Looking for unique holiday activities? These 7 spots step up the holiday cheer

From a life-sized gingerbread house to a onesie party, here are some unique San Diego holiday activities


With expectations of decorating, present-buying, office parties, family get-togethers and kitchen duty, the holidays can be mind-crushingly hectic.

Sometimes, though, you need to take a break from the madness. San Diego restaurants, bars and shops are bringing holiday cheer in new and inventive ways.

So grab a friend and treat yourselves to something unique this season.

12 Beers of Christmas
Bottlecraft Liberty Station,
From December 13 through 24, the beer shop will host rare bottle and draft selections for each day leading up to Christmas. Focused on wintry options, the list includes a variety of styles and breweries including Superstition Marion, Frederiksdal Kirsebaervin Sparkling, Bottle Logic Shake Rattle & Roll, Logsdon Another Peach Beer, Crooked Stave Surette Reserva Palisade Peach, To Øl Mr. Brown, Grimm Cinnamon Babka.

Tinsel Tavern
The Huntsman Whiskey Bar at Inn at Rancho Sante Fe,
Grab one of the cozy blankets and sip holiday cocktails while faux snow falls on the patio at the Huntsman. Running through December 28, this pop up bar features wintry treats, including an interactive cocktail, the Marshmallow & Me, where you roast a a puffy marshmallow for a drink that includes Makers Mark, allspice, a muddled gingerbread cookie, smoked marshmallow syrup, and a chocolate and gingerbread rim. Tinsel Tavern is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. Head over to Morada before or after for holiday dining and a special Build-Your-Own-Gingerbread House, on the dessert menu for kids of all ages.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
Mille Fleurs, Rancho Santa Fe,
Grab the gaudiest sweater you can find (and there are plenty out there) for a celebration of the hideous. Hosted by piano man Randy Beecher on Thursday, Dec. 19, the event will be full of music, laughter and the cozy Happy Holidaze cocktail, featuring Calvados brandy, High West double rye, fresh lemon juice, and house made allspice demerara simple syrup.

Feast of Seven Fishes
Catania, La Jolla,
Also known as Festa dei Sette Pesci or La Vigilia, this annual Italian tradition runs for seven days leading up to Christmas, from Dec. 17 to 23. Catania’s take on the celebration includes a four-course dinner, featuring oceanic classics like octopus, grilled branzino and crudo for $69 per person. Reservations can be made through or by calling 858-551-5105.

Holiday Tea & Candle Gift Making
THE MED, La Valencia Hotel, La Jolla,
Get ready to put your pinkie out for a sophisticated, ocean-view experience sipping tea and nibbling on sandwiches. Hosted on Dec. 21 from 2 to 4 p.m., the event features a variety of teas, finger foods, sweet treats, and champagne. Holiday Tea packages include signature tea and Veuve Clicquot for two, and start at $46 per person.

Who doesn’t love candles during the holidays? Make a personal gift of serenity while munching on delectable eats at a candle workshop with Mint Studio. Happening Dec. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., you’ll learn the basics of small batch candle pouring and selecting your own scented holiday blend, and food pairings from the kitchen. $59 per person.

6th Annual Onesie Party
PB Shore Club, Pacific Beach,
After you’ve opened Santa’s presents, head down to the beach in your jammies for a party. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. on Christmas Day, and all pajama and onesie-clad guests receive half off drinks for the day.

Life-Size Gingerbread House
Rancho Bernardo Inn, Rancho Bernardo,

This pastry confection is a can’t miss. Throughout December you can see the life-size gingerbread house constructed in the lobby of Rancho Bernardo Inn, crafted by Pastry Chef Margaret Carvallo. Made with over 4,000 pounds of ingredients, the house is comprised of 1 ton of powdered sugar, 750 pounds granulated sugar, 750 pounds cake flour, 750 pounds bread flour, 1/2 ton brown sugar, 282 pounds molasses, 24 pounds baking soda, 20 pounds cinnamon, 12 pounds vanilla extract, 4 pounds ginger, and 2,160 eggs. If that much sugar doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, nothing will.