Where to Celebrate the Holidays in San Diego

Celebrate the holidays all month long at the 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland at The Grand.


Christmas Day buffets, onesie parties, winter wonderlands and more … Check out the best ways to get into the spirit this holiday season in San Diego.

Edited by Brooke Knetzger.


Pacific Beach Santa Run 
Dec. 14. The Annual San Diego Santa Run in Pacific Beach is a holiday experience like none other! The event will consist of a series of runs that will take place on Garnet Ave. featuring a 5K fun run and 1 mile run waves that include run with your dog, kids run and a competitive wave. Participants are invited to come out in their finest (or ugliest) Christmas attire to take part in this one-of-a-kind holiday experience. Stick around after to watch the annual Pacific Beach Holiday Parade! 875 Garnet Ave, Pacific Beach. sandiegorunningco.com


Winter Nights at Westfield UTC
Dec. 14. Celebrate the holiday season with friends and family as Westfield UTC transforms into a winter wonderland with glistening lights and iconic carols, featuring a collection of activities from seasonal live musical performances, stellar headlining acts, photos with Santa, holiday sips and savory treats, along with winter-themed crafts and fun activities for the entire family. 5 – 8 p.m. 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Register 


Old Town Las Posadas
Dec. 14.
Join Fiesta de Reyes at Old Town San Diego’s 69th annual celebration, as you’re invited to get in the holiday spirit with festive decorations throughout the park, live entertainment, crafts and more family-friendly activities. The candle-lit procession begins at 5 p.m., and guests are invited to meet in front of the print shop in State Park at 4:45 p.m. to see the traditional reenactment. The festivities will wrap up with a piñata for the children, along with a campfire and s’mores in the Plaza. Noon- 8 p.m. Free. 2415 San Diego Ave, San Diego. More info 


Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
Dec. 14. Grab your friends and family and head to the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights, a distinctly California celebration, featuring boats decorated for the holidays that will sail around the Bay. A highly anticipated free event in the San Diego community, dozens of vessels take to the water for the parade. 6-9 p.m. 1215 El Carmel Place, Mission Bay. mbyc.org


Holiday Tea at THE MED
Dec. 14. THE MED’s award-winning afternoon tea returns for the holidays. Enjoy a variety of teas, delectable sandwiches and homemade sweets set to ocean views and elevate your experience with champagne selections. Holiday Tea starts at $46 with a variety of experiences, including their Signature Tea, Veuve Clicquot for Two and more. 2-4 p.m. 1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla. Tickets

Get festive with Saturday’s at One Paseo.

Saturday’s at One Paseo
Dec. 14, 21. The center will turn into a winter wonderland every Saturday leading up to the Christmas holiday.  One Paseo invites guests to enjoy complimentary S’mores at the firepit near Salt & Straw. To complement to the treats, guests can expect photo opportunities with festive characters while snow cascades from the rooftops. 5- 8 p.m. 3725 Paseo Pl, Del Mar. onepaseo.com 


Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade
Dec. 15. Deck those paws with bells so jolly and jingle all the way through the Gaslamp Quarter for the 12th Annual Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade. Pet owners and their furry friends are invited to don their favorite costumes for this jolly promenade and Holiday Pet Market. Entry to participate in the Pet Parade is just $15 per pet in advance, and $20 on the day of the event. Free entry for spectators!  Noon- 5 p.m. Gaslamp.org


6th Annual California Country Christmas at Moonshine Beach
Dec. 19. Join Moonshine Beach for the 6th Annual California Country Christmas, an annual toy drive and concert that benefits underprivileged families. This year’s lineup features live music from Daniel Bonte, Eli V, Morgan Leigh Band, Amanda Kate, Scotty Mac, The Joy Reunion, and more. In addition to the concert, the evening will include a silent raffle featuring festival tickets, gift baskets, and merch, line dance and two-step competitions, and live artist interviews and podcast tapings backstage. Free admission with the donation of an unwrapped gift or $10 at the door. 6:30 p.m. 1165 Garnet Ave, Pacific Beach. moonshinebeachsd.com 


A Charlie Brown Christmas at North Coast Repertory Theatre
Dec. 19-22. When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism he sees among everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but this proves to be a frustrating endeavor. When an attempt to restore the proper holiday spirit with a forlorn little Christmas fir tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to discover the real meaning of Christmas. No intermission. See website for showtimes and additional information. 987 Lomas Santa Fe, Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org 


The Santaland Diaries
Through Dec. 22. From the brilliantly twisted mind of David Sedaris comes a classic tonic for the holidaze. Out of work and options, The Santaland Diaries finds David as he begins his career as an elf in Macy’s Santaland during the holiday crunch. Battling throngs of rabid families clamoring towards a drunken Santa to satiate their Christmas fix, David makes do with some hilarious observations on human nature, and an unexpected connection to the holiday spirit. Through December 22. 4545 Park Boulevard #101, University Heights, 619.220.0097. diversionary.org 


Annual Nutcracker Holiday Tea at Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Dec. 22, 23. Bring your little sugarplums for an unforgettable abridged performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” performed by the Scripps Performing Arts Youth Academy. Guests are invited to pair every plié with a bite of scrumptious tea sandwiches and delicate French pastries. Call for reservations. Two seatings available each day: 10:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. $72 per adult, $45 per child (ages 4–12). 5300 Grand Del Mar Court, Del Mar, 858.314.1996. Tickets


Rare Society
December 24. For an upscale Christmas Eve dinner, head to University Heights’ newest neighborhood hotspot, Rare Society. The restaurant has rolled out a new cocktail menu for the holiday season featuring a selection of festive takes on classic drinks including a boozy eggnog, their holiday old fashioned and Too Many Zooz (bison grass vodka, herbal liquor, sparkling wine, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, bitters). Cozy up on the outside patio or pick a warm seat inside to enjoy the shared plates menu featuring Santa Maria style wood-fired steaks, chops, and seafood with mouthwatering steakhouse sides to accompany. For Christmas Eve reservations, please call 619.501.6404 or visit website. 4130 Park Blvd, University Heights, 619.501.6404. raresocietysd.com


December 24. Switch up the traditional holiday spread with a full lobster dinner at Beerfish in North Park, open this Christmas Eve. The seafood destination will be serving decadent lobster options including Lobster Tacos, the classic Lobster Roll and a decadent Loaded Lobster Truffle Mac ’n Cheese. Enjoy your meal with beer or wine selections from their featured taps and relax under the Christmas lights on the covered, heated patio. 2933 Adams Avenue, North Park. beerfish.com


December 24. The Busalacchi Family’s Little Italy hotspot, is welcoming guests on Christmas Eve to celebrate like only Italians can. Kick off the holiday celebration with the restaurant’s delicious Sicilian fare, including holiday favorites like Osso Buco. Be sure to treat yourself to some of their amazing desserts, or if you’re too stuffed, swing by their sister restaurant Nonna, just a few blocks away, to grab some Christmas cookies and cannolis to go. Open from 11:30a.m.-10 p.m. 1917 India St, Little Italy. barbusa.com


December 24, 25. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s signature restaurant, Morada, will host Christmas Eve Dinner from 5 – 9 p.m. at $80 per person, and an over-the-top Christmas Day Buffet from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Day. $38 kids 4-12, $95 per adult. 5951 Linea Del Cielo, Rancho Santa Fe. theinnatrsf.com

Spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at The Westgate Hotel.

The Westgate Hotel 
December 24, 25. Calling all visitors and locals alike– there’s something for everyone at the iconic Westgate Hotel this holiday season. Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel will prepare a four-course prix fixe menu available in the elegant Westgate Room. Dinner will be served from 5 to 9 p.m. on December 24 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. The price is $79 per person plus tax and gratuity. westgatehotel.com 


Estancia La Jolla
December 24, 25. Gather at Mustangs & Burros to enjoy a fun and relaxed Christmas Eve & Christmas Dinner. The Baja-inspired dining destination will be serving up holiday cheer both days with a prix-fixe menu of offerings such as Juniper Rubbed Elk Carpaccio, Pan Sear Chilean Seabass, Mini Holiday Yule Log and more. 4 – 9 p.m. $75; wine pairing will be an additional $35. 4 – 9 p.m. Estancia La Jolla, 9700 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla. Reservations 


Blue Ocean Sushi
December 24, 25. The newly opened Blue Ocean Sushi in La Jolla will be serving fresh sushi and sashimi with a side of beautiful ocean views. In addition to sushi, the restaurant has mouth watering dishes with newer menu items such as Scallops with black rice risotto, Ribeye Steak, Port Wine Crispy Duck Breast and Campfire Pineapple with beef, shrimp, quail egg, pineapple and vegetables wok-seared in pineapple sauce. This holiday season, Blue Ocean Sushi will also be offering specials on gift cards, so when you buy a $50 gift card you receive an extra $10 bonus, purchase a $100 gift card and receive an extra $20. Open normal hours on both days. 1250 Prospect St Suite B11, La Jolla. blueoceansushibar.com 


Santa Photos at Westfield UTC
Through Dec. 24. Santa Claus is coming to town! Don’t miss your chance to take a photo with Saint Nick through December 24– not to mention, do a bit of holiday shopping at the beautiful outdoor shopping center. Reserve your spot ahead of time to skip the line by making a reservation. See website for availability. 4545 La Jolla Village Dr., Suite e-25, La Jolla, 858.546.8858.  RSVP


December 24, 25. For a cozy and chic spot to dine out on Christmas or Christmas Eve, Zinqué, the newly-opened French bistro in the heart of Little Italy, offers the best in French cuisine. Open for their normal hours from 7 a.m. to midnight both nights, this is the perfect spot to forget about all that extra kitchen work and really enjoy the holiday. For this special occasion, treat yourself to something nice like the Steak Frites with chimichurri or peppercorn sauce, or keep with the French theme and go for the Quiche Lorraine, made with pancetta and aged gruyere. 2101 Kettner Blvd, Little Italy, 619.915.6172. lezinque.com

Enjoy festive holiday cocktails this season at Hotel Del Coronado’s Serẽa.

December 24, 25. Located at the iconic Hotel del Coronado, Serẽa pairs beautiful coastal views with an upscale, sustainable, sea-to-table culinary experience that’s ideal for a festive holiday meal this year. On Christmas Eve from 4 to 10 p.m. and Christmas Day from 2 to 9 p.m., guests are invited to celebrate with a Baja Med feast of grilled spiny lobster, gigantes del ouija, garlic red rice and Manhattan clam chowder. Finish off the locally-sourced seafood meal with a choice of spiced almond ginger snaps, vegan horchata oatmeal cookies, or triple chocolate biscuits served with housemade rice crispy milk. Adults $110 per person on Christmas Eve and $120 per person on Christmas. Don’t forget to check out the restaurant’s holiday-inspired cocktail menu. Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado. sereasandiego.com


Blade 1936
Dec. 25. Blade 1936, Oceanside’s newest dining destination, will be serving up authentic Italian cuisine and winter specials on Christmas Day from noon to 10 p.m. The restaurant features house-made Napoli style wood fired pizzas, crafted semolina pastas, innovative desserts, cocktails, wines, including Blade 1936’s private wine label, Italian bottled beer and local and international beers on tap. In addition to its traditional dinner menu, the restaurant offers options for children, as well as dedicated vegan and gluten free menus. 401 Seagaze Drive, Oceanside, 760.231.1456. blade1936.com


Dec. 25. The beautiful beachside hotspot, JRDN, located in Pacific Beach’s Tower23, is merry all year long. This Christmas, Executive Chef David Warner and the JRDN team invite guests to delight in a three-course, locally sourced dinner featuring all of the season’s favorites. Request outdoor seating for a view of the Pacific Beach pier’s beautifully-lit Christmas tree and salty ocean breezes. JRDN serves Christmas dinner from 4-8 p.m. To reserve a table, call or visit website. 723 Felspar Street, Pacific Beach, 858.270-2323. t23hotel.com


PB Shore Club
Dec. 25. Get cozy and stay festive at Pacific Beach Shore Club’s 6th Annual Onesie Party, taking place on Christmas Day. Open at 5 p.m., Shore Club encourages you to sport your favorite pajama ensemble or over-the-top onesie and enjoy half-priced drinks. Sip and be merry as you watch the Christmas sunset from the rooftop deck! 4343 Ocean Boulevard, Pacific Beach. pbshoreclub.com


Rancho Valencia
Dec. 25. Delight in a Christmas Day feast unlike any other with the freshest seasonal offerings, favorite holiday indulgences, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, kids’ activities and carolers. $145+ for adults, $55+ kids 12 and under, kids 5 and under are free. Call for reservations. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe. ranchovalencia.com 


Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Dec. 25. Indulge in festive fare on Christmas Day with the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa’s holiday buffet. Take in breathtaking views of Mission Bay while enjoying holiday flavors, including scrumptious carving stations, main courses, sides, salads and desserts. A children’s buffet ensures little ones have plenty to feast on, and guitarist will play Christmas favorites throughout the afternoon. $62 Adults, $25 Children (5-11), Free (under 5). 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. catamranresort.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


2nd Annual Winter Wonderland at The Grand
Through Jan. 1. The holidays are magical at Fairmont Grand Del Mar, where guests are invited to skate under the twinkling palms or take a whimsical ride on the ferris wheel and carousel. Snap selfies with Santa and friends by the festive 25-foot Christmas tree and enjoy fireside s’mores and traditional refreshments in the Moët & Chandon Champagne Garden. See website for additional information. 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, Del Mar. granddelmar.com


Skating by the Sea at Hotel Del Coronado.

Skating by the Sea 
Through Jan 5. This spectacular beachfront ice rink features stunning views of the Pacific and benefits Make-A-Wish San Diego. Now you can reserve your own rink side lounge at Frostbite – A Place to Chill. Guests will enjoy skating passes and plush 4 or 6 person seating around a roaring fire pit with full food and beverage service. Choose from your favorite holiday-themed libations or snacks and enjoy unlimited hot cocoa and coffee as you enjoy watching the beachfront ice skating. Through January 5, 2020. $30+. Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado. hoteldel.com


Rady’s Children’s Ice Rink
Through Jan 5. Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary and Liberty Station will kick off the holiday season with outdoor ice skating at the Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station. The rink will stay open daily from 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. except on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and will be featured in Liberty Station’s Tree Lighting & Holiday Festivites on Friday, Nov. 29. Closes January 5. $15 adults;13 children. libertystation.com


Photos: Winter Wonderland at The Fairmont Grand courtesy The Fairmont Grand. One Paseo courtesy Enjet Media. The Westgate Hotel courtesy Chemistry PR. Serea courtesy Clique Hospitality. Skating by the Sea courtesy J Public Relations. 


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