Thanksgiving in San Diego isn’t just about turkey and stuffing; it’s a season that embodies gratitude, joy, and unity. As the city gears up for this festive period, there’s a treasure trove of vibrant events and activities waiting for you. From charitable runs to mesmerizing Candlelight concerts and enchanting light displays, San Diego has something special for everyone. So, to ensure you enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving, we’ve rounded up a list of 9 remarkable Thanksgiving experiences you wouldn’t want to miss.
1. Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk
Kick-start Thanksgiving Day with Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk at Balboa Park. From 6:30 to 10 a.m., your strides will make a meaningful difference in the lives of the less fortunate, as this annual event is not just about fitness but also about giving back. Join the spirited run to support St. Vincent de Paul Village, the largest homeless charity in San Diego. Children, people with disabilities, pets and baby strollers are all welcome for a day of inclusive family fun!
2. Oceanside Turkey Trot
Make a dash to the Oceanside Pier on Thanksgiving Day for the Oceanside Turkey Trot. Put on your Thanksgiving costume and participate in the spirited either the 5k, 5 mile or the kids fun mile event. It’s not just about the exercise; it’s about celebrating the holiday spirit with the community.
3. Candlelight concerts
Throughout the season, experience Candlelight Concerts at San Diego’s most iconic venues. Let the warm glow of candlelight and the magic of classical renditions fill your soul. Share this musical experience with loved ones and create cherished memories that resonate with the spirit of Thanksgiving in San Diego.
4. Thanksgiving Day Premier Brunch Cruise
On November 23 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, join the Thanksgiving Day Premier Brunch Cruise at Pier 1, Downtown San Diego. Indulge in a two-hour cruise on the San Diego Bay with a delectable chef-prepared buffet, free-flowing mimosas, and breathtaking views of the city skyline and landmarks.
5. Laguna Beach Sawdust Winter Fantasy
Embrace the festive season by visiting the Laguna Beach Sawdust Winter Fantasy on weekends starting November 18 until December 17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The local art scene takes center stage here, offering a unique opportunity to revel in holiday festivities and shop for handcrafted gifts.
6. Santa is Coming, Craft Fair
Looking to get artsy this season? Then, visit Bates Nut Farm from November 24 to 26 to explore its Santa is Coming, Crafts Fair. Discover over 100 artisans showcasing handmade crafts and fine art, live music, and more. It’s the perfect opportunity to stock up on unique holiday gifts. —And better yet, admission and parking are free!
7. Lightscapes at San Diego Botanical Garden
From November 17 to January 1, light up your weekends at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. Stroll through a mile of their enchanting garden illuminated with a million twinkling lights, and enjoy a spectacle with the Lightscape exhibition on the evenings from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
8. All That Jazz Lightshow Spectacular
Experience the allure of the All That Jazz Lightshow Spectacular at Hotel del Coronado from November 17 to January 2. Featuring a dynamic light show set to a 1920s jazz soundtrack, this event culminates in a magical snow flurry under the historic Norfolk Island Pines, originally made famous in 1904 as the world’s first electrically lit outdoor Christmas tree.
9. Skating by the Sea
Feel the coastal winter vibes from November 17 through January 7 at Skating by the Sea in Hotel del Coronado. Engage in the joy of outdoor ice skating with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. And if after skating you feel hungry, head down to the ocean-side Frostbite Lounge, where you can unwind in plush seating next to roaring fire pits and enjoy delectable bites.