San Diego

Weekend roundup

December 14-17


Coastal Christmas Del Mar

Dec. 14-30. Open on weekends through the end of December, Coastal Christmas transforms the Del Mar Fairgrounds into a family-friendly winter wonderland. Stroll through millions of twinkling lights at the Holiday Light Spectacular; visit and take photos with Santa; go ice skating while Christmas music plays in the background; bounce, climb and zip-line through Frosty’s Fun Zone; shop for gifts at the Holiday Market; rent your own igloo and toast marshmallows; and sip holiday cocktails at the Mistletoe Lounge. 4-9 p.m. See website for special events and ticket pricing. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. More Info

Gaslamp Pet Parade & After-Party

Dec. 16. It’s “pawty” time! Dress up your pet (and yourself!) to the holiday nines for a stroll up Fifth Avenue under the Gaslamp Quarter archway. Afterward, head over to the “Pups in the Pub” after-party at the Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter for craft beers, food and music; plus a holiday costume contest with eight costume categories, including “Best in Show,” “Best Matching Costume (Owner and Pet)” and “Most Outrageous Costume.” Parade starts at 1 p.m.; after-party runs 2-4 p.m. Parade registration is $25 per pet. Corner of Fifth Avenue and K Street, Gaslamp Quarter.

San Diego Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl

Dec. 16. Hideous holiday sweaters deserve their time to shine. Enter: the San Diego Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl on Saturday to help! The event begins at Whiskey Girl and takes guests on a stroll through the Gaslamp Quarter, with stops at downtown’s best bars. Tickets include free entry to all participating venues (along with a digital bar crawl map); welcome shots for all Santas and ugly sweater wearers; drink and food specials; DJs at select venues; and an ugly sweater contest. Crawl starts at noon (21+). See website for ticket pricing. Gaslamp Quarter. More Info

Holiday Films at Rooftop Cinema Club 

Through Dec. 23. Outdoor moviegoing reaches new heights with Rooftop Cinema Club Embarcadero, which is presenting myriad holiday movies—from box office hits to classics—on the fourth-floor terrace of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Enjoy city views and an elevated cinema experience—including a state-of-the art projector, headphones and deck chairs; plus popcorn and snacks for purchase. This weekend’s lineup includes National Lampoon’s Christmas VacationThe Nightmare Before ChristmasElfDie HardHome Alone and The Holiday. See website for full schedule and tickets. 1 Market Place, downtown. More Info

Food + Drink

“Tea Time” at California English

Dec. 17. Travel to the English countryside (without leaving SoCal) for Tea Time—an afternoon tea experience with renowned chef Richard Blais at his fine-casual restaurant, California English. Guests can relax and indulge in a selection of exquisite teas and bites (including tea sandwiches, scones and desserts); while mingling and getting a chance to chat with Blais—winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars and co-star of Fox’s Next Level Chef. See website for all details and to reserve your seat. 3-5 p.m. $75 per person. 9276 Scranton Road, Sorrento Valley. More Info

Mabel’s Gone Fishing

Open. An instant North Park hotspot since opening fall 2022, Mabel’s Gone Fishing was just named among the “50 Best New Restaurants in America” for 2023 by Esquire Magazine. It’s one part bistro, spotlighting coastal fare from the Iberian Peninsula; and one part cocktail bar, devoted mainly to small-batch gins and wines sourced from Spain and Portugal. Feast on oysters, hiramasa and yellowfin tuna; pintxo-style snacks such as smoked-mackerel toast; and shareable plates like swordfish schnitzel, clam toast and grilled Baja snapper. M-Sa 4-11 p.m. 3770 30th St., North Park, 619.228.9851.

Arts + Culture

2 Pianos 4 Hands at North Coast Rep

Dec. 15-31. Relieve some holiday stress with a good laugh and some great music. Hilarious duo Jefferson McDonald and Matthew McGloin return to North Coast Repertory Theatre to perform their musical comedy show: 2 Pianos 4 Hands. Written by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt and directed by Tom Frey, the show centers on the two gentlemen as they share stories and tickle the ivories—remarking on their would-be careers as concert pianists while playing everything from Billy Joel to Bach. See website for showtimes and tickets. 987 Lomas Santa Fe, Suite D, Solana Beach, 858.481.1055.

Golden State Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Dec. 15-24. No holiday season is complete without a dancing sugarplum fairy. Golden State Ballet presents Tchaikovsky’s timeless holiday classic at the Civic Theatre, complete with live orchestra accompaniment by the San Diego Symphony. Centered on Clara and her nutcracker prince, the family-friendly production includes exquisite costumes and staging, choreographed by artistic director Raul Salamanca—with John Stubbs as music director and principal conductor, and Dana Zimbric as conductor. See website for showtimes and ticket pricing. 1100 Third Ave., downtown, 619.241.2565.

“Noel Noel” at The Rady Shell

Dec. 15-17. As part of its holiday programming at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego Symphony presents the return of its beloved annual holiday concert: “Noel Noel.” The San Diego Master Chorale and San Diego Children’s Choir join the symphony orchestra for a family-friendly evening under the stars—performing holiday classics across three shows this weekend, with Christopher Dragon conducting. Guests can also enjoy festive food and beverages available for purchase onsite. Bundle up! F-Sa 7:30 p.m.; Su 5 p.m. See website for ticket pricing. 222 Marina Park Way, downtown embarcadero, 619.235.0804.

Korea in Color Exhibit at SDMA

On View. Exploring the use of color in Korean painting—known as polychrome painting—and its role in Korean art and culture, Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images is on view at The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA). This special exhibit comprises 50 artworks—spanning paintings, videos, installations and other media forms—from contemporary works to masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. (Pictured: Beyond Time and Space, 2021, an eight-channel HD video by Kim Hyekyung.) See website for museum hours and admission info. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.232.7931.

Photo credits: California English by Kimberly Motos. 2 Pianos 4 Hands by Aaron Rumley. Golden State Ballet by Sam Zauscher. The Rady Shell by Gary Payne. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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