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Discover San Diego's

Holiday Spirit

With Lights, Festivals & Parades

Start a new holiday tradition in San Diego

Start a new holiday tradition the whole family can enjoy. We've got you covered with holiday parades both on and off the water, colorful lights displays and festivals full of good food, music and much more. So head to San Diego this season where you're sure to discover the spirit of the holidays.

Surfer dressed as Santa in San Diego CA

Fun Festivals

39th San Diego Jazz Fest

Dates: November 21-25, 2018
The 39th San Diego Jazz Fest over Thanksgiving will present a variety of traditional jazz music, from ragtime to swing to rockabilly at the Town & Country Resort and Hotel in Hotel Circle. Jazz bands and musicians from across the U.S. will perform.

Julian's Country Christmas and Tree Lighting

Date: November 24, 2018
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.

Little Italy's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Date: December 1, 2018
Celebrate the season during Little Italy's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and see the unique Christmas Tree - a 25-foot tower of 1,100 gorgeous Poinsettias. Enjoy the community's festive decorations, live music and entertainment, snacks, holiday beverages and more!

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

Date: December 2, 2018
Bring the whole family to a unique neighborhood event featuring a chili cook-off between more than 30 of the celebrated restaurants of South and North Park. At the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off, 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.

Balboa Park December Nights

Dates: December 7-8, 2018
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.

La Mesa's Holiday in the Village

Date: December 7-8, 2018
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.

Poway's Christmas in the Park

Date: December 8, 2018
Celebrate holiday cheer with Poway's Christmas in the Park. The event features a tree lighting ceremony, visits from Santa, train rides, live music, theatre performances, food, treats, crafts and more.

Port Of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

Popular Parades

Mother Goose Parade

Date: November 18, 2018
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

North Park Toyland Parade

Date: December 1, 2018
Experience the unique sights and sounds of the annual North Park Toyland Parade. Enjoy marching bands, floats, vintage cars, dance groups, beauty queens, city officials and Santa in this popular community celebration.

Starlight Parade

Date: December 1, 2018
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!

Encinitas Holiday Parade

Date: December 1, 2018
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.

Ocean Beach Holiday Parade

Date: December 1, 2018
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.

La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival

Date: December 2, 2018
Spread some holiday cheer at the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival in December in downtown La Jolla. The event includes marching bands, community groups, drill teams, vintage vehicles, horses, and yes ~ a camel. Church bells peal with a fly-over. There is also a Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Coronado Holiday Parade & Open House

Date: December 7, 2018
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 Holiday Parade & Open House.

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Date: December 8, 2018
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.

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

Date: December 8, 2018
Delight in the festive gatherings along the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Dozens of illuminated powerboats and sailboats parade along Mission Bay.

Port of San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dates: December 9 & 16, 2018
Enjoy the twinkling waters of the San Diego Bay and more than 80 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, the pier at Cesar Chavez Park and Coronado's Ferry Landing.

The Vet + Pet West Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Date: December 16, 2018
Enjoy the Vet + Pet West 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.

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

Date: December 31, 2018
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.

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