Couples relaxing on the beach in San Diego

San Diego’s Holiday Pop-Ups, Parades & Parties

The holiday season is upon us. What better way to kickstart the party than by immersing yourself in the enchanting world of holiday happenings in San Diego? Whether you’re into shopping, carousing, caroling, or just taking in the seasonal splendor of holiday lights displays, “America’s Finest City” has an array of festive events lined up for 2023. Let’s take a closer look at what’s in store for you this holiday season.

Holiday Parades

Ocean Beach Holiday Parade (Dec. 2) 

Family of four in Christmas costumes

(Photo: @obbcsd)

When most think of a holly jolly Christmas parade, sunny Southern California isn’t usually the first place that springs to mind. Yet one of the most looked-forward-to holiday parades in town happens in this beachside community each year. Ocean Beach’s Newport Avenue puts on a display for the ages each holiday, complete with floats, marching bands, local dignitaries, a car show, and the famous “crooked tree.”

Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107


La Jolla Christmas Parade (Dec. 3)

(Video: @ljparade)

The La Jolla Christmas Parade is an enchanting holiday event you should be sure to add to your calendar. This charming coastal town transforms into a winter wonderland during the event, as the streets come alive with the sounds of carolers and the sights of beautifully decorated floats. The parade is set to feature local schools, community groups, and of course, Santa Claus himself, who is sure to spread cheer to all who attend.

Girard Ave & Kline St, La Jolla, CA 92037


San Diego Bay Parade of Lights (Dec. 10, 17)

(Photo: @halfmooninn)

This cherished event is a true San Diego tradition that’s been delighting locals and visitors alike for more than 50 years. The 2023 edition (with the theme “Christmas Traditions around the World”) promises to be spectacular — as boats of all shapes and sizes adorned with vibrant lights will set sail along the stunning San Diego Bay. Expect to see creatively decorated vessels that reflect the theme of the year, all glittering under the starry night sky. Make sure to stake out your spot along the route early, and don’t forget to bundle up to stay warm and cozy while enjoying the show!


Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade (Dec. 17)

(Photo: @gaslampquarter)

Pet pals of all varieties always look forward to the annual Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade. This uniquely heartwarming event takes place in the historic Gaslamp Quarter and features a delightful parade of pets (and their people) dressed up in festive attire. Adorable dogs, charming cats, and even some exotic pets are all welcome to get into the holiday spirit, and the result is always a whimsical promenade of adorable, festive costumes. The parade typically culminates with an awards ceremony to recognize the “best-dressed” pets, adding a dash of friendly competition to the occasion.

Fifth Avenue between Broadway and Harbor Drive, San Diego, 92101


Festive Events

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration (Nov. 10 – Jan. 2)

Seaworld Christmas Celebration

(Photo: @seaworldsandiego)

Embrace holiday enchantment at the 2023 SeaWorld Christmas Celebration! This yuletide extravaganza transforms SeaWorld into a festive wonderland where marine life magic meets holiday joy. Witness the park come alive with over a million brilliant lights, heartwarming holiday shows, and enchanting animal encounters. Delight in the mesmerizing “O Wondrous Night” nativity show, featuring a cast of over 30 animals. Plus, meet Santa himself in his seaside sleigh and capture the perfect holiday photo! Savor delicious seasonal treats, shop for unique gifts, and relish the feeling of being surrounded by holiday cheer in this aquatic wonderland.

500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109


Liberty Station Holiday Events (Beginning Nov. 24)

(Photo: @libertystation)

San Diego’s favorite public market always seems to be at its best during the holidays. Guests can look forward to Liberty Station’s traditional annual tree lighting, a Nutcracker Tea with the San Diego Ballet, a Hanukkah celebration, kids ice-skating events,a holiday screening of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and so much more, Of course, Liberty Station regulars also know they’ll find something for everyone on their shopping list thanks to the wide variety of the unique specialty shops inside.     

2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego CA, 92106


Jungle Bells at San Diego Zoo (Beginning Dec. 9)

(Photo: @balboapark)

The San Diego Zoo is a year-round treasure. Still, during the holiday season, it becomes an even more enchanting destination. Jungle Bells is the zoo’s annual holiday celebration that brings a unique twist to your zoo visit. Jungle Bells features thousands of twinkling lights, holiday-themed decorations, and special animal experiences. You can catch Dr. Zoolittle’s remarkable animal-themed magic show, take a ride on the Twinkle Light Trolley, and even see Santa Claus, who makes a special appearance. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the San Diego Zoo in a whole new light this holiday season.

2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101


December Nights at Balboa Park

(Photo: @balboapark)

The magic of the holiday season comes alive at this dazzling annual event. During this two-day celebration, the park is transformed into a whimsical winter wonderland, aglow with thousands of twinkling lights and the joyful melodies of carolers. Stroll along the elaborately decorated plazas, enjoying delicious food from international vendors and exploring the diverse museums, many offering free admission. Bask in the glow of the iconic California Tower illuminated in festive hues. And don’t miss the heartwarming performances and live entertainment that fills the air with holiday spirit.

1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101


Seasonal Pop-Ups 

Sippin’ Santa at Grass Skirt

(Photo: @thegrassskirtsd)

Get into the tropical holiday spirit at the “Sippin’ Santa” holiday pop-up event at San Diego’s Grass Skirt bar. This festive escapade offers a unique twist on the traditional holiday season, as the Grass Skirt transforms into a Christmas-themed tropical wonderland. Immerse yourself in the enchanting Polynesian décor, complete with tiki torches, surfboards, and a tropical Christmas tree. Savor exotic and delicious holiday-themed cocktails, crafted with precision and flair. The expert mixologists will take you on a flavorful journey, with drinks that blend the warmth of the season with the vibrant spirit of the tropics. It’s the perfect destination for those seeking a memorable and unconventional holiday memory.

910 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109


The Miracle Experience at Polite Provisions

(Photo: @miraclepopup)

Embrace the extraordinary at the 2023 Miracle holiday pop-up event at Polite Provisions! This seasonal sensation transforms some of the country’s most popular bars into whimsical winter wonderlands, offering a unique and spirited take on the holidays. Enjoy an array of meticulously crafted and artfully presented holiday cocktails that will enchant your taste buds and warm your heart. The venues are adorned with festive décor, creating an atmosphere that is equal parts cozy and magical. From the iconic tinsel-draped Christmas trees to the nostalgic holiday tunes, you’ll be transported to a joyful world of celebratory delight.

4696 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116

Holiday Pop-Up Market at Societe Brewing

(Photo: @societebrewing)

Holiday Pop-up Market At Societe Brewing

Experience the festive charm of the 2023 holiday pop-up market at Societe Brewing Company in San Diego on Saturday, December 16th. This one-day event offers a delightful mix of holiday shopping, craft beer, and community spirit. Browse through a curated selection of unique, handcrafted gifts from local artisans and vendors, making it the perfect opportunity to find that special holiday gift. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast, a holiday shopper, or simply looking for a festive day out, this magical market is a must-visit in San Diego.

8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92111


Celebrate the Holi-”Days” With Us

(Photo: @daysinnhc)

San Diego’s yuletide festivities promise to be bigger and brighter than ever before in 2023. And Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle is the ideal home base from which to explore! Our guest-first amenities, cozy accommodations, unbeatable rates, and spectacular special offers will have you feeling the festive love all season long. So, gather your family and friends and immerse yourself in the magic of the season as our coastal paradise lights up with holiday joy.