What to Do in San Diego in the Winter

by Emeri Callahan

Dec 3, 2018
Tips / Destination

Of all the things San Diego is known for, being a winter wonderland is not one of them. The city may never see a white Christmas, but that doesn’t stop it from trying its darndest to spread some holiday cheer. If you happen to be in the area during winter months, here are some activities to get you in the holiday spirit … even when it’s a balmy 75 degrees.

 

Skating by the Sea at Hotel Del Coronado (Through Jan. 1, 2019)

Perhaps the most iconic San Diego holiday tradition of all is Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado. Where else can you ice skate under palm trees gazing out over the ocean? The beachfront rink introduced rink-side lounges this year complete with a cozy firepit and holiday-themed libations.

 

December Nights at Balboa Park (Dec. 7–8)

This free annual festival is a favorite way among locals to kick off the holiday season. Fill your cup with hot cocoa (and Bailey’s) and stroll around the expansive grounds of Balboa Park while eating county fair-style treats, sipping on holiday cocktails from around the world at the International Village and being dazzled by the strings of lights sparkling through the night.

 

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights (Dec. 9 and 16)

The Parade of Lights is the San Diego boating community’s time to shine. More than 80 extravagantly decorated boats float past in procession from Shelter Island through Seaport Village, Cesar Chavez Park and end at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. This year’s theme? Tropical Island Christmas.

 

Jungle Bells at San Diego Zoo (Dec. 8–Jan. 1, 2019)

San Diego’s world-class zoo turns into a wild wonderland every winter with twinkling lights, carolers, festive foods and a Twinkle Light Trolley that spins through the grounds after dark to see lighted displays and winter-loving animals.

 

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