The glittering lights, the saccharine candies and peppermint lattes, the ugly sweaters, a Santa on every corner -- the holiday season is here and it’s not going away anytime soon. Give in now: You might as well partake in the myriad yearly festivities that befall this city. From a Grinch that keeps the kiddos entertained to ice skating by the beach, any holiday hater can turn into the season's lover (or tolerator) when they find something that strikes their fancy. Warm your heart with one of these festive San Diego events this holiday season.

Isaiah Leggett

Hang out at December Nights

The holiday event that has beat out every holiday event for 39 years running is, hands-down, December Nights. The free festival takes place in Balboa Park from 3pm to 11pm on Friday, December 2, and from noon to 11pm on Saturday, December 3. Enjoy carnival rides, food, music, free museum entries, as well as this year’s new additions; an artisanal marketplace and a Fab Trailer photo booth.

Catch the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The 19th annual production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas will run from November 10 through December 26 at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. The production will be performed on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, with tickets starting at $37 for adults, and $24 for children 17 and under.

Go ice skating by the sea at Hotel Del Coronado

$25 gets you skate rentals for the cognitive dissonance of experiencing a beach view while you're on ice. Enjoy DELights, a special light show in the hotel’s courtyard, which includes treats like hot cocoa, spiked libations, house made cookies, and spiced nuts, as well as crafts for kids.

Flickr/Tony Webster

Watch the boats parade their holiday light shows

It doesn’t get more San Diego than watching boats adorned with holiday lights cross the bay. The 45th Annual Port of San Diego Bay Parade of Lights takes place December 11 and 18 at 5pm with more than 80 boats sailing from Cesar Chavez Park to Coronado. This year’s theme celebrates 100 years of the San Diego Zoo.


Get merry with your neighbors at Liberty Station's Holiday Block Party

On Saturday, December 10, visit Liberty Station in Point Loma from 4-7pm for its 2nd Annual Holiday Block Party. Visitors can enjoy free bites from restaurants like Solare and Fireside, as well as tunes from carolers, an ice skating rink, pop-up shops, special gifts from neighborhood galleries, and kid-friendly activities.

Watch City Ballet perform its annual Nutcracker

The classic holiday ballet returns to the Spreckels Theater from December 9 to December 23. In production since 1995, this is City Ballet’s 22nd annual production of the Nutcracker at the company’s home theater. This year, there will be 12 public showings, with ticket prices ranging from $32-$105.

Courtesy of Hornitos

Get festive with Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila

If experimenting with your cold-weather cocktail lineup is your idea of festive good times, try mixing in this premium aged Añejo further matured in deep charred oak barrels for four months to get a rich smoky flavor, and another two months in specially toasted barrels that add more depth and distinct complexity.

Courtesy of Olive PR Solutions

Wander through Little Italy's Christmas Village

On Saturday, December 3 from 4-8pm, visit Little Italy for the 18th Annual Tree Lighting and Christmas Village. India Street will be closed for spectators to enjoy the 25ft tower of 1,000 poinsettias at Piazza Basilone and the new Christmas tree in front of Piazza della Famiglia. The tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5:30pm on the corner of W. Fir and India, with Santa arriving at 4pm for photo ops. Live music, snacks, holiday beverages, and vendors selling seasonal goodies will round out the festive event.  

Celebrate the season bilingually

Old Town will host the 65th anniversary of Las Posadas on Sunday, December 11. Sing traditional holiday songs in both Spanish and English, ending with a procession to a live nativity scene at the Casa de Estudillo. Continue the festivities with live music, food, and family-friendly activities.  

Ocean Beach MainStreet Association

Do the holidays the OB way

The 37th Annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade kicks off on Saturday, December 3, with a tree lighting ceremony beginning the parade on Newport Avenue. From Sunset Cliff Boulevard to the beach, you'll see high school bands, brightly-lit floats, classic Beetles and woodies, and much more at this uniquely-OB holiday event.

Donate toys to underprivileged kids

If your cold Scrooge heart doesn’t open when you see Marines in uniform collecting tiny toys for tiny tots, then we don’t know what will. Toys for Tots donations occur regularly during this time of the year, and some even hosted at cool places that includes drinking, so it's a win-win! Find or host your own Toys for Tots drive by visiting

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Originally from Chino, California, Michelle moved to San Diego in 2000 to attend San Diego State University, and never left. The daughter of immigrant parents from Quito, Ecuador, she’s a fluent Spanish speaker, a lover of travel, a foodie, a wannabe yogi, and an accomplished freelance writer. Follow her life adventures on her website and on Twitter @MichellePoveda.



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