San Diego

Weekend roundup

December 17-20


Gaslamp Howliday Pawtay

Dec. 18-24. Pets and their people are invited to dress up for a self-guided stroll through the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter (which will be marked with paw prints to help them navigate) for an adventure involving festive trivia, contests and even a “pupparazzi” photo opp. The fun includes the free Pet Holiday Market on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.—when patrons will have a chance to score discounts from Gaslamp retail stores. Masks required and social distancing enforced. Register your pet online in advance. Fifth Avenue (between Market Street and Island Avenue), downtown.

Scuba Santa at Birch Aquarium

Dec. 19. Did someone say Scuba Santa? He’s coming to town and making a splash, literally. Kudos to Birch Aquarium (temporarily closed by state mandate) for continuing to offer dynamic virtual experiences. Watch live on Facebook and YouTube as Scuba Santa and his elf dive into the aquarium’s Giant Kelp Forest to feed the fish. Viewers will spot local sea life such as leopard sharks, moray eels, and a 300-pound, endangered giant black sea bass. Birch Aquarium naturalists will be on hand to narrate the feeding and answer your questions live. 10-10:30 a.m. Free.

Jingle Terrace Park

Through Dec. 28. Take in holiday lights from the comfort of your car along this one-mile loop at Brengle Terrace Park. The drive-thru experience features themed displays designed by Mike Bradford—including several “lands” highlighting the City of Vista’s community programs. Installations include: Ahoy to the World, Steal Home for the Holidays, ‘Twas the Moonlight Before Christmas, Winter Solstice, Merry and Flight, and Santa’s Workshop. You can even download a special soundtrack to play while driving through the area. 6-10 p.m. nightly (closed Dec. 24-25). Free. 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista.

“Dine, Shop & Support #LittleItalySD”

Ongoing. It’s Small Business Saturday all season long with Little Italy Association’s new Facebook group. It’s an online hub where businesses in the ‘hood can share happenings, such as FaceTime shopping sessions, curbside pickups and online orders; plus specials, items in stock and more. Offerings span food and drink, such as desserts from Barbusa and coffee from Caffe Italia; wellness and self-care, such as skincare products from Alcheme; clothing and jewelry from shops such as Vocabulary and Be Boutique; and unique gifts from spots such as Vitreum and Meyer Fine Art gallery. Group is open to the public. More Info

Food + Drink

Studio Provisions Pop-Up

Now Open. We love baking holiday cookies … except for maybe the actual dough-creating part. Enter Studio Provisions to the rescue. The holiday pop-up shop by Melanie Stagnaro (executive pastry chef at Huntress) offers five cookie-dough rolls: chewy-chocolate-chip, frosted-sugar-cookie, ginger-molasses, white-chocolate-cranberry-pistachio, and double-chocolate-fudge. Each roll makes 12 cookies; simply bake and decorate. One third of proceeds benefit the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which helps restaurant workers struggling financially due to the pandemic. $15 per roll. More Info

Holiday Cocktails from Polite Provisions

Now Available. We were bummed that this beloved bar had to temporarily close a couple days after transforming its space into an over-the-top winter wonderland (an annual tradition). The good news is you can still order Polite Provisions’ special menu of seasonal cocktails online—available for pickup at Fortunate Son located next door. Our favorites include the Christmapolitan with vodka, absinthe, cranberry, pomegranate and lime; and the Pineapple Upside Down Eggnog with brown-butter cognac, Pedro Ximenez sherry, Madeira fortified wine, roasted pineapple, cream and egg. Cheers! 2943 Adams Ave., North Park. Order Here

Holiday Offerings at Cesarina

Now Available. The spirit of giving is alive at this quaint cucina. Cesarina is offering limited-edition holiday boxes filled with two-dozen, house-made Italian pastries—priced at $99 each, with 100% of profits benefitting its employees. Or order from the (Take) Home for the Holidays menus, with themed meals for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Picking up an order? Cesarina’s walkway and patio have been transformed into a magical walk-through tunnel of lights, icicles, poinsettias and ornaments. Sip on free hot cocoa or mulled wine while you wait. 4161 Voltaire St., Point Loma, 619.226.6222.

Arts + Culture

Abbey Road Christmas Concert

Dec. 18. There’s nothing like the music of the Beatles to evoke a little holiday nostalgia. Watch a live stream of tribute band Abbey Road; the guys will perform their Christmas with the Beatles show from the famous Belly Up stage in Solana Beach. The concert will include mash-ups of holiday classics and Beatles favorites—including “Run Run Rudolph,” “Silent Night,” “Wonderful Christmas Time” and “Happy Christmas (War is Over).” Abbey Road’s band members are known for their spot-on Liverpool dialect, cheeky onstage personae, custom-tailed costumes and vintage instruments. 7 p.m. $12.

Diversionary Theatre Holiday Show

Through Dec. 29. Bid farewell to 2020 and a huge hello to 2021 with Diversionary Theatre’s special streaming production: A Very Special Diversionary Pandemic Christmas Spectacular. The show stars the “whimsically demented” comic duo Isaac Oliver (Lonely Christmas) and Jenn Harris (Silence! The Musical), who leave no 2020 stone unturned as they make comedic fodder of the year’s topics—from the pandemic to Hallmark movies to stay-at-home stress. At some point (we’re told), crafting and caroling also will be attempted. (Spoiler alert: These activities will yield less-than-stellar results.) $25. 619.220.0097.

“Northern Lights” in Escondido

Through Jan. 3. Take a self-guided, socially distanced stroll through this artsy, alfresco haven at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. The 12-acre campus has been transformed into a festive fantasyland—complete with giant LED Christmas trees, blow-up figurines of holiday characters, tunnels of twinkling lights and more. There’s even a special display curated by a local Escondido family (featured on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight) with lights that move to music. Open daily 4:30-9 p.m. Free (donations welcome). 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, 760.839.4138.

Photo credits: All images are courtesy of the businesses and venues featured.

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