Start Survey Survey
Our site is best viewed in the latest version of your browser. Please upgrade for the best site experience.

Looking to start a new holiday tradition the whole family can enjoy? San Diego has you covered with holiday parades both on and off the water, colorful lights displays and festivals full of good food, music and much more.

Festivals | Parades


  • The 36th San Diego Jazz Fest over Thanksgiving will present a variety of traditional jazz music, from ragtime to swing to dixieland at the Town & Country Resort and Hotel in Hotel Circle.
    Dates: November 25-29, 2015
  • Head over to Seaport Village for the festive Surfin' Santa Arrival in November. Hang-ten with Santa and enjoy a lively parade along the Seaport Village boardwalk, live music, stilt walkers, kid's crafts and photo opportunities of your family and friends surfing with Santa.
    Date: November 28, 2015
  • Julian's Country Christmas and Tree Lighting kicks off the holiday season with the annual lighting of the town's huge living Christmas tree, drawing hundreds of visitors who gather at Pioneer Park to watch the lighting and visit with Santa.
    Date: November 28, 2015
  • Join the festivities during Balboa Park December Nights, a two-day holiday celebration of food, entertainment and fun. The sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season fill the air as the museums and cultural institutions in Balboa Park, the nation's largest urban cultural park, open their doors free of charge. Festivities include carolers, live music, light displays, theater and dance performances, and delicious foods from around the world.
    Dates: December 4-5, 2015
  • Holiday Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland Festival at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido brings the North Pole to the heart of Escondido. Children will have the chance to frolic in real snow, decorate their very own Christmas cookies, and create fun, hand-made gifts for their loved ones. At dusk, the Winter Wonderland Forest comes alive with twinkling lights, and no one will be able to resist the holiday spirit!
    Date: December 5, 2015
  • Celebrate the season during Little Italy's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and see the unique Christmas Tree - a 25-foot tower of 1,000+ gorgeous Poinsettias. Enjoy the community's festive decorations, live music and entertainment, snacks, holiday beverages and more!
    Date: December 5, 2015
  • Holiday in the Village envelopes Third Avenue Village's Memorial Park with holiday wonder and family friendly merriment. Make sure to don your ugliest apparel for the return of the Ugliest Holiday Sweater Contest.
    Date: December 5, 2015
  • Bring the whole family to a unique neighborhood event featuring a chili cook-off between more than 20 of the celebrated restaurants of South and North Park. At the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off in December, you can pick out your own hand-spun ceramic bowls then sample chili from the local restaurants. You can also shop for holiday gifts from local artisans and enjoy free live music, kids' games and activities, gourmet food trucks, a beer garden featuring local craft beers and more.
    Date: December 6, 2015
  • Celebrate holiday cheer with Poway's Christmas in the Park in December. The event features a tree lighting ceremony, visits from Santa, train rides, live music, theatre performances, food, treats, crafts and more.
    December 12, 2015


  • Witness a tradition that began as a gift to the children of San Diego in 1947 - the annual Mother Goose Parade in the East County city of El Cajon. One of the biggest parades of its kind in the country and the largest single-day event in San Diego County, the parade features floats, clowns, Santa Claus, marching bands, equestrian teams and celebrity appearances.
    Date: November 21, 2015
  • Santa arrives via the Ferry at the Coronado Ferry Landing, a festive parade follows down Orange Avenue and Santa lights the Christmas Tree in Rotary Plaza during the Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House.
    Date: December 4, 2015
  • Get ready to light up anything with wheels, the family or family pets for the Annual Parade of Lights & Snow Festival in Alpine!
    Date: December 4, 2015
  • Experience the unique sights and sounds of the annual North Park Toyland Parade in December. Enjoy marching bands, floats, vintage cars, dance groups, beauty queens, city officials and Santa in this popular community celebration.
    Date: December 5, 2015
  • Celebrate the Season in Downtown Chula Vista! The Chula Vista Starlight Parade is a great way to kick-off the holiday season and get in the festive spirit!
    Date: December 5, 2015
  • Thousands of people will be on floats and in bands with tens of thousands more cheering them on as the Encinitas Holiday Parade rolls along Coast Highway 101.
    Date: December 5, 2015
  • Come find out what the locals have known for 30+ years - Santa would rather be in the quaint little surfing village of OB at the Ocean Beach Holiday Parade.
    Date: December 5, 2015
  • Spread some holiday cheer at the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival in December in downtown La Jolla. The event includes marching bands, floats, equestrian units, vintage automobiles and an appearance by Santa Claus.
    Date: December 6, 2015
  • Watch the season sail by at the Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights in December. The popular parade circles the harbor and features a wide variety of boats, brightly decorated for the holiday season.
    Date: December 12, 2015
  • Delight in the festive gatherings along the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights in December. Over 100 brightly illuminated powerboats and sailboats parade along Mission Bay.
    Date: December 12, 2015
  • Enjoy the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade in downtown San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter. Owners and their dressed-up pets march down the decorated streets of the neighborhood, ending at a Pet Expo featuring an award-ceremony for best-dressed pups.
    Date: December 13, 2015
  • Enjoy the twinkling waters of the San Diego Bay and more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights for the annual Port of San Diego Bay Parade of Lights over two weekends in December. Great views are available on dry land from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Marina Park and Coronado's Ferry Landing.
    Dates: December 13 & 20, 2015
  • Rock out at the Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March in December. Kicking off two days prior to the annual Poinsettia Bowl, which is played in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, bands representing the two Bowl football teams line up at opposite ends of Fifth Avenue in downtown's Gaslamp Quarter and face-off in an old-fashion battle of the bands.
    Date: December 21, 2015
  • Gaze up at the massive balloons during the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, the country's largest balloon parade. Floats, balloons and marching bands are just some of the offerings in this colorful holiday parade along San Diego Bay in downtown San Diego.
    Date: December 30, 2015

Share This With Friends!

Free Visitor Planning Guide

Free Visitor Planning Guide

Order a free visitor planning guide to help plan your San Diego vacation.

Request Guide

Sign Up for Our Newsletter


Balboa Parks December Nights
Balboa Park December Nights

Balboa Park

12/2/16 - 12/3/16

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

Holiday Gala Dinner Cruises

Hornblower Cruises & Events

12/2/16 - 12/17/16

Christmas Day Brunch Cruise

Hornblower Cruises & Events

12/25/16 - 12/25/16

Blog Feed

Top Things to Do in San Diego – October 11-16, 2016 October 6, 2016 Written by Brent Bernasconi
Top 10 Instagram Worthy Spots Throughout San Diego County October 5, 2016 Written by Guest Blogger