San Diego

Weekend roundup

December 22-25


Jingle Belle Cruise on Mission Bay

Dec. 23-25. 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. $35 hotel guests; $45 general admission. 998 W. Mission Bay Drive; 3999 Mission Blvd., Mission Bay.

Coronado Cays Gondola Tours

Ongoing. If you use your imagination, the Coronado Cays can transform into the canals of Venice (sort of) with this romantic experience. Book a cruise for two (or 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 professional live mandolin player or violinist to serenade your party. W-Su (see website for required 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 Weekend Dining at Juniper & Ivy

Dec. 23-24. Executive chef Anthony Wells has dreamt up a four-course holiday menu offered on Friday and Saturday. Take your pick of oysters, venison tartare or baby beets to start; a second course of egg-yolk ravioli, roasted-garlic-and-potato soup or scallops; mains like the fillet, black cod or maitake mushrooms; and coconut sorbet with macadamia-nut streusel, chocolate cake with peanut-miso custard, or vanilla-bean pavlova with orange curd and snickerdoodle to finish. See website for reservations. $110 per person. 2228 Kettner Blvd. Little Italy, 619.269.9036.

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 with artisanal French gin, cranberry juice, lime and cranberry bitters—are also available. Call or see website for reservations. 4-8 p.m. $75 per person. 4090 Adams Ave., Kensington, 619.255.4167.

Christmas Eve Dining at Herb & Sea

Dec. 24. Leave the Christmas Eve cooking to Herb & Sea’s talented chefs, who have created a four-course, family-style menu using locally sourced proteins and produce. Highlights include steelhead crudo with grapefruit, capers and saffron vinegar; butter-bean soup with candied pancetta and kale; pistachio-crusted lamb with pomegranate couscous; the Broiled Seafood Royale with scallops, shrimp and crab; New York steak and mashed potatoes; Parker House rolls (pictured); and citrus cheesecake for dessert. See website for reservations. 3-8 p.m. $87 adults; $38 kids. 131 D St., Encinitas, 760.704.8300.

Holiday Dining at Hotel del Coronado

Dec. 24-25. The resort is decked out for the holidays and offering a lavish buffet in its iconic Crown Room on Christmas Eve (noon-6 p.m.) and Christmas Day (9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.). The buffet includes a butcher block offering leg of lamb, glazed ham, herb-crusted salmon and pork loin; a seafood display; cheese and charcuterie; a risotto station; and myriad festive desserts. And be sure to take in the property’s “Frosted by the Sea” theme, including the two-story Christmas tree in the lobby. Reservations recommended. $195 adults; $100 kids. 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, 619.435.6611. Christmas Eve | Christmas Day

Christmas Day Dining at JRDN

Dec. 25. Celebrate Christmas Day by the beach! Oceanfront hotel Tower23 is offering a special three-course holiday meal at JRDN restaurant. The menu features butternut-squash lobster bisque, roasted pork belly (pictured), prime rib, smoked scallops, hash-brown gratin; with raspberry-lime semifreddo and a holiday cookie plate for dessert; and festive libations like the eggnog martini with bourbon and dark rum, and the pomegranate mojito with spiced rum. Reservations recommended. 2-8 p.m. $45-$68 per person. 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, 858.270.5736.

Christmas Day Brunch at Rancho Valencia

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 like sea bass, lamb osso bucco and house-made rigatoni; 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 and more. Call for reservations. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $195 adults; $55 kids ages 4-11. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.759.6246.

Arts + Culture

Broadway Musical Annie

Upcoming | Dec. 27-Jan. 1. “The sun will come out tomorrow!” The national tour of Broadway musical Annie stops at San Diego Civic Theatre to wrap up the holiday season. Written by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin and directed by Jenn Thompson, the musical centers on little orphan Annie—whose life goes from rags to riches when she meets (and steals the heart of) billionaire Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks. The family-friendly production is recommended for ages 6 and older. See website for showtimes and tickets. 1100 Third Ave., downtown.

Photo credits: Juniper & Ivy and Herb & Sea by James Tran. Annie by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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