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! 🙂

Benjamin Eastman

San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

It’s that time of year again where San Diego’s Irish community celebrates in true kilt-wearing, bagpipe blaring, whiskey drinking camaraderie! San Diego St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are scattered throughout the region and there is no shortage of green beer! So whether you’re out to celebrate your heritage or just be Irish-for-the-day (we won’t tell!), get out there, do a jig and keep an eye out for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

cloverthetop
For those looking to celebrate a little early, Harrah’s Resort Southern California will be partying “Clover The Top” all weekend long with a number of events including their Neon Nights Lazy River Party, River Dancers & Fiddlers and a performance by The Fighting Jamesons – not to mention loads of specials in the casino, restaurants and bars!
Location: 777 Harrah’s Resort Southern California Way; Valley Center, CA 92082
When: March 15-17, 2014

SHAMROCK

shamrock
We couldn’t forget the Gaslamp Quarter‘s major Block Party SHAMROCK!  In it’s 19th year of helping San Diegans celebrate all things Emerald Isle, 20,000 revelers will swarm the streets of downtown drinking Jameson Irish whiskey specials, green beer and rocking out at one of the 3 main stages of performers.
Location:  Gaslamp Quarter
Time:  4:00pm – 12:00am
Cost:  Starting at $30

Hooleyfest

hooleyfest
Music lovers will want to head to Hooleyfest in La Mesa for an evening of performances by Tony Cummins, Jukebox and Lexington Field. This Guiness sponsored event is raved about every year for its memorable performances. And since San Diegans love our tacos, why not try one of Hooley’s famous corned beef tacos while you’re there?
Location:  Tents at Grossmont Center in La Mesa
Date:  March 17, 2014
Time:  5:00pm – 12:00am
Cost:  $25 at the door

Want to celebrate, but not excited about the crowds and big events? San Diego has plenty of great hole-in-the wall Irish Pubs that will welcome you with open arms, such as Dublin Square, Stout Public House, Gallaghers and O’Sullivans.

How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in San Diego? Let us know in the comments.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 31 to January 5, 2014

Stone Brewing Co's New Years Eve Party - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Goodbye 2013! Here’s to 2014 and all the excitement the new year will bring. Start the year off right with these top things to do in San Diego:

New Year’s Eve

Stone Brewing Co's New Years Eve Party - Top Things to Do in San Diego

From San Diego’s Craft Beer to Champagne, the parties will be flowing this NYE

Still don’t have plans for tonight? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to find the perfect New Year’s Eve event with our handy guides:

> San Diego 2013 New Year’s Eve Parties Are Epic!
> New Year’s Eve Celebrations for Kids in San Diego
> Find even more NYE events and packages on SanDiego.org

New Year’s Day Recovery

Champagne Cruise on San Diego Bay - Hornblower

Start off the New Year right with a recovery brunch along with beautiful views of the San Diego skyline.

Welcome to 2014! Get those resolutions started with walks along the beach and hikes through one of San Diego’s many parks. Or, you could postpone the exercise and recover from last night with one of these delicious New Year’s Day brunches and/or dinners: New Year’s Day Brunch at the Hotel del CoronadoNew Year Day Brunch at the WestgateFlagship New Years Day Brunch Cruise and New Year’s Day Dinner Cruise on Hornblower.

> Discover more delicious dining options  in San Diego

Last of the Holiday Festivities

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

Even though the holidays have come on gone, the festive fun still continues with outdoor ice skating, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration including plenty of snow, and a magical winter wonderland at the San Diego Zoo’s Jungle Bells.

2014 San Diego International Auto Show

San Diego International Auto Show - Things to Do

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

Where the cars are the stars! The 2014-model vehicles showcase the newest levels of technology that enhance the driving experience, packaged in luxurious interiors and wrapped in cutting edge designs. When not captivated by the cars, you can participate in exciting, fun new features, family entertainment, and interactive activities.

Where: San Diego Convention Center – 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: January 1-5, 2014
Cost: $8-$12
> Find out more about the 2014 San Diego International Auto Show

A Prairie Home Companion Live Radio Broadcast

A Prairie Home Companion Live Radio Broadcast

Travel to Lake Wobegon with Garrison Keillor, Sara Watkins, and The Wailin’ Jennys for a visit full of comedy sketches, music, and news from the small town. This classic public broadcast is a great reason for why the radio still continues to entertain.

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: January 4, 2014
Time: 2:45 to 5:15 pM
Cost: $38-$200
> Find out more about A Prairie Home Companion Live Radio Broadcast

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Holiday Happenings in San Diego’s East County

SoCal's largest ice skating rink at Viejas Outlet Center!

SoCal’s largest ice skating rink at Viejas Outlet Center!

“Oh the weather outside is frightful…” everywhere else but here, in sunny San Diego! With temps in the high 60s, winter is a wonderful time of year to check out the city sights, as well as activities in our East County region where ’tis the season to see charming foothill, mountain and desert communities decked in holiday splendor.

Following are 5 Holiday Festivities to Try – sure to have families humming “fa la la la la” all season long:

1. Christmas in the Village

La Mesa Christmas in the Village

It’s a winter wonderland at La Mesa Christmas in the Village

The delightful downtown of La Mesa transforms into an old-fashioned Christmas in the Village. There’s fun for the whole family: horse-drawn carriages, Santa Claus, carolers, carnival rides, live music stages and an outdoor market to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.

Where: La Mesa Blvd & Spring Street, La Mesa, CA 91941
When: December 13-14, 2013
Time: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village

2. Annual Christmas Caroling Sing Along

Holiday Fun at Mt. Helix Annual Christmas Caroling in San Diego's East County

Join Santa’s Elves for a night of holiday merriment and Christmas caroling

Just up the hill on La Mesa’s majestic Mt. Helix – featuring spectacular 360 degree views of San Diego – the Annual Christmas Caroling Sing Along. Join Santa Claus, a choir of carolers and concert bands in musical merriment. There will also be free baked goods, hot drinks, and a raffle for prizes.

Where: 4901 Mt. Helix Drive, La Mesa, California 91941
When: December 15, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Mt. Helix’s Annual Christmas Caroling Sing Along

3. Handel’s Messiah

In the historic Gold Rush mountain town of Julian, enjoy a rousing rendition of Handel’s Messiah by the Julian Community Choir in the Town Hall. While you’re there, be sure to sample Julian’s famous apple pies with a cup of hot cocoa. Our local U-T San Diego paper recently touted their top Julian pie shop picks.

Where: Julian Town Hall – 2129 Main Street, Julian, CA 92036
When: December 15, 2013
Time: Starts at 7:00 PM
> Find more events in Julian

4. Ice Skating

Viejas Outlet Center Ice Skating

Viejas Ice Skating Rink

Grab your scarf and mittens and head to Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine to practice figure 8s on the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Southern California!

Where: 5005 Willows Rd Suite 229, Alpine, CA 91901
When: Through January 5, 2014
Time:
– Monday-Friday: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
– Saturday-Sunday: 12:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $12-$14
> Find out more about the Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink

5. Barona’s North Pole Gingerbread Village

Barona's North Pole Gingerbread Village

Barona’s North Pole Gingerbread Village

Look but don’t eat the incredible Barona’s North Pole Gingerbread Village at Barona Casino in Lakeside. This 50-foot culinary wonder – which took 900 hours to create! – features a snow-covered village complete with Santa’s workshop, an elf tavern and train station made entirely of gingerbread! It’s located at the entrance to the bustling Season’s Fresh Buffet and will be on display through Dec. 30. Yum! 😉

Where: 1932 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
When: Through December 30, 2013

> Discover more holiday cheer in San Diego

Ho ho ho from East County!

Robert Arends

Holiday Cheer, Santa, Snow and more in Coronado!

Ho ho ho from Coronado! Just a bridge or convenient ferryboat ride away from downtown San Diego…

This weekend, the island kicks off its holiday fun with Santa Claus” arrival by ferryboat, snow for the kids to play in (yep!) and a good ol” fashioned parade down Orange Avenue.

Here”s a quick look at the day”s stocking full of fun, festive, free activities:

38th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

Santa Claus

Santa Claus” festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

3:20 PM: Santa Claus and his elves arrive by ferry-boat at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
3:00 to 7:00 PM: Snow Mountain at the Coronado Ferry Landing for sledding and making snowballs and snowmen! There will also be carolers, live entertainment, hot cocoa and photos with Santa.

Snow Mountain fun at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

Snow Mountain fun at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

5:00 to 9:00 PM: Merchants online casino Open House along Orange Ave. to find the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for everyone on your shopping list; there”s also free metered parking!
6:00 to 7:00 PM: Christmas Parade down Orange Ave. with floats, marching bands and Santa on a fire truck.
7:00 PM: Christmas Tree Lighting in Rotary Park with Santa Claus.

Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

Throughout the month there”s also Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado, just steps from Coronado Beach – so wonderfully surreal and magical! 😉

> Find out more about Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

Lamb”s Players Theatre presents its spectacular annual Festival of Christmas show through December 29 (I guarantee you”ll be humming Christmas carols long after the show is over!).

> Find out more about Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

“Buon Natale” Gondola Cruises

Singing Santa gondolier at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

Singing Santa gondolier at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

And at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, “Buon Natale” gondola cruises with a caroling Santa gondolier (cool!) take to the bay December 20-23. Also throughout December, The Gondola Company offers gondola rides to view dozens of boats and yachts in the Coronado Cays decorated with colorful holiday lights.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Crown City”s First Annual “Mistletoe Magic” shopping night on December 11, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, with strolling carolers, visits with Santa, store specials and prize drawings along Orange Ave.

> Check out the new Coronado Holiday Guide PDF

Happy holidays from the sparkling warm sands of Coronado! 🙂

Brent Bernasconi

Holiday Theatre Brings the Festive Fun Alive Throughout San Diego

dr. seuss how the grinch stole christmas old globe theater san diego

December is a magical time to be in San Diego. During the warm days you can ice skate by the beach. When the sun goes down, you can put on a jacket, grab a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy plenty of Christmas lights and amazing holiday theatre. The only question is, will you enjoy all holiday theatre SD offers?

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

dr. seuss how the grinch stole christmas old globe theater san diego

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe Theater

The classic holiday book and TV special comes alive on stage at The Old Globe. Join the grumpy Grinch, his dog Max, Cindy Lou and all the other Whoville residents for plenty of family fun including the popular songs “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day” and “Fah Who Doraze.”

Where: The Old Globe – 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Through December 28, 2013
Cost: Tickets start at $24
> Find out more about Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

An American Christmas at The Hotel del Coronado

Lamb's Players' "Festival of Christmas"

Lamb’s Players’ “Festival of Christmas”

Step inside the Hotel Del’s gorgeous ballroom and travel back 100 years for a memorable Christmas feast and celebration. Your hosts are the Marshall family and their friends who love to celebrate the season with a festive party filled with music, dance, story, song and laughter, all woven throughout a delectable 5-course holiday meal.

Where: Hotel del Coronado – 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92120
When: December 16-24, 2013
Cost: $125-$160
> Find out more about An American Christmas at The Hotel del Coronado

Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

Festival of Christmas - Christmas on my Mind - Lamb's Players Theatre - Holiday Theatre

Hilarious mishaps and mayhem ensue, but the magic and music of Christmas outshines them all.

Ella Eden found it – the remote miner’s cabin tucked away in the Gold Country of the Sierra Nevadas, where her father spent one magical Christmas. She’s brought in a musical group to film a musical Christmas card “on location!” Under a canopy of stars, she’s determined to create the perfect gift. However, her nanny didn’t show, the kids are loose, cell phone reception is out on a cliff and the lead singer hasn’t shown.

Where: Lambs Players Theatre – 1142 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: Through December 29, 2013
Cost: $22-$62
> Find out more about Festival of Christmas – “Catch a Falling Star”

A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play

Scrooge - A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play at Cygent Theatre

Hear and see Scrooge come alive on the “radio” at this San Diego holiday theater classic

More than 160 years after its debut, Charles Dickens’ story of Bob Cratchit, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Christmas ghosts still resonates. Now you can watch the story come alive on stage as a radio show within a play, complete with holiday music, commercials and live sound effects.

Where: Cygnet Theatre – 4040 Twiggs St, San Diego, CA 92110
When: Through December 24, 2013
Cost: Tickets start at $24
> Find out more about A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play

The Nutcracker Ballet

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a staple of Holiday Theatre

Take an extraordinary journey to the magical Land of Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince at a classic ballet performance throughout San Diego.

The Nutcracker in Balboa Park
Where: 1800 Village Place, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 11-22, 2013
Cost: $10-$15
> Find out more about The Nutcracker in Balboa Park

City Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Where: 121 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 13-22, 2013
Cost: $29-$69
> Find out more about City Ballet’s The Nutcracker

California Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Where:
 1100 Third Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 14-22, 2013
Cost: $40-$90
> Find out more about California Ballet’s The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker (Men in Tights!)

The Nutcracker: Men in Tights!

The family-friendly show promises the whimsical magic of traditional holiday songs together with the fun and hijinks people have come to love and expect from the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. No one does the holidays like 130 gay men! There’s singing and dancing, naughty and nice, and, yes, actual men in tights!

Where: 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 14-15, 2013
Cost: $27-$70
> Find out more about The Nutcracker (Men in Tights!)

> Discover More Holiday Theater in San Diego

What’s your favorite holiday theatre production or film? Tell us in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 6-8, 2013

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

It’s already December! When did that happen?! Well, might as well embrace the cooler weather and dive into a ton of festive fun with these top things to do in San Diego this weekend:

38th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

Santa Claus' festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

Santa Claus’ festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing kicks off the Coronado Christmas Parade!

Festivities kick off at the Coronado Ferry Landing as Santa arrives at 3:20 PM, with carolers and snow fun at snow mountain. Also, at the Hotel del, experience ice skating like no other – you can ice skate on the beach! Find your way to Orange Ave and select a good spot to take in the Coronado Christmas Parade.

When: December 6, 2013
Time: 3:20 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 38th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

Balboa Park December Nights

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)

Get into the holiday spirit with two magical nights of lights, free live entertainment, free entrance to many museums, foods from around the world, shopping and more.

Please Note: Getting to and from the park will require patience and time. Please consider carpooling and/or alternative forms of transportation.
> Read the transportation information for getting to December Nights

Where: Balboa Park – El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 6-7, 2013
Times: Friday: 3:00 to 11:00 PM. Saturday: 12:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Balboa Park December Nights

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

Put on a warm jacket, pack a few blankets along with some hot chocolate and head to San Diego Bay with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated to a new theme each year. The parade proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and the Ferry Landing in Coronado. The Parade of Lights is a festive and delightful experience for all!

Where: San Diego Bay
When: Sundays – December 8 and 15, 2013
Time: 5:30 to 8:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

2013 North Park Toyland Parade & Festival

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

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

The historic neighborhood of North Park warmly welcomes friends and family to bundle up and delight in a joyful San Diego parade. This cheerful pageant will feel like a Winter Wonderland, as melodious marching bands, upbeat dance groups, cool vintage cars, beauty queens and city officials (and more!) warm your spirits. Santa Claus will be riding atop his merry red sleigh and bells will be ringing as loved ones snuggle up in the bright, frosty air.

Where: University Avenue between Utah and Iowa Street, San Diego, CA 92104
When: December 7, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 2013 North Park Toyland Parade & Festival

Fort Rosecrans Goes to War! and
Cabrillo National Monument Centennial Celebration

Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

The postponed Centennial Celebration will take place along with the annual Fort Rosecrans Goes to War! event. In addition to all the 100 birthday festivities, Fort Rosecrans will travel back in time to the 1940s with an amazing World War II Living History experience including a re-enactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United State’s entry into the Second World War, plus its impact on San Diego.

Where: Cabrillo National Monument – 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106 
When:
December 7-8, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Cost: Vehicles – $5. Walk-ins, bicyclists and motorcyclists – $3
> Find out more about Fort Rosecrans Goes to War
> Find out more about the Cabrillo National Monument Centennial Celebration

Holiday in the Village

Holiday in the Village Carolers - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Join in the festive fun with a South Bay holiday party

Get in the spirit with the second annual Holiday in the Village celebration. Festivities include Santa Claus, a North Pole-themed kid’s area, caroling, community performances, local artisans, the return of the Ugliest Sweater Contest and more.

Where: Third Avenue from E to G Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910
When: December 7, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Holiday in the Village

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

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

Can you say awwww? 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. Furry, featured and scaled companions will don their favorite costumes and put their best paw, wing and fin forward.

When: December 8, 2013
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free to view. $15-$20 to participate
> Find out more about the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Candice

Top Things to Do in San Diego: Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2013

Surfing Santa Seaport Village San Diego holiday event

The holiday season has definitely arrived in San Diego. This weekend, you’ll find lots of festive events, as well as live jazz and and a tasty chili fest to keep things a little spicy.

Here are the top things to do in San Diego, Nov. 27 – Dec. 1 , 2013:

San Diego Jazz Fest

san diego jazz fest

A New Orleans-style street band is just one of the jazz types you’ll find at San Diego Jazz Fest.

Presented by the America’s Finest City Dixieland Jazz Society, this annual festival features all types of jazz, ranging from traditional to ragtime to rockabilly and everything in between. Held every Thanksgiving weekend, the 34th Jazz Fest will offer big dance halls as well as small listening rooms to draw jazz lovers of every taste and style.

Where: Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108
When: Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2013
Time: 7 – 11 p.m. (Wed. and Thurs.), 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Fri.), 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Sat.), 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sun.)
Cost: Varies; single day tickets start at $15 and multi-day tickets start at $95
>Find out more about the San Diego Jazz Fest

Surfin’ Santa’s Arrival at Seaport Village

Surfing Santa Seaport Village San Diego holiday event

Take a picture with surfing Santa!

 

The magic of the sea comes to life at Seaport Village when Santa arrives by jetpack and soars above the ocean surface to greet kids and adults. This family event will include pictures with Santa surfing a giant wave, ornament making, live music and plenty of holiday cheer at this cobblestoned shopping and dining hub located along the Downtown waterfront.

Where:  Seaport Village, 849 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When:  November 30, 2013
Time:  1 – 5 p.m. (Santa arrives at 1pm in front of the Pier Café)
Cost:  Free
>Find out more about Surfin’ Santa at Seaport Village

Jingle Bell Jump at Mission Marketplace in Oceanside

santa parachute jump

Where else can you see Santa arrive by parachute?

Kids and families will witness Santa parachuting from the sky to greet those who attend this fun-filled community event in the city of Oceanside. The festivities include photo opportunities with Santa, a complete snow playground, kids’ crafts, live music and much more!

Where:  Mission Marketplace, 471 College Blvd, Oceanside CA 92057
When:  November 30, 2013
Time:  12 – 3 p.m.
Cost:  Free
>Find out more about Jingle Bell Jump

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

SoNo Chili Fest San Diego

Enjoy chili, beer, live music and more at the SoNo Fest.

The neighborhoods of South and North Park come together in a friendly chili competition among 29 top local restaurants competing as guests try out their chili in hand-spun ceramic bowls. The event offers two free live music stages, great holiday gifts and crafts from local artisans, five food trucks, a game truck and a kids’ activity zone with free cookie decorating, and craft beer and wine garden featuring 10 local breweries.

Where: 3216 Thorn Street, San Diego, CA 92104
When: Sunday, December 1, 2013
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Festival is free; handmade ceramic bowls with chili tastings: $20
>Find out more about the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

Luminaria First Light in South Park

buona forchetta south park san diego

Enjoy some pizza from Buona Forchetta or other tasty treats in South Park.

The historic craftsman neighborhood of South Park kicks off the holiday season with a beautiful display of luminarias presented by local businesses and homeowners. After 5 p.m. tree lighting, stroll the scenic streets to shop local boutiques and enjoy live music and tasty treats from neighborhood eateries.

Where: Beech St., between Fern St. and 30th St., San Diego, CA 92102
When: Sunday, December 1, 2013
Time: 5 – 9 p.m.
Cost: Free
>Find out more about the Luminara First Light in South Park

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the Event Calendar

What will you be doing this week in San Diego? 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 – 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.

Sarah Weinberg

Snow! Lights! Action! at San Diego’s Attractions this Holiday Season

Just because the sun shines year-round in San Diego doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty of holiday cheer this December. San Diego’s most famous attractions go big for the holidays, offering visitors special shows, festive lights and the chance to frolic in some rare San Diego snow.

LEGOLAND® California’s Holiday Snow Days

Real snow is one of the few things not made out of LEGOS at LEGOLAND during Holiday Snow Days.

Real snow is one of the few things not made out of LEGOS at LEGOLAND during Holiday Snow Days.

You don’t have to drive to the mountains to enjoy snow in San Diego County this winter; children can now enjoy a snow-tubing experience gliding down 7-foot-tall snow-covered “runs” at LEGOLAND California Resort. The park’s Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights features more than 50 tons of real snow, festive treats and activities, and holiday entertainment. During Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights, the Fun Town area transforms into a winter wonderland where families throw snowballs at LEGO themed targets and build snowmen using LEGO® accessories. Park guests can also sing along with holiday entertainment including live music featuring LEGO Friends Live, Jingle Jammers, the Big Test Holiday show and the Holiday Character Dance Party.  The Miniland U.S.A area of the park is decorated for the season with LEGO holiday scenes including Santa arriving on top of the White House in Washington, D.C. Fireworks spark each night Dec. 26-30 at 7 p.m. Holiday Snow Days feature a nightly lighting of the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree and concludes with a Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31.

Dates: November 29–-December 31, 2013

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

SeaWorld, Attractions, Holidays, Events

Even killer whales get excited about the holidays at SeaWorld Christmas Celebration.

Keep on your scarves and gloves and experience more snow, lights and holiday performances when you visit SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration. Festivities include Shamu’s Christmas presentation with a live choir and musical soloists, and a new holiday-themed sea lion and otter comedy show along with a new Elmo’s Christmas Wish show. Guests can also enjoy festive décor throughout the park, Madagascar Live! Operation: Christmas Vacation, a live show performed at the Mission Bay Theater, The Pets Rule Christmas show, and a nightly lighting of SeaWorld’s 320-ft. Skytower Christmas Tree of Lights. Also returning in 2013 is SnowWorld, a winter wonderland of snowmen, snowballs and a snowball target area that the kids will flip over.

Dates: Weekends and select dates November 16, 2013 – January 4, 2014.

The San Diego Zoo’s Jungle Bells

Jungle Bells, Zoo, Attractions, Holidays

The San Diego Zoo stays open late for fun holiday activities, shows and light displays during Jungle Bells.

Even if you’re lucky enough to be a member of the San Diego Zoo and get to go fairly regularly, there’s something special about visiting on a winter’s night for Jungle Bells, the zoo’s special holiday-themed evenings in which they stay open until 8 p.m. and offer festive activities and light displays throughout the park. “Light Up the Night” is the new music and light show in the front plaza, and guests can see the lights throughout the park on the Twinkle Light Trolley ($3 for adults, $2 for children), a tractor-pulled trolley decorated for Jungle Bells that gives guests a fun ride around part of the zoo. A holiday-themed animal show will take place at Wegeforth Bowl every night at 6:30., and a tree lighting ceremony occurs each night.

Dates: December 14, 2013 – January 5, 2014 (closed at 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 24).  Most Jungle Bells activities occur between 4-8 p.m.

Will you be visiting one of these fun, festive San Diego holiday attractions? Let us know in the comments below.