Exploring San Diego


Exploring San Diego: Things to do Thanksgiving weekend

SDCC plans exhibit in SD Hall of Champions
Can't Miss San Diego: Things to do Nov. 22 - 26
Posted at 4:45 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 19:50:40-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The holiday season gets underway this weekend, as several holiday events head to town.

Before you fill your plate with yams and mashed potatoes, take some time to hit the pavement and run for a good cause at Balboa Park.

After Thanksgiving, Surfin’ Santa will ditch his red suit and reindeer to spread his holiday cheer in true SoCal fashion as he makes his annual arrival at Seaport Village.

Outside of the holiday fun, the San Diego Jazz Festival brings the smooth, hip, and swaying sounds for a multi-day festival. Plus, Comic Con is hosting a special edition event.


Father Joe's Turkey Trot
Where: Balboa Park; Cost: Donations accepted
San Diego’s original and longest-standing Thanksgiving Day “turkey trot” is back, and it’s critical mission remains the same: To provide crucial funds to feed the homeless through Father Joe’s Villages’ meal program. For more Turkey Day trots, check out our roundup here.

Comic-Con Special Edition
Where: San Diego Convention Center; Cost: $150 for 3 day badge, $75 for US military and seniors
Comic-Con Special Edition, purposefully smaller in scope, is meant to be a more intimate gathering while still evoking the fun community feeling their conventions are known for, including great exhibits, programs, cosplay, gaming, and other events.

San Diego Jazz Fest
Where: Virtual; Cost: Free
(Friday - Sunday) The "crown jewel of jazz festivals" is going virtual, as JazzFest highlights Thanksgiving weekend. Fans of jazz will also enjoy a variety of styles from traditional jazz to dixieland, ragtime, and swing. 

Green Friday
Where: San Diego County Parks; Cost: Free
Skip the Black Friday lines and opt for Green Friday at San Diego County Parks instead. There’s a huge selection of activities to choose from at nearly all county parks, including ranger-led hikes, natural crafts, group bike rides, tree plantings, and nature walks.

Turkey Bash
Where: Alpine; Cost: $15 - $60
(Friday - Saturday) Head to Lions Tigers & Bears to watch rescued animals chow down on turkeys, goodie-stuffed pumpkins, splash around in their pools and play with their brothers and sisters. Not only will the lions and bears enjoy a feast, but all proceeds benefit the animals — providing them food, veterinary care, habitat maintenance and more.

Surfin' Santa
Where: Seaport Village; Cost: Free
Surfin' Santa makes his arrival at Seaport Village after the Thanksgiving holiday, sporting his favorite Hawaiian shirt and wet suit. Visitors can pose for free pictures with Santa on his giant surfboard under a six-foot wave.

Julian's Country Christmas
Where: Pioneer Park; Cost: Free
Kick off the holiday season in Julian with sleigh rides, snow capped mountains, holiday decorations, and a visit from Santa during a tree lighting ceremony. Don’t forget to take kids to Town Hall, where they can write and mail letter to Santa.

Adams Avenue Spirit Stroll
Where: Various locations; Cost: $25
The annual event returns to the University Heights, Normal Heights and Kensington neighborhoods on Small Business Saturday. Ticketholders will receive holiday-themed treats from more than 20 local businesses, and cocktails crafted by 11 of Adams Avenue’s most talented bartenders. Guest can sip, shop and stroll along Adams Avenue from 2 - 5 p.m.

Final Boss Gaming Event
Where: Little Italy; Cost: $10
Attention gamers — Redination presents an all-ages gaming event at Music Box. The contest will feature video games like Super Smash Brothers, FIFA, Call of Duty, Halo and Madden, along with drone racing and dominoes. Attendees will also enjoy live music performances from Microphone Doctors, Eturnul and more.

Winter Wonder: Beachside at Belmont Park
Where: Belmont Park; Cost: Free
San Diego's 96-year-old theme park by the sea comes alive this month with Winter Wonder at Belmont Park. The event features a holiday toy drive, movie nights, face painting, free photos with Santa, and other winter-themed activities and entertainment.

Menorah Lighting
Where: Liberty Station; Cost: Free
Commemorate the first night of Hanukkah at this family-friendly event starting at 5 p.m. In addition to an outdoor menorah lighting, there will be a comedy juggler, crafts for kids, music, donuts and dreidels.