Odds are, it won’t be a white Christmas in Southern California this year. You’ll have to head to the mountains for that. But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of holiday spirit to go around in San Diego.
This is often a stressful time. The kids are out of school, there’s shopping to do, and celebrations to plan. Most of us have a lot going on right about now. But it’s important to take a step back, breathe deeply, and enjoy the spirit of the season. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite holiday activities for the whole family in and around San Diego.
Just because there’s no snow on the ground, that doesn’t mean there isn’t winter fun to be had. And when the sun’s out, what better time to strap on the skates hit the ice at one of the multiple outdoor ice skating rinks in the San Diego area? Hotel Del Coronado’s Skating by the Sea offers an incredible view and benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And the entry fee includes skate rental. The Viejas Casino and Resort has the biggest outdoor rink in all of Southern California. Fantasy on Ice has a new location this year at Liberty Station. And if that’s not enough, all proceeds go to support Rady Children’s Hospital’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. A great time for the whole family and great causes, and all of these spots stay open into January.
Holidays At LEGOLAND
LEGOLAND is one of our all-time favorite attractions. And there’s no better time to visit the brick-themed resort than the holidays. A life-sized LEGO Santa, with his trusty sleigh and reindeer, makes for a unique holiday photo opportunity. Between the live entertainment, delicious treats, and nightly lighting ceremony of the LEGO Christmas tree, there’s plenty of seasonal fun to be had. On December 31, the whole family can ring in 2017 with live music, a fireworks show, and other family friendly festivities.
Christmas Card Lane
Started back in 1982, Rancho Penasquitos’ annual Christmas Card Lane quickly became an enduring holiday tradition. With hundreds of households decking out their property in elaborate displays of lights and oversized Christmas cards, this is one of the absolute must-see holiday attractions in San Diego. Full of wonder and good cheer, when you visit Christmas Card Lane, consider carpooling. Congestion often becomes an issue, especially on weekends. And make sure to be considerate of the people who actually live there.
As if majestic animals aren’t enough of a draw, both the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld have holiday festivities planned to sweeten the deal. Jungle Bells at the Zoo may not be quite as wild as it sounds, but there’s plenty to do. Take a ride on the Twinkle Lights Trolley, listen to carolers, and gaze at animal light sculptures and giant illuminated puppets. All of this helps celebrate the holidays as well as the establishment’s 100-year anniversary. For the more aquatically inclined, SeaWorld offers a variety of holiday-themed shows featuring their animal stars. If you still want more, this year the park also features Rudolph’s Christmastown and many other holiday attractions.
Old Time Holiday
Running until December 23rd, you can pack up the whole family for a historic holiday at the Old Town State Historic Park. Located in the heart of Old Town, the park has been decked out to resemble Pueblo de San Diego and has a number of events planned throughout the month. In addition to decorations, carolers will roam through the park. On select Saturday and Sunday nights, a variety of choirs take the stage. The Battalion Historic Site is set to host a variety of musical performances December 19th-23rd. Later in the month, Bonfire Nights hosts carolers, performers, and even s’mores if you have a sweet tooth.
Parades, Parades, Parades!
We’re fortunate to live in a place where winter weather is generally mild. There’s no better way to take advantage of this fact of life than with a parade. And if you’re a fan, you’re in luck, because there are a bunch this time of year. The streets and even waterways are full from now until Christmas with parades of all stripes. There’s even a holiday pet parade if you want to dress Fido up like an elf or a reindeer. And the line-up includes America’s largest balloon parade on December 27, a massive spectacle that coincides with The Holiday Bowl.
These are just a few fun family holiday attractions in the area. There are countless others available to choose from. Let us know about your favorites that we might have skipped over in the comments below. (We’re just sorry we already missed fantastic annual events like Surfin’ Santa and December Nights in Balboa Park.)
Most importantly, have a happy and safe holiday season from all of us here at the Goldberg Jones family!