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! 🙂

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Robert Arends

Merry Mission Bay for the Holidays!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

The holidays are just around the corner and there’s no better place to be than San Diego’s sparkling Mission Bay where distinctly California festivities await!

Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Parade of Lights

Mission Bay lights up December 13 during the Parade of Lights

Everybody loves a holiday parade. But in San Diego, they don’t just happen in the streets. A unique maritime way to make some merry this holiday season is the popular Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on December 13, featuring dozens of boats festooned with holiday lights and décor sailing around Mission Bay.

All are welcome to this free aquatic pageant which attracts tens of thousands of spectators to the shoreline.

The boat parade begins at 7:00 PM from the Quivira Basin. The best viewing spots are from Crown Point, Santa Clara Point Park (by Sail Bay), the east side of Vacation Island and west side of Fiesta Island. Check out this map of Mission Bay to scope out the area beforehand.

When: December 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

Twinkling Holiday Skytower at SeaWorld

Twinkling Holiday Skytower at SeaWorld

Also on Mission Bay, SeaWorld San Diego makes a big splash with its annual Christmas Celebration, beginning this Saturday. Festivities include Christmas-themed animal shows, holiday décor throughout the park, Santa’s Cottage for the kids, the 320-ft. Skytower Christmas Tree of Lights and SnowWorld, a winter wonderland with hills of snow for kids to sled down and practice making snowballs. Yep, it snows in San Diego! (we just have to make it 😉

SnoWorld at SeaWorld!

SnowWorld at SeaWorld San Diego!

When: November 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Cost: Included with Admission
> Find out more about SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration

Mission Bay Hotel Holiday Deals

After a jolly day on the bay, rest your head at one of these top 5 tropical waterfront resorts that dot the shoreline:

See you this holiday season in Mission Bay! 🙂

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! 🙂

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’s the world’s 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 ½ 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 ½ 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’s 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!

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!

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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! 🙂

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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.

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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 3–11 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon–11 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 5–9 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’t miss the San Diego Floral Association’s 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 “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’s choir performances. The San Diego Civic Dance Company will present Rockettes-style routines, while a puppet version of “The Christmas Carol” 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’s 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.–midnight on Friday and from 11:30 a.m.–midnight 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 – 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.

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Robert Arends

Find a Unique Holiday Gift While Shopping in Charming Coronado!

Orange Avenue on Coronado
Orange Avenue on Coronado

Coronado’s Orange Avenue, a shopper’s delight!

What, you haven’t finished your holiday shopping?! No worries…Santa’s elves in Coronado, across the bridge from downtown San Diego, have a stocking full of gift ideas you won’t find anywhere else.

Skip the crowded malls and head to Coronado’s charming Christmas tree-lined main street, Orange Avenue, to discover delightful boutique shops and galleries selling all sorts of unique gifts. Following are some of my favorites:

Shorelines Gallery

Shorelines Gallery on Coronado

Shorelines’ one-of-a-kind gifts include colorful Spiritiles.

The new Shorelines Gallery sells handcrafted jewelry, glass art, chic home decor and exclusive art collectibles like the colorfully playful Spiritiles (as in “Spirit” – “tiles”).

Location: 918 Orange Ave (map)
Website: www.slsdgallery.com

Art and Frames by Wood Gallery

Populous Hotel Del by Craig Alan

Craig Alan’s people-pleasing Hotel del Coronado painting.

Art and Frames by Wood Gallery features paintings and sculptures by local and world-renowned artists. I especially love Craig Alan’s fantastical people paintings. His depiction of The Del (see above) is brilliant!

Location: 936 Orange Avenue (map)
Website: www.artcoronado.com

Coronado Taste of Oils

Coronado Taste of Oils

Coronado Taste of Oils – yum!

For the foodie, Coronado Taste of Oils sells delicious gourmet olive oils and fine aged vinegars. Tastings are Free. The Red Apple Balsamic is off the charts!

Location: 954 Orange Avenue (map)
Website: www.coronadotasteofoils.com

Emerald City

Hang ten at Emerald City surf shop. Next Monday, Dec. 17 through Friday, Dec. 21, the entire store is 20% off. Cowabunga!

Location: 1118 Orange Avenue (map)
Website: www.emeraldcitysurf.com

The Latests in Fashion

La Mer Boutique

Lovely La Mer for women’s fashions.

For fashionistas, there’s the hip new Studio 12-20, Pretty Please Fashion and upscale women’s boutique, La Mer.

Jackrabbits

Hop to the new Jackrabbits for home & garden décor, vintage handbags, antique toys and beach-themed items.

Location: 1017 Isabella Avenue (map)
Website: www.coronadofurnitureconsignments.com

Coronado Holiday Guide

2012 Coronado Holiday Guide

While shopping, be sure to pick up the new Coronado Holiday Guide, chock full of gift ideas, holiday happenings, happy hours and more. You can also download it off the Chamber of Commerce’s homepage.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the greatest gift of all: free two-hour metered parking through Dec. 28!

Now that’s the holiday spirit!