December Nights brings two-day holiday festival to Balboa Park

December Nights welcome holidays in Balboa Park
December Nights welcome holidays in Balboa Park
Posted at 12:56 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 16:00:27-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - December Nights will kick off the holiday season in San Diego with two nights of fun, food, and festivities in Balboa Park.

The holiday event sees hundreds of thousands of San Diegans head down to Balboa Park every year to enjoy the holidays with more than 150 live performances, nearly 100 spots to grab food and gifts, and, of course, thousands and thousands of lights.The event is considered one of the country's beat holiday festivals, as voted by USA Today readers in 2015.

MORE: Holiday fun happening across San Diego

In addition to the holiday magic outside, participating Balboa Park museums will also be offering free admission from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night.


  • Friday, Dec. 1 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 2 from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.


Look out for festive fun at these Balboa Park locations:

  • Botanical Gardens
  • House of Pacific Relations Cottages
  • Spreckels Organ Pavilion
  • Spanish Village
  • Balboa Park museums


The festival brings a number of holiday highlights to Balboa Park.

Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion will host a tree lighting to kick the festival off as well as performances throughout the weekend, including Del Cerro Baptist Church's "Christmas Story Tree." Other events will be held at various locations, including performances by the San Diego Junior Theatre and San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.

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A favorite tradition is the International Christmas Festival at the park's international houses. Guests can try ethnic foods and drinks, and enjoy entertainment from around the globe.

Another must-see are the unique gifts and crafts for sale from vendors around Spanish Village and museums, including the Fleet Science Center, Natural History Museum, and Timken Museum.

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For those looking for their perfect selfie or Instagram photo, the park's scenic Botanical Garden will be decked out with lights and boughs of holly and the famous Moreton Bay Fig Tree is also a spot for holiday cheer.

Stay on the lookout for Santa during the festival, but keep a wary eye, Old Globe Theatre's "Grinch" will be lurking throughout the grounds as well.

Not convinced? Here's a little preview of the fun heading to Balboa Park this season: