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Escape to San Diego for the Holidays

Take a time out in San Diego by bringing your kids to a playground. There are playgrounds located all over the county, so you'll have no trouble finding one close by. Many of San Diego's playgrounds are located right on the beach, so you'll have great views to enjoy while your little one is out having fun.

City of San Diego

Chollas Lake Park
Location: 6350 College Grove Drive, San Diego, CA 92115
Neighborhood: Rolando/Kensington
Phone: 619.527.7683
Hours: Daily - 6:30 AM to 30 minutes before sunset
Cost: Free

This man-made 16-acre lake provides free youth fishing (for those 15 and under) as well as picnic areas with barbecue grills, wooden play structures, and a dirt trail that is short enough for even the shortest legs (8/10ths of a mile). Bring bread for the ducks and geese, but be forewarned, sometimes they can be overly friendly.

City Heights Recreation, Swim and Tennis Center
Location: 4380 Landis Street, San Diego, CA 92105
Neighborhood: City Heights
Recreation Center Phone: 619.641.6125
Recreation Center Hours:
- Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday - 2:00 to 8:00 PM
- Wednesday - 12:00 to 8:00 PM
- Saturday - 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Sunday - Closed
Pool Phone: 619.641.6126, hours are subject to change, so call before you go: Pool Center Information
Cost: varies

A large indoor/outdoor recreation complex, facilities include ball fields, children's play area, community center, performance annex, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. The pool offers swimming lessons, youth water polo and recreational swim.

Golden Hill Recreation Center
Location: 2600 Golf Course Drive, San Diego, CA 92102
Neighborhood: Golden Hill
Phone: 619-235-1138
Hours:
- Monday-Friday - 2:00 to 8:45 PM
- Saturday - 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Sunday - Closed
Cost: Free

The facilities and programs offered at this community center provide some unusual opportunities for local kids. Most notably, this is the site of the Fern Street Circus' After School Circus Skills Program and summer camp.

This recreation center also operates wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball leagues, and dance and karate programs. The facilities include basketball, soccer, baseball/softball fields, tennis courts, a playground, picnic area, shuffleboard courts, and an indoor gym.

Kate O. Sessions Park
Location: 5115 Soledad Road, San Diego, CA 92109
Neighborhood: Pacific Beach/Mission Beach
Hours: Daily - 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Cost: Free

Kate O. Sessions Park is slightly off the beaten track in a residential neighborhood. It offers a huge grassy backdrop for kite-flying expeditions and scenic views for picnicking. There is a playground. A favorite activity at this park is to make like a log and roll down the seemingly endless hills of grass.

Kellogg Park
Location: Camino del Oro, La Jolla, CA 92037
Neighborhood: La Jolla
Hours: Daily - 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free

Kellogg Park is located in a grassy expanse that runs parallel to La Jolla Shores. The park has two fantastic play structures - one geared toward the younger set, the other for the older ones. There are swings, elaborate climbing structures, a pulley, and dolphins to ride, plus restrooms nearby. Best of all, it's a stone's throw from the water and lies at the edge of the grass and parking lot, making it a perfect transitional spot.

La Jolla Recreation Center
Location: 615 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
Neighborhood: La Jolla
Phone: 858.552.1658
Hours:
- Monday and Friday - 9:00 AM to 5:45 PM
- Tuesday-Thursday - 9:00 AM to 7:45 PM
- Saturday - 9:00 AM to 12:45 PM
- Sunday - Closed
Cost: Free to inexpensive

Equivalent in size to approximately two city blocks, the "Rec Center" consists of two sand play areas with fairly new and interesting climbing structures (one more suitable for children under 5, the other for older kids), picnic tables, basketball courts, six tennis courts, a recreation center with classrooms and an auditorium, and the La Jolla Tennis Club and Pro Shop. The basketball courts are usually open during weekdays, making this an ideal spot for beginning bike riders or inline skaters. It's also fun for scootering.

Mission Bay Park Playground
Location: 2688 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Neighborhood: Pacific Beach/Mission Beach
Cost: Free

Simply one of the best playgrounds in San Diego. Located just down the road from the San Diego Visitor Information Center, Mission Bay Park Playground is nestled between the bay and a large grassy area. It has elaborate age-specific climbing structures, tons of sand, and swings. Permanent picnic tables make this a great spot for lunch al fresco, and the park has lots of wind and open space for kite flying. Definitely worth a visit.

Morley Field & Recreation Center
Location: 2221 Morley Drive, San Diego, CA 92104
Neighborhood: North Park
Phone: 619.692.4919
Hours:
- Monday-Friday - 3:00 to 9:00 PM
- Saturday-Sunday - 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Swimming pool hours are subject to change
Cost: Free

Morley Field is a huge outdoor/indoor sports complex operated by the City of San Diego. Here you can find a place to do just about anything physical that you're interested in, including baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, archery, football, shuffle board, soccer, and swimming at Bud Kearns Municipal Pool. Small playground lies at the far northeast end of Morley Field.

Pacific Beach Recreation Center
Location: 1405 Diamond St., San Diego, CA 92109
Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Phone: 858-581-9927
Hours:
- Monday and Wednesday - 1:00 to 7:45 PM
- Tuesday and Thursday - 1:00 to 8:45 PM
- Friday - noon to 5:45 PM
- Saturday - 9:00 AM to 12:45 PM
- Sunday - Closed
Cost: Free

A community center in the heart of Pacific Beach that works hard to set up a variety of programs for kids. On-site are two lighted tennis courts, lighted multi-purpose athletic field, sand tot lot, gymnasiums used for basketball and volleyball, three meeting rooms, weight room and game room.

Robb Field Athletic Area
Location: 2525 Bacon Street, San Diego, CA 92107
Neighborhood: Point Loma
Phone: 619-531-1563
Hours:
- Monday-Thursday - 4:00 to 8:45 PM
- Friday - 4:00 to 7:45 PM
- Saturday-Sunday - 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM
Cost: Cost varies by program. Please bring a check or money order when registering for classes. A reduced fee waiver is available upon request for low income families.

Robb Field Athletic Area is everything that a park should be...and more! Not only does this park have a large, grassy area with picnic tables and shade trees, a playground for the little ones, enough wind to fly a kite, public tennis courts, baseball fields and basketball courts, and skateboard park, it also hosts a well-run Recreation Center.

Santa Clara Recreation Center
Location: 1008 Santa Clara Place, San Diego, CA 92109
Neighborhood: Pacific Beach/Mission Beach
Phone: 858-581-9928
Hours:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday - noon to 7:00 PM
- Tuesday and Thursday - noon to 7:30 PM
- Saturday - 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
- Sunday - Closed
Cost: Inexpensive

Situated on scenic Santa Clara Point, this is probably the best-located recreation center in the City of San Diego. Its facilities include basketball, handball, and tennis courts; a beautiful children's playground; football and soccer fields; picnic areas; and restrooms.

Scripps Ranch Recreation Center
Location: 11454 Blue Cypress Drive, San Diego, CA 92131
Neighborhood: Scripps Ranch
Phone: 858-538-8085
Hours:
- Monday - 2:00 to 8:45 PM
- Tuesday - 2:00 to 7:45 PM
- Wednesday-Thursday - 1:00 to 8:45 PM
- Friday - 1:00 to 5:45 PM
- Saturday - 10:00 AM to 3:45 PM
- Sunday - Closed

The enclosed part of Scripps Ranch Recreation Center includes an indoor gymnasium, multi-purpose room with kitchen, and several classrooms. In addition, there are lighted ball fields, a joint-use field, lighted outdoor basketball courts, large turfed area that is great for kite flying, two covered picnic shelters, and barbecues with hot coal bins. The playground area is large and spacious.

Shelter Island
Location: Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92106
Neighborhood: Pt. Loma
Hours: 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM

Shelter Island is actually a peninsula and not really an island at all. It provides lovely views of the San Diego Bay and Downtown and is a favorite picnic spot for many locals. Two great playgrounds, wide sidewalks, a sand beach and restrooms make this an ideal spot to take toddlers for a day out on the town.

Coronado

Coronado Tidelands Park
Location: 2000 Mullinix Drive, Coronado, CA 92118
Neighborhood: Coronado
Phone: 619.686.6200
Hours: Daily - 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM

Coronado Tidelands Park is located at the foot of the Coronado Bridge and offers beautiful views of downtown San Diego across the bay. The park has a playground, ball fields, picnic tables, restrooms and a sandy beach for swimming.

Sprekels Park
Neighborhood: Coronado
Phone: 619.522.7300

East County

Highwood Park
Location: 7777 Junior High Drive, La Mesa, CA 91941
Neighborhood: La Mesa
Phone: 619.667.1300
Hours: Daily - 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Highwood Park is an eight-acre park that includes two play structures, a shaded picnic area with tables, benches, barbecues, and restrooms. The amphitheater and tennis courts are also available through La Mesa Middle School.

Jackson Park
Location: 5870 Jackson Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942
Neighborhood: La Mesa
Phone: 619.667.1300
Hours: Daily - 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free

Jackson Park is a small park on Jackson Drive with play structures, a turfed play/picnic area with tables and barbecues, benches, and restrooms.

Northmont Park
Location: Severin Drive and Amaya Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942
Neighborhood: La Mesa
Phone: 619.667.1300
Hours: Daily - 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free

With just over five acres this park includes a tot lot, walking/jogging path, volleyball court, turfed play/picnic area with tables and barbecues, benches and restrooms.

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve
Location: 9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071
Neighborhood: Santee
Phone: 619.596.3141
Cost: $3-$5 for parking.

Santee Lakes Recreation preserve boasts a 1,300 square foot interactive water playground, a three-story Mega Tower, the Kiwanis Playground for Children with Disabilities and the innovative Boulder Island

Wells Park and Community Center
Location: 1153 E. Madison Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92021
Neighborhood: El Cajon
Phone: 619.441.1680
Hours: Community Center - Monday-Friday - 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free

Wells Park, an 18-acre park, has a big grassy area for children to run around on, and a picnic area. The park also features two playgrounds (one for big kids and one for little kids), ball fields, and a community center. The dog park, which is on the grounds, is completely fenced in, and therefore safe for kids.

North County

Powerhouse/Seagrove Park
Location: Between 15th and 18th Streets on Coast Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014
Neighborhood: Del Mar
Hours: Daily - 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free

Located on a half-mile stretch of green that runs parallel to the ocean atop low cliffs, the Park seamlessly changes from the manicured Seagrove Park at the base of 15th Street to Powerhouse Park as it stretches northward to 18th Street in Del Mar.A playground at the southern end (nearest to Seagrove Park) is suitable for small children and one of the best in San Diego due to its stunning location. Nowhere else can you push children on swings while watching a pod of dolphins swim by in the waters below.

South Bay

El Toyon Park
Location: 2005 E. 4th Street, National City, CA 91950
Neighborhood: National City
Phone: 619-472-6486
Hours:
- Monday-Wednesday and Friday - 3:00 to 5:00 PM
- Thursday - 1:00 to 5:00 PM
- Saturday-Sunday - Closed
Cost: Free

El Toyon Park is a 25-acre site that hosts the El Toyon Recreation Center, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball and football fields, picnic areas, playground equipment and a horseshoe pit.

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Events

Balboa Parks December Nights
Balboa Park December Nights

Balboa Park

12/5/14 - 12/6/14

National University Holiday Bowl

12/27/14 - 12/27/14

SeaWorld's 50th Celebration - A Sea of Surprises

SeaWorld San Diego

3/31/14 - on-going

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

12/14/14 - 12/21/14

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