What’s NewSan Diego’s seemingly endless appetite for premium steaks has brought yet another destination into the mix, this time in Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Steak 48, the acclaimed national steakhouse chain from the people who founded Mastro’s, made its grand debut last month, revealing a complete transformation of the former Searsucker space. Anchored by a sleek, wood-topped bar sparkling with glass overhead, the restaurant boasts a vast, almost labyrinthine interior featuring distinctly different dining areas between its many spaces, but consistent throughout is Steak 48’s extensive menu showcasing towering seafood, prime cuts, and an impressive wine selection.
What’s Now You’ve got a few days to let the Halloween candy settle and find that one person who wants all your leftover Twizzlers before holiday festivities begin in earnest mid-month. Then, it’s time to get in the spirit at San Diego Botanic Garden, when Lightscape returns for its second year beginning on November 17 and running through January 1. The immersive outdoor experience sparkles with more than a million lights along a one-mile path of brilliant tunnels, towering poppies, and other unique installations.
Then, take your love of light to the next level and head to Riverside for Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s extravagant annual Festival of Lights, which kicks off its 31st annual seasonal offering beginning November 18 with an event-filled Switch-On Ceremony. Starting at 5pm, the evening welcomes special guest Cheech Marin and a concert with featuring Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Wally Palmar of The Romantics, Tommy Tutone, former lead singer of Kool & The Gang Skip Martin, Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean, Eliott Lurie of Looking Glass, and former Chicago frontman Jason Scheff. The crowd-averse have plenty of opportunity to catch the lights, which will stay aglow through January 7.
Closer to home, the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association’s Encinitas Holiday Street Fair will embrace the season with its usual élan on November 19 from 9am-5pm. Boasting more than 450 food vendors plus artists and makers offering holiday-themed wares, the event will also have live music on multiple stages, rides for kids, and a kid- and dog-friendly beer garden.
Even the best intentions for an after-dinner walk are no match for the nap-inducing power of tryptophan, so on November 23, log some miles early and for a good cause at one of the many turkey trots around San Diego. In North County, the O’Side Turkey Trot offers 5-mile or 5K courses plus shorter tracks for tots to trot. Encinitas Turkey Trot’s 5K loop and 10K double loop add a little “fowl” flair with a costume contest. And of course, Father Joe’s Villages will host its time-honored trot, the Run for Hope Thanksgiving Day 5K, in Balboa Park. Each event requires advance registration, and all benefit select organizations to pay the fun of the day forward.
Pedalers seeking something a little more rigorous can jump in on San Diego Bike Club’s Turkey Ride & Hunt to Elfin Forest, a 60-mile, jaunt that loops from La Jolla Village Square north to Elfin Forest and east through Rancho Bernardo and Poway before returning to La Jolla. If this no-registration-required fun ride isn’t a license for seconds at the Thanksgiving table, then nothing is.
Anyone dreading the annual chore of polishing the silver can leave the drawer shut for another year and make reservations instead. Thanksgiving Day prix fixe menus at San Diego culinary pillars including George’s at the Cove and Herb & Wood offer a traditional take at their tables, while The Grill at Lake San Marcos has a more casual version with a buffet, and Animae serves things up with a distinctly Asian twist. No dirty dishes, no regrets — unless you wait too long to make your reservation.
Of course, some home chefs just aren’t ready to relinquish their role in the kitchen, and that’s OK. But, we don’t consider it cheating to pre-order some — or all — of the elements for the Thanksgiving meal. All those in favor can choose from a selection of mains, sides, and sweets from Solana Beach’s Ranch 45, or put your name on a Diestel turkey at Chef Brad Wise’s Wise Ox butcher shop in Carlsbad, where you’ll also be able to grab extras like gravies, sauces, and pies.
Once the book is closed on Thanksgiving 2023, it’s full steam ahead with all things winter, including the return of the Over the Top Holiday Lounge at Top of the Hyatt. Beginning November 24, the top of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego will be transformed into a cozy lounge created to stir the nostalgia of a rustic winter vacation, with themed menu to complete the homey tableau.
One Paseo is also going all-in with décor and events beginning with an annual tree lighting ceremony on November 25 at 5pm, which is also the kickoff of December Nights, when holiday lights sparkle and magical snow falls over the center every Friday and Saturday throughout December from 5-7pm.
What’s Next December will build on the post-Thanksgiving holiday momentum with more of the magic that we love about this season. Beginning December 1 and every weekend all month long, San Marcos’ Lakehouse Resort will turn the lights on at its Winter Wonderland, with a 140-foot holiday light tunnel, igloo dining experience, Polar Express-inspired hayrides, a European-style Holiday Market, holiday-themed boat cruises on the lake, and more.
Then, Del Mar Village gets festive on December 3 with the return of its Winter Taste & Sip, where there will be delicious samplings from dozens of Del Mar restaurants and local beverage partners, live music, and family friendly festivities amid a cheerfully decorated downtown Del Mar from 1-4pm. Tickets include 21+ sip-included and sip-free options. Head downtown for more revelry on December 9 from 2-7pm when The East Village Association presents the East Village Holiday Market and Tree Lighting at Quartyard and 13th Street from 3-7pm. Come for the holiday vendors and stay for the music, family fun, and the Christmas tree lighting, taking place at 5:45pm.
Back at One Paseo, weekends will be full of holiday magic, from a special holiday showing of The Grinch on December 9 from 6pm to 9pm, a Menorah Lighting Ceremony on December 12 from 5pm to 7pm to celebrate the start of Hanukkah, and hot cocoa, holiday treats, and selfies with Santa on December 17 from 11am to 3pm.
Closing out the year before the big NYE countdown is, of course, the Holiday Bowl, a San Diego tradition for more than 45 years. This year kickoff will be on December 27 at 5pm at Petco Park, and the stellar KGB Skyshow closes out the evening. Head back to the ballpark on December 31 for a blowout celebration at Proper NYE/NYD, a two-day celebration featuring 50 artists on four stages. Talk about going out big!