Read More About Celebrate the Holidays San Diego Style
San Diego

San Diego's cold winter nights require warm drinks, festive treats and holiday spirits. It's the perfect time of year to cozy up next to a fire with that special someone and relish in a simple moment. Below are a few ways San Diegans like to share the holidays with their loved ones.

December Nights

A Large Crowd At Night

December Nights is the wildly popular, two-day annual holiday event at Balboa Park. It occurs on the first Friday and Saturday in December until 11 PM, and this year is its 41st anniversary. About 350,000 people go to this free festival full of family-friendly fun, so plan for heavy traffic and come early to snag parking. Come for the live music, choirs, dance and light shows, and stay for the food and shopping. Oh, and the best part is that 10+ museums offer free admission! For the full lineup, list of vendors, and other details, check out the city's websiteBonus Tip: See if you can catch a showing of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe Theatre.

Holiday Pet Parade

A Group Of People Standing Next To A Dog

Photo by @bensongrahamcavs

This Holiday Pet Parade happens in the historic Gaslamp Quarter and showcases the city's finest furries. People can participate for $15 or spectate for free! A number of awards are given, including, "Best Costume", "Cutest Critter" and "Best Ugly Holiday Sweater". Additionally, guests can browse a large pet market for pet-friendly gifts and enjoy some live entertainment. The event is from 12 PM–5 PM, with the parade commencing at 2 PM. For more information, check out the Gaslamp's official website.

San Diego Bay Parade Of Lights

The 46th annual Parade of Lights lines up extravagantly decorated boats through the bay to over 100,000 San Diegan viewers. This spectacle happens on December 9th and 16th at 5 PM and there are multiple viewing points. It'll take an hour to see everything and parking will be quite scarce. Plan to take the trolley and post up at one of these viewing locations (ordered by the boats' paths): Shelter Island, Harbor Island, The Embarcadero, Seaport Village, The Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, or the Ferry Landing on Coronado. Consider Coasterra, a trendy spot on Harbor Island offering refined Mexican food and killer cocktails. It's run by one of San Diego's top family-owned restaurant groups and will have some of the best views of the event.

A Group Of People Walking On A Pier Next To A Body Of Water

Photo by @blueeyedcompass

Sure, San Diego isn't the epitome of the classic holiday environment: it doesn't snow and the palm tree leaves don't change colors. But if you know where to look, there's a festive energy provided by the people who live here. As long as you're with your loved ones, you'll experience the same holiday cheer as those on the east coast.



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