Warm up the car, fill a thermos to the brim with hot chocolate, pack some cookies and head out with the family for an evening of twinkling Christmas lights in San Diego.
Please note, some light displays and events are weather dependent.
Here are just a few of San Diego’s Christmas Lights highlights:
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
More than 80 lavishly decorated boats will sail over the calm waters of the Big Bay during the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. The parade starts at Shelter Island and makes it way down to the Ferry Landing on Coronado. Make sure to arrive early at one of the viewing spots that include: Harbor Island, Shelter Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village and along the pathway on Coronado.
Dates: Sundays, December 13 and 20, 2015
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
> Find out more about San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
Dozens of vessels will take to the waters of Mission Bay with decorations and lights aboard. Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot on Crown Point, the east side of Vacation Island or the west side of Fiesta Island.
Date: December 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
> Find out more about Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights
Fishing boats, sailboats, yachts, kayaks and dingys dressed up in holiday swag and circle the Oceanside Harbor to enchant onlookers at the harbor, restaurants and beach. Many of the boats feature people dressed up like Santa waving to the crowd. One of the best viewing spots is along the side of the Oceanside Harbor near the fishing dock and police station. From this vantage point, you can see the parade twice!
Where: Oceanside Harbor, Oceanside, CA 92054
When: December 12, 2015
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 PM
> Find out more about the Oceanside Parade of Lights
Garden of Lights
After the sun goes down in December, the Garden is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 100,000 sparkling lights illuminating the Garden for a magical holiday experience! Join in the fun that includes horse-drawn wagon rides, holiday crafts, marshmallow roasting, visits with Santa, live music, refreshments and hot mulled wine and snow (on select nights).
Location: 230 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA 92024
Dates: December 5-30, 2015 (Closed December 24-25)
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Garden of Lights
Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park
Holiday Wonderland is back at Petco Park! Get in the holiday spirit than to walk through magical lighting displays themed around some of the holiday’s most iconic scenes, ride the polar express, take a picture with Santa or gather around a 40′ tree.
Where: 100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
When: Friday-Sunday – December 4-23, 2015
Time: 4:30 to 9:30 PM
> Find out more about Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park
DELights in the Patio
The Hotel del Coronado’s patio will be transformed into a winter wonderland of holiday sights, smells and sounds with a shimmering array of icy colors, dazzling snowflakes, whimsical polar bears and a stunning video mapping light show projected onto a 40’ multi-faceted tree.
Where: 1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: November 26, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Time: 4:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $25. Free for resort guests
> Find out more about DELights in the Patio
Christmas Lights at San Diego Attractions
- SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration
When: November 21, 2015 – January 3, 2016
- LEGOLAND Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights
When: December 1-31, 2015
- Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo
When: December 12, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Local Christmas Lights Highlights
Belardo Lights in Tierrasanta
A labor of love by two parents for their two sons with autism, the Schimka family has been lighting up Belardo Drive for the past seven years while raising money for the National Foundation for Autism Research. The display, which is synchronized to the music on 106.1 FM, has grown tremendously over the years!
Location: 5306 Belardo Drive, San Diego, CA 92124
Dates: November 28 – December 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free, please consider making a donation
> Find out more about Belardo Lights in Tierrasanta
Presented in a loving memory of a father who loved Christmas, DB Lights is an amazing display of more than 25,000 lights synchronized to music.
Where: 9773 Roe Dr, Santee, CA 92071
When: December 1, 2015 – January 1, 2015
> Find out more about DB Lights
Christmas on Knob Hill
Christmas on Knob Hill began in 1988 and is now one of the largest Christmas light displays in San Diego county! Over 30 years, the display has grown to over 85,000 lights with a special visit from Santa every year.
Where: 1639 Knob Hill Rd., San Marcos, CA 92069
When: November 26 – December 30, 2015
> Find out more about Christmas on Knob Hill
Popular San Diego Neighborhoods with Christmas Lights
There are plenty of San Diego neighborhoods who collectively get into the holiday spirit with entire blocks lit up with Christmas lights. San Diego Family Magazine has collected all the locations on one printout you can download via the link below.
Know of any other great Christmas lights in San Diego or have any updates to the ones listed above? Let us and others know in the comments below.