Salute the Season: A Guide to All Things Happening at Liberty Station This Season

San Diego’s Liberty Station is more than an award-winning educational, residential, and retail facility — it’s also the city’s leading venue for holiday events, annually hosting a tree lighting, a “Nutcracker” tea party, and other amazing Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. Here’s a guide to everything you can do at “the Station” come November and December 2019.

Go Ice Skating

One of the Station’s biggest holiday-season attractions is its beautiful ice rink, open mid-November through early January. Strap on a pair of skates, work on your double axel, and support a local nonprofit: The rink is sponsored by a group affiliated with California’s largest children’s hospital.

Watch a Tree Lighting

The Station’s tree lighting is a sight to behold, as the tree itself is one of the city’s tallest — a Norfolk pine towering a full 88 feet in the air. Directly after the ceremony, festivities continue with family-friendly fire-truck rides, Santa Claus photos, and an outdoor screening of “The Grinch” on the adjacent lawn.

Shop for Creative Wares

If you’re looking to pick up holiday gifts, you will definitely want to hit up the Station during Small Business Saturday. The event, which supports a larger on-site initiative, brings out vendors who specialize in artisanal wares such as comic books and handmade jewelry.

Attend an Arts-Themed Holiday Open House

Although the Station’s art open houses are not unique to the holiday season, the December edition of the event is one of the most exciting. Along with meeting working artists, you can take in special seasonal twists on the performances and installations that have made this one of San Diego Magazine’s top free arts events.

Sip Tea with Ballerinas

The Station is known for being family-friendly, and this is especially true during the holidays, when Building 177 transforms into a venue for an interactive “Nutcracker” performance. As part of the annual “Nutcracker” Tea Party, little ones can take photos with Santa, sip hot cocoa, and nibble Christmas cookies.

Hang Out With Santa

Those who would like a picture with Santa (and missed the aforementioned tea party) may visit the Station between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. any Saturday in December. These photo calls are part of a larger series known as Celebration with Santa & Friends, which brings live entertainment, such as caroling, to the venue’s North Promenade.

Light the Menorah

In partnership with the local Chabad, the Station rings in the first night of Hanukkah with a special celebration and menorah lighting in the Central Promenade. Live music and entertainment, raffles, and photo-ops are to follow, along with ice skating at the rink.