Your Guide to Balboa Park December Nights 2018

If you’re looking for a free event to get your family into the Christmas spirit, December Nights is just what the doctor ordered.

This year is San Diego’s 41st consecutive Balboa Park December Nights celebration, which kicks off the holiday season in a way that no one in San Diego can ignore. The massive, Yuletide event is held in Balboa Park on Friday, December 7, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday, December 8, from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Garnished in festive lights and decor, the city’s largest free community festival offers family-friendly entertainment for people of all ages and free admission into museums from 5 p.m to 9 p.m. both evenings.

Attendees will be able to shop and dine while listening to holiday music as they stroll through the park or make their way from museum to museum.

There will be more than 150 different music, dance and theatrical performances that can be enjoyed on four different stages throughout the park or inside museums, as well as around 100 food and retail vendors available. Check out these fair food comparisons for healthier alternatives that will still satisfy your cravings!

More fun that attendees can expect at this year’s Balboa Park December Nights:

  • Meet and greet with Santa
  • Photo op with the Grinch
  • Del Cerro Baptist Church Christmas Story Tree performance in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion
  • Colegio Ingles Choir performing “Jingle Bell Beach”
  • Harpist Kathryn Lillich
  • Performances by Kaibigan Dance Company
  • Timken Museum’s annual Christmas Tree exhibit
  • Children’s interactive exhibit at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • San Diego Natural History Museum’s Fossil Mysteries exhibit
  • Unique gift shopping

December Nights began as a small holiday event for the El Prado area in 1978. But interest and participation grew, with the event becoming what we know it as today in 2002. The holiday festival became city-sponsored in 2004 and then in 2014, the event reached a milestone with more than 300,000 attendees. In 2015, December Nights was voted as USA Today’s fifth best American holiday festival.

December Nights is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of San Diegans and visitors every year. Health Tip: don’t forget to protect your skin in this dry winter weather! For more San Diego events and tips, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.

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