Entertainment & Events

Top 10 San Diego holiday traditions you don’t want to miss

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Break out the hot chocolate, ice skates and flip flops because the holidays are in full swing in San Diego. Just because we don’t experience snow, or frigid winter nights doesn’t mean we have to lose out on all things holiday. San Diego makes up for the lack of winter with classic holiday traditions the whole family will enjoy.

Christmas Card Lane

Located in the community of Rancho Penasquitos, Christmas Card Lane is one of the most famous holiday displays in San Diego. Residents of the community put up giant pieces of plywood with famous characters, images, or Christmas themes designed to look like Christmas cards. Originating in 1982, there are now over 200 participants who stroll through the lane each year.


Hotel del Coronado’s Skating by the Sea

Us San Diegans deserve a taste of the cold weather too. Each year, Hotel Del Coronado opens up its temporary ice skating rink right outside of the hotel. Complete with fresh hot cocoa, beautiful holiday lights and an ice skate rental booth, Hotel del Coronado brings the holidays to San Diego.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Village reindeer

Santa may be at every mall in America, but he doesn’t always bring his reindeer. San Diego residents are lucky enough to have two reindeer visit SeaWorld’s Christmas Village every year. The theme park’s holiday festivities also include carolers, breakfast with Santa, and SoCal’s largest 320 foot Christmas tree.

Polar Plunges

This year, the Coronado Masters Association will hold their 26th annual Christmas Eve Day Swim on Coronado’s North Beach. Take a dive in the now icy waters of San Diego with your fellow cold-water lovers.


Cut down your own tree

Some people enjoy fake trees, while other prefer real. Instead of taking the traditional route by buying a pre-cut tree, take a stab at it yourself with designated tree cutting areas. It’s time to test your saw working abilities because Julian offers guilt free Christmas tree cuttings at Julian’s Christmas Tree Ranch.

Menorah Lighting at UTC

Every year, Westfield UTC and Chabad Center of University City unite to host a menorah lighting ceremony. The event will take place in front of Forever 21 and will be complete with live entertainment and of course, plenty to eat.


Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park throws San Diego’s biggest Kwanzaa Event of the year. This year the organization will be celebrating its 36th celebration on four of the seven nights. The event is free to the public, hosts live performances, poetry readings, a drum call and traditional food.

Knorr Candle Shop

Making candles since 1928, Knorr Candle Shop is located behind a bundle of trees on Via de la Valle. The Beeswax farm has remained in the family for four generations and have been making candles, wreaths, ornaments, stockings and other décor since.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Old Globe

Are the holidays really the holidays without the Grinch? Going on its 19th year, the Old Globe hosts a whimsical production that will knock your Santa hats off. Complete with realistic costumes, music and a heartfelt message, this play will charm the whole family.


The Nutcracker

This mesmerizing ballet is hosted in every San Diego Theater every year by every dance company every December. Although it is played so often, this timeless classic is something we all go crazy over every year.

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