Events | San Diego Things to do in December

Check out the Best Things to do in San Diego this December.

From ice skating and light shows, to boat parades and theater, we’ve collected the best San Diego events to experience this December.

Skating by the Sea
Through Jan. 4. See Hotel Del Coronado’s Windsor Lawn transformed into an outdoor ice-skating rink that overlooks the beach and Pacific Ocean. This attraction was named by as one of the “Top 10 Best Holiday Attractions of 2014”. The surrounding Del property is also decked out for the holidays with twinkling lights, decorations and a giant Christmas tree. Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 619.435.6611.

Fantasy on Ice
Through Jan. 4. Lace up your skates and glide away at this outdoor ice rink in the middle of the Westin Horton Plaza shopping center—yet another opportunity to ice skate in balmy, 75-degree weather. Horton Square, 225 Broadway Circle, Downtown.

Whale-Watching Season
Through April. Each year beginning in December, more than 20,000 gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja California, where the females give birth to their calves, before returning north in the spring. Take in the spectacle via a whale-watching tour along San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline directly in the migration path. Hornblower Cruises offers one of the city’s more popular excursions.

Balboa Park December Nights
Dec. 5-6. Experience this annual two-day holiday blowout, which features carolers, live music, holiday light displays and more festivities. Plus, many museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 p.m. Balboa Park, 619.239.0512.

Coronado Holiday Celebration
Dec. 5. Be a part of the annual festivities, with a parade along Orange Avenue, the lighting of a 50-foot Christmas tree, a snow mountain play area at the Coronado Ferry Landing, and holiday concert at Rotary Park. Coronado, 619.437.8788.

51st Annual Northpark Toyland Parade & Festival
Dec. 6. North Park’s much anticipated parade features a slew of celebrations, plus beauty queens, dance groups, vintage cars, bands and floats; as well as a holiday fair behind the historic North Park Theatre. Parade begins at 11 a.m. with festival following until 4:30 p.m. University Avenue, North Park. 619.269.7880.

La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival
Dec. 7. It’s the holidays done La Jolla-style, complete with vintage automobiles, equestrian units, floats, marching bands and a Santa Claus appearance. Girard Avenue in La Jolla. 1:30 p.m.

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
Dec. 13. Head to the Mission Bay waterfront for this spectacular water parade. More than 100 illuminated vessels parade along Mission Bay starting at 6 p.m., followed by a fireworks show at 9 p.m. above SeaWorld. Mission Bay, 858.488.0501.

Holiday in the Park
Dec. 13-14. See Old Town decked out for the holidays with extended shopping hours, strolling carolers and Las Posadas—a centuries-old tradition in which actors reenact the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph through the town of Bethlehem on Dec. 14. Event begins at 2:30 p.m. with carolers and children’s choirs, with the live theatrical procession starting at 5 p.m. Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego Avenue and Twiggs Street, 619.297.3100.

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade
Dec. 14. A holiday fete for the pets? Yes, please! Pooches will dress up and march down the festive streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, starting and ending at the Hilton Gaslamp Park. The parade kicks off at 3 p.m. Plus guests and pooches can participate in a free pet expo (1-5 p.m.) and pet costume contest. 401 K St., Gaslamp Quarter. 619.233.5227.

44th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
Dec. 14. and 21. See San Diego Bay twinkle with more than 100 private boats decked out with holiday lights for a night on the water. The parade proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village and Ferry Landing in Coronado. This year’s theme is “Children’s Stories.” 5:30-9 p.m. Downtown, 619.224.2240.

Poinsettia Bowl
Dec. 23. Get out your alma mater gear for college football at its finest at the 10th Annual Poinsettia Bowl—a favorite sports tradition in San Diego. The Half-Time show features college band performances, pageantry and fireworks. 6:30 p.m. Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Road, Mission Valley, 619.285.5061.

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade
Dec. 26. Gaze at the massive displays at the country’s largest balloon parade along San Diego Bay. Also enjoy floats, drill teams and marching bands. 3 p.m. San Diego Bay, downtown, 619.686.6200.

Holiday Bowl
Dec. 27. See who wins this annual epic battle of college football heavyweights. 5 p.m. Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Road,
Mission Valley, 619.283.5808.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Through Dec. 28. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas returns to the Old Globe Theatre. Children and adults alike are transported to the whimsical Whoville for an adventure of the season. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. 619.238.0043

Festival of Christmas
Through Dec. 28. This year, Lamb’s Players presents Northern Lights, centered on a Minnesota family celebration in 1962. Three generations adjust their traditional holiday plans after the pipes burst at home and surprise guests show up, making for one memorable Christmas. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. 619.437.6000

An American Christmas
Dec. 15-27. Plan for a true feast at this delectable, five-course holiday meal in a unique setting of festive dance and song presented by the talented Lamb’s Players Theatre troupe at the Hotel del Coronado. Guests are encouraged to dress up for the occasion. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado., 619.435.6611.

The Nutcracker
Dec. 13-14, 17-21. The San Diego Civic Theatre brings the Christmas classic to life in this magical performance of orchestra, ballet and theater. 4819 Ronson Court, San Diego. 858.560.5676.



Sign up for FREE to receive our exclusive Weekend Roundup!

Get the best things to do in our favorite SoCal spots delivered to your inbox every week

Los Angeles

Orange County

San Diego