Get Into the Holiday Spirit at these San Diego Celebrations

Holiday Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland Festival: Presented by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, this is an annual community event where the North Pole comes to the heart of Escondido. Children will have the chance to frolic in real snow, decorate their very own Christmas cookies, and create fun, hand-made gifts for loved ones. The highlight for kids is, of course, Santa Claus himself, but there will also be a number of holiday-themed entertainers — from carolers, to stilt walkers, to hula dancers — for all ages to enjoy. Food and drink will be available to warm your hands and hearts, and a number of local businesses will be displaying their wares for your holiday shopping needs. At dusk, the Winter Wonderland Forest will come alive with twinkling lights, and no one will be able to resist the holiday spirit. There will also be a few new surprises at this year’s festival, so don’t miss your chance to celebrate the holidays at the Center. December 5. 3-8 p.m. Free.

Balboa Park December Nights: Balboa Park December Nights will take place for the 38th consecutive year. Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. both evenings. Revelers can watch top-notch musical and dance performances, enjoy delicious and diverse food choices, and help spread a heavy dose of holiday cheer. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more. December 4-6. Free.

Chula Vista Starlight Parade: The Chula Vista Starlight Parade is back and will immediately follow the Third Avenue Village Association’s Holiday in the Village event. The festivities will take place Saturday, December 5th, with Holiday in the Village beginning at noon, and the Starlight Parade kicking off at 6:00 p.m., joined by Grand Marshal Tony Raso. A variety of colorful floats, caroling groups, marching bands, dance teams, classic cars, and other participants will usher in the holiday season as part of San Diego County’s largest nighttime parade. Stop by Snack Alley to get a delicious piping hot coffee or hot chocolate, a bag of fresh-popped kettle corn, a scrumptious cinnamon churro, a fluffy cone of cotton candy, or another snack of your choosing from the wide array food vendors on site. The parade is a free event for all ages, making it the perfect way to kick-off the holiday season and get the family in the festive spirit. December 5. Noon – 8 p.m. Free.

Corodnado Christmas Parade: Festivities kick off at the Ferry Landing with Santa arriving at 3:20 p.m., and with carolers and snow fun at snow mountain. Also, experience ice skating like no other — you can ice skate on the beach! Find your way to Orange Avenue and select a good spot to take in the Coronado Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. Orange Ave shuts down to traffic and becomes a Christmas wonderland. Before or after the parade, shop in the stores along Orange Ave, where there will be treats and festivities to make holiday shopping a memorable and relaxing time. At 7:00 p.m., be sure to be at Rotary Plaza (next to the Visitor Center at 1100 Orange Ave.) when the Christmas Tree will be lit for the holiday season. The Community Band will be on hand to set the festive mood. December 4. 3-9 p.m. Free.


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