Robert Arends

Holiday Cheer and Lights on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights
San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights

From boats decorated with lights to a Big Balloon Parade, there plenty of Holiday Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay. Photo courtesy of Cook & Schmidt

For those of you making holiday plans to visit San Diego, following are a few fun and festive ways to make some merry on San Diego’s sparkling Big Bay.

43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

What’s better than a cool holiday boat parade? Two holiday boat parades! Yep, the 43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights takes place on two Sundays next month. More than 80 boats lavishly decorated from bow to keel with colorful twinkling lights and decorations will glide the waters of San Diego Bay.

It’s quite a spectacle and best part, it’s free! This year’s theme is “Children’s Stories” which is sure to be a hit with the kids. Check out the route map here. The procession starts at 5:30 PM, but head to the Bay early for prime viewing spots including the Embarcadero and Embarcadero Park (North & South), Seaport Village, Coronado Ferry Landing, Harbor Island and Shelter Island.

When: December 14 & 21, 2014
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Giant inflatable characters at Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Check out the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade, “America’s Largest Balloon Parade” floating down Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero. And who knows, you might be on TV! The parade is televised nationally and on local Channel 4. You’ll see world-class marching bands, colorful floats, drill teams and of course, a procession of enormous balloons of familiar cartoon and pop culture characters. Over 100,000 spectators are expected!

The parade is part of our big annual National University Holiday Bowl festivities when the eyes of the nation are on San Diego for exciting gridiron action between two Pac-10 and Big 12 Conference teams.

Where: San Diego Embarcadero – W Cedar Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 26, 2014
Time: Parade starts at 3:00 PM
Cost: Free. Grandstand Seats – $20
> Find out more about the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

Whale Watching

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

December is the launch of San Diego’s exciting whale watching season, when hundreds of majestic California gray whales are spotted of the coast making their annual migration from the Arctic to the warm lagoons of Baja California. These “peaceful giants of the sea” can be seen swimming our local waters through April. Hop aboard the HornblowerFlagship Cruises or one of the many other whale watching cruises departing daily from the Embarcadero on San Diego. The whales can also be seen from high atop Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma – bring your binoculars, though! 🙂

> Find out more about Whale Watching in San Diego

> Discover More Holiday Happenings in San Diego

Make some waves on San Diego Bay this holiday season!

Brian

Football Paradise: 2013 College Football Bowl Games in San Diego

College football bowl seasons is one of America’s great holiday traditions. San Diego hosts to two games each December: ‘America’s Most Exciting Bowl Game’, the National University Holiday Bowl, and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl both call QUALCOMM Stadium home.

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

This year, the games are separated by just 4 days. The Poinsettia Bowl will be played at 6:30 on Dec. 26, and the Holiday Bowl kicks off at 7:15 on Dec. 30. That means a college football junkie could have an ultimate getaway in San Diego.

The burning question now is which teams will be invited to enjoy the legendary hospitality rolled out by the San Diego Bowl Game Association, and televised nationally on ESPN. Here’s a preview.

UCLA vs Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl

UCLA vs Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

This is the most uncertain of all potential matchups. The Poinsettia Bowl will feature teams from the Mountain West Conference, and the Mid-American Conference. The Mountain West’s most likely teams are Utah State, San Diego State, or Boise State.

The big question mark is with the MAC, where Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio, Buffalo, Ball State, or Bowling Green are all possibilities. If Northern Illinois can win their final two games, they’ll be unbeaten and headed to the BCS. Should the Huskies happen to trip and suffer their first loss, the Poinsettia Bowl would love to welcome them.

National University Holiday Bowl

The Holiday Bowl is in the final year of a contract welcoming Big 12 squads against a Pac-12 foe. Starting in 2014, the Pac-12 will square off against a Big 10 opponent. For the 2013 game, the Big 12’s most likely teams are Texas, Texas Tech, or Kansas State. The Pac-12 would likely be represented by USC, Arizona State, or Stanford.

The Baylor Bears won in '12, who will hold the Holiday Bowl trophy in '13?

The Baylor Bears won in ’12, who will hold the Holiday Bowl trophy in ’13?

Regardless of who is selected, San Diego promises a first-rate pair of games as well as the best series of events anywhere in the bowl landscape.

The streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with “America’s Largest Balloon Parade.” The Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade features marching bands, floats, entertaining drill teams and more giant character balloons than any parade in the country. That’s right, even more than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

More than 100,000 streetside spectators will line the one-mile bayfront parade route and join a national television audience.

After you open your gifts, load up the football fans, and make your way to San Diego for Bowl Season!

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego: December 26-30, 2012

Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Spend the last few days of December and 2012 enjoying these great things to do in San Diego!

If you still are looking for things to do this New Year’s Eve, here are a few guides for you:

1. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Catch the excitement at the Holiday Bowl

In the first appearance for both teams, The UCLA Bruins from the Pac-12 conference and the Baylor Bears from Big 12 conference will square off in the 35th annual Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.

Location: Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108 (map)
Date: December 27, 2012
Kick-Off: 6:45 PM
Cost: $74-$268
> Purchase Your Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Tickets Now

2. Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Marvel at America’s largest balloon parade along the Embarcadero

Enormous and colorful balloons will fill the waterfront during the Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade. Stop by before the parade for the 16th Annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals and stay afterward for the Family Festival at the Broadway Pier Pavilion.

Date: December 27, 2012
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

3. Shen Yun

Shen Yun - Things to Do

See Shen Yun at the San Diego Civis Theatre.

Shen Yun takes the audience on a magical journey through ancient dynasties and diversified ethnic religions immersing them in sublime beauty and grace, and experience the glory of an ancient civilization with music provided by a live orchestra.

Location: San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: December 26-27, 2012
Cost: $60-$200
> Find out more about Shen Yun

4. San Diego International Auto Show

San Diego International Auto Show - Things to Do

See the cars today and tomorrow at the San Diego International Auto Show

The 2012 San Diego International Auto Show features the widest variety of new vehicles under one roof with new car and truck models from over 30 manufacturers are featured, as well as the cars and trucks of tomorrow with concept vehicles from a number of manufacturers.

Location: 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: December 27-30, 2012
Time: 
– Thursday-Saturday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
– Sunday: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Cost: $8-$12
> Find out more about the San Diego International Auto Show

5. Cavalia

Banner Man - Cavalia

Cavalia is exciting, breathtaking and funny.

Don’t miss out on the wonderful story of humans and horses told through the acrobatics and music of Cavalia. Due to popular demand, the producers have extended the run to now go through January!

Location: 1020 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: Through December 30, 2012
Cost: $39.50 – $229.50
> Find out more about Cavalia

> Browse more great things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of any other great events going on in San Diego this weekend? Let us and others know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Get Ready for the Poinsettia and Holiday Bowl Games in San Diego

Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

During the month of December, San Diego hosts not one but two bowl games at Qualcomm Stadium. While the bowl games will play out on the Jack Murphy Field, there will be plenty of family friendly and free events leading up to each game.

San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Trophy - San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Who will be this year’s Poinsettia Bowl champions?

Since 2005, the Poinsettia Bowl has pitted a Mountain West Conference team against various opponents including Army, Navy and teams from the Pac-10 Conference. This year, the hometown San Diego State University (SDSU) Aztecs will take on the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars at Qualcomm Stadium.

Five Star Tours Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

Battle of the Bands - Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

Two bands march down 5th, only one will leave champion of the Gaslamp March

Two days before kick off (December 18, 2012) at 6:00 PM, head down to the Gaslamp Quarter for the Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March. Marching bands and spirit squads from SDSU and BYU will march down 5th Avenue from opposite ends playing holiday classics. When both squads meet up at market, the showdown begins with a Battle of the Bands. After the battle is over, the bands will continue their marches down 5th.

Location: Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108 (map)
Date: December 20, 2012
Kick-Off: 5:00 PM
Cost: $68-$150
> Purchase Your San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Tickets Now

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Catch the excitement at the Holiday Bowl

For 34 years, the Holiday Bowl has brought top ranking teams from conferences including the PAC-10 and Big 12 conferences to San Diego. This year the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins will play against the Baylor University Bears for the coveted Holiday Bowl trophy.

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Marvel at America’s largest balloon parade along the Embarcadero

Before heading to the Holiday Bowl in the afternoon, spend the morning along the Embarcadero for America’s largest balloon parade starting at 10:00 AM. In addition to the parade, the festivities include the 16th annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals17th Annual Bumble Bee Foods 5K Run/Walk and a free Family Festival.

Location: Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108 (map)
Date: December 27, 2012
Kick-Off: 6:45 PM
Cost: $74-$268
> Purchase Your Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Tickets Now

Grab a Bite Before the Bowl Games

Looking to fuel up with some delicious food before heading to one of the bowl games? Here are a few good options close to Qualcomm Stadium you should check out.

Getting to the Bowl Games

Parking

If you plan on driving to Qualcomm Stadium, give yourself plenty of time to snag a parking spot. Cars are $20 and RVs are $60. VIP parking for $60 is limited, so call 619.283.5808 to purchase. There will also be overflow parking options.

> Find out more Parking at the Poinsettia Bowl and the Holiday Bowl

Public Transportation

This is your best option for getting to Qualcomm Stadium without having to worry about parking. Just pick up a special day pass at a trolley station and take the Green Line to the stadium. There will be a special events trolley that runs from Downtown to the stadium. If you are coming from North County, take the Coaster to the Old Town Trolley Station and hop on the Green Line from there. Get times and trolley station locations at www.sdmts.com.

> Find more outdoor holiday fun in San Diego