Jingle Bells & Whistles

It's time to party for the holidays.
It’s time to party for the holidays.
(filadendron/Getty Images)

Organizing a party this holiday season? These local venues can take the pain out of planning.

The most wonderful time of year is upon us, but if you’re organizing a holiday party, you could be experiencing a nightmare before Christmas.

Whether your boss has tasked you with planning an end-of-year bash — or if you’ve taken it upon yourself to host a feast with friends — there are a ton of decisions to make before the big day arrives.

Fortunately, there’s still enough time to pull off a holiday party that will keep your guests buzzing well into the New Year. To help you get started, we’ve compiled some excellent venues for your consideration and a few other quick tips to simplify your planning.

Don’t Drag Your Feet
The longer you wait to start planning, the fewer options you’ll have, the more it’ll end up costing and the more stress you’ll deal with at the end of the day. Make arrangements as soon as possible to take advantage of early-booking offers and score the best deal around.

Do Your Due Diligence
Before deciding on a location or vendor, do your homework by reading online reviews and seeing what people have to say on social media. Tour potential venues in person, and if you’re hiring a planner, make sure they know their stuff.

Make a List, Check It Twice
Do you have an accurate list of everyone attending? Do you know who’s bringing a significant other and who’s flying solo? Only by knowing precisely who is attending, will you be able to comfortably accommodate everybody.

Get Clever and Creative
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when planning your holiday party, but including a few creative touches can go a long way. Incorporate your company’s branding into names of menu items or assign tables names inspired by inside jokes.

Coordinate a Gift Exchange
Incorporate a White Elephant or Secret Santa exchange into your celebration so guests can look forward to leaving with something — just be sure to enforce a limit on how much money should be spent.

Where to host your next event in San Diego


BIGA is a farm to table Italian restaurant in downtown, providing a wide array of handcrafted dishes to satisfy just about any appetite. Because it is locally sourced, the menu is refreshed seasonally and has some great woodfired entrées and sides as well as award-winning, Neapolitan style pizzas. The house made pasta dishes are exquisite and the charcuterie boards are some of the best in the city. The culinary team behind BIGA is quite talented and is happy to customize any menu for large parties. The size of the venue is great for private parties (up to about 90 people) and the rustic decor is cozy and welcoming. It sits on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Broadway in the historic Samuel Fox Building, and with the tall windows and interior Edison lights, it feels like dining in an Italian piazza. The wine and beer menu has fantastic choices to complete the full culinary experience.

950 Sixth Avenue, downtown, 619.794.0444,

If you would like to host your own event at BIGA, please contact
If you would like to host your own event at BIGA, please contact

BO-beau kitchen + caché

Rustic charm meets vintage elegance in this intimate neighborhood bistro creating the perfect setting for your next event. Host a private dinner on BO-beau’s patio featuring a wood burning fireplace or plan a cocktail party at their French-inspired speakeasy, caché. They can accommodate groups of 10-110 guests. To book your event, email or call 619.908.3405.

1027 University Ave, Hillcrest, 619.481.5033,

Elicit Bar & Lounge

With live DJs, attentive and skilled service, and the best homemade artisanal cocktails, Elicit Bar & Lounge is the ultimate cocktail lounge ideal for any private party. Elicit offers both full and partial venue buy outs are available depending on the size of your party and the amount of privacy that you’re looking for. Enjoy their indoor and outdoor space, which is versatile enough to accommodate just about any kind of get-together. Whether you’re looking for a meeting space or a space for a bachelorette or bachelor party, a wedding reception, a family reunion, or any other special event, they can provide you with an ideal venue. During the afternoons, the lounge is framed in warm highlights from the chandeliers, windows, and metallic accents. As the sun goes down, it transforms into a sleek, sophisticated setting. Open format music sets the mood each night. Get cozy with your own secluded space by the fire, or enjoy their indoor/outdoor bar. With patio seating overlooking the pool, you can enjoy the sunset or the stars

Elicit Bar & Lounge – main cocktail lounge area.
Elicit Bar & Lounge – main cocktail lounge area.

5469 Casino Way, El Cajon, 619.659.3372,

Feast & Fareway

Whether you’re planning a casual gathering on the covered patio amid water and golf course views, or gearing up for a formal event in the picturesque Fareway Room, Feast and Fareway is the idyllic setting for guests to eat, drink and mingle along the iconic Coronado Golf Course! Enjoy an elegant and unique waterfront spot conducive to scenic wedding ceremonies, framed by the stunning backdrop of the iconic Coronado Bridge, as well as a private beach overlook. Seating accommodates up to 200 guests, and catering professionals are ready to personally coordinate with you, or your planner, to creatively and successfully execute your event. Food is one of the most important components of any successful gathering, and Feast & Fareway’s seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, creative presentations and customizable menus are focused on creating lasting memories for all. Start planning your next event today!

Feast & Fareway in Coronado is the perfect venue for holiday parties, corporate and special events.
Feast & Fareway in Coronado is the perfect venue for holiday parties, corporate and special events.

2000 Visalia Row, Coronado, 619.738.2858,

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Greatness deserves excellence. Whatever the occasion, the Del Frisco’s experience will surpass your expectations. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse is an ultra-premium steakhouse providing a distinguished dining experience with personalized service in a breathtaking atmosphere, offering bold, delicious fare complimented by an expansive, award-winning wine list. Boasting a vast selection of USDA Prime wet and dry-aged steaks, modern takes on fresh seafood, signature side dishes and mouth-watering desserts. The one-of-a-kind menu distinguishes Del Frisco’s as an American culinary institution who delivers an unparalleled experience. Elevate your next event by hosting it in one of Del Frisco’s private or semi-private dining spaces. Featuring chic interiors, plenty of seating and audio/visual capabilities, our stunning private dining rooms will help your celebration reach its full potential, no matter your needs. Del Frisco’s Sales and Event Planner will work with you to create a celebration beyond compare.

901 Bayfront Ct., Ste. 105, downtown, 619.272.5060,

Music Box

Music Box is San Diego’s Premier Special Event and Live Music venue. Nestled adjacent to Little Italy in downtown San Diego, their open, lofty tri-level venue offers an unparalleled experience in an artistically immersive backdrop. Their contemporary space accommodates groups of 25 to 700 and provides an ideal setting for a variety of events ranging from privatized top floor buyouts above a live concert, to full venue buyouts. Looking for something larger? They also offer a full-city-block outdoor event space with an added capacity of 2,500 for corporate events, festivals, or private block parties. You will find their customized catering options and full-service event packages can turn any vision into a reality. In addition, their team is available to assist you with all elements of production planning, including booking bands, DJs, or headlining artists for your event.

Music Box is the ideal venue for unforgettable corporate parties and special events.
(Ryan Gobuty | GENSLER)

1337 India Street, Little Italy, 619.795.1337,

Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp and Union Encinitas

Union Kitchen & Tap offers a refined, contemporary take on timeless classics, paying homage to the breezy elegance of Southern California. Featuring indoor & outdoor event space options, Union offers private space perfectly suited for an intimate affair of 20 as well as large scale event programs accommodating up to 350 guests. Union proudly taps into the local craft beer phenomenon and offers award winning menu selections that showcase their Chef’s passion while highlighting the quality of their locally sourced ingredients. New American cuisine and hand crafted cocktails can be enjoyed in an open-air setting with garage style glass doors that open to the vibrant cityscape or relaxing enclosed patio. Union can provide multi-layer branding opportunities and forums for live entertainment and presentations. Their full service event specialists can assist with all aspects of your event program including interactive gaming, photo booth rentals, live entertainment, lounge furnishings and décor elements.

Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp Quarter & Union Encinitas

GASLAMP: 333 5th Avenue, downtown, 619.795.9464,
ENCINITAS: 1108 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, 760.230.2337,