The Holiday Season is here! It’s just so easy to be happy this season, experiencing all the joy and goodwill passing around. Although San Diego is not exactly a White Winter Wonderland in December (the sky is blue as ever), the city wholeheartedly participates in the Christmas spirit. In a bid to spread some of this seasonal joy, I’d like to bring to your attention the top five activities you could do in San Diego to immerse yourself in the festivities.
The Bernardo Winery is the oldest operating winery in Southern California! For that reason alone, it is worth a visit, but their Winter Event is the real deal. The Winery is open until 9 pm, offering hot mulled wine, carriage rides and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The best of San Diego food trucks will be at hand to whet your appetite after some caroling.
Where : Bernardo Winery, 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, San Diego, CA 92128.
When : Dec 12th – 18th, 4 pm – 9 pm.
Price : Free entrance.
Ever heard of an ice skating rink on the beach? If you haven’t, you must visit San Diego in the winter! The Hotel Del Coronado puts up its ice skating rink right by the beach for all ages to enjoy. Imagine ice skating with a view of the Pacific Ocean! Before or after your ice skating session, walk around the beautiful Coronado Island and enjoy the Christmas Decorations in the town center, and the bay front stores.
Where : Hotel Del Coronado,1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118.
When : Nov 24th – Jan 2nd. 10 am – 10 pm weekdays, 10 am – 9 pm on Saturdays and 11 am – 8 pm Sundays.
Price : $25/person, book in advance.
This cute neighborhood in the Rancho Penasquitos area of San Diego is literally transformed into a ‘Christmas Card’, with all the houses lit up and innovative christmas decorations on display. If you get lucky, you will also be able to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies with the residents, as you stroll through this Christmassy wonderland.
Where : Enter either on Oviedo Street off of Black Mountain Road, or from Twin Trails drive and Carmel Mountain Road. The Google Maps Christmas Card Lane address of 9106 Ellingham St, San Diego, CA 92129 should also get you to a good point in the neighborhood.
When : Open between Dec 9th – 31st from sun down.
Price : Free
The closest you could get here to a Winter Wonderland would be the San Diego Botanic Garden in December, some nights even featuring snow! Check out their website for the chances of snow before you visit. Apart from the snow, you could visit Santa, see a puppet or nutcracker show, and enjoy some mulled wine.
Where : 230 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA 92024
When: Dec 3rd – 23rd and 26th – 30th from 5 – 9 pm.
Price : Sun – Thurs $15 for non-members, Fri-Sat $20 for non-members.
The San Diego Old Globe Theater puts on some amazing shows all year, and this one perfectly rounds it off. Watch this old Dr. Seuss classic in a San Diego old classic, and enjoy the beautiful Christmas tree on display right outside the theater. Don’t forget to grab a hot chocolate! A side note, did you know that Dr. Seuss lived in San Diego for several years and wrote a lot of his books here? San Diego is littered with spots that inspired his books!
Where : The Old Globe Theater, 1363 Old Globe Way San Diego, CA.
When : December 1st – 24th 7 pm Tue – Friday, 11 am, 2 pm and 5 pm weekends. Needs Reservations.
Price : Between $80 – $120
In addition, for all those who take delight in pretty lights, I found this awesome map of the best Christmas Lights in San Diego.
These are my personal favorites of what San Diego has to offer in December! I hope you get to enjoy them this year. Please do share some of your favorites with me, and I’ll be sure to check them out.
Note : Some other contenders for this list were December Nights at Balboa Park (didn’t make it because it already happened this year, and in my experience is always too crowded to be fully enjoyable) and the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights on December 11th and 18th 2016.