Christmas is just around the corner, and there are no shortage of holiday events to go to / take part in. One of my favorites is the “Fantasy on Ice“, ice-skating at Horton Square. Nothing puts you in the holiday spirit better then an outdoor ice rink, lights, music…and maybe a cup of hot cocoa at Ghirardelli.
Article from Signonsansiego.com
Think the holidays are boring? You’ve obviously never spent the season in San Diego. There’s almost no need to watch your waistline at the holiday table, because you’re bound to burn major calories jetting to all the various events and activities on offer this winter.
We’ve rounded up the city’s best bets for singles, couples and families. Be out and about, see a parade or find culture with some art shows, theater, dance performances and holiday concerts, or shake up the traditional with some edgier options. Then there’s always the movies. You can also take time to volunteer. Discover San Diego’s favorite lights displays and where to see Santa.
We’ve also got a mega-list of holiday events sorted by date, so mark your calendar now with activities that fit your style.
Also check out our Winter Checklist and Night&Day’s Holiday Top 10 and the Best of the Rest.
Balboa Park is San Diego’s crown jewel and never more so than during the holidays. The park comes alive with the sound of music during the sing-along at Spreckels Organ Pavilion (12/23) and the annual December Nights (formerly Christmas on the Prado, 12/7-12/8). The Balboa Park Holiday Tree Lighting happens early (11/25), but you can still catch poinsettias on display at the Botanical Building for the 21st year in a row (12/7-1/10).
The seasonal chill in the air makes holiday tea time even more enticing. Take the little ones to the Westgate Hotel’s Teddy Bear Teas (12/9, 12/15-16, 12/21, 12/23-24), or enjoy scones and sandwiches seaside during Holiday Victorian Tea at the Hotel Del (11/24-12/31).
Now that you’ve warmed the body, it’s time to warm the soul at a community celebration. This year Old Town has time-honored seasonal offerings: Holiday in the Park (12/1-12/15) and the annual Las Posadas & Luminarias (12/12), which reenacts Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter on the night of Christ’s birth. Farther east, La Mesa erects an Old-Fashioned Christmas VillageJulian celebrates the holidays in Victorian style (11/24 thru January), and Point Loma starts a new yuletide celebration called Christmas on the PromenadeCommunity Calendar for more holiday events, or enter your own.
No matter what your faith, this town knows how to celebrate. Hanukkah festivities will be in full swing at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center (12/2) and The Woman’s Club of Carlsbad (12/8). Meanwhile, Balboa Park’s WorldBeat Cultural Center will celebrate Kwanzaa with its annual “Kwanzaa: A Cultural Holiday Celebration of Song, Dance & Drum” (12/27).
Searching for a kid-friendly destination station open on Christmas and New Year’s Day? You’re in luck. Legoland will be hosting a fun-filled Holiday Block Party (12/22-12/31) and everyone’s invited. And on New Year’s Day, the park will be open from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. (12/7-12/8) for the whole family. (12/7-12/8). Want more community celebrations? Check our
Looking for some non-denominational holiday activities? Sports fans, grab your tickets to the Poinsettia Bowl (12/20 at Qualcomm) or the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (12/27 at Qualcomm). And there’s nothing more romantic than a hand-in-hand glide around the rink, so take your special someone ice skating at Horton Square (through 1/6) or at the Hotel Del (11/21-1/8). Just don’t ask how the rink stays frozen during another sunny, clear-skied San Diego winter.
Holiday parades are a perennial favorite in all of San Diego’s neighborhoods. From Coronado (12/7), O.B. (12/1), Chula Vista (12/1) and Fallbrook (12/1) to North Park (12/8), La Jolla (12/2) P.B. (12/8) and Encinitas (12/1), San Diegans know how to strut their stuff. Don’t miss the eye-popping display of lights when Port of San Diego (12/9 and 12/16) and Mission Bay (12/8) hold their boat parades. And if you’re headed to the big game, check out the floating orbs at the Big Bay Holiday Bowl Parade (12/27), which bills itself as America’s Largest Balloon Parade.
No better excuse to bundle up in your winter garb than bustling off to one of San Diego’s nighttime gallery walks or museum parties. And speaking of bustle, all of San Diego turns out for festivities, free museum admission and parking squabbles at December Nights (12/7-12/8). But if rubbing shoulders with other enthusiasts isn’t enough, then get personal at the brand new Lux Art Institute where an artist in residence is on hand to talk shop. For other daytime excursions, trip out on the clever “Animated Painting” exhibition at SDMA followed by a cup of warm tea in the Japanese Garden Tea Pavilion, see if glam passes for art at Joseph Bellows, contemplate myth, spirituality and ritual at CCAE, or pay your final respects to CJ Kuhl Gallery at its last show before disappearing into cyberspace forever.
The curtain’s calling to theater-lovers of every kind this season. Diversionary Theatre presents Harvey Fierstein’s Tony-Award winning ode to the heart’s yearnings with “Torch Song Trilogy” (11/15-12/16) while Cygnet Theatre gets into the spirit with a live radio play of “It’s a Wonderful Life” (11/23-12/30). Celebrate an unusual take on the Dickens classic with “A Christmas Carol: Not-So-Tiny Tim’s Great Big Musical!” (11/24-12/23) at 6th @ Penn, and what would the holidays in San Diego be without a production of Lamb’s Players’ “Festival of Christmas” (11/29-12/30) or the Old Globe’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (11/25-12/30)? And, for a delightful holiday dinner theater experience for the whole family, check out Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” at the Welk Resort Theatre (11/8-12/30). Or go completely against the holiday grain and catch John Waters’ kitschy musical “Cry Baby” (10/30-12/16) at the La Jolla Playhouse, Ion Theatre’s adult-themed production “Punks” (11/9-12/15) about two New York hustlers or the San Diego Rep’s tale of an overdue coming-of-age party, Rick Najera’s “Sweet 15 (Quinceañera).” Not to be outdone by unusual offerings, Mo’olelo’s “Cowboy Versus Samurai” (11/29-12/16) takes on racial stereotypes and Cyrano de Bergerac, while MOXIE Theatre’s “Victoria Martin: Math Teen Queen” (11/25-12/16) explodes gender myths. Or you could give your ‘tweener the thrill of their lives with Disney’s “High School Musical” (12/26-30) at the Civic Theatre.
And while there are plenty of holiday classic dance performances in town (see the various Nutcrackers in town), there are a number of unexpected holiday treats donning tights this season. Or clogs. See “Riverdance” stars in An Irish Christmas (12/8) at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, and Balboa Theatre (12/15-16). The Escondido arts center also offers acrobatic entertainment with its Holiday Jubilee (12/1). Animals are acrobats, too: See Gregory Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theater (12/16) at Joan B. Kroc.
2005 nutcrackers….San Elijo Dance and Music Academy (12/20-12/21 at CCAE), California Ballet (11/26-11/27 at the Civic Theatre and 12/23-12/24 at Copley Symphony Hall), S.D. Ballet (12/15-12/18 at UCSD), City Ballet (12/9-12/11, 12/16-12/18 at Spreckels) or San Diego Civic Youth Ballet (12/9-12/11 and 12/16-12/18 at Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado).
Have a sweet tooth for the sugar plum fairies and all things Christmas? Go nuts with these classic holiday productions of The Nutcracker and Handel’s “Messiah”. Balboa Park’s annual Tree Lighting and Sing-along happens the Sunday after Thanksgiving (11/25), but several more musical events await in December, including the Spreckels Organ Concert Holiday Sing-along (12/23) and the San Diego Symphony’s annual Holiday Pops (12/19-12/23). Up north, California Center for the Arts, Escondido, hosts the annual holiday concert “Carols by Candlelight” to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego (12/7-12/8).
Music and More
Does Christmas have anything to do with concerts? Of course it does! You spend money on them, right? Cynicism aside, there are some shows worth your dough this season. Among the concerts with festive names this year, FM 94/9’s Holiday Hootenanny (12/15) — with Queens of the Stone Age, Pinback and more — is the standout. But it’s OK if you’re secretly hopeful Santa will give you tickets to Duran Duran (12/9) at Jingle Ball. Your Irish grandmother would probably love to see the Young Dubliners Christmas show (12/15).
But music is also the perfect tonic to all your holiday ailments — one of them being numbness, a side effect of furious holiday shopping at the mall. Give your soul a recharge with Sharon Jones (12/1) and Etta James (12/14), or reconfirm you can feel with Tori Amos (12/12).
If after all the shopping and family bickering subsides, you look Santa in the eyes and are a well of melancholy and detachment, put a tear in your beer with your Casbah brethren at Exile on Kettner (12/24). You’ll be holding a up a lighter to these Rolling Stone covers by the end of the night. <!–
In other music happenings, the San Diego Holiday Jazz & Blues Festival comes to the East Village (12/17), the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego performs a holiday concert at the Jewish Community Center (12/3-12/4) and classical music gets a rock twist when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra takes the stage at Cox Arena (12/7).
With the flurry of shopping, gift-giving and rampant consumerisum during the holidays, museums can be the perfect refuge. Escape the malls—and the in-laws— with a trip to Balboa Park. Go to where the wild things are in “Domains of Wonder” at SDMA (through 1/22) or see religious figures in a different light with “Rembrandt’s Apostles” at the Timken Museum (through 1/16). Examine perceptions of race in “Only Skin Deep,” a joint exhibition at MoPA and SDMA (through 12/31), or look back on the 90-year history of the Museum of Man with “Reflections” (through 9/24/06). Up in La Jolla, you can get lost in the world of Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari, among others, while viewing “Southern Exposure” at MCASD (through 1/1). –>
‘Tis the season for fun-in-dysfunction flicks. “The Savages,” a film about the ridiculous realities of caring for an elderly parent, stars Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman; “Margot at the Wedding,” Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to “The Squid and the Whale,” stars Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh as deliciously crazy and neurotic sisters at odds; and “Juno” is a non-cheesy comedy about teen pregnancy with Jennifer Garner as the pregnant teen’s mom.
If you’ve got kids in tow, they’ll probably be dragging you to “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” which needs no introduction; or to the fantastical, animals-can-talk world of “The Golden Compass,” where Dakota Blue Richards is the little girl who holds the magical instrument.
For drinks and discussion after
Widely popular book “The Kite Runner,” about an Afghani man who returns home during the Taliban years, finally hits theaters right before Christmas. Also tied to Afghanistan are Julia Roberts’ and Tom Hanks’ Oscar bids in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” a film about the Texas politician who arms the anti-Soviet fighters (aka the Taliban) in that country.
Woody Allen is back with a new thriller. Starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor, “Cassandra’s Dream,” like “Match Point,” deals with secrecy and murder, but it remains to be seen whether this film will make the same kind of waves in the suspense genre. Francis Ford Coppola is also back with “Youth Without Youth,” starring Tim Roth as a professor-turned-fugitive in the years leading up to Word War II.
Best Bets For…
Best bets for kids and families: