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Top December Events

Discover a Not-So-Wintery Wonderland

This December, get out and enjoy San Diego's festive good vibes with plenty of space to celebrate, play and just getaway.

Featured December Events

Make the Season Merry and Bright

When: December 1-31, 2023
Holiday cheer, good vibes and sunshine are calling you back! So warm up and chill out this holiday season in San Diego.

Balboa Park December Nights

When: December 1-2, 2023
The free family friendly event brings San Diegans together to enjoy the lights, the sounds, the attractions and of course, the amazing food.

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

When: December 9, 2023 - January 1, 2024
The Zoo will be aglow with holiday cheer and decorations, with music filling the air, joyful roaming entertainers, and special food items and sweets available.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

When: December 10 & 17, 2023
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.

DirecTV Holiday Bowl

When: December 27, 2023
This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football's most competitive conferences, the ACC and the Pac-12.

Winter Wonder Beachside at Belmont Park

When: Thru December 31, 2023
Join us in embracing the magic of the season at Belmont Park's Winter Wonder—your ultimate beachside holiday experience. From classic rides and attractions, festive activities, family - friendly entertainment to holiday treats and cozy drinks - we guarantee there’s something for everyone.

Wild Holidays at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

When: Thru December 31, 2023
Seasonal decorations, special wildlife experiences and a festive atmosphere will greet visitors at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park as the Park spreads its own version of holiday cheer.

New Year's Eve

When: December 31, 2023
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.

San Diego Botanic Garden Lightscape

When: Thru January 1, 2024
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.

SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration

When: Thru January 7, 2024
SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration is the fan-favorite experience that brings families together with priceless traditions and fun-filled surprises.

Sesame Place's A Very Furry Christmas Celebration

When: Thru January 7, 2024
The park is transformed into a festive winter wonderland filled with holiday magic and surprises. Guests will enjoy Sesame Street Christmas shows, the Sesame Street Christmas Parade, the Furry Friends Christmas Dance Party, and exciting rides. There will be games, special merchandise, and one-of-a-kind photos with your Sesame Street friends dressed up in their holiday best!

Holidays at LEGOLAND

When: Thru January 7, 2024
It’s time for Holidays at LEGOLAND®, where the Resort is bursting with holiday cheer and festive décor!

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

Skating by the Sea

When: Thru January 7, 2024
This spectacular ice rink at the Hotel del Coronado is located seaside on Windsor Lawn and features stunning views of the Pacific and Coronado beach.

Rady Children's Ice Rink at ARTS DISTRICT

When: Thru January 7, 2024
Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, Sentre and NTC Foundation welcome the community to celebrate the holiday season with the return of their outdoor ice skating.

Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink

When: Thru January 8, 2024
Lace up your skates and take in the holiday splendor as you relive a cherished piece of your childhood or take your very first spin at the Viejas Ice Rink!

Old Town Trolley's Holiday Sights & Festive Nights

When: December 1-30, 2023
Join in sing-along caroling with our Elf conductors as they share fun holiday facts, trivia, history, and traditions. Enjoy a 15-minute stop at Seaport Village for holiday festivities. Hop aboard to see the festive holiday sights of Old Town, Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and more!

Coronado Holiday Parade

When: December 1, 2023
Every year the Coronado Chamber of Commerce hosts a festive Holiday Parade - a twinkling collection of community groups, floats, marching bands and snow-sprinkled cars cruise down Orange Avenue

Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village

When: December 2, 2023
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!

Encinitas Holiday Parade

When: December 2, 2023
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.

La Mesa's Holiday in the Village

When: December 2, 2023
Take part in free festive fun with live music, cozy fires, craft vendors, food, holiday photo opportunities, and a kids' area bigger than Santa's Toy Shop!

Winter Wonderland Festival

When: December 2-3, 2023
Play in real snow, enjoy holiday-themed drinks and treats at Santa's Corner Café, holiday crafting activities led by professional teaching artists and browse for gifts from local artisans.

OB Holiday Parade

When: December 2, 2023
For more 40 years, our quaint little surfing village of Ocean Beach has hosted one of the best Holiday Parades in SoCal. On Saturday, December 2nd, Newport Avenue is lined with colorful OBceans and visitors all eagerly awaiting the commencement of the 44th Annual OB Holiday Parade at Sunset!

Makers Arcade

When: December 2-3, 2023
This exciting holiday event will feature more than 100 makers, craft cocktails, beer, gourmet food trucks, live music, photo trailers, styled lounges, door favors and more!

COASTER Holiday Express

When: December 2-10, 2023
Hop on the train for a magical, in-person experience as we travel the coastline on the COASTER Holiday Express! Santa Claus and his merry carolers will be onboard for an hour of fun with songs, gifts and Santa wish list reading!

Chula Vista Starlight Parade & Festival

When: December 3, 2023
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! 

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

When: December 3, 2023
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!

La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival

When: December 3, 2023
Spread some holiday cheer at the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival with marching bands, floats, vintage automobiles and Santa Claus.

Liberty Station Hanukkah Menorah Lighting

When: December 7, 2023
Come together in Liberty Station for the lighting of the menorah. The magical, family-friendly festivities will be complete with music and the traditional lighting of the menorah.

Jingle Terrace Live

When: December 8-23, 2023
Each evening, the Moonlight Amphitheatre will be adorned in a spectacular holiday light show that you will be able to walk through and inside The Moonlight while you enjoy holiday refreshments, festive displays, live entertainment, family activities and photo opportunities, and other special surprises to be announced!

Las Posadas: An Old Town Celebration

When: December 8, 2023
Las Posadas is a centuries-old Mexican celebration representing the several nights Mary and Joseph, accompanied by a flock of shepherds and angels, sought shelter at different inns in Bethlehem.

Poway's Christmas in the Park

When: December 8-9, 2023
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.

Red Nose Run

When: December 9, 2023
A fun run & walk on beautiful Del Mar beach that is family and dog friendly. Choose your distance - we offer 3K and 5K distance (note: distances may be altered depending on beach conditions that day).

San Diego Santa Run 5K and 1 Mile Race

When: December 9, 2023
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.

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

When: December 9, 2023
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 9, 2023
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.

Snow n Glow

When: December 14-31, 2023
The Beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds will be transformed into San Diego's Holiday Headquarters. With twinkling lights, holiday cheer, and delicious snacks and drinks, Coastal Christmas promises to be your new favorite holiday tradition

Dirty December Poker Fun Run Half Marathon & 10K

When: December 16, 2023
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!

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

When: December 16, 2023
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.

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

When: December 16, 2023
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.

Dixon Lake 10/10

When: December 16, 2023
Join us in beautiful Daley Ranch (Escondido) for the 4th Annual Dixon Lake 10 Miler and 10K. The race will start in El Caballo Park, and take runners to the top of Stanley Peak and the surrounding area allowing runners a beautiful 360 degree view from the top.

Enchanted Village

When: December 16-23, 2023
Be surrounded by 8-acres of brilliantly lit trees, magical cottages, light tunnels, live entertainers, hundreds of giant candy canes, over 200,000 lights, interactive displays and other festive decorations.

Santa Train North Pole Limited

When: Thru December 18, 2023
Once aboard the Santa Train North Pole Limited, the holiday fun begins with Christmas carols, The Night Before Christmas, cookies, hot chocolate and Santa.

Ebenezer Scrooge's BIG San Diego Christmas Show

When: Thru December 24, 2023
San Diego has another show in its Christmas stocking with this fast, funny, and highly theatrical reimagining of one of the most beloved holiday stories ever told. All the traditional elements of Dickens's A Christmas Carol are intact—including the iconic ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future—but with a comic local twist.

Snapdragon Bowl Bash

When: December 26, 2023
The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl is excited to host the second annual Snapdragon Bowl Bash in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego for FREE family fun, great food, live music, giveaways and more!

Holiday Bowl 5K

Date: December 27, 2023
The annual SDCCU Holiday Bowl 5K Run/Walk at the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by Kaiser Permanente will take place along San Diego’s beautiful harbor front, starting on the corner of Harbor Drive and Park Blvd. and finishing at Ruocco Park.

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

When: December 27, 2023
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.

San Diego International Auto Show

When: December 29 - January 1, 2024
The San Diego International Auto Show features an incredible variety of new vehicles under one roof from top global manufacturers. Be among the first in the U.S. to see San Diego debuts of newly unveiled vehicles not yet in showrooms that are expected to be on display at the show.

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

When: Thru December 31, 2023
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book.

Hard Rock Hotel - NYE

When: December 31, 2023
It’s time once again to ring in a New Year, and there is no better way than the legendary Hard Rock Hotel, where we have thrown San Diego’s most memorable parties for 15 years! This year’s event will feature glitter and glamour, plenty of Champagne and a lineup of San Diego’s most acclaimed DJs!

Kids' New Years Eve at LEGOLAND

When: December 31, 2023
"Midnight" comes early for families at LEGOLAND California Resort, celebrating the New Year together without missing their bedtimes. Join in the festivities and celebrate the New Year early with rides, activities, and a whole lot of fun.

Big Night San Diego New Years Eve

When: December 31, 2023
Big Night San Diego is excited to be back again at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, to ring in 2024 at our 21st annual New Year’s Eve celebration!

New Years Eve Yacht Party

When: December 31, 2023
Join us New Year's Eve on one of San Diego’s oversized party yachts, The ADVENTURE HORNBLOWER YACHT! 3 levels, scenic outdoor decks, Lounges and a dance floor. This 400 capacity party yacht is ready to make a memorable New Years Eve Yacht Cruise.


When: December 31, 2023 - January 1, 2024
Celebrate the New Year with CRSSD's Proper NYE/NYD at Petco Park with four stages and over 50 artists.

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