Robert Arends

Dr. Seuss on the Loose in La Jolla

The_Art_of_Dr_SeussThere’s a tale of a Cat, so cool in a Hat, that…did you hear…was created right here! ūüôā

Yep Dr. Seuss, that master smith of rhyming words for kids, lived atop a hill called Mt. Soledad in La Jolla (north of downtown San Diego) where his fantastical world of Cat in the Hat and other memorable characters came to life for readers of all ages.

I’ve always been a big fan of Dr. Seuss whose real name BTW is Theodore (Ted) Seuss Geisel. His widow Audrey still lives in lovely seaside La Jolla.

On the heels of Dr. Seuss’ recently released new book, Horton and the Kwuggerbug and more Lost Stories, me thinks with my thinker that a fun way to tinker would be an incredibly fun linker to a few Seussian sights and events in La Jolla:

Wish Dr. Suess at Happy Birthday at UCSD

Dr. Seuss birthday celebration at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

Dr. Seuss birthday celebration at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

Every year in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2, the aptly named Geisel Library at University of California at San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla exhibits selections from their Dr. Seuss Collection of over 10,000 items(!), including his drawings, rough drafts, notebooks and other cool memorabilia. It‚Äôs the world‚Äôs largest repository of original works by Seuss. Last year Mrs. Geisel substantially added to the collection, donating an additional 1,500 items from his personal archive!

Look for an announcement of next year’s big b-day bash on Geisel Library’s news page after New Year’s.

7 ¬Ĺ foot Cat in the Hat

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla

In the meantime, next time you’re in La Jolla, check out the life-size bronze sculpture of Dr. Seuss and a towering 7 ¬Ĺ foot Cat in the Hat in front at the library. Seuss selfies are encouraged!

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss at Legends Gallery, La Jolla includes Unorthodox Taxidermy

The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss includes Unorthodox Taxidermy

In the charming Village of La Jolla, the Legends Gallery displays some wonderful imaginings in its “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss”¬†exhibit. Visitors can view the sophisticated, technically accomplished and unrestrained side of Seuss’ talent, including lesser-known paintings, illustrations and sculptures from his Unorthodox Taxidermy collection (a fun¬†fav!).

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe

"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" at the Old Globe in Balboa Park

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at the Old Globe in Balboa Park

And though it‚Äôs not in La Jolla, I¬†should mention the¬†whimsical annual Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!¬†musical¬†that takes place¬†each holiday season at The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. It’s a magical must see for the whole family!

See you in San Diego, Dr. Seuss fans!

Benjamin Eastman

San Diego 2013 New Year’s Eve Parties Are Epic!

Another year of amazing nightlife has come and gone in San Diego. We’ve had some top-notch talent visit America’s Finest City this year and if you didn’t get out much this year, make it a New Year’s Resolution to get out more and enjoy some of San Diego’s nightlife!

> Family Friendly New Year’s Eve Events

San Diegan’s like to celebrate milestones as much (if not more!) than the rest of the country and as such, there are a multitude of parties to choose from this New Year’s Eve.¬† Here’s a modest selection of those parties:

Bottom’s Up @ Marriott Gaslamp

Bottom's Up NYE 2014 at the Marriott Gaslamp

Marriott Gaslamp’s “Party From The Street To The Sky” features both the lobby level and rooftop! All Inclusive tickets include unlimited alcoholic drinks, a great selection of food (think sushi, carving stations and chocolate fountains!), DJ’s spinning top tunes in both the lobby and at their Altitude Sky Lounge and a champagne toast at midnight to start the 2014 clock ticking!

Where: 660 K St, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 8:00 PM to 1:30 AM
Cost: $165
> Find out more about Bottom’s UP NYE 2014 at the Marriott Gaslamp

FLUXX’s New Year’s Eve Big Top Extravaganza

NYE Big Top Extravaganza at FLUXX

Join FLUXX as they say farewell to 2013 and their latest Fluxxuation “Big Top”. Close out 2013 at one of San Diego’s hottest clubs with music by DJ Karma and Special Guest Rico De Largo live on trumpet. General Admission tickets including entrance and a midnight champagne toast are currently around $80, or spring for the extra $10 and get a VIP ticket which also includes hosted champagne from 8:00 to 10:00 PM and hosted apps from 8:00 to 9:00 PM.

Where: 500 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Cost: $20-$80
> Find out more about NYE Big Top Extravaganza at FLUXX

VAVI’s New Year’s Eve Yacht Party 2014

New Year's Eve on the Inspiration

Ring in the New Year on the bay with the San Diego skyline as the perfect backdrop

Hosted on the 3-deck Hornblower Yacht “Inspiration,” you and 1,000 of your closest friends can party it up to the beats of Sleeping Giant artists DJ Who & Paulo Da Rosa, DJ Demon and DJ Chris Devoy¬† This All Inclusive, All VIP experience features unlimited alcoholic drinks and gourmet hors d’oeuvres.

Where: 970 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Cost: $179-$189
> Find out more about VAVI’s New Year’s Eve Yacht Party 2014

Big Night San Diego at The Hilton Bayfront

Big Night San Diego New Year's Eve Champagne

There will be plenty of toasting champagne at Big Night’s New Year;s Eve Party

Probably one of the biggest and most well-known San Diego New Year’s Eve parties is Big Night. Sponsored by radio stations Channel 93.3 and 91X, Big Night has 12 different party zones including 6 dance floors featuring both DJ and live band music. Their All Inclusive tickets include unlimited alcoholic drinks, a tasty dinner buffet and fun party favors to get you in the spirit! The party runs from 9pm – 3am and tickets start at $130.

Where: One Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Time: 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM
Cost: $109.99-$239.99
> Find out more about Big Night San Diego at The Hilton Bayfront

The Grand Del Mar’s 3 New Year’s Eve Parties

Grand Del Mar's New Year's Eve

Pick from one of three NYE parties at the Grand Del Mar

Those a little farther north, might want to check out one of the Grand’s two NYE parties.¬† 80’s lovers will want to check out one of SoCal’s top 80’s bands BETAMAXX at the main party, or head to Club M for sounds by DJ By The C and DJ Showtime.

Where: 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, San Diego, CA 92130
Times: 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM (each event has different times)
Cost: $50-$180
> Find out more about The Grand Del Mar’s 3 New Years Eve Parties

And lets not forget San Diego New Year’s Eve party mainstays:¬†Hard Rock Hotel, Andaz San Diego, VAVI’s Beach Party @ The Catamaran Hotel, Stingaree and Side Bar.

> Find even more great San Diego New Year’s Eve Parties

Remember, it’s all about having a good time, but be safe and arrange alternate transportation if you’re going to be drinking. We want you out partying hard in 2014!

Alison

A San Diego Holiday Tradition: Balboa Park December Nights

balboa park lily pond botanical building december nights san diego holiday celebration

Balboa Park¬†December Nights¬†is as close as San Diego gets to becoming a winter wonderland, and this year’s event¬†promises to be bigger and better than ever.¬†San Diego’s largest free festival, which is designed to be the city’s holiday gift to the community, is¬†expected to draw at least 300,000 in this its 35th¬†year.

The two-day celebration of entertainment, food and fun, takes place Friday, Dec. 6, from 3‚Äď11 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon‚Äď11 p.m.¬†Balboa Park is decked in twinkling lights and silvery garlands. Fanciful Christmas trees abound, and the aromas of multi-cultural holiday treats waft through the air.

balboa park lily pond botanical building december nights san diego holiday celebration

The Lily Pond and Botanical Building decked out for December Nights. (Photo by Manny Cencieros)

In the spirit of the season, participating park museums open their doors to the public free of charge from 5‚Äď9 p.m. both evenings. Many present special holiday programs. Kids will be awed by the elaborate gingerbread constructions at the Mingei International Museum and can join in holiday-inspired craft projects at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. All ages will be enthralled by the amazing handbell ringers who perform at the San Diego History Center, and don‚Äôt miss the San Diego Floral Association‚Äôs exhibit at the House of Hospitality of 30 beautifully decorated holiday trees.

balboa park organ pavilion san diego december nights holiday event

Festive performances take place on the beautiful stage of the Organ Pavilion.

Festivities are family friendly, multi-cultural and staged throughout the park.¬† The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet will perform excerpts from ‚ÄúThe Nutcracker‚ÄĚ on the Casa del Prado Stage. Steps away on the California Quadrangle near the San Diego Museum of Man, revelers can see the Santa Lucia Procession and children‚Äôs choir performances. The San Diego Civic Dance Company will present Rockettes-style routines, while a puppet version of ‚ÄúThe Christmas Carol‚ÄĚ will be presented at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. African drumming and dance performances and Reggae music performances are planned at the WorldBeat Center. Dozens of singers, dancers and musicians will take to the stage at the Organ Pavilion.

Dr. Seuss' how the Grinch Stole Christmas Old Globe Theater San Diego Balboa Park December Nights holiday event

Kids can get their photo taken with the Grinch at the Old Globe.

Youngsters will have the opportunity to visit with Santa as he strolls the park, and they can pose for a photo in the Old Globe courtyard with Dr. Seuss’s Grinch who stole Christmas. Kids of all ages can join with Junior Theatre students singing holiday songs. A series of children’s holiday movies will run nonstop both evenings in the theater at the Hall of Champions. There also are plenty of carnival rides to keep the younger set entertained.

Hungry? December Nights is known for its mouth-watering range of food and drink offerings. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages offer traditional holiday foods from a smorgasbord of nations: think empanadas, egg rolls, shepherd‚Äôs pie, pasties, pancit, samosas, plantains, pierogi, bourekas, baklava, paella, and even blueberry soup. Many museums offer tasty treats as well. You’ll find roasted chestnuts at the San Diego Art Institute, yakisoba at the Japanese Friendship Garden and hot toddies at the Hall of Champions. In addition, numerous food vendors sell an array of yummy holiday delights, from melted Swiss raclette to fresh-baked gingerbread cookies.¬† The 21+ set can sip a locally crafted brew at one of several beer gardens.

House of China Food International Cottages San Diego Balboa Park December Nights holiday event

Ethnic food specialties are part of the delicious fun at December Nights.

December Nights are prime time for holiday shopping.  Find great gifts at museum stores, from Spanish Village artisans and at a wide range of arts and crafts booths.  For $300 or less, buy a piece of original art right off the walls at the San Diego Art Institute. And don’t forget to buy a sprig of locally sourced mistletoe from San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers.

With so many attending December Nights, parking can be tougher than fitting down a chimney. Your best bet is to take public transportation or park for $5 at Petco Park or for free at City College. Free shuttles will ferry celebrants to and from 6th & Laurel from 3 p.m.‚Äďmidnight¬†on Friday and from 11:30 a.m.‚Äďmidnight on Saturday.

Finally, be sure to bundle up!  While San Diego may better known for sandmen than snowmen, it can get downright chilly here on December nights.

What’s your favorite part of December Nights in Balboa Park? Let us know in the comments.

 

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 ‚Äď even a team of blonde Belgian draft horses ready to take your tykes on a wild wagon ride they won‚Äôt soon forget.

The event is a shutterbug‚Äôs dream, with Santa Claus posing for pics with young and old in a brightly lit gazebo and a vibrant, festively decorated ‚ÄúPoinsettia Garden‚ÄĚ that will certainly make your snapshots sparkle.¬†The social set will appreciate the warm and cozy campfire setup that provides s‚Äômores 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 ‚Äď 23, 2013 and December 26 ‚Äď 30, 2013
Time:¬† 5 ‚Äď 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. ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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.

Benjamin Eastman

New Year’s Eve San Diego-style!

New Year's Eve with Big Night San Diego

No matter how good (or bad) 2012 was, everyone’s looking forward to a better 2013 and that starts with New Year’s Eve in San Diego! So are you going to spend another night on your couch watching thousands of revelers celebrating on TV or are you going to go out there and usher in 2013 with a bang?!

Haven’t made plans yet? Not sure where to go? Here’s a handful of options that will surely give you a night to remember!

Downtown

Big Night San Diego

New Year's Eve with Big Night San Diego

Spend New Year’s Eve and make new friends at Big Night San Diego

The thousands of people attending this event each year can’t be wrong…This party is A-mazing!¬† Your All-Inclusive tickets get you access to 12 themed party areas, 6 dance floors, food, drinks and a ton of fun! If you’ve got a little extra cash to spend, spring for the VIP tickets for the top-shelf liquor and private bars – while the lines at the normal bars are never bad, it’s always good to ring in the new year VIP-style!

Location: Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, One Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Time: 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM
Cost: Starting at $120
> Find out more about Big Night San Diego

NYE Ivy with Drop the Live & Grum

andaz

Featuring headliners DJ Drop The Line from NYC and DJ GRUM from Scotland, Andaz is definitely an enticing option for the imported electronic music crowd. With 5 separate venues throughout the hotel offering entertainment – including the Ivy Nightclub downstairs and the Ivy Rooftop (because let’s face it…San Diego’s beautiful weather let’s us party outside while people in other cities have to bundle up on NYE).¬† And let’s not forget the Lipstik Dancers. These girls are H-O-T, hot!¬† Tickets include “playful party favors” and a champagne toast at midnight.

Location: 600 F Street, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Time: 9:00 PM to 1:30 AM
Cost: Starting at $75
> Find out more about NYE Ivy with Drop the Live & Grum

More Downtown New Year’s Eve Celebrations

And of course, don’t forget your favorite nightclubs when making NYE plans – FLUXX, Stingaree, SideBar and Hard Rock.

On The Coast

New Year’s Eve Beach Party

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VYMuYIi33w]

Located at the beautiful Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa on Mission Bay, this 2,000+ person party features entertainment by Sleeping Giant Music (DJ Fresh One, DJ Chris Cutz, DJ G-Roy & DJ Sanjay, etc) in 4 separate areas. Hors d’oeuvres, drinks and a ton of fun can be had at this annual event. This year’s bonuses include an optional VIP Party Boat pass that will take you out onto Mission Bay aboard a private boat with 3 decks of music, a prize casino, open bar and the ultimate in unique experiences.¬† Also, don’t forget to stop by one of the party’s themed photo booths for some commemorative photos. Remember what happens on NYE stays on NYE, right?!

Location: 3999 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 (map)
Time: 8:00 PM to 1:30 AM
Cost: Starting at $139
> Find out more about New Year’s Eve Beach Party

In The Water

Moonlight NYE Cruise 2013 Aboard The California Spirit

SD_Yacht_NYE_Flyer

Board the California Spirit at 9:30pm and ring in the New Year on the open water. What better way to enjoy the last night of 2012 than gazing at the picturesque views of Downtown and Coronado? With 2 dance floors, open bar, food and party favors you will experience an evening like no other! Tickets start at $175 or spring for an extra $25/person for your group of 6 and get a reserved table. The boat returns to the dock at 1:00am.

Location: 1050 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Time: 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Cost: Starting at $175
> Find about more about the Moonlight NYE Cruise 2013 Aboard The California Spirit

Be Safe this New Years Eve in San Diego

Now remember gang… There’s a lot of fun to be had on New Year’s Eve (and believe me, there are a lot of people having it!) but be responsible…don’t drink and drive – and don’t be “THAT GUY”!

Happy New Year!

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to do in San Diego: December 13-16, 2012

Jungle Bells Celebration at the San Diego Zoo

It’s never to early to start making your weekend plans. Here are top things to do this weekend in San Diego.

1. Hillcrest Taste n’ Tinis

Hillcrest Taste n' Tinis - Things to Do in San Diego

Start off the weekend with a walking tour through Hillcrest including delightful drinks, scrumptious eats and fabulous holiday shopping. Local chefs will be serving up scrumptious appetizers and sweet treats while boutiques along the tour will warm you up a holiday inspired martini. Event is 21 and up.

Date: December 13, 2012
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: In Advance Р$20. Day Of Р$25
> Find out more about Hillcrest Taste n’ Tinis

2. Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells Celebration at the San Diego Zoo

Elves celebrating Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Starting this Saturday, the San Diego Zoo is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Enjoy a nightly tree-lighting ceremony, lighted animal displays throughout the park, live animal shows, storytelling, bell ringers and, of course, Santa Claus.

> Find more Holiday fun at San Diego attractions

Location: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: December 15, 2012 – January 6, 2013
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

3. Old Town Holiday in the Park & Las Posadas

Las Posadas - Old Town State Historic Park

Take part in a traditional Las Posadas in Old Town State Historic Park

Celebrate the holidays over the weekend in the Old Town State Historic Park. Enjoy period decorations, carolers, warm beverages, holiday treats, activities, and extended shopping hours. Arrive early on Sunday for festivities at 2:00 PM and a traditional Las Posadas starting at 5:00 PM followed by a pi√Īata party for the kids.

> Discover holiday excitement in San Diego

Location: 4002 Wallace Street, San Diego, CA (map)
Dates: December 15-16, 2012
Times: 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Las Posadas Parade starts at 5:00 PM on Sunday.
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Old Town Holiday in the Park & Las Posadas

4. The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker - Holiday Things to Do in San Diego

Catch a performance of the Nutcracker throughout San Diego.

Starting this weekend, there will be a myriad of Nutcracker princes dancing throughout San Diego County. Below is a list of performances:

California Ballet presents The Nutcracker
Dates: December 15-23, 2012
Cost: $25-$90
Location: San Diego Civic Theater –¬†1100 Third Ave,¬†San Diego, CA 92101 (map)

City Ballet presents The Nutcracker
Dates: December 14-24, 2012
Cost: $29-$69
Location: Spreckels Theatre –¬†121 Broadway #600,¬†San Diego, CA 92101 (map)

San Diego Ballet presents The Nutcracker
Dates: December 16-21, 2012
Cost: $20-$50
Location:¬†Mandeville Center, UCSD –¬†9500 Gilman Drive,¬†La Jolla, CA 92093 (map)

> More Holiday Theatre in San Diego

5. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Holiday Float - San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Lights on the water at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

This is the last Sunday to marvel at the spectacular Boat Parade of Lights featuring individually holiday decorated private crafts. The parade starts at the southwest end of Shelter Island, travels past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Convention Center, the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace and ends at the Navy Carrier turning basin.

> Find more Christmas light displays in San Diego

Dates: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

> 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.

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do in San Diego: December 6-9, 2012

2011 Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

If you love holiday lights, grab some hot cocoa; throw on a scarf because this is your weekend! Between Balboa Park’s December Nights to the San Diego Bay’s Parade of Lights, visitors will surely be in the holiday spirit with all these wonderful things to do!

1. Balboa Park December Nights

Balboa Park December Nights in San Diego

Balboa Park December Nights

This popular park-wide Christmas celebration features carolers, entertainment, ethnic food and crafts.

Location: Balboa Park
Dates: December 7-8, 2012
Times:
– Friday: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
– Saturday: 12:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free. Free admission to museums begins after 5:00 PM.
> Find out more about Balboa Park December Nights

2. Mission Bay Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Lights Up during the holiday season.

This popular boat parade begins at Quivira Basin. Best viewing will be from Crown Point, east side of Vacation Island or the west side of Fiesta Island. The parade ends with the lighting of the SeaWorld Skytower Tree of Lights at 9:00 PM.

> Find more Christmas light displays in San Diego

Date: December 8, 2012
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

3. Port of San Diego Annual Boat Parade of Lights

Holiday Float - San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Lights on the water at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

The spectacular Boat Parade of Lights feature individually holiday decorated private crafts. The parade starts at the southwest end of Shelter Island, travels past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Convention Center, the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace and ends at the Navy Carrier turning basin.

Dates: Sundays, December 9 and 16, 2012
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

4. Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

2011 Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Everyone with 2 to 4 Legs will have fun at the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade!

San Diego’s furriest festive parade returns to Downtown as the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade presented by Downtown Ace Hardware takes over the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter. All pet owners and their furry, featured and scaled companions are invited to don their favorite costumes and put their best paw, wing and fin forward for this jolly promenade and pet expo.

> Discover even more Holiday Things to Do in San Diego

Date: December 9, 2012
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free to View. $15-$20 to participate.
> Find out more about the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

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

Alison

Balboa Park’s December Nights – Two Nights of Holiday Magic – December 7-8, 2012

Organ Carolers - Balboa Park's December Nights
Organ Carolers - Balboa Park's December Nights

Music, food, drinks, rides and more! Find some Holiday Cheer at Balboa Park’s December Nights

Balboa Park’s December Nights – the city’s annual holiday gift to the community – promises to be bigger and better than ever this year.¬†The 35th annual two-day celebration¬†is the city‚Äôs largest free festival, expected to draw at least 300,000 this year.

December Nights is as close as San Diego gets to becoming a winter wonderland. Balboa Park is decked in twinkling lights and silvery garlands. Fanciful Christmas trees abound and the aromas of multi-cultural holiday treats waft through the air.

Free Entry into the Museums

For the occasion, park museums open their doors to the public, free of charge, from 5:00 until 9:00 PM both evenings. Many present special holiday programs. Kids will be awed by the elaborate gingerbread constructions at the Mingei International Museum and can join in holiday-inspired craft projects at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. All ages will be enthralled by the amazing bell ringers who perform at the San Diego History Center.

Things to Do During December Nights

Santa Lucia Procession - Balboa Park's December Nights

Enjoy a traditional Santa Lucia Procession in the California Quadrangle in front of the Museum of Man

Festivities are family friendly, multi-cultural and staged throughout the park. The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet will perform excerpts from “The Nutcracker” on the Casa del Prado Stage. Steps away, on the California Quadrangle near the San Diego Museum of Man, revelers can see the Santa Lucia Procession and children‚Äôs choir performances. Dozens of singers, dancer and musicians will take to the stage at the Organ Pavilion.

Youngsters will have the opportunity to visit with roving Santas and can pose for a photo in The Old Globe courtyard with Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!¬†At the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, they can see puppets come to life in an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol¬†and they can join with San Diego Junior Theatre students singing holiday songs. A series of children‚Äôs holiday movies will run nonstop both evenings in the theater at the San Diego Hall of Champions. There also are plenty of carnival rides to keep the younger set entertained.

December Nights are prime time for holiday shopping. Find great gifts at museum stores, from Spanish Village Art Center artisans and at a wide range of arts and crafts booths.

December Nights Food Options

House of China Food Prep - Balboa Park's December Nights

Sample delicious delicacies from around the world including traditional dishes from the House of China.

Hungry? December Nights is known for its mouth-watering range of food and drink offerings. The International Cottages of the House of Pacific Relations offer traditional holiday foods from a smorgasbord of nations: Think empanadas, eggrolls, aebleskiver, samosas, fried plantains, pierogi, bourekas, baklava, paella, even mashed potato stew.  Many museums offer tasty treats: Find roasted chestnuts at the San Diego Art Institute, yakisoba at the Japanese Friendship Garden, hot toddies at the Hall of Champions. In addition, numerous food vendors sell an array of yummy holiday delights Рfrom melted Swiss raclette to fresh-baked gingerbread cookies. The 21+ set can sip a locally crafted brew at one of several beer gardens.

Getting to December Nights

Parking

With so many attending December Nights, parking can be tougher than fitting down a chimney. Shuttles are provided from PETCO Park (where parking will cost $5), the County Administration Building and several City College Parking lots offering free parking. Carpooling with all your friends is a must!

> Balboa Park’s December Nights Parking Map

Public Transportation

Since parking can be a little rough, consider saving yourself the hassle and taking public transportation. Ride the Orange or Blue Trolleys to the City College stop on 11th Avenue and then either hop on the Number 7 bus or enjoy a brisk walk up park. From Hillcrest, Uptown, Mid-City, Normal Heights, City Heights, and North Park communities take any bus to University Avenue and Park Blvd and transfer to a special Route 7 shuttle heading to Park Blvd.

Alternative Transportation

Want to relax without worrying about which stop to get off at or if you can get to the parking spot before it’s gone? Consider taking a taxi or using the posh Uber private driver service.

If you are close enough, try getting some fresh air and cycling into Balboa Park. There are plenty of bike racks throughout the park. The biggest bike racks can be found by the entrance of the San Diego Zoo. Please remember to be safe and to wear a helmet and reflective vest, and to use front and rear blinking lights.

Balboa Park’s December Nights General Information

Location: Balboa Park
Dates: December 7-8, 2012
Times:
– Friday, December 7: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
– Saturday, December 8: 12:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free
Website: www.balboapark.org/decembernights

And be sure to bundle up. While San Diego may better known for sandmen than snowmen, it can get downright chilly here on December nights!

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

1. San Diego Parade of Lights: Head over to San Diego Bay on December 11th and 18th for the 40th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights where hundreds of boats will be decorated for this dazzling holiday boat parade of lights.

2. La Mesa Christmas in the Village: This popular holiday event features horse-drawn carriages, carolers, marching bands and entertainers, all lined up along La Mesa Boulevard. Guests can also enjoy an outdoor market, food and special appearances by Santa Claus.

3. Holiday LEGO Train Exhibit: Through January 12, 2012, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum features its annual Holiday LEGO Train Exhibit. For any train and/or LEGO enthusiasts, this exhibit is not to be missed. Be sure to be on the lookout for Santa scaling one of the buildings!

4. Garden of Lights: From December 8 through the 30th, head up to the San Diego Botanical Garden for the Garden of Lights. The Garden is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 100,000 sparkling lights illuminating the Garden for a magical holiday experience. Many of these lights are LED, which are much brighter than regular lights. Numerous activities include horse-drawn-wagon rides, holiday crafts, marshmallow roasting, visits with Santa, live music, hot mulled wine and refreshments.

Photo: TJ Shimabukuro

5. Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade: If you own a pet, the Gaslamp Quarter on December 11th is the place to be. Once a year San Diego pets and owners are invited to dress up in their favorite costumes for a special promenade throughout the Gaslamp Quarter to celebrate the holiday season. You can only imagine the fun and excitement as downtown becomes filled with costumed pets & their handlers all vying for prizes and bragging rights including Best Costumed Duo, Cutest Critter, Best Pet Costume & Best of Show!

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

1. Balboa Park December Nights: This annual celebration on December 2nd and 3rd is the largest free community festival in San Diego, featuring foods and crafts from around the world, music and events at Balboa Park’s divers museums.

2. La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival: On December 4, marching bands, floats, equestrians, vintage automobiles and more parade down the streets of La Jolla. The parade ends with a holiday festival featuring craft booths, carnival rides, food, entertainment and a tree lighting ceremony.

3. 36th Annual Coronado Christmas Open House & Parade: Get in the holiday spirit on December 2nd as Santa Claus will be arriving by ferry across the San Diego Bay and a Snow Mountain play area will be at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Afterwards, a colorful holiday parade and Merchants Open House takes place along Orange Avenue, followed by the traditional tree lighting of a 50-foot Christams tree and free community concert in Rotary Park.

4. Canine Cocktails: Head to the Hotel Indigo with your four-legged best friend for Canine Cocktails. Canine Cocktails happens monthly, on their Level 9 Rooftop Bar and offer Happy Hour drink specials and complimentary treats for your dog!

5. Amtrak 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train: On December 2nd and 3rd, come and experience Amtrak’s new exhibit train, which is traveling throughout the USA. The special train depicts Amtrak’s 40 year history, celebrating the past, present and future of Amtrak. Bring the kids to visit the special “Chugginton’s Depot” play area for story reading, coloring, hands on play with toy train sets and Chugginton episodes on continuous loop for viewing.