Robert Arends

Merry Mission Bay for the Holidays!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

The holidays are just around the corner and there’s no better place to be than San Diego’s sparkling Mission Bay where distinctly California festivities await!

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Parade of Lights

Mission Bay lights up December 13 during the Parade of Lights

Everybody loves a holiday parade. But in San Diego, they don’t just happen in the streets. A unique maritime way to make some merry this holiday season is the popular Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on December 13, featuring dozens of boats festooned with holiday lights and décor sailing around Mission Bay.

All are welcome to this free aquatic pageant which attracts tens of thousands of spectators to the shoreline.

The boat parade begins at 7:00 PM from the Quivira Basin. The best viewing spots are from Crown Point, Santa Clara Point Park (by Sail Bay), the east side of Vacation Island and west side of Fiesta Island. Check out this map of Mission Bay to scope out the area beforehand.

When: December 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

Twinkling Holiday Skytower at SeaWorld

Twinkling Holiday Skytower at SeaWorld

Also on Mission Bay, SeaWorld San Diego makes a big splash with its annual Christmas Celebration, beginning this Saturday. Festivities include Christmas-themed animal shows, holiday décor throughout the park, Santa’s Cottage for the kids, the 320-ft. Skytower Christmas Tree of Lights and SnowWorld, a winter wonderland with hills of snow for kids to sled down and practice making snowballs. Yep, it snows in San Diego! (we just have to make it 😉

SnoWorld at SeaWorld!

SnowWorld at SeaWorld San Diego!

When: November 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Cost: Included with Admission
> Find out more about SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration

Mission Bay Hotel Holiday Deals

After a jolly day on the bay, rest your head at one of these top 5 tropical waterfront resorts that dot the shoreline:

See you this holiday season in Mission Bay! 🙂

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do in San Diego: November 29 – December 2, 2012

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

The holiday season is officially upon us! If you are avoiding the stores (or even better…done with your shopping), get out and enjoy one of these San Diego events and things to do this weekend.

1. NCAA® 2012 Women’s College Cup

NCAA 2012 Women's College Cup

Catch the excitement of the NCAA 2012 Women’s College Cup for its first visit to San Diego

For the first time ever, the University of San Diego will be hosting the NCAA College Cup, the women’s Division I soccer national championship on November 30 & December 2, 2012 at Torero Stadium. Penn State, Florida State, North Carolina and Stanford will make their way to San Diego to play for the national championship.

Location: Torero Stadium, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110 (map)
Dates: November 20 and December 2, 2012
Cost: $40 for all three games. Parking is free
> Find out more about the NCAA 2012 Women’s College Cup

2. LEGO Train City Exhibit

LEGO Train City Exhibit - San Diego Model Railroad Museum

All aboard the train to LEGO City at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum

If you have kids of a certain age, visiting this exhibit at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is a must. The exhibit features LEGO trains, trestles, transportation, skyscrapers, canyons, mountains, an ocean boardwalk and town buildings. Little ones can also enjoy playful learning in a LEGO Brick City zone filled with interactive, creative and educational activities.

Location: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: November 20, 2012 – January 18, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (Closed on Mondays)
Cost: Included with admission. Adults – $8, Seniors – $6, Children 14 and under – Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s LEGO Train City Exhibit

3. Holiday Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObT5PiEu2Fk]

Enjoy the largest animated drive-through light show on the U.S. West Coast with more than 400 brilliant holiday light displays. Themed for the holiday season, the Holiday of Lights is a spectacular drive-through light show with crowd-pleasing, family oriented displays organized into themes, which include: Candy Cane Lane, Toyland, San Diego County Fair, Treasures by the Lake, Del Mar Racetrack, the Twelve Days of Christmas and Elves at Play.

> Find more Christmas light displays in San Diego

Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014 (map)
Dates: November 22, 2012 – January 1, 2013
Times: Sunday-Thursday: 5:30 to 10:00 PM. Friday-Saturday: 5:30 to 10:30 PM
Cost: $15 per car, up to 5 people. $20 per vehicle, 6 or more people. $50 per bus. $10 per person for the Holiday Hayride
> Find out more about Holiday Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

4. North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Get swept up in the holiday spirit during the North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Celebrating its 49th year, the North Park Toyland Parade and festival includes vintage cars, marching bands, dance groups, beauty queens and city officials. Keep your eye out for Santa Claus and his sleigh, as he jingles all the way down the parade route.

> Discover even more Holiday Things to Do in San Diego

Location: Click here for the parade route
Date: December 1, 2012
Time: Parade starts at 11:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

5. SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza

SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza Collage

Chili, Shopping, Chili, Beer and Wine, Chili and Family Fun at the SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza. Did we mention there will be chili?

For the past 3 years, the two neighborhoods of South Park and North Park come together for the SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza. This family friendly festival offers a kids zone, shopping from local artisans, music, local craft beer and, of course, chili made by local restaurants and residents. Stop by to taste some chili and vote for your favorite in the “People’s Choice Award.”

Location: 32nd Street and Thorn, San Diego, CA 92104 (map)
Date: December 2, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Festival is Free. $20 for a ceramic chili bowl, 5 restaurant tastings and unlimited community tastings
> Find out more about SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza

> 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 about them in the comments below.

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend

1. San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival: The event, held from November 23-27 at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center features a wide variety of traditional jazz, Dixieland and swing styles, attracting jazz lovers from around the globe.

2. Holiday of Lights at Del Mar: Everyone is invited to drive their cars around the infield racetrack of the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar to view more than 350 dazzling holiday light displays. Holiday Lights runs from November 24-January 1, 2012.

3. Legoland Tree Lighting Ceremony: Tony Hawk will put down his board and flip a switch lighting the World’s Largest LEGO Christmas Tree at LEGOLAND California. After the 30-foot-tall LEGO tree is lit, fireworks will light up the sky and snow showers Park guests from above kicking off LEGOLAND California’s month-long Holiday Snow Days.

4. Julian Country Christmas and Tree Lighting: Julian comes alive during this annual holiday celebration with costumed strolling carolers, the scent of freshly baked apple pie and Santa Claus arriving aboard a fire engine for the festive tree lighting ceremony.

5. Jesus Christ Superstar: La Jolla Playhouse presents the acclaimed Stratford Shakespeare Festival Production of Jesus Christ Superstar from November 18 – December 31, 2011. This ground-breaking rock opera, which reinvented musical theatre for the modern age, tells the story of the last week of Christ’s life.

Suzzanne

25 Free Things to Do This Winter in San Diego

Balboa Park December Nights in San Diego

From traditional holiday parades and festivals to the migration of California gray whales along the Pacific coast, a visit to San Diego during the winter offers a wealth of free, fun and festive experiences.

Balboa Park December Nights in San Diego

Balboa Park December Nights

  1. Join the festivities during Balboa Park December Nights, a two-day holiday celebration of food, entertainment and fun on December 2-3. The numerous museums and cultural institutions in Balboa Park open their doors free of charge, and festivities include carolers, live music, holiday light displays, theater and dance performances.

  2. Whale Watch from the shores and cliffs of Point Loma, as California gray whales migrate south to the warm water breeding grounds off the coast of Baja, California. Spectators can catch a spectacular show during December through April when these majestic mammals pass through the waters off San Diego”s coastline.

  3. Be part of a grand Holiday Celebration on December 2 in Coronado with a festive parade along Orange Avenue, the lighting of a 75-foot Christmas tree, holiday music and a firework show over Glorietta Bay.

  4. Enjoy free organ concerts at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park beginning at 2:00 pm each Sunday. The Organ Pavilion features the world”s largest outdoor pipe organ, where organists resound holiday favorites.

  5. See Old Town State Historic Park decked out for the holidays during Holiday in the Park on December 10 and enjoy holiday treats, activities and extended shopping hours, along with strolling carolers.

  6. Head over to Seaport Village for the festive <a title=”Surfin” Santa Arrival at Seaport Village” href=”http://www.sandiego.org/event/Visitors/9852″ target=”_blank”>Surfing Santa at Seaport Village event on November 26. Hang-ten with Santa and enjoy a lively parade along the Seaport Village boardwalk, music, stilt walkers, and kids” crafts.

  7. Spread some holiday cheer at the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival on December 4 in downtown La Jolla. The event includes marching bands, floats, equestrian units, vintage automobiles and an appearance by Santa Claus.

  8. Drive to the mountain town of Julian for a warm mug of hot apple cider and a delicious slice of Julian”s legendary homemade apple pie. On Saturdays, stroll through the quaint neighborhood streets and enjoy the sounds of wandering Christmas carolers and best online casino a living nativity scene.

  9. Take a walk around Balboa Park and discover its beautiful architecture. Take advantage of the park”s variety of free offerings, including touring its spectacular gardens.

  10. Take a walk along one of San Diego”s 70 miles of beaches, all free and open to the public, and enjoy the beautiful sunsets.

  11. Visit the village of La Mesa on December 9 and 10 for Christmas in the Village. Enjoy street performers, carolers, carriage rides, entertainment for the whole family and more.

  12. Bring the family to the SoNo Park Holiday Fest on December 4 and celebrate with the restaurants and residents of South Park and North Park in a chili cook-off. Visitors can taste chili in hand-spun ceramic bowls, shop for holiday gifts from local artisans and enjoy live music, kid”s activities, gourmet food trucks, a beer garden featuring local and craft beer and more.

  13. Explore the tide pools in Point Loma, Ocean Beach and La Jolla when the tide is low to see some of the magnificent creatures of the sea.

  14. Enjoy the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade on December 11 in downtown San Diego”s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Owners and their dressed-up pets march down the decorated streets of the neighborhood and end at a Pet Expo featuring an awards ceremony for best-dressed pups.

  15. Take a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla for a panoramic view of the city all spruced up in holiday decoration. Along the way, enjoy the beautifully decorated homes in this exclusive neighborhood.

  16. Drive to the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego”s East County to marvel at wildlife and a kaleidoscope of colorful flowers amidst the desert warmth.

  17. Gaze up at the massive balloons during the Big Bay Balloon Parade, the country”s largest balloon parade, on December 28.

  18. Enjoy the twinkling waters of San Diego Bay and more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights for the 40th Annual Port of San Diego Parade of Lights on December 11 and December 18.

  19. Get in the holiday spirit during Chula Vista”s 50th Annual Starlight Parade on December 3, featuring carolers, holiday cheer, floats, drill teams, marching bands, classic cars, a children”s event and visit from Santa.

  20. Experience a white Christmas in San Diego after making the scenic, one-hour drive to the top of Mount Laguna in San Diego”s rustic East County.

  21. Delight in the festive gatherings of the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on December 10. Over 100 brightly illuminated powerboats and sailboats parade along Mission Bay; the parade ends with a fantastic fireworks show at 9:00 pm above SeaWorld San Diego.

  22. Experience a magical evening of holiday celebrations December 3 at the California Center for the Arts Escondido during the annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland. Enjoy seasonal music and Victorian carolers, a visit from Santa, free art activities and treats, a spectacular light show and real snow!

  23. Celebrate holiday cheer during Poway Winterfest on December 10. The event features a tree lighting ceremony, visits from Santa, train rides, live music, theatre performances, food, treats, crafts and more.

  24. Join the community of Carlsbad for their annual Tree Lighting Festivities, December 4 at the Village Faire Shopping Center. Enjoy children”s crafts, cookies and cider, entertainment and pictures with Santa.

  25. Rock out at the Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March on December 19. Held two days prior to the annual Poinsettia Bowl, bands representing the two Bowl football teams line up at opposite ends of Fifth Avenue in downtown”s Gaslamp Quarter and face-off in an old fashion battle of the bands.