San Diego

Weekend roundup

December 15-18


Gaslamp Pet Parade & After-Party

Dec. 17. 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.” 1-5 p.m. Parade registration is $25 per pet; free to watch. Corner of Fifth Avenue and K Street, Gaslamp Quarter.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dec. 18. Bummed that the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights on Dec. 11 was cancelled due to weather? Not to worry; another parade is slated for this Sunday. See the bay twinkle with around 80 private boats decked out with holiday lights. The parade begins at Shelter Island, continues to Harbor Island, then heads along the embarcadero, Seaport Village and The Pier at Cesar Chavez Park; and then finishes at Ferry Landing on Coronado. See website for procession schedule and a list of sponsors and businesses offering prime bayfront viewing. 5:30 p.m. Free.

Holiday Films at Rooftop Cinema Club 

Through Dec. 23. Outdoor moviegoing reaches new heights with Rooftop Cinema Club Embarcadero, which is presenting holiday movies this month 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 HardThe Polar Express and The Holiday. See website for full schedule and tickets. Bundle up! One Market Place, downtown.

“Santa’s Lair” Pop-Up at Parq Nightclub

Through Dec. 23. Go inside Old Saint Nick’s digs at the North Pole with this immersive holiday pop-up at Parq Nightclub. The venue has been transformed into a Santa-approved winter wonderland, decked out with lavish holiday lights and decorations. The experience includes music and a special holiday cocktail menu with premium spirits, offering fun libations like the Not My Buttons and Havana Christmas served in festive drinkware; plus bites such as meat and cheese plates. Th-Sa 4-10 p.m. (also available for private events). See website for reservations and to purchase tickets. 615 Broadway, downtown.

Food + Drink

North Park Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Crawl

Dec. 17. Barhopping, bites, holiday cheer and all the ugly sweaters your eyes can handle … Hosted by Bivouac Ciderworks, The Original 40 Brewing Company and craft distillery 619 Spirits, the North Park Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Crawl lets you start at any of the three tasting rooms and includes a bite and a sip at each spot. Get your “passport” stamped at each to enter a raffle for the “ultimate prize” giveaway And dress to impress; the uglier the sweater, the better. 3-6 p.m. $25 per person (21+). 3986 30th  St., North Park. Tickets

Al Dente Italian Restaurant

Now Open. Nostalgic Sicilian cuisine arrives in University Heights. Serving both traditional and reimagined Italian fare with an emphasis on Neapolitan flavors, Al Dente is a casual neighborhood cucina with heart. Feast on homemade pastas and wild game meat dishes, such as the cavatelli with wild boar sausage, duck pappardelle, oxtail ravioli and bison tartare. Mains include a porcini-crusted elk chop, filet mignon and zuppa di pesce—a sauteed meld of fish, clams and shrimp with marinara sauce, served with toasted bread. Open daily 4-10 p.m. 4207 Park Blvd., University Heights, 619.546.9288.

Lounge at The Marine Room

Now Open. The Marine Room—the iconic beachfront restaurant known for the ocean waves that splash against its massive windows at high tide—has undergone a remodel, recently unveiling its brand-new Lounge. Guests can take in those epic La Jolla Shores views in a slightly more relaxed setting; while ordering from an exclusive Lounge menu of craft cocktails, caviar and seafood-centric small plates by executive chef Mike Minor. The two-hour experience requires a minimum order of $100 per person. See website for hours and to make reservations. 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, 858.459.7222.

Arts + Culture

Golden State Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Dec. 16-23. 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, with artistic direction by Raul Salamanca—conducted by John Stubbs and Classics 4 Kids’ Dana Zimbric. See website for showtimes and ticket pricing. 1100 Third Ave., downtown, 619.241.2565.

San Diego Musical Theatre’s Plaid Tidings

Through Dec. 24. The holiday spinoff of the 1950s homage jukebox musical, Forever Plaid, returns. Plaid Tidings centers on the legendary Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky—who at first aren’t really sure why they’ve been brought back to Earth for another posthumous performance. A phone call from a ghostly Rosemary Clooney sets them straight about their mission: to spread holiday joy in an uncertain world—with a program of Christmas standards that have all been “Plaid-erized.” David Humphrey (a former Plaid) directs. See website for showtimes and tickets. 4650 Mercury St., Kearny Mesa, 858.560.5740.

Irish Christmas in America

Upcoming | Dec. 19. At California Center for the Arts, Escondido, don’t miss Irish Christmas in America, whose tour is in town for one evening only. Now in its 17th year, this holiday spectacle invites you to kick up your heels with a showcase of Irish music, song and dance. The family-friendly show will feature performances by Irish vocalist Caitriona Sherlock and award-winning step dancer Samantha Harvey; along with other artists from Ireland and instrumental accompaniment via the flute, fiddle, harp and uilleann pipes. 7:30 p.m. $35-$55. 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, 800.988.4253.

Photo credits: San Diego Bay Parade of Lights by Marv Sloben. Golden State Ballet / The Nutcracker by Sam Zauscher. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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