San Diego Holiday Events

December in San Diego is full of wonderful seasonal events for the whole family! While we can’t mention all of them here, we have compiled a short list of the fun holiday festivities happening throughout the county. Check out this list of San Diego holiday events, and start planning how many you’ll attend! 

Botanic Wonderland Garden of Light

December 4-5, 10-23, 26-30, 5:30pm-9pm
300 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA 92024

Botanic Wonderland transforms the garden into a unique, winter experience! Wander a designated pathway lit up with holiday lights. Santa Claus will be there from 5:30-8:30pm to pose for photos with children. Professional carolers will stroll through the garden, singing holiday favorites. Each night different food vendors will be selling freshly prepared food as well as hot and cold drinks. Fun for the whole family!

North Pole by the Sea

December 5, 3-5pm
Del Mar Village

Enjoy family-friendly festivities like writing letters to Santa, listening to live holiday music, and seeing holiday characters throughout the festival. Check out the holiday tree lighting with hot chocolate for kids and a special appearance by Santa at 5pm. Adults can enjoy drink specials at L’Auberge Del Mar.

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

December 5, 11am-5pm
Thorn St & 32nd St, San Diego, CA 92104

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off is a street festival featuring a restaurant chili cook-off, huge craft beer and beverage garden, local handmade vendors, food truck court, live music, and a kid’s fest! All proceeds from SoNo Fest benefit McKinley Elementary – an international baccalaureate school providing a world class education to neighborhood kids.

La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival

December 5, 11:30am-4pm
Click here for festival map

Head to beautiful seaside La Jolla for a festive day of holiday fun. Watch the holiday parade at 1:30pm and don’t miss photos with Santa at 2:30 and 4pm. Wander the festival and enjoy local food and entertainment. 

Makers Arcade

Broadway Pier, The Embarcadero, San Diego, CA
December 10, 1pm-7pm / December 11, 11am-6pm

Makers Arcade was founded in 2014 to bring community and connection together around a shared love for art and creativity. The popular holiday market is back this year with over 100 makers, craft cocktails, beer, food trucks, live music, photo trailers, and more. It’s a fun way to do your holiday shopping while supporting local artisans. 

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

December 12 and December 19. The procession will start at 5:30 p.m. and will follow the predetermined parade route.


The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community. The 50th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights promises to dazzle and entertain bayfront crowds. The procession of approximately 80 lavishly decorated boats has become one of the most iconic events in the region. There is no cost to view the parade.

Julian Country Christmas Light Parade 

December 18, starts at 5:30pm
Main Street

Charming Julian lets you experience holiday delights with the Cuyamaca Mountains acting as a beautiful backdrop. Visit this month to find unique holiday gifts at the local shops, and to have a slice of Julian apple pie. While you’re there, take the kids to Town Hall to add a decoration to a tree and write a letter to Santa! On December 18th, head to Main Street Julian for a small town celebration of holiday lights on cars, trucks and any other street legal vehicle you can imagine, decked out for the holidays.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Runs from November 10 through December 31
Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego

The annual family favorite is back! Kids and adults alike will enjoy the classic story come to life in the stunning Old Globe theatre. 

Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station

Liberty Station NTC Park, 2641 Truxtun Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
November 18 to January 9 (closed Christmas Day). Open daily from 10am-10pm

Take the family for some outdoor ice skating at the Rady Children’s Hospital Ice Rink at Liberty Station. The Ice Rink benefits the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Holidays at Legoland

November 20 through January 2
One Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

Head to Legoland for a variety of holiday delights! Take pictures with characters like Santa, the Toy Soldier, and the Gingerbread Man. Go on a sleigh ride led by a magical reindeer. Don’t miss the 30-foot LEGO® Christmas tree decorated with over 400 LEGO ornaments. Stay for holiday tunes at the Holiday Light Show and enjoy falling “snow”. 

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