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10 Things To Do in San Diego This Weekend: Dec. 21–24

Catch a festive production of “The Nutcracker,” eat cookies with Santa at Rooftop Cinema Club, and enjoy an seafood-filled Christmas Eve feast at Garibaldi
Berenice Abbott's "Pike and Henry Street," Courtesy of Wikipedia
Berenice Abbott's "Pike and Henry Street," Courtesy of Wikipedia

Through June 16, 2024

Berenice Abbott: Changing New York

Opened December 16 at the San Diego Museum of Art, photographer Berenice Abbott’s legendary photo exhibition Changing New York documents Great Depression–era New York City’s structural transformation as low-rise buildings evolved into the city’s iconic skyscrapers. Abbott’s collection of more than 300 black-and-white photos depicts landmark sights like the Flatiron building, the Financial District, and Penn Station. | 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park

December 20–24

1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas

1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas, San Diego playwright Dea Hurston’s delightful holiday hit, has become an annual Christmas theater tradition in the city since its 2021 premiere. Audiences step into Dorothy Black’s home for a night of food, dancing, and caroling (plus a healthy dose of family drama). There are six performances left in 2023. Audience members at the Dec. 22 show are encouraged to dress in their holiday best, and tickets for that evening include a buy-one-get-one-free drink voucher. | 2787 State Street, Carlsbad

December 21

Space Time at MCASD

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) has a pair of showings planned for its Free Third Thursday festivities from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. In collaboration with multimedia art collective Space Time, MCASD presents a screening of the 1981 video performance piece Inconsequential Doggereal from artist and former UCSD professor Ulysses Jenkins. Afterward, catch Fates, Boots and Bob: A Hijacked Hootenanny Holiday Hullabaloo, an absurdist take on A Christmas Carol that combines art, aliens, and sing-alongs for a memorable show. | 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla

Gaslamp Holiday Market

Have you been putting off your Christmas shopping for the better part of December? Grab last-minute goodies at the third and final edition of the Gaslamp’s holiday market from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m this Thursday. Admission to the market is free, and shoppers will have the chance to peruse finds from a wide variety of arts, crafts, clothing, lifestyle, and food vendors. Attendees can also enjoy drink specials, free photos with Santa, live music from yacht rock band The Sunset Sailors, holiday treats from Cali Ice Cream, a menorah lighting, and 18 holes of mini golf. | 5th Avenue & Island Avenue, Gaslamp

December 21–23

The Nutcracker

See City Ballet’s performance of the fabled holiday classic The Nutcracker at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido before Christmas officially comes around. Led by conductor John Nettles, the City Ballet Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s spell-binding score as protagonist Clara enters a vivid winter wonderland full of royalty, mice, and sweets. | 340 North Escondido Boulevard, Escondido

Every Day Vanilla

Now in its second week at Moxie Theatre, Every Day Vanilla, penned by San Diego playwright Lani Gobaleza and directed by Earl Paus, opens with 17-year-old Filipina-American writer Frankie Robles’ desire to escape the monotonous “vanilla” of her hometown. Audiences witness Frankie’s shifting relationship with San Diego and with her family, friends, and lovers (played by an all-AAPI cast) over the course of a decade. General admission ($44), senior and military ($34), and student tickets ($19) are available here. | 6663 El Cajon Boulevard, Rolando Village

December 22 

Cookies with Santa

Beginning at noon, attendees at this event at Rooftop Cinema Club in the Embarcadero will have the chance to snap a photo with Father Christmas. Then, they’ll receive a kit to adorn their own festive sweets before a screening of the holiday comedy classic Elf begins at 1 p.m. Tickets to Cookies with Santa are $35 and include admission to the film, one Polaroid photo, and cookie-decorating supplies. | 1 Market Place, Embarcadero

December 22 & 23

Amahl & the Night Visitors

Genesis Opera Theatre’s production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s famed Christmas opera brings together talent from all over Southern California for three shows at the STAR Repertory Theatre. A retelling of the nativity and epiphany stories, Amahl and the Night Visitors centers a disabled boy named Amahl and his widowed mother, who cross paths with The Three Kings as they head to Bethlehem to deliver gifts for baby Jesus. Ticket prices range between $24 and $50. | 329 East Valley Parkway, Escondido

December 23

The Glass Menagerie

Before A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, this play launched Tennessee Williams’ reputation as one of the foremost playwrights of his generation. The Glass Menagerie may be Williams’ most personal work, as he based many of the story’s tragic details on elements of his own life. Directed by Lisa Berger, the Diversionary Theatre’s final two performances of The Glass Menagerie take place this Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. | 4545 Park Boulevard, University Heights

December 24

Garibaldi’s Feast of the Seven Fishes

Americans may be familiar with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a Southern Italian holiday tradition, via that super-stressful Christmas episode of The Bear. Guests at Garibaldi’s version of the meal should have a far more relaxed time. You’ll start with a sustainable seafood buffet featuring dishes such as octopus potato salad, sheepshead acqua pizza, and swordfish alla ghiotta before finishing off with a dessert bar. Each pair of guests in attendance will receive a bottle of Sardinian wine from Agricola Punica and a complimentary bag of raw, housemade pasta to enjoy at home. Garibaldi’s Feast of the Seven Fishes costs $105 per person, and you can place reservations here. | 901 Bayfront Court, Downtown

By Ryan Hardison

Ryan Hardison is a freelance arts and entertainment writer and recent graduate of San Diego State. When he's not staring at his laptop, he's likely eating an adobada burrito or getting sunburnt at the beach.

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