Christmas Activities

Activities for Christmas in San Diego

Join in these fun 2024 Christmas Activities and Christmas Holiday Events in San Diego, CA. Visit with Santa and see the spectacular holiday tree lights in San Diego. Enjoy this special time of year with your family in beautiful San Diego.

Updated May 25, 2024 by San Diego Beaches and Adventures

I love our Mediterranean climate in San Diego. Our winters are mild, so you can go ice skating on the beach, enjoy a sunny day in Balboa Park, or enjoy more traditional holiday activities.

For other San Diego, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, La Jolla, and Coronado events and activities in Southern California during November and December, see San Diego Events November and San Diego Events December.

Holiday Events and Christmas Events

Kids Christmas Activities

Lightscape Show San Diego Botanic Garden

Lightscape at San Diego Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden Lightscape - select dates mid November 2024 through early January 2025, from 5:00 – 10 PM at San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanic Gardens) in Encinitas. Back for the third year following many sold out nights in 2022 and 2023. Spectacular garden light show featuring the international Lightscape exhibition. Enjoy a one mile evening walk through the lighted garden filled with beautiful displays of light, including the "cathedral" of lights, a laser garden, neon trees, lantern trees and more. This is a special ticketed event with entry times every 15 minutes. Reservations required. For more information see www.sdbg.org.

Balboa Park December Nights - Friday and Saturday December dates TBD 2024 at Balboa Park. Fun, food and lights. Don't miss out on one of the best San Diego events. For more information see www.sandiego.gov/december-nights

Sawdust Winter Fantasy - November and December dates TBD 2024 from 10 AM to 7 PM in Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach is known for its local art, and you can enjoy the fun and shop for handcrafted gifts at this holiday festival featuring work from 180 artists. Enjoy the live music, eat some food, take an art class or get your photo with Santa. sawdustartfestival.org.

Balboa Island Christmas - Not too far from Laguna Beach is Balboa Island, which shows off its Christmas spirit with holiday decorations in December. Stop by and enjoy the shops and walk around town and the boardwalk. In the evening enjoy a stroll and admire the Christmas decor in the Ring of Lights Competition, or enjoy the view from a holiday lights cruise.

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - dates TBD 2024 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego Balboa Park. Christmas activities wouldn't be the same without the Grinch. Shows at various times, and some shows may be adults only. Get your San Diego Grinch Tickets at www.theoldglobe.org

A Very Furry Christmas - November to December dates TBD at the new Sesame Place San Diego theme park in Chula Vista. A family-friendly celebration with your favorite Sesame Street characters. Sesame Place San Diego

Grinchmas at Universal Studios - November TBD, 2024 - January 1, 2025. Grinchmas happens every winter at Universal Studios, where there are celebrations throughout the park, including Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter throughout Hogsmeade village, the tree at Universal CityWalk Hollywood, the Who-tacular festivities with the Grinch during Grinchmas and fun in the new Super Nintendo World. Universal Studios CA

Encinitas Holiday Parade - December TBD 2024 starting at 5 PM in downtown Encinitas Cal. Holiday parade and tree lighting ceremony in historic Encinitas. Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:00 pm in the Lumberyard shopping center courtyard on Coast Highway 101. The Parade begins at 5:30, heading south along Coast Highway 101 from D Street to J Street. encinitasparksandrec.com

La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival - Sunday December TBD 2024. Join in the holiday fun with horses, floats and antique planes fly over earlier in the day, with the La Jolla San Diego parade starting at 1:30 pm in downtown La Jolla at Kline & Gerard. After the parade is a festival with crafts, games, fun and food, and Santa. The tree lighting begins around 4:30. www.ljparade.com

Disneyland Christmas - November TBD 2024 - January TBD 2025. Disneyland Christmas holiday time at the happiest place on earth. Take your loved ones on a Disneyland Christmas holiday vacation. Disneyland Christmas

Legoland Holiday - mid November 2024 to early January 2025. Enjoy a trip to Legoland and see a holiday tree and some snow. Legoland California

Christmas Activities
Photo credit Rancho Noel Trees, Potrero

Cut Your Christmas Tree - No list of Christmas activities would be complete without the holiday tradition of cutting your own Christmas tree from a local farm in San Diego. For a list of farms or lots see www.cachristmas.com

Julian Christmas Tree Lighting - Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 30 2024) at Julian’s Pioneer Park. Festivities to open the Christmas season begin at 4 PM, and the tree lighting at 6 PM in the charming historic town of Julian. Christmas carols, Santa. Free admission for this Christmas event. For more information about the Julian Living Christmas Tree see visitjulian.com

Gaslamp Quarter Holiday Pet Parade

Gaslamp Quarter Holiday Pet Parade - December TBD, 2024. Dress up your pet (and you!) in a holiday costume and join the parade. Enjoy a beer afterwards in the GasLamp. See Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade details at gaslamp.org

Big Bay Balloon Parade - December date TBD 2024 starting at 3 PM in downtown San Diego CA. The Port of San Diego brings this televised exciting family event full of marching bands, magnificent floats, drill teams and enormous balloons. Family Festival activities afterwards at the Broadway Pier. For more information, or to pre-order your Grandstand tickets for preferred seating at the San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade, see www.holidaybowl.com.

San Diego Christmas Ideas

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights - Sunday December TBD and TBD 2024 from 5 PM. The parade of decorated boats starts at southwest end of Shelter Island, and travels past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace before ending at the navy carrier turning basin. www.sdparadeoflights.org.

Other Fun Things to Do in San Diego - For other fun events and activities, see San Diego Events December and San Diego Events January.

To search for hotels and resorts for your stay in San Diego area, see aRes Travel.

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