Top weekend events in San Diego for Dec. 15-18: ‘The Nutcracker,’ a menorah lighting and more

Kanna Kitsunai in San Diego Ballet's "Nutcracker"
(Courtesy photo by Canela Photography)

Here are the top events happening in the area from Thursday, Dec. 15 through Dec. 18.


Luke Harvey Jacobs, left, and Bryan Banville in Diversionary Theatre's "The Mystery of Irma Vep."
(Courtesy of Simpatika)

‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’: Diversionary Theatre presents Charles Ludlam’s campy, queer gothic horror comedy inspired by the classic suspense and horror movies of the 1940s and ‘50s. The play features two actors playing eight characters at a haunted mansion on the English moors. 7 p.m. Thursdays. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Dec. 24. Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., San Diego. $20-$55. (619) 220-0097.

‘It’s a Wonderful Vida’: OnStage Playhouse presents San Diego playwright Herbert Siguenza’s dark satirical look at Mexican Americans working hard to assimilate during the 1957 Christmas season in Corpus Christi, Texas. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 21. 291 Third Ave., Chula Vista. $15-$25. (619) 422-7787.

Jingle Terrace Live: The city of Vista’s Moonlight Amphitheatre “Jingle Terrace Live” will include a holiday light show, refreshments, family activities, festive displays, Santa and photo opportunities. On Thursday only, there will be a makers market selling merchandise from local artisans. The Bread and Cheese Eatery will be open for food and beverages. The event is also a canned goods drive to support North County Food Bank. Thursday and Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. Moonlight Ampitheatre, 1250 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista. Free.


Sleigh Ride Parade: Santa’s Sleigh Ride Parade returns to Solana Beach. Santa will be riding along with fire, sheriff’s and marine safety personnel. 2:30 to 5 p.m. Friday. Parade starts and ends at Solana Beach Fire Station, 500 Lomas Santa Fe Drive. Free. A map is at

Tara Ghassemieh and Preston Swovelin in Golden State Ballet's "Nutcracker."
(Courtesy photo by Sam Zauscher)

Golden State Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”: The lavish production with dazzling scenery and costumes returns to the Civic Theatre with professional dancers and more than 50 students from the award-winning academy. The Tchaikovsky score is performed by the San Diego Symphony. 7:30 p.m. Friday. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Children younger than age 4 are invited to attend the 2:30 p.m. show on Saturday, Dec. 17or the 1 p.m. show Sunday, Dec. 18. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown San Diego. $28.50-$109. or

Enchanted Village: Noah Homes welcomes all to its annual Enchanted Village, filled with dazzling light tunnels, sparkling trees, magical cottages, live entertainers and more. Proceeds benefit Noah Homes, a nonprofit for people with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism. 5 to 8 p.m. Friday through Thursday. 12526 Campo Road, Spring Valley. Tickets $13.99 for children, $21.99 for adults at Discounts for groups of 15 or more.

North Coast Symphony: “Holiday Gems”: Now in its 75th year, this North County orchestra conducted by Daniel Swem will present a program featuring “The First Noel,” “Around the World at Christmas Time,” “Christmas at the Movies,” “Toccata on Carol of the Bells,” music from “Frozen.” 7:30 p.m. Friday. Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, Encinitas. $10-$12.


In this promotional image provided by ABC TV, Charlie Brown and Linus appear in a scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Camarada: ‘Charlie Brown Jingles and Jazz’: Camarada flutist Beth Ross Buckley teams with guitarist Peter Sprague, who has newly arranged the songs of the late composer Vince Guaraldi. Enjoy favorites from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” played by top-notch San Diego musicians, including multilingual vocalist Allison Adams Tucker. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17. The Baker-Baum Concert Hall at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $35-$95. (619) 231-3702.

Chula Vista Center posada: The Chula Vista Center hosts a free holiday posada in the center’s northern court area around the Christmas tree. The event will feature free champurrado and conchas (while supplies last), plus dance and folklorico performances by local groups, DJ/live music and pop-up tent from Univision Radio and stations Que Buena 106.5FM and Amor 102.9FM; holiday-themed characters for photo opportunities; a “Letters to Santa” station; and seasonal booths and vendors provided by Hispanas community group. 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 17. Chula Vista Center, 555 Broadway, Suite 1019. Call (619) 427-6701 or visit

Pet Parade: The 14th annual Gaslamp Pet Parade and Pups at the Pub starts under San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter Archway, with pets and owners decked out in costumes and on mini-floats. Judges will announce “Best Christmas Spirit,” “Best Matching Costumes,” and “Best in Show,” among other awards. After the parade, stroll over to the Pups in the Pub party featuring a pet makers market, goody bags, beverage garden, music and more. Parade begins at 1 p.m. Saturday . Free to watch; Pet Parade entry fee is $25. Register at Pups in the Pub, 2-5 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, 401 K St., San Diego.

San Diego Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”: One of the county’s largest annual productions features an international cast of more than 100 dancers, with twirling sugarplum fairies and snowflakes that swirl across the stage. 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday. The Magnolia, 210 E. Main St., El Cajon. $45-$115. (619) 294-7378.

Holiday concert: The Hillcrest Wind Ensemble performs “A Joyous Celebration,” a holiday concert of festive music. Come for free hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Linder Hall First United Methodist Church San Diego, 2111 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego. Tickets $25.

San Elijo Dance & Music Academy & West Coast Ballet Theater’s “The Nutcracker”: The San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra accompanies this Clara’s reverie with a battle between mischievous mice and brave toy soldiers, a visit to the Land of Sweets and snowfall on the audience. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. California Center for the Arts Escondido, Concert Hall. 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido. $22-$55. (800) 988-4253.

Taylor Momsen listening to Jim Carrey in a scene from the film 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'
(Archive Photos / Getty Images)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas In Concert: At its bayside concert venue, the San Diego Symphony orchestra will perform live along with the film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” List to the music of composer James Horner, conductor Thiago Tiberio. 6 p.m. Saturday. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way. Tickets start at $40.

‘An Irish Christmas’: Kerry Irish Productions’ 18-city American holiday tour features Irish musicians, singers and dancers performing Irish holiday carols, music and dancing. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., San Diego. $41.50 and up. (619) 615-4000.

Genesis Opera Theatre: “Amahl & The Night Visitors”: This San Diego opera company presents Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act Christmas opera based on “The Adoration of the Magi,” a painting at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. The porduction, conducted by Cynthia Leigh, will feature performers from throughout Southern California. 7 p.m. Saturday. 3 p.m. Sunday. Star Repertory Theatre, 329 E. Valley Parkway, Escondido. $20.

“Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas”: The Old Globe presents its 25th annual production of this Mel Marvin-Timothy Mason musical inspired by the Dr. Seuss children’s book about a lonely mountain-dwelling creature who schemes to rob a village of all its Christmas spirit and presents. Runs through Dec. 31. Showtimes vary week to week, but mostly evening performances Tuesdays-Fridays and multiple performances on weekend days. $59-$89. (619) 234-5623.

A view of the Snow N Glow festival at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
(Courtesy of Del Mar Fairgrounds)

Snow N Glow: The Del Mar Fairgrounds hosts a Snow N Glow Holiday Festival with holiday lights attractions. Highlights include a walk-through display of more than 1 million lights, a 100-foot snow tubing hill, live music, Ferris Wheel rides and igloos reserved for cozying up along with hot cocoa. S’mores kits, festive food and drinks will be sold. 4 to 9 p.m. select dates through Jan. 1. Del Mar Fairgounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. Tickets to the walk-through Snow N Glow path are $19.99 for adults and $15.99 for children ages 3 to 10. Tickets to both the Snow N Glow and the snow activities are $39.99 for adults and children. Admission is free for children ages 2 and younger. Visit

‘Prairie Lights’: Patio Playhouse Youth Theatre presents this tender holiday musical by Susan Lieberman, David Rush and Rosalie Gerut about a pair of Jewish teen siblings riding an orphan train to their new adoptive Jewish parents in 1905 Nebraska, just before Hanukkah and Christmas. 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 2 p.m. Sunday. Patio Playhouse, 116 S. Kalmia St., Escondido. $13-$17. (760) 746-6669.


Oceanside/Vista Menorah Lighting Ceremony: Chabad of Oceanside/Vista will host a Menorah Lighting with music, doughnuts and latkes, gelt drop and a fire circus act. Children will receive a light-up dreidel necklace. 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Regal Cinema Plaza, 401 Mission Ave., Oceanside.

Lawrence Family Jewish Family Center: ‘LIGHT’ LITVAKdance artistic director Sadie Weinberg and klezmer-music ace Yale Strom create a new kind of winter event. After LITVAKdance performs “LIGHT,” Strom and Hot Pstromi will play “Shimmering Lights,” a celebration of the holiday of lights from around the Jewish world. 7 p.m. Sunday. Garfield Theatre, Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla. $24-$30. (858) 457-3030.

Liberty Station Menorah Lighting Ceremony: Liberty Station and the Chabads of Downtown San Diego and Pacific Beach host a free community menorah lighting at Liberty Station’s Central Promenade to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. Live music and entertainment. 5 p.m. Sunday. Liberty Station, 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego. Free.

Poway Hanukkah train and community celebration: A celebration of the first night of Hanukkah will take place with hot latkes, doughnuts, dreidel giveaways, chocolate coins, children’s crafts and face painting. 4 p.m. Sunday at Old Poway Park,14134 Midland Road, Poway. Admission is free. RSVP at

Christmas sing-along: “The Sound of Christmas Sing-Along” lets you belt or warble your way into the season with holiday favorites, accompanied by Emmy-nominated conductor Charles Fernandez, the Sound of Christmas Chamber Players and Choir, and narrator Sheelagh Cullen. 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego. Tickets start at $33.50 plus fee; discounts available for seniors, children ages 2-17 and military; $10 lap tickets.

Sound of Music: The Balboa Theater hosts this musical get-together for fans of “The Sound of Music” who just love to sing along. (Don’t remember all the words? No worries, the lyrics will be on screen) Everyone gets a prop pack, and you can channel your inner Liesl with a costume contest. The party includes a live organ concert featuring Russ Peck on the Wonder Morton Organ. 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., San Diego. Tickets start at $33.50.

“2 Pianos 4 Hands”: North Coast Repertory Theatre presents this comic play with music about two men looking back on their childhood obsession with the piano and their dashed dreams for grown-up concert careers. 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through Jan. 1. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987D Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. $59. (858) 481-1055.

Safari Park features Wild Holidays: The San Diego Zoo Safari Park celebrates the “Wild Holidays” with an expedition of light and travel through places that twinkle, holiday tunes, stilt walkers and seasonal culinary delights. Entertainment includes the Light Up the Holidays choreographed lighted tree show with holiday music at Safari Base Camp, Santa at Village Market, Holiday Troubadour, Bridge of Lights, Firefly Stilt Walkers and Journey of Light decorated pathways and Nairobi Lantern Walk, among other attractions. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. during this event, except Jan. 1 when hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 17-23, 26-31 and Jan. 1. Safari Park,15500 San Pasqual Valley Road. Wild Holidays activities are free with Safari Park admission or membership. Visit

Holiday Homes Tour: Vista Community Clinic hosts its 36th annual Holiday Homes Tour to be held virtually. The online event will feature four homes across North County decorated by professional designers for the holidays. Attendees can take a narrated journey through each house alongside the designer responsible for the decor. The tour will also feature a silent auction with holiday baskets and one-of-a-kind items. Proceeds support the clinic’s services for senior care. Dec. 18-23. Tickets are $25 at