Courtesy of December Nights
Santa can keep his milk and cookies this Christmas, there is far more potent holiday cheer to fill your cup around San Diego. Is booze necessary to have a good time? Of course not. But, do bottomless mimosas make waiting in line for a photo op with Santa much more fun? Absolutely. So, if the Christmas tree and Hanukkah menorah aren’t the only things getting lit this December, check out these spirited San Diego holiday events:
Taste of San Diego at Balboa Park’s December Nights
December 2 & 3, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
December Nights at Balboa Park is one of San Diego’s most festive events, offering free entrance to the park’s museums from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. along with live music, performances, and holiday decorations. While the Beer Garden is typically the most popular spot to enjoy a drink during the event, this year there is a new beer experience being held at the San Diego History Center. Taste San Diego Craft Community and Culture is an exhibit showcasing the history of local brewing and the onsite “beer docents” will be offering a tasting of beers from Little Miss Brewing. Entrance to the San Diego History Center and the exhibition will be free during the event; pints costs $10.
Santa’s Workshop at Moniker General
December 3, 10 a.m – 2 p.m.
The patio of Moniker General will transform into Santa’s Workshop on Saturday, December 3 with styled lounges, a professional photographer taking pictures with Santa Claus, and the best part—a bottomless mimosa bar by The Bar at Moniker General. While you’re sipping on bubbles, there is also live music and a hot cocoa station for the kids. Tickets cost $50 per group.
Christmas with the Animals at Lions Tigers & Bears
December 10, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m
Lions Tigers & Bears, Alpine’s exotic animal sanctuary, is hosting a holiday fundraiser on Saturday, December 10 where you can watch the animals open up their treat-filled presents. Party alongside Kallie the tiger; Eddie the jaguar; and Smokey, Cappuccino and Dream, the mini horses who are all celebrating their first holiday at the sanctuary. Lions Tigers & Bears will have food trucks and a full bar for the humans. Tickets are $30 for members and $50 for non-members and proceeds help support the nonprofit and its rescued animals.
12 Chefs Before Christmas at Valle
December 14 and 15, 6 p.m.
Each evening on December 14 and 15, Chef Roberto Alcocer will host six guest chefs for a collaborative meal beginning with a cocktail reception and live music and progressing into a six-course meal. The inaugural 12 Chefs Before Christmas events will benefit the El Sauzal Foundation and Autism Society San Diego. Tickets cost $250 per person.
“Deck the Halls” at Nason’s Beer Hall with Tipsy Elves
December 16, 7 p.m – 10 p.m.
San Diego’s most infamous ‘ugly’ clothing brand, Tipsy Elves, is throwing the Ugly Christmas Sweater party of the season at Nason’s Beer Hall in Pendry San Diego. With the world’s largest Ugly Sweater on display, carolers, more than 20,000 lights, and a special appearance by Santa, the event is sure to be over the top. A portion of proceeds from three seasonal Tipsy Elves cocktails will benefit the San Diego Food Bank so you can give back while drinking up.
Jingle Belle Cruise
Santa has traded in his reindeer for a sternwheeler this year. The Jingle Belle Cruise on Mission Bay transforms the Bahia Belle with carolers, cookies and cocoa, and course…Saint Nick. A cash bar will help make the party merry and bright as your cruise to and from the Bahia Resort and Catamaran Resort. Tickets are $45; $35 for hotel guests.
December 24, 9:30 a.m.
If ballet and Bloody Marys sounds like a perfect pairing, head to Fairmont Grand Del Mar for a brunch performance of The Nutcracker by Scripps Performing Arts Academy. On Christmas Eve, a brunch buffet will feature ham and cheese eggs, avocado toast, sweet rolls, fire roasted tomato soup, charcuterie, and sugar cookies. Afterwards, at 11:15am, Scripps Performing Arts Academy will perform an abridged version of The Nutcracker. Tickets to the event are available for $205 per adult, $100 per child.
Flicks & Sips at Monkey Bar
Sundays in December, 7 p.m.
Watch classic holiday movies with a craft cocktail in hand at Monkey Bar’s Flicks & Sips. Each Sunday will play a different holiday movie: How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, Elf, National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. The outdoor screenings are free to attend and come with complimentary popcorn; holiday cocktails are available for purchase with options like a peppermint mocha martini or a cranberry old fashioned.
Santa’s Lair Pop-Up Bar
Now until December 23, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
While Santa’s elves are busy making presents at the North Pole, the big guy is posting up in Gaslamp Quarter with a holiday pop-up bar. Located in Parq Nightclub, Santa’s Lair is decked out in holiday lights and piles of presents with festive cocktails like Havana Christmas with citrus, allspice, and Havana Anejo. Admission is free during happy hour, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. nightly, and $10 general admission later in the evening.
Lightscape at the San Diego Botanic Garden
Now until January 1, 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Wander down a one mile trail through the San Diego Botanic Garden lit up with over a million holiday lights. Lightscape brings multisensory art installations to the already stunning botanic gardens, such as a tree wrapped in lights that interacts with music. Warm up with a Baileys and Frangelico coffee by the Fire Garden installation. Ticket prices range from $13-$29.