Whether you live in San Diego or are just passing through for the holidays, here is a list of some awesome activities and events to check out that won’t cost you a penny.
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December 4th is the date of the Coronado Christmas Parade. Spectators will line the route down Orange Avenue to see the colorful parade and join Santa at the Rotary Plaza afterwards for the lighting of the Christmas Tree.
December 4th and 5th are the dates of Balboa Park December Nights. This two day holiday celebration brings food, fun and entertainment to all who visit. Balboa Park’s museums and cultural buildings will open their doors for free entrance to all visitors. This event brings carolers, sparkling light displays, carolers and even dance performances. Bring your appetite as there will also be food from around the world.
Sundays in December are the day to be at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion at 2:00 PM for holiday music and other fantastic tunes as they play on the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ. This landmark has been in the area for over 90 years and brings holiday favorites to everyone.
December 5th brings many surprises and celebrations to the area. The California Center for the Arts presents the Holiday Tree lighting and Winter Wonderland Festival. Kids won’t want to miss this event as it features real snow, cookies to decorate, and even the chance to create their own gifts for the family. Don’t miss the twinkling lights that come on at dusk.
The North Park Toyland Parade features floats, marching bands, beauty queens and much more.
Little Italy’s Christmas Tree Lighting features a 25-foot tower of Poinsettias, decorations, snacks and live music.
Holiday in the Village is a fun family time and features the unique Ugliest Holiday Sweater Contest.
Balboa Park will feature some unique decorations depicting “Whoville”, and the annual holiday production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Young and old alike will not want to miss that!
On December 12th you can join in the Poway’s Christmas in the Park celebration with a tree lighting ceremony, train rides, live music and a visit from Santa! If you prefer lighted watercraft, head to the Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights. This parade will circle around the harbor and showcase colorfully lighted boats of all kinds. The Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights is another option for viewing lighted boats, and features powerboats and sailboats.
For something unique, check out the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade in Gaslamp Quarter. See the adorable and sometimes whimsical costumed pets parade down the streets and receive awards at the Pet Expo following.
There are dozens more parades, water parades, celebrations and festivities happening all around the area throughout the month of December to get you into the holiday spirit. Check out your favorites and have a Christmas you won’t soon forget.