San Diego Events December  2023

Have fun with these San Diego Events in December. Enjoy these family activities, holiday and Christmas activities in San Diego, California. This is one of my favorite times of year - a great time to spend with family and December in San Diego offers a variety of indoor and outdoor fun.

January Events

Updated September 21, 2023 by San Diego Beaches and Adventures

San Diego Events December  - San Diego Activities and Holiday Activities

San Diego Events December
San Diego skyline

Snow n Glow Festival - tentative early December 2023 - January 1 2024 select nights only Thursdays-Sundays from 4 PM- 9 PM. Enjoy the holiday lights and snow (snow tubing anyone) at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

Balboa Park December Nights - Friday and Saturday December 1 and 2 2023 at Balboa Park. Enjoy the lights, food and fun. Don't miss out on one of the best San Diego events.

La Jolla Christmas Parade Christmas and Holiday Festival - Sunday Dec. 3 2023 with parade starting at 1:30 pm. Join in the outdoor fun in downtown la Jolla at Kline & Gerard. After the parade is a festival with crafts, games, fun and food, and of course photos with Santa at the Rec Center. The tree lighting begins at 5:30. One of the traditional San Diego events December. For details see

Massage - Treat yourself this holiday season to a relaxing spa treatment, such as a massage, facial or couple's massage. Or give a gift certificate to a loved one.

Botanic Garden Lightscape Exhibit - November 17 - 19, 22, 24 - 26, and 29 - 30; December 1 - 3, 6 - 10, 13 - 23, and 26 - 31, and January 1 from 5:00 – 10 PM at San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanic Gardens) in Encinitas. Back for the second year following many sold out nights in 2022. Spectacular garden light show featuring the international Lightscape exhibition. Enjoy a one mile evening walk through the lighted garden filled with one million lights, as well as "cathedral" of lights, a laser garden, lantern trees and more. This is a special ticketed event with entry times every 15 minutes. Reservations required and tickets may sell out on select nights. For more information see

Gaslamp Quarter Holiday Pet Parade - date TBD December 2023. Dress up your pet (and you!) in a holiday costume and join the parade. See Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade details at

Encinitas Holiday Parade - December 2 2023 on Coast Highway 101 between D street to J street in downtown Encinitas. Holiday parade and tree lighting ceremony. Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:00pm 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.

San Diego Events December
Disneyland castle

Christmas at Disneyland - November 10 2023 to January 7 2024. Spend the winter holidays at California Disneyland Resort. Disneyland celebrates Christmas and New Years with special fireworks, decorations, holiday parade with Santa and more for your Christmas at Disneyland.

Things to do at Home - Sometimes it is fun to just stay at home. See our ideas for Things to do at Home.

Holiday Half Marathon - Saturday December 16, 2023 Stay in shape before the holidays on this annual half-marathon starting from Carmel Mountain Road, along the route 56 bike path and ending at Torrey Pines State Beach.

Hollywood - Drive up to Hollywood for the day or weekend. Take a movie studio tour (reservations recommended), find your favorite movie stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, go shopping on Rodeo drive, hike to the Hollywood sign, explore Griffith Park, and much more. Check out the best the Hollywood Attractions.

Knott's Berry Farm - Why not visit Knott's Berry Farm amusement park for the day? You can get some great deals on discount tickets, and free tickets on some days for military, fire and law enforcement. Check out the fun at a great price. Knott's Berry Farm Discount Tickets

Sunset at Low Tide

Sunset at low tide

Weekend Beach Walks - Saturday and Sunday Dec. 23 and 24 2023 from noon to about 4:00 PM will be a nice time to walk some of the local beaches at low tide. Best San Diego Beaches for Walking

Balboa Park Free Museum Tuesday for Residents and Military - Some museums are open by reservation only. Some Balboa Park museums are free on 1st - 4th Tuesdays of each month to locals (San Diego Cal. City & county residents), and active military and their families. The free admission is on a rotating basis. Check out the Free Tuesday Balboa Park museum schedule.

San Diego Harbor Waterfront – For a fun day in San Diego activity, enjoy a stroll along the San Diego waterfront and admire all the historic ships. Walk down to Seaport Village and visit the unique shops. For the young kids, reward them with an ice cream cone and a ride on the merry-go-round.

San Diego Events December
Seals in La Jolla

La Jolla Coast Walk - Enjoy this pretty walk along the beautiful La Jolla coast, especially nice during the holiday season. Bring your camera for some spectacular shots. See the famous La Jolla Children's Pool, which is usually occupied by a colony of harbor seals. Snap some photos of La Jolla Cove, Scripps Park, and the La Jolla Sea Caves. One of the best free San Diego outdoor activities. La Jolla Coast Walk

Explore Tidepools - December 10 to 15 and 23 to 29, 2023, at various times at low minus tides. Fall and winter are the best times to explore the San Diego tide pools. It's free and a great weekend kids activity. Here is a list of best times to visit and more information about the San Diego Tide Pools.

San Diego Dog Beaches - Take your dog to the beach! Choose your favorite San Diego Dog Beach from all the ones we have listed. One of the best San Diego activities for dogs and dog lovers. San Diego Dog Beaches.

San Diego Events
Bates Nut Farm

Holidays at Bates Nut Farm - December 8 and 9 2023. Celebrate Christmas in the Valley. Christmas and holiday festivities at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center. Candy, Christmas crafts, rides and more. Open daily 9 AM - 5 PM. Group reservations are suggested. One of the great family San Diego Christmas activities. See the Bates Nut Farm website for details.

Ice Skating by the Sea - Nov 17 2023 to Jan 7 2024 at The Del, Hotel del Coronado. Enjoy outdoor ice skating at Coronado beach, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This is ice skating San Diego style. Daily sessions hours vary.

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - early November to December 31 2023 at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego Balboa Park. A favorite holiday event tradition with the Grinch. What better way to spend a Christmas in San Diego than with the Grinch. Show time varies. Buy Grinch Tickets at

San Diego Events December
Whale Watching in San Diego

Whale Watching in San Diego - California Gray Whales undergo their annual migration from Alaska through San Diego and onto Baja California. During December - April, whale watching is at its best, as the whales migrate close to shore and can be seen from land or see. For more information see San Diego Whale Watching.

The Nutcracker - various dates at local venues. No Christmas season would be complete without the Nutcracker ballet.

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade - December 27 2023 in downtown San Diego CA. The Port of San Diego brings this 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 about the San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade, or to pre-order your Grandstand tickets for preferred seating, see

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights - Sunday December 10 and 17 2023 from 5:30 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. Don't miss this San Diego events December. For details on the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights see

San Diego Events December
New Year’s Eve

The Del New Year’s Eve Gala - tentative New Years Eve San Diego party at The Del, Hotel del Coronado. Ring in the new year at a San Diego New Years party, The Del’s New Year’s Eve Gala. The evening will begin with a champagne reception in the magnificent Crown Room, followed by a lavish dinner in the oceanfront Ballroom, dancing to the contemporary sounds of local favorites. Ages 21 and up. Tickets are expensive. Additional parties for children and teenagers including dinner, beach games and bonfire. For more information and schedule see

Big Night San Diego 9 PM - 2:30 AM - Get your tickets for the Big Night San Diego, the hottest New Year’s Eve party in Southern California to bring in the new year, located at the new Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel. Twelve themed party areas, six dance floors, hot bands and DJ’s, fireworks and more. Buy tickets early for best price. Main event or VIP tickets. Save more for 10 or more tickets. These prices will go up soon. This San Diego New Years Eve party is for ages 21+ only. One of the best San Diego Events December. For details on the Big Night San Diego event see

Other Holiday Events and Christmas Activities in San Diego - For other fun family Christmas activities and winter holiday events, see Christmas Activities in San Diego.

Looking for more events? See our January Event Calendar featuring events in San Diego and the beach towns of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas, Cardiff, Solana Beach, Del Mar, La Jolla, Coronado, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Imperial Beach California.

Things to Do in San Diego - For more San Diego events , check out these Things to do in San Diego.

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