San Diego, California
4444 Pacific Highway, San Diego, California 92110

Top Things to Do in San Diego this Holiday Season

Get into the Christmas spirit with the most enjoyable to-do list ever!!


San Diego is a great place to be for the holidays. This city is practically overflowing with Christmas spirit, and we love to be a part of it here at the Old Town Inn. So, we have created a Christmas to-do list that is bursting with holiday fun, just waiting to be discovered. This list has something for everyone. Whether you prefer to celebrate indoors or out, we have you covered. What about some FREE Christmas activities? Something for the kids? How about just the adults? Well, today is your lucky day, because you will find all of the above and much more right here on our Christmas to-do list! So, what are you waiting for? Grab your family, friends, your significant other, your kids, your friend’s kids, and your kid’s friends, and see what’s in store this Christmas!


Christmas Lights




One of my favorite things to do around Christmas time is to bundle up, grab a hot cup of cocoa, turn up the Christmas music, and hop in the car with my family in search of the best Christmas light displays in San Diego. This tradition NEVER gets old! Here are some of the best displays in the county. (This list is in order from closest to Old Town to furthest from Old Town)




  • Mission Hills – 2150 Sunset Blvd. Soundtrack to go with lights recorded by radio personalities Jef & Jer, on 89.7 FM. Mon-Thurs 6-10 pm, Fri Sat, 6-11 pm.


  • Clairmont – 92117 Lan Drive & Jamar off Mt. Abernathy Ave. / Circular St. 40+ homes. Dec. 7th -28th.                    
  • 4670 Norwalk Ave. off Clairmont Mesa Blvd. / Moraga Ave. Dec.7th-Jan.1st   Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat Sun, 7-11 pm.


  • 5404 Mt. Burnham Dr. 96 Channel animated light display transmitted to 98.5 FM. North Pole Village Display, train, animated figures in garage, Christmas tree, life sized Santa and more. Dec. 1st-31st Sun-Thurs 6-10 pm, Fri Sat, 6-11 pm.


  • Allied Gardens – 7048 Hillsboro St. Off Waring and Princess View. Dec. 7-30, dusk-10 pm.
  • 5919 Cloudview Place. 20-ft Mega Tree and 40,000 lights synchronized to 98.5 FM. Dec. 1st -31st,  Sun-Thurs, 5:30-10 pm, Fri & Sat, 5:30-10:30 pm.


  • El Cajon – Jingle Bell Hill (Pepper Drive lights)
  • Solomon Ave. / Pegreen Pl. and surrounding area. 67th & Bradley Dec. 8th – 26th, Mon-Thurs 6-9 pm, Fri-Sun, 6-10 pm.


  • 11456 Pegreen Pl. Nightmare before Christmas theme with all your favorite characters – Jack, Sally, Zero, Mayor, Boogeyman. Dec. 9th -29th Mon-Thurs 6-9 pm, Fri Sat, 6-10 pm.


  • 1838 El Pico Dr., off Hacienda Dr. 50th year decorating 20 ft star on top of the hill. Nov. 28th – Dec. 31st 55 ft. train Dec 8th-31st, Dusk-10 pm.


  •  1768 Cono Dr. 14 ft. spiral tree with 3,200 lights & graphic displays set to music. Nov. 29th – Jan. 1st Mon-Thurs 5-10 pm, Fri Sat 5-11 pm.


  • 9777 Valley Ranch Rd. Cul de sac with lights programmed to 89.1 FM & 87.9 FM. Dec. 1st – 31st, 5-10:30 pm.





  • Lakeside – 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. 20+ houses nicknamed “Tinsel Town”. Dec. 1st -25th, 5:30-9 pm.
  • 13518 Appaloosa Dr. 48 channels of lights twinkle to 88.1 FM. Dec 1st – Jan 1st, 5-10 pm.






  • San Diego Botanical Gardens – “Garden of Lights” 230 Quail Gardens Dr. 100,000+ lights. Nutcracker display, Poinsettia Garden, marshmallow roasting, live music, holiday crafts. More info at



  • San Diego Zoo’s Jungle Bells – Balboa Park Dec 13th -23rd , Dec 25th -Jan 5th                                                           Open till 8 every evening, the Zoo is transformed into a wild, wintery wonderland of lights, music, and animal encounters. Come and see lighted animal figures, bell ringers, nightly tree lighting ceremony, and “The Night before Christmas Show”.

More info


  • Sea World Christmas Tree of Lights – Sky tower sparkles nightly at 6 pm. Nov 16th – Jan 4th


  • Victorian Mansion – 108 Ivy St. Corner of 1st and Ivy. See this 1905 mansion adorned with thousands of lights. Nov 28th – Jan 1st, 5-10 pm.




Fun outdoors adventures!


Hotel Del Ice Skating – “Skating by the Sea” An outdoor ice skating rink adjacent to Coronado Beach and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The resort’s famous Windsor Lawn is turned into a seaside skating rink Nov – Jan. More info at






  • Horton Plaza Mall – Sycuan’s fantasy on Ice. Christmas shopping and Ice Skating.




There’s nothing better than fun activities that DON’T cost you!


  • Whale watching from shores and cliffs of Point Loma, as California Grey Whales migrate south to warm water breeding grounds of Baja, California. Catch a spectacular show as the whales pass through the waters off San Diego’s coastline December – March.


  • Organ Concerts at Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park at 2:00 pm every Sunday. Featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ, a San Diego landmark for 90 years. Organists will play holiday fares, waltzes, and showtunes out of the 32 ft. lead alloy pipes.


  • Julian – Come to this cozy mountain town for delicious hot apple cider and Julian’s legendary homemade apple pie. Stroll through the town’s picturesque streets and enjoy caroling and nativity scenes.




Plays & Shows


  • White Christmas – San Diego Musical Theatre, Birch North Park Theatre. Performance adaptation of Irving Berlin’s classic film “White Christmas,” with songs from the movie.


  • An American Christmas by Lambs Players Theater at Hotel Del Coronado. Performance of “An American Christmas” takes guests back to 1912 for a historical window to the past. Features rousing music, historical décor, and a succulent four-course holiday feast!!  Limited availability, Dec. 24th                                                                               More info at


  • Mingei Museum – Open year round celebrating art from around the world. Features two new exhibits this December – Patrick L. Nickols, with over 350 Quilts on display, and Allied Craftsmen Today tracks the crafting revolution from 1940’s California to today.


  • Sugar Plum Fairies – Classic Ballet. The NutcrackerSan Diego offers its own production with the San Diego Civic youth Ballet. A new take on a classic tale with revised performances. Casa del Prado Theatre in Balboa Park.       




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