This Winter Holiday season, explore all the new and notable things happening in San Diego, from restaurant and museum openings to “prehistoric” events and historic recognitions.
A Very Furry Christmas
When: Thru Jan. 8, 2023
A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place San Diego is a festive, family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland filled with holiday magic and surprises. Celebrate the season with Sesame Street Christmas shows, the Sesame Street Christmas Parade, the Furry Friends Christmas Dance Party, and exciting rides.
SeaWorld Christmas Celebration
When: Thru Jan. 8, 2023
The SeaWorld Christmas Celebration returns to SeaWorld San Diego, where you can enjoy live entertainment, delicious and festive food and drinks, and eye-catching displays, including the iconic 320-foot SkyTower Tree of Lights.
When: Thru Apr. 16, 2023
Walk through the world-famous “Jurassic World” gates and explore richly themed environments. Encounter life-sized Velociraptors, a Brachiosaurus, and the most fearsome dinosaur of all, the Tyrannosaurus rex, at Jurassic World: The Exhibition.
Arts & Culture
Alexis Smith: The American Way
When: Thru Feb. 5, 2023
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla location presents Alexis Smith: The American Way, the first retrospective of California artist Alexis Smith in 30 years. Featuring work produced throughout the artist’s career, from the 1970s to the 2010s, the exhibition highlights the themes that permeate the artist’s oeuvre, including her interests in gender, identity and class.
Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center
The Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center is now open in Barrio Logan; its inaugural exhibition is the premiere of a collective historical narrative of Chicano Park and Logan Heights titled “PILLARS: Stories of Resilience and Self-Determination.”
La Jolla Music Society’s 54th Season
La Jolla Music Society has launched its 54th season with a series of exciting debuts at The Conrad in La Jolla. From jazz and Americana to the finest in chamber music, the 2022–23 season offers many chances to discover new talent and welcome some of today’s greatest musical artists.
When: Thru Jan. 1, 2023
The internationally acclaimed Lightscape show is illuminating the San Diego Botanic Garden. The enchanting, after-dark, illuminated trail spans a full mile and features a festive world of wonder, with over 1 million twinkling lights. Attendees will enjoy eye-catching artistic installations that come alive at night with color, imagination and sound.
Caught on Camera
See squirrels mid-leap, bobcats in backyards, and native species you may have never heard of. Caught on Camera: Wildlife When No One’s Watching at the San Diego Natural History Museum’s top-floor photography gallery features remarkable images of Southern California wildlife “caught” on film with the help of camera traps set up by scientists, photographers and other curious people.
San Diego Symphony
The San Diego Symphony’s 2022 holiday programming kicks off with performances at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park. This year the symphony will perform three of its signature “Noel, Noel” concerts, as well as “Holiday Movies in Concert” and a special presentation of the Vienna Boys Choir at the Balboa Theatre.
New Restaurants, Breweries and Bars
Where: 401 W. Ash St, San Diego, CA 92101
San Diego’s largest winery, Carruth Cellars, has returned to Little Italy with a new tasting room location at the boutique Carté Hotel. Just steps from the waterfront, the new indoor/outdoor tasting room features Carruth’s bold, award-winning, California-style wines by the glass, flight and bottle. Plus, there’s a complementary menu that includes the winery’s signature cheese board, in addition to exclusive Carté Hotel menu items.
Where: 2550 5th Ave, 12th Floor, San Diego, CA 92103
Mister A’s reopened its doors in Bankers Hill in October after being sold to new ownership. The remodeled restaurant contains a 180-seat main dining room, a brand-new, 18-seat bar and a 72-seat indoor-outdoor lounge. The dishes lean more toward plant-based cookery and there are far more share plates for guests to enjoy while taking in one of the best views of San Diego.
Mabel’s Gone Fishing
Where: 3770 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
Mabel’s Gone Fishing serves up Iberian coastal cuisine with San Diego/Baja ingredients and pours a gin-forward cocktail and natural wine program. Most of their ever-changing, seasonal dishes are based around seafood, including bycatch or less popular but more sustainable local varieties.
Where: 5680 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Paradisaea, a restaurant and cocktail bar, opened in the seaside neighborhood of Bird Rock after four years in the making. With a background in Michelin-starred dining, culinary director Mark Welker made the menu based on seasonal ingredients, ranging from white sea-bass crudo with Thai basil, finger lime, strawberries, and chile de arbol oil to summer squash with crispy sheep’s milk dumplings, pistachios, capers and mint, and pasture-raised roast chicken with seasonal greens, croutons and chimichurri.
Where: 467 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Zama brings Latin American cuisine with an Asian infusion to San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Against the extravagant backdrop of the lush, jungle-inspired space, Zama’s menu and beverage program focuses on Latin American foods and cocktails, highlighting refreshing, exotic ingredients such as pineapple, coconut and hibiscus.
Where: 3040 Science Park Rd, San Diego, CA 92121
Gold Finch, a modern Jewish delicatessen in the heart of Torrey Pines, opened in September, bringing both Ashkenazi and Sephardic-style cooking to La Jolla. Gold Finch’s menu is a love letter honoring Jewish immigrant cuisine and blends regional influences as well as the owner’s family recipes.
Xin Chao Eatery
Where: 3545 Del Mar Heights Rd, Unit C-5, San Diego, CA 92130
Xin Chao Eatery brings Vietnamese food to the Del Mar Highlands Town Center. The restaurant specializes in a small menu of popular favorites, including pho, so they can focus on making each dish excellent. Xin Chao Eatery’s house special pho consists of a tender, fall-off-the-bone back rib with a good portion of filet mignon, meatballs and brisket, plus wide or thin rice noodles in a fragrant, long-simmered pho broth.
Villa One™ Tequila Gardens
Where: 701 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Inaugurated by Nick Jonas, Villa One™ Tequila Gardens brings elevated cocktails, an impressive collection of more than 160 Tequilas and Mezcals, and modern Mexican fare together with breathtaking views from the rooftop of Theatre Box in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter. Created in partnership with singer and actor Jonas and fashion designer John Varvatos, the stylish new rooftop bar, restaurant and nightlife destination offers over-the-top and tableside cocktails and margaritas, and a menu of fresh, flavorful Mexican cuisine.
Where: 5322 Banks St, San Diego, CA 92110
The Gärten, nestled in San Diego’s Bay Park neighborhood, invites visitors into its spacious 2,500-square-foot biergarten-style patio, where they can explore a wide range of craft beers, mead and sparkling wines not available elsewhere, as well as artisanal pizza and more made-from-scratch eats. The Gärten’s vendors, all partners in the project, include Deft Brewing, Lost Cause Meadery, Pizza Cassette and Oddish Wine.
Munchies Food Club
Where: 1151 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Munchies Food Club joins Pacific Beach’s neighborhood as the newest outdoor food court and neighborhood hangout spot, dreamed up by the creative team behind Good Time Design hospitality group. Munchies Food Club brings an assortment of concepts to the open-air dining area, starting with Lucky’s at the Beach and Manivela Coffee, with additional food and beverage concepts slated to join the club soon.
Where: 6030 Village Way, Suite 108, San Diego, CA 92130
Cheese Garden has opened in Carmel Valley at the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch Center. The popular dessert chain, known for its trendy Japanese cheesecakes — also known as cotton cheesecakes because of their fluffy, cloudlike texture — will also offer a variety of other dairy-based desserts, including a Double Fromage Cheesecake that layers frozen mascarpone cream on top of a baked cream-cheese filling and a base of cheese sponge cake.
Where: 555 W. Beech St, San Diego, CA 92101
Fisher’s Group, with 31 locations around the globe, brings its latest seafood eatery to San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood in December. Fisher’s San Diego introduces an avant-garde Mexican seafood cuisine, offering an inviting atmosphere with a coastal touch. The new, 8,700-square-foot restaurant features an oyster and raw seafood bar, and an extensive menu offering everything from tacos and chilaquiles to expertly prepared coastal seafood delicacies.
Alejandra’s Fine Mexican Food & Cantina
Where: 6996 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Grand Restaurant Group, the team behind Nick & G’s, Bellamy’s, Cork & Knife, and DiCicco’s, opens its most recent venture, Alejandra’s Fine Mexican Food & Cantina, in Carlsbad this winter. The 5,600-square-foot restaurant will include indoor and outdoor seating and two bars with upscale Mexican food and cocktails.
The Gaslamplighter, a karaoke and cocktail bar, will land in the Gaslamp Quarter early next year. The bar will feature a list of classic and contemporary cocktails as well as a menu of bar bites and shareable plates. Operating Tuesday through Sunday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., the bar will host karaoke on its main stage, with guests able to make reservations for individual singing slots. There will also be occasional live music programming, with a mix of local acoustic artists and nationally known names.
Awards and Recognitions
#3 Best Big Cities
Conde Nast Traveler readers ranked San Diego #3 among Best Big Cities in the publication’s The Best Cities in the U.S.: 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards. The popular travel publication highlighted San Diego’s beaches, food and beautiful climate.
Time Out Magazine ranked San Diego’s Barrio Logan #6 in its article “The 51 coolest neighborhoods in the world,” for which the publication polled 20,000 city-dwellers and grilled local experts to rank the greatest places for fun, food, culture and community. The article highlighted Barrio Logan’s vibrant and historic Mexican-American culture.
San Diego International Airport (SAN) added nonstop service to Provo, Utah, via Provo Municipal Airport (PVU) on Allegiant Air through Jan. 3, 2023. Flights operate two times weekly, on Thursdays and Sundays.
Frontier Airlines will add seasonal nonstop service to Orlando, Fla., via Orlando International Airport (MCO) through Jan. 3, 2023. Flights operate daily.