San Diego’s Top Things to Do, Nov. 22 to Dec. 4

Kick off the holidays in San Diego during the next two weeks and soak up all the festive fun in California’s not-so-wintry wonderland with Thanksgiving celebrations, Surfin’ Santas and the other top things to do below.

When: Now – Jan. 1, 2023
Lightscape transforms the 37-acre San Diego Botanic Garden with a one-of-a-kind artistic installation from international artists. This unique immersive experience at the garden will guide visitors through a festive world of wonder with over one million twinkling lights in various attractions that come alive at night with color, imagination and sound. 

When: Nov. 23 – 27, 2022 
The San Diego Jazz Fest is one of the longest-running annual music festivals dedicated to celebrating jazz music of the early 20th century. Since 1980, this event has featured a wealth of musical artists performing traditional jazz, swing, blues, ragtime, boogie woogie, gospel, and rhythm and blues. 

When: Nov. 24, 2022 
Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of year in San Diego. Ring in the holiday season here with traditional Thanksgiving feasts, turkey trots and more. Thanksgiving Feasts and Turkey Trots. Kick off the Holidays in San Diego 

When: Nov. 25 – De. 24, 2022 
This one mile drive-thru event will feature colorful twinkling light displays set to music through your car radio.  The show will feature unique winter scenes that blink, swirl, and dance to holiday tunes. Best of all, the combination of lights and music change, creating a unique experience each visit.

When: Nov. 26, 2022 
Surfin’ Santa will give the red suit and reindeer a rest and spread his holiday cheer in true SoCal fashion, as he makes his annual arrival at Seaport Village. Named one of the 10 best Santa sightings by USA Today, this visit will feature Santa breaking out his boardshorts and cruising in from San Diego Bay by watercraft, for the 15th annual Surfin’ Santa celebration. Santa will be posted up in his lifeguard tower, ready to snap a few pics with your family.

When: Dec. 1 – 23, 2022 
The Holiday Market at Petco Park is returning for a third year at Petco Park! The popular market will be bigger and better this year, with even more food, beverage and artisanal vendors. This year’s market will feature local shops, magical Christmas lighting displays, seasonal food and beverages, Santa and other holiday characters!

When: Dec. 2 -3, 2022 
Join us for the City of San Diego’s largest free holiday festival in beautiful Balboa Park.  

The family-friendly event brings everyone together to enjoy the lights, the sounds, the attractions and of course, the amazing food. 

When: Dec. 3, 2022 
Join in on the fun at the Ninth Annual Winter Wonderland, where you can play in real snow, enjoy holiday-themed drinks and treats at Santa’s Corner Café, take part in holiday crafting activities led by professional teaching artists, and browse for gifts from local artisans. 

Be sure to also enjoy the self-guided tour of the “northern lights” on the California Center for the Arts campus, with tunnels of twinkling lights, LED Christmas trees and light shows. 

When: Dec. 4, 2022 
The festive and fiery SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off promises just about everything a visitor could want for a fun day, including craft beer, wine, shopping, music and chili! 

Chili + beer + holiday shopping + kids fun fest = one perfect Sunday in December.

When: Dec. 5, 2022
The San Diego Underground Film Festival and the Tenth Avenue Arts Center are proud to present a diverse and inclusive lineup of experimental, documentary, animated and narrative films, which are complemented by nightly expanded cinema performances, installations and live music. 

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