Thanksgiving has come and gone, but we’re still full of gratitude over this jam-packed weekend of festive events where you can burn off that big dinner. Surfin’ Santa, seaside ice skating, Kringle Mingle, Frosty Farm, a Grand Winter Wonderland and more await your merry family. Read on for the details!

photo: Seaport Village

Liberty Station

Liberty Station Tree Lighting & Festivities
Celebrate the holiday season at Liberty Station’s Tree Lighting & Holiday Festivities with entertainment, a Christmas Tree Lighting, ice skating, an outdoor movie showing and more! Friends and families are invited to gather at 6:15 p.m. for the annual tree lighting of Liberty Station’s iconic 88-foot Norfolk Pine. The 88-foot Norfolk Pine will come alive with holiday spirit as a patient family from Rady’s Children Hospital lights the towering tree. Afterwards, guests are encouraged to stop at any of the neighborhood’s eateries to grab a bite to eat. The evening will end with an outdoor viewing of The Grinch that will be projected onto a custom-made sail movie screen. Guests can also ice skate at the Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station, which will be open the entire night. Free photos with Santa and festive firetruck rides will also delight the kiddos! Fri. Event details.

Valley Center

Arts, Crafts & Vintage Market
Head to Bates Nut Farm for their largest Arts ‘n Crafts Fair of the year over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The “Santa’s Coming” Arts, Crafts & Vintage Market will feature over 100 artisans who will be selling a variety of American handmade crafts and fine art. Enjoy Snow’s Pony Rides and Petting Corral! Take a free hayride with Santa on Fri. and Sat. from noon-2 p.m., and be sure to bring your camera. There will also be live music each day from noon-3 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Event details.


Skating by the Sea
Skating by the Sea® returns to The Del from Nov. 22-Jan. 5. This spectacular beachfront ice rink features stunning views of the Pacific and benefits Make-A-Wish San Diego. Now you can reserve your own rink side lounge at Frostbite – A Place to Chill. Where guests will enjoy skating passes and plush 4 or 6 person seating around a roaring fire pit with full food and beverage service. Choose from your favorite holiday-themed libations or snacks as you enjoy watching the beachfront ice skating. Open times vary by day. Check here for the schedule. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Brunch with Santa
Hotel del Coronado offers a Sunday Brunch with Santa! Kids of all ages are invited to meet St. Nick in the Crown Room during this festive meal. Parents, be sure to bring your cameras to take photos of your little ones catching up with Mr. Claus. Sun. Event details.

Seaport Village

Surfin’ Santa
This longstanding Seaport Village tradition returns for the 14th year on Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. Named one of the ten best Santa sightings by USA Today, Santa will break out his board shorts and favorite Hawaiian shirt to visit Seaport Village. Arrive early to see Surfin’ Santa cruise in from the San Diego Bay by watercraft, and enjoy a day of live music by the Surfin’ Santa Band, free photos with Santa on his giant surfboard, and more! Sat. Event details.

Balboa Park

Christmas on the Prado
Come join a fun-filled, kids and family friendly evening with Christmas music & entertainment, Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, the newly restored nativity scenes, elf contest, kids crafts, photos with Santa, Christmas around the World at the International Houses, and marines from Toys for Tots! The Children’s Coalition Christmas on the PradoTM is a family-oriented, charity & toy drive, named in honor of San Diego’s original community Christmas event. The charity event is not affiliated with Balboa Park’s December Nights formerly named Christmas on the Prado. Bring your entire family and join the San Diego Children’s Coalition & San Diego Community Christmas Center and as we celebrate Christmas in Balboa Park! And, please remember to bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots! Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Del Mar

Winter Wonderland at The Grand
The holidays are magical at Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Skate under the twinkling palms. Sled down our frozen slide. Take a whimsical ride on the Ferris wheel and carousel. Tell stories with Santa and friends by the festive 25-foot tree. Enjoy fireside s’mores and traditional refreshments in the Moët & Chandon Champagne Garden. Activities include: ice skating rink with performances, a frozen slide for sledding, carousel and ferris wheel rides, s’mores roasting around fire pits, holiday character storytime and appearances and so much more! Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Rancho Santa Fe

Frosty Farm
There’s no holiday stress here, Frosty Farm will have your whole family in good cheer! This festive event combines hands-on animal interactions with family-friendly activities, which makes it the perfect place to create new memories. In addition to the activities that you can do at your own pace, you will also embark on an excursion that is led by a member of our cheerful crew; this includes encounters with a variety of animals, a holiday craft that is yours to keep (or gift!), and a personal meet and greet with Santa (during which you can snap your own photo & kids will receive a gift). Your family can enjoy photo opps with animals, a variety of crafts, cookie decorating, holiday music, face painting, games and more! Sun. Event details.


Cardiff 101 Kringle Mingle
Cardiff-by-the-Sea welcomes you to a free festive holiday celebration for the entire community. Come get free photos with Surfing Santa in his vintage Camera Camper Sleigh. Listen and dance to lively musical performances throughout the afternoon with kid favorites Bucket Ruckus and Hullabaloo Band. Sample açaí bites from Sambazon, sip on hot coffee or hot chocolate for the kiddos from Starbucks, provided free to guests thanks to the generous support of these local businesses. Drink up for a cause at the Lost Abbey Confessional, they will be hosting a Happy Hour fundraiser to benefit the Cardiff community from 1-5 p.m. Bring your reusable mugs and bottles to fill up as well! For the big finale, stay nearby as they flip the switch at 5 p.m. for the festive tree lighting ceremony. Sun. Event details.

––Beth Shea