The water of San Diego Bay is beautiful at night, when moonlight and starlight sparkle on the water. The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, now in its 46th year, adds to the nighttime beauty when illuminated boats all decked out in their holiday best sail around the bay 12/10 and 12/17.
There'll be more than 80 boats taking part in the after-dark parade, with strings of lights stretching from their prow to the top of their mast, along with other glowing holiday decorations. The boats will be decorated to go along with this year's theme, Arrrgh! A Pirate's Christmas.
You can watch the parade from many spots along San Diego's coast. The boats start out from Shelter Island at 5pm, pass by Harbor Island, and pass Seaport Village and the Embarcadero as they make their way to Ferry Landing on Coronado. Expect to spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half to see the whole procession.
While it's beautiful to watch the parade from anywhere, you might want to head to the Embarcadero or Ferry Landing to hear an announcer give details of each boat's history as it passes by. The Embarcadero is also the site of the San Diego Maritime Museum, which is having a special parade-viewing dinner. You'll get admission to the museum, a feast, music, and have a great view of the decorated boats.
If you'd like to get out on the water yourself, take a parade-viewing cruise with Flagship or Hornblower. Both sightseeing lines will have cruises that head out into the bay, giving you a great view of the lights of the boats and the lights of the San Diego skyline.