One of my favorite ways to kick off the holiday season is at December Nights in Balboa Park. I love spending the evening in one of San Diego’s treasures weaving in and out of the throngs of people enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays. Balboa Park is even more spectacular with Christmas trees and Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, a gingerbread house and nativity, and more. The park is decked out in Christmas cheer.
Participating museums are open for FREE to the public during the December Nights festivities. Some museums have pretty long lines, so plan what you want to see and try to get their early. Or just be willing to go with the flow and enjoy whatever you get in to easily. Find out what is happening at participating Balboa Park museums. One of our favorite stops is visiting the Old Globe Theatre where the stage is set for Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It is magical inside!
Entertainment will be going on through the evening. Last year we listened to a small string quartet in the Natural History Museum. There are also wonderful musical groups performing in the Organ Pavilion all evening. Here is the complete December Nights entertainment schedule. And you never know where you might run into Santa Claus and get to sneak in a visit! We saw him at the Model Railroad Museum this time!
Booths abound in the park with food, drinks, toys, Christmas crafts and other items for sale. You can find a variety of international foods at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages with foods from China, Argentina, Denmark, India, Israel and more! Check the complete listing of food choices. You can also eat beforehand to avoid the lines for food or taking the time from other great activities.
The event has a great transportation and parking system set up for easy access to the park. My kids love riding the big city buses from one of the parking areas downtown. Here is all the parking information you need.
I can’t wait to get out there again this year and get into the Christmas spirit. The music is beautiful, the excitement of the season is in the air. December Nights is a highlight of San Diego’s Christmas season. It is held on the first weekend of December every year. So this year it will be December 6&7 from 5-9 pm (although some places open earlier than that!)
Other great winter activities: