News: Celebrate the season San Diego style
Story by Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - December is here – though you may not know it with California’s balmy 80-degree weather.
Whether you’re new to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., or a Southern California local, there are plenty of holiday activities throughout the month to entertain the whole family on any budget.
Balboa Park’s December Nights is one of the city’s most popular – and free – events. Dec. 7 and 8, San Diegans can stroll through the brightly-lit park, enjoying carolers, musicians, dancers and even a Christmas Carol puppet show. Participating Balboa Park museums are also opening their doors free of charge to event participants, while food vendors are offering a taste of international cuisine.
Holiday-themed parades throughout the county include the annual Port of San Diego Parade of Lights Dec. 9 and 16, the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights Dec. 8, the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade Dec. 9, and the Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights also Dec. 8.
The Hotel del Coronado opened an oceanfront outdoor ice skating rink for the winter season, and the Viejas Outlet Center offers San Diego’s largest outdoor ice skating rink. Downtown, ice-seekers can skate at the outdoor Horton Square rink. Proceeds from the Horton Square rink are supporting the Rady Children’s Hospital.
For Christmas lights like no other, starting on Dec. 11, Christmas Circle between First and Second Avenues in Chula Vista will host more than 55 festive homes, while Fairway Village in Carmel Mountain Ranch will light more than 85 homes beginning Dec. 1 and offers other holiday favorites like Santa, carolers, musicians and food.
Don’t want to stop for lights? Del Mar Fairgrounds opened a 1.5-mile track of drive-thru holiday lights Nov. 22. The Holiday of Lights display has more than 400 scenes, including Toyland, Candy Cane Lane and Elves at Play.
Beginning Dec. 15, the San Diego Zoo will become a nightly winter spectacle, “Jungle Bells.” The zoo will offer a nightly tree lighting ceremony, bell ringers and holiday-themed animal shows and presentations. The San Diego Zoo is of course free to active-duty military.
Dec. 15 and 16, Old Town Holiday in the Park and Las Posadas will treat guests to period-style holiday decorations, caroling and holiday shopping. On the 16th, the Las Posadas re-enactment of the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem will begin in the Old Town park and end with a children’s piñata party.
If you’re looking for a real white Christmas, Mount Laguna is only a one hour drive from San Diego and, weather conditions permitting, offers sledding, snowmen and more.
Whether you’re looking for a white Christmas or a holiday with Southern California flare, San Diego is sure to keep winter revelers busy this season.