Holiday Events in San Diego You Shouldn’t Miss

If you tend to associate the holidays with falling snow, frosty windowpanes, and bundling up to go shopping in frigid weather, then maybe Southern California isn’t the first place you think of when the yuletide season rolls around. 

Still, just like everything else, San Diego has its own special way of doing this time of year that’s entirely our own. We may not be overflowing with big cups of hot cocoa, but we are full up with great events just as sure to fill you with warm cheer. 

Here are just some of the can’t-miss events happening in and around San Diego to help celebrate the season.   

Liberty Station (1 mile away)

Liberty Station is a place where locals and visitors can convene to meet, shop, dine, and enjoy entertainment. It’s really a “town square” of sorts for the city, drawing millions of visitors every year. And it truly comes alive during the holidays. Liberty Station’s “Salute the Season” celebration offers visitors a wide range of events and occasions where they can mix and mingle and enjoy the yuletide spirit.

2850 Womble Road San Diego CA 92106

Holiday at SeaWorld (4 miles away, December 14 through January 3)

Families have made San Diego’s SeaWorld a treasured holiday destination for decades. The park’s seasonal celebrations are always a treat for the whole crew, featuring lovely lights displays, entertainment, and all the marine life exhibits that have fascinated generations. This year, SeaWorld brings back holiday attractions like Rudolph’s Christmastown, the Winter Wonderland on Ice show, and Sesame Street Christmas Village. 

500 Sea World Dr, San Diego, CA 92109

Taste Of December Nights at Balboa Park (3.8 miles away, December 4th – 6th)

Enjoy a safe spin on a local holiday classic with Taste Of December Nights at Balboa Park! The event is a drive thru experience offering guests an array of treats and sweets they would normally enjoy at December Nights by local vendors. There will be over 20 food trucks and vendors offering the best items on their menus. While this will be the first time in 40 years, December Nights isn’t taking place, we think this safe spin is a fantastic idea!

Holidays In Your Car at Del Mar (20 miles away, December 5th – January 2nd)

Take in over 100,000 stunning holiday lights from the comfort and safety of your car this season during Holidays In Your Car at the Del Mar Fairground! Tickets must be purchased in advance and certain days even yield a fun holiday show for kids!

Gaslamp Quarter Holiday Pet Parade (5 miles away, December 13) – CANCELLED

The Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade returns for its 13th year, and so do all of the adorable animal companions. Pets of every variety imaginable will be donning their colorful costumes for a trip down Gaslamp’s main street, strutting their stuff for an appreciative crowd of onlookers. The parade will start under the iconic Gaslamp Archway before convening at MLK Promenade Park. Once there, prizes will be awarded for the proudest pets. There will also be vendors, food, and entertainment on hand to keep the spirits bright.

401 K Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Lane Field Park Market (5.3 miles away)

Good old-fashioned street fairs are always a great time. That’s what makes this event such a special one. Some of San Diego’s best street-food vendors will be on hand to serve classic grab-and-go fare in a convivial festival-feel environment at the Lane Field Park Market. Nibble your way along one of the most beautiful stretches of oceanfront in a city filled with little but, play a few outdoor lawn games, enjoy some live music, and celebrate the spirit of SoCal.

1009 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights (6 miles away, December 13 and 20) – CANCELLED

The Bay Parade of Lights is a uniquely San Diego tradition, returning for its 49th year. Area boating enthusiasts deck out their dinghies and give their yachts a yuletide makeover, then cruise past the shore in a brilliantly beautiful show of seasonal splendor. This year’s theme is the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” so spectators can no doubt look forward to ladies dancing, pipers piping, and pear-tree-perched partridges aplenty. Aho-ho-hoy, there!

Cesar Chavez Park, 1449 Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy, San Diego, CA 92101

Noah Homes’ Enchanted Village (19 miles)

Enjoy a joyful display of holiday brilliance at Noah HomesEnchanted Village. The Village has become a drive-through event for 2020 in order to remain as safe and socially distanced as it is festive. Experience 100,000 brilliant holiday lights, interactive displays, and unique decorations from the safety of your vehicle. As always, proceeds from ticket sales will directly benefit Noah Homes’ programs for the developmentally disabled, so your attendance is a great way to enjoy the spirit of giving, as well. 

12526 Campo Rd, Spring Valley, CA 91978

LEGOLAND Holiday Celebration (30 miles away, December 15 through 31)

Escape into a toy-filled fantasy realm at LEGOLAND this holiday. The entire park is trimmed in seasonal finery, and features special characters, events, shows, and more. The centerpiece is a 30-foot LEGO Christmas tree complete with lights and more than 400 hand-built LEGO ornaments. LEGO Santa will also be in attendance, so make sure to take plenty of photos! 

One Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008