My Favorites During the Holidays in San Diego

 by So Diego Tours

Fa la la la la…..the holiday spirit is in the air, and despite San Diego not having a huge climate change from season to season, there is plenty of good cheer, red cups, and scarves around town.  Here are my top things to do during the holidays in San Diego:

1)     Ice Skating overlooking one of America’s most beautiful beaches.

That’s right folks, we San Diegans can pretend that it’s cold enough to have a body of water freeze over to ice skate on.  The Hotel del Coronado not only has their iconic Christmas tree lit up, but they have an ice skating rink that overlooks the Pacific!  Open December 15-January 1 from 11:00am – 1:00pm, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, 6:00pm – 9:00pm.  Cost is $25/adult and $20/kids 10 years and younger.

Ice Skating Coronado So Diego Tours

2)     Parade of Lights at the San Diego Bay – December 16

Cuddle up on the embarcadero, Sea Port Village, or Ferry Landing in Coronado for spectacular parade on the Bay.  Motor yachts, sail boats, and even dinghy’s dress up for the holidays to show off their decorating skills to all of San Diego.

Parade on the Bay So Diego Tours

3)     The Poinsettia Bowl Band March in the Gaslamp Quarter – December 18

This year, our own SDSU battles it out with BYU for the year’s only true battle of the bands in the heart of Downtown, San Diego.  Each marching band starts at opposite ends of the Gaslamp Quarter, and meets in the middle for a friendly band match.

Poinsettia Bowl So Diego Tours

4)     Pet Parade in the Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego is the 3rd most dog friendly city in the nation.  It’s no wonder why we dress them in Santa costumes and parade them around the historic district each holiday season.  The Pet Parade dates vary from year to year.  Check it out here.

Pet Parade So Diego Tours

5)     December Nights

The nation’s largest urban park hosts an outrageously large holiday festival on a Friday and Saturday night in December.  Balboa Park gets decked in lights, carolers, food vendors, beer gardens and even fair rides.  This event is for the people who love to be around large crowds.  The free event attracts hundreds of thousands of guests each year.

Balboa Park Holiday So Diego Tours

6)     Holiday Shows

The Old Globe rolls out the annual How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the San Diego Ballet puts on the legendary Nutcracker, and The San Diego Symphony has their Holiday Pops each season.  Need I say more?

Nutcracker So Diego Tours


  1. says

    Another great San Diego holiday favorite is the Del Mar Fairgrounds Holiday of Lights. The Holiday of Lights, for those of you who may be unfamiliar, is a drive-through light show and exhibit that has over 400 themed light displays. It is a really fun thing for the kids around Christmas and it is really enjoyable for parents as well. It has become a tradition in my family to go every year the day before Christmas Eve, the kids love it and the themed light displays seem to get better and more impressive every year. It isn’t quite as fun or engaging as the events listed above, but if you have small children and want to do something easy and festive without worrying about losing them in a crowd, this drive-through light show provides just that for San Diego families. If you don’t want to be confined to your car however, the Holiday Hayride is a relatively new feature of the Holiday of Lights event visitors can tour the light display in the back of an open hay-wagon. I have yet to do the Hayride, but my kids have been begging for it so this my be the year my family gives it a try. Thanks for the great list of holiday events, now I have some new ideas for celebrating with the family this holiday season!

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