Connect
To Top

Things to do in December

Events have a festive focus with Balboa Park December Nights, Carols & Barrels, holiday parades, Christmas tree lightings, and a few non-holiday events including the San Diego International Auto Show.

There’s a feeling of holiday spirit in the air. December events in San Diego include Balboa Park December Nights, Carols & Barrels, holiday parades, Christmas tree lightings, and a few non-holiday events including the San Diego International Auto Show.

12.2 Red Nose Run

Powerhouse Park, Del Mar, rednoserun.info

Hit the beach running at this holiday tradition with a 5K and a 3K run/walk along the Del Mar coastline. Top off the day with drinks and an oceanfront view at Poseidon Restaurant after crossing the finish line.

The Red Nose Run is a Del Mar holiday tradition. (U-T file photo)

The Red Nose Run is a Del Mar holiday tradition. (U-T file photo)

 12.2 Coronado Christmas Parade

Coronado Ferry Landing, Coronado, coronadochamber.com

Santa shows up in style on a ferry, followed by a festive parade down Orange Avenue and tree lighting by Ol’ Saint Nick himself in Rotary Plaza.

12.2-3 Pizza Port’s 20th Annual Strong Ale Fest

Pizza Port Bottle Shop, Carlsbad, pizzaport.com

Drink up at this two-day festival highlighting more than 75 strong ales on draft plus rare bottles (available during the VIP session).

12.2-3 Balboa Park December Nights

Balboa Park, balboapark.org/decembernights

Balboa Park lights up with holiday cheer as more than 350,000 expected attendees enjoy festive food and complimentary admission to the museums over two evenings from 5 to 9 p.m.

Balboa Park's December Nights has become an annual tradition for the whole family to enjoy. (U-T file photo)

Balboa Park’s December Nights has become an annual tradition for the whole family to enjoy. (U-T file photo)

12.3 Carols & Barrels

Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, carolsandbarrels.com

Buddy the Elf hosts this festival with drinks from more than 60 breweries and wineries, holiday treats from local restaurants and an ugly sweater contest.

12.3 Little Italy Tree Lighting

India Street, Little Italy, littleitalysd.com

Christmas magic arrives on the streets of Little Italy in the form live music, holiday beverages and a meet-and-greet with Mr. Claus.

12.3 Encinitas Holiday Parade

Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, ci.encinitas.ca.us

At this year’s parade down Coast Highway 101, Encinitas celebrates 30 years of cityhood with themed floats and awesome ’80s costumes.

12.3 North Park Toyland Parade & Festival

University Ave., North Park, toylandparade.com

Bundle up for this annual parade that glides down University Avenue with marching bands, dance groups, vintage cars, beauty queens and more.

12.3 Chula Vista Starlight Parade

Third Avenue Village, Chula Vista, starlightparade.com

Celebrate the season in downtown Chula Vista with a snow hill at this cheerful neighborhood parade.

12.3 37th Annual OB Holiday Parade

Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, oceanbeachsandiego.com

See Santa surfing the streets during this annual Ocean Beach parade, which brings out the Point Loma Marching Band, motorcycles, brightly lit floats and bands filling the beach with live music.

12.4 SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

32nd and Thorn St., North Park, sonofestchilicookoff.com

This annual fundraiser and chili-cooking competition mixes in a craft beer garden, live music and local vendors selling handmade gifts.

12.4 La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival

Girard Ave., La Jolla, ljparade.com

Themed “Christmas in the future,” this year’s La Jolla Christmas Parade is packed with equestrians, floats and music. 

12.10 The Toast of Downtown

Venues throughout the Gaslamp, mcfarlanepromotions.com

Raise a glass to downtown’s craft cocktail culture and cuisine at this self-guided tasting tour of various Gaslamp bars and restaurants.

12.10 Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Oceanside Harbor, Oceanside, visitoceanside.org

Watch Christmas lights float across the water at this nautical parade of decorated boats and costume-clad captains.

12.11, 18 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

San Diego Bay, sdparadeoflights.org

The 45th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights dazzles bayfront crowds over two weekends with a procession of nearly 100 boats decorated to this year’s theme, “It Began with a Roar – San Diego Zoo Celebrates 100 Years.”

Hundreds of boats travel from Shelter Island to Coronado and back during the San Diego Bay Parade. (U-T file photo)

Hundreds of boats travel from Shelter Island to Coronado and back during the San Diego Bay Parade. (U-T file photo)

12.11 The Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Hilton Gaslamp Park, downtown, gaslamp.org

Furry and feathered companions of all shapes and sizes are invited to don festive costumes and strut in this jolly pet parade.

12.19 Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

Horton Plaza Park, downtown, sandiegobowlgames.com

Marching bands and spirit squads kick off the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl with a rousing battle of the bands in the new Horton Plaza Park Amphitheater.

12.27 Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

North Harbor Drive, downtown, sandiegobowlgames.com

Enormous balloons fill the sky during this parade along downtown’s waterfront as marching bands, floats and drill teams entertain more than 100,000 street-side spectators.

In preparation of the Holiday Bowl, a parade of giant balloons travels along the Embarcadero. (U-T file photo)

In preparation of the Holiday Bowl, a parade of giant balloons travels along the Embarcadero. (U-T file photo)

12.29-1.2 San Diego International Auto Show

San Diego Convention Center, downtown, sdautoshow.com

The annual San Diego International Auto Show drives a crowd of a quarter-million to the Convention Center to kick the tires on more than 400 new, exotic and prototype cars.

Thousands of people flock to the San Diego International Auto Show to check out the newest models each year. (U-T file photo)

Thousands of people flock to the San Diego International Auto Show to check out the newest models each year. (U-T file photo)

San Diego Chargers

12.3 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12.18 vs. Oakland Raiders

San Diego Gulls

12.6 vs. Bakersfield Condors

12.13 vs. Ontario Reign

12.16 & 17 vs. Stockton Heat

12.26 vs. Tucson Roadrunners

12.27 vs. Ontario Reign

More in Magazine

Life's cool.

Current issue + archives

Enter email, receive cool stuff.

Copyright © 2016 Pacific San Diego Magazine. All rights reserved. A part of the tronc network.