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

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


Top Things to Do in San Diego: Nov. 19 – 24, 2013

sycuan casino s anniversary celebration san diego

From whiskey and jazz to holiday parades, there’s something for visitors of all ages this week in San Diego. Here are some suggestions for the top things to do in San Diego from Nov. 19 – 24, 2013.

Gilbert Castellanos Jazz Jam

Gilbert Castellanos jazz jam at seven grand whiskey bar San Diego

Gilbert Castellanos was named Artist of the Year by the 2013 San Diego Music Awards

Named Artist of the Year at the 2013 San Diego Music Awards, trumpet virtuoso Gilbert Castellanos plays both classic jazz that harks back to another era and fresh and lively Latin Jazz. His weekly jam sessions at Seven Grand San Diego, a North Park bar specializing in whiskeys from around the globe, vintage cocktails and craft beer, is a steal with no cover charge.

Where: 3054 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
When: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Free
>Find out more about Seven Grand’s Weekly Jazz Jam 

Experience Sea Life in a Whole New Way with IMAX DEEP SEA

deep sea imax movie at the reuben h fleet science center balboa park san diego

Catch Deep Sea at The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s IMAX Theater

San Diego visitors may not be aware that Balboa Park’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center installed the very first IMAX dome theater which opened in 1973. To this day, the Fleet continues to impress families and film buffs with its showcase of high quality flicks like DEEP SEA, a 40-minute documentary narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet that offers a visually stunning look at rare and mystical sea life the Wolf Eel and Giant Pacific Octopus on a 76-foot dome screen.

Where: 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 21-30, 2013
Time:  11 a.m. (weekends), 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. showings daily
Cost:  $17 adults $14 youth (3-12) free for kids under 3 (includes admission to gallery)
>Find out more about Deep Sea at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Sycuan Celebrates 30 Years of Gaming

sycuan casino s anniversary celebration san diego

Sycuan’s anniversary features tribal traditions along with the gambling excitement.

The celebratory festivities at Sycuan Casino kick-off at 10 a.m. and include Vegas-style showgirls greeting guests, free gifts for all players, hourly cash giveaways totaling $30,000, and $300,000 in “must go” Bingo payouts including two brand new BMWs. Sacred ceremonial Bird Singers and Dancers will serenade and entertain guests at 6 p.m., after which Sycuan Tribal Chairman Daniel Tucker hosts a giant cake cutting service.

Where: 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon, CA 92019
When: November 23, 2013
Time: 10 a. m – 12 a.m.
Cost: Free
>Find out more about Sycuan’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

Paranormal Investigation of the Davis House

gaslamp museum at the william heath davis house san diego

The William Heath Davis House welcomes guests, both normal and paranormal.

Just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean that the haunting has stopped in San Diego. Amateur ghost hunters can join the pros as the San Diego Ghost Hunters take photos and video of paranormal activities inside the historic house, thought to be the Gaslamp Quaters’ most haunted destination. Advance reservations are required to join this spooky research outing.

Where: 410 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 23 and 24, 2013
Time: 10 p. m – 12 a.m.
Cost: $45
>Register to attend the Paranormal Investigation of the Davis House

67th Annual Mother Goose Parade

mother goose parade el cajon san diego east county

Bring the family to the annual Mother Goose Parade.

A cherished holiday tradition attracting thousands of spectators to the streets of El Cajon in San Diego’s East County, the Mother Goose Parade is the largest parade in the county and also the largest of its type west of the Mississippi. The big annual holiday kick-off celebration features more than 100 colorful and exciting parade entries, including whimsical floats, marching bands and drill units, eloquent equestrians, clowns, giant helium balloons, celebrities and of course, Santa Claus.

Where:  Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
When:  November 24, 2013
Time:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost:  Free
>See the details of the Mother Goose Parade

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.


Listen Live: “The Birth of the Cool” and Jazz in San Diego

This May, celebrate the birth of jazz legend Miles Davis (born May 26, 1926) with any number of great jazz joints and performances throughout San Diego. From the jazz purist to the jazz tourist, there is something for everyone. The key is to know what you are looking for, then finding the perfect fit.

For the Jazz Purist

They may not serve alcohol, but Dizzy’s definitely serves up an intoxicating line-up of heavy hitting jazz. On the eve of Davis’ birthday, check out a rare performance by the ESP Quintet – devoted to making music inspired by Miles’ creative, adventurous approach. Friday, May 25, 8:00 pm at McCrea Music Company.


For that Vintage/Modern Cool

There is no better place to celebrate Davis’ predilection for mixing retro cool with cutting edge modernity than Anthology. Both a throwback to the supper clubs of the 1940’s and a modern hot spot for some of the biggest jazz names, the ethos of Miles Davis permeates every inch of this unique establishment. Come celebrate the mark of Miles with the jazz fusion of bass master John Patitucci with the John Patitucci Trio. Friday, May 25, 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm.

For the Love of Latin Fusion

Speaking of fusion, here in San Diego we love our Latin Jazz and delight in the opportunity to see Grammy Award-winner Poncho Sanchez lead the most popular Latin Jazz group in the world today at the Birch North Park Theatre. May 19, 8:00 pm.

For the Sax Man

Discover a powerful story about a powerful instrument with the Sound of the Sax Exhibition Opening & Charles McPherson Concert at the Museum of Making Music. It’s the story of jazz, unleashed, free to roam and improvise like never before. May 19, Exhibition Opening Reception – 5:30 pm, Charles McPherson Concert – 7:00 pm. Sound of Sax exhibit open May 19, 2012 – January 3, 2013.

For Jazz Every Night

A tribute to the late singer-songwriter Jim Croce, Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar has been a San Diego institution since it opened in the Gaslamp Quarter in 1985. The restaurant honors his life and music with great food, wine, hospitality and complimentary live jazz every night in the bar. Enjoy!

In the early 1950s Miles Davis challenged the dominance of bebop and hard bop with his album, The Birth of the Cool and helped usher in a new era of cool jazz. On the night of his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Ashley Kahn (author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, Da Capo 2000) wrote in the dinner journal: “With an ear that disregarded categories of style, he sought out new musical worlds, and generations followed in his footsteps. While the creative rush and experimental charge that come to most musicians in youth eventually run down, Davis held an exploratory edge for most of his 65 years.”


5 to Try This Weekend

1. San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival: The event, held from November 23-27 at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center features a wide variety of traditional jazz, Dixieland and swing styles, attracting jazz lovers from around the globe.

2. Holiday of Lights at Del Mar: Everyone is invited to drive their cars around the infield racetrack of the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar to view more than 350 dazzling holiday light displays. Holiday Lights runs from November 24-January 1, 2012.

3. Legoland Tree Lighting Ceremony: Tony Hawk will put down his board and flip a switch lighting the World’s Largest LEGO Christmas Tree at LEGOLAND California. After the 30-foot-tall LEGO tree is lit, fireworks will light up the sky and snow showers Park guests from above kicking off LEGOLAND California’s month-long Holiday Snow Days.

4. Julian Country Christmas and Tree Lighting: Julian comes alive during this annual holiday celebration with costumed strolling carolers, the scent of freshly baked apple pie and Santa Claus arriving aboard a fire engine for the festive tree lighting ceremony.

5. Jesus Christ Superstar: La Jolla Playhouse presents the acclaimed Stratford Shakespeare Festival Production of Jesus Christ Superstar from November 18 – December 31, 2011. This ground-breaking rock opera, which reinvented musical theatre for the modern age, tells the story of the last week of Christ’s life.