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Top Things to Do This Weekend in San Diego Dec. 1-4

The best things to do this weekend in San Diego: Dec. 1-4

December is finally here, and the first weekend of the month is packed with holiday activities and events in San Diego. There are so many fun ways to celebrate the holiday season in San Diego.

If you’re planning to do some shopping, check out San Diego Union Tribune's holiday gift guide.

best things to do this weekend in San Diego


Petco Park holiday market: The holiday market at Petco Park returns for a third year. The market will feature local artisan shops and booths, Christmas light displays, seasonal food and beverages and Santa and other holiday characters. Entry times are based on tickets. 4 to 10 p.m. Dec. 1-23. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., San Diego. Tickets $10 for ages 1-14, $14 for adults.


December Nights: For the first time since 2019, December Nights returns to Balboa Park with its traditional in-person experience. This family-friendly event brings together the sights and sounds of the holiday season, as well as activities, attractions and, of course, the various foods and treats from around the world. 3 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. on Saturday. Closes both days at 11 p.m. Balboa Park, San Diego. Free.

Coronado holiday parade and tree lighting: Enjoy holiday cheer with the lighting of a 85-foot tree, local business open house and a parade featuring local organizations, clubs and businesses with lights and costumes. There will also be live music and holiday sing-alongs. 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Parade runs from the Ferry Landing, down Orange Avenue, to the Hotel del Coronado. Tree lighting takes place in Rotary Park.

Tree lighting celebration in Carlsbad: Festive activities include a live performance by Crown City Bombers, holiday characters and entertainers, a visit from Santa, lighting of the Christmas tree and a light show along with magical snowfal. 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. The Forum Carlsbad, 1923 Calle Barcelona.

Winter WonderLights: This holiday light show and snowfall experience takes place at The Forum Carlsbad. On Fridays, visitors can meet holiday characters. 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 3-17, at the The Forum Carlsbad, 1923 Calle Barcelona.

Vista Christmas parade: The Vista Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas parade is set for this weekend. This year’s theme is “A Toy Stories Christmas” with “Toy Man of Vista” as the grand marshal. There will be floats, music and marching bands, along with Santa. 1 to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Downtown Vista. The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Santa Fe and Pala Vista Drive, heads north, goes down Broadway to Citrus, then to Main Street, ending at the Wave Waterpark.

Holiday in the Village: La Mesa hosts its seventh annual Holiday in the Village with live music, craft vendors, a holiday 360 photo booth, “selfies with Santa,” a children’s area and lots of holiday cheer. Play carnival games, listen to carolers and enjoy food and drinks from local businesses. Entertainment includes traditional holiday songs and music, local bands and community performers. Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday. La Mesa Boulevard, between Spring and Fourth Streets. Free.

Little Italy tree lighting: Little Italy hosts a tree lighting and Christmas Village with twinkle lights and 10-foot-tall nutcrackers decorating the neighborhood. Enjoy seasonal vendors, Christmas music and other entertainment and an appearance by Santa. 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Piazza della Famiglia, 523 W. Date St. The Christmas Village can be found on India Street, between West Cedar and West Grape Streets.

Fallbrook Christmas parade: Fallbrook’s 41st annual Christmas parade, themed “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” is hosted by the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce. The parade features Santa, lighted floats, music, marching bands and dancers along with classic cars, led by Grand Marshals Jim and Jean Dooley. 5 p.m. Saturday. Main Street in downtown Fallbrook.

San Marcos tree lighting and market: This is a family event with dance performances, school choirs, crafts and vendors. There will also be entertainment and “snow.” 1 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at the San Marcos Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Drive. Santa lights the tree at 5:35 p.m., followed by snowfall. Photos with Santa are from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Winter Wonderland in Escondido: Visitors can play in snow, join holiday crafting activities led by artists, browse for gifts made by local artisans and buy holiday-themed drinks and treats at Santa’s Corner Café. There is also a self-guided “Northern Lights” tour of twinkling lights and Christmas trees. 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd.

Encinitas Holiday Parade: Encinitas’ annual holiday parade kicks off with a tree lighting and brief appearance from Santa at 5 p.m. in The Lumberyard shops courtyard, between H Street and I Street, followed by the parade at 5:30 p.m. featuring floats, marching bands and decorated cars along Coast Highway from D to J streets. The theme is “Classic Encinitas” with Grand Marshal Warren Raps. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas. Free parade shuttles will run from 4 to 8:30 p.m. from the San Dieguito Academy High School parking lot at Melba Road and Nardo Road and the YMCA/Ecke Sports Park parking lot on Saxony Road to the North County Transit District bus station on Vulcan Avenue a half-block from the parade route. ADA-accessible bus runs from San Dieguito Academy.


Carlsbad tree lighting: The Rotary Club of Carlsbad’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony will include free photos with Santa and entertainment by Renaissance Institute of Music Orchestra, Carlsbad High School Band and Lancer Dancers and XCalibur dance teams. There will be free cookies, cider and coffee along with storytelling and crafts. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at 2:15 p.m. in an antique fire engine, followed by Mayor Matt Hall. 2 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in the south parking lot of Carlsbad Village Faire shopping center, 300 Carlsbad Village Drive.

Kringle Mingle: Cardiff’s 15th annual Kringle Mingle will include live music, crafts for children, holiday treats, hot coffee, hot chocolate and vendor booths for holiday shopping. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Downtown Cardiff along South Coast Highway 101. Santa and his vintage Camera Camper sleigh will be ready for photos from noon to 3 p.m. Free.

North Pole by the Sea: Enjoy family-friendly festivities from throughout the Del Mar Village, including photos with Santa and letters to Santa at Del Mar Plaza, holiday characters, carolers, live music, hot chocolate for kids, drink specials for adults at L’Auberge Del Mar and holiday characters. The inaugural Del Mar Village Winter Taste & Sip event is from 1 to 4 p.m., and the annual holiday tree lighting at 5 p.m. in the Jim Watkins Amphitheater at L’Auberge Del Mar. Noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 4. Throughout the Del Mar Village.

San Marcos holiday parade: The 25th annual Kiwanis San Marcos Holiday Parade starts will be themed “Back Together Again” to celebrate the community coming together again, with bands, floats, marching groups and Santa. 1 p.m. Sunday. The parade route is Comet Drive at Palomar College, east on Mission Road to the Civic Center.

Solana Beach community tree lighting: This annual holiday tree lighting includes live music, sweets, treats, cider and hot cocoa. It’s hosted by the city of Solana Beach’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Santa is slated to arrive by a firetruck escort at 5:20 p.m. 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Fletcher Cove Park, 111 S. Sierra Ave., Solana Beach.


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