Exploring San Diego


Exploring San Diego: Things to do Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 24-27

Winter Wonder at Belmont Park
Posted at 1:31 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 17:43:47-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The holiday season arrived faster than expected this year and there will be plenty of family-friendly events happening around San Diego County this Thanksgiving weekend.

Try to resist stacking your plates with delicious turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, and other entrees by hitting the pavement and running for a good cause first at multiple Thanksgiving Day races.

Surfin’ Santa is back in San Diego with his boardshorts and favorite Hawaiian shirt to cruise in from San Diego Bay by watercraft, for the 15th annual Surfin’ Santa celebration at Seaport Village.

Check out our list of things to do this weekend.

Winter Wonder: Beachside at Belmont Park
Where: Belmont Park; Cost: Free
San Diego's 97-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.

San Diego Jazz Fest
Where: Virtual; Cost: $20-125
(Wednesday - 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.

O'side Turkey Trot
Oceanside's 16th annual Turkey Trot run or walk is always a seasonal favorite among runners. Participants will enjoy live entertainment along the course as they help raise money for non-profits that support Oceanside residents. For more Turkey Day trots, check out our roundup here.

Thanksgiving Dining on Mission Bay
Where: Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa; Cost: $50-$120+
Those who are not cooking for Thanksgiving can go to Oceana Coastal Kitchen to dine. Brunch also includes champagne or mimosas, as well as mouthwatering buffet selections. For more restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinner this year, check out our roundup here.


Liberty Station’s Tree Lighting
Where: Liberty Station; Cost: Free
Attendees can enjoy a free magical evening at the iconic 88-foot Norfolk pine tree as well as live entertainment, festive firetruck rides, free photos with Santa, and an outdoor holiday movie showing.

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.

Tree Lighting at Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Fairmont Grand Del Mar will launch the holiday season with the lighting of the 32-foot holiday tree at Del Mar Social Club the day after Thanksgiving. It will start at 5:30 p.m. Attendees can enjoy culinary delights, Glice skating, and festive libations.

2022 FIFA World Cup Viewing Party
Where: Gaslamp Quarter (Friday-Sunday); Cost: Free
Fans can catch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and join other FIFA lovers for the ultimate viewing party. Games take place each day at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Island Street between 4th and 5th Avenues. Games include some top-notch match-ups like USA versus England and Mexico versus Argentina. Fans can enjoy an all-ages beverage garden, interactive games, and an exclusive outdoor viewing experience.

Turkey Bash
Where: Alpine; Cost: $15 - $60
(Friday - Saturday) Head to Lions Tigers & Bears to watch rescued animals chow down on turkeys, and 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 with 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 the kids to Town Hall, where they can write and mail letters 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. Guests can sip, shop, and stroll along Adams Avenue from 2 - 5 p.m.


Ebenezer Scrooge's BIG San Diego Christmas Show
Where: The Old Globe; Cost: $39 and up
It's back! A Christmas Carol will take center stage including the iconic ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future — but with a comic local twist. Theater curtains are set to open at 7 p.m.

Rady Children's Ice Rink
Where: Liberty Station; Cost: $15-$20
Lace up your ice skates and hit Liberty Station for a night of ice skating at the Rady Children's outdoor rink to start the holiday season. Proceeds from skaters will benefit the Thriving After Cancer program at Rady Children's.

Skating by the Sea
Where: Hotel Del Coronado; Cost: $35-$40
(Runs until Jan. 1) Where else can glide along the ice right next to the surf? This rink at the Hotel del Coronado’s Windsor Lawn is built every holiday season. Guests will also enjoy the Frostbite Lounge with roaring fire pits, holiday-themed libations, and delectable bites.