So it begins! We hit December 1st, and San Diego is off with a bang on the holiday happenings and as usual, there is no shortage of festive fun to be had! This week we are highlighting some of our favorite Christmas family traditions, all which happen to be FREE. These traditions also tend to be traditions for thousands of other San Diegans, so yes, you can expect traffic delays and overcrowded sidewalks. However, there is a reason that they are so popular, so as long as you go early, pack wisely, and bring your patience, your family is sure to have a jolly good time!
OK so this might be a “1st annual tradition” event, but let me tell you…Del Mar Highlands is insanely festive this time of year, and when you add a holiday Hullabaloo jam sesh in the mix, oh boy oh boy! If you have littles 5 and under, bring them down for a free, fun sing along jam session at the pop jet fountain (located in the heart of the center on the main floor) to get into the holiday spirit. There might even be a special appearance by SANTA, and if you pair your outing with a frozen yogurt treat and a movie date to see Disney’s new Frozen II, you’re sure to become the coolest mom in town!
Truly one of our favorite holiday parades! Pro-tip…arrive early and head over to the Rotary Plaza at 5pm for Christmas carols and the tree lighting before the parade kicks off at 6pm. This hometown parade is a true holiday tradition and thousands line the street each year to kick off the holiday season in style!
Alright, we admit that you don’t need us to tell you about December Nights. It’s easily one of the nation’s most popular holiday festivals. But in case you decide to brave the chaos this year, here is what you should know…
The event runs for 2 days, December 6 (3pm – 11pm) and 7 (12pm – 11pm). You can expect food from all over the world, musical performances and dance, holiday festivities and spirits, plus fun-filled activities and attractions throughout the entire park. You can also expect minimal parking opportunities, so ride sharing or using the shuttle will be your best bet. Both sides of Sixth Ave. near the Laurel Street Bridge are dedicated drop-off and pick-up locations if you choose to ride share. Free shuttles are also provided to help you avoid the traffic going to and from the event.
Families, friends and neighbors are invited to kick off the holiday season with festive fun in San Diego’s Little Italy at the 21st Annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village on Saturday, December 7 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. This year, the Little Italy neighborhood will make exciting enhancements to the event with the reveal of a new custom Christmas tree, located in the center of Piazza Basilone. Guests will experience a magical evening filled with festive decor, seasonal vendors, a tree lighting ceremony 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!
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated sailing by the shores for all to see. This dazzling parade takes place on two weekends (beginning at 5pm on December 8th & 15th), and will start at Shelter Island and proceed past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and finally end at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. The parade takes about an hour to pass any given point and there are many comfortable waterfront viewpoints along the route. In its 48th year, this annual tradition has become a popular event, bringing in about 100,000 spectators, but if you pair the event with an early family dinner, or perhaps a festive pedicab ride to your viewpoint, you’ll be sure to love this iconic event just as much as everyone else does!