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Plan Your Holiday With These Christmas Events in San Diego 2023

December 6, 2023

The holidays in La Jolla is an undeniably special time with plenty of Christmas events in San Diego to fill your time. Our sunny seaside town embraces the magic of the holidays with festive activities, long-held traditions, and beautiful displays throughout town. If you’re planning to stay in La Jolla during your holiday in San Diego, expect a fun-filled time with no shortage of cheer. Here’s a rundown of our favorite Christmas events in San Diego, curated especially for guests of Cormorant Boutique Hotel.


Holiday Drinks and Brunch With Santa at Birdseye

Join us at our rooftop bar and restaurant for a holiday celebration like no other! Get in the festive spirit with our exclusive holiday cocktails, crafted to delight and surprise. And on December 23rd and 24th, from 9am to 1pm, come for Brunch with Santa. Capture magical moments with ol’ Saint Nick against a backdrop of breathtaking ocean views. Indulge in our delectable menu and a variety of drinks. Plus, as a special treat, our guests enjoy an exclusive 15% discount at Birdseye.


December Nights

Head to Balboa Park on December 1st and 2nd for San Diego’s annual holiday festival, December Nights. The two-day celebration will sure get you in the holiday spirit with free live music performances, dazzling lights displays, photos with Santa Claus, tasty food and drinks, and a fun Family Zone full of attractions. Enjoy strolling through the dazzling lights while taking in holiday-themed shows and attractions with friends and family in this free Christmas event in San Diego.


La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival

A yearly tradition beloved by young and old, the 67th Annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival will take place on Sunday, December 3, 2023. The event starts at 11:30 am with the Holiday Festival, and the 90-minute parade will start at 1:30 pm—expect holiday-focused floats and jolly paraders. The parade will take place rain or shine.

If you can’t make it to La Jolla’s Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival, catch these other holiday parades in San Diego:

    • Ocean Beach’s 44th annual Holiday Parade along Newport Avenue at Sunset Son aturday, December 2nd
    • Encinitas Holiday Parade along South Coast Highway 101 on December 2nd. 
    • Chula Vista Starlight Parade & Festival will also be on December 3rd by Third Avenue. The festivities start at 3pm, but the parade won’t start till 6pm. 
    • Mission Bay’s Christmas Boat Parade of Lights is on December 9th at 5:30pm, with SeaWorld’s spectacular fireworks coming beforehand
    • Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights is on Dec 9, 2023 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm


SDBC 35th Annual Holiday Toy Ride

The San Diego Bicycle Club will host its annual “Light Up A Life” Holiday Toy Ride on Saturday, December 9, 2023. The event starts at 8:30 am. Each rider should bring one unwrapped toy for the Salvation Army. Afterward, enjoy a slow and leisurely ride starting at UC Cyclery at La Jolla Village Square. Riders of all skill levels are welcome!


65th Annual Las Posadas in Old Town San Diego

Don’t miss out on the charm and festivities of Old Town’s 65th Annual Las Posadas celebration on Friday, December 8th at Heritage County Park. Join Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, portrayed through interactive stations, accompanied by carols and narration. Lend a hand to the local community too by contributing to the food drive. Afterwards, gather ’round for live music and refreshments. This beloved Christmas event in San Diego is a local favorite!


Headquarters Annual Snow Day


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Come celebrate the holidays at the Headquarters Annual Snow Day happening on December 2nd from 12-3pm in the Headquarters Center Courtyard. Families are sure to have a delightfully wintry experience with activities like a real snow play area, visits and photos with Santa himself, festive crafts for the keeks to make, and sweet treats to enjoy. A holiday DJ will get everyone dancing and feeling merry. All are welcome to this complimentary celebration of the season and encouraged to stop by for some holiday cheer and fun!


Holiday Villages and Markets in San Diego 

There are plenty of holiday villages and markets sprouting throughout San Diego this time of year, offering festive events, delicious treats, unique gifts, and a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. Take your pick of villages to visit or tour them all – it’s a great activity for spreading holiday cheer and checking everyone off your shopping list while supporting local businesses and artisans.

La Mesa Holiday in the Village 

WHEN: Saturday, December 2, 2023 from 12 – 9 pm

WHERE: La Mesa Blvd. btwn. Spring St. – 4th St. in the heart of downtown La Mesa

The La Mesa Holiday in the Village is a FREE event featuring live music, caroling, cozy fires, craft vendors, food, holiday photo opportunities including selfies with Santa, and a kids’ area bigger than Santa’s Toy Shop!  

Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village 

When: December 2, 2023 from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: Piazza della Famiglia, Little Italy

An annual favorite Christmas event in San Diego, see Little Italy transform into a dazzling winter wonderland. The streets twinkle with Christmas lights, giant nutcrackers, and kinetic tree displays. Live music fills the air, and the Christmas Village on India Street offers one-of-a-kind gifts and stocking stuffers from local vendors and artisans.

Del Mar Village Winter Taste & Sip 

WHEN: Sunday, December 3, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. 

WHERE: Downtown Del Mar Village

Experience the season’s flavors at the Del Mar Village Winter Taste & Sip! This festive extravaganza features culinary creations from award-winning Del Mar Village restaurants, sips from local beverage partners at “Sip Stops”, live music, and a myriad of holiday activities. Don’t miss the chance to dance with the Grinch, get photos with Santa, and participate in the North Pole by the Sea family-friendly festivities.

Carnitas’ Holiday Market

WHEN: Dec 7, 2023, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

WHERE: Carnitas Snack Shack, 1004 North Harbor Drive, San Diego

Join in the holiday merriment at Carnitas’ Holiday Market. From shopping with local vendors to relishing delicious food and holiday cocktails, this event guarantees festive vibes. Enjoy live music, a holiday craft station, s’mores Station, and even get your photos with Santa!

East Village Tree Lighting & Holiday Market

When: Dec 9, 2023 from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Where: Downtown, Quartyard & 13th Street, 1301 Market Street, San Diego

Kick-start the holiday season in this joyous community gathering featuring a curated holiday market, live music, and delectable food. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 5:45 p.m. led by the East Village Association is a sight to behold. Holiday vendors offer a variety of hand-crafted gifts, perfect for ticking off your holiday shopping list.


Holiday Shows and Christmas Concerts in San Diego

San Diego is teeming with a variety of festive live performances to choose from during the season. From musicals to family activities, here are some top shows and concerts happening around town in San Diego this December:

    • Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Nov 8 – Dec 31, 2023 at The Old Globe | Dr. Seuss’s beloved Christmas story brought to life in a musical production at the Old Globe Theatre. 
    • World Ballet Series: The Nutcracker – Dec 3, 2023, 2:00pm & 6:00pm at Balboa Theatre | The World Ballet brings this favorite Christmas classic to the Balboa Theatre, featuring Tchaikovsky’s music, over 150 costumes, lavish sets and iconic choreography with a diverse cast of 50 professional dancers.
    • Believe! – Dec 5, 2023, 6:00pm at Balboa Theatre | Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School presents a children’s Christmas musical about a teenager rediscovering her love of Christmas through community service. 
    • Polar Express Family Day – Dec 9, 2023, 10:30am and 1:30pm at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum | Watch a screening of the classic film The Polar Express, meet Santa, and enjoy holiday crafts at the museum.  
    • Jingle: The Super Gay Sing-Along – Dec 9, 8:00pm & Dec 10, 3:00pm at Balboa Theatre – San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus presents its 39th season with a sparkling holiday concert featuring audience participation, sing-alongs, and line dancing. 
    • Cirque Dreams Holidaze – Dec 9, 7:30pm and Dec 10, 1:00pm and 5:00pm at the Civic Theatre | A Broadway-style spectacle meets contemporary circus arts, with visions of sugarplums and storybook characters coming to life in this fantastical family holiday tradition.
    • Million Dollar Quartet Christmas – Dec 11 & Tue, Dec 12, 2023 at 7:30pm, at Balboa Theatre | Inspired by the Tony Award-nominated musical, this show brings together Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley to reflect on Christmases past and present through nostalgic hits. 
    • Noel Noel – Dec 15-17, 2023, 7:30pm at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego | Annual holiday concert featuring the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Master Chorale and the San Diego Children’s Choir performing beloved Christmas classics with guest vocalists. There will be sing-alongs!
    • Golden State Ballet’s: The Nutcracker – Dec 15 – Dec 24, 2023 at the Civic Theatre | A beloved holiday tradition, experience the magic of this classical ballet production that features spectacular choreography and Tchaikovsky’s cherished score. 
    • Charlie Brown Jingles & Jazz – December 15 at 7:30pm at Balboa Theatre | Experience a jazzy Christmas with San Diego’s own Peter Sprague as he brings the cherished holiday TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, to life through his musical prowess. This 1965 classic by Vince Guaraldi, an acclaimed American composer and jazz pianist, jazzed up the Peanuts gang’s Christmas tale. 
    • San Diego Ballet’s: The Nutcracker – Dec 16, 2023, 1:00pm & 5:00pm at The Magnolia in El Cajon | San Diego Ballet brings Tchaikovsky’s beloved score and costumes to the stage in this magical Christmas tale. Sugar plum fairies and dancing snowflakes will transport you to a world of imagination.
    • Mariachi Sol de Mexico: A Merry-Achi Christmas – Dec 17, 2023 ,7:00pm at Balboa Theatre | Enjoy a fusion of Mexican and American Christmas songs performed by a 13-piece Mariachi ensemble. It’s set to be a unique fiesta of holiday favorites from both sides of the border.
    • An Irish Christmas – Dec 16, 2023 at 7:30pm at Balboa Theatre – Ring in the season with this high-energy show that celebrates Irish music, song, and dance traditions, featuring award-winning dancers from Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, and Celtic Wings.
    • Mannheim Steamroller Christmas – December 28, 2023 at Broadway San Diego |America’s favorite holiday tradition for over 35 years, this Grammy-winning show brings to life the classic sounds of Mannheim Steamroller. Witness the magic of the season with dazzling multimedia effects in an intimate setting.
    • City Ballet’s: The Nutcracker – December 21-23, 2023 at the Concert Hall, California Center for the Arts, Escondido | This classic holiday show is brought to life through Elizabeth Wistrich’s choreography, exquisite costumes, and grand sets. The City Ballet Orchestra, conducted by John Nettles, will perform Tchaikovsky’s famous score live. 
    • Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show – November 17 – December 24, 2023 at Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre | San Diego is once again set to host this quick-witted, highly theatrical spin on Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday story, A Christmas Carol. Expect the iconic ghosts and Scrooge’s heartwarming transformation but with a comic local twist. 




At Cormorant Boutique Hotel, we’d love to welcome you to our special corner of La Jolla. Stay with us to be close to all the events above while enjoying our excellent amenities, from private balconies (select rooms) to our chic rooftop restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Plan your trip for Christmas in La Jolla today!