Top San Diego Holiday Attractions to Visit This December

Lucky enough to spend some time this holiday season in sunny San Diego? Well, then you’re in for a real treat.

This year, there are so many fun and festive ways to celebrate in this wonderful city that you’ll have a hard time deciding what to do!

To help you plan that perfect holiday itinerary, we’ve put together a list of our favorite holiday attractions in San Diego, big and small.

Many of these great activities are available on the Go San Diego® Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of top San Diego attractions and save up to 55% off combined admission vs paying at the gate. Or, build your own pass and save up to 20% off.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

Knott’s Merry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm
November 21 – January 3, 2016

Knott’s Berry Farm is chock full of fun seasonal activities this time of year. Are you a Peanuts fan? Then don’t miss out on Snoopy’s ice skating show, or the Peanuts tree lighting (featuring the big man himself).

Next, visit Santa’s Christmas Cabin for a visit and a photo with the man of the hour, and to enjoy some of Mrs. Claus’ amazing treats (no doubt baked with some of that famous Knott’s Berry Farm jams).

Last but not least, stop by Ghost Town to enjoy a synchronized lights show. There’s also Christmas Crafts Village for those of you looking for some unique presents.

Balboa Park December Nights

Select Museums in Balboa Park
December 4 – December 5, 2015

Enjoy free admission to some of the country’s best museums on these special December nights in San Diego.

Roam the entire park to immerse yourself in the diversity of festive decorations that each museum puts up, and enjoy tons of great kid-friendly activities like arts & crafts, cookie decorating, and more.

Participating museums include the Fleet Science Center, Mingei International Museum, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Automotive Museum, the San Diego History Center, and others.

Consult the official page for all participating institutions and event details.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Newport Landing
December 16 – December 20, 2015

A tradition over 100 years in the making, this annual event is renowned for its gorgeous light displays and nautical theme.

It’s a unique experience that combines various holiday festivities with a beautiful and iconic parade – all on the picturesque waters of the Pacific!

Hundreds of ships compete for awards in several categories, making this “one of the largest decorated boat parades in the country.” Hop aboard a cruise to witness the parade from the water.

Parade cruises are available only for a few days, but festive holiday cruises run all month from Newport Landing.

Jungle Bells

San Diego Zoo
December 12 – January 3, 2016

Image credit: San Diego Zoo Facebook page

Image credit: San Diego Zoo Facebook page

See the San Diego Zoo transformed into a winter wonderland with glittering lights and catchy songs.

Enjoy special holiday meals at select park restaurants, visit Santa’s igloo, and watch some of the zoo’s most famous creatures enjoy holiday-themed enrichment play. You can even see a raccoon deftly open his Christmas present!

Be sure to stick around later in the evening for the “Celebration of Lights,” a musical experience filled with magic and fun. You’ll get to watch the zoo’s huge holiday tree light up with a ton of sparkly lights – it’s pretty breathtaking.

Holiday Snow Days & Winter Nights

LEGOLAND California
November 21 – January 3, 2016

Image credit: LEGOLAND California.

Image credit: LEGOLAND California.

This wintertime fun never stops at the Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights of LEGOLAND California.

There are tons of great kid-centric activities to celebrate the season, from building a LEGO snowman to gazing upon a massive LEGO Christmas tree.

Snap a photo with a life-sized LEGO Santa and reindeer, and then stick around to enjoy the fantastic live entertainment and nightly fireworks (fireworks are December 26 – 30 only).

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

SeaWorld San Diego
November 21 – January 3, 2016

Image credit: SeaWorld San Diego.

Image credit: SeaWorld San Diego.

There are so many delightful holiday activities and attractions to go around at SeaWorld San Diego that we can hardly list them all. Visit Santa in his magical cottage in the wonderful Christmas Village.

Be sure to get a photo! If you really want some quality time with Santa, sign up for breakfast with him and Shamu (tickets required).

Then in the evening, marvel at SeaWorld’s Christmas Tree of Lights – a massive 300+ foot tree that’s been a local tradition for decades. Another fun holiday tree is the Happiest Christmas Tree, a dancing fir that grooves to everyone’s favorite holiday tunes.

Save on Attraction Admission

However you decide to celebrate the holidays this year, don’t leave San Diego without enjoying a few of these amazing seasonal attractions.

From parks to museums and beyond, there’s something for everyone on this list.

And remember, a Go San Diego® Card can help you save on admission to many of these attractions so there’s more to go around when it comes to present shopping.
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