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5 Things To Do In San Diego For The Holiday Season

a traffic light hanging from a tree

San Diego has all the Christmas lights and celebrations if you’re looking for a special holiday vacation with pleasant temperatures and no snow. San Diego is lovely in December, with highs in the mid-60s and, on average, four days of rain during the month. You’ll find various holiday activities, inside and out, that will keep your party entertained and busy.

Celebrating the Holidays in San Diego

San Diego might have a tropical climate, but the community still goes all out for the December holidays. Balboa Park takes on a theme each year. 2023, the park will celebrate Whoville and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Little Italy has a 25-foot tower of poinsettias to celebrate the season. Liberty Station plans a Hanukkah celebration with a public Menorah candle lighting on the first night. There are dozens of parades, including a pet parade showcasing dog and human fashion. Petco Park features a Holiday Market with reindeer encounters, carnival rides, photo ops, and more. Take a drive into the mountains if you’re looking for some snow. San Diego has everything you could imagine for the holidays.

San Diego Bay Parade

The San Diego Bay Parade is one of the most beloved traditions in the town. This year’s theme is “Christmas Traditions Around The World.” The parade features boats beautifully decorated to celebrate the holiday. The parade lasts around two hours. You can catch the parade on dry land or take a holiday cruise on the water to enjoy the twinkling lights. San Diego weather in December is typically enjoyable, with temperatures in the mid-60s during the day. On average, it only rains about four days in December. The dates for 2023’s parade are December 10th and 17th.

a group of fireworks in the sky

Botanic Garden Lights

San Diegans don’t let rain stop one of their most popular events, the Lightscape at the Botanic Gardens. Purchase tickets early because they do sell out fast. It takes about 90 minutes to go through the trail, but you can spend as long as you like enjoying the lights. Don’t forget a warm cup of hot cocoa as you stroll through the garden.

Holidays at Legoland

From mid-November through the first week of January, Legoland offers seasonal shows and characters to celebrate the holidays with all things Lego. Take pictures with Santa, the Toy Soldier, or a Gingerbread Man for next year’s holiday cards. Legoland is considered one of the best holiday events in San Diego. It’s inside, so no worries about rain or bad weather. And everyone loves Legos.

Coronado Light Show

The Coronado light show is a free event that takes place every 30 minutes from 5 pm to 9 pm nightly. It lasts 10 minutes, but it’s a spectacle that gets an update every year. This year’s music is a 1920s jazz soundtrack that matches the light show. You may need to wear your parka because the finale features snow flurries. You don’t need reservations, but parking may be at a premium.

Enjoy San Diego’s Best in December

Not all events in San Diego focus on the holidays. The best months to see whales in San Diego are mid-December to March, when the gray whales migrate from Alaska along the West Coast, past San Diego, and on their way to Mexico for warmer weather. When celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or one of the many other winter holidays, book a whale-watching tour with Next Level Sailing. Enjoy San Diego on the ocean to learn more about whales, sea life, and the environment and appreciate whales’ place in the world. Don’t forget to bring a thermos with hot apple cider for a fun treat on the water!