We couldn't find that.
Let's go back home and try again.

Holiday events that celebrate the season, San Diego-style

The holiday season officially gets underway with The Lighting of the Forum, a festive evening of fun for the whole family.

Jungle Bells

Tried, True, and Some Things New

Posted on November 27, 2019


Lighting of the Forum | November 30
The holiday season officially gets underway with The Lighting of the Forum, a festive evening of fun for the whole family. Enjoy a live stage show featuring the Crown City Bombers, and Santa’s grand arrival on a horse-drawn wagon escorted by the La Costa Canyon High School Marching Band. A holiday light show and magical snowfall will also take place. eventsforumcarlsbad.com


Forum Tree Lighting with Santa


Gingerbread City | December 3
Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County celebrates its 26th year of the Gingerbread City Gala on Giving Tuesday. Guests will be mesmerized by masterpiece gingerbread structures created by culinary artists for this year’s theme, “Superheroes.” Join honorary hosts Padres pitcher Kirby Yates and his wife, Ashlee, for a spectacular epilepsy awareness event to support the programs and services provided to individuals with seizure disorders by the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. epilepsysandiego.org


Winter Wonderland at The Grand | Through January 1
This second annual celebration at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar offers whimsical rides on a Ferris wheel or carousel, photos with Santa around a 25-foot tree, and s’mores by the fire. This year’s festivities also feature an outdoor ice skating rink with more than 5,000 square feet of ice for open skating as well as special ice shows on select dates. granddelmar.com/resort/winter-wonderland

Fairmont Grand Del Mar


Frosty Farm | December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15
’Tis the season for animal lovers at Helen Woodward Animal Center, where they’ll experience animal encounters, holiday crafts, and even quality time with Santa. Can’t make it on December 1? Frosty Farm will crystallize the first three weekends in December, so you have several opportunities to get in on the fun. animalcenter.org/programs-services/education


Olde Fashioned Christmas | December 6
The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe gets into the spirit with this sixth annual event, with festivities scheduled throughout the evening to include a tree lighting, pictures with Santa, arts and crafts, a bounce house, and live music. Plus, a soup challenge to benefit local nonprofit Shelter to Soldier invites guests to sample recipes from participating local restaurants and vote for their favorites, keeping everyone’s bellies and hearts warm all night long. theinnatrsf.com

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Christmas Tree


Flower Hill Festivities | December 6-29
The spirit of the season is in full swing at Flower Hill Promenade, complete with story time with Santa in the Geppetto’s Courtyard on December 6 and 14, and photo ops with the big guy himself on December 7 and 15. The center is even hosting snow day festivities from 10am-4pm on December 8. Play in fresh blown snow with some of your favorite holiday characters. All activities are free with the donation of an unwrapped item to help families in need. flowerhill.com

Flower Hill Festivities


21st Annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village | December 7
This jam-packed evening includes the unveiling of a 25-foot-tall Christmas tree custom-designed by artist Josh located in the center of Piazza Basilone — a new addition to this time-tested event that also includes a visit with Santa, shopping in a Christmas Village with seasonal vendors, live music and entertainment, and horse-drawn carriage rides. littleitalysd.com


Little Italy Christmas Tree Lighting


La Jolla Holiday Festival and Christmas Parade | December 8
Downtown La Jolla gets into the spirit with a festival featuring face painting, photos with Santa, and stage entertainment, followed by a parade. Themed “Christmas on the Moon,” the day takes the holidays out of this world in honor of the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. ljparade.com


Parade of Lights | December 8 and 15
If holidays on the water float your boat, this gorgeous display of decorated watercraft illuminating San Diego Bay will leave you breathless. The 48th annual family-friendly and free boat parade takes on another iconic San Diego event with this year’s theme: “Comic-Con on the Bay.” Spectators have two nights to take in the estimated 80 entrants’ creative interpretations from the parade route that extends from Shelter Island to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, ending at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. Upgrade your experience by enjoying the pageantry from your table at Maritime Museum of San Diego’s 2019 Parade of Lights dinner — a delicious meal on the upper deck of the historic Berkeley with a perfect waterfront view. sdparadeoflights.org, sdmaritime.org

Parade of Lights


Living Nativity | December 12, 19-22
A time-honored tradition at Horizon Church returns. The Living Nativity brings the true meaning of Christmas to life from 6-9pm, plus visitors can enjoy marketplace festivities and a snow hill. horizon.org

Living Nativity


Jungle Bells | December 13-January 5
Get wild this holiday at the San Diego Zoo, which will be transformed with twinkling lights, animal-shaped light sculptures, special animal experiences, and holiday-themed entertainment including music, high-flying acrobats, and more. Make spirits even brighter during the “Happy Holidays Happens” happy hour at Albert’s restaurant from 3-5pm with discounted drinks and apps. sandiegozoo.org

Jungle Bells


Ugly Christmas Sweater Party | December 20
For a less traditional way to celebrate, head downtown to the Hard Rock Hotel’s 207 Music Club bar for the Santa Hat & Ugly Sweater Party with live music throughout the evening. Keep it ugly, San Diego. hardrockhotelsd.com


Handel’s Messiah | December 21 (Cardiff-by-the-Sea), December 22 (La Jolla)
Bach Collegium of San Diego presents its self-proclaimed “crown jewel” in multiple performances, including at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church and the Baker-Baum Concert Hall at The Conrad. bachcollegiumsd.org

Bach Collegium SD at Greek Church


Menorah Lighting | December 22
Point Loma hotspot Liberty Station hosts this final event in its “Salute the Season” holiday event series, featuring music and holiday surprises from 5-9pm, planned in partnership with Chabad of Downtown San Diego and Chabad of Pacific Beach. Finish off this fun evening with a twirl around the adjacent Rady Children’s Ice Rink, open until 10pm. libertystation.com/events

Menorah Lighting Liberty Station


Steel Pulse | December 31
Eschew the usual celebrations of Champagne and countdowns and head to the Belly Up Tavern to ring in the New Year with the music of this legendary roots-reggae band. bellyup.com


Rooftop Cinema Holiday Hits at the Manchester Grand Hyatt | Through December 22
Featuring a holiday lineup packed with musicals, comedies, and romance-comedies, Rooftop Cinema Club San Diego offers nonstop fun for the entire family. Screenings include Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (December 4), A Muppet Christmas Carol (December 5), The Santa Clause (December 11), A Christmas Story (Deceber 12), The Polar Express (December 18), Elf (December 19 and 22), and many more. In addition, starting on “Giving Tuesday” (Tuesday, December 3), Rooftop Cinema Club will launch its very own “12 Days of Giving.” Through December 15, a donation box will collect supplies for the homeless. The Lucky Duck Foundation is hoping to receive new socks, sweatshirts, sweatpants, stocking caps, and monetary contributions. rooftopcinemaclub.com/san-diego/venue/manchester-grand-hyatt

Rooftop Cinema


New Year’s Eve Dinner | December 31
Welcome in 2020 deliciously with L’Auberge Del Mar’s New Year’s Eve Dinner, which starts with an amuse bouche trio of Kumamoto Oysters, Smoked Trout Roe with house potato chips, and Sundried Tomato Tartelette with goat cheese mousse. Next, select either Spot Prawn Soup, Porcini Risotto, or Winter Endives. Main selections include Sea Scallops with chanterelle mushrooms, Côte de Boeuf with crispy sweetbreads and black garlic jus, Butter Poached Lobster Tail with Alaskan fingerling potato, or Ratatouille Farro Latkes with tarragon vinaigrette. End the year sweetly with Chocolate Macaron, Raspberry Jam Crème Brûlée, or Strawberries and Champagne with Victoria sponge cake and pink champagne sorbet. laubergedelmar.com

L’Auberge Del Mar


Jungle Bells: Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo     Fairmont Grand Del Mar: Photo by Boyd Harris


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.