San Diego

Weekend roundup

December 21-24


City Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Dec. 21-23. It’s not the holiday season without Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet: The Nutcracker—with gorgeous music and stunning classic choreography of Clara’s magical trip through the kingdom of sweets. City Ballet of San Diego, a Tommy Award recipient for “Best Nutcracker” in town, brings Elizabeth Wistrich’s choreography—accompanied by the City Ballet Orchestra and conducted by John Nettles—to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido for five performances across three days. Th 7:30 p.m.; F-Sa 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. See website for ticket pricing. 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.

Jingle Belle Cruise on Mission Bay

Dec. 21-25. Jingle your way around Mission Bay with this festive, family-friendly cruise aboard the Bahia Belle—a turn-of-the-century, Mississippi-style boat. The one-hour sightseeing adventure includes live entertainment such as strolling carolers; plus holiday music, a visit from Santa Claus, holiday cookies, hot cocoa, a cash bar for the adults, other food items available for purchase, and scenic bay views. Cruises depart from Bahia Resort Hotel and Catamaran Resort Hotel. See website for departure times. $45 per person. 998 W. Mission Bay Drive; 3999 Mission Blvd., Mission Bay.

Coronado Cays Gondola Tours

Ongoing. If you squint and use your imagination, the Coronado Cays can transform into the canals of Venice (sort of) with this romantic experience. Book a cruise for up to six passengers via The Gondola Company aboard a Venetian-style gondola for a 50-minute tour through the Silver Strand’s luxury marina community. Packages comprise daytime tours, sunset cruises and upgrades that include wine, chocolate truffles, and a live mandolin player or violinist to serenade your party. See website for operating hours and reservations. 503 Grand Caribe Causeway, Suite C, Coronado, 619.429.6317.

Whale Watching Kayak Tours

Ongoing. It’s officially whale-watching season! Imagine the awe of spotting a 45-ton gray whale while aboard a kayak in the calm waters of La Jolla Shores. Everyday California is offering guided, two-hour kayak tours during which the chances are good. (The whales migrate every winter from Alaska to the warm lagoon waters of Mexico, passing by California along the way.) The ocean adventure company limits tours to 20 people max; and also offers stand-up paddleboard rentals and surfing lessons. See website for reservations and pricing. 2261 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla Shores, 858.454.6195.

Food + Drink

Christmas Eve Dining at Bleu Bohème

Dec. 24. Celebrate the night before Noël with a special three-course dinner at this beloved bistro. Choices include caramelized Spanish onion soup and crab croquettes to start; duck confit, Faroe Island salmon and steak frites as entrees; and crème brûlée and warm gingerbread with caramel ice cream for dessert. Add-ons such as the limited-edition Canneberge cocktail—a cranberry gimlet served up with French gin, cranberry juice, lime, simple syrup and bitters—are also available. Call or see website for reservations. 4-8 p.m. $80 per person. 4090 Adams Ave., Kensington, 619.255.4167.

Holiday Dining at Hotel del Coronado

Dec. 24-25. The resort is decked out for the holidays and offering lavish buffets in its Southpointe Ballroom on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Christmas Eve buffet includes a butcher block offering lamb shoulder, maple-glazed ham, herb-crusted salmon and prime rib; a seafood display; cheese and charcuterie; a vegan curry station; and festive desserts. Christmas Day brunch includes omelets, holiday tamales, and a Mexican hot chocolate station with warm churros for dunking. See websites for reservations. $185-$195 adults; $100 kids. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 619.435.6611. Christmas Eve | Christmas Day

Christmas Day Dining at Rancho Valencia

Upcoming | Dec. 25. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is pulling out all the stops for its Christmas Day buffet at the Pony Room. Offerings include a carving station with prime rib and honey-baked ham; sushi and seafood stations; entrees and house-made pastas; desserts including layered cakes, banana-cream pie, brioche-bread pudding and an ice cream bar; and a kids buffet. Guests can also enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, cookie decorating, live music and more. Call for reservations. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. $195 adults; $55 ages kids 4-11. 5921 Valencia Circle. Rancho Santa Fe, 858.759.6246.

Pitfire Pizza

Now Open. Offering fire-singed, California-style pizzas, lagoon views, a full bar and cheery contemporary decor, Pitfire Pizza has opened in Carlsbad. With locations in L.A. and Orange County, the pizza parlor is known for its artisanal pies with seasonal ingredients and slow-rise, fermented sourdough crust; along with chef-driven salads, pastas and small plates like roasted chicken meatballs. Try the Honey Bear pizza with ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, sausage, honey, Calabrian chile and bee pollen. See website for hours. 7720 El Camino Real, Suite A, Carlsbad, 760.203.6642.

Arts + Culture

San Diego Musical Theatre’s Plaid Tidings

Through Dec. 24. Catch it before it closes! Plaid Tidings—the holiday spinoff of the 1950s homage jukebox musical Forever Plaid—returns, presented by San Diego Musical Theatre. The legendary Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky 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 Christmas songs that have all been “Plaid-erized.” See website for showtimes and tickets. 4650 Mercury St., Kearny Mesa, 858.560.5740.

The Old Globe’s Ebenezer Scrooge Show 

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

Photo credits: Pitfire Pizza by Kimberly Motos. The Old Globe by Rich Soublet II. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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