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.
We can see it now and remember when it happened to us: Watching as the black car icon loops around and around, seemingly endlessly, and our wait time on the rideshare app continually changes. Long wait times and confused drivers are just a few bothersome issues that can nag at rideshare users. Need a solution? Ditch rideshares altogether in favor of renting a car on your next trip.
Barcelona’s insane popularity and large influx of visitors as of late may have some travelers steering away from the Mediterranean coastal city, but just outside the overpopulated center of the city, known as Ciutat Vella, are quieter neighborhoods that offer more of a local feel and don’t come with exorbitant tourist prices. El Poble-Sec is one such area that rests between the towering Montjuic park and the Old Town, making it a nice escape but still close enough to access the sights.
In food capitals like New York City, foodie crazes seem to rise and set as quickly as the sun, but one trend that has endured for awhile now is the city’s penchant for regional Chinese cuisine, and the East Village is home to some of the city’s top spots for sampling your way through several of these regions.
Dining is an art, and now that applies to both on the ground and at 35,000 feet thanks to Hainan Airlines’ “Hai Chef” Inflight Artistic Chinese cuisine series, a collaboration with Dong Zhenxiang, a Chinese culinary master also known as Dadong.
Some places appear better to visit in the winter. For example, anywhere known for winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, will be less visited in the summer because those same people are going to spend their time at the beach or another destination. However, visiting these destinations during the off-seasons can show a side of the city or town that can’t be seen under piles of snow. It’s worth checking out a couple of these favorite winter destinations.