Exploring San Diego


10 San Diego holiday traditions to experience this year

Posted at 3:44 PM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-11 18:44:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — This holiday season, there are plenty of free and easy ways for families to enjoy the festive atmosphere in San Diego.

A number of local traditions bring families and friends back, from Balboa Park's December Nights celebration to the San Diego Parade of Lights on the bay.

Other smaller traditions are set to make their return, like the Old Globe's "Grinch" and performances of "The Nutcracker."

RELATED: Holiday parades hitting San Diego's roads, waterways this season

So for some holiday cheer, here are ten things to experience this season in San Diego:

Attend a tree lighting

From The Old Globe Theater to Otay Ranch to La Jolla and elsewhere, be sure to make plans for a tree lighting ceremony! It's the best way to welcome in the holiday spirit in the community!

See "The Nutcracker"

The classic Christmas tale of the Nutcracker has been celebrated for ages. Catch the San Diego Symphony and California Ballet perform to Tchaikovsky's score this year at the San Diego Civic Theater.

Visit December Nights

For two nights, experience the holidays in Balboa Park during December Nights with dazzling lights, music and entertainment, incredible food, and more!

Watch San Diego's Parade of Lights

About 100,000 San Diegans will line the bay for a tour of spectacular lights as decorated vessels glide across the water to the theme of "Tropical Island Christmas."

Watch for The Grinch

The Old Globe Theater will host its annual production of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" at Balboa Park. The classic tale brings "Whoville" to San Diego for the classic holiday story.

Dawn your best ugly sweater for a bar crawl

Get out your most magnificent ugly sweater and get together with your friends, it's time for a night out! Pacific Beach hosts a memorable ugly sweater bar crawl every year, but there are more around town to experience!

Plan to make a toy donation

The holiday season brings out the giving feeling in everyone, and there are plenty of chances for San Diegans to make a child's holiday joyous. If you see a toy drive while around town, be sure to donate an unused, unwrapped toy.

Stop by Christmas Card Lane

About 200 participants dress up "Christmas Card Lane" on Oviedo St. off Black Mountain Rd. in Rancho Penasquitos. Lights and large Christmas Cards are on display from Dec. 9 to Dec. 31, from dusk until 10 p.m.

Lace up for some SoCal ice skating

It's not the holidays without a little ice skating, right? Head out to ice rinks with special holiday celebrations, such as the Viegas Outlet ice rink, Rady Children's ice rink at Liberty Station, Skating by the Sea at Hotel Del Coronado, or Skate by the Bay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

Run, run Santas...

Every year, thousands of "Santas" hit San Diego's streets for the San Diego Santa Run! Dress up, jump in, and run the 5K or 1-mile race — Santa's watching!