What’s NewIf you’re still processing the fact that the holidays are here, Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas offers an escape with several new promotions sure to slow the pace before the calendar fills with back-to-back parties. From now through the end of the year, the resort is offering 30 percent off best available rates to the local community (use code LOCAL!) as well as 20 percent off any spa treatment — mention the word “air” when booking online or by phone. The Daycation Package ($295 per person) includes a 50-minute massage or facial at Spa Alila and a day pass to access spa facilities, the oceanfront pool, and fitness center from 9am-9pm. And for the ultimate splurge — it is gift giving season, after all — the Spa Alila Membership ($2,250 per person annually) includes two 50-minute Spa Alila services, year-round savings and a host of benefits at both the spa and the resort’s restaurants, and priority access to special events.
What’s Now For an evening that’s merry and bright, head to Lightscape at San Diego Botanic Garden. On view select nights through January 1, this one-mile walking trail offers views of the garden in a whole new light. The immersive experience illuminates nights with 18 artistic light installations including Floraison, featuring hundreds of hanging poppies reminiscent of our California state flower, Night Birds with neon-lit feathers hovering among the trees, a Liquid Sky canopy created with vibrant laser beams, and the return of the selfie-worthy Winter Cathedral twinkling light tunnel, redesigned and expanded. Sip and stroll with a variety of hot and cold seasonal beverages available for purchase including hot chocolate and specialty cocktails, along with savory and sweet bites.
Returning to Broadway Pier December 2-3, Makers Arcade Holiday Fair will feature 135+ local makers for a seasonal shopping experience with photo displays, live music, workshops, mini golf, face painting, a bow bar, floral bar by Chasin Bloom, an interactive art installation, anld a free “make & take” station where attendees can create their own holiday wreaths. Guests can also enjoy three holiday cocktail bars, coffee by Bird Rock Coffee Roasters’ “Baby Bird,” and a food truck lot featuring Dang Brothers Pizza, Go Go Food Truck, Funkie Frenchi, Danny’s Vegan, and more.
On December 3, from 11am-3pm, Cardiff 101 Mainstreet, Beam Orthodontics, and Camera Camper Photo Booth present the 16th annual Cardiff Kringle Mingle on Aberdeen Drive in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, featuring festive shopping opportunities, live music, holiday treats, and “Surfing Santa” available for photos from 12-3pm.
Also getting in on the holiday activations is Amalfi Cucina Italiana’s Carmel Valley location in The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch. Upcoming events include Amalfi After Dark on December 2, an evening of enchantment when the restaurant transforms into a mesmerizing Italian nightspot. Enjoy live music, specialty cocktails, and dance the night away until 2am. The restaurant’s Amalfi & Frescobaldi Wine Dinner on December 14, in collaboration with the renowned Frescobaldi vineyards, features a curated selection of wines paired with a specially designed menu. And on December 31, ring in 2024 with an extraordinary culinary journey followed by Amalfi’s signature After Dark celebration featuring live music and a festive atmosphere.
A spectacular family holiday concert, Carols by Candlelight, will take place December 8-9 at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Now in its 34th year, proceeds will go to Rady Children’s Hospital. Featured country music stars include multi-platinum recording artist Deana Carter, Charlie Worsham, Anna Vaus, and Steve Vaus. Also appearing in this year’s lineup is Back to the Garden, a Woodstock tribute band featuring the music of the Byrds, the Doors, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, the Eagles, and more. Following the on-stage performances, to close the evening, the audience and stars will meet in the courtyard to sing “Silent Night” by candlelight. In addition to the live entertainment, the benefit also features a live auction, silent auction items, and raffle prizes.
Golden State Ballet presents its annual holiday production of The Nutcracker at the San Diego Civic Theatre December 15-24. Experience the magic of this beloved fairytale, featuring 24 professional dancers and 90 students from the award-winning Golden State Ballet Academy. Dazzling scenery and costumes set the stage for Artistic Director Raul Salamanca’s brilliant new choreography, telling the tale of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, all danced to Tchaikovsky’s classic score performed live by musicians of the renowned San Diego Symphony.
Bundle up and head to Pine Valley, as Camp Christmas is lighting the campfire for its third annual holiday festival taking place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings through December 23 from 5:30-9pm. From a colorful dancing water show to holiday photo ops, winter hayrides and train rides, laser tag, archery, bounce houses, a climbing wall, face painting, and “Sappy,” the talking Christmas tree, there’s something for everyone to boost the holiday spirit. Additionally, the highlight of every evening is a seven-minute presentation of The Christmas Guest, performed twice each night. There’s also the popular Sugar Shack and multiple dining options.
What’s Next Breeders’ Cup has announced that the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is set to serve as the host site for a fourth time in 2025 after also hosting in 2017 and 2021, and having been announced previously as the host in 2024. Consisting of 14 Grade 1 races with purses and awards totaling more than $31 million, the 42nd World Championships are scheduled to be held on on October 31 and November 1, 2025. The 41st World Championships are scheduled to take place at the seaside oval November 1-2, 2024.
“We couldn’t be more excited about hosting back-to-back Breeders’ Cup World Championships and welcoming the very best in international racing back to the town of Del Mar and the greater San Diego area,” says Joe Harper, CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “The Breeders’ Cup represents the pinnacle in world-class racing and the organization’s willingness to return here again is a testament to the quality of our racing facilities, our idyllic weather, and the warm hospitality shown to our visitors by the local community.”