How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in San Diego 2022

Thanksgiving offerings at Ranch 45 in Solana Beach

From festivities to feasts—including special restaurant menus and takeout meals—we’ve rounded up some fun ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Diego this year.

Let’s talk turkey. From traditional Thanksgiving dinner enjoyed at your favorite San Diego restaurants, to decadent to-go meal packages, turkey is no doubt the star of most menus this holiday weekend. We’ve rounded some of our favorite spots offering special menus filled with delicious classics and other festive comfort fare. And should you be interested in burning off some calories (while also giving back) in advance, and/or seeing a live theater show to get into the holiday spirit afterward, we’ve got ideas to consider. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Note: Before visiting venues, please call or check websites for possible menu/schedule updates.


Father Joe’s Villages’ Thanksgiving 5K at Balboa Park
Thanksgiving Day 5K Race

Nov. 24. Start the holiday by burning some calories at Balboa Park for a good cause. Father Joe’s Villages’ 21st-annual, family-friendly Thanksgiving 5K is San Diego’s longest-standing Thanksgiving Day turkey trot. Proceeds from race admission help to provide meals to those in need and who are experiencing homelessness, as part of the organization’s Food Services Program. Festivities include an optional sunrise mass and a closing awards ceremony. Dogs and strollers are welcome. Race starts at 7:30 a.m. (Registration opens at 6:30 a.m.) Starting at $14 to enter. 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park

Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show at The Old Globe
Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show

Through Dec. 24. The Old Globe brings us a theatrical holiday favorite: Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show. Set in San Diego circa 1919, the family-friendly comedy is a fast-paced parody of the Dickens play—featuring the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future. There’s a local twist: Scrooge is now a British émigré who moves to San Diego from England to seek his fortune at the Panama-California Exhibition—which means the entire play is set in Balboa Park and surrounding communities. Expect some localized jokes. 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at The Old Globe
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Through Dec. 31. Who better to get us into the holiday spirit than the big, hairy, grumpy green guy? The Old Globe presents the beloved, family-friendly musical, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, based on the classic Dr. Seuss book—with book and lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin. Audience favorite Andrew Polec returns to star in the title role of The Grinch; along with Issa Ally as Cindy Lou-Hou; and an endearing ensemble cast. See website for showtimes and ticket pricing. 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623

Lightscabe Light Show
“Lightscape” at San Diego Botanic Garden
“Lightscape” at San Diego Botanic Garden

Through Jan. 1. Go walking in a one-of-a-kind winter wonderland at San Diego Botanic Garden, which presents the internationally acclaimed show “Lightscape.” The garden’s 37 acres will be transformed into an illuminated, 1-mile walking trail—filled with artsy installations that come to life after dark. The experience also comprises more than one million holiday lights, tunnels, fire features and sculptures. (And wear comfy shoes, as the walking trails span some steep hills and uneven dirt pathways.) See website for all details and tickets. 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, 760.436.3036

Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado
Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado

Through Jan. 1. This celebrated tradition at the historical Hotel del Coronado—which will be decked out with its “Frosted by the Sea” holiday celebrations—is back. Skating by the Sea is a one-of-kind San Diego experience—a beachfront ice rink on the resort’s lawn, offering views of world-famous Coronado Beach and the Pacific. Guests can also reserve a spot at Frostbite Lounge—a rink-side hangout offering holiday-themed cocktails, bites, a firepit and cozy seating. Ice-rink proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish San Diego. See website for hours and to reserve tickets. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 619.435.6611


Animae | Dine-In

Nov. 24. Enjoy a decadent, not-so-traditional meal on Thanksgiving at this posh downtown hot spot—with a special menu created by executive chef Tara Monsod. Offerings include Animae’s signature caviar-shrimp toast and tuna crispy rice to start; filet mignon and Branzino Cha Ca with rice noodles as mains; family-style sides like roasted baby cauliflower and Brussels sprouts with bacon; and pear-hojicha-roll cake for dessert. Reservations required. 3-7 p.m. $130 per adult. 969 Pacific Hwy., downtown, 619.432.1225

Bleu Bohème | Dine-In

Nov. 24. Celebrate by indulging in the French bistro’s special three-course menu—with your choice of appetizer, entree and dessert—by owner/executive chef Ken Irvine. Choices include pumpkin-hominy soup and duck pâté with pork terrine to start; beef bourguignon, Faroe Island salmon with ratatouille, and turkey prepared two ways as entrees; and crème brûlée and brioche-bread pudding for dessert. Add-ons such as the limited-edition Pumpkin Pie Martini are also available. Reservations required. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $74.95 adults; $28.95 kids under age 12. 4090 Adams Ave., Kensington, 619.255.4167 

Herb & Sea | Dine-In

Nov. 24. The popular Encinitas eatery will be offering a prix fixe Thanksgiving menu—with starters like steelhead crudo and Oysters Rockefeller; mains including traditional turkey confit with mashed potatoes, pistachio-crusted lamb chops or veggie paella; sides such as sourdough-herb stuffing and Parker House rolls; and desserts like the pumpkin tart and apple-crumble pie with salted caramel ice cream. Reservations required. 1-7 p.m. $87 adults; $38 children. 131 D St., Encinitas, 760.704.8300

Hotel del Coronado | Dine-In

Nov. 24. The iconic historical resort will host an equally grand Thanksgiving dinner buffet in its new Southpointe Ballroom, located on the south end of the property—complete with all your favorite dishes, traditional trimmings, live music, and stunning holiday lights and decor. The buffet menu includes a chilled seafood display, sushi and sashimi, lobster bisque, whole-roasted organic turkey, pepper-crusted prime rib, buttermilk-mashed potatoes, cooked-to-order pasta and around two-dozen desserts—including a caramel-apple station and a gelato station. Afterward, head outside for Skating by the Sea, and be sure to check out the new 22-foot, ocean-themed tree at Southpointe Lawn. See website for reservations and pricing. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 619.435.6611

Holiday celebrations at JRDN Restaurant
JRDN Restaurant | Dine-In

Nov. 24. The beachfront restaurant’s executive chef Stephen Gage has dreamt up a festive menu where guests can choose from a handful of options across three courses (plus side dishes) for a customized holiday meal; plus an option for wine pairings. Choose from appetizers like pumpkin-lobster bisque; mains such as turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce, or squash-tikka risotto; sides that include traditional stuffing and whipped sweet potatoes; and desserts created by pastry chef Christian Molle. Reservations recommended. Noon-8pm. $51-$71. 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, 858.270.5736

Ranch 45 | Takeout

Preorder before Nov. 20. Want to eat at home but don’t feel like cooking this year? The butcher shop/eatery is offering a fully customizable, à la carte Thanksgiving menu, available for pickup. Choose from mains such as herb-crusted prime rib, smoked beef tenderloin and whole, grilled Brandt tomahawk steak; sides including honey-and-thyme roasted rainbow carrots, green-bean almondine and olive-oil-smashed potatoes; and pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pie and apple crisp for dessert. Orders can be picked up on Nov. 23. 512 Via de la Valle, Suite 102, Solana Beach, 858.461.0092

Pony rides at Rancho Valencia
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa | Dine-In

Nov. 24. The luxe resort is offering an array of family-friendly fun—including its signature buffet, pony rides, live music, crafts and other kids’ activities. On the buffet menu: cold seafood and sushi; cheese and charcuterie; a special carving table serving slow-roasted turkey, sage gravy, stuffing and rolls; other entrees such as Brandt Farms short rib and Faroe Islands salmon; sides like sweet-potato casserole and roasted-garlic mashed potatoes; a separate kids buffet with chicken fingers, mac ‘n’ cheese, mini pizzas and more; and a dessert station with an assortment of pies, cobbler and ice cream creations. Call for reservations. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $195 adults; $55 kids age 11 and under; free kids under age 3. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.759.6246

Smokey & The Brisket | Dine-In, Takeout

Preorder by Nov. 18. The barbecue outpost in La Mesa has meal options for everyone. Dine at the restaurant on Nov. 24 and enjoy smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Preorder meals are also available to-go, with packages tailored for four to six people, and eight to 12 people—the latter includes a whole smoked turkey. Reservations recommended for groups of six or more. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. $45 per person; $160-$300 per takeout meal. 5465 Lake Murray Blvd., La Mesa, 619.439.6544

Free-range turkey dinner at STK Steakhouse
STK Steakhouse | Dine-In, Takeout

Nov. 24-27. The Gaslamp steakhouse is offering Thanksgiving specials all holiday weekend long, available for dine-in or takeout. Offerings include roasted free-range turkey with cornbread-sage stuffing and shallot-and-thyme confit thighs; with sides including sauteed green beans with crispy shallots, maple-baked sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes with a Parmesan crust, classic gravy and cranberry-orange chutney; plus add-ons such as spiced pumpkin pie. Reservations recommended. $64 per adult; $29 per child (age 12 and under); $124 per takeout meal (serves two). 600 F St., Gaslamp Quarter, 619.354.5988

VAGA | Dine-In

Nov. 24. North County’s refined-dining restaurant at Alila Marea Beach Resort is offering a three-course holiday meal of Thanksgiving classics with a twist. Start with the carrot bisque or poached-quince-balsamic-braised-onion salad; then choose either the herb-chorizo-stuffed turkey breast, or a hearty vegetarian option as a main; and finish with the Spice Cake Flan Impossible. Reservations required. 2-9 p.m. $109 adults; $39 children. 2100 N. Coast Hwy., Encinitas, 760.452.3484

Photo credits: Animae by Dustin Bailey. The Old Globe (2) by Jim Cox. Other images are courtesy of the venues.


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