photo: John Cocozza Photography

This weekend Santa surfs into Seaport Village, Hotel del Coronado opens Skating by the Sea, citywide Christmas tree lightings commence and merry holiday markets open for business. We’re showing you where to burn off that turkey dinner and kick off the “most wonderful time of the year!” Read on for the details!

San Diego

Green Friday
Head outdoors for Green Friday – a celebration of fitness and fun in San Diego County Parks and Preserves. They’re waiving day-use fees so everyone can enjoy 350 miles of trails across more than 50,000 acres of land for free! Fri. Event details.

Hops and Shop Holiday Market
Celebrate Small Business Saturday at the Hops and Shop Holiday Market to honor and fundraise for our veterans this holiday season. Enjoy local shopping, food, beer, raffles and more at the WWII Canteen themed event! All are welcomed (dogs included!)! Shop local San Diego vendors and check off your gift list. Bring your four legged friend to the K-9 Canteen area for dog beer and more! Enjoy beer specials courtesy of 32 North Brewing Co., coffee, hot chocolate, treats and sweets from Marcel waffles San Diego and BBQ from Smoke n Aces BBQ who will be donating 15% of all sales to Cammies and Canines. Sign a Christmas card for San Diego veterans and let your kiddos draw them a picture with help from Tomorrow’s Heroes Today! Donate a pair of new socks for homeless veterans and receive a free raffle ticket. There will also be a gently used clothing, shoe and coat drive to benefit local veterans and family shelters so bring your gently used clothing items to donate and receive a free raffle ticket. Multiple vendors will be sharing their wares like Christmas decor and ornaments, perfumes + colognes, art, accessories, coffee, clothing, home decor, jewelry, soap, candles, plants and more! Sat. Event details.


The 15th Annual Lighting of the Forum
The 15th Annual “Lighting of the Forum” will feature a live stage show by the Crown City Bombers, Santa’s Grand Arrival on a horse-drawn sleigh and Holiday Light Show and Magical Snowfall just after Santa flips the switch to light the tree. Santa will be welcomed in style with an escort by the La Costa Canyon High School Marching Band. Complimentary refreshments will be available after the tree lighting provided by some of the restaurants at The Forum Carlsbad. Prize drawings held after the tree lighting and throughout the rest of the evening will give guests the chance to get a jump on their holiday shopping or just to treat themselves! Once Santa fulfills his tree lighting duties and oversees the Holiday Light Show and Magical Snowfall, he will visit with children for the rest of the event listening to gift requests! Sat. Event details.

Balboa Park

Family Night Gaming
Enjoy Game Masters and all the other interactive exhibits at the Fleet Science Center until 10 p.m. on Friday, November 24. Compete against one another in gaming on the Giant Dome screen and play all 100+ games in Game Masters. All ages are welcome. Regular admission rates apply. Fri. Event details.

4th Annual Children’s Christmas Coalition on the Prado
Get in the holiday spirit at the 4th Annual Children’s Coalition Christmas on the Prado, featuring a toy drive to benefit Toys for Tots at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in historic Balboa Park! The charity event is a fun-filled, family-friendly evening with Christmas music & entertainment, photos with Santa, an elf contest, tree lighting, kids crafts and Nativity scenes. Sat. Event details.


Skating by the Sea
Skating by the Sea® returns to Hotel del Coronado for the 13th year. This spectacular ice rink is located seaside on Windsor Lawn and features stunning views of the Pacific and Coronado beach. The Del’s iconic Victorian Building, adorned with thousands of white lights, provides a magical backdrop as holiday music fills the air and guests enjoy hot chocolate and libations. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Julian Country Christmas
Julian kicks off the holiday season with the annual lighting of the town’s huge living Christmas tree. This is a popular event, drawing hundreds of visitors who gather at Pioneer Park to watch the lighting and visit with Santa. Go enjoy the charm of this idyllic mountain town! Sat. Event details.

Seaport Village

Surfin’ Santa at Seaport Village
While most of the country is getting ready to break out the scarves and mittens for the winter, San Diegans get to celebrate the holidays with sand and sunshine. Sporting board shorts and his favorite Hawaiian tee, Santa will arrive at the San Diego Harbor via watercraft on Sat., Nov. 25th.  Visitors and locals can enjoy the California sun as Santa arrives from the ocean to a festive parade and takes pictures with fans on his 6-foot wave and surfboard. Afterwards, see live street performances, participate in ornament making and crafts and do plenty of holiday shopping at Seaport Village. Sat. Event details.

Mission Valley

All Girls Stem Society LEGO Mindstorms Workshop
Do you want to build and program autonomous robots with LEGO MINDSTORMS? Study the basics of mechanics, electronic design, sensors and programming! Get ready for an awesome hands-on experience and team competition with LEGO cart. This event is free, but register here. Sun. Event details.

Where are you enjoying the weekend with family? Let us know in the comments.

––Beth Shea