The holiday season is in full swing with Balboa Park’s December Nights, Teddy Bear tea parties with Santa and many more festive events that will make your weekend shine. Read on for the details.

photo: The Westgate Hotel

Balboa Park

December Nights
Join the festive fun at San Diego’s favorite holiday celebration in Balboa Park with fun, food and festivities for everyone. Now in its 42nd year, December Nights will feature heart-warming traditions of years past along with some exciting new features for 2019. Enjoy light displays, inspirational choirs, bands and dancers and fun-filled attractions. Fri. & Sat. Event details.


Coronado Holiday Parade
Coronado is set to host their 44th Annual Holiday Parade. This hometown parade is a true holiday tradition and thousands line the street each year to kick off the holiday season in style! The parade starts at 6 p.m., but many come early to Rotary Plaza to sing carols from 5-6pm and anxiously await Santa’s arrival via fire truck. Once Santa arrives, one lucky local family is selected each year to help the Mayor flip the switch on Star Pine, lighting the giant tree in all its glory. Fri. Event details.

Rancho Santa Fe

Saint Nick at Night
Join in the fun of the prelude to Frosty Farm: St. Nick at Night! This family event is festive, yet relaxed, and is the perfect place to escape the hectic holiday happenings. Enjoy cookie decorating, hot cocoa, beautiful lights, animal interactions, a craft, and group story time with Santa. Your family can still enjoy the daytime activities at Frosty Farm because there will be different animals to meet, crafts to create, and activities to enjoy! Fri. Event details.


Teddy Bear Tea
Time to make magical holiday memories with The Westgate’s Teddy Bear Teas. Step into the elegant Westgate Room restaurant where guests will be treated to a sumptuous afternoon steeped in holiday tradition. Guests will enjoy delicious beverages, premium teas, fresh house-made pastries, and desserts, before being escorted to the Grand Lobby for entertainment from Santa’s Magician and Elf, storytime with Santa Claus and a personal moment with Santa himself. Each child will be gifted their very own keepsake teddy bear. For more information and to purchase tickets for The Westgate’s Teddy Bear Teas, please click here. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

6th Annual Makers Arcade Holiday Fair
The Makers Arcade Holiday Fair returns to Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego for its 6th annual two-day holiday shopping event. The thoughtfully curated festival showcases more than 100 of the most inspiring local and regional artists, designers, and makers. Guests enjoy a fun and festive opportunity to mix and mingle throughout the day, buy local, and shop small for the holidays while enjoying delicious food, handcrafted cocktails, live music, a photo booth, crafts for all ages, and more. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community. Continuing its long-standing San Diego tradition, the 48th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights promises to dazzle and entertain bay-front crowds during the evenings of Dec. 8 and 15, 2019. The theme for this year’s San Diego Parade of Lights is “Comic-Con on the Bay,” a timely collaboration between two premier San Diego events as Comic-Con celebrates its 50th anniversary. Sun. Event details.


Botanic Wonderland
Gather up your family and friends and come spend an evening (or two!) at the all new Botanic Wonderland! Held in the Garden’s brand new Dickinson Family Education Conservatory, this family-friendly festival contains many of the holiday traditions you’ve come to know and love over the years at the Garden, as well as some fantastic new ones! For the first time ever, select areas of Hamilton Children’s Garden and Toni’s Treehouse will be lit up and ready to play in during December evening hours. Go celebrate and explore the new educational space filled with unique and unusual tropical plants, many of which have never been displayed before at the Garden. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Little Italy

Tree Lighting & Christmas Village
Start the holiday season with festive fun in Little Italy at the 21st Annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village. Enjoy the reveal of a new custom Christmas tree, and experience a magical evening filled with festive decor, seasonal vendors, a tree lighting ceremony (at 6:30 p.m.) in the Piazza della Famiglia with a live Christmas tree over 25-feet tall, live music and entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday treats, a surprise visit from Santa and more! Santa will make an appearance to chat and take photos with children starting at 4 p.m. In “Santa’s Living Room” little ones can share their Christmas wishes until 6 p.m. and get their picture taken with the man from the North Pole. Kids can also participate in arts and crafts activities next to “Santa’s Living Room.” Stroll Christmas Village, which will feature holiday goodies and perfect stocking stuffers from seasonal vendors. Sat. Event details.

Del Mar

STEAM Maker Festival
STEAM Maker Festival is an educational children’s festival celebrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. It is a collaborative venue for students, educators, and professionals within our community to demonstrate programs and practices that enrich STEAM education. There will also be contests and challenges for attendees like building their own robot, short film projects, designing and building their own clock, recycled fashion/engineering, and also opportunities for students of participating schools to win up to $500 for their school in the Qualcomm Social Change Challenge, or $1000 for their school in the Mathnasium Challenge. Challenge registrations are ending soon so make sure to sign up as soon as possible. Check out the website to purchase tickets, or reserve a free booth for your school. Sat. Event details.

––Beth Shea