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What Holiday Events in San Diego are Open in 2020

a dog swimming in a body of water

San Diego is famous for its festive cheer and while this year is slightly different, that hasn’t stopped America’s greatest city from celebrating! This article will help you find all the best Holiday Events in San Diego for 2020. 

Christmas Activities in San Diego include parades, Christmas lights, boat tours, Santa sightings, outdoor ice skating, and much more. Take a look at some of our favorite holiday events in San Diego!

Jungle Bells At The San Diego Zoo 2020

a man standing in front of a christmas tree

Every year the San Diego Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with the Jungle Bells celebrations. This year there are a few safety protocols in place to ensure a great time for all. You should definitely call and make a reservation, as per their website guidelines. You should also factor in time for health screening – all in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Other than that, enjoy the festive foods, performances, twinkling lights, and adorable animals!

When: Dec 4–6; 11–23; 25–31; Jan 1–3

Safety protocols: Reservations required; health screenings onsite.

Seaworld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration 2020

a purple sign above a store

Enjoy all-new holiday performances, decorations around the park (go late afternoon to experience the illuminated park after sunset!), meet Santa at his “animals around the world” presentation! As far as holiday events in San Diego go, the Seaworld San Diego’s Christmas celebration 2020 is on and going strong!

When: Nov. 13-16, 19-23, and 26-30. Dec. 3-7, 10-14, 17-21, and 26-31. Jan. 1- 4.

Safety protocols: Reservations required; health screenings onsite; digital tools and information available to guests ie map, announcements, timetables; Social distancing.

Holidays At Legoland 2020

a group of people posing for the camera

At Legoland, Christmas decorations take on a whole new dimension! A hit year after year, the team at Legoland San Diego is pulling out all the stops (and legos!) to make sure their guests feel welcome, safe, and thoroughly entertained this Christmas season!

The whole park is bursting with Holiday Cheer from November 20 to January 10th, 2020. See a 30 foot fully lego decorated Christmas tree, the famous Holiday Light Show, Santa, his elves, and more! Don’t miss the Holidays at Legoland!

When: Nov. 20 – Jan. 10 (12pm – 5pm)

Live music dates: 

  • Saturday, November 28, 2020
  • Saturday, December 5, 12, 19, 2020
  • Tuesday, December 22, 2020 – Thursday, December 24, 2020
  • Saturday, December 26, 2020 – Wednesday, December 30, 2020
  • Friday, January 1, 2021 – Sunday, January 3, 2021

Safety protocols: Reservations required; health screenings; Social distancing.

Balboa Park “Taste” of December Nights 2020


This year the annual City of San Diego’s December Nights celebration will continue, although a bit different to how we’re used to! The new San Diego Taste of December Nights 2020 celebration will be a feast for the tastebuds, with around 20 Christmas themed food trucks offering Christmas treats for the whole family. Drive through the stunning decor and enjoy Gingerbread cookies with a warm cup of cocoa.

Also, the first 500 cars to arrive each day will receive a commemorative Santa card and Taste of December Nights tote bag filled with festive goodies! Don’t miss out – head over for a Christmas brunch if you can!

When: Dec. 4 – 6 (11am – 10pm)

Safety protocols: Social distancing; drive-thru event

San Diego’s Christmas Lights Bay Tour 2020

a christmas tree lit up at night

The ultimate way to see this stunning city has to be from the water!  Captain your own Christmas Speedboat sleigh as you zip across the water! This adrenaline packed San Diego speedboat tour will show you all the best views of the area as well as well-known attractions like the Maritime Museum, Seaport Village, and of course, the iconic downtown skyline.

No other boat rental in San Diego packs this much excitement and sightseeing into one fun-filled day. Christmas activities in San Diego don’t get much better than this!

When: Year-round attraction

Safety protocols: Social distancing; Open-air attraction

Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas 2020


It might feel like the Grinch stole Christmas this year, but don’t worry, the good people of San Diego won’t let that happen! Traditionally presented as a play, Dr. Seuss’s story will be a bit different in 2020 – but the show must go on! This year you can tune in from anywhere to hear your favorite Christmas story. 

This Christmas favorite will be heard throughout the city on radio stations everywhere – tune into  KPBS 89.5 FM or stream it live on the KPBS website, the KPBS app, or on your smart speakers.

When: Thursday, Nov. 26 at 12 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 5 at 12 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 20 at 12 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.

Safety protocols: Virtual Event

Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village 2020

a person wearing a hat

This long-standing tradition that lights up the LIttle Italy community, and also the little faces of children, each year are taking their cheer digital to help preserve the tradition. Watch the Christmas tree lighting, see Santa, and listen to live music, all from the safety of your home! 

Support these wonderful Christmas activities in San Diego by booking your free tickets online or by sponsoring an ornament this year.  In a Hallmark-movie style production, you can experience the Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village 2020 like never before!

Holiday Events in San Diego: Outdoor Ice Rinks in San Diego

a group of people standing next to a body of water

Unfortunately, it seems most of the ice skating rinks won’t be opening for the 2020 season. Here are some of the alternative events these San Diego favorites will be hosting to bring back the holiday cheer. We’ll also keep a close eye on the Poway Winter Festival, where you could possibly go skating early in January – see details below.

Coronado Ice Rink 2020

Santa Photo Sessions

See Santa on his sleigh as you take a safely distanced photo with the big red Christmas icon. Those interested can make reservations from 4 pm onwards to secure a spot ($20 per person).

When: Nov. 28, 2020; Dec. 5, 12,19, 23-24, 2020

Safety protocols: Social distancing; Open-air attraction

Jingle Roast beach bonfire event

Enjoy a private beach bonfire with friends. Complete with festive Santa hats, specialty holiday s’mores, and an a la carte menu of fireside delights. Invite up to 8 people to enjoy this unique 1-hour festive dinner with you at only $250. Bookings are essential as there are only two slots a day – 5:30 pm or 7:00 pm. 

When: December 11 – December 27, 2020

Safety protocols: Social distancing; Open-air event

Viejas Outlets Christmas Celebrations 2020

The ice rink might not be open this year, but put on your Santa hat and head to the Viejas Roller Rink for some family fun! Need some last-minute Christmas gift ideas, we’ve got you covered and you can definitely do you shopping at Viejas! 

When: Year-round attraction

Safety protocols: Bookings required; health screenings; Social distancing.

Poway Community Park Winter Festival 2020

Enjoy this quaint mountain-side town on the ice. Only starting on January 8th, this small town is transformed into a winter wonderland. Enjoy the thrill of sledding down the snowy hills, and enjoy the fresh air while skating around the synthetic ice rink! This festival is such an integral part of this town’s beautiful spirit and we hope to enjoy it again this year with you.

When: Jan. 8 (5:00-9:00pm), Jan. 9 (3:30-8:30pm)

Safety protocols: Social distancing; Open-air event

Christmas Light Displays In San Diego

Candy Cane Lane – Poway

Location: Hickory Court, Hickory Street, off Twin Peaks Road and Silverset St.

When: Nov. 27 – Dec. 27

Belardo Lights – Tierrasanta

Location: 5306 North Belardo Drive

When: Dec.1 – Dec. 27

Garrison Street – Point Loma

Location: Garrison Street near Chatsworth

When: Dec.1 – Dec. 26

Starlight Circle – Santee

Location: Tomel Court, off Magnolia.

When: Nov. 27 – Dec. 27