Photos with St. Nick, holiday movies on the beach, breakfast with Surfin’ Santa, and oodles of good cheer await your family this weekend. Read on for where to find all the festive fun!


photo: iStock

Photos with Santa at Seaport Village
Capture the magic of the holiday season in a photo with Seaport’s resident Santa Claus. Families can stop by Santa’s new location by the Food Court (previously Wyland Gallery) to strike a pose with jolly Kris Kringle. Enhanced safety measures, including plexiglass and sanitation protocols, will be implemented to assure the well-being of all guests. Cost is $40 for a flash drive with captured photos. Santa’s schedule can be found here; no appointment necessary. Fri.-Sun.

Holiday Movies on the Beach
Snuggle up on Del Beach for favorite holiday movies in a theater under the stars. This week’s film is A Christmas Story. Guests may cuddle up around a private bonfire with s’mores and relax in a beach daybed or enjoy seating in socially distanced Del Beach sand chairs. Reservations are required. The movies begin promptly at 6:30 p.m,, doors open at 6 p.m. Please come prepared to stay warm. Blankets are encouraged and a limited number will be available for sale. All guests are required to wear face masks, unless seated and consuming food or beverages. Guests must maintain a minimum 6 feet of social distancing. Sat.

Christmas Tea at The Westgate Hotel
It’s time for Christmas Tea at The Westgate Hotel! Gather family and friends and create magical holiday memories steeped in holiday tradition. Enjoy delicious beverages, premium teas, sweet pastries, and desserts. Indulge in this relaxing, festive scene for a très joyeux noël treat. Fri.-Sun.

The Holiday Market Trail at Petco Park
The Holiday Market and Trail at Petco Park is a safe and fun night out for the whole family. The socially distanced, single-way Holiday Market in Gallagher Square, will feature local and European artisan shops, magical lighting displays, seasonal food and beverage, Santa and other holiday characters! The walkthrough lighting displays will feature the following themes: Candyland, Winter Wonderland, Home for the Holidays and Artisan Workshop. Vendors will include such items as: Schnitzel, Gingerbread Houses, Wooden Figurines, Glass Ornaments, Handmade Wood Kitchenware, Delectable Treats, Oils, Handmade Soaps, Alpaca Fleece and much, much more! Face masks are required at all times. Fri.-Sun.

Northern Lights
California Center for the Arts’ 12-acre campus will be transformed into Northern Lights: a spectacle of light, hope, and joy after sunset each evening. Guests are invited to wander along our walkways, taking in the holiday sights and sounds. The young and young-at-heart will enjoy tunnels of twinkling lights, giant LED Christmas trees, and blow-up figurines of favorite holiday characters. Marvel as lights move to music in a display curated by local Escondido family The Peace’s featured on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight. Fri.-Sun.

Winter Wonderland at The Del
This holiday season thousands of white sparkling lights, towering Christmas trees, ornament-trimmed evergreens and garlands galore transform The Del’s Windsor Lawn into a Winter Wonderland. Kids will delight as they take socially distanced photos with Santa on his sleigh. Parents will want to bring their cameras to capture these cherished memories. Santa will be available from 4-7 p.m. on Dec. 12. The Frostbite bar trailer will be available on the South Paseo Lawn with holiday treats and libations. Special to-go holiday crafts will be available for sale including gingerbread house and cookie decorating kits, snow globe, Santa hat and ornament decorating kits, and more. Please note that all guests must wear face masks and maintain a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing. Winter Wonderland is not open during inclement weather. Sat.

Breakfast with Surfin’ Santa
While his seafaring commencement may be canceled, Surfin’ Santa will be making an annual appearance at Eats by Sam for a lively breakfast reception. The al fresco, socially-distanced event will feature Sam ‘The Cooking Guy’ Zion serving up an exclusive breakfast menu, offering guests a choice of Breakfast Burger, Breakfast Sandwich, or Kid’s French Toast, alongside fresh fruit and holiday beverages (spiked refreshment available for adults). The morning of merriment will include photos with Surfin’ Santa, an interactive magic show with the Toy Soldier, live music and goodie bags. Priced at $25 per person, reservations are available for groups of 2 to 6. Sun.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
Take a scenic drive to a nearby, family-owned, u-cut Christmas tree farm and have quite the magical holiday experience cutting down your own tree! Spend the weekend decorating your festive fir!

Wild Winter
The adorable animal ambassadors can’t wait to spread holiday cheer at Helen Woodward’s Wild Winter! This festive event includes hands-on animal encounters, a cute craft for you to keep (or gift!), a dash through the holiday hall, a sweet treat for all and a gift for the little ones. They look forward to providing a safe environment for your family to have a happy holiday celebration. For safety purposes, they are limiting the number of people attending this event at one time. Registration is for a one-hour time slot with a group of up to six people, which must arrive together. Your group will be led through the activities by a member of our cheerful crew for the 60-minute duration of the time slot you register for. Sat. & Sun.

––Beth Shea