San Diego

Weekend roundup

December 8-11


“Snow N Glow” Holiday Festival

Dec. 8-Jan. 1. The Del Mar Fairgrounds gets our vote for the area’s grandest winter wonderland this year. Churning out freshly made snow daily (Thursday through Sunday) by using more than 50 tons of ice, the festival comprises snow-tubing down a 20-foot snow slide; strolling through 1 million twinkling holiday lights; visits with Santa; and private igloo rentals where guests can roast marshmallows, build snowmen (with snow delivered directly to your igloo), and sip hot cocoa fireside. Open select dates 4-9 p.m. See website for details and ticket pricing. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. More Info

San Diego Zoo’s “Jungle Bells Aurora”

Dec. 9-Jan 1. Take a walk on the wild side at San Diego Zoo, which is aglow with decorations, music and live performers, including the return of “Aurora”—a magical experience filled with lights and 3D projections. Entertainment also includes the Jingle Brass musical ensemble; the Toy Shop Hop acrobatic elves; “Celebration of Lights” at the Front Street Toog Tree; The Tinseltones a cappella group (with “snow” falling during the last five minutes of each performance); photos ops at Santa’s Factory; and more. See website for hours and admission info. 2920 Zoo Drive, Balboa Park.

Mission Bay Parade of Lights

Dec. 10. Literally boatloads of fun, this family-friendly parade along Mission Bay is back and bigger than ever. Pick your spot among a handful of designated spectator-viewing areas—including Catamaran Resort & Spa, The Bahia Resort and Paradise Point Resort & Spa—and watch as dozens of illuminated, decorated vessels cruise by. The fun includes holiday music, bonfire seating, food and beverage offerings, a visit from Santa, giveaways and a SeaWorld fireworks show. And be sure to cast your vote for the best-decorated “People’s Choice” boat. 5:30 p.m. See website for full parade route. More Info

Holiday on Adams Avenue

Dec. 11. Who says it never snows in central San Diego? Make Sunday a snow day with the return of this annual all-ages celebration at Kensington Park. The park’s main field will be converted into a festive winter wonderland of actual snow for the afternoon. In between snowman-building and snowball fights, guests can enjoy complimentary peppermint ice cream from Moosie’s Ice Cream and hot cocoa from Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant. And be on the lookout for Old Saint Nick. Noon-3 p.m. (or until the snow melts). Free entry. 4121 Adams Ave., Kensington. More Info

North Park Winter Wonderland Festival

Dec. 11. Go walkin’ in an urban winter wonderland at North Park’s inaugural holiday festival, taking place in the heart of the ‘hood. Guests can purchase holiday gifts from local vendors and shops; sip hot cocoa and local craft beers; sample bites by local restaurants and food trucks; go ice skating; enjoy a laser light show and live music; strike a pose in the photo booth; and more. All ages welcome. See website for more details. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Free entry. North Park Mini Park (behind Observatory Theatre), 3812 29th St., North Park.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dec. 11 & 18. See San Diego Bay twinkle with around 80 private boats decked out with holiday lights for a festive night on the water. Now in its 52nd year, the parade begins at Shelter Island; continues to Harbor Island; then skirts along the embarcadero, Seaport Village and The Pier at Cesar Chavez Park; and then finishes at Ferry Landing on Coronado. And the theme this year? “FantaSEA on the Bay.” See website for procession schedule; as well as a list of sponsors and businesses offering prime bayfront viewing. 5:30 p.m. Free.

Holiday Market at Petco Park

Through Dec. 23. Petco Park’s Gallagher Square becomes an over-the-top holiday haven brimming with festive lighting displays, decorations, holiday characters, European-inspired artisanal shops, vendors offering seasonal treats and drinks, visits with Santa, an old-fashioned carousel, live music and entertainment, and a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree. Shop for one-of a kind ornaments, decorations and gifts; watch performers dance live inside large glass spheres; and let the kids write and send letters to Santa via an official North Pole mailbox. See website for hours and tickets. 840 K St., East Village. More Info

Food + Drink

Holiday Tea at The Westgate Hotel

Select Dates. It’s high time for teatime at the elegant Westgate Hotel, which is offering two fun holiday tea experiences. The kiddos will love “Santa’s Story Time Tea” at Le Fontainebleu & Petit Salon—featuring storytelling by Santa, hot chocolate, sandwiches, desserts, holiday music and a keepsake teddy bear for each child. Geared toward adults, “Winter Wonderland Tea” in the Grand Lobby includes premium teas, a glass of Champagne, tea sandwiches, pastries and music by a live harpist. See website for dates offered and reservations. 1055 Second Ave., downtown, 619.238.1818.

Arts + Culture

Bach Collegium Holiday Performances

Dec. 9-10. Joining forces with Los Angeles choral group Tesserae Baroque, Bach Collegium San Diego presents “Michael Praetorius: Christmas Mass,” performing music by 17th-century German composer, organist and music theorist Michael Praetorius. The program includes selections taken from Praetorius’ Musae Sioniae V (1607) and Polyhymnia caduceatrix (1619); with Ruben Valenzuela conducting. Performances are on Dec. 9 at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Cardiff; and Dec. 10 at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Point Loma. 7:30 p.m. See website for tickets.

“Noel Noel” at The Shell

Dec. 9-11. 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 p.m.; Su 5 p.m. See website for ticket pricing. 222 Marina Park Way, downtown embarcadero, 619.235.0804.

Photo credits: Bach Collegium San Diego and The Shell by Gary Payne. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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