December PlanAhead: Your San Diego events calendar

There's a lot to do across San Diego this December.

Happy December, San Diego ☃️.  If you’re anything like us, you’re ecstatic about festive happenings, tree lightings + incredible holiday light displays around our county. With all that excitement, you’re also looking for fun local events to attend. Read on for all the top events happening this month in America’s Finest City.

All month long

  • “Ebenezer Scrooge’s Big San Diego Christmas Show” | Now-Sun., Dec. 26 | Times vary | The Old Globe Theatre | $37+ | A fast, funny reimagining of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday story, “A Christmas Carol,” set in “wintery” San Diego. (COVID-19 safety: The Old Globe is requiring all guests 12+ to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the show.) 🎄
  • “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” | Now-Fri., Dec. 31 | Times vary | The Old Globe Theatre | $39+ | The whimsical musical based on Dr. Seuss’ book is a holiday tradition at The Old Globe, where it runs through the final day of 2021. (COVID-19 safety: The Old Globe is requiring all guests 12+ to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the show.) 🎄
  • Seas ‘n’ Greetings | Wed., Dec. 1-Fri., Dec. 31 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | Birch Aquarium | $19.95-$24.95 | Birch Aquarium celebrates the SEAson with festive decorations, music, photo opps, a scavenger hunt and more activities for the little ones. 🐠
  • Holiday by the Bay | Fri., Dec. 3-Fri., Dec. 31 | Times vary | Hilton San Diego Bayfront | Prices vary | The Hilton Bayfront’s month-long holiday event returns with nightly light shows on the pier + family-friendly activities + outdoor holiday movies + a “Naughty or Nice” drink menu. 🦌
  • Del Mar Snow ‘n’ Glow | Sat., Dec. 4-Sun., Jan. 2 | 4-10 p.m. | Del Mar Fairgrounds | Prices vary | This winter wonderland features snow tubing + glowing lights + a drive-thru option that’ll leave you feeling mighty festive. ☃️ 
  • The Holiday Market at Petco Park | Now-Fri., Dec. 24 | 4-10 p.m. | Petco Park | $10-$14 | Petco Park hosts a holiday market featuring artisan shops, seasonal food and drinks, festive light displays and visits from Santa. ☃️
  • Winter Wonder 2021 | Every Friday in December | 12:30-7 p.m. | Belmont Park | Free | The amusement park on Mission Beach celebrates the spirit of the season with holiday-themed sculptures, live entertainment, a Christmas tree farm, activities for the kids and festive movie nights. 🎄
  • Bingo at Mike Hess Brewery | Mondays | 7-9 p.m. | Mike Hess Brewing at Seaport Village | Try your luck with some Bingo + craft beer at this weekly event, where you also score 25% off ‘cause it is industry night. 🍺 
  • Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition | Thurs.-Sun., until Jan. 9 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (tours are 60-90 minutes) | Westfield Mission Valley | $13-$19.40 | Enjoy a life-size, immersive, up-close look at the artist’s iconic masterpieces at this touring exhibition. 🖼️ 

Wednesday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Dec. 5

Wednesday, Dec. 1

  • SDSU Aztecs Women’s Basketball | Wed., Dec. 1 | 6 p.m. | Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl at SDSU | $9 | Watch San Diego State University’s women’s basketball dribble, shoot and score at home. 🏀
  • “San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach” | Wed., Dec. 1 | 6:30 p.m. | California Surf Museum in Oceanside | $5 | Author David Matuszak discusses the history that San Onofre played in shaping California’s surf culture, focusing on pioneers of the sport + vintage photographs. 🏄‍♂️

Thursday, Dec. 2

  • Taste of Santee | Thurs. Dec. 2 | 6-8 p.m. | Pathways Community Church, 9626 Carlton Hills Blvd. | $15-$20 | The Santee Chamber highlights food and drinks from local restaurants and shops. 🍔 
  • Swimming in the Sea | Thurs., Dec. 2 | 7-9 p.m. | Pinot’s Palette, 2820 Roosevelt Rd., Ste. 106 | $35 | Learn to paint a “turtley” cute, colorful scene of a turtle swimming in the sea. 🐢 
  • Walk in A.R.T. | Thurs. Dec. 2 | 5-10 a.m. | Mural Alley | Free | Experience some of Hillcrest’s local artists and performers while enjoying food and drinks from vendors in the community. 🖼️
  • PlaySocial | Thurs., Dec. 2 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Stone Brewing Liberty Station | Free | Network with other professionals and enjoy some of Stone Brewing’s craft beers while playing lawn games. 🍺
  • Smart Ways to Fight Food Waste | Thurs., Dec. 2 | 6-7 p.m. | virtual | Free | Be proactive about food waste while learning to help the environment + save money in this webinar serving San Diego County. ♻️ 

Friday, Dec. 3

  • San Diego Seals Home Opener | Fri., Dec. 3 | 7 p.m. | Pechanga Arena San Diego | $16.50 | After 21 months, pro lacrosse is back, with the San Diego Seals taking on the Vancouver Warriors at home (COVID-19 safety: attendees must show full proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of the game.) 🥍 
  • Taste of December Nights | Fri., Dec. 3-Sun., Dec. 5 | 11 a.m.-10 p.m. | Inspiration Point parking lot, Balboa Park | This smaller-scale, drive-thru version of December Nights has been modified to fit pandemic times and will feature food trucks and entertainment, just like in 2020. ❄️ 
  • HPR’s International Christmas Festival | Fri., Dec. 3-Sun., Dec. 5 | Time TBD | International Cottages at Balboa Park | Free | The International Cottages host their part of December Nights, with some pandemic-era modifications. 🏠 
  • Trevor Noah | Fri., Dec. 3 | 8 p.m. | Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl at SDSU | $39.50 | The host of “The Daily Show” brings his “Back to Abnormal” tour to San Diego. 🎤 
  • Holiday Bonfire + Visit With Santa | Fri., Dec. 3 | 4-8 p.m. | Treganza Heritage Park | free | Join the Lemon Grove Historical Society for a family-friendly holiday event featuring singing, treats + and a visit from Santa. 🎅
  • Carlsbad Annual Light Show | Fri., Dec. 3 + Sat., Dec. 4, Fri. Dec. 10 + Sat., Dec. 11 | 5-7 p.m. | The Forum | Free | Enjoy an annual celebration of the season with holiday lights, snowfall, and plenty of outdoor space. 🎄
  • “A Drag Queen Christmas” | Fri., Dec. 3 | 8 p.m. | Balboa Theatre | $35-$75 | A night of festive fun and shenanigans hosted by Trinity The Tuck and Monet X Change, starring lots of their friends. (COVID-19 safety: attendees are required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of this event.) 💋 

Saturday, Dec. 4

  • Little Italy Tree Lighting + Christmas Village | Sat., Dec. 4 | 4-8 p.m. | Piazza della Famiglia | Free | Celebrate the season as Little Italy transforms into a winter wonderland with the lighting of the 25-foot Christmas tree, holiday treats, live music, and a Christmas Village market on India Street featuring vendors selling seasonal goodies. 🎄
  • Encinitas Holiday Parade | Sat., Dec. 4 | 5:30.-7:30 p.m. | Coast Highway 101 | Free | Experience the season in Encinitas at the 64th annual Holiday Parade featuring an “Encinitas Rocks!” theme and 100+ parade entries. 🎉
  • Get Crafty | Sat., Dec. 4 | 4-6 p.m. | Harrah’s Resort Southern California’s Bordeaux Room | $35 | BYO photo or print one onsite + create a wooden photo holder. 
  • Freestyle Explosion Holiday Jam | Sat., Dec. 4 | 7:30 p.m. | Pechanga Arena | $42.50+ | The Pacific Concert Group kicks off the holiday season with a holiday jam featuring Stevie B, Lisa Lisa, The Jets + more. 🎤
  • Holiday in the Village | Sat., Dec. 4 | 12-9 p.m. | La Mesa Village, on La Mesa Boulevard between Spring + 4th streets | Free | This family-friendly holiday street fest will boast live music, cozy fires, crafty vendors, festive treats and a special kids’ area “bigger than Santa’s toy shop.” ☃️ 
  • South Asian Arts Council Annual Social: Going Places + Discovering Spaces | Sat., Dec. 4 | 5-7 p.m. | Virtual, via San Diego Museum of Art | $10 | A virtual trip to South Asia with lots of photos and facts led by author and speaker Ravi Reddy, with an art auction at the end. 🌏 
  • San Diego Vintage Flea Market | Sat., Dec. 4 | 10 a.m.- 4p.m. | Normal Heights Masonic Lodge, 3366 Adams Ave. | $1 | Explore vintage finds at this cool little shopping experience where your entry fee helps support a local nonprofit. 🛍️ 
  • Botanic Wonderland | Sat., Dec. 4-Sun., Dec. 5 | 5-9 p.m. | San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas | TBD | The garden’s 8,000-sqft glass conservatory + parts of its 37-acre campus are decked out in glimmering lights for this holiday event also featuring live music, crafts, and food trucks. 🌿 
  • The Polar Express Experience | Sat., Dec. 4 | 9-11 a.m. | San Diego Railroad Museum | $20 | Experience the Christmas classic with holiday crafts, storytime with Santa, and a special toy train exhibit. 🚂 
  • Ornament Cupcake Decorating Workshop | Sat., Dec. 4 | 10 a.m.-1 p.m. | Sweet Petite Confections Shop, 3582 Mt. Acadia Blvd., Ste. A | $50 | Learn how to use fondant, royal icing, and luster dust to create a gift box of Christmas tree ornament-inspired cupcakes. 🧁 
  • Snow Day | Sat., Dec. 4 | 12-3 p.m. | The Headquarters at Seaport | Free | It’s not a typical San Diego sight: 20 tons of man-made snow will fill the courtyard + hot cocoa, visits with Santa and holiday treats at this festive event. ⛄ 
  • Holiday Fun: Santa, Crafts, Snowfalls | Sat., Dec. 4 | 12-3 p.m. | Village Walk at Eastlake | Free | Bring the kids to this afternoon of festive fun that includes craft-making, a train ride around the shopping center + afternoon “snowfalls” on the hour. 🚂  
  • Sips + Sweets | Sat., Dec. 4 | 10 a.m. -1 p.m. | ​​6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard | $50 | Join Green Flash Brewery for a family-friendly holiday celebration with Santa, treats, and games for the kids and beers + food for those 21+. 🍺 
  • Tito Cheeto Tour | Sat., Dec. 4 | 7 p.m. | Balboa Theatre | $35+ | Andrew Santino, known for the FX show “Dave,” will have you laughing at the San Diego stop on his “Tito Cheeto” tour.
  • Ugly Sweater Painting Event | Sat., Dec. 4 | 6-10 p.m. | Sip Wine & Beer, 131 S. Orange St. in Escondido | $40-$55 | Bring your favorite ugliest holiday sweater and use it as the inspiration for your masterpiece at this instructor-led painting class. 🎨 

Sunday, Dec. 5

  • La Jolla Christmas Parade | Sun., Dec. 5 | 1:30 p.m. | Girard Avenue + Prospect Street | Free | The 2021 “Spirit of La Jolla” parade kicks off the holidays in the seaside community — in conjunction with the La Jolla Holiday Festival at Wall Street and Herschel Avenue. 🎄 
  • Unleash the Holiday Cheer | Sun., Dec. 5 | 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Liberty Station NTC Park | Free or $5 | Raise awareness for pet adoption + military appreciation at this holiday party for your whole family— dogs included. 🐕 
  • Taste of Cardiff | Sun., Dec. 5 | 3-6 p.m. | Downtown Cardiff-by-the-Sea | $30-$40 | Sample your way through culinary bites from select restaurants + “Local Sip Stops” offering North County’s best craft beer, wine and kombucha. 🥂
  • SoNo Fest + Chili Cookoff | Sun., Dec. 5 | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | Thorn + 32nd streets in North Park | Prices vary | This annual fundraiser for McKinley Elementary revolves around chili tastings, live music, arts + crafts, locally-made goodies and good vibes. 🍛 
  • Home for the Holidaze: A Vintage + Maker’s Market | Sun., Dec. 5 | 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. | North Promenade at Liberty Station, 2848 Dewey Rd. | $3.25 | The San Diego Vintage Collective hosts this curated outdoor market featuring more than 100 vendors selling handmade homegoods, fashion, furniture, accessories, and more. 🛍️ 
  • Lucky Stars Market | Sun., Dec. 5 | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | Queen Bee’s Art + Cultural Center in North Park | Free | This pop-up market features 40+ vendors showcasing jewelry, vintage clothing and more, with a focus on female + queer-ran small businesses. 🛍️ 
  • Our Lady Peace | Sun., Dec. 5 | 8 p.m. | Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach | $51+ | Alternative rock fans will love the opportunity to watch Our Lady Peace perform live in Solana Beach. 🎸 
  • San Marcos Holiday Market | Sun., Dec. 5 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | 251 North City Dr. | free | Enjoy holiday shopping with 100+ local vendors, live music, and a kids’ zone. 🛍️ 

Monday, Dec. 6-Sunday, Dec. 12

Monday, Dec. 6

  • Santa Paws | Mon., Dec. 6 + Mon., Dec. 13 | 4-8 p.m. | Westfield UTC, near Macy’s | Prices vary | Bring your four-legged fur-child to a festive photo opp with Santa, who will be prepared with a special treat for all the pups on the nice list. 🐶
  • Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Sara Watkins: Together in Concert | Mon., Dec. 6 | 8 p.m. | The Magnolia in El Cajon | $45-$75 | Enjoy a night of live music with three artists under one roof. (COVID-19 safety: attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of this event.) 🎶 

Tuesday, Dec. 7

  • Yung Gravy | Tues., Dec. 7 + Wed., Dec. 8 | 9 p.m. | The Observatory North Park | $25+ | Listen to the unique sounds of up-and-coming rapper Yung Gravy during his “Back in Business Tour.” 
  • High Energy Rockin’ Jazz | Tues., Dec. 7 | 7:30 p.m. | Queen Bee’s Art + Cultural Center in North Park | $20 | Enjoy a night of toe-tapping jazz from a new band led by San Diego native and trumpet pro Billy Edwall + lots of his friends. 🎺
  • Roman Beef Ragu With Fettuccini | Tues., Dec. 7 | 5-8 p.m. | California Culinary Art Institute | $75 | Learn to cook something new with this one-night class featuring the dish Roman beef Ragu with fettuccini. 🍝
  • Fleet Science Center | Tues., Dec. 7 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Balboa Park | Free | San Diego residents can learn how science can influence the future for free with proof of citizenship. 🔬
  • San Diego Natural History Museum | Tues., Dec. 7 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | free | Learn how San Diego came to be + study its history at “The Nat” — free for San Diego residents, excluding films. 🪨

Wednesday, Dec. 8

  • Always Patsy Cline Opening Night | Wed., Dec 8 | 7:30 p.m. | North Coast Repertory Theatre | $49 | Based on the life of the country legend, this play will excite fans of drama and musical theatre, while reintroducing viewers to some of Patsy Cline’s most recognizable songs. 🎭
  • “Hard Day’s Night” | Wed., Dec. 8 | 7 p.m. | Welk Theatre at Welk Resorts San Diego in Escondido | $25-$38 | This SoCal Beatles tribute band performs the Fab Four’s hits, in costume and all. 🥁 
  • Aztecs vs. Titans | Wed., Dec. 8 | 1 p.m. | Viejas Arena at SDSU | $13+ | Watch San Diego State’s Aztecs face the Cal State Fullerton Titans at this exciting men’s basketball  game. 🏀 
  • Mariachi Sol de Mexico: “A Merry-Achi Christmas” | Wed., Dec. 8 | 7:30 p.m. | Balboa Theatre | $35-$65 | The blazing sounds of a 13-piece mariachi ensemble bring the holidays to life, southwest style. (COVID-19 safety: attendees are required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of this event.) 🎺
  • The Locust | Wed., Dec. 8 | 7 p.m. | San Diego House of Blues | $25 | Rock out with San Diego-based punk band The Locust and special guests Therapy and Sonido de la Frontera. 🤘 

 Thursday, Dec. 9

  • Taste ‘N’ Tinis | Thurs., Dec. 9 | 5-9 p.m. | Pick up tickets here: Village Hillcrest, 3955 Fifth Ave. or Rich’s Nightclub, 1051 University Ave. | $30+ | This self-guided tour of popular Hillcrest restaurants will allow participants to sample various cocktails + appetizers. 🍸
  • Jo Koy | Thurs., Dec. 9 + Fri., Dec. 10 | 8 p.m. | Pechanga Arena | $37.50+ | Premier stand up comedian Jo Koy presents his Just Kidding World Tour for two nights. 
  • Salsa Under the Stars | Thurs., Dec. 9 | 6-9 p.m. | Little Italy Food Hall | Free | Watch live dancing + music from Manny Cepeda Orchestra while grabbing dinner at the famous Little Italy Food Hall. 💃 
  • Holiday Lights Run | Thurs., Dec. 9 | 6-7 p.m. | Eppig Brewing Waterfront Biergarten, 2817 Dickens St. | Free | Join this 3-mile, hilly fun run to check out the lights in Point Loma — and get $1 off pints post-run. 👟

Friday, Dec. 10

  • Noel Noel | Fri., Dec. 10-Sun., Dec. 12 | 5 p.m. | The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park | $25+ | A beloved San Diego holiday performance featuring the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Master Chorale, and San Diego Children’s Choir. 🎶
  • The San Diego Sound Project: Kathryn Schulmeister | Fri., Dec. 10 | 7 p.m. | Museum of Making Music | $20 in-person or free live stream | A diverse program of music ranging from Appalachian folk-inspired to contemporary jazz. 🎼 
  • Jungle Bells Opening Day | Fri., Dec. 10 | 9 a.m.-8p.m. | San Diego Zoo | $68 adults, $58 kids | The world-famous San Diego Zoo decorates for the holiday, and you can enjoy all the attractions for the price of regular admission. 🦁
  • Carols by Candlelight | Fri., Dec. 10 + Sat., Dec. 11 | 8 p.m. | California Center for the Arts, Escondido | $9-$94 | Artists Mark Wills, Jamie O’Neal, and Anna and Steve Vaus come together to sing their hits and Christmas classics to benefit Rady Children’s Hospital. 🕯️ 
  • Paul Oakenfold | Fri., Dec. 10 | 10 p.m. | Music Box | $32 | The record producer and trance DJ takes over the India Street venue, with blklght + DJ IDeaL for this 21+ event. 🎶 
  • The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus | Fri., Dec. 10 | 8 p.m. | Brick by Brick | $18 | The rockers take over Brick by Brick, alongside some special guests, for this 21+ concert. 🤘
  • Botanic Wonderland | Fri., Dec. 10-Thurs., Dec. 23 | 5-9 p.m. | San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas | TBD | The garden’s 8,000-sqft glass conservatory + parts of its 37-acre campus are decked out in glimmering lights for this holiday event also featuring live music, crafts, and food trucks. 🌿 
  • Randi’s (Damn) Jingle Ball | Fri., Dec. 10 | 7-10 p.m. | Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center in North Park | $20-$35 | A night of original music + holiday favorites performed by singer-songwriter Randi Driscoll and her friends. 🎶 

Saturday, Dec. 11

  • Succulent Dream Catchers | Sat., Dec. 11 | 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | San Diego Craft Collective’s Back Lot, 2590 Truxtun Rd., Studio 106 | $65 | BYO succulents to this workshop and create a dreamcatcher wall hanging.
  • Ranger Heidi’s Habitat Restoration Crew | Sat., Dec. 11 | 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | Mission Trails Regional Park | Free | Join the volunteer efforts of this crew, which helps restore habitat through planting, mulching, and gardening. (RSVP: [email protected]). 🌳 
  • Ales N’ Rails | Sat., Dec. 11 | 6-9 p.m. | San Diego Model Railroad Museum | $20+ | San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s annual fundraiser featuring beer tasting from some of San Diego’s best breweries, live music, an ugly holiday sweater competition + more. 🍺 
  • San Diego Santa Run | Sat., Dec. 11 | 9 a.m. | 909 Garnet Ave. | $45+ | Run the streets of Pacific Beach while dressed as Santa and end the race with a complimentary drink ticket. 🎅
  • San Diego Gulls vs. Ontario Reign | Sat., Dec. 11 | 7 p.m. | Pechanga Arena San Diego | $24-$60 | The Gulls play a little hockey at home at this game open to fans of all ages. 🏒 
  • Uncorked: San Diego Wine Festival | Sat., Dec. 11 | 12-4 p.m. | Embarcadero Marina Park North | More than 200 wines and champagnes from across the globe are waiting to the sampled at this outdoor fest, set against stunning views of downtown’s waterfront. 🍷 
  • Nutcracker Tea with the San Diego Ballet | Sat., Dec. 11 | 11 a.m. + 2 p.m. | Liberty Station Convention Center | $55-$65 | Partake in a family-friendly tea party + a narrated performance of “The Nutcracker,” an interactive ballet demo, and photo opps with Santa. 🫖  
  • Christmas in the Park | Sat., Dec. 11 | 3:30-8:30 p.m. | Old Poway Park | Free | Poway’s old-fashioned holiday tradition returns with caroling, horse-drawn hayrides, live music, tasty treats + nighttime rides around the park on the Poway Midland Railroad. 🚂 
  • Breakfast With Surfin’ Santa | Sat., Dec. 11 | 9-11 a.m. | Seaport Village | $25 | Enjoy breakfast with SoCal’s laid-back Surfin’ Santa + a holiday photo with him and a goodie bag. 🎅 
  • North Park Holiday Book Fair | Sat., Dec. 11 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Verbatim Books, at 30th Street + North Park Way | Free | Peruse new + vintage books for those on your gift list while enjoying live music and poetry + food and craft vendors. 📚 
  • MCASD Family ArtLAB: Magical Lanterns | Sat., Dec. 11 | 5-8 p.m. | Westfield UTC | Free | The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego leads this family-friendly workshop (recommended for ages 5+) on how to make paper lanterns, which symbolize vitality + good luck. 🏮 

Sunday, Dec. 12

  • San Diego Parade of Lights | Sun., Dec. 12 + Sun., Dec. 19 | 5:30 p.m. | Seaport Village | Free | Celebrate the holiday season on the waters of San Diego and view 80+ full-decorated boats as they light up the night. 🚤
  • Canyoneers Hike: Batiquitos Lagoon | Sun., Dec. 12 | 8-10:30 a.m. | Batiquitos Lagoon, the Gabbiano Trailhead | Free | Join the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Canyoneers on this guided, 3-mile hike in the North County where views of plants + shorebirds await. 🥾 
  • “Jingle” | Sun., Dec. 12 | 3 p.m. | Balboa Theatre | $25-$70 | The 200 singers + dancers, and musicians of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus perform both traditional and new holiday arrangements + medleys. (COVID-19 safety: attendees are required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of this event.) 🎼
  • The Romeros | Sun., Dec. 12 | 4 p.m. | The Ritz Theater in Escondido | $70 | The Spanish classical guitar quartet celebrates its 60th anniversary with a night of live music. 🎸 
  • Jay Pharoah | Sun., Dec. 12 | 7 p.m. | The Comedy Store | $30 | Get some belly laughs in as the comedian wraps up his 3-day stint at the famous venue in La Jolla. 🎤

Monday, Dec. 13-Sunday, Dec. 19

Monday, Dec. 13 

  • Jerry Paper | Mon., Dec. 13 | 8 p.m. | House of Blues San Diego’s Voodoo Room | $15 | An evening of Indie tunes by Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, Jerry Paper.
  • CHVRCHES with Donna Missal | Mon., Dec. 13 | 8 p.m. | The Observatory North Park | $46+ | Watch synth-pop trio CHVRCHES live with special guest, singer + songwriter Donna Missal 🎤 
  • 35th Annual Poinsettia Display | Mon., Dec. 13-Fri., Dec. 31 | Times vary | Botanical Building at Balboa Park | Free (Donations to Forever Balboa Park accepted) | This annual display made possible by donations celebrates the pretty poinsettia.

Tuesday, Dec. 14

  • SD 101: Growing Balboa Park — Coastal Scrub to Garden Fair | Tues., Dec. 14 | 12-1 p.m. | Virtual, Hosted by San Diego History Center | Free or $5 donation | Historian Nancy Carol Carter leads this Zoom session about the earliest days of Balboa Park + the famous 1915 Panama-California Exposition. 🌳
  • Coffee With a Bookseller | Tues., Dec. 14 | 10 a.m. | Warwick’s La Jolla, 7812 Girard Ave. | Free | Children’s book experts lead this mini meet-up (with coffee + treats from Brick & Bell) where they share which books they’re most excited to read and gift, right in time for the holidays. 📚 
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum | Tues., Dec. 14 | 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Balboa Park | Free | Get ready for blast off and learn about space travel — free for San Diego residents, excluding special exhibits. 🚀

Wednesday, Dec. 15

  • San Diego Gulls vs. Abbotsford Canucks | Wed., Dec. 15 | 7 p.m. | Pechanga Arena San Diego | $12-$60 | Enjoy a little hockey on the home turf (or rather, rink) while rooting for the Gulls. 🏒
  • San Diego Tequila Tour | Wed., Dec. 15 | 3 – 5:30 p.m. | Rockin’ Baja Lobster Cantina | Free (drinks not included) | Join a group of tequila enthusiasts in Old Town as they tour the local offerings, drinking and eating along the way. 🥃
  • Atreyu – The Baptize Tour | Wed., Dec. 15 | 5 p.m. | San Diego House of Blues | $25+ | Metal fans can rock out with Atreyu and accompanying act Crown the Empire at the San Diego leg of “The Baptize Tour.” 🎸 
  • Waterfront Wednesdays | Wed., Dec. 15 | 5-7 p.m.| Embarcadero on San Diego Bay | Free | Enjoy 2021’s final installment of this series: soak in amazing bay views while enjoying live music, food and drink specials, and shopping along downtown’s waterfront. 🌊 
  • Virtual ARTSReach Lecture: The Art of the Early Italian Renaissance | Wed., Dec. 15 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | Virtual, via the Timken Museum | Free | This online talk will focus on the masterpieces produced during the Italian Renaissance, primarily in the cities of Florence + Siena. 🖼️ 

Thursday, Dec. 16

  • Comedy Night | Thurs., Dec. 16 + Thurs., Dec. 30 | 6:30-8 p.m. | Liberty Public Market (on the patio) | Free | Just two sessions are left in 2021 of this night of comedy under the stars. 💫
  • Holiday Entertaining: Hors D’oeuvres Cooking Class | Thurs., Dec. 16 | 10 a.m. | Sur La Table at Fashion Valley | $79 | Learn to make a collection of elegant hors d’oeuvres just in time for the holidays including zucchini fritters with smoked salmon + creme fraiche. 👨‍🍳 
  • Holiday Movie Night + Pajama Party: “Elf” | Thurs., Dec. 16 | 6:30-9:30 p.m. | The Lafayette Hotel | Free (reserve spot ahead of time) | Wear your coziest jammies and catch this screening of “Elf” in the Conservatory, complete with festively themed bites and speciality drinks for sale. 🎄 
  • Golden State Ballet Presents “The Nutcracker” | Thurs., Dec. 16-Thurs., Dec. 23 | 7:30 opening night, times vary | San Diego Civic Theatre | $28.50 | Enjoy the holiday classic with music and dancing from Golden State Ballet Academy and its community. 🩰
  • Gin Blossoms | Thurs., Dec. 1 | 8 p.m. | Belly Up Tavern | $80 (VIP Meet + Greet) | Rock out with the Gin Blossoms in VIP fashion, with a pre-show Q&A + an intimate 2-song performance, and keepsake merch. 🎤 

Friday, Dec. 17

  • Enchanted Village | Fri., Dec.17-Wed., Dec. 22 | 5-8 p.m. | Noah Homes, 12526 Campo Rd. | $12.99+ | Experience eight acres of interactive light displays, magical cottages and Christmas trees, live performances + hundreds of giant candy canes.🎄
  • Nerd Comedy Night | Fri., Dec. 17 | 7 p.m. | Harding Community Center Theater in Carlsbad | $10 | Embrace your inner nerd with Tim Lee’s stand-up that blends comedy and science. 🥽
  • Sebastian Bach -30th Anniversary of “Slave to the Grind” | Fri., Dec. 17 | 7 p.m. | San Diego House of Blues | $30+ | Metal fans from all generations can come together as Sebastian Bach celebrated the 30th anniversary of his Skid Row classic. 🎸 
  • Aztecs Women’s Basketball vs. UC San Diego | Fri., Dec. 17 | 6 p.m. | Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl at SDSU | $9 | It’s a real SD vs. SD showdown as San Diego State University takes on the Tritons at home. (COVID-19 safety: proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test is required for those attending this game.) 🏀 

Saturday, Dec. 18

  • San Diego Half Marathon | Sat., Dec 18 | 5 a.m. – 12 p.m. | 14455 Penasquitos Drive | $129 | Starting in Rancho Penasquitos, this 13.1 mile run will take you all the way to Torrey Pines State Beach. 🏃 
  • J.P. Spears Live | Sat., Dec 18 | 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m., or 9:30 p.m. | American Comedy Club Co. | $30 | Known for his podcast and YouTube videos, J.P. Spears will have you laughing with his live stand-up performance.
  • “The Muppet Christmas Carol” in Concert | Sat., Dec. 18 | 5 p.m. | The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park | $45+ | The San Diego Symphony Orchestra plays the score along to the classic holiday flick at the scenic waterfront venue. 🎬 
  • Wine + Cheese Soiree | Sat., Dec. 18 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Julian Town Hall | $50 | Head to the small, charming mountain town of Julian in San Diego’s far East County for this 21+ food, wine, and music event in support of the community’s Town Hall Renovation Project. 🍷

Sunday, Dec. 19

  • San Diego Ballet Presents “The Nutcracker” | Sun., Dec. 19 | 1 p.m. + 5 p.m. | The Magnolia in El Cajon | $55+ | The San Diego Ballet’s production of the Christmas classic. 🩰 
  • San Diego Sockers Home Opener | Sun., Dec. 19 | 5:05 p.m. | Pechanga Arena | $20+| The 15-time champion San Diego Sockers kickoff their 2021-22 season with a match against the Chihuahua Savage. 
  • An Irish Christmas | Sun., Dec. 19 | 2:30 p.m. | Balboa Theatre | $30-$75 | A journey through Christmas in Ireland through dancing, singing, and traditional music. (COVID-19 safety: attendees are required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of this event.) 🇮🇪
  • San Diego Parade of Lights | Sun., Dec. 19 | 5:30 p.m. | Seaport Village | Free | San Diego Bay lights up for round two of this holiday tradition featuring a colorful parade of 80+ fully decked out boats along our waterfront. 🚤
  • Pet Parade | Sun., Dec. 19 | 1 p.m. | Gaslamp Quarter | Free | Deck the paws: cute dogs + their owners strut their stuff in downtown San Diego, followed by a Pups in the Pub Party at 5th + Island avenues from 2-5 p.m. 🐶

Monday, Dec. 20-Sunday, Dec. 26

Monday, Dec. 20

  • The Holiday Market at Petco Park | Until Fri., Dec. 24 | 4-10 p.m. | Petco Park | $10-$14 | There’s just a few more days to check out Petco Park’s holiday market featuring artisan shops, seasonal food and drinks, festive light displays and visits from Santa. ☃️
  • ‘Home Alone’ on the Rooftop | Mon., Dec. 20 | 8 p.m. | Rooftop Cinema Club at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego | $17.50+ | Watch the holiday classic in a whole new way: under the stars, on the rooftop, in a deckchair, with snacks + drinks in hand. 🌃 

Tuesday, Dec. 21

  • A Christmas Carol Musical | Tues., Dec. 21 + Wed. Dec. 22 | 4 or 9:30 p.m. | Ritz Theater | $20 or $25 | Enjoy a modern take on the Christmas classic with singing, dancing, puppetry, and a vibrant set. ❄️ 
  • San Diego Museum of Art | Tues., Dec. 21 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Balboa Park | Free | View beautiful works of art displaying San Diego’s rich cultures and history — free for San Diego residents. 🖼️
  • Japanese Friendship Garden | Tues., Dec. 21 | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Balboa Park | Free | Walk through a garden filled with beautiful Japanese plants and learn about Japanese culture — free for San Diego residents. 🌸
  • Mingei International Museum | Tues., Dec. 21 | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Balboa Park | Free | Study the art, objects, and cultures of all people from different eras — free for San Diego residents. 📐

Wednesday, Dec. 22 

  • The Nutcracker | Wed., Dec. 22 + Thurs., Dec. 23 | Various times | California Center for the Arts | $27+ | Join the City Ballet + City Ballet Orchestra for a performance of this Victorian-era holiday story. 🩰
  • Disney’s “Frozen” in Concert | Wed., Dec. 22 | 5 p.m. | The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park | $45+ | The San Diego Symphony Orchestra performs the score of Disney’s “Frozen” live, as the movie plays at San Diego’s scenic waterfront venue. ❄️ 
  • Matt Rife LIVE | Wed., Dec. 22 | 8 p.m. | The American Comedy Co. | $10 | Funnyman Matt Rife, of MTV’s improv show “Wild ‘N Out,” performs his stand-up act at this San Diego venue. 🎤
  • Aztecs vs. Tritons | Wed., Dec. 22 | 6 p.m. | Viejas Arena at SDSU | $30+ | It’s San Diego against San Diego when the SDSU Aztecs face the UC San Diego Tritons in men’s basketball. 🏀 
  • ‘Die Hard’ | Wed., Dec. 22 | 7:45 p.m. | Rooftop Cinema Club at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego | $17.50+ | Yes, “Die Hard” is a holiday movie and you can screen the classic 1988 action flick under the stars, on the rooftop, with snacks + drink in hand. 🎬 

Thursday, Dec. 23

  • Holiday Traditions: Tamales | Thurs., Dec. 23 | 1 p.m. | Sur La Table at Fashion Valley | $79 | This cooking class will teach all the steps to making tamales, from the fresh masa and the fillings to wrapping and filling techniques. 👨‍🍳 
  • Music in the Courtyard | Thursdays | 4-7 p.m. | The Headquarters at Seaport | Free | Enjoy live music al fresco, performed by local artists across genres. 🎶 
  • Holiday Movie Night + Pajama Party: “The Santa Claus” | Thurs., Dec. 23 | 6:30-9:30 p.m. | The Lafayette Hotel | Free (reserve spot ahead of time) | Cozy up in your jammies or holiday threads and watch “The Santa Claus,” complete with festive bites and drinks available for purchase. 🎅 

Friday, Dec. 24

  • Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition | Thurs.-Sun., until Jan. 9 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (tours are 60-90 minutes) | Westfield Mission Valley | $13-$19.40 | Enjoy a life-size, immersive, up-close look at the artist’s iconic masterpieces at this touring exhibition. 🖼️ 

Saturday, Dec. 25

  • Skating by the Sea | Sat., Dec. 25 | 11 a.m.-8 p.m. | Hotel del Coronado | $35 | The Del’s scenic ice skating is open with special hours on Christmas Day, and stays open through Jan. 2, epic views and all. ⛸️

Sunday, Dec. 26

  • “BOARDED! A New Pirate Adventure” | Sun., Dec. 26 | 10:30 a.m. or 12:45 p.m. | Maritime Museum of San Diego | $25-$60 | This 90-minute, interactive show aboard the historic San Salvador puts visitors in the middle of the pirate action as they learn handy ship crew skills. 🏴‍☠️ 
  • “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live” | Sun., Dec. 26 | 7 p.m. | Balboa Theatre | $26-$56 | The “Time Bubble Tour” brings host Emily Connor + riffing robots Tom Servo, Crow, and GPC to San Diego for all kinds of live fun. (COVID-19 safety: attendees are required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of this event.) 🪐

Monday, Dec. 27-Friday, Dec. 31

Monday, Dec. 27

  • A Magical Cirque Christmas | Mon., Dec. 27 | 7:30 p.m. | San Diego Civic Theatre | $27.50 | Acrobats, circus artists, and musicians to impress audiences of all ages with breathtaking performances.
  • Botanic Wonderland | Mon., Dec. 27-Thurs., Dec. 30 | 5-9 p.m. | San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas | TBD | The garden’s 8,000-sqft glass conservatory + parts of its 37-acre campus are decked out in glimmering lights for this holiday event also featuring live music, crafts, and food trucks. 🌿 
  • 41st Annual Kwanzaa Celebration | Sun., Dec. 26-Thurs., Dec. 30 | Times vary | World Beat Center in Balboa Park | Celebrate the 53rd anniversary of Kwanzaa and it values of family, community and culture. 

Tuesday, Dec. 28

  • Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade | Tues., Dec. 28 | 10 a.m. | Embarcadero, along North Harbor Dr. | Free | The scenic waterfront in downtown San Diego is the perfect backdrop for this annual holiday parade featuring floats, marching bands, drill team and big, big balloons. 🎊
  • SDCCU Holiday Bowl | Tues., Dec. 28 | 5 p.m. | Petco Park | $35+ | Watch college football at Petco Park for the first time ever when teams from the ACC + Pac-12 face-off in front of 50,000 fans. 🏈 
  • San Diego Automotive Museum | Tues., Dec. 28 | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Balboa Park | Free | Discover the history and stories of automotive vehicles from the past + present — free for San Diego residents. 🚗

Wednesday, Dec. 29

  • Dirtwire + Boostive | Wed., Dec. 29 | 9 p.m. | Music Box San Diego | $25 | Enjoy the unique, electronic sounds of west-coast band Dirtwire and special guest Boostive. 🎤 

Thursday, Dec. 30

  • Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis | Thurs., Dec. 30 | 7:30 p.m. | San Diego Civic Theatre | $35.50+ | After halting their tour in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Christmas artists bring their 35th annual holiday tour to San Diego. 🎄
  • Grateful Shred | Thurs., Dec. 30 | 9 p.m. | Belly Up Tavern | $25 | The SoCal tribute band rocks the Solana Beach venue with hits of the Grateful Dead. 🤘 
  • San Diego Tango Festival | Thurs., Dec. 30-Sun., Jan. 2 | Times vary | Wyndham San Diego Bayside | DJs and instructors keep the music going strong at this 4-day dance fest, where, yes, there’s even an option for beginners. 💃 

Friday, Dec. 31

  • NYE Party | Glow Up in 2022 | Fri., Dec. 31 | 6-9 p.m. | Living Coast Discovery Center | $25 | This one’s for parents with little ones: enjoy wild animal encounters, night hikes, a glow in the dark silent disco, face painting, cookie decorating, arts + crafts while ringing in 2022. 🐢
  • Big Night San Diego | Fri., Dec. 31 | 9 p.m.-2 a.m. | Hilton San Diego Bayfront | $110+ | Billed as our city’s biggest NYE celebration, this party features eight dance floors, DJs, food, drinks, party favors + discounted rates at the Hilton. 🥳
  • Gatsby’s House NYE | Fri., Dec. 31 | 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. | InterContinental San Diego | $159+ | Celebrate the roaring ‘20s at this “Great Gatsby” party featuring top-notch local DJs + a massive countdown in the ballroom. 🎊
  • New Year’s Eve Yacht Party | Fri., Dec. 31 | 9 p.m.-12:45 a.m. | Spirit of San Diego Yacht, 990 N. Harbor Dr., Dock No. 3| $179+ | Party aboard this 146-ft, multi-level yacht with drinks, dancing + views of San Diego Bay. 🛥️
  • Pier Pressure Moonlight Cruise | Fri., Dec. 31 | 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. | California Spirit Yacht, 990 N. Harbor Dr., Dock No. 3 | $125+ | Mix + mingle on three decks as you sail into 2022. 🎉
  • On the Boardwalk Cruise 2022 | Fri., Dec. 31 | 8 p.m.-1 a.m. | The Inspiration Yacht, 1800 N. Harbor Dr. | $175+ | Usher in the new year with a cruise aboard this mega yacht where the party includes DJs, drinks and a festive countdown. 🍾 
  • NYE Pub Crawl Party | Fri., Dec. 31 | 6 p.m.-2 a.m. | Taste & Thirst, 715 Fourth Ave. | $45 | Enjoy drink specials as you make your way through some of the hottest nightlife spots in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and ring in 2022. 🥂
  • NYE With Live Salsa | Fri., Dec. 31 | 8 p.m.-1 a.m. | Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center in North Park | $80+ | Celebrate with dancing and live salsa music from Gilbert Tower + Orquesta Guapacha. 🎶
  • Cocktail Hour: Songs of the Rat Pack | Fri., Dec. 31 | 6 p.m. + 10 p.m. | California Center for the Arts, Escondido | $40+ | A 10-piece big band orchestra and vocalists ring in 2022 with the timeless tunes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin + Sammy Davis Jr.🍸
  • NYE Latin Dance Party | Fri., Dec. 31 | 7 p.m.-1 a.m. | Tango Del Rey, 3567 Del Rey St. | $70+ | Dance the night away at this all ages, family-friendly NYE bash that also includes a mediterranean buffet. 🕺