12/1-31: Del Mar Holiday of Lights
Location: Del Mar Race Track
Buckle up (or jump aboard a hayride) for an illuminating loop around the 1.5-mile track at Del Mar, which will be atwinkle with more than 400 lighted scenes that lured more 21,000 passenger cars last year.
12/2: SoNo Park Holiday Fest & ChiliPalooza
Location: 32nd St. and Thorn St., North Park
Have a gas as dozens of restaurants compete in a chili cook-off energized by live music in this family-friendly celebration of the South Park and North Park neighborhoods.
12/7: Alpine Village Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting
Location: Alpine Creek Town Center, Alpine
Celebrate the season the redneck way with a parade of lighted golf carts and lawn tractors in Alpine, where “Ho, ho, ho!” sounds more like “hee-haw!”
12/7-8: Balboa Park December Nights
Location: Balboa Park museums, Balboa Park
A crowd of more than 300,000 is expected at this 35th annual holiday lights celebration in Balboa Park, where participating museums will offer free admission.
12/8: San Diego Derby Dolls Championships
Location: Wyland Hall at Del Mar Race Track, Del Mar
Watch tough women smack into each other on roller skates in this roller derby championship, featuring two San Diego teams: Diego Rollers vs. Swarm.
12/8: Bikes Boards and Brews
Location: Catamaran Resort Hotel, Mission Bay
Sample local craft beers with food pairings from beach-area restaurants while checking out vintage and modern surf boards, beach cruisers and beach-inspired art at this celebration of San Diego beach culture at the magnificent Catamaran Resort & Spa.
12/9, 16: San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
Location: San Diego Bay, from Shelter Island to Coronado Ferry Landing
A twilight waterfront will kick-off two consecutive Sunday evenings of illuminated boat-watching along San Diego Bay during this 41st annual event, expected to draw 80,000 spectators each weekend. A similar but smaller such parade sparkles along Mission Bay December 8.
12/9: Gaslamp Quarter Holiday Pet Parade
Location: Gaslamp Hilton Park (4th Ave. and K St.)
Admission: Free to watch, $10-$20 to participate
In case there weren’t already enough reasons to show off those matching outfits you and your dog have, now you can do it alongside lizard and cat owners to compete for prizes. The time to sign up is right meow!
12/14: The Gaslamp Comedy Show
Location: The Tipsy Crow, Gaslamp
FuseTV ‘s Mal Hall hosts a night of stand-up comedy featuring Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler from Comedy Central.
12/15: National Cupcake Day
Cupcakes used to be called 1-2-3-4 cakes, because they were (and often still are) made with 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs (plus milk and baking soda). Pretty heavy, huh? Lighten up on National Cupcake Day with a gluten- corn- and soy-free version at 2GOO D2B Bakery & Cafe in Encinitas.
12/15-16: San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus “Ice & Spice”
Location: Balboa Theatre
Put a little sass in your Christmas with the too-fabulous San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus singing traditional holiday songs with the “spice” of a tropical holiday get-away.
12/16: Beach Blast Triathlon
Location: Fiesta Island
Swim, bike and run along around Fiesta Island in this triathlon that gives every participant a medal, so no one feels like a loser.
12/18: Poinsettia Bowl Battle of the Bands
Location: 5th Ave., Gaslamp
You have spirit, yes you do - or at least you will while watching marching bands and spirit squads (representing the teams competing in the Poinsettia Bowl) battle it out on the streets of the Gaslamp.
12/27: Big Bay Balloon Parade 2012
Location: Pacific Hwy., Downtown
We’re talking really big balloons. Like, enormous.
12/27-30: San Diego International Auto Show
Location: San Diego Convention Center, Downtown
Get your motor running by kicking the tires of more than 400 new and concept vehicles from 36 car manufacturers. For a brief but very cool thrill-ride/test-drive, take a trip to the top of the 18-foot-tall Jeep Mountain and indoor obstacle course.