While the sun may be shining and the temperatures mild, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in San Diego. Whether you’re looking for tree lightings, festivals and parades, or fun with winter animals, there’s something for everyone this weekend.
Photo: Fashion Valley Mall
San Diego’s favorite kick-off to the holiday season, will celebrate 37 years of bringing friends, families and the community together. In the spirit of the holidays, participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge. The largest free community festival in San Diego, December Nights will bring more than 300,000 visitors to the park to revel and enjoy the season over two days. Fri., 3 – 10 p.m., Sat., 5 – 10 p.m., Balboa Park, Free. All ages. Event details.
South Park Walkabout
Bring the family to South Park for their annual winter walkabout celebration. Today’s walkabout features holiday lights-inspired decor and activities. Participating business will be open for browsing, product demonstrations, snacks and more. Sat., 6 – 10 pm, South Park, Free. All ages. Event details.
North Park Toyland Parade and Festival
The North Park Toyland Parade features marching bands, dance groups, cool vintage cars, beauty queens and city officials, and and more! Santa Claus will be riding atop his merry red sleigh. Following the parade, the holiday festival is a collection of local schools and organizations that are coming together to provide fun, creative, educational activities for families and kiddos to enjoy. Sat., 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., North Park, Free. All ages. Event details.
Little Italy Tree Lighting
The Little Italy Association presents the kick-off to its annual holiday shopping, dining and pampering season with the annual Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village held at the Piazza Natale. Come one and all; family, friends and pets are welcome. Jolly Ole Saint Nick will be arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Little Italy Fire Engine 3, to add that additional holiday cheer. Sat., 4 – 8 p.m., Piazza Natale, Free. All ages. Event details.
Caring Santa for Kids with Special Needs
Sitting on Santa’s lap for a photo can be stressful for all kids, especially those with special needs. Fashion Valley Mall provides kids with special needs and their families an opportunity to enjoy a carefully managed Santa photo experience through the Caring Santa program. Register in advance. Sun., 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., Fashion Valley Mall, Free. All ages. Event details.
Family Gingerbread Housebuilding Workshop
Kids and kids at heart are sure to love our gingerbread house construction event, brought to you by Wilton®. Assemble an adorable gingerbread house and try to resist the temptation to snack on your building supplies! Buy the kit and the supplies are included. Sat., 1 – 4 p.m., San Diego Michael’s stores, Cost of kit. All ages. Event details.
Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Frosty Farm
Santa Claus is so-ho-ho-ho excited to make his annual stop at Helen Woodward’s Frosty Farm! This one-of-a-kind holiday extravaganza is great for families of all beliefs and provides a day of fun activities for children and adults. Take a photo with smiling Santa and his miniature horse “reindeer,” dance in falling faux snow, decorate delicious cookies, warm your tummy with some hot chocolate, have a sparkly snowflake painted on your cheek, take silly pictures in our photo booth, get cozy with a “polar” dog, and meet & pet different animals (alpacas, bunnies, doves, chickens & maybe even a pig!), all while enjoying holiday treats and spending quality time with your family. Sat. and Sun., 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Helen Woodward Animal Center, $20/kiddo, $9/adult. All ages. Event details.
Holiday Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland Festival
Kids will have the chance to frolic in real snow, decorate their very own Christmas cookies, and even rendezvous with live reindeer! The highlight for kids is, of course, Santa Claus himself, but there will also be a number of holiday-themed entertainers—from carolers, to stilt walkers, to hula dancers—for all ages to enjoy. Sat., 3 – 8 p.m., California Center for the Arts, Free. All ages. Event details.
Celebrate Hanukkah with at the Lawrence Family JCC! Come on over for carnival games, art projects, a bouncy house, games, crafts, prizes, cake walk, arcade, a tremendous silent auction and much more! Don’t miss the special appearances by Elsa and Olaf fromFrozen! Sun., 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, $5-$7/person (additional costs for activities). All ages. Event details.
Coronado Holiday Celebration and Parade
The holiday season in Coronado starts when Santa arrives by ferry at the Coronado Ferry Landing. A festive parade follows, merchants keep their doors open late for shopping. At 7 p.m., Santa lights the central 75-foot star pine Christmas tree as the community band plays holiday music. The evening finishes with fireworks over Glorietta Bay. Fri., 3 – 7:15 p.m., Coronado Ferry Landing, Free. All ages. Event details.
What are you doing this weekend? Tell us in the comments!
— Leah R. Singer