photo: Rancho Bernardo Inn

It’s Christmas Eve weekend! Hopefully you’ve finished your shopping and can clear your calendar for festive fun. From snow play, a life-sized gingerbread house and a carriage ride through a vineyard, read on to see where to spend these last few days before Santa comes to town.

Rancho Bernardo

Rancho Bernardo Inn’s December Days & Nights
This super fun event is full of festivities. Ticket price includes one photo with Santa per family and one gingerbread cookie decorating kit per kiddo, caroling, storytelling, holiday train ride and treats including burgers, hot dogs, pizza, chicken fingers, desserts and seasonal adult beverages for an additional fee. The tour de force of the event is the gigantic gingerbread house that your whole family will go gaga over. The cute casa is dripping in sweet treats and will no doubt inspire your little elves to try their hand at making their own edible masterpiece this season. Fri. & Sat. Event details.

Holiday Nights at Bernardo Winery
Bernardo Winery’s “Holiday Nights” is a local winter wonderland family fun event of the season! Bring the little ones to enjoy carriage rides around the vineyard and listen to strolling carolers while you sip hot mulled wine and listen to live music. There will also be arts and crafts vendors in the courtyard and the Winery Village Shops are open late for holiday shopping. Fri. & Sat. Event details.


Kids Christmas Countdown
Join in the festive activities & family fun to count down the days until Christmas! All activities are complimentary. Fri., Dec. 22nd: Arts & Crafts Project with Mrs. Claus and Sat. Dec. 23rd: Christmas Eve Eve Movie: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” All are welcome! Just RSVP to at least 24 hours prior to the event. Fri. & Sat. Event details.

Liberty Station

Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station
Rady Children’s Hospital Auxilary and Liberty Station welcome neighbors and visitors to visit the Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station to celebrate the holiday season. Locals and vacationers can create holiday memories and enjoy the ice rink throughout the whole season. Rady Children’s Ice Rink will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., except Thanksgiving and Christmas, and will close at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. All net proceeds will benefit the Rady Children’s Hospital’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Peter Pan & Tinkerbell: A Pirate’s Christmas
Peter Pan and Tinker Bell: A Pirate’s Christmas is a flying, singing and swashbuckling holiday adventure performed in the style of a British panto in San Diego. Step into the Balboa Theatre and embark on a wild quest with Tinker Bell, Wendy and Peter Pan, as they try to put a stop to the plot of some dastardly pirates who plan to kidnap Peter as a present to Captain Hook. Filled with big laughs, magic, dancers and contemporary songs by everyone from Taylor Swift to the Bee Gees, this family show has a little bit of something for everyone. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

La Jolla

Seas ‘n’ Greetings
Celebrate the Holiday SEAson! Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is transformed into a holiday wonderland full of SEAsonal activities for the whole family. Deck the Hall (of Fishes) and get into the holiday spirit every day and check the schedule for special appearances by Scuba Santa, crafts, activities, as well as live holiday music on weekends. All holiday activities are included with admission. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play
The heartwarming holiday classic retold in the tradition of a live 1940’s era radio broadcast. When a department store Santa claims he’s the real Kris Kringle, his case gets taken all the way to the Supreme Court. Watch the miracle unfold when the belief of a little girl makes all the difference in this iconic story. Staged with live Foley effects and a score of favorite holiday tunes, Miracle on 34th Street is sure to melt even the most cynical of hearts. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Orange County

Winter Fest OC
Southern California’s largest winter tradition returns! Winter Fest OC is a giant wonderland of family fun and date night charm with more than 20 wintry activities back by popular demand. See Santa and his reindeer fly over the fairgrounds for four nights only before heading back to the North Pole on Christmas Day. Every admission ticket includes unlimited ice tubing, snow play area with real snow, Festival of Lights holiday stroll-through display, a nightly tree lighting celebration with parade, snow flurries and fireworks, Winter Fest themed bounce houses and slides, craft making and games, character live shows with meet-and-greets, daily entertainment, petting zoo, arcade games, and more. For an additional fee, guests can also enjoy a full outdoor ice skating rink, Candy Cane carnival with more than 30 rides and games, and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their cabin. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Where will you be enjoying the last weekend before Christmas? Let us know in the comments!

––Beth Shea