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10 San Diego Holiday Events For The Whole Family

Holiday Events in San Diego

With year-round shorts and flip flops weather, San Diego has a number of holiday festivities happening around town.

Take a Photo With Santa

Most Westfield malls in San Diego allow customers to purchase a Santa Fast Pass online.  Translation:  no line waiting for those precious Santa photos.  For a more intimate experience, book a special breakfast with Santa at Neiman Marcus on December 21 (call ASAP to reserve as the December 14 seating is already waitlist-only) at 8:00am. Cost is $30 for kids and $45 for adults. Pictures are included, as is breakfast at the Zodiac restaurant.

Ice Skate Where You Normally Can’t

Hotel Del Ice Skating 2 San Diego Holiday Events

Since it doesn’t get too cold in San Diego, we have to improvise with outdoor man-made options that are just as fun as the real deal. The Hotel Del Coronado turns their Windsor Lawn into Skating by the Sea, an ice skating rink that’s just steps away from the sand. Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice, located next to Horton Plaza, provides ice skating in a more urban experience. Outlet shoppers can head to Viejas Outlets to bargain shop and then skate in Southern California’s largest outdoor ice skating rink.

SnowWorld at SeaWorld

SnowWorld at SeaWorld San Diego Holiday Events

SeaWorld is also bringing in snow for the littles to play in. Bring snow gear or a change of clothes as the kids will get wet. The arctic foxes will make occasional appearances and snowman building is encouraged. SnowWorld is open daily from November 16 through January 4. And, don’t forget to make a reservation for breakfast with both Shamu and Santa.

San Diego Zoo Jungle Bells

The San Diego Zoo gets into the holiday spirit during the Jungle Bells event which runs all day from December 15-January 6, with the exception of December 24. There’s a reindeer bus ride, snow flurries at the entrance (5:00pm), nightly Christmas tree lighting (5:00pm), Santa Claus, critter presentations and more. Have a look at the Jungle Bells Instagram contest and Polar Bear tweetup.


There’s real snow at LEGOLAND, too! Use the snow to build a snowman, but then complete the look with LEGO accessories. See the nightly lighting of the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree and enjoy holiday entertainment from November 29 to December 31. Winter Nights happens on select December evenings (check the website for details) include the fun Snow Days activities plus extended hours, entertainment and fireworks.

Holiday In The Park

Bring the kids and prepare to do some shopping at Old Town State Historic Park on December 14. Carolers will be strolling around, stores will stay open a bit later and offer special treats, and decorations will be especially festive.

Big Bay Balloon Parade

san diego balloon parade

See America’s largest balloon parade on December 30 at 10:00am. In conjunction with the Holiday Bowl, marching bands, floats, drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons will march along the bayside streets of downtown San Diego. The Big Bay Balloon Parade is a fun and festive way to recover from Christmas and yes, the balloons are massive!

Holiday Hayride at La Costa Resort and Spa

Mrs. Claus will be reading stories, alongside s’more eating and cookie decorating.  The Holiday Hayride (hayrides are on offer, weather permitting) will happen on select Fridays and Saturdays throughout December from 7:00-9:00pm at the Omni La Costa. Meet at the driving range.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights features more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights and sailing along the waters of San Diego Bay on both December 8 and 15 from 5:30-9:00pm, followed by fireworks. This year’s theme is “Big Bay Toy Parade.”  The Coronado Island Marriott Resort and Coronado Ferry Landing, a charming collection of gift shops, art galleries and restaurants, offer great viewing from the shore.

La Jolla Christmas Parade

“Christmas in the Surf and Sand” will fill the streets of downtown La Jolla on December 8 at 2:00pm. The La Jolla Christmas Parade ends with the Holiday Festival, which will be held at the La Jolla Recreation Center, includes arts and crafts, live music and education exhibits and the Birch Aquarium bus. Santa is the last entry in the parade and joins the Festival for visits and photos with the kids. The day ends with the lighting of the Christmas Tree at 4:30pm.

View Neighborhood Lights

Several communities join forces to light up their streets in an over-the-top fashion. Garrison Street in the wealthy, seaside community of Point Loma never fails to please. Christmas Card Lane in Rancho Peñasquitos is where residents mix life-sized Christmas cards with ornate light displays and more. Don’t forget about Jingle Bell Hill in El Cajon or Christmas Circle in Chula Vista, as well.

Find a great place to stay in San Diego at one of these Family-Friendly Hotels.

Christmas Holidays at Trekaroo

Find holiday activities and events in your neck of the woods.  We’ve got the inside scoop on cities across North America.



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