Located a bridge away from downtown San Diego, Coronado is a magical seaside getaway during the winter months with mild temperatures, glistening beaches and a nostalgic setting to enjoy a stocking full of holiday festivities for visitors of all ages. During the holiday season, the "Crown City" is transformed into a winter wonderland, from twinkling Christmas tree-lined streets and the Hotel del Coronado's delightful ice Skating by the Sea to Loews Coronado Bay Resort's enchanting marina with Santa gondoliers and boats adorned with colorful holiday lights.
Following are some festive offerings that are sure to make a winter visit to Coronado fun and memorable for the whole family.
HOLIDAY FESTIVALS, FAIRS AND PARADES
- The landmark Hotel del Coronado is renowned for its festive holiday traditions. It was here in 1904 that the world's first electrically lit, outdoor living Christmas tree made its debut, setting the stage for over a century of holiday enchantment. This year's holiday theme is "Celebrating 125 Years of Holiday Magic." The Del will deck the halls with classic Victorian decorations, tartan plaid, vintage Santas, antique platinum accents and more than 100,000 glittering white lights illuminating the grand Victorian structure.
Throughout the holiday season, Del guests can enjoy a merry mix of activities, including Sunday Brunch with Santa (Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22), an elegant Victorian Tea (Dec. 14-24 and 26-31), Elf Tuck-ins, cookie decorating and a Kidtopia Camp with holiday scavenger hunts and family s'mores on the beach.
On Dec. 4, families are invited to the resort's seasonal kick-off, "Holiday Festival…A Family Celebration," featuring beachfront ice skating, Santa Claus and his elves and a spectacular fireworks show, providing an unforgettable ending for the day's events.
- Throughout December, guests can join in the merriment of the season at Loews Coronado Bay Resort for unique holiday festivities including visits from St. Nick, caroling, classic holiday films projected on the lobby big screen, seasonally-inspired cocktails and more.
On Christmas Eve, Chef Adam Cho will host a special prix fixe dinner menu at Mistral. On Christmas Day, the resort's Market Café will feature an extravagant Christmas Brunch.
- Guests can get into the holiday spirit during the 38th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade and Open House, occurring 3-9 p.m. on Dec. 6. Festivities kick off with Santa Claus' arrival by ferryboat (3:20 p.m.), followed by frosty fun on Snow Mountain (until 7 p.m.) and carolers at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Admission is free. Other highlights include a popular Holiday Parade (6 p.m.) and Merchants Open House (5-9 p.m.) down Orange Avenue, a traditional Christmas tree lighting (7 p.m.) and community band concert in Rotary Park.
- Guests can shop for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts during the 41st Annual Artisan's Alley Craft Fair on Dec. 7 at the Coronado Village Elementary School. More than 180 booths will feature holiday crafts, toys, clothing, ceramics, gift baskets, jewelry and art. There will also be food, drinks, live music and caroling.
- Held on Dec. 8 and 15, the 42nd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights features more than 80 private boats sparkling with holiday lights and sailing the waters of San Diego Bay past Coronado Island. This year's theme is "Big Bay Toy Parade"; parade runs 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Coronado Island Marriott Resort and Coronado Ferry Landing offer terrific viewing from the shore.
- One of Coronado's favorite holiday traditions is Lamb's Players Theatre's annual Festival of Christmas, a musical production that takes place on its resident stage on Orange Avenue. This year's performance, "Catch a Falling Star," is the story of a musical group determined to film a musical Christmas card on location in a remote miner's cabin tucked away in the gold country of the Sierra Nevadas. The show runs Nov. 29 through Dec. 29.
- Lamb's Players Theatre also presents An American Christmas, Dec. 16-24 at the Hotel del Coronado. As guests step inside the grand hotel ballroom, they are transported back to 1913 for a memorable Christmas celebration where 30 performers fill the evening with stories, songs, dance and laughter, all woven around a sumptuous four-course yuletide dinner.
- The Hotel del Coronado presents one of the most unique winter experiences in Southern California with Skating by the Sea, an outdoor ice skating rink on the Windsor Lawn just steps from Coronado Beach. Open November 27 through January 5, a portion of the ice skate rental proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.
- On December 20-23, The Gondola Company - first-place winners in the 2013 U.S. Gondola Nationals - brings back its Buon Natale gondola cruise, featuring a Santa gondolier serenading guests with Christmas carols while cruising the canals and waterways of the Coronado Cays. The Gondola Company offers visitors 50-minute gondola rides throughout the holiday season to view dozens of boats and yachts festooned with colorful holiday lights in the Coronado Cays. The gondolas can accommodate up to six guests; blankets are provided and guests can bring their own beverage. Cruises depart from Loews Coronado Bay Resort marina.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
- Revelers can ring in 2014 at the Hotel del Coronado's "Pure Magic" New Year's Eve Gala. The festivities kick off with a champagne reception in the magnificent Crown Room, followed by a lavish dinner in the ballroom, dancing to the contemporary sounds of The Mar Dels and a champagne toast at midnight. The party continues with the annual New Year's Day champagne brunch in the Crown Room.
- Partygoers can celebrate the New Year in grand style at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Festivities include a memorable New Year's Eve dinner in Mistral with live entertainment and front row views of fireworks over San Diego Bay, plus a New Year's Eve party at Cays Lounge with a champagne toast at midnight.
Happiness is calling in Coronado. For more information on holiday activities and events in Coronado and the entire San Diego region, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority's website, www.sandiego.org and www.sandiego.org/coronado, or call (619) 236-1212.
Coronado winter holiday photos and video/b-roll are available upon request.