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11 Things To Do in San Diego This Weekend Nov. 23–26

Run a turkey trot 5K, support local businesses in North Park, and craft your own Christmas decorations
Courtesy of Blue Boheme

November 23

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trots

Before feasting on Thanksgiving favorites like mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie, there are plenty of morning turkey trots options to make room for your Thanksgiving spread. Coronado’s 10th annual Turkey Trot will commence from Tidelands Park and raise money for Rady Children’s Hospital. The 22nd annual Father Joe’s Villages 5K run at Balboa Park kicks off at 7:30 a.m. benefitting Father Joe’s Villages. Up the coast, Oceanside’s 18th Annual Turkey Trot features five-mile and 5K run/walk options plus a costume contest, live entertainment and finisher medals for all participants.

2000 Mullinex Drive, Coronado | 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park | 330 North Coast Highway, Oceanside 

November 23–24

Rady Children’s Invitational

This Thursday and Friday, LionTree Arena will be hosting a men’s college basketball tournament featuring Iowa, Seton Hall, Oklahoma and USC in a four-team matchup. The games will kick off Thanksgiving Day with afternoon matchups of Oklahoma vs. Seton Hall and USC vs. Iowa, with the winners punching their tickets for Friday’s championship game. Single-day tickets for the tournament range from $35-$65 while two-day passes are available for $60.   

9730 Hopkins Drive, La Jolla

Lighting of the Norfolk pine christmas tree at Liberty Station in San Diego
Courtesy of Liberty Station

November 24

Holiday Tree Lighting 

Liberty Station will kick off its Salute the Season festivities with a special holiday tree lighting starting at 5 p.m. this Friday. This free gathering will feature live entertainment, fire truck rides, photo opportunities with Santa, an outdoor Grinch movie showing, and of course, the lighting of the massive 88-foot Norfolk pine tree. 

2875 Dewey Road, Point Loma

Santa Train North Pole Limited

A special Christmas railroad ride that rivals the Polar Express, the Santa Train will take passengers from a holiday-decorated Campo Depot straight to Santa’s Workshop through December 18. On the way, they’ll be regaled with Christmas carols and receive cookies and hot cocoa before getting the chance to speak with Mr. and Mrs. Claus on the way back to the station. Riders are advised to arrive 45 minutes before their train departs to take in the full experience, and the rides last for approximately 90 minutes. 

California 94 & Forest Gate Road, Campo

Winter WNDRland: Iced In

Beginning this Friday and going through January 15, the WNDR Museum will embrace the cold with the museum’s featured exhibits taking on layers of snow and ice that contrast the typically warm SoCal winter.  As an added bonus for Black Friday, this Friday through Sunday, guests who buy a zippered tote bag will get 25 percent off everything that can fit in the tote, though some exclusions apply. Tickets for Winter WNDRland are $38 for adults and $28 for children ages 3-12. 

422 Market Street, Gaslamp

November 24–26

3rd Annual Ciderfest

Bottlecraft at Liberty Public Market will host its 3rd annual Ciderfest this Friday through Sunday with several California cideries and local cider makers in on the fun, including Bivouac Ciderworks, 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Raging Cider and Mead Co. The festival will feature seasonal cider flavors, holiday deals, and a special apple scavenger hunt with a daily prize awaiting whoever finds the hidden mini apple inside the market. Plus, celebrate Small Business Saturday by stopping by Market After Dark, where attendees can enjoy live music, a night and support cider vendors past regular market hours. 

2820 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma 

Interior of the Winter WNDRland: Iced In art exhibit and museum in the San Diego Gaslamp
Photo Credit: James Tran

November 25

Wild Holidays at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park will begin its Christmas celebrations this Saturday on select nights through New Year’s Day. There will be a giant Safari Park-themed tree, appearances from Santa Claus, acoustic musical performances, and plenty of holiday lights and decor as the whole park will be decorated for the big occasion. Additional special features include the transformation of Mombasa Lagoon into a colorful, illuminating pond plus light shows set to the musical melodies of Jingle Bells and Carol of the Bells. 

15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido

Shop Local Saturday

An all-day affair to celebrate North Park’s small businesses, this celebration will feature a 5K turkey trot, live music, an art exhibition and a variety of sales from local vendors. The day will begin with an opening ceremony at Mila Vintage + Modern starting at 11 a.m. and a 5K run starting at 10 a.m. from Coach B SD where all participants will get post-race donuts and all 21+ runners will receive beer. Shop Local Saturday will also feature artisan pop-up shops and live music at 619 Spirits, complimentary cheesecake brownie bites at Subterranean Coffee, and discounts on cider, books, glasses and more.  

North Park

Santa with a surfboard at Seaport Village in San Diego

Surfin’ Santa Parade & Photos

SoCal’s favorite Santa iteration, complete with his board shorts, Hawaiian shirt and laid-back vibe, returns from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday. Secure your place on the boardwalk to see his entrance in San Diego Bay by watercraft and lead attendees in a parade to the Seaport Village courtyard. From there, attendees can take pictures with Surfin’ Santa while riding on a massive wave before taking in snowfall outside Malibu Farm

849 West Harbor Drive, Downtown

November 26

Julian Country Christmas

This free community Christmas event highlighting local vendors in Julian will feature holiday shopping, live music and plenty of Christmas cheer from 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Begin your afternoon by perusing the Christmas-themed market for craft and gift items, and enjoy live music beginning at 2 p.m. followed by the town square tree lighting around 5:30 p.m. and ending with an appearance by Santa Claus. 

Main and Washington, Julian

Patchwork Macrame + Sea Glass Ornament Making Workshop

Whether you’re looking for new items to hang on the Christmas tree or a handcrafted stocking stuffer, you can create your very own ornaments at this arts and crafts workshop from La Mesa Wine Works and Patchwork. Attendees will have two hours to make their own macrame and sea glass ornaments plus there will be live music beginning at 2 p.m. and tickets ($55) come with a flight of wine and $10 off a bottle of your choice. 

8167 Center Street, La Mesa

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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