Christmas in San Diego

With the holiday season in full effect, there is a litany of things to do around San Diego to put yourself in the festive spirit.
The best activity that perfectly sums up Christmas in San Diego is ice skating on the beach. At the Hotel del Coronado, ice skating is running from now through Jan. 1. Open to all ages it is set in a scenic area looking over the palm trees, sandy beach and the ocean. Tickets run from $30 online to $35 in person. Some on-site commodities include a lounge area outside of the rink with available snacks and drinks.
If you prefer the forest and mountains over the beach for ice skating, then Viejas Outlets up in Alpine will surely be the place to go. While the weather may be colder, there is also the option of shopping at outlet stores around the rink while attending. Tickets run $20 for adults and teens and $18 for kids 12 and under. A menu outside of the rink with holiday drinks and snacks is also available.
For a Christmas the whole family can enjoy, “Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at the Old Globe Theatre is a great choice. An annual thespian tradition, this play runs all through the end of December.
“This play is one of my favorite family traditions every year,” said Millaray Nora, a San Diego local.
“The production level is so good, and it brings us tons of joy every year. I’m hoping my kids keep doing this when they grow up and eventually with their own kids too.”
Ticket prices vary depending which show on which day you attend, and can be checked at
A great free event downtown is the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. This event takes place on Dec. 11 and 18 going all along the bay. Times vary depending on which location you go to, the earliest being Shelter Island at 5 p.m. and the latest being the Coronado Ferry Landing at 7 p.m. This is one of the busiest downtown Christmas events of the year and gets very busy, so carpooling is always suggested.
Emmy Johanne, a San Diego native, had some helpful tips for the parade: “I’ve been coming down here for years and can safely say that it will always be packed out no matter what. I try to tell people to come early and they never listen and miss out on the party. Always bring chairs and plenty of clothes to keep warm because it’ll be especially chilly the later it gets. Snacks are fun and there are certain areas you can even have a little fire and roast some marshmallows and warm up if you feel like it.”
San Diego has a wide range of Christmas light viewing areas if that is more your speed. Whether walking or driving through, these areas are great for any day of the week. Candy Cane Lane in Poway is one of the most popular areas to go, and runs 6 to 9 p.m., from now until Dec. 25. Also open through Dec. 15, Jingle Bell Hill in El Cajon runs 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Starlight Circle in Santee is a last great spot, running its lights from dusk to 10 p.m., now through Dec. 31.
Another fun downtown activity is in Petco Park at the Holiday Market. This is a European-style Christmas Market inside Gallagher Square at Petco Park, and runs now until Dec. 23. The price is $10 for kids and $14 for adults, and has a wide variation of decorations, small gifts, food stalls, photo opportunities and other various booths.
Michelle Odile was an attendee and gave her review on the market: “This is a newer San Diego event, but it’s a pretty cool thing they got going. It’s not something that’s mind-blowing or an all-day event, but if you plan it with something else going on downtown it makes for a good event that seems great for families or couples. I would tell someone probably getting some good pictures if you want a Christmas card too, there are some good spots around the park that are really cute.”
This is only the beginning of activities to do around Christmas in San Diego, and it is a very busy season. Making memories with a significant other or the family is essential for the holiday and doing at least one of these activities will make a great time and memory for everyone.