5 Unmissable San Diego Holiday Traditions

Whether you’re spending the holidays in San Diego, or planning next year’s vacation during the festive season, we’re breaking down our favorite ways to experience the holidays like a local in San Diego. From light shows to holiday parades, here are our favorite San Diego Holiday traditions.

Balboa Park December Nights

This annual event is the largest attended Christmas celebration in town, attracting more than 375,000 visitors over only two days. From December 7th, December 8th, visitors will be treated to festive fun, food, attractions, a tree lighting and more. Balboa Parks world famous museums even open their doors for the night!

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Christmas takes over the San Diego Zoo during the holidays with Jungle Bells, a festive celebration of light shows, live performances, and holiday food.

Holiday Bowl Parade

It’s not the holidays without the traditional Bowl football game. Get ready to cheer for your favorite college team, and enjoy the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl parade, the largest balloon parade in America!

Salute the Season at Liberty Station

You don’t have to travel far from the hotel to experience holiday magic. Liberty Station offers a variety of holiday events ranging from ice skating to celebrations with Santa.

Merry & Bright! San Diego’s Holiday Light Displays

San Diego takes its holiday lighting seriously- there are event competitions for it! Here are some events we’ll be heading to for some serious holiday light shows.

  • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
    • One of the city’s favorite traditions is the annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights.  Held December 9th and December 16th, this annual event features over 80 boats and yachts festively decorated with twinkling holiday lights for spectators on the shore to enjoy.
  • Garrison Street Lights, Point Loma
    • Located just over the hill from our hotel, these luxurious hilltop estates have a spectacular view and even more spectacular holiday light displays during the season. Lights go on at dusk and off at 10 pm through December. Address: 3616 Garrison Street, San Diego, CA 92106
  • Candy Cane Lane, Chula Vista
    • Although it’s a bit of a drive, just 20 minutes south, Candy Cane Lane is one of the best lights in San Diego. More than 55 homes join in the holiday spirit! Address: 185 Mankato Street, Chula Vista CA, 91910