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What to know: December Nights lights up Balboa Park for its 47th year

Balboa Park December Nights
Posted at 9:00 AM, Dec 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-01 14:11:44-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – December Nights at Balboa Park, one of San Diego's favorite Christmas traditions, returns for its 47th year this weekend.

The two-day event features over 200 food vendors and 70 bands, including famed local group Switchfoot, who is headlining on Saturday.

December Nights’ hours are 3 p.m.-11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2.

Organizers said December Nights is the city's gift to its residents, which is why it is free to public. It is expected to draw over 300,000 people across two days.

Everyone heading to Balboa Park for the big event is encouraged to follow some of these tips:

Several transportation options, both paid and unpaid, are available:

  • Free shuttle
  • MTS trolley or bus
  • Bike (Free bike valet)
  • Scooter
  • Rideshare

Paid and unpaid parking sites will be open for motorists:

  • Balboa Park (Varying payment prices)
  • Roosevelt Middle School parking ($30)
  • San Diego Civic Center Parkade
  • San Diego Zoo (Free)
  • City College parking garages (three sites available)

Amenities that will be available in multiple locations across Balboa Park:

  • Charging stations
  • Comfort zones
  • Nursery rooms
  • Mobile sites and digital maps
  • Information booths 

Some traditional and new activities that you won’t want to miss:

  • Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion Stage
  • SDG&E Sock Drive
  • Switchfoot concert on Dec. 2
  • The International Cottages and Museums (Free and open at certain times)
  • Beer & Cheers Gardens
  • Family Zone including pictures with Santa, face paintings, arts & crafts
  • Poetry Readings
  • Skate Park, including pro skater performances on a half-pipe and autograph opportunities
  • Ice Skating Rink at the Plaza de Panama (open 3 p.m.-10:30 p.m. on Friday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. on Saturday)

For more information on this year's December Nights celebration, click here.