Balboa Park's December Nights: Where to go, what to see

Posted at 10:56 AM, Nov 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 12:02:52-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Balboa Park's annual celebration of the holidays returns this weekend and it's sure to be the highlight of December.

December Nights kicks off on Friday, Dec. 1 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and continues Saturday, Dec. 2 from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.

RELATED: Our picks for can't miss moments at December Nights

Thousands are expected to visit the area over the weekend to experience the lights, sounds, eats, and more. Needless to say, there's a ton of fun to check out around the park. Here's a look at the basics of where to go and park, and what to see.

Where to go:

The massive holiday celebration will cover the entirety of Balboa Park, offering unique events at sites like the international village, Botanical Garden, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and other spots.

The City of San Diego also offers an interactive map online for visitors to check out. 


Paid public parking could be found at:

  • Village Place ($25 per vehicle)
  • Inspiration Point ($20 per vehicle)

Limited free parking for persons with disabilities is available in the Federal and Space Theatre lots.

RELATED: Southern California theme parks celebrate the holidays with festive events

Free shuttle service will be available on Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight and on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Shuttle locations are at:

  • City College - 16th and C Street
  • Downtown San Diego - Ash St. between 5th and 6th Avenues

All shuttles drop off at the event on 6th Ave. and Laurel St.

What to see:

-- Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion tree lighting: Stick around for performances throughout the weekend, including acts from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, and Del Cerro Baptist Church's "Christmas Story Tree."

-- International Christmas Festival: Enjoy delicious cuisine and enjoy entertainment inspired by nations around the globe at the park's international houses.

RELATED: More can't miss events in San Diego this weekend

-- Gifts and crafts will be on sale from vendors around the Spanish Village and at museums, including the Fleet Science Center, Natural History Museum, and Timken Museum.

-- Speaking of museums, admission will be free at a number of museums each night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

-- Balboa Park's Botanical Garden will be decked out with lights and decorations as a scenic spot to gather and take in the event. 

-- Keep your eyes open: Santa is expected to make an appearance at the festival, but the Old Globe Theatre's "Grinch" may be there too...