The Best of San Diego’s Holiday Happenings

The holidays are upon us — and here in San Diego, it’s time for some of the year’s most exciting and engaging events. There’s something for everyone in neighborhoods such as Mission Valley, Little Italy, Balboa Park, and Old Town — from tree lightings to Christmas parades to productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Read up on some of our favorite holiday happenings below.

Balboa Park December Nights (2.2 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle)

Balboa Park December Nights brings dazzling light displays, as well as more than 150 performances by dance and music groups, such as Ballet Folklorica la Joya de Mexico. You’ll also find seasonal vendors selling everything from kettle corn to Hungarian “chimney cake” to handmade soaps and candles. Currently entering its 42nd year, the free festival is San Diego’s largest, attracting more than 325,000 visitors over two days.

“A Christmas Carol” at the Cygnet Theatre in Old Town (2.3 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle) – December 6-7

Local news outlet described the Cygnet Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” as the best local production of the famous holiday show. Entering its fifth year, it re-stages the classic Dickens play with new music, set design that evokes Victorian England, and creative puppets.

Little Italy Christmas Tree Lighting (4.8 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle) – December 7

There’s nothing like seeing elegant, cosmopolitan Little Italy all dressed up for the holidays, and the annual Tree Lighting is when the neighborhood first displays its annual holiday decorations. Along with watching the lighting of the 25-foot tree itself, in the Piazza della Famiglia, you can discover twinkling white lights, Christmas carolers, horses, colorful displays from a second Christmas tree, a seasonal market, and 10-foot nutcrackers. Don’t forget to grab a creative treat from iDessert while you’re there!

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration (5 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle) – November 23-January 5

You’ll find ice skaters, Cirque du Soleil dancers, Sesame Street characters, a Christmas village, a brass band, and more than a million lights at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. There’s even a seasonal twist on one of the roller coasters, known as the Merry Manta experience, along with programs with dolphins and sea lions.

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade (5.1 Miles From Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle) – December 26

Downtown’s San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade is the largest balloon parade in America (yes, even larger than New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade), accommodating up to 100,000 viewers. It kicks off with a 5k walk/run and brings a procession of floats, drill teams, marching bands, and roughly 40 balloons. Many of the balloons are inspired by art and culture, including balloons inspired by children’s books such as “The Lorax” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Spend the Holidays in Southern California

If you’re planning on visiting San Diego for the holidays, check out our tempting offers and make it a stay to remember.