Top 12 Things to Do in San Diego in December 2015
When most people think of Christmas, snow-laden trees and freezing cold weather come to mind. However, just because the movies seem to dream of a white Christmas does not mean that the holidays are not perfectly enjoyable in more moderate climates. In fact, for the best December around, be sure to consider San Diego this year.
With its location in Southern California, San Diego enjoys a mild climate in the winter, and many people actually find the winter months more pleasant than the summer. Without the edge of summer heat and with smaller tourist crowds, December is a great time to appreciate everything San Diego has to offer.
If you are planning on being in San Diego this December, consider the following list of activities to make it a festive and fun holiday season.
1. Balboa Park December Nights.
This long-running festival will be celebrating its 35th year, bringing holiday cheer to San Diego and its surrounding communities. This family-friendly event is located in the cultural center of Balboa Park in the heart of the city. For the festivities, all the museums in Balboa Park are free at night, giving all guests the chance to experience the multicultural display. In addition to this, there will be live music and dance performances. To top things off, there will be plenty of food vendors available around the grounds. This year’s festival starts on December 6.
2. La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival.
This yearly tradition takes place in the nearby city of La Jolla, offering a colorful and interactive display of holiday cheer and unparalleled family fun. The parade includes many local acts, including marching bands, horses, vintage automobiles and a number of cleverly designed floats. After the parade, guests are encouraged to stick around to enjoy a holiday celebration. This gathering will feature a number of booths for food, crafts and more. Carnival rides and other entertainment will be available, and the festivities conclude with a tree lighting ceremony.
*photo: La Jolla Beautiful Sunset Winter 2012
3. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
For those who have trouble getting in the holiday spirit, a trip to the Old Globe Theatre may be in order this December. Every year, the Old Globe Theatre puts on their production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a musical adapted from Dr. Seuss’ much-loved children’s book. There are numerous showings after Thanksgiving, some of which are open to families with young children.
4. White Christmas.
There may not be any snow in San Diego, but people can still appreciate a White Christmas by attending a performance by the San Diego Musical Theatre. The performance will be at Birch North Park Theatre, featuring an adaptation of Irving Berlin’s classic film White Christmas. The performance includes a number of the popular songs from the movie while also capturing the holiday feel-good spirit that has made the film so iconic. Performances run from December 12 through December 22.
5. Brian Setzer’s Orchestra.
If the chaotic crowds get a little overwhelming this holiday season, plan for a more intimate night at the Belly Up stage. This special one-time performance will features all 18-pieces of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, making for a truly unique musical experience. The performance will be December 20 at 9 PM. Brian Setzer’s Orchestra will perform as part of their Christmas Rocks 10th Anniversary Tour. Be sure not to miss out on this special holiday opportunity!
6. An American Christmas by Lamb’s Players Theatre.
If the modern take on Christmas is getting too stressful, try a night with the Lamb’s Players Theatre at the Hotel Del Coronado. Here, the theatre group will put on their performance of An American Christmas, which takes guests back to 1912 for a historical look at what life was like around the holidays in the past. This performance not only features rousing music and historical decor but also includes a succulent four-course holiday feast. The performance has limited availability on December 24.
7. The Mingei Museum.
The Mingei Museum is open year-round to celebrate art from around the world, but this December there will be two new exhibits to check out. The first is Quilts from the Pat L. Nickols Collection, which will feature over 350 quilts. These quilts are all American-made, showcasing different styles, fabrics and techniques. The other exhibit debuting this winter is the Allied Craftsmen Today. This unique exhibit celebrates the crafting revolution in California, which started in the 1940s, and tracks the evolution of local crafts to the present day.
8. Whale watching.
While people are ready to celebrate the holidays, nature is making its own preparations for the winter months. Every year, whales traverse the Californian coastline in search of warmer waters in the south. Because of this, December is a great time to sneak a peek of these massive creatures in their natural habitat! Guests can try it on their own at several hotspot. Better still, book a tour for better results and a relaxing boat cruise.
9. San Diego International Auto Show.
Most people dream of getting a new car for Christmas. If that fails, though, get an auto fix this holiday season at the San Diego International Auto Show. This year’s show starts after the holidays and will feature a wide range of cars that will leave even the most avid car enthusiasts satisfied.
10. Jungle Bells.
The San Diego Zoo is a great year-round attraction, but every holiday season the zoo holds its Jungle Bells celebration. During Jungle Bells, the zoo has extended hours, giving guests the chance to participate in a number of holiday-related festivities such as tree lighting and bell ringing while enjoying holiday decorations. There are countless other activities for the whole family planned during Jungle Bells, which starts on December 15 this year.
11. Ice skating.
Most people think of ice skating as a pastime for states with an arctic chill. However, San Diego has its own options for ice skating in the winter. All of these rinks offer their own distinctive perks, but each one is perfectly suited for a night of family friendly fun. So be sure to strap on some skates and visit one of the rinks at Horton Square, Hotel del Coronado or the Viejas Outlet Center. The times and dates will vary depending on the rink, but most of them open in November and close sometime in January.
12. Sugar Plum Fairies.
There are few Christmas symbols more widely recognized than the Nutcracker. This classic ballet is performed at countless venues around the world each year. However, this year, San Diego is proud to offer its own production with the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. This youthful production offers a new take on the classic tale with a revised performance that is sure to entertain. Check out this unique opportunity at the Casa del Prado Theater, which is located in Balboa Park. Times and prices may vary.
With so much to do, there are plenty of options for holiday fun this December. Therefore, peruse the list and find the best events for you and your family to commemorate the end of 2013. From rousing musical performance to family-friendly activities, there is something for everyone in San Diego this Christmas.
Hotel Managers Group recommends this affordable hotel for your next trip to San Diego:
- Mission Valley Resort (5 minutes from Balboa Park)