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Updated! Things to Do in San Diego in December

SoNo Chili Cookoff, North Park Book Fair, An Irish Christmas and more
Sono Fest


December 5

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

Come hungry and ready to judge the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off. This annual event has local restaurants compete to be crowned the best chili in town, all in effort to fundraise for McKinley Elementary.

Thorn St. in North Park

December 9 and 16

Fireside Stories at The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Listen in on holiday tales told by the fire, enjoy roasted s’mores, and write your letter to Santa at the Sheraton Carlsbad’s Fireside Stories holiday festivities. The little ones can enjoy candy canes and cocoa while listening to holiday stories from the man in red himself, and parents can enjoy spiked cocoa and s’mores made with boozy marshmallows. To add to the fun, the Carlsbad High School choir will be there to sing your favorite holiday tunes.

5420 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad

December 10

Holiday Wreath Making at Communal

Head to Communal’s Oceanside location this Friday to learn how to make your own holiday wreath! From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the workshop will walk you through how to make a streamlined, modern wreath or full, fluffy green wreath to match your personal style. Tickets include all materials necessary and bites from Communal’s charcuteries and pizzettas to snack on while you work. Finish off your wreath with berries, flowers, ribbon, and more for the perfect finishing touch. 

407 Minnesota Street, Oceanside

December 11

Christmas with the Animals

You can shop your holiday list and see wild animals open their Christmas presents at Lions, Tigers & Bears’ holiday fundraiser. The Alpine animal sanctuary provides a safe haven for rescued exotic animals that can no longer return to the wild. The event will offer unique finds in the gift shop, festive cocoa, a visit from Santa Claus, and plenty of opportunities to view the many animals that call the sanctuary home. Tickets are required.

24402 Martin Way, Alpine 

December 11

North Park Book Fair

In collaboration with Verbatim Books, the North Park Book Fair is taking to the streets with 100 small bookstores, authors, and publishers. Along with typical festivities—like food merchants and cocktail gardens—the fair will also feature poetry readings, arts and crafts, and a special visit from the man up North (Pole that is, not Park).

North Park

December 11

Taste of National City

Dine your way through 30 local restaurants at Taste of National City. The festivities and live music will take place at the bayside Pepper Park.

Pepper Park

Gem Faire

Gem Faire

December 17-19

Gem Faire

Stop into the Scottish Rite Event Center in Mission Valley for the Gem Faire, and peruse its large showcase of unique stones, beads, and jewelry of all types from all over the world.

Scottish Rite Event Center

December 14

The Santa Clause at Moonshine Beach

Catch the last installment of Moonshine Beach’s Merry Movie Night series with their screening of The Santa Clause, on a 10-foot LED screen in their recently added outdoor extension. The event is free and open to anyone 21 years or older. 

1165 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach

December 17–19

Ballast Point’s Victory at Sea Days

Ballast Point’s celebration of dark beers returns this month for a full weekend of tastings. The event will highlight the seasonal original Victory at Sea, along with nine unique variations at every Ballast Point taproom. Grab your tickets ahead of time—VIP ticketholders can enjoy special launches beginning Friday night. Cheers!

2215 India Street, Little Italy; 9045 Carroll Way, Miramar 

December 18

The Muppet Christmas Carol at the Rady Shell

This will be the first year the San Diego Symphony is hosting their holiday season outdoors at their new venue, and the lineup is a perfect way to celebrate. On the 18th, visit the waterfront venue for an evening screening of Disney’s The Muppet Christmas Carol, accompanied by the San Diego Symphony. Guaranteed to rectify your bah humbug!

222 Marina Park Way, Embarcadero

December 18

San Diego Gulls

San Diego sports don’t have to end after Thanksgiving. Head to the ice rink at Pechanga and cheer on our San Diego Gulls at the Winter Wonderland game, where fans get a holiday beanie to keep cozy.

Pechanga Ice Rink

Irish Xmas

Irish Xmas

December 19

An Irish Christmas

Expand beyond your own traditions and see what An Irish Christmas is all about. This cultural performance at Balboa Theatre includes old tales, caroling, and step dance, of course!

Balboa Theatre

December 31

Big Night New Year’s Eve Gala

Start practicing the lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne” now for Hilton’s Big Night New Year’s Eve Gala, where you can roam through eight party rooms, dance at the silent disco, and toast at the bayfront while the clock counts down.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront

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