2014!

5. La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival

things to do in san diego this decemberSunday, December 7
The La Jolla Christmas Parade is back for its 57th year. Starting at 1:30pm on Sunday, Dec 7, the streets of La Jolla will come alive with the holiday spirit – floats, marching bands, community groups, drill teams, vintage vehicles, horses, and more will grace the town. Guests will enjoy arts & crafts, delicious cuisine, and entertainment during the Holiday Festival (3:30-5pm). Don’t miss out on one of La Jolla’s longstanding traditions!

6. SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza

Sunday, December 7
South Park and North Park forget their rivalry and come together for one day this holiday season for the Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza! This is an amazing community festival complete with craft beer, live music, a kid zone, shopping, arts & crafts, and of course, chili! Purchase a beautiful, hand-blown chili bowl for $20 with restaurant chili tastings from the best restaurants in North & South Park. The fest will be from 11am-5pm at 32nd & Thorn Streets in North Park. Stay tuned for vendor information!

7. Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Saturday, December 13
From 7pm-9pm, fishing boats, sail boats, yachts, kayaks and dingys dressed in holiday swag will circle the Oceanside Harbor to enchant onlookers at the harbor, restaurants and beach. One of the best viewing spots is along the side of the Oceanside Harbor near the fishing dock and police station, or on the concrete walkway that surrounds most of the harbor.

8. Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Sunday, December 14
From 1pm-5pm, all pet owners and their furry, feathered and scaled companions are invited to don their favorite costumes for this jolly promenade and pet expo, which starts and ends at Hilton Gaslamp Park, adjacent to the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter (401 K Street, San Diego, CA 92101) at Fourth Avenue and K Street.

9. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

December 14 & December 21
The San  Diego Bay Parade of Lights is held two consecutive Sundays each year in  December and proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Ferry Landing in Coronado. The Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community; each year, more than 80 boats are lavishly decorated according to a new theme. This year’s theme will be Children’s Stories. The parade begins at 5:30pm both Sundays.

10. Big Bay Balloon Parade

Friday, December 26
Beginning at 3pm, the scenic streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the 2014 Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade. As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons-more than any other parade! Parade festivities will begin in the television area with the finals of the 17th annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals and the Bumble Bee Seafoods 5K. Join your community for America’s Largest Balloon Parade!

BONUS: Wonderland at Petco Park

Dec 5th-17th
Experience a new San Diego tradition! For 12 nights, the “Holiday Wonderland” at Petco will provide visitors with a real winter experience – complete with falling snow, glistening lights and even some reindeer! The Wonderland will be open for three consecutive weekends from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. As you stroll through Petco Park’s main concourse, enjoy a series of interactive experiences, starting with a peek into Santa’s workshop at the North Pole and ending with Candyland, a “Christmas Morning” display, and a 40-foot Christmas tree. Visit their website for more information.


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