A white Christmas sounds nice, but it may not necessarily be your thing. Why not opt for a temperate Christmas in a lovely city like San Diego?
San Diego has plenty of wonderful activities and seasonal events to enjoy, no matter who you’re spending the holidays with.
If you’re traveling to Southern California this holiday season, check out our list of the top things to do for Christmas in San Diego 2019.
1. Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo
Mid-December through early January; Exact dates TBD
If you needed another reason to visit San Diego Zoo, the #1 Zoo in the World, look no further: Jungle Bells returns!
The Northern Frontier’s forest will be converted to a Holiday Forest, complete with exquisitely decorated trees and lights strung in all directions. Catch a showing of Jingle Brass, a caroling group that will wow you with their jazz-inspired takes on classic Christmas music.
In addition to festive animal feedings and talks, you’ll also get to enjoy musicians, dance performances, and a performance of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
2. Riding into the Holidays at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Early December through early January; Exact dates TBD
The San Diego Model Railroad Museum puts on an array of different holiday celebrations, from a screening of a Christmas classic to a special display about the importance of toy trains during the season.
On select dates, bring the kids to the museum for a showing of The Polar Express. Feel free to bring a blanket and pillow for the kids, as you’ll all be encouraged to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
For adults, they also host a fun “Ales and Rails” event, which combines beer tasting with an ugly Christmas sweater competition.
2019 details are still forthcoming, but all in all it promises to be a rollicking good time.
3. LEGOLAND® Holidays
Mid-November through the end of December; Exact dates TBD
Come to LEGOLAND® California Resort to celebrate your favorite holiday with your favorite toys.
Enjoy character meet and greets at the new LEGO® Holiday Village. Meet LEGO® Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, elves, and more. Marvel at the world’s largest LEGO® Christmas tree, bedecked with over 400 LEGO ornaments and more than 11,000 LED lights. It’s the perfect place to pose for your family’s holiday card.
There will also be holiday performances, shows, and even a Cookie Decorating Workshop.
Stay tuned for more details specific to San Diego Christmas 2019.
4. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
Mid-November through early January; Exact dates TBD
For something that will make your kids’ holiday experiences truly special, head to SeaWorld San Diego.
Their Christmas Celebration is among the best and brightest in the region, offering seasonal food and drink, festive shopping, live performances, and much more.
Visitors will also be delighted to meet Rudolph and friends, soak up the beauty of illuminated trees, and find that perfect gift for a loved one.
Each year brings a new Nativity show with a unique theme and special one-off events and performances. Look out for 2019 specific details closer to the holidays!
5. December Nights at the San Diego Museum of Art
December 6 & 7, 2019
In accordance with the Balboa Park December Nights, the park’s resident art museum hosts holiday-themed celebrations as well. The San Diego Museum of Art weaves the best and brightest of the holidays in with their impressive artistic offerings.
For both days, the museum will be closed during normal operating hours and will open at 5PM to celebrate the long-standing tradition with special galleries, concerts, and holiday treats. Hear the La Jolla Renaissance Singers, check out the intricately designed Nativity Scene, and explore the Hibben Gallery.
If you’re looking to make an entire day of exploring Balboa Park, be sure to check out other top local museums and attractions during Balboa Park December Nights. More on that below!
6. December Nights at Balboa Park
December 6 & 7, 2019
Head to the famous park for the 42nd celebration of December Nights, held every year on the first Friday & Saturday of December. It’s the largest free holiday festival in San Diego.
Enjoy gorgeous light displays, a decadently decorated Christmas Tree as the center piece, and plenty of fun-filled attractions. There will be performances, like a rendition of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, local-made crafts and gifts to choose from, and plenty more to get you into the holiday spirit.
Getting in: December Nights at Balboa Park is free and open to the public.
7. Polar Bear Tea at the Hotel Del Coronado
December 2019; Exact date TBD
This is a unique experience the kids will never forget. Hop aboard the ferry out to Coronado and enjoy a charming Polar Bear Tea at the historic Hotel Del Coronado.
Evoking Christmas traditions with specialty food and décor, the Polar Bear Tea is geared specifically towards kids, with festive activities and readings with Mrs. Claus.
Plus, if you bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a child in need, you’ll be able to go home with a polar bear plush!
Looking to explore more of this historic little island? Check out the Coronado Museum of History and Art to learn more about the heritage and culture of this standout vacation spot in San Diego.
Save on Holiday Attraction Admission
So there’s our brief list of the top things to do in San Diego during Christmastime and the holidays.
Remember, many of these options are included on the Go San Diego® pass, which can save you up to 55% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.
Please note, the Christmas events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with Go San Diego.
We hope you’ll consider adding an idea or two from this list to your holiday itinerary. Happy Holidays from Go City!