Robert Arends

Jolly Good Times in La Jolla this Holiday Season!

La Jolla for the holidays! Festive entrance to The Lodge at Torrey Pines

La Jolla for the holidays! Festive entrance to The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Happy Holidays from La Jolla, one of San Diego’s most magical winter getaways. Sparkling beaches, warm sun shiny days and a welcoming Village vibe await holiday visitors to this enticing seaside enclave.

Christmas Celebration

Make some merry memories at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

Make some merry memories at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

Festivities kick off this Sunday during the popular annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival. This year’s theme is “Spirit of Christmas – Peace on Earth.” Parade begins at 1:30 PM along Girard Ave. and Prospect Street. There will be marching bands, vintage cars, equestrians and floats. Arrive early for prime viewing spots.

Afterward, head to the La Jolla Recreation Center (615 Prospect Street) for a fun festival featuring local businesses like Birch Aquarium and Surf Diva, photos with Santa Claus, a live entertainment stage and Christmas tree lighting at 5:00 PM.

Did you know: One of the parade sponsors is Audrey Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Fund. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was one of La Jolla’s most famous residents!

> Dr. Seuss on the Loose in La Jolla

Where: Girard Avenue & Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
When
: December 7, 2014
Time: 1:30 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival

Curtain Call

“Fa la la la la!” at the La Jolla Theatre Ensemble’s briskly-moving adaptation of the holiday classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Where: La Jolla Community Center – 6811 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037
When
: December 13 and 15, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: $10 suggested donation
> Find out more about Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Shop Till You Drop

La Valencia Hotel's 14 ft. Christmas Tree in La Sala Lounge

La Valencia Hotel’s 14 ft. Christmas Tree in La Sala Lounge

Shop for everyone on your holiday list – and yourself! – at the shops in La Jolla Village, particularly along Prospect St. and Girard Ave. The La Jolla Festival of Lights is sure to bring a twinkle to your eye as storefronts and hotels glow with colorful lights, Christmas trees, menorahs and other eye-catching holiday décor.

This Friday, the Allied Artists Association of San Diego (aaaSD) presents an Art Reception and Holiday Shopping Bazaar at the La Jolla Community Center; a great chance to meet and mingle with local artists and shop for one-of-kind handmade holiday gifts including crafts, glass creations and paintings.

When: December 5, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Cost:  Free
> Find out more about the aaaSD Art Reception and Holiday Shopping Bazaar

La Jolla Hotel Holiday Deals

Chef's yummy holiday cookies at La Valencia Hotel!

Chef’s yummy holiday cookies at La Valencia Hotel!

Some wrapped and ready packages to make your La Jolla visit merrier include:

See you in La Jolla for the holidays! 🙂

Dave

Small Events with Big Charm: Holiday Activities for Kids

Garden of Lights San Diego Botanic Garden

San Diego’s big attractions go all-out for the holidays, but not all families that want to the hustle and bustle of large events. Families looking for a more intimate holiday experience can enjoy some equally charming activities happening all around town.

Garden of Lights at San Diego Botanic Garden

Garden of Lights San Diego Botanic Garden

Lights, flowers and s’mores – what more could you ask for? (photo by by John Bryant)

Garden of Lights transforms the San Diego Botanic Garden into a dazzling winter wonderland filled with more than 100,000 sparkling lights illuminating the garden for a magical holiday experience that includes snow sledding (bring your own!), live music that includes mariachis and traditional Christmas carolers and get this – even a team of blonde Belgian draft horses ready to take your tykes on a wild wagon ride they won’t soon forget.

The event is a shutterbug’s dream, with Santa Claus posing for pics with young and old in a brightly lit gazebo and a vibrant, festively decorated “Poinsettia Garden” that will certainly make your snapshots sparkle. The social set will appreciate the warm and cozy campfire setup that provides s’mores and marshmallow roasting opportunities; supplies will be available for purchase, including cocoa, hot mulled wine and standard coffee drinks.

There will also be a variety of special holiday crafts that children can take home, a nutcracker exhibit displaying a collection of more 50 nutcrackers and a unique display of gourd figures featuring characters from the original Alice in Wonderland book.

Where:  230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas CA 92024
When:  December 7 – 23, 2013 and December 26 – 30, 2013
Time:  5 – 9 p.m.
Cost:  Adult $14; Child (3-12) $6; Seniors, Military & Students $10; Kids under 3 free
>Find out more about the Garden of Lights

Frosty Farm at Helen Woodward Animal Center

Frosty Farm at Helen Woodward Animal Center San Diego

It doesn’t get much cuter than the Frosty Farm (photo courtesy Helen Woodward Animal Center)

There’s nothing cuter than miniature horses dressed as reindeer, and kids who love animals will agree as they revel in Frosty Farm’s festive four-legged frenzy that takes place at the Helen Woodward Animal Center. The event features hands-on interaction with sheep, bunnies, guinea pigs and reptiles. In addition, kids can frolic in falling snow, navigate a Magical Ice Palace Maze, build a gingerbread house and receive a special gift from Santa.

Where:  Helen Woodward Animal Center 6461 El Apajo Road, Rancho Santa Fe CA 92067
When:  December 7-8 & December 14-15
Time:  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Cost:  $20 Child; $9 Adult (registration required at animalcenter.org/education)
>Find out more about the Frosty Farm

Christmas in the Park at Old Poway Park

Christmas in the Park at Old Poway Park San Diego

Santa welcomes guests to Old Poway Park.

Families looking for a holiday festival that captures that small town charm will want to head to Old Poway Park in the City of Poway. The festival embraces the historic park’s turn-of-the-century heritage with a community Christmas tree lighting, horse drawn hayrides, a live petting zoo, square dancing, children’s theater and piano player sing-a-longs that the whole family will enjoy.

Even Santa and Mrs. Claus add to the nostalgia of these old-fashion traditions when they make a surprise visit rolling into the festival riding on a 1907 Baldwin steam locomotive. Families will also be able to ride the antique train during the festival.

Where:  Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Rd, Poway CA 92064
When:  December 14, 2013
Time:  3:30pm – 8:30pm
Cost:  Free
>Find out more about Christmas in the Park

Do you know of any fun holiday activities for kids happening around town? Share it with us in the comments below.

Aki

Attraction Action: San Diego Snow Days!

The two years I spent in Toronto affirmed my desire to live in a warm climate. True, Toronto is a lovely city, but the winters were long and brutal. I remember being snowed in, literally, where 2/3 of our house got buried and we couldn’t get out! On a few occasions, I had to cross-country ski to school. Winters spent in New York didn’t help my loathing for snowy winters either. Walking on slippery slush mixed with salt and dirt, the cumbersome layers of clothing, numbed fingers and icy toes made for hassle and discomfort during the cold months, which is why I love the year-round temperate climate of Southern California.

Having lived in San Diego for a decade now, however, I do miss the snow. My daughter has yet to experience the exhilaration of a sleigh ride, the joy of making a snow man or the thrill of a good snowball fight. Luckily, there are two San Diego attractions that answered my yearning for wintery goodness. Both Legoland and SeaWorld accomplished what nature could not: to let it snow in San Diego! Looks like we can have our snow balls, and eat them too.

Holiday Snow Days at LEGOLAND

The weather forecasts unprecedented snowfall in Carlsbad everyday, now through January 2 during LEGOLAND’s Holiday Snow Days. Visit the festive winter wonderland in Holiday Fun Town with plenty of LEGO accessories to adorn your snowman, or aim your snowball at a LEGO target. At the center of Holiday Fun Town is the 30 foot giant LEGO Christmas tree made of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks.

If you’re looking for unique photo-ops with Santa, be sure to watch for the new life-sized LEGO Minifigure Santa as he strolls throughout Holiday Fun Town with his helpers. Or pose with the life-sized LEGO Santa, perched on his sleigh and two reindeer, of course, all made entirely out of LEGO bricks. And be sure to visit SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium to see the underwater LEGO Christmas tree ‘planted’ at the bottom of the impressive 200,000 gallon ocean display, the Lost City of Atlantis. Other SEA LIFE holiday features include a Daily Dive Shows and crafting events.

SnowWorld at SeaWorld

SeaWorld San Diego celebrates the season with a number of Holiday themed shows and attractions. Located in Arctic Plaza, SnowWorld comprises 6,500 square feet of fresh snow made each day, where kids and families can enjoy all the delights of snowy fun. From snow angels, snow balls to snowmen, there’s plenty of frost and flakes to go around, but be sure to get there before the exhibit closes on January 1. While you’re there, don’t miss all the new shows including Shamu’s Christmas, the Christmas Tails pet show, Clyde and Seamore’s Night Before Christmas and the Polar Express 4-D experience.

Yearning for snow in San Diego too? We’re giving away two (2) sets of four (4) SEALIFE HOPPER PASSES good for entry into LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE, good for use through 12/31/2012. Leave a comment on this blog post by noon P.S.T. on Friday December 9, 2011 for a chance to win!

Robert Arends

‘Tis the season: Holiday Festivities in East County!

SoCal's largest ice skating rink at Viejas Outlet Center

San Diego’s bucolic East County always beckons me this time of year. I don’t know if it’s the crispness in the air, change of color in the leaves or subtle scent of pine trees as you drive out into the backcountry that’s so enticing, but it’s absolutely wonderful and welcoming! It’s where locals and visitors alike go to experience winter in San Diego. And yes, we even get snow on occasion in the higher elevations. Our historic mountain town of Julian is particularly nice – like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life when the first snow falls.

With Thanksgiving and the official launch of the holiday season just around the corner, following are some fun and festive activities for folks to enjoy in East County:

El Cajon's Mother Goose Parade!

  • Make some merry at the 65th Annual Mother Goose Parade on Nov. 20. This very popular, local holiday tradition is the largest parade in San Diego County and largest of its type west of the Mississippi, attracting thousands of spectators to the streets of El Cajon. The free fete features marching bands, colorful floats, equestrians and this year’s Grand Marshal, Taylor Guitars.

    Carriage ride through Julian.

  • There’s nothing more charming than a good ol’ fashioned Christmas celebration. Jingle up to Julian on Nov. 26 for the Julian Country Christmas & Tree Lighting, featuring strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriages, the scent of freshly-baked apple pies (yum!) and Santa Claus’ arrival aboard a bright red fire engine for the tree lighting.
  • The delightful downtown of La Mesa is transformed into a Victorian wonderland on Dec. 9 & 10 during their family-friendly Christmas in the Village, featuring horse-drawn carriages, strolling minstrels, carolers, an outdoor market with gift ideas galore and jolly ol’ Saint Nick.

    Ice skating at Viejas Outlet Center

  • The quaint town of Alpine joins in the festivities on Dec. 9 with its 16th Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival, complete with a snow hill for sledding! Just down the road, Viejas Outlet Center (awesome holiday shopping deals!) is home to the largest outdoor ice-skating rink in Southern California – open now through New Year’s.

    Santa on the North Pole Limited train in Campo.

  • All aboard… the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum’s 8th Annual North Pole Limited! This popular Christmas vintage train ride through the backcountry to the “North Pole” takes place on Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17.The one-hour adventure begins at the Campo Depot and features an on-board reading of a famous Christmas train story (hint: see photo above 😉 ), hot cocoa, holiday cookies and an appearance by Santa Claus and his elves. Reservations are required; sure to sell out! 

    Wintertime in Julian.

     Happy Holidays from East County!