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! 🙂

Candice

Top Things to Do in San Diego: Nov. 6 – 10, 2013

san diego asian film festival 2013

If you’re an arts lover, you’ll love these events coming up in San Diego, Nov. 6 – 10. And if you prefer to get outdoors, there’s lots of options for you, too: set sail on a historic ship, go ice skating or just sample some San Diego beers under the sun.

Medium Festival of Photography

medium festival of photography san diego 2013

Portfolio reviews are just one part of the Medium Festival of Photography.

The second annual Medium Festival of Photography pairs educational lectures, workshops, and portfolio review sessions with fun and unique after-hours celebrations. On Nov. 8, famed photographer Abelardo Morell will speak at The Lafayette in North Park, and the festival continues with lectures from photographers like  Doug Rickard, Stephen Berkman, Michael Lundgren and more. On Nov. 9, the Lafayette hosts “An Intimate View of Southern California,” an outdoor exhibition of 50 photographers housed in a vintage trailer.

Where: 2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
When: November 7 – 10, 2013
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies (some events are free, some require tickets/registration)
>Find out more about the Medium Festival of Photography

San Diego Asian Film Festival

san diego asian film festival 2013

The San Diego Asian Film Festival offers countless screening opportunities.

The San Diego Asian Film Festival is one of the largest exhibitions of Asian international and Asian American cinema in North America. Along with narrative features, the nine-day Festival also showcases documentaries, short films, and animation. Screenings take place primarily at the Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center, but there are additional screenings around town.

Where: Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center
When: November 7 – 16, 2013
Time: Various times throughout each day
Cost: General Admission $11.50
>Find out more about the San Diego Asian Film Festival

Art San Diego 2013

Art San Diego 2013 contemporary art fair balboa park

The Art San Diego 2013 contemporary art fair mixes the old with the new in Balboa Park.

The annual Art San Diego contemporary art fair returns for a fifth year Nov. 8 – 10. The theme for 2013 is “Collide,” which means guests and visitors are sure to find unexpected cross-sections of art and film coming together in new and unusual ways. Explore one of four districts – Contemporary Art, Contemporary Product & Furniture Design, Mid-Century & Modern Art, and Solo-Artist Curated Booths – set up in historic Balboa Park.

Where: 2145 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 8 – 10, 2013
Time: 12:00 – 4:00 pm daily
Cost: Varies
>View the complete Art San Diego 2013 schedule of events

Star of India’s 150th Birthday

san diego maritime museum star of india 150th birthday sailing trip

Set sail with the Maritime Museum of San Diego for the Star of India’s 150th birthday.

The world’s oldest active sailing ship turns even older this weekend. Before becoming part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the Star of India sailed the world, from South America to New Zealand to the Bay of Bengal and back. This Nov. 9, 10 and 11, she sets sail again out of San Diego Bay, and guests can travel alongside in the Maritime Museum’s Californian and America companion ships. The sail includes a light brunch, lunch buffet and beverages.

Where: 1492 N. Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 9, 10 and 11, 2013
Time: Ships set sail at 9:30am each day
Cost: $125 for Maritime Museum members, $150 general admission
>Buy tickets for the Star of India’s 150th Birthday Sail 

Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink Grand Opening

Viejas ice skating rink

SoCal’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at the Viejas Outlet Center.

Lace up your skates and head out to Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego’s East County for the opening of the largest outdoor ice-skating rink in Southern California – it’s even bigger than the famed ice rink at Rockefeller Center in New York! The rink opens for the season on Nov. 9, and guests can practice their axel jumps and salchows through Jan. 5.

Where: Viejas Outlet Center, 5005 Willows Rd., Alpine, CA 91901
When: Nov. 9 – Jan. 5
Time: Monday-Friday: 5-10 p.m., Saturday & Sunday: 12-10 p.m.
Cost: $14 for adults; $12 for kids 12 and under (90 min. rental)
>Find out more about ice skating at Viejas Outlet Center

Free Admission to The New Children’s Museum

san diego new childrens museum feast 2013

It’s all about hands-on fun at learning at the New Children’s Museum.

The second Sunday of every month, The New Children’s Museum offers free admission giving families the opportunity to enjoy interactive activities and creative new exhibitions like Feast: The Art of Playing With Your Food. Installations are designed to educate and inspire creativity which typically resonate more with older kids, but the museum also features lots of hands-on art projects that are engaging for kids of all ages.

Where: 200 W Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 10, 2013
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Cost: Free
>Find out more about the New Children’s Museum

San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden & Chef Celebration

Beer Garden attendees talking to a brewer during San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden

Meet the Brewers during San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines.

The 5th annual San Diego Beer Week comes to a close on Sunday with the week’s most lavish event yet. Held amidst the beautiful gardens of the Lodge at Torrey Pines, the Beer Garden & Chef Celebration pairs 24 local breweries with 12 top local chefs for a delicious and unique tasting event. Each admission includes unlimited tasters of beer and food.

Where: 11480 North Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: November 10, 2013
Time: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Cost: $75 (includes valet parking)
>Purchase tickets for the Chef Celebration & Beer Garden

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the Event Calendar

What will you be doing in San Diego this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

Coronado November Events: A Cornucopia of Fun!

Skating by the Sea-Coronado Beach

With sunny skies, glistening crowd-free beaches and temperatures averaging 70 degrees, November is the perfect time to visit Coronado, located a bridge or ferryboat ride away from downtown San Diego. There’s so much to do, from craft beer tastings and lavish Thanksgiving feasts to ice skating by the beach, that you won’t know where to start!

The following are my Top 5 to Try in Coronado this November.

Good Times on Tap: San Diego Beer Week in Coronado

Craft beer by the bottle at Coronado Brewing Company

Craft beer by the bottle at Coronado Brewing Company

During San Diego Beer Week, Nov. 1-10, visit the award-winning Coronado Brewing Company to sample tasty ales like Orange Avenue Wit. Also, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge on Orange Ave. features a “Local Tap Takeover,” pouring only San Diego beer on all 16 of their taps!

Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Dinner

san diego hotel del coronado crown room thanksgiving 2013

The luxurious Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado will host this year’s Thanksgiving feast.

Let the Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay Resort do all the cooking this Thanksgiving Nov. 28 as they serve up turkey with all the fixings in festive elegant style. The Del presents a lavish buffet spread in the Crown Room and Ballroom, with live entertainment. Loews hosts a fab champagne brunch buffet in its main dining room, plus a prix fixe family-style dinner in Mistral.

Ice Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Lace up your skates and head to the Hotel del Coronado on Nov. 27 for the launch of Skating by the Sea, a magically surreal SoCal experience like no other where guests can practice their axel jumps just steps away from Coronado Beach. A portion of ice skate rental proceeds benefit San Diego’s Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K

Rollerblading the Silver strand Half Marathon

Rollerblading the Silver Strand Half Marathon

Hightail it to the scenic Silver Strand for the popular annual Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K on Nov. 17. Participants can run, walk, even rollerblade or rollerskate  from Coronado to Imperial Beach; handcyclists and wheel chair participants are welcome too!

Rock n’ Roll: “Suds” at the Coronado Playhouse

Suds Coronado Playhouse San Diego Theater

Suds hits the stage at the Coronado Playhouse this November.

Audiences are in for a rocking good time at the Coronado Playhouse– a 100-seat, cabaret-style theatre on lovely Glorietta Bay – presenting the 1960s musical soap opera “Suds” through the end of the month.

Want to win your own getaway to Coronado? Visit Authentic Luxury Travel to win a romantic Coronado stay!

Robert Arends

A Sparkling Coronado Christmas Celebration – December 7, 2012!

Seagulls sing, are you listening?
On the beach, sand is glistening
A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight
Walking in Coronado’s winter wonderland!

Charming Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego, is gearing up for its big island-wide holiday bash, the 37th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House, on Friday, December 7. The “Crown City” has a stocking full of fun & festive activities that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House’s Free Festivities

3:30 PM – Santa Claus’ Arrival

Santa Claus’ festive arrival at the Coronado Ferry Landing!

Don’t miss Santa’s arrival by ferry boat at the Coronado Ferry Landing (fantastic photo opp!). Afterward, meet Santa and his elves, and tell jolly ol’ St. Nick everything you wish for!

3:00 to 8:00 PM – Snow Mountain

Children playing on Snow Mountain at the Coronado Ferry Landing

Let it snow! At the Coronado Ferry Landing shops.

No need to head out to the mountains when there’s snow at the Coronado Ferry Landing for sledding, making snow balls and snowmen (yes Virginia, there IS snow in San Diego!)

5:00 to 9:00 PM – Merchants Open House

The Merchants Open House features unique boutique shops and galleries for one-of-kind gifts for everyone on your shopping list!

6:00 to 7:00 PM – Christmas Parade

A Norman Rockwell-esque Christmas Parade down Orange Avenue, featuring floats, classic cars, marching bands and Santa Claus on a fire truck!

7:00 PM – Lighting of a 50-foot Christmas Tree in Rotary Park

More Coronado Christmas and Holiday Fun

Coronado Holiday Guide is chock full of fun holiday events and shopping ideas!

Hot off the presses is the new Coronado Holiday Guide which you can download off the Chamber of Commerce’s homepage or pick up at the Coronado Visitor Center (1100 Orange Avenue).

Skating by the Sea

Skating by the Sea Aerial - Hotel del Coronado

Magical Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado!

In addition to Coronado’s popular Christmas spectacular, visitors are invited to skate figure eights at the beachside ice Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado (open through January 5). A portion of the proceeds benefit Make-a-Wish Foundation! (Click here for more outdoor ice skating opportunities in San Diego)

Buon Natale Gondola Cruises

The Gondola Company’s Buon Natale gondola ride at Loews Coronado Bay Resort!

At Loews Coronado Bay Resort, check out The Gondola Company’s seasonal Buon Natale gondola cruise, featuring a Santa gondolier serenading guests with Christmas carols through waterways of the Coronado Cays. Oh what fun! 😉

Festival of Christmas – Christmas on my Mind

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

A group of travelers snuck in a snowstorm create a holiday celebration during the Lamb’s Players Theatre Festival of Christmas.

And a magical escape to Coronado this winter wouldn’t be complete without enjoying Lamb’s Players Theatre‘s annual Festival of Christmas show on their resident stage (1142 Orange Ave.), November 30 through December 30. Every year my family and I attend this joyful musical and I guarantee it’ll have you humming “jingle all the way” through New Year’s! 🙂

> Discover more holiday fun in San Diego

See you in sparkling Coronado!

Brent Bernasconi

Ice Skating This Winter Under the San Diego Stars

While lights wrapped around palm trees are much more common than snowmen with carrots for noses, San Diego gets into the winter spirit with a twist. Just throw on a pair of jeans and grab a light jacket before you and your loved one(s) head out for some outdoor ice skating under the warm San Diego sky.

Skating by the Sea – Coronado

Ice Skating by the Pacific Ocean at the Hotel Del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at the Del!

Imagine hearing the ocean waves crashing against the pristine white sand while you glide over the ice enjoying the winter sunshine…wait…why imagine when you can actually experience it during the Hotel del Coronado‘s Skating by the Sea? The oceanfront Windsor Lawn is transformed into a spectacular ice rink overlooking the Pacific Ocean creating a picturesque holiday in San Diego.

A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of San Diego.

Location: Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA, 92118 (map)
Dates: November 21, 2012 – January 5, 2013
Times:
– Daily – 2:00 to 5:00 PM and 6:00 to 9:00 PM
– Matinee – 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (Weekend and Holidays – November 21 – December 14, January 2-5 and Daily – December 15 – January 1)
Cost: Kids – $20; Adults – $25. Matinee Child -$15; Matinee Adult – $20
> Pre-purchase Skating by the Sea Tickets
> Save Time and Print out the Ice Skating Waiver (PDF)

Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice – Gaslamp Quarter

Ice Skating in Horton Plaza - Sycuan's Fantasy on Ice

Ice skate in the heart of San Diego at Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice.

Located in the center of Downtown San Diego, Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice in the Gaslamp Quarter is a great place for a day or night out in San Diego. Stop by one of the many surrounding restaurants for a quick bite or sip on a warm drink from a cafe and then burn off those calories with a few laps around the ice rink. Stop by with that special someone on the weekend for one of the romantic night sessions complete with mood lighting and music while you skate.

A portion of the skating proceeds will benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego.

Location: Horton Plaza, 225 Broadway Circle, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: November 15, 2012 – January 6, 2013 (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Days)
Times:
– Monday-Thursday – 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
– Friday-Sunday – 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM and 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Night Session)
– Christmas Eve and New Years Eve – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Children (Under 12) – $12; Adults – $14; Season Pass – $35
> Pre-purchase Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice Tickets

Ice Skating at Viejas – East County

Ice Skaters at the Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego's East County

There’s plenty of room at the largest outdoor skating rink in Southern California.

San Diego’s East County is known for its wide open spaces, so that’s why Viejas Outlet Center decided to go big and build the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Southern California. Gather up the whole family and some friends to enjoy a day of shopping, hot chocolate and, of course, ice skating under the stars!

Location: Viejas Outlet Center, 5000 Willow Road, Alpine, CA 91901 (map)
Dates: November 16, 2012 – January 6, 2013
Times: Click here for daily times
Cost: Children (12 and under) – $10; Adults – $12; Groups of 10 or more $2 off each person
> Save Time and Print out the Ice Skating Waiver (PDF)

Ice Skating Year Round

For those looking for some ice skating fun year-round in San Diego, check out the San Diego Ice Arena (North County Inland), Kroc Center Ice Arena (San Diego), Iceoplex Escondido (North County Inland) and the UTC Ice Sports Center (La Jolla).

What are you waiting for, get out there and skate like Brian Boitano would!

Know of any other outdoor ice skating opportunities in San Diego this winter? Let us and others know in the comments below.

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Sparkling East County Holiday Delights!

Skiers at the Viejas Outdoor Skating Rink
Skiers at the Viejas Outdoor Skating Rink in San Diego's East County

SoCal’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at Viejas!

OK, I know it’s only a few days after Halloween and Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but the winter holidays will be here before you know it!

So gather up the family, grab your gift list, Santa hat and mittens (yep, there’s a 55 degree chill her in the air at night – brrrr! 😉 ) and join me on a jolly jaunt to San Diego’s charming East County communities. They really know how to make some merry.

Following are 5 to Try East County Holiday Delights:

1. 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade

Goose Float at the Mother Goose Parade in San Diego's East County

El Cajon’s Mother Goose Parade!

The colorful Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon is San Diego’s traditional holiday kick-off, featuring thousands of spectators, colorful floats, marching bands, equestrians and celebrity appearances – fun for the whole family!

Location: Begin at Magnolia and Main, head down Main St. to N. Second Street, turn North then end at Madison.
Date: November 18, 2012
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Parade starts at 10:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 66th Annual Mother Goose Parade

2. Julian’s Country Christmas Celebration & Tree Lighting

Julian Country Christmas & Tree Lighting.

The historic, Norman Rockwell-esque mountain town of Julian kicks off the holidays with a Country Christmas celebration & Tree Lighting, complete with costumed carolers, Santa Claus and, of course, their famous apple pies and piping hot apple cider!

Location: Julian’s Pioneer Park (map)
Date: November 24, 2012
Time: Starts at 4:00 PM. Lighting around 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Julian’s Country Christmas Celebration & Tree Lighting

3. Santa Train North Pole Limited

Santa on the North Pole Limited

Make tracks for the Santa Train North Pole Limited!

All aboard the Santa Train North Pole Limited, a Christmas vintage train ride through our rustic backcountry, departing from the Campo Depot. The adventure features Santa and his elves, cookies and hot cocoa, plus a reading of the famous holiday story, The Polar Express. Reserve seats now for this sell-out holiday favorite!

Location: State Highway 94 & Forrest Gate Road, Campo, CA (map)
Dates: Fridays and Saturdays, November 23 – December 22
Times: Trains at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM (depending on the date)
Cost: $20-$50, Toddlers under 2 are free
> Find out more about Santa Train North Pole Limited

4. Ice Skating at the Viejas Outlet Center

Ice Skaters at the Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego's East County

There’s plenty of room at the largest outdoor skating rink in Southern California.

The Peanuts Christmas special always comes to mind at the Viejas Outlet Center, home of the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Southern California!

Location: 5005 Willows Rd Suite 229, Alpine, CA 91901 (map)
Dates: November 16 – January 6, 2012
Time: TBD
Cost: TBD
> Find out more about Ice Skating at the Viejas Outlet Center 

5. Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival

Santa Claus at the Alpine Christmas Parade!

The quaint town of Alpine kicks off the season with its Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival, featuring a parade, Santa and his elves, caroling and a big snow mountain for sledding. Snow in San Diego… who knew?!

Location: 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine, CA (map)
Date: December 7, 2012
Time: Starts at 6:30 PM
> Find out more about the Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Festival

A hearty happy (early) “Ho ho ho” from San Diego! 🙂 Know of any other great East County Holiday events? Let us and other’s know in the comments below.

Sandra

A Season of Savings at Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego’s East County

Viejas Outlet Center

Holiday Fun at the Viejas Casino & Outlet Center

Being in the throes of this holiday season, people are always searching for one-stop-shopping opportunities to not only find the perfect gift but an outing the whole family can enjoy. One of the many festive shopping destinations in San Diego is the award-winning Viejas Outlet Center. Approximately 30 minutes from Downtown near the quaint town of Alpine, this outlet center features some fabulous go-to brands in a picturesque park-like setting creating the perfect place to conquer your holiday shopping list while you relax! During this holiday season, you can save up to 70% on already unbelievable prices on popular brands like Brooks Brothers, Chico’s Jones New York, Coach, Nine West, Tommy Hilfiger, Rue 21, Gap, Guess, Polo Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, Nike, Carter’s Children’s Wear, Vans, and Sunglass Hut, just to name a few!

Southern California's Largest Outdoor Ice Skating Rink

Once you master your holiday shopping list then maybe spend some time enjoying a magical experience of skating outdoors with the entire family on Southern California’s largest outdoor skating rink. This will be sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Once off the ice, stick around to see the enchanting water show called Together, A Holiday Spectacular! You will be dazzled with this 360 degree experience with water fountains, lasers, fire cannons, pyrotechnics, and state-of-the-art special effects, all choreographed to the best known and loved holiday music!

If the lighting, special effects and music does not get you in the holiday spirit, you might need to re-fuel yourself with a specialty coffee at Robin’s Coffee Nest or with a few pieces of chocolate from the Rocky Mt. Chocolate Factory. If you need a little bit more to energize your shopping goals then be sure to partake in the many choices of dining options at the outlet center. Two of my favorites are Nori Sushi Bar & Grill or Adriano’s Pizza.

No matter what your shopping list entails, Viejas Outlet Center will certainly fulfill your holiday shopping goals all while having fun with the whole family!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Coronado Holiday Delights

Just a bridge away, Coronado is full of sparkling surprises to put visitors in the holiday spirit and bring some smiles amidst the hustle and bustle of the season. Following are my five fav fun and festive finds from this fantasy island (say that five times fast!):

Gondolier at Loews Coronado Bay Resort

1. That’s amore! I love the Gondola Company at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, with their blissfully relaxing Venetian gondola rides through the Coronado Cays to view homes and boats festooned with holiday lights. It was pure magic as we glided over the calm bay waters, sipped cocktails and listened to the gondolier singing Christmas carols.

2.  Chocoholics unite… for not just any ol’ chocolate dessert. But a chocolate bread pudding with coconut (!) at Tartine, a charming French bistro & bakery near the Coronado Ferry Landing (1106 First St.). Decadent doesn’t even begin to describe how delicious this is. Dozens of other delectable desserts and pastries are made fresh daily (pick up some ginger snaps for Santa!).

3. Talk of the town. This yuletide, take a trip back in time with Coronado Touring. Hear riveting tales of dreamers and daredevils who turned a Christmas tree-less isle of jackrabbits into the shining crown city of today.  And discover insider secrets like a supposed tunnel connecting the Del and Glorietta Bay Inn (Santa’s shortcut?) and kelp ‘n sand dunes on the beach that spell “Coronado.”

The Del's 2010 collectible Christmas ornament.

4. Trim the tree. Each year the Hotel del Coronado debuts a collectible Christmas ornament. My coworker has a nifty Limoges-style one from 2008 that I can’t find on eBay (oh well). But you can still trim your tree with this year’s treasured glass creation. (Sidebar – Last-minute holiday shoppers: enjoy two hours of free metered parking on the island!)

5. Ice princess. The Del’s Skating by the Sea is simply surreal and incredibly cool with its postcard backdrop of palm trees, sun, sand and surf. Christmas doesn’t get any more SoCal than this. And it’s for a great cause too: portion of proceeds benefit Make-a-Wish Foundation. Ice is nice!

Kate

Oh Boy, It’s Nice On Ice

Skating by the Sea at the Del!

Skating With The Stars got you feeling inspired?  Want to live out your Blades of Glory fantasies?  We’ve got you covered!

While normally when you think San Diego you might think of surfing or skateboarding but, during the holiday season, this town goes crazy for cool with skating rinks in the most unexpected places.  Here are few spots where you can hit the ice:

  • The Hotel del Coronado offers an only-in-San Diego experience with Skating by the Sea, a seaside ice-skating rink nestled on the resort’s Windsor Lawn right by the sands of Coronado Beach and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Now through January 2, drop any day by for one of the afternoon skating sessions ($20 for adults, $15 for kids; $5 skate rental) or, if you’re brave, show up in your best Saturday Night Fever gear during Disco Nites on December 2, 9 and 16 and skate for free.
  • Would you rather skate in the city?  Downtown San Diego’s rink, Fantasy on Ice, located at Westfield Horton Plaza right by the Gaslamp Quarter, offers daily ice-skating 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. now through January 9.  Priced at $14 for adults, $12 for kids and skate rental is free.  As an added bonus, proceeds benefit Rady’s Children’s Hospital. 
  • Still have some shopping to do?  Save some bucks and sneak in a little skating, too.   Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego’s East County is home to awesome shopping deals and Southern California’s largest outdoor ice-skating rink.  They are open daily now through January 2 for afternoon and evening sessions. 
  • SeaWorld San Diego is also getting in on the icy action with an outdoor rink that’s part of their Christmas Celebration now through January 2.  Of course, you’ve got to pay park admission but then Shamu provides the skates and skating costs $10 an hour or $20 for the day (for most people; kids 3 and under are $5 per hour, $10 for the day).