San Diego's Best Holiday Events 2021

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Photo courtesy of Noah Homes 

Deck the season with all things merry and bright using our calendar filled with the biggest and most dazzling holiday events and attractions around town!

**Information is subject to change. Make sure to check websites or call for updated hours and dates of operation. 

Featured Holiday Events 2021

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All Colors Photography. 

FREE Family Christmas Tree Farm. Fresh cut trees, wreaths and more. Visit website for schedule. 300 Pepper Dr., El Cajon. www.familychristmastreefarm.com

Seas ’n’ Greetings at the Birch Aquarium. SEAsonal decor, Scuba Santa, an interactive scavenger hunt and more. Dec.1-31 (closed Dec. 25), 9 am–5 pm. $19.95–$24.95; 2 & under free. 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla. www.aquarium.ucsd.edu

“Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.” A riotous Dickens mash-up filled with music and laughter—set in “wintery” San Diego. Nov. 19- Dec. 26; visit website for times. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way. www.theoldglobe.org

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Meet Santa, Rudolph and your favorite Sesame Street friends, walk through a tunnel of lights, watch new shows and more. Dec. 1-Jan 2. Visit website for tickets. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr. www.seaworldsandiego.com

Wild Holidays at the Safari Park. offers a wild wonderland with twinkling lights, holiday music and seasonal treats. Weekends in Dec. & Dec. 26–Jan. 2, holiday festivities 4–8 pm. 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido. www.sdzsafaripark.org/wildholidays

North Pole Limited. Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and Christmas carols as you head to the North Pole to pick up Santa. Through Dec. 18, Fri.–Sat., 5 & 7 pm. Starting at $30. Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, 750 Depot St., Campo. www.psrm.org

FREE Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship. Christmas Pageant with nativity scene, 5 pm; Candlelight Service, 7 & 9 pm. First United Methodist Church of San Diego, 2111 Camino del Rio S. www.fumcsd.org

FREE Holiday Fun at Village Walk at Eastlake. Santa, train rides, holiday crafts and afternoon snowfalls. Dec. 4, 12–3 pm. Snowfalls at 1, 2 & 3 pm. 878 Eastlake Pkwy., Chula Vista. www.shopvillagewalk.com

FREE Holiday Photo Wonderland. Photo props and life-size cut-outs featuring Santa, Elsa & Olaf. Dec. 2-Dec. 24, Thurs.,–Sun., 11 am–8 pm. Village Walk at Eastlake, 878 Eastlake Pkwy., Chula Vista. www.shopvillagewalk.com

Wild Winter. Animal encounters, a craft and private Santa time. Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11–12 & 18, 9 am–1 pm. $48 for 4 people. Helen Woodward Animal Center, 6461 El Apajo, Rancho Santa Fe. www.animalcenter.org 

The Nutcracker.” The Scripps Ballet Theatre and Scripps Performing Arts Academy. Dec. 4-5, 2 pm. $25–$35. Creative Performing Media Arts Middle, 5050 Conrad Ave. www.scrippsperformingartsacademy.com

Holiday Nights at Viejas Outlets. Through Jan. 2. Enjoy Southern California's largest outdoor ice rink, visit with Santa, take a spin and enjoy the view from the top of the Ferris wheel. Create magical memories as you stroll through thousands of twinkling lights and witness a spectacular water show. Visit website for complete schedule of events. 5000 Willows Rd., Alpine. www.viejas.com/holiday-nights

Viejas Ice Rink. Southern California's largest outdoor ice rink. Through Jan. 2, 3-10 pm. See website for special holiday hours. 5003 Willows Road Alpine. https://viejas.com/skating-rink/ 

Winter Wonder at Belmont Park. Weekends, Nov. 26-Jan. 2. Featuring 15-foot-tall holiday-themed sculptures, Christmas Tree Farm, seasonal character appearances, Holiday Movie Nights, face painting and balloon art; plus, Illuminated Winter Nights when the sun goes down. Take a walk through Winter Wonder with the new interactive Holiday Map filled with festive fun at every stop! 3146 Mission Blvd. www.belmontpark.com/winterwonder-2

Julian Country Christmas. Experience holiday fun the old-fashioned way. You’ll feel a nip in the air and might even catch a glimpse of snow-capped mountains! Visit Santa at Town Hall, enjoy a Light Parade on Main St. (Dec. 18), take a winter hayride and shop for unique gifts. Kids can write Santa letters at Town Hall and drop in a mailbox to the North Pole. www.JulianCountryChristmas.com

Polar Express Experience. Special holiday activities, running Polar Express models and storytime with St. Nick. Dec. 18, 9–11 am. $13.50–$20; under 2 free. San Diego Model Railroad Museum, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park. www.sdmrm.org

 

Love Podcasts? Check out our segment "Christmas in San Diego" with All In San Diego.

All in San Diego 2021

wednesday | 1

FREE Pinery Christmas Trees. Noble and Douglas Fir trees, wreaths, poinsettias and more. Through Dec. 24, Mon.–Thurs., 10 am–9 pm, Fri.–Sun., 9 am–9 pm. Locations in Bonita, Mission Valley, Rancho Bernardo, Murietta and the Del Mar Horsepark. www.pinerychristmastrees.com

Skating by the Sea. This beachfront ice rink features views of the Pacific and benefits Make-A-Wish San Diego. Nov. 22-Jan. 2; visit website for times. $35. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave. www.hoteldel.com

Irish Christmas in America. Lively tunes and Irish old-style dancing. Dec. 1, 7:30-9 pm. $40–$55. Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. www.artcenter.org

Holidays at LEGOLAND. Live entertainment, twinkling lights and nightly tree lightings of the LEGO Christmas tree decked out with LEGO ornaments. Nov. 20-Jan. 2. Activities included with admission. One LEGOLAND Dr., Carlsbad. www.LEGOLAND.com.

FREE Home for the Holidays. The resort’s signature red turrets are draped in thousands of sparkling lights with magical Christmas trees, snowy surprises and garlands galore. Nov. 22-Jan. 2. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave. www.hoteldel.com

Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station. Net proceeds directly support the Thriving After Cancer program at the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Nov. 18-Jan. 9 (closed Nov. 25 and Dec. 25), 10 am–10 pm. $13–$15; includes skate rental and helmet. 2875 Dewey Rd. www.radyfoundation.org/icerink

Holiday Market at Petco Park. Magical lighting displays, holiday characters, artisan vendors, food and more. Nov. 29-Dec. 24, 4–9:30 pm. $10–$14. Gallagher Square, 840 K St. www.padres.com 

FREE Jingle Terrace Park. Drive-thru event featuring holiday-themed light displays. Through Dec. 23, 5:30–9 pm. Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale Terrace Dr., Vista. www.cityofvista.com

Peltzer Ice Rink. Nov. 17-Dec. 31(closed Dec. 25); visit website for hours. $10–$16; skate rental $2, helmet rental $4. 39925 Calle Contento, Temecula. www.peltzerfarms.com

A Christmas Carol. Adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption. Nov. 23-Dec. 26; visit website for times and tickets. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs St. www.cygnettheatre.com

thursday |  2

FREE Magical Snowfall. Enchanted flurries, choreographed lights and seasonal music. Dec. 2-Dec. 24, Thurs.–Sun., 6 & 7 pm. Village Walk at Eastlake, 878 Eastlake Pkwy., Chula Vista. www.shopvillagewalk.com

Victorian Christmas Teas. Finger sandwiches, scones, seasonal desserts and more. Dec. 2-Dec. 23, 10 am–4 pm. $14.95–$32.95. Reservations required. Julian Tea and Cottage Arts, 2124 Third St., Julian. www.visitjulian.com

FREE Holiday Photo Wonderland. Photo props and life-size cut-outs featuring Santa, Elsa & Olaf. Dec. 2-Dec. 24, Thurs.,–Sun., 11 am–8 pm. Village Walk at Eastlake, 878 Eastlake Pkwy., Chula Vista. www.shopvillagewalk.com

Oceanside Tree Lighting Ceremony. Dec. 2, 5-9 pm. The city of Oceanside will welcome the holiday season with a grand Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 pm at Regal Cinema Plaza. Watch Santa arrive by fire truck and be there when the tree lights up! Activities include a coconut tree climb, kids zip line, bungee run, obstacle course, jump houses and giant inflatable slides. Enjoy one-stop holiday shopping and dining with hot foods from around the world, gourmet gifts, kids activities, live music and photos with Santa. www.mainstreetoceanside.com/holiday-tree-lighting

friday  |  3

Taste of December Nights. Drive-thru event with food vendors, food trucks and entertainment. Dec. 3–5, 11 am–10 pm. Inspiration Pt. parking lot. www.balboapark.org

North Pole Limited. Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and Christmas carols as you head to the North Pole to pick up Santa. Through Dec. 18, Fri.–Sat., 5 & 7 pm. Starting at $30. Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, 750 Depot St., Campo. www.psrm.org

FREE Coronado Holiday Parade. Floats and bands culminating with carol singing and a tree/menorah lighting ceremony at Rotary Park, 7 pm. 6–7 pm. Along Orange Ave. www.coronadochamber.com

FREE Winter Nights at Westfield UTC. Snow globes amidst snowfall and glistening lights, with storybook reading and sing-along events. Dec. 3-4 & Dec. 10–11, 5–8 pm. 4545 La Jolla Village Dr. www.westfield.com/utc/event-detail/Winter-Nights

FREE December Nights at One Paseo. Festive holiday lights, snow cascading from the rooftops and surprise guests. Dec. 3-Dec. 24, Fri. & Sat., 5–7 pm. 3725 Paseo Pl. www.onepaseo.com

FREE Winter WonderLights. Holiday light show with magical snowfall. Dec. 3-4 & Dec. 10–11, 5–7 pm. The Forum Carlsbad, 1923 Calle Barcelona. www.eventsforumcarlsbad.com

Holiday Lights at AGSEM. Wagon rides, lights, Santa and more. Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10–11 & 17–18, 5–8 pm. $4–$5; under 12 free. Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, 2040 N. Santa Fe Ave., Vista. www.agsem.com

Holiday Movie Nights at Belmont Park. Dec. 3, "The Grinch." Enjoy classic holiday favorites on the big screen, tasty treats and festive cocktails. BYO blanket to snuggle up with your loved ones for dinner and a movie. Stop by the Coffee Bar for heartwarming drinks like hot cocoa, Old Forrester’s Hot Toddy and spiked lattes for Mom and Dad. Reserve your seat today! Outside food and beverages not permitted. All ages welcome. 3146 Mission Blvd. www.belmontpark.com/winterwonder-2

 

saturday  |  4

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Photo courtesy of Adrienne Sigeti

Snow N Glow Holiday Festival. Snow tube down the snow hill or walk through a million festive lights. Select nights, Dec. 4–Jan. 2, 4–10 pm. $12.99–$34.99. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. www.snownglow.com/delmar

Taste of December Nights. See Dec. 3.

Holidays in Your Car. Drive-thru light spectacular. Dec. 4–Jan. 2, 4–10 pm. $45. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. www.snownglow.com/delmar

FREE Tree Lighting in San Marcos. Festive crafts, activities and ‘snow’ right after tree lighting (5:35 pm). Dec. 4, 1–7 pm. San Marcos Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Dr. www.san-marcos.net

FREE Antique & Craft Fair. Dec. 4-5, 9 am–3 pm. 15602 Olde Hwy. 80, Flinn Springs. www.summerspastfarms.com

FREE Fallbrook Christmas Parade: Miracle on Main. Lighted floats, marching bands, Santa Claus and more. Dec. 4, 5–7 pm. Downtown on Main. www.fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org

FREE Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village. Entertainment, a tree lighting ceremony (6:30 pm), a visit from Santa and more. Dec. 4, 4–8 pm. India Street between W. Cedar and Grape St. www.littleitalysd.com 

Holiday Movies on the Beach. Dec. 4: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Dec 11: “A Christmas Story” & Dec 18: “Elf.” Doors open, 7 pm; movie, 7:30 pm. $25. Del Beach, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado. www.hoteldel.com

FREE Holiday in the Village. Carnival games, carolers, a kids area and more. Dec. 4, 12–9 pm. La Mesa Blvd., between Spring St. & 4th St. www.lamesavillageassociation.org

Breakfast with Santa. Breakfast and photo with Santa. Dec. 4, 7:30–11 am. $5. San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Dr. www.san-marcos.net

Holiday at the Rancho. Crafts, a plush snowball fight, snow hill slide, tree lighting (5:45 pm) and “Rise of the Guardians” (6 pm). Dec. 4, 5–8 pm. $10; 3 & under free. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying L.C. Ln., Carlsbad. www.carlsbadca.gov/parksandrec

Kids Club at Rooftop Cinema Club. Crafts for kids and the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Dec. 4 & Dec. 18, 2 pm. $14.50–$18.50. Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Pl. www.rooftopcinemaclub.com

FREE Ramona Christmas Tree Lighting. Crafts, photos with Santa, caroling and more. Dec. 4, 5–8 pm. Old Town Ramona, between 6th & 8th Sts. www.ramonaevents.com

Holiday Hayride: A Christmas Celebration. Hayride, petting zoo, candle making and more. Dec. 4-5, 10 am–4 pm. $20–$25. Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures, 4425 Hwy. 78, Santa Ysabel. www.fortcross.com

Botanic Wonderland. Festive lights, music, kids’ activities and more. Dec. 4-5, Dec. 10–23 & 26–30; 5–9 pm. $10–$18. San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. www.sdbgarden.org 

FREE Encinitas Holiday Parade. Theme “Encinitas Rocks!” Tree lighting and Santa, 5 pm; parade, 5:30 pm. Coast Hwy. 101. www.encinitasparksandrec.com 

sunday  |  5

FREE Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. Live music and a visit from Santa (5:20 pm). Event starts at 4:30 pm. Fletcher Cove Park, 111 S. Sierra Ave., Solana Beach. www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us 

FREE Tree Lighting & Open House. Live music, hot cocoa, festive bites and Santa. Dec. 5, 5:30–8 pm. Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, 1 Ponto Rd. www.caperey.com/holidays 

FREE North Pole by the Sea. Letters to Santa, holiday characters, tree lighting and more. Dec. 5, 3–5 pm. Del Mar Village, 1442 Camino Del Mar. www.visitdelmarvillage.com 

FREE La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival. “Spirit of La Jolla- Celebrating Our Hometown Heroes” theme. Holiday Festival, Dec. 5, 11:30 am–4 pm; parade, 1:30 pm. 1008 Wall St. www.ljparade.com 

FREE San Marcos Holiday Market. Over 100 artisans, kids’ zone and more. Dec. 5, 10 am–4 pm. 251 N. City Dr. www.chamber.sanmarcoschamber.com

Hanukkah Train and Celebration at Old Poway Park. Dec. 5, 4 pm. Join Chabad of Poway in celebration of the 8th night of Hanukkah. First train departs at 4:10 pm. Menorah lighting at 4:40 pm. Enjoy hot latkes, donuts, dreidel giveaways, chocolate gelt, kids crafts and fun for the whole family. 14134 Midland Rd., Poway. www.chabadpoway.com/train 

Scripps Ranch Holiday Tree Lighting. Dec. 5, 3-5 pm. Kid crafts, bake sale, Toys for Tots, and visit with Santa. 4:15 pm-5 pm, Girl Scout and SRCA program begins with the tree lighting and sing-along. 10150 Avenida Magnifica. www.scrippsranch.org/committees/holiday-tree-lighting

Holiday Hayride: A Christmas Celebration. See Dec. 4. 

Taste of December Nights. See Dec. 3.

**Information is subject to change. Make sure to check websites or call for updated hours and dates of operation. 

wednesday  |  8

Holiday Movies at Rooftop Cinema Club. Dec. 8, “Elf,” 8 pm; Dec. 12, “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” 2 pm; Dec. 17, “Arthur Christmas,” 5 pm & Dec. 19, “The Polar Express,” 2 pm. Visit website for full schedule. $17.50. Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Pl. www.rooftopcinemaclub.com

Photos with Santa at Del Mar Highlands. Dec. 8, 11 am-2 pm. Take a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their 10-foot red sleigh. 12925 El Camino Real. www.facebook.com/events/4332160130225593 

friday  |  10

Jungle Bells at the Zoo beckons with “Aurora”, an evening spectacular filled with light, sound, and 3D projections. Dec. 10-23 & Dec. 25–Jan. 2, 9 am–8 pm; Dec. 24, 9 am–5 pm. www.sandiegozoo.org/junglebells

FREE “Elf.” Dec. 10, 3:30 pm. La Jolla Community Park, 615 Prospect St. www.summermoviesinthepark.com

The Nutcracker. Join Clara as she travels to the Land of the Sweets with her Nutcracker Prince. Dec. 10-19; visit website for times. $18–$22. Casa del Prado Theater, Balboa Park. www.sdcyb.org

Noel, Noel. Join the San Diego Symphony, Master Chorale and Children’s chorus for performances of holiday classics and stories. Dec. 10–12, 5 pm. $25–$95. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way. www.theshell.org

Holiday Movie Nights at Belmont Park. Dec. 10, "Frozen." Enjoy classic holiday favorites on the big screen, tasty treats and festive cocktails. BYO blanket to snuggle up with your loved ones for dinner and a movie. Stop by the Coffee Bar for heartwarming drinks like hot cocoa, Old Forrester’s Hot Toddy and spiked lattes for Mom and Dad. Reserve your seat today! Outside food and beverages not permitted. All ages welcome. 3146 Mission Blvd. www.belmontpark.com/winterwonder-2

Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show. See Featured Events. 

saturday  |  11

FREE Holiday Moonlight Cinema: “Polar Express.” Dec. 11, 6–8 pm. One Paseo, 3725 Paseo Pl. www.onepaseo.com

The Coaster Holiday Express. Travel the coast on the COASTER Holiday Express. Santa Claus and his merry carolers will join for an hour of fun with songs, gifts and Santa wish list reading. Carolers and holiday characters will come through the train cars to perform and hand out toys and wish lists for Santa. Finally, Santa will make his way through to meet with the children and take pictures. Dec. 11–12; 10:15 am, 12:30 & 2:30 pm. $20. Oceanside Transit Center, 205 S. Tremont St. www.gonctd.com/holidayexpress

Storytime Brunch with Santa at La Valencia Hotel. Dec. 11 and 18, 11 am. 1132 Prospect St., La Jolla.  www.lavalencia.com

FREE Santa Arrives on the Holiday Express Train. Train rides, crafts and more. Dec. 11, 1–4 pm. 2275 Otay Lakes Rd., Chula Vista www.shopeastlakemarketplace.com

FREE Christmas in the Park. Caroling, Santa, crafts and more. Dec. 11, 3:30–8:30 pm. Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Rd. www.poway.org

San Diego Santa Run. 5K runners receive a Santa suit, sunglasses and more. 5K, 9 am; kids mile, 11 am. $25–$40. Pacific Beach. Register at www.sandiegorunningco.com/santarun.

Breakfast with Surfin’ Santa. Breakfast, photos with Santa and activities. Dec. 11, 9–11 am. $25. Seaport Village, 870 W. Harbor Dr. www.seaportvillage.com

Holiday Movies on the Beach. Dec 11: “A Christmas Story” & Dec 18: “Elf.” Doors open, 7 pm; movie, 7:30 pm. $25. Del Beach, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado. www.hoteldel.com

El Cajon Holidays. Dec. 12, 12-3 pm. Kids crafts, Santa and photo ops. El Cajon Town & Country! 400 N 2nd St., El Cajon. www.facebook.com/events/4424008581051307

**Information is subject to change. Make sure to check websites or call for updated hours and dates of operation. 

sunday  |  12

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” theme. Dec. 12 & Dec. 19, 5:30–7:30 pm. Starts off Shelter Island, goes through the harbor and ends at the Coronado Ferry Landing. www.sdparadeoflights.org

Parade of Lights Dinner on the Berkeley. Dinner, boat parade viewing and museum admission. Dec. 12, 4 pm. $35–$70; under 2 free. Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N. Harbor Dr. www.sdmaritime.org

Holiday Movies at Rooftop Cinema Club. Dec. 12, “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” 2 pm; Dec. 17, “Arthur Christmas,” 5 pm & Dec. 19, “The Polar Express,” 2 pm. Visit website for full schedule. $17.50. Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Pl. www.rooftopcinemaclub.com

Photos with Santa at Del Mar Highlands. Dec. 12, 11 am-2 pm. Take a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their 10-foot red sleigh. 12925 El Camino Real. www.facebook.com/events/4332160130225593

FREE Salute the Season Outdoor Art Installation. Get in the holiday spirit with outdoor, holiday-themed art installations created by Liberty Station’s ARTS DISTRICT resident artists and in partnership with the NTC Foundation. Visitors are invited to embark on a self-guided tour to see each piece located on Historic Decatur Road between Barracks 19 and Liberty Public Market. Through Jan. 1. 2820 Historic Decatur Rd. www.libertystation.com

FREE “Elf.” 3:30 pm. La Jolla Community Park, 615 Prospect St. www.summermoviesinthepark.com

FREE La Jolla Open Aire Market Winter Carnival. Dec. 12, 9 am-1 pm. Photos with Santa, live music, crafts, raffle and a “winter wonderland” playground. La Jolla Elementary School at Girard Ave. and Genter St. www.lajollamarket.com

The Coaster Holiday Express. See Dec. 11. 

Jungle Bells at the Zoo. See Featured Events

The Nutcracker. See Featured Events

Seas ’n’ Greetings at the Birch Aquarium. See Featured Events. 

thursday  |  16

FREE Holiday Movies by the Pool. Dec. 16: “Elf” & Dec. 23: “The Santa Clause.” 6:30 pm. RSVP required. The Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd. www.lafayettehotelsd.com 

“The Nutcracker.” Tchaikovsky’s timeless score will be performed live by the San Diego Symphony. Through Dec. 23. Starting at $25. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave. www.sandiegotheatres.org 

FREE Kids Countdown to Christmas. Dec. 16 & Dec. 18: arts & crafts; Dec. 17 & 19: cookie decorating & hot cocoa; Dec. 20: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 6 pm. RSVP on Eventbrite. Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, 1 Ponto Rd. www.caperey.com/holidays 

Holiday Movie Night  & Pajama Party. Dec. 16, 6:30-9:30 pm. A family-friendly movie night with classic flicks and holiday-themed food and drinks. Pajamas and holiday festive attire are encouraged. Themed bites and specialty drinks available just for the occasion. RSVP required. Masks are required except when eating or in the pool. The Lafayette Hotel. 2223 El Cajon Blvd. www.lafayettehotelsd.com/events

Holiday Lights and Sights Tour. Sing-a-long caroling with elf conductors and see the festive holiday lights of Old Town, Embarcadero, Balboa Park and more. Dec. 6-Dec. 24 & 26–30. $25–$30; 3 & under free. Old Town Trolley Tours, 4010 Twiggs St. www.trolleytours.com

friday  |  17

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day   

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Noah Homes Enchanted Village. 8-acres of brilliantly lit trees, interactive displays and more. Through Dec. 22. See December issue of San Diego Family Magazine for more info. www.enchantedvillage.org

FREE Kids Countdown to Christmas. Dec. 18: arts & crafts; Dec. 17 & 19: cookie decorating & hot cocoa; Dec. 20: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 6 pm. RSVP on Eventbrite. Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, 1 Ponto Rd. www.caperey.com/holidays 

Holiday Movies at Rooftop Cinema Club. Dec. 17, “Arthur Christmas,” 5 pm & Dec. 19, “The Polar Express,” 2 pm. Visit website for full schedule. $17.50. Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Pl. www.rooftopcinemaclub.com

Holiday Movie Nights at Belmont Park. Dec. 17, "Elf." Enjoy classic holiday favorites on the big screen, tasty treats and festive cocktails. BYO blanket to snuggle up with your loved ones for dinner and a movie. Stop by the Coffee Bar for heartwarming drinks like hot cocoa, Old Forrester’s Hot Toddy and spiked lattes for Mom and Dad. Reserve your seat today! Outside food and beverages not permitted. All ages welcome. 3146 Mission Blvd. www.belmontpark.com/winterwonder-2

FREE Family Christmas Tree Farm. See Featured Events. 

Seas ’n’ Greetings at the Birch Aquarium. See Featured Events

FREE Holiday Photo Wonderland. See Dec. 2.


Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

saturday  |  18

FREE Kids Countdown to Christmas. Dec. 18: arts & crafts; Dec.19: cookie decorating & hot cocoa; Dec. 20: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 6 pm. RSVP on Eventbrite. Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, 1 Ponto Rd. www.caperey.com/holidays 

Storytime Brunch with Santa at La Valencia Hotel. See Dec.11. 

Disney’s “The Muppet Christmas Carol” Live in Concert. The Muppets perform the classic Charles Dickens holiday tale on screen. Dec. 18, 5 pm. $25–$95. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way. www.theshell.org 

“The Nutcracker.” Presented with live orchestra by West Coast Ballet Theater/ San Elijo Dance & Music Academy. Dec. 18, 2–4:30 pm. $28–$48. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. www.artcenter.org 

Polar Express Experience. Special holiday activities, running Polar Express models and storytime with St. Nick. Dec. 18, 9–11 am. $13.50–$20; under 2 free. San Diego Model Railroad Museum, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park. www.sdmrm.org

FREE Country Christmas Light Parade. Holiday lights on cars and trucks. Dec. 18, 5:30 pm. Main St., Julian. www.visitjulian.com 

Noah Homes Enchanted Village. See Featured Events. 

“Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.” See Featured Events. 

sunday  |  19

FREE Kids Countdown to Christmas. Dec.19: cookie decorating & hot cocoa; Dec. 20: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 6 pm. RSVP on Eventbrite. Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, 1 Ponto Rd. www.caperey.com/holidays 

Holiday Movies at Rooftop Cinema Club. Dec. 19, “The Polar Express,” 2 pm. Visit website for full schedule. $17.50. Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Pl. www.rooftopcinemaclub.com

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” theme. Dec. 19, 5:30–7:30 pm. Starts off Shelter Island, goes through the harbor and ends at the Coronado Ferry Landing. www.sdparadeoflights.org

Photos with Santa at Del Mar Highlands. Dec. 19, 11 am-2 pm. Take a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their 10-foot red sleigh. 12925 El Camino Real. www.facebook.com/events/4332160130225593

Viejas Ice Rink. See Featured Events. 

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. See Featured Events. 

Wild Holidays at the Safari Park. See Featured Events. 

wednesday  |  22

“The Nutcracker.” Tells the classic tale of Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, Herr Drosselmeyer and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Tchaikovsky’s score performed live by the City Ballet Orchestra. Dec. 22-23, 2 & 7:30 pm. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. www.cityballet.org 

Disney’s “Frozen.” The San Diego Symphony performs the unforgettable score alongside the Disney film. Dec. 22, 5 pm. $25–$95. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way. www.theshell.org 

friday  |  24

Christmas Eve

FREE Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship. Christmas Pageant with nativity scene, 5 pm; Candlelight Service, 7 & 9 pm. First United Methodist Church of San Diego, 2111 Camino del Rio S. https://www.fumcsd.org/event/3858002-2021-12-24-all-christmas-eve-services-at-first-church-2021/ 

Christmas Eve at the Hotel Del. Celebrate Christmas Eve in the Hotel Del's spectacular Crown Room and Coronet Room with a lavish holiday buffet of traditional favorites and culinary surprises. Guests will marvel at thousands of sparkling lights adorning the property with towering Christmas trees, garlands galore and stunning holiday décor, including a fabulous two-story lobby tree in The Del’s newly restored lobby. Reservations required. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado. www.hoteldel.com/events/christmas-eve

Christmas Eve Dining Cruise. Dec. 24, 6-9 pm. Celebrate this holiday season aboard Flagship Cruises with friends, family and festive lights. Holiday menu features slow-roasted beef short rib, grilled rosemary chicken, and roasted butternut squash ravioli in sage brown butter sauce. After dining, sit back and enjoy the twinkling lights of our beautifully decorated vessel. 990 North Harbor Dr. www.flagshipsd.com/cruises/christmas-eve-dinner-cruise

FREE Holiday Photo Wonderland. See Featured Events. 

“Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.” See Featured Events. 

Holiday Nights at Viejas Outlets. See Featured Events. 

  

saturday  |  25

Christmas Day

Christmas at the Hotel Del. Indulge in a holiday feast in the Hotel Del's iconic Crown Room and Coronet Room. Guests will enjoy an elegant buffet decked with all the trimmings and a few gourmet surprises. Make cherished holiday memories as you enjoy colorful decorations and great company. Reservations required. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado. www.hoteldel.com/events/christmas-day

sunday  |  26

Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1)

41st Annual Kwanzaa Celebration. WorldBeat Cultural Center will celebrate its 39th Annual Celebration with 4 of the 7 days of Kwanzaa. Stay tuned for more information about special guests and planned activities. Each day will feature ceremonial candle lighting and libation with live Drumming Kwanzaa, poetry reading by Johnnierenee Nia Nelson, Karamu – the traditional feast (FREE vegetarian African American soul food). 210 Park Blvd., San Diego. 210 Park Blvd., San Diego. www.worldbeatcenter.org/event/41st-annual-kwanzaa-celebration-umoja/

Seas ’n’ Greetings at the Birch Aquarium. See Featured Events. 

“Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.” See Featured Events. 

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. See Featured Events. 

Wild Holidays at the Safari Park. See Featured Events. 

monday  |  27

Kwanzaa Camp at WorldBeat Cultural Center. Dec. 27-30, 9 am-4 pm. Featuring music, art, dance, theater, garden/outdoor classroom, science, technology, yoga and more. Kwanzaa Camp will dedicate each day to one of the Kwanzaa Principles (Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia). All activities that day will reflect that principle. Guest artists, poets, musicians, dancers, and teachers will bring an abundance of enrichment activities. 210 Park Blvd., San Diego. www.worldbeatcenter.org/event/kwanzaa-camp/2021-12-27/

friday  |  31

New Year's Eve

Kids’ New Year’s Eve Celebration at LEGOLAND. Live music, entertainment and a special New Year’s countdown at 6 pm. Included with park admission. One LEGOLAND Dr., Carlsbad. www.LEGOLAND.com 

Living Coast Discovery Center New Year's Eve Party. Ring in the new year in style at the Living Coast Family Party and watch the ball drop together under the stars. This event includes glow-in-the-dark silent disco, glow-in-the-dark face painting, trivia, night trail hike, cookie decorating, arts and crafts and animal encounters. Dec. 31, 6–9 pm. $25–$35. 1000 Gunpowder Point Dr. Chula Vista. www.thelivingcoast.org/programs-events-upcoming-events/new-years-eve-party-glow-up-in-2022/

Temecula Grape Drop. Ring in the new year Temecula style with the infamous Grape Drop! Celebrate 2022 twice with an East Coast (9 pm) and West Coast (midnight) countdown. The New Year’s Eve Grape Drop will include live music, food vendors and kid’s activities. Free Fun Zone will be open from 6-10 pm. 41000 Main St., Temecula. www.temeculaca.gov/Calendar.aspx?EID=4548

NOON Year Celebration at The Plunge (Belmont Park). Ring in the New Year with a balloon drop and bubble blast at Noon (12 pm) with games, crafts, dessert bites, music, dancing and more. Dec. 31, 10 am–1 pm. $100 for a family of 4. Plunge San Diego, Belmont Park. www.eventbrite.com/e/noon-years-celebration-tickets-210527372037

Winter Wonder at Belmont Park. See Featured Events. 

Viejas Ice Rink. See Featured Events. 

Holiday Nights at Viejas Outlets. See Featured Events. 

Winter Camps 2021

Winter STEM Camps at Fleet Science Center. Full-day, in-person camps for kids in grades 1–3 offer fun and educational activities that incorporate the Fleet's exhibit galleries. Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 27 31. www.fleetscience.org/events/winter-stem-camps

EIS Winter Science Camp. Students will participate in hands-on experiments and activities using art to create scientific models. Subjects include ecology, chemistry, art, nature journaling, computer design and more. Dec. 20-23 and 27-30, 9 am-4 pm. Available for Grades 2-8. For more info and to register visit www.eisca.org/register. 608 51st St., San Diego. 

Little Fish Comic Book Studio. In-person camps for ages 9 and up. Reduced price available for campers who sign up for both weeks. Dec. 20–23 and Dec. 27–30. www.lilfish.us/camps

San Diego Junior Theatre. Avoid winter blues with weekly sessions of singing, dancing and acting to keep your spirits high! Dec. 20– Jan. 7. www.juniortheatre.com

Helen Woodward Animal Center. Kids love themed camp days with hands-on animal interactions, crafts and activities! Dec. 20–Jan. 7. www.animalcenter.org/education

The Elementary Institute of Science. The Art of Science camp features hands-on activities using art to create scientific models. Enjoy ecology, chemistry, art, nature journaling and computer design. Dec. 20-23 and 27-30. www.eisca.org/register 

Poway Gymnastics. Dec. 27-30. 12850 Brookprinter Place, Poway. www.powaygymnastics.com

 

___________

Updated: December 2021

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