Top Things To Do: December 2016

In the blink of an eye its the Holidays! Here are the 15 things to do in San Diego.
December 2016- Holiday Edition 

Photo Courtesy of Balboa Park Facebook Page 

1. Balboa Park December Nights

Join the festivities during Balboa Park December Nights, a two-day holiday celebration of food, entertainment and fun. The sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season fill the air as the museums and cultural institutions in Balboa Park, the nation’s largest urban cultural park, open their doors free of charge. Festivities include carolers, live music, light displays, theater and dance performances, and delicious foods from around the world. Cost: Free Dates: December 2-3, 2016

2. Starlight Parade, City of Chula Vista
Celebrate the Season in Downtown Chula Vista! The Chula Vista Starlight Parade is a great way to kick-off the holiday season and get in the festive spirit! Cost: Free Date: December 3, 2016 

3. Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade
Enjoy the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Owners and their dressed-up pets march down the decorated streets of the neighborhood, ending at a Pet Expo featuring an award-ceremony for best-dressed pups. Cost: Free Date: December 11, 2016

4. San Diego Bowl Games

Don’t miss America’s Finest Bowl Experience!  This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football’s most competitive conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12. Last year the Wisconsin Badgers took down the USC Trojans 23-21. Don’t miss the pageantry, excitement and football thrills this year!  Holiday Bowl- December 27, 2016 Tickets

New this year, fans can enjoy the ultimate pregame party, the National Funding FanZone, featuring a craft beer garden, food trucks and an interactive college football experience.  Get in on one of San Diego’s signature sporting events!

The SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl delivers exciting football action and spectacular pageantry. Each year a top team from the Mountain West Conference takes on a quality opponent. This year it’s the BYU Cougars! December 21, 2016 Tickets 

This year, the game will be preceded by Dexcom WinterFest, a brand new FREE San Diego holiday tailgating experience complete with winter-themed activities and music for the whole family.

5. Fantasy on Ice, Ice Skating presented by Sycuan Casino 
Liberty Station turns into an ice skating oasis, located behind the Dick Laub NTC Command Center at 2640 Historic Decatur Road, the rink has raised more than $1 million dollars for the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital, and is the only holiday rink in San Diego where 100% of proceeds directly benefit the nonprofit. Fantasy on Ice offers live performances from San Diego’s best ice-bound talents and will remain open to the public through January 8th, giving a North Pole makeover to Liberty Station’s historic barracks and plazas. Cost: $10-15

6. Holiday of Lights
Port of San Diego Holiday of Lights.  Enjoy the twinkling waters of the San Diego Bay and more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights for the annual Port of San Diego Bay Parade of Lights over two weekends in December. Great views are available on dry land from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Marina Park and Coronado’s Ferry Landing. Cost: Free Dates: December 13 & 18, 2016

7. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Screening
Pay tribute to the legendary Gene Wilder with a special screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, courtesy of Cinema @ The Balboa. Date: December 17th Tickets 

8. Visit Julian 

Only a short drive to a holiday wonderland, drive to the mountains of Julian for a slice of Mom’s Apply Pie and a cup of hot apple cider.  With a living nativity scene and street cheering Christmas carolers travel back to a simpler time and enjoy!  Cost: Free Dates: All December

9. Nutcracker Ballet 
Southern California Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” featuring the return of international ballet star Martha Leebolt, a native of San Diego, as the Sugar Plum Fairy and a cast of nearly 100 dancers from SCB Company and Academy.

10.The San  Diego International Auto Show 
Features an incredible variety of new vehicles under one roof, including over 400 vehicles from 40 global manufacturers. The 2016 and 2017 model-year vehicles on display will feature the newest technology to enhance the driving experience, all packaged in luxurious interiors and wrapped in cutting edge designs. Be among the first in the US to see more than 20 debuts or all-new vehicles not yet in showrooms (or just released) that are expected to be on display at the show. Dates: December 29- January 2nd, 2017 Tickets

11. Clean Your Drawers 

Annual Clothing Drive and Old Electronics Drive powered by The Mighty 1090 and 105.7 MAX FM.  2 Day event of LIVE broadcasts and supporting of Goodwill and Computers 2 San Diego Kids at On the Border in Mission Valley  Dates: December 15th and 16th Cost: FREE Feel Good and Give Back Info 

12. Holiday Tree Lighting  and Winter Wonderland Festival 
 California Center for the Arts, Escondido brings the North Pole to the heart of Escondido. Children will have the chance to frolic in real snow, decorate their very own Christmas cookies, and create fun, hand-made gifts for their loved ones. At dusk, the Winter Wonderland Forest comes alive with twinkling lights, and no one will be able to resist the holiday spirit! Date: December 3rd  Cost: Free

13. Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
Delight in the festive gatherings along the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Dozens of illuminated powerboats and sailboats parade along Mission Bay. Date: December 10th

14. Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Lights and Sights Tour 
Hop on board our Holiday Lights and Sights Trolley. Guests of all ages celebrate in the sights, songs and traditions of the holiday season. Join in sing-a-long caroling with our conductors, share fun holiday facts, history and traditions and see the festive Christmas lights of Old Town San Diego, the Embarcadero, Balboa Park, Garrison Street and more.

Times: December 2, 4-9, 12-15, 26-30: 7:00 pm; December 11: 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm; December 3, 10, 16-23: 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm. *Closed December 24 & 25. Old Town Market – 4010 Twiggs Street, Old Town (866) 754-0966

15.Garden of Lights
After the sun goes down in December, the San Diego Botanic Garden transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland with more than 125,000 sparkling lights. Enjoy wandering through the 37-acre garden while listening to nightly entertainment, sampling delicious foods and taking part in numerous holiday festivities. 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas, 760.436.3036. Dec. 3-23, 26-30 Cost: $10-$15

 For more great ideas check out Visit San Diego  



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