Things To Do In San Diego This Holiday Season

By Vanessa Howard

You may not think of San Diego when you think of a Christmas destination. There are so many amazing holiday events that will put you in the holiday spirit. Brimming with festive spirit, San Diego does Christmas, and the holiday season, in a fun way with events for the whole family. With events like Surfin’ Santa, who wouldn’t be in love with San Diego during the holiday season? Keep reading for some of our favorite things to do in San Diego this holiday season. 

Holiday Weather In San Diego 

San Diego is no winter wonderland, but there is something to be said for a warm holiday destination. Escape the cold and enjoy highs in the upper 60s and lows in the lower 50s. With an abundance of sunshine, you’ll love spending your holidays in San Diego. 

Where To Stay

While visiting San Diego during the holidays, you can’t do better on location, convenience, and design than Arrivls The Rockaway House and Makai. Both are located just steps from Mission Beach, making them the perfect home base for all of your San Diego adventures. 

Makai Mission Beach

Makai is the Hawaiian word for “towards the sea,” and is a fantastic choice for your North Park trip to San Diego! You’ll love the 2nd-floor patio and ocean view from this beachy duplex home. With its laid-back charm, thoughtful amenities, and absolutely unbeatable location, you won’t regret staying at Makai. Makai North is a spacious one-bedroom, and Makai South is a two-bedroom. The home comfortably sleeps 8 if you rent the entire duplex, making this a great option for a trip to San Diego. Makai offers garage parking and all of your beach essentials – towels, an umbrella, chairs, and sand toys. We look forward to hosting you soon at Makai!

The Rockaway House

This Mission Beach duplex can be rented as individual units (Rockaway North with 1 bedroom/1 bathroom, and Rockaway South with 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom) or in combination to sleep up to 8 guests, making it perfect for larger families. While staying at The Rockaway House you’ll be just steps away from the Mission Beach boardwalk. Rockaway South – a 1930s beach cottage – is full of charm and is perfect for your next beach getaway. Upstairs, Rockaway North is thoughtfully designed and inviting. Whichever space you choose you’ll love the bright interior and the coastal boho vibes that The Rockaway House offers. The Rockaway House is located on the ocean side of Mission Boulevard, just 4 houses from the sand!

Did you know that Makai and The Rockaway House are next-door neighbors? This makes them perfect for groups traveling with up to 16 guests.  You can rent out both duplexes – perfect for multiple groups or families traveling together, as you’ll be close by but everyone still has their own space to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

For some amazing tips on what to check out, read 5 Neighborhoods To Explore In San Diego, 5 Can’t Miss San Diego Activities, and San Diego Neighborhood Guide: North Park

Things To Do In San Diego This Holiday Season

Balboa Park December Nights

On December 2-3, 2022 Balboa Park celebrates its December Nights. The event allows you to explore the museums of the park for free, as well as enjoying the park all a twinkle with Christmas lights. While the past 2 years have been modified to cars only driving through the park, this year you can explore and mingle on foot. 

At this family friendly event, entrance to both December Nights and museum tours are available from 5 pm – 9 pm on both nights. As you stroll the park you’ll get to enjoy fun Christmas activities and multicultural cuisine, what’s not to love? 

Balboa Park| (619) 239-0512

Del Mar Snow’N’Glow

Head to Del Mar on December 8, 2022 – January 1, 2023 for their annual Snow’N’Glow winter wonderland. The event is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and is the perfect holiday celebration for the whole family. Walk through a winter wonderland, build your own snowman, enjoy snow tubing, or rent your own igloo! This year they’ve added fireworks displays on select nights. 

You can enjoy holiday carols, dazzling lights, and beautiful decorations from 4 pm to 10 pm at this event that is sure to have you singing Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree. The event is open every weekend starting December 8 and the entire week of Christmas. You can buy tickets here

Del Mar Snow’N’Glow| 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014| (805) 585-7811

Holiday Market At Petco Park

Running from December 1 – 23, 2022, the Holiday Market at Petco Park is an ode to European Christmas markets. From 4 pm – 10 pm (except for December 4, 6, 7, 12, and 13) the whole family can enjoy this magical market chock full of holiday goodies. Wander Petco Park and take in the beautiful holiday decorations and photo ops at Gallagher Square. 

Don’t miss the delicious food stalls or the holiday trinkets, many of them are hand crafted! The event costs $10 for kids and $14 for adults, you can buy tickets here

Holiday Market At Petco Park| 100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101| (619) 795-5025

Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas At The Old Globe

Head to The Globe Theater this holiday season for the whimsical classic, Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. This fun musical for the whole family is running from November 7 – December 31, 2022. Each performance begins at 7 pm with 4:30 pm showings on Sundays. 

The musical features Grinch classics such as “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and “Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze),” as well as all of your other Whoville favorites. Tickets begin at $24 and The Old Globe is turned into a festive Who-ville that will put your entire family in the Christmas spirit. You can buy tickets here

The Old Globe| 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101| (619) 234-5623

San Diego Bay Parade Of Lights

A local San Diego holiday tradition, the San Diego Bay Parade Of Lights, is running on December 11 and December 18, 2022. This year’s theme is “FantaSEA On The Bay,” which will bring in both fun and colorfully decorated boats. This family friendly holiday event typically lasts between 1-1.5 hours, and begins at 5 pm. 

The parade begins at Shelter Island at 5 pm and ends at the Coronado Ferry Landing around 7 pm. Stops in between include Harbor Island around 5:30 pm, Embarcadero around 6 pm, Seaport Village around 6:30 pm, and Cesar Chavez Park Pier around 6:45 pm. It’s recommended that you set up along the parade route about an hour early.  If you’re looking for a less crowded place to watch the parade, we recommend Coronado Centennial Park. 

San Diego Parade Of Lights| Shelter Island – Coronado Ferry Landing

Jingle Bells At The San Diego Zoo

Animal lovers can get in the holiday spirit at Jingle Bells At The San Diego Zoo this year from December 9, 2022 – January 1, 2023. Have a holly jolly time as you stroll around the #1 zoo in the world and enjoy sparkling lights and festive decorations. There are holiday inspired animal feedings and talks, as well as a live performance of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with dancing and music. 

Each night the zoo lights up until 8 pm (except for on December 24). The whole family can take part in Reindeer Games, listen to the fun Jingle Brass band play the holiday classics, or take in the spectacular lights around the zoo. Make sure to visit the reindeer and polar bears in the Northern Frontier and Santa’s Factory in the Lost Forest. You can purchase tickets on-site or online here

Jingle Bells At The San Diego Zoo| 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101| (619) 231-1515

Skating By The Sea – Hotel Del Coronado

It’s not often that you get the chance to ice skate on the beach in San Diego! Running from November 17, 2022 – January 1, 2023, you can ice skate on the beach courtesy of the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. Skate by the sea or reserve a lounge spot to sip cocktails fireside, doesn’t that sound amazing? 

Tickets cost $30 online and $35 on site, and the event offers military discounts to those who serve. Times vary depending on the date, but for most of December, skating is open from 11 am – 10 pm. You can purchase tickets here.  

Hotel Del Coronado| 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA 92118| (619) 435-6611

Find out How To Have The Perfect Day In Coronado

San Diego is a great place to visit during the holiday season and visiting any of these events is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Whether you want to visit a European Christmas market right here in the city, or take in the lights of the Parade Of Lights, you’ll be humming holiday tunes all the way back to the Rockaway House or Makai. 

Happy Holidays!

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