San Diego is a happening town during the holidays. From the vibrant Parade of Lights on San Diego Bay to the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, these are just a few of our favorite things to help you boldly embrace this festive yuletide season.
San Diego Zoo Jungle Bells
Dec. 8-Jan. 1
San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego. zoo.sandiegozoo.org/junglebells
It’s Christmas on the wild side as the San Diego Zoo welcomes the holiday season with festive decor, dazzling animal light displays and merry-making performances. Dr. Zoolittle’s animal-themed version of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” will entertain both young and old and Santa’s elves will delight audiences with their acrobatic feats. The highlight of the festivities is the illumination of the tooga tree during the Celebration of Lights music and light ceremony each evening.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Nov. 30-Dec. 24
1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. theoldglobe.org
The Old Globe Theatre stage once again becomes the snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash. Will the Grinch return all the presents he steals from the Who people? Attend a show and find out.
Garden of Lights
Dec. 2-23, 26-30
230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas. sdbgarden.org
The San Diego Botanic Garden will transform into a winter wonderland with more than 125,000 sparkling lights illuminating numerous gardens within the 37-acre oasis. Nightly entertainment includes local blues and jazz bands, food, hot coffee and treats and more.
Global Winter Wonderland
Dec. 8-10, 15-27, 29-31, Jan. 1-2, 5-7
SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm Stadium), 9449 Friars Road, San Diego. globalwonderland.com
San Diego’s first globally inspired holiday land of enchantment features millions of LED lights and 100 handcrafted Chinese lanterns of all shapes and sizes on 17 acres. There’s also carnival rides and games, activities for the family, live entertainment and international cuisine.
San Diego Santa Run
900 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. sandiegosantarun.com
More than 4,000 Kris Kringles — young and old — donned in their finest or ugliest Santa suits, white beards, Santa hats and sunglasses (it’s San Diego, after all) will blanket Garnet Avenue in a sea of red as they race down Garnet Avenue during the Fifth annual Santa Run. Following the run, stick around for a front-row seat of the 38th annual Pacific Beach Holiday Parade.
The San Diego Union-Tribune Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade
Martin Luther King Promenade Park, 401 K St., Gaslamp Quarter, downtown. gaslamp.org
Critters and their pet handlers will don festive costumes at one of the furriest seasonal events of the year. Grand Marshals Sammie, a Maltipoo and SweetPea, a toy poodle, will lead the tinseled procession up Fourth Avenue to E Street making their way down Fifth Avenue ending under the iconic Gaslamp Quarter Archway.
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
Dec. 10 and Dec. 17
San Diego Bay from Shelter Island toward Coronado Ferry Landing. sdparadeoflights.org
Discover a new side of holiday entertainment with the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, back for its 46th year. More than 100,000 spectators are expected to line the San Diego coastline as they view 80-lit, ornament-bedecked boats.
Magical Nightly Snowfall
878 Eastlake Parkway, Chula Vista. shopvillagewalk.com
Frolic in the snow at Village Walk at Eastlake. The courtyard becomes a giant snow globe of falling snow nightly at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Stop by the Giant Snow Globe located near the Children’s Play area between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, 10 and 17.
Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade
Along Harbor Drive, from the County Administration Center south on Harbor Drive, downtown. holidaybowl.com
Enormous balloons fill the sky as the scenic bayside streets downtown come alive with world-class marching bands, festively decorated floats and engaging drill teams.
Ice-skating hot spots
Skating By The Sea: Through Jan. 1. Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado. hoteldel.com
Skate by the Bay: Through Jan. 1. Hilton San Diego Bayfront Ice Rink, 1 Park Blvd., downtown. bit.ly/2AdVTu5
Rady Children’s Ice Rink: Through Jan. 7. Arts District at Liberty Station, 2640 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego. libertystation.com
Viejas Ice Rink: Through Jan. 28. 5000 Willows Road, Alpine. viejas.com/ice-rink