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Top December Events

Activate Smile Mode in San Diego

Find your smile this holiday season in San Diego with mild weather and the special events below. And, enjoy a different kind of winter chill with hotel rates starting at just $99. 

Due to ongoing event cancellations and postponements regarding Covid-19, events listed on this page have not been updated for the current year. Please check with event organizers for the most up-to-date information.

Featured December Events

Activate HOLIDAY Mode

When: December 1-31, 2019
Activate holiday mode and turn up the good cheer with a winter trip to San Diego. The season is as merry and bright as it gets—just make sure to bring flip-flops instead of snow boots. Enjoy warm weather and good vibes at special San Diego-style holiday events, like beachside ice skating and an illuminated boat parade on San Diego Bay. You'll also find great deals all season long, with hotel rates starting at just $99 from November 25 to January 5! 'Tis the season for San Diego.

US Beach Soccer National Championships

When: December 6-8, 2019
The Beach Soccer Championships, Beach Bums, Sand Soccer Storm, and Pro-Am Beach Soccer are working together to provide the US Beach Soccer National Championship in San Diego, California.

Balboa Park December Nights

When: December 6-7, 2019
Balboa Park December Nights brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy and kick-off the "most wonderful time of the year" with lights and more!

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

When: December 8-15, 2019
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated sailing by the shores for all to see.

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

When: December 13, 2019 - January 5, 2020
During Jungle Bells Presented by California Coast Credit Union the San Diego Zoo is transformed into a wild wonderland of twinkling lights, merry-making performances, and festive foods.

Old Town Las Posadas

When: December 14, 2019
Let Old Town San Diego help make your holiday season merry and bright! Halls will be decked, fires built, songs sung, and shopping to be done during Old Town Las Posadas.

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

When: December 27, 2019
Don't miss America's Finest Bowl Experience! This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football’s most competitive conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12.

New Year's Eve

When: December 31, 2019
From grand and glamorous to intimate and romantic to family-friendly, there is a New Year's Eve event just for you. The possibilities are endless. Make this the best year yet by starting your year off with a trip to San Diego.

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

When: Thru January 5, 2020
SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration is a holiday waiting to be made, with seasonal shopping, festive food and drinks, and stunning live shows.

Holidays at LEGOLAND

When: Thru January 5, 2020
Experience the magic of the Holidays at LEGOLAND with music and twinkling lights and the world’s largest LEGO® Christmas Tree. Enjoy live entertainment with LEGO Friends Live in Heartlake City, Santa’s elves singing in Fun Town and a life-sized LEGO Brick Santa and Reindeer that make for a perfect family photo.

Winter & Spring Gray Whale Watching

When: Mid-December - April
Each year, more than 20,000 gray whales make a 10,000 mile round-trip journey from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California, where the females give birth to their calves. After spending time in warm Baja California waters so their young can grow strong, they make the journey north again in spring. The longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis, it is truly an extraordinary spectacle to observe. With 70 miles of coastline directly in the migration path, San Diego is an ideal destination to see this impressive parade of gentle giants.

More Great December Events

Winter Wonder at Belmont Park

When: December 1, 2019
- January 5, 2020
The 94-year-old beachside park will offer a day-and-night experience, featuring a holiday toy drive, 10 to 15-foot-tall holiday-themed sculptures, a free Santa photo op, other winter-themed activities and entertainment; plus, Illuminated Winter Nights when the sun goes down.

Seas 'n' Greetings Holiday Celebration

When: December 1-31, 2019
Deck the Hall (of Fishes) and get into the holiday spirit at Birch Aquarium. Enjoy holiday decorations throughout the aquarium, and don’t miss Scuba Santa during special dive shows.

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

When: December 1, 2019
The festive and fiery SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off promises everything a person could want in a fun day including craft beer, wine, shopping music and chili!

San Pasqual Battle Day

When: December 1, 2019
Commemorating the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual of the Mexican-American war with battle reenactment, military encampment, food and entertainment.

Botanic Wonderland

When: December 3-30, 2019
Enjoy live entertainment at the Conservatory's outdoor amphitheater, a spectacular poinsettia display, a holiday musical lightshow (with an extra surprise!), a snow mound, kids' crafts, face painting, mulled wine and beer, food trucks, a holiday market place and, of course, pictures with Santa.

Coronado Holiday Parade & Open House

When: December 6, 2019
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.

COASTER Holiday Express

When: December 7-15, 2019
You’ll be starting your magical journey at Oceanside Transit Center. Your trip will take you down the beautiful coastline on a 45-minute round-trip from Oceanside to Solana Beach and back. You’ll discuss your wishlist with Santa, chat with the lovely princesses, and sing along with the merry carolers during this fun-filled trip on our COASTER train.

Queen Bee Market

When: December 7-8, 2019
Queen Bee Market, San Diego’s original urban-style, artisan market, features over 100 local and national vendors specializing in handmade and vintage accessories, clothing, home décor, furniture, paper arts and more. There will be live music, make-and-takes, food and live demos. Free swag bags to the first 50 people in line EACH day.

Makers Arcade

When: December 7-8, 2019
The thoughtfully curated festival showcases more than 100 of the most inspiring local and regional artists, designers, and makers. Guests enjoy a fun and festive opportunity to mix and mingle throughout the day, buy local, and shop small for the holidays while enjoying delicious food, handcrafted cocktails, live music, a photo booth, crafts for all ages, and more.

Jingle Bell Run

When: December 7, 2019
The Arthritis Foundation’s original Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get decked out and be festive, while racing to raise funds and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability.

Red Nose Run

When: December 7, 2019
The Red Nose Run, started by the Low and Slow Running Club of Del Mar, is a holiday 5K that benefits Fresh Start Surgical Gifts and Semper Fi Fund.

Winter Wonderland Festival

When: December 7, 2019
Every year, the Center brings the North Pole to the heart of Escondido. Children will have the chance to frolic in real snow, create winter-themed arts and crafts, and even rendezvous with live reindeer!

Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village

When: December 7, 2019
Families, friends and neighbors will experience Little Italy’s Christmas magic and will be able to enjoy the community’s festive décor, seasonal vendors, live music and entertainment, horse carriage rides, holiday treats, a tree lighting, a visit from Santa and more!

Chula Vista Starlight Parade

When: December 7, 2019
Immerse yourself in a timeless, holiday tradition where friends and family, young and old can revel in the Christmas atmosphere that the free Starlight Parade and Children’s Faire brings each year! With numerous holly and jolly activities to get you into the festive spirit, this is the perfect place to spend your Saturday with the family.

Encinitas Holiday Parade

When: December 7, 2019
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.

OB Holiday Parade

When: December 7, 2019
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.

Del Dios Trail Half Marathon, 10K and 5K

When: December 8, 2019
San Diego's fastest growing trail race offers picturesque views of one of San Diego's most beautiful lakes and a course featuring dirt service roads or single track trails.

North Park Toyland Parade

When: December 8, 2019
Celebrate the holiday spirit at the Annual North Park Toyland Parade with vintage cars, marching bands, dance groups, beauty queens, city officials and Santa Claus.

La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival

When: December 8, 2019
Spread some holiday cheer at the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival with marching bands, floats, vintage automobiles and Santa Claus.

La Mesa's Holiday in the Village

When: December 13-14, 2019
The Village is transformed into a Victorian Wonderland during La Mesa's Holiday in the Village. Walk the streets of La Mesa's historic downtown and enjoy live music and dance, cozy fires, craft vendors, food, and a kids' area with holiday movies and activities.

Noel Noel

When: December 14-22, 2019
The sounds of old-fashioned and new-found festive music makes the season bright and delightful as audiences sing along with the San Diego Master Chorale. Decked with boughs of holly and sparkling lights, Copley Symphony Hall at the Jacobs Music Center warmly welcomes you and the North Pole’s most famous resident!

San Diego Santa Run 5K and 1 Mile Race

When: December 14, 2019
Come out in your finest (or ugliest) Christmas attire as you take part in the annual San Diego Santa Run, a one-of-a-kind holiday experience.

Dirty December Poker Fun Run Half Marathon & 10K

When: December 14, 2019
Join in holiday cheer and run the trails during the Dirty December Poker Fun Run Half Marathon & 10K. In addition to a costume contest and holiday theme, this run will involve a poker element – your poker hand could give you bonus time!

Toast of Gaslamp

When: December 14, 2019
Raise your glasses! It’s time to toast the holidays with the Toast of the Gaslamp, offering delicious cocktail samples and scrumptious bites from 20 of the top Gaslamp Quarter restaurants as well as shopping deals at 10 Gaslamp retailers.

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

When: December 14, 2019
The Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights, a distinctly California celebration, features boats decorated for the holidays that will sail around the Bay.

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

When: December 14, 2019
Fishing boats, sail boats, yachts, kayaks and dingys dressed up in holiday swag and circle the Oceanside Harbor to enchant onlookers at the harbor, restaurants and beach.

Poway's Christmas in the Park

When: December 14, 2019
Poway's Christmas in the Park is a unique way to bring holiday delights to your family this holiday season with the magic of an old-fashioned tradition.

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

When: December 15, 2019
San Diego's furriest festive family-friendly parade returns to Downtown as the annual Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade takes over the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter.

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

When: December 21, 2019
The San Diego Holiday Half Marathon is a fast 13.1 mile course that starts in Rancho Penasquitos and finishes at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Beach.

Liberty Station's Hanukkah Celebration and Menorah

When: December 22, 2019
Prepare for a magical night at Liberty Station as guests are welcomed for a family-friendly evening filled with music and other holiday surprises at this special Hanukkah event.

Holiday Food Truck Festival

When: December 26-30, 2019
Celebrate the holidays with visiting family and friends under Balboa Park’s dazzling holiday light display. For five days and evenings, the annual Holiday Food Truck Festival serves up gourmet food from 15 of San Diego’s top food trucks, along with free live entertainment and fun activities for families.

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

When: December 26, 2019
America's Largest Balloon Parade! Marching bands, floats, drill teams and giant balloons parade down San Diego's beautiful waterfront in celebration of the Holiday Bowl.


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