San Diego Holiday Events - One Paseo
Credit: Enjet Media
San Diego Holiday Events - One Paseo
Credit: Enjet Media

11 Fun and Festive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in San Diego

San Diego Is All Things Merry and Bright This Winter Season!

The holidays are a time truly unlike any other. With glittering light shows, a chill in the air, family flying in and annual traditions in tow, the city of San Diego has so much in store to help make this treasured time of year feel magical. What this SoCal staple city lacks in snowfall it more than makes up for in fun and festivities that every member of the family can enjoy. Read on to see our picks for the very best holiday activities San Diego has to offer for 2022.


One Paseo Holiday Festivities

When: Nov. 26-Dec. 31

One Paseo - San Diego Holiday Events
Credit: Enjet Media


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Nestled just outside of the heart of Del Mar, One Paseo is a sprawling yet charming town center filled with all the shopping and dining destinations one could desire. This year, they’re joining in on the holiday happenings with more than a few activities to send spirits soaring. Kicking off the season, One Paseo’s annual tree-lighting ceremony will feature a dazzling light display, live performances and snow cascading from the rooftops. This is just the start, however, as the village will have ongoing festivities every Friday and Saturday, including its December Nights celebrations, where the village transforms into a winter wonderland for shoppers and diners to soak in the Christmas cheer. The festivities are endless–think cozy movie nights under the moonlight, cocoa with Santa and more! And when it comes to any last-minute gift-grabbing, One Paseo is the perfect place to shop with its mix of boutiques and flagship stores.


Holidays at the Catamaran Resort Hotel

When: Nov. 1-Dec. 31

Nothing says “Season’s greetings” in San Diego quite like a warm cup of hot cocoa while cruising the moonlit waters of San Diego’s iconic Mission Bay. At the Catamaran Resort Hotel, visitors can do exactly that this holiday season! Climb aboard the resort’s famous Bahia Belle sternwheeler to enjoy carols and cocoa while you soak in an ocean breeze. You can also take part in any of the resort’s holiday happenings, including cookie decorating classes, holiday happy hour and its dazzling holiday light show and boat parade.



Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado

When: Nov. 17-Jan. 1

While ice skating is a staple in the realm of timeless holiday traditions, nobody does it quite like the hospitable team at Hotel del Coronado. One of the only beachfront ice rinks in the area, visitors can expect the sound of their skates gliding across the ice to be accompanied by crashing waves, rolling tides and pristine, oceanfront sunsets, making Skating by the Sea the quintessential SoCal ice skating experience.



Snow N Glow Holiday Festival at Del Mar Fairgrounds

When: Dec. 8-Jan. 1

San Diego Holiday Events - Snow N Glow
Credit: Snow N Glow

While snowy holiday fun comes in short supply in Southern California, it arrives in abundance on Dec. 8 thanks to Del Mar FairgroundsSnow N Glow Holiday Festival. This sprawling winter wonderland features holiday treats, private igloo rentals, a light display featuring over one million individual lights and even a giant snow tubing hill with real snow! What SoCal lacks in natural icy escapades, Snow N Glow more than makes up for.


Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village

When: Dec. 3

San Diego Holiday Events - Little Italy
Photography Provided By: The Little Italy Association

Little Italy is home to some of the most decadent and delicious dining in all of San Diego, but once a year, every year, this Italian enclave transforms into a magical maze of light-strewn streets, Santa hat-clad pedestrians and holiday cheer in the form of the Little Italy Christmas Village. Featuring two magnificent, 25-foot trees, dozens of shops, restaurants and booths plus a whole array of holiday decor, a stroll through the Little Italy Christmas Village is sure to instill the spirit of the season in any lucky passerby.



San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

When: Dec. 11 and Dec. 18

San Diego Holiday Events
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

While there are tons of holiday festivities to enjoy in sunny San Diego, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is among the most iconic. A true can’t-miss spectacle, the parade spans the entire width of downtown San Diego’s bayfront and features over 80 different illuminated vessels shining out upon the water, each decorated with loads of lights and wreaths for spectators to enjoy. Don’t miss out on this over half a century-long tradition, for its equal parts timeless and spectacular.


The Carlsbad Village Makers Market Holiday Showcase

When: Dec. 3

Shopping during the holidays can be stressful, but a thoughtful, heartfelt gift is always worth the hassle. On Dec. 3, locals can visit the ever-popular The Carlsbad Village Makers Market Holiday Showcase to shop handmade artisan goods from local vendors. With everything from bags to jewelry to delicious sweets and treats, this one-of-a-kind market is the perfect place to shop, snack and revel in the holiday spirit.


Lightscape at San Diego Botanic Garden

When: Nov. 18-Jan. 1

Credit: San Diego Botanic Garden

After touring all over the world in some of the biggest cities, Lightscape is finally making its way to San Diego! This incredible display of lights, artwork, fire and ice spans more than 35 acres of the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, making it one of the largest holiday light displays in the area. Tickets are on sale now, so grab them quickly if you want to experience a world of color and sound that is sure to be nothing short of magical.


December Nights at Balboa Park

When: Dec. 2-3

December Nights Balboa Park - San Diego Holiday Events
Credit: Michael Warburton

Balboa Park is undoubtedly one of the most iconic landmarks in all of San Diego, and with its sprawling grounds, natural beauty and world-renowned museums, it is easy to see why. But what’s more is that every year for two days, this beautiful park gets transformed into a magnificent holiday festival dubbed December Nights. Featuring twinkling light displays throughout the entire park, live entertainment and dozens of attractions, this festival is sure to have something for every member of the family.


San Diego Santa Run

When: Dec. 10

Credit: Thomas Park on Unsplash

For those seeking a way to burn off those extra calories leftover from Thanksgiving, look no further than San Diego Running Company’s Santa Run. This event, equal parts hilarious spectacle and Pacific Beach staple, allows avid runners to don the famous red and white robes of St. Nick himself and join nearly 20,000 other “Santas” on what is sure to be the most spirited 5K in all of SoCal.

Holiday Market at Petco Park

When: 18 Nights Between Dec. 1-23

Known primarily as the home of the San Diego Padres, Petco Park, located in the heart of downtown San Diego, is also home to one of the city’s brightest holiday traditions: Holiday Market at Petco Park. Extending both within and outside the stadium gates, this miniature festival hosts everything from local artisan vendors to light shows and Santa Claus himself, ensuring that all visitors get to see the stadium in a whole new holiday light.

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