Ready to know more about San Diego?


Your Guide to the 2019 Holiday Season in San Diego

‘Tis the season to take in twinkling lights, toast with wintry cocktails, and tuck into your favorite holiday treats.
Photo by Boyd Harris

By Jenna Miller

Hang the holly and grab the garland because it’s holiday season in San Diego, and that means deals on food and drinks, family fun and gift shopping all month long.


Ocean Beach Holiday Parade

Experience Newport Avenue lined with oh-so-many colorful characters from the Point Loma Marching Band, gymnasts in eye-catching costumes, the VW Beetle club, and much more. The bearded man himself, Santa Claus, will also make an appearance.

When: Dec. 7

Price: Free

Ocean Beach

North Park Toyland Parade

It’s all happening here—local schools’ marching bands, historic vintage cars, creative floats made by local groups, and Santa rolling up in a fire truck. After the parade, take a photo with Santa under the North Park sign and stop by the North Park Christmas Tree Lot.

When: Dec. 8

Price: Free

3927 Utah Street

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Join this time-honored holiday tradition brought to you by the boating, following the theme of Comic-Con on the Bay. The procession is made up of about 80 lavishly decorated boats.

When: Dec. 8 and 15

Price: Free

San Diego Bay


Balboa Park December Nights

On Friday night, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer kicks-off December Nights by illuminating the holiday lights in Balboa Park by flipping a candy cane switch in the Organ Pavilion. Enjoy the lights, food and entertainment these two days entail!

When: Dec. 6 and Dec. 7

Price: Free

Balboa Park

Garrison Street Lights

This street in quaint Point Loma makes a big statement with large and bright Christmas light displays. Take a stroll to see this year’s efforts.

When: All December long

Price: Free

3616 Garrison St

Starlight Circle

Swing by Santee for “Starlight Circle,” a massive neighborhood Christmas lights display. Many of the displays follow a theme like “Star Wars” or superheroes and sometimes residents sell holiday goods like cookies and hot cocoa to visitors strolling through the neighborhood.

When: All month long

Price: Free

East and West Glendon Circle

Fairway Village

This neighborhood does Christmas right: Fairway Village lights up the holiday season with lots of twinking lights and displays. On Dec. 21, the nabe hosts a public block party complete with hot chocolate, cider, music, lights, and cookies. Santa Claus may ride in on a big red fire truck (dependent on weather—and the workload at the North Pole, of course). Some families play holiday movies on the sides of their houses, no tickets necessary.

When: Dec. 1–Jan. 1

Price: Free

Fairway Village

Tree Lightings

Little Italy Tree Lighting

San Diego’s Little Italy is getting a 25-foot tree to star in its own Christmas village. But tree designer, Joshua Hubert, left the real pine at home and instead used a glass-like material to create this one. Each panel is individually hung to swing like fringe on the tree. The display will be lit by 1,000 LED bulbs, creating a three-dimensional effect with animations.

When: Dec. 7

Price: Free

Little Italy

SeaWorld’s Happiest Christmas Tree Lighting

Head to Rudolph’s Christmastown at 5 p.m. for the lighting of the park’s Happiest Christmas Tree. Rudolph and friends lead a sing-along ceremony, illuminating the 40-foot animated tree, which dances and lights up to classic songs from the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” TV special.

When: Through Jan. 5

Price: Free with admission to park

500 SeaWorld Drive


Holiday Walkabout in South Park

Get into the spirit and support the businesses in South Park during this holiday season. Stores like Native Poppy and Graffiti Beach will have sweet sales to take advantage of and Fernside will have all-day cocktail specials.

When: Dec. 7

Price:  N/A

South Park

Holiday Fair from Makers Arcade

Both days of this fair will be full of makers, live music, free make-and-take craft, a photo booth, delicious food and cocktails. Swing by Broadway Pier for this one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

When: Dec. 7-8

Price:  $5 admission

1000 North Harbor Drive

Holiday Happenings

Winter Nights at Westfield UTC

Westfield UTC is transforming into a winter wonderland complete with lights, carols, musical performances, story time, photos with Santa, holiday sips and savory treats, along with family-friendly crafts and activities.

When: Dec. 7

Price: Free

4545 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite E-25

La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village

Friends and family can take part in the fun with live music, cozy fires, dancing, craft vendors, live entertainment, food, and a massive kids area. Santa will be in town to take pictures with little ones for the perfect greeting card.

When: Dec. 13-14

Price: Free

La Mesa Village

Winter Wonderland at The Grand

Local families and resort guests can ride the Ferris wheel or carousel, snap a selfie with Santa in front of a 25-foot tree, and make some s’mores by the fire. There will also be an ice rink with over 5,000 square feet of ice for open skating as well as special shows.

When: Nov. 30–Jan. 1

Price:  $20 per car for parking, $30-$35 for ice skating including skate rentals

5300 Grand Del Mar Court

Skating by the Sea

Just because there’s no snow doesn’t mean there’s no ice. Coronado’s beachfront rink offers beautiful views of the Pacific to benefit Make-A-Wish San Diego.

When: Nov. 29–Jan. 5

Price:  $25-$35

1500 Orange Avenue

Dreamy December Drinks

Holiday Pop-Up Bar: Huntsman’s Tinsel Tavern

This speakeasy is fit for Santa and his hard-working elves. The Huntsman’s Tinsel Tavern is cooking up Christmas cocktails, like the roast-your-own marshmallows and faux-snow will be falling on the patio while you cozy up in blankets as Jack Daniels nips at your nose.

When: Starting Dec. 6

Price:  N/A

5951 Linea Del Cielo

Bankers Hill Bar and Restaurant Holiday Cocktail

Try Up To Snow Good, a cocktail of Malahat Spiced rum, apple brandy, Amaro Montenegro, allspice dram, black walnut bitters, egg white, and housemade apple cider reduction garnished with nutmeg and cranberries.

When: All of December

Price: $12

2202 4th Avenue

Nutcracker Holiday Tea

Scripps Performing Arts Academy is takes on Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” so grab the little ones for a sip and a show.

When: Dec. 22–Dec. 23

Price:  $45-$72

5300 Grand Del Mar Court

Festive Feasts

Hanukkah Dinner at A.R. Valentien

Celebrate Hanukkah at A.R. Valentien, located at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Executive Chef Jeff Jackson curated a four-course “Festival of Lights” prix fixe menu featuring tradition-inspired dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

When: Dec. 22-30

Price: N/A

11480 North Torrey Pines Road

Your Guide to the 2019 Holiday Season in San Diego

Rare Society

Rare Society Christmas Eve Dinner

Spend Christmas Eve in University Heights at the new steak house, Rare Society. They’ve rolled out a new holiday cocktail menu featuring festive takes on classic drinks including a boozy eggnog, holiday Old Fashioned  and Too Many Zooz (bison grass vodka, herbal liquor, sparkling wine, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, and bitters).

When: Dec. 24

Price:  N/A

4130 Park Boulevard

The Westgate Christmas Day Holiday Buffet

It’s buffet time at The Westgate in the beautiful Le Fontainebleau Room from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. And if you want an extra little something, bottomless house wine and champagne are available for an additional $20.

When: Dec. 25

Price:  $40-$99

1055 2nd Avenue

Hornblower Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise

Spend Christmas Eve on the water with a holiday buffet, entertainment from holiday carolers, and scenic views of the bay.

When: Dec. 24

Price: $64-104

Meet at: Pier 1 Hornblower Landing: 1800 N Harbor Drive

Your Guide to the 2019 Holiday Season in San Diego

Photo by Boyd Harris

Share this post

Contact Us

1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA