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Things To Do

49 Magical Things To Do In San Diego This December

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49 Magical Things To Do In San Diego This December

It’s finally December and the holiday season has arrived!

December is here and San Diego is yet again filled with holiday warmth and cheer. Though extra precautions must be taken for the pandemic, there are plenty of fun (and socially distanced) things to do in and around the city.

Whether you want to get some fresh air or stay in the comfort of your own home, San Diego has something to offer everyone: from dazzling light displays and foodie experiences to live streamed holiday shows and concerts. Check out our list of 47 amazing things to do this month:

1. Enjoy the the glow of festive lights at Botanic Wonderland

[Featured image: San Diego Botanic Garden]
Nothing quite says holidays like the festive glow of shimmering colorful lights and decorative greenery. And that’s exactly what you can expect at Botanic Wonderland – with the added bonus of soaking up the natural beauty of 37 acres of gardens filled with 5,000 plant species from all over the world. Ignite your holiday spirit at this spectacular seasonal tradition in the San Diego Botanic Garden.

2. Toast to the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future in a virtual cocktail experience

We all know the story, but this year, it takes a boozy turn as our favorite grumpy protagonist is visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. Sit back and relax at home while being transported back to the 1950s for an original retelling of the holiday classic. It’s a virtual and interactive musical that invites you to experience a delicious spirit of your own, made from your cocktail kit for two, with each visit from the ghosts. Purchase your tickets here.

3. Ooh and ahh your way through a Winter Wonderland at The Del

[Featured image: Hotel del Coronado]
This year, The Del replaces its annual Skating by the Sea with a whimsical Winter Wonderland. Head to Windsor Lawn for some holiday fun and some snowy surprises! Snap some holiday memories with Mr. Kringle himself and take in all of the beautifully adorned trees and greenery. And of course, it’ll be hard to miss The Del’s massive 35-foot holiday tree, which you can enjoy while enjoying some festive bites and libations. Find more information about the whimsical wonderland here.

4-9. Find unique handcrafted holiday gifts at these local farmers markets

[Image: North Park Thursday Market]
The holiday season is officially here! And we all have our lists of gifts for friends and family. Head to these 6 farmers markets to check out some of the best artisan goods in the area – the perfect gifts for lovers of all things local. Plus, you can pick up some of your favorite local fruits and veggies while you’re at it!

10. Drive through millions of lights at Holidays In Your Car

[Image: Derek Thomson via Unsplash]
This holiday light display at Del Mar Fairgrounds is not one you want to miss! Experience millions of dazzling lights from the comfort of your own car as you traverse this 1.5 mile drive-thru. LED light installations – some over 40 feet tall – and holograms all animated to your favorite holiday songs! It’s a safe and exciting experience that awaits the whole family! Find out more here.

11-20. Get some fresh air and catch some waves at these incredible surf spots

[Image: Zachary Shea via Unsplash]
The beach is always a good idea, if you ask us, and San Diego offers some of the best surf spots there are. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned surfer, head to these 10 incredible beaches to surf away your troubles and get a break from the daily grind.

21. Livestream a stunning classical piano performance by candlelight

Experience an elegant classical music concert right from the comfort of your own home! Sit back and enjoy a magical performance by über-talented pianist Franck Laurent-Grandpré, known for his unique improvisational freestyle. His incredible performance will feature a curated selection of beloved classical numbers during a special livestream event. Book your tickets here.

22. Get a Taste of December Nights near Balboa Park

[Featured image: Taste of December Nights]
The park’s annual December Nights festival looks a little different this season, but is no less exciting. The 2020 version of the festival, called Taste of December Nights, is a drive-thru foodie frenzy. Hop in your car and taste your way through a lineup of more than 20 food trucks and vendors, each selling some of San Diego’s favorite festive bites. Check out the details here.

23. Go on a mystery foodie adventure through San Diego

If you have an appetite for good food and love exploring the city, then this self-guided food adventure is the perfect way to see Coronado, Julian or La Jolla, and skip the crowds! Starting with a picnic basket, have fun solving personally-curated clues and riddles sent to your smartphone that’ll take you on a journey to collect your special gourmet picnic food bit by bit. Each clue you solve will lead you closer to your next picnic food pickup and even closer to your final stunning secret picnic spot. Whether you are looking to get creative for date night or just want a cool new activity to do amongst friends, this is a great way to spend a lovely afternoon outside. Book your spot here.

24. Tune into The Old Globe’s radio version of The Grinch

[Featured image: The Old Globe]
This year, The Old Globe has brought their beloved holiday performance back to simpler times, allowing fans to experience the family favorite in a new format. Tune into KPBS radio and let your ears take you on the familiar journey to Whoville and the Grinch’s cave. It’ll be just like bedtime stories as a kid! Find more details about the performance here.

25-36. Cozy up at home and order all your favorite seasonal brews

[Image: Unsplash]
We are officially in the thick of the holiday season, and those delicious festive coffees we all look forward to are gracing menus all over. Check out these 12 San Diego coffee houses to get your annual fix of pumpkin spice, caramel salted lattes, festive cold brews and everything in between.

37. Catch your favorite holiday films at this luxurious outdoor cinema on the bay

[Image: Hornblower Cruises & Events San Diego]
If you love good food, festive films and spectacular views, then this plan is calling your name. Dine al fresco on a dreamy deck lit with fairy lights as you watch holiday favorites like Elf, Polar Express and The Grinch. Book tickets here.

38-47. Dine al fresco on these 10 gorgeous patios

Patio For Outdoor Dining San Diego
[Image: @casaguadalajara , Instagram]
Outdoor dining is a welcome escape right now and with so many lovely options in town, it’s hard to choose just one. Luckily, there is time to try them all. This December, dine socially-distanced and under the stars at these 10 beautiful San Diego patios.

48. Catch Charlie Brown and the gang for their holiday specials on network TV

[Featured image via imdb.com]
All things Peanuts will soon be exclusive to Apple TV+ subscribers, but the specials have been put back on the air for a limited time on network TV, continuing the 55-year holiday tradition. Tune into PBS or PBS KIDS for A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 13 to rejoin Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang on their holiday adventures. For a limited time, fans can also watch the specials on Apple TV+ at no charge. Find out more here.

49. Have an wonderfully awful visit in the Grinch’s Cave

[Featured Image Source: The Grinch’s Grotto]
Celebrate the Grinchiest of years with the Green Meanie himself! Head to Westfield UTC shopping center for an exclusive visit in the Grinch’s Cave. Snap some photos and experience the magic of Whoville in this private meet and greet experience with some special Grinchy surprises! And be sure to stop by the holiday gift shop where you can purchase limited edition collector items. Find out more about this experience here.

[Featured image: Hotel del Coronado]