25 San Diego holiday activities

These treats, experiences, and celebrations will put you in the yule tide mood.

Petco Park Holiday Market tree 2021

Twinkle, Twinkle, Pet Park Holiday Market.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

December is finally here, so we’re making a list and counting down to Christmas with 25 seasonal suggestions you can find around our city.

You can try following along like an Advent calendar, or you can choose your own adventure from our list of festive treats, gatherings, and shopping experiences that make the holiday season a special time in San Diego.

Family Christmas Tree Farm El Cajon

Pick your tree at Family Christmas Tree Farm.

Photo via @jordan.rives

1. Oh Christmas tree. Head to a highly-rated local farm to pick out your holiday centerpiece, like Family Christmas Tree Farm in El Cajon.

2. December Nights returns on Dec. 2 + Dec. 3. Bring your appetite, and head to Balboa Park to see the tradition in its full form.

3. Take an urban lights tour. Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Sights and Festive Nights Tours start Dec. 3.

4. Write a letter to Santa, and mail to him at the mailbox at the Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy. All letters delivered by Dec. 11 will get a response from the man in red.

5. Time for eggnog — try Dark Horse Coffee Roasters’ Egg Nog Cold Foam Cold Brew, or warm it up and get a specialty latte.

6. It’s time to decorate, so head to City Lights Collectables in Bay Park to support a local, family owned business that sells ornaments + holiday lights.

7. Check out the Old Globe Theatre to view its Whoville-themed decorations, or make a night of it and get tickets to “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

8. Feed your sweet tooth by visiting a local candy shop, or stock up on novelty candies at IT’SUGAR in the Gaslamp Quarter.

9. Eat your holiday attire by indulging in an Ugly Sweater Donut from Donut Bar.

10. Give yourself — or someone else — the gift of energy with Modern Times’Holiday Radness” trio of coffee roasts.

2021 San Diego bay Parade of Lights boat

Cruising through the 2021 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

11. Your FantaSEA is coming true — the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights returns on Dec. 11 + Dec. 18.

12. Head to Salt & Straw to try its seasonal flavorsGingerbread Cookie Dough sounds delicious.

13. Don’t just build a gingerbread house, brunch in one. Queenstown Public House in Little Italy is transformed into life-size holiday decoration with festive cocktails to match.

14. Take a trip to Pacific Beach, and walk down Crystal Pier to see the Christmas tree overlooking the ocean.

15. Fa la la latte time. Better Buzz Coffee Roasters is in full holiday mode, and an Eggnog Latte sounds good about now.

16. Eggnog really is the flavor of the season. Embrace it by heading to a Ballast Point tasting room and sipping on Ale Nog.

17. Santa paws are coming to town — the Gaslamp Pet Parade is on Dec. 17, and expect plenty of furry fun in the Gaslamp Quarter from 1-5 p.m.

18. Share a holiday story, or gift it to someone you know, with “Santa Is Coming to San Diego” written by Steve Smallman + illustrated by Robert Dunn.

19. Time to get lit. Head to SeaPort Village for its menorah lighting on Monday, Dec. 19, before collecting your Hanukkah gelt.

20. Visit Hotel del Coronado to see the legendary lodge light up. You can also try gliding by the beach for some seaside skating, too.

21. You can look at — but don’t taste — the 13th annual life-size gingerbread house on display at Rancho Bernardo Inn.

22. It’s a wonderful night for a sleigh (or car) ride through a seasonally decorated neighborhood, like Candy Cane Lane in Poway.

23. Get lost in the lights before it’s too late. The Petco Park Holiday Market ends Friday, Dec. 23.

24. It’s the hoppiest time of the year. Celebrate with Pizza Port Brewing Co.’s Secret Swami’s IPA, which is in a special holiday can.

25. You might want to order ahead, but The Cravory has Christmas cookies that are sure to impress Santa. We peep Gingerbread, Christmas Tree, Peppermint Bark, and Lump of Coal on the menu.