From an abundance of holiday celebrations and parades to anytime-enjoyable fun with chili and beer, check out the top San Diego weekend events for November 29-December 2.
By Jordan Fraser.
Liberty Station Tree Lighting
Nov. 30. One patient family of Rady Children’s Hospital will have the honor of lighting the towering tree from top to bottom at Liberty Station’s official kick-off to the holiday season. Following the tree lighting, grab a bite from the neighborhood eateries then catch an outdoor viewing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which will be projected onto a custom-made sail by a local craftsman. 5-9 p.m. Free. North Promenade, 2848 Dewey Rd., Liberty Station. libertystation.com
North Park Toyland Parade
Dec. 1. This annual parade features a slew of celebrations, plus beauty queens, dance groups, vintage cars, bands and parade floats. Santa Claus will be riding atop his merry red fire engine and bells will be ringing as loved ones snuggle up in the bright, frosty air. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. University Ave. between Utah and Iowa streets, North Park, 619.269.7880. toylandparade.com
San Diego Botanic Garden’s Garden of Lights
Starts Dec. 1. After the sun goes down, the San Diego Botanic Garden will transform into a dazzling winter wonderland with more than 125,000 sparkling lights illuminating the flora of this 37-acre urban oasis. Bring the family and experience the magic as you wander down the beautifully lit paths of several spectacular garden areas. Nightly entertainment, including local blues and jazz bands, as well as hot coffee and treats from the Feel Good Coffee Cart, will be available. $5-$25. 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas, 760.436.3036. sdbgarden.org
South Park Holiday Walkabout
Dec. 1. Head to South Park for a fun-filled evening festival that showcases all the unique architecture, independent businesses and restaurants of this charming neighborhood. Enjoy complimentary treats, live entertainment, a tree lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa and special offers. 5:30-10 p.m. Free. Grape St. Square. southparksd.com
Teddy Bear Teas
Dec. 1-2. Bring the little ones to this long-standing Christmas tradition that culminates with a visit from Santa Claus. Holiday beverages, premium teas, fresh housemade pastries and desserts will be available. Each child will get a one-on-one with Santa and receive a keepsake teddy bear. 2:30-5 p.m. $59 adults, $39 children ages 4-12, free for children 3 and under. The Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Ave., downtown. westgatehotel.com
Winter Nights at Westfield UTC
Dec. 1. Westfield UTC kicks off the holidays during Winter Nights on the first three Saturdays in December. This annual holiday celebration includes live musical performances in Palm Plaza, festive entertainment, family-friendly activities and tasty bites for all to enjoy. 5-8 p.m. 4545 La Jolla Village Dr., University City. westfield.com
Santa by the Sea and Christmas Tree Lighting
Dec. 2. Head to Del Mar Village to see Santa, create holiday crafts including Rad Hatter Holiday Hats, write notes to be delivered to Santa’s workshop, and enjoy cookies and hearty soups with seasonal flavors. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch and Candy Land’s Mr. Mint will join in the fun. Guests are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to benefit children in need given through the North County Health Services. Festivities 3-5 p.m., tree lighting 5 p.m. Free. Camino Del Mar and 15th St., Del Mar. visitdelmarvillage.com
FOOD + DRINK
Now Open. Created by local restaurateurs Jenny and James Pyo, who run Love Boat Sushi, Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar and Pokewan, Harumama’s second location is now open in Carlsbad. The new restaurant, a smaller version of the Little Italy spot, has just 25 seats, but offers the same cartoon character steamed buns in flavors like chicken, pork, mushroom and purple sweet potato, plus a few flavors exclusive to the new locale. 2958 Madison St., Carlsbad, 760.269.7874. harumamasd.com
Kettner Exchange, You & Yours Distilling Co. and Catalina Offshore Collaboration Dinner
Nov. 29. Kettner Exchange Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski curates a five-course menu using seafood sourced by Catalina Offshore with each dish paired with cocktails crafted by You & Yours. Menu highlights include a “Rubios” style Grouper Bao Bun, and a Confetti Tres Leche Cake with caramel and creme fraiche. Catalina Offshore fish expert Tommy Gomes will offer insight into the importance of using locally caught seafood and perform a live filet demonstration. 6:30 p.m. $90. You & Yours Distilling Co., 1495 G St., East Village. Tickets
Pizza Pizza Pizza!
Nov. 29. Sam the Cooking Guy and Ambrogio15 celebrate National Pizza Month with a live chef demonstration to share the process that goes into making the gourmet pizzeria’s specialty pies, including how to stretch the dough like the pros. 6-7 p.m. Free. Little Italy Food Hall, 550 W. Date St., Little Italy. littleitalyfoodhall.com
Craft Beer Festival
Dec. 1. The popular Craft Beer Festival features over 100 local and international brews, including hard-to-find ales and ciders, and favorites from San Diego’s massive local brewing scene. Chat with local brewery reps, put your arm muscles to the test in the beer stein holding contest and grab a set of headphones for Del Mar’s first-ever silent disco dance party. $22 includes racetrack admission, a wristband for five tastings and participation in the silent disco. 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Del Mar Racetrack, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. Tickets
Chanukah at A.R. Valentien
Dec. 2-10. Spend one or more evenings during Chanukah at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines as Executive Chef Jeff Jackson serves up a traditional, locally inspired menu in each evening. 5:30-10 p.m. 11480 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858.777.6635. lodgetorreypines.com
SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off
Dec. 2. Head to the border of North Park and South Park, where a variety of restaurants will face off to create a unique, chef-driven take on the traditional stew. Up the block, an expansive beer garden pours local favorites including Modern Times Beer, Fall Brewing and Cutwater Spirits. Also enjoy a holiday craft market, two music stages, a food truck court and kids’ play zone. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $6. 32nd St. and Thorn St., North Park. sonofestchilicookoff.com
ARTS + CULTURE
Through Dec. 2. Inspired by the film of the same name, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage through music written by Sara Bareilles. See website for show times and ticket prices. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown, 619.570.1100. broadwaysd.com
“Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas”
Through Dec. 29. The perfect holiday tradition for spirited kids young and old, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a colorful production of the heartwarming Dr. Seuss classic. See website for show times and ticket prices. Shiley Stage at the Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623. theoldglobe.org
Harumama photo courtesy Harumama. Liberty Station Tree Lighting photo courtesy Liberty Station. North Park Toyland Parade photo courtesy North ParkToyland Parade. Garden of Lights photo by John Bryant. South Park Holiday Walkabout photo courtesy South Park San Diego. Teddy Bear Teas photo courtesy The Westgate Hotel. Winter Nights at Westfield UTC and Kettner Exchange, You & Yours Distilling Co. and Catalina Offshore Collaboration Dinner photos courtesy J Public Relations. Santa by the Sea photo courtesy Del Mar Village Association. Pizza Pizza Pizza! photo courtesy Contour PR. Craft Beer Festival photo courtesy Meads Durket. SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off photo by Andy McRory. Chanukah at A.R. Valentien photo courtesy Evans Hotels. “Waitress” photo courtesy Broadway San Diego. “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” courtesy The Old Globe.