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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.

Surfing Santa

Fun Festivals

Global Winter Wonderland

Dates: November 19, 2017 - January 7, 2018
A spectacular holiday festival featuring awe-inspiring illuminated landscapes celebrating Holidays Around the World, along with Cirque du Soleil level acrobatics, 35+ carnival rides, holiday-themed activities, games, international food, shopping and more.

38th San Diego Jazz Fest

Dates: November 22-26, 2017
The 38th 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.

Surfin' Santa Arrival

Date: November 25, 2017
Head over to Seaport Village for the festive Surfin' Santa Arrival. 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.

Julian's Country Christmas and Tree Lighting

Date: November 25, 2017
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.

Balboa Park December Nights

Dates: December 1-2, 2017
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.

Holiday Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland Festival

Date: December 2, 2017
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!

Little Italy's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Date: December 2, 2017
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!

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

Date: December 3, 2017
Bring the whole family to a unique neighborhood event featuring a chili cook-off between more than 40 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.

Poway's Christmas in the Park

Date: December 9, 2017
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.

Snow Day San Diego

Dates: December 15-30, 2017
Looking for something different and fun to do with your family, company or friends this holiday season? Check out San Diego's newest winter event featuring tubing hills, ice skating, train rides, games, lots of holiday lights and more!

Port Of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

Popular Parades

Mother Goose Parade

Date: November 19, 2017
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

Coronado Holiday Parade & Open House

Date: December 1, 2017
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.

North Park Toyland Parade

Date: December 2, 2017
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 2, 2017
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 2, 2017
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 2, 2017
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 3, 2017
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.

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Date: December 9, 2017
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 9, 2017
Delight in the festive gatherings along the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Dozens of illuminated powerboats and sailboats parade along Mission Bay.

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Date: December 10, 2017
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.

Port of San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dates: December 10 & 17, 2017
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.

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

Date: December 28, 2017
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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