It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas: Five Holiday Attractions Coming to San Diego  

Picture of Hotel Del Coronado Photo Credit to Alexandra Irving

The Christmas season has crept its way back for yet another season of So-Cal holiday cheer. While there may not be snow in San Diego, there are different events and seasonal attractions put on by the community that you and your friends don’t want to miss. 

53rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dec. 10 and 17, a San Diego tradition will take place where the boating community gathers together in the bay with each boat decorated for Christmas. This year’s theme has been announced as Christmas Traditions Around the World. Each participant will decorate their boat with fun holiday lights fit to the theme. According to the event’s website, the boats will line up at Shelter Island and begin the parade at 5:30 p.m. From there, the boats will make their way past Seaport Village and end at the Ferry Landing on Coronado around 7:45 p.m.

Holiday Bowl Parade

Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 10 a.m., the 2023 San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by Kaiser Permanente will take place at Petco Park. The parade will start with the Holiday Bowl 5K along the harbor front at 9:45 a.m. According to the Port of San Diego, the parade itself will begin at 10 a.m. and will include 24 giant balloons, three floats and 18 specialty units. Marching bands from different universities will also be playing in this year’s parade.  Due to limited parking, it’s recommended and encouraged by the port to make use of public transportation. Viewers will be able to watch from the sidewalks of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway. 

Hotel Del Coronado

Every year the Hotel Del Coronado decorates for the holiday season. The hotel’s outer exterior is decked with lights, creating a beautiful scenery for guests to enjoy.  The lobby also features a Christmas tree set up with presents and other decorations. 

On Dec. 9, 16, 23 and 31, the hotel will also be hosting Movies on the Beach. According to the hotel website, anyone is welcome to attend the movie, while enjoying s’mores around the bonfire or relaxing on a beach daybed for the price of $25. They will be showing “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Jingle All the Way,” and “Home Alone.” On the 31, they will be playing “Top Gun: Maverick,” whose iconic football scene was filmed on the beaches of Coronado. 

From Nov. 17 to Jan. 7, they will be bringing back their famous holiday tradition of  Skating by the Sea, where guests can participate in ice skating on the beachfront. The hotel will be partnering with Make-A-Wish San Diego for this attraction. Though it is on the pricey side, costing $40 per ticket, each ticket grants access to 90 minutes of skating and skate rentals. 

Balboa Park December Nights

From Dec. 1-2, Balboa Park will have dazzling light displays, live music and different vendors. December Nights will take place from 3-11 p.m. that Friday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. the following day. The event is free and open to the public where you can explore El Prado and the beautiful gardens of the park. According to San Diego Explorer, all 17 of the museums will be free from 5-9 p.m. This event will also have food trucks with diverse foods from all around the world.  

Liberty Station 

Liberty Station has announced its events for this year’s Salute the Season. According to the site, they will be lighting their 88-foot Norfolk pine tree in the North Promenade on Friday, Nov. 24, from 5-9 p.m.  There will be live entertainment, fire truck rides, and a screening of the Grinch movie. 

Alongside the events, Liberty Station will be partnering with San Diego Ballet to host The Nutcracker Tea Party.  Running on Dec. 17 at 11 a.m., and again at 3 p.m., San Diego Ballet will perform “The Nutcracker,” as tasty holiday treats are served. This event is family-friendly and will have a variety of coffee, teas and hot cocoa. 

San Diego is not one to disappoint during the holiday season. All these events and attractions are sure to make for a festive day out and bring the joy of Christmas back to our community for another season.