Visitors’ Guide to Enjoying Your San Diego Holidays

There’s just no beating the yuletide season in ”America’s Finest City.” Our famously mild weather is even more agreeable, the nights are long and cool, and there’s always so much to discover. Looking for great ways to spend your time during your San Diego holidays? Here are our picks for some of the best.

Liberty Station Holiday Events

There’s always something happening at Liberty Station, but San Diego’s favorite public market truly comes alive during the holidays. From the traditional annual tree lighting, to a wreath-making workshop, to a maker fair, art show and even the city’s most popular pet-adoption event, there’s something for everyone. Not to mention that anyone who has visited Liberty Station knows they’ll find something for everyone on their list at one of the unique shops. 

Photo credit: @libertystation

50th Annual Bay Parade of Lights

The Bay Parade of Lights is a uniquely San Diego tradition, returning for its 50th year in 2021. Area boating enthusiasts deck out their dinghies and give their yachts a yuletide makeover, then cruise past the shore in a brilliantly beautiful show of seasonal splendor. This time-honored festival will bring more than 80 boats to the waters off of San Diego, all lavishly decorated to dovetail with this year’s theme: “The 12 Days of Christmas.” More than 100,000 residents are expected to enjoy the brilliantly-bright parade on December 12 and 19. A similar procession takes place in Mission Bay: the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights.



SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 

SeaWorld San Diego has thrilled generations of marine life enthusiasts for nearly six decades. The park truly comes alive during the holidays, however. The SeaWorld Christmas Celebration takes place from November 12 – January 2 this season, and features a host of holiday-themed shows, events, gifts, souvenirs and other surprises. Guests are invited to sip cozy cups of hot cocoa as they visit all of their favorite animals throughout the decorated grounds.

Photo credit: @seaworldsandiego

December Nights at Balboa Park

Following a successful event in 2020, December Lights at Balboa Park will once again be a drive-through event for this season. Participants are invited to take in the beauty of a decidedly decked-out park space cheerfully decorated with holiday finery, all from the comfort of their vehicles. In addition, several excellent food trucks will be on-hand with favorite seasonal foods, turning the park into a de facto drive-through buffet. 

Holidays at Seaport Village

The oceanfront enclave of Seaport Village truly comes alive during the holidays, with special events, gifts and more. Visitors always enjoy crossing names off of their holiday shopping lists as they stroll the Village’s sunny, open-air thoroughfares. Specialty shops such as Christmas All Year offer seasonal items ideally-suited for home décor and gifts. Plus, Seaport Village is a great place to sit with a meal or beverage, and check out the Bay Parade of Lights!

Ice Skating

What better way to enjoy the holidays than with a graceful glide across the ice? While ice skating may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about San Diego, rest assured — it should be on the list! Despite our mild weather, the metro has lots of places where skaters can slip on their skates. Among them: 

  • Hotel del Coronado: our friends at this Coronado Island lodge host a rink overlooking the ocean every year.
  • Viejas Casino: you’ll find SoCal’s largest outdoor ice rink here every holiday season. 
  • Poway Community Park: Poway’s Winter Festival always features an outdoor rink ideal for a holiday skate.
  • San Diego Ice Arena: this fantastic facility is open year-round, and also hosts lessons, hockey and more. 

Photo credit: @delcoronado

The Best San Diego Holiday Stays Start Here

Planning a San Diego holiday escape? We’d love to be your choice for accommodations. Humphreys Half Moon Inn is a charming waterfront Shelter Island getaway with a tropical flair, excellent amenities, and stellar service. Feel free to take a look at our Special Offers page, select the travel deal that’s right for you, and let us be your home away from home for the holidays!