photo: Di Lewis via Pexels

Who’s ready to ring in 2019? We’re telling you where to spend the final days of 2018 having a blast as well as where to watch the ball drop all over the city at kid-friendly New Year’s Eve parties! The countdown is on… so scroll down for the scoop.


Farm Animal Fridays
Come learn about and meet a new animal on the last Friday of every month! You’ll get an opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals, hear a special storytime, and participate in a themed craft or activity. Free with museum admission. Fri. Event details.

Balboa Park

Holiday Food Truck Festival
Celebrate the holidays with visiting family and friends under Balboa Park’s dazzling holiday light display. For five days and evenings between Christmas and New Year’s Day (December 26-30), the annual Holiday Food Truck Festival serves up gourmet food from 15 of San Diego’s top food trucks, along with free live entertainment and fun activities for families. Food trucks will be in the park beginning at noon, with live entertainment and other activities starting at 2 p.m. For a listing of food trucks for each date, entertainment schedule and other event details, click here. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Family Night Out: Pajama Jam
Pajama Jam at The New Children’s Museum is back for another year! Bring the entire family and get cozy in your jammies. The night includes New Year’s-themed art activities, games, a dance jam, photo booth, catered dinner and our popular countdown balloon drop. Plus, parents get a free drink ticket. Close out the year with a pajama fest you won’t want to miss! Pajama Jam, presented by the San Diego Honda Dealers provides an opportunity for families to experience the Museum at night – with catered dinner, drinks, music and special activities/programs. Not only do families enjoy a fun night out together, but the Museum raises much-needed funds to keep our programs going! Tickets start at $15. Sat. Event details.

Holiday Bowl Parade
The scenic, bayside streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, America’s largest balloon parade! As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams and a procession of enormous balloons – more than any other parade. Over 100,000 street-side spectators will enjoy the parade along with a nationwide television audience. Street side viewing of the parade is free! Mon. Event details.

Chula Vista

Living Coast Discovery Center’s New Year’s Eve Family Party
Join the Living Coast Family to watch the ball drop together under the stars! Bundle up for wild animal encounters, night hikes, and so much more. This is sure to be a New Year’s your family will never forget! This event includes:  2 drink tickets (Champagne, beer, or wine for adults with proper I.D.), Wildlife animal encounters, Dj music and dancing, Trivia and family-friendly games, Photobooth to capture the memories, Crafts for all ages including our famous recycled-dog toy, Hot chocolate bar and cookie decorating, Live coverage of Times Square Celebration at “midnight” (9 p.m. PST/ 12 a.m. EST) This event will take place rain or (Moon)shine! No refunds for no-shows. 80% refund if requested more than 48 hours in advance. Hurry to purchase your tickets now! Mon. Event details.


Kids New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND
The countdown to 2019 starts early at the grand finale of Holidays at LEGOLAND California Resort during the Park’s annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve party! The night kicks-off with special musical performances on the Fun Town Stage and Heartlake City Stage. Then, starting at 6 p.m., the party moves to San Francisco in Miniland U.S.A. where young brick lovers can ring in the New Year and watch a re-creation of the famous Times Square ball drop with a giant LEGO® brick falling 22-feet in the air. Families can enjoy a spectacular fireworks display as the LEGO brick drops, lighting up the night sky. All activities are included with regular Park admission. Mon. Event details.


Annual Noon-Year’s Confetti Countdown
5..4..3..2..1.. Happy Noon Year! This is Pretend City’s New Year’s Celebration in the middle of the day. Celebrate the new year at different times throughout the day as the sun travels across the different time zones: there will be a confetti countdown 4 different times to celebrate the new year in Bangladesh, Dubai, Athens, and London, as it turns to midnight in these different cities, plus New Year’s activities and art for little ones to enjoy. Mon. Event details.

Liberty Station

Rockin’ New Year’s Eve at Corvette Diner
Toast the New Year at the 1950’s themed Corvette Diner. Burgers, shakes, a DJ (to twist and shout), arcade games, a balloon artist and games make this party a hit. The party starts early to end with a bang at the Big Apple ball drop at 9 p.m. and the fam can welcome in the New Year together. Mon. Event details.

––Beth Shea