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BEST CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN SAN DIEGO

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THE TOP 10 CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SAN DIEGO HAS TO OFFER

Take it from a born and raised San Diego local, you will want to spend at least one of your Christmas holidays in San Diego, California. Although you may not get a white snowy Christmas, you will most likely experience the perfect beach weather and an opportunity to visit the best Christmas lights San Diego has to offer. 

You can spend your holiday in San Diego in board-shorts and a tank. Can it get any better than that? The temperature will range from the high 60s to the high 70s in the month of December. However, even though it can be warm during the day, prepare for colder nights. San Diego weather can drop down to the 40s at night.

For this reason, San Diego is the perfect place to enjoy your holiday. You get the best of both worlds. A warm day and cold, brisk, winter feeling nights. These cold nights make for the perfect Christmas activities. One Christmas activity that San Diegans are known for is their Christmas light decorations!

Christmas lights in San Diego can be very extravagant. Almost every town in San Diego has some sort of Christmas lights to display. This article will give you all the details on the best Christmas lights to see in San Diego. It will be broken down by three different regions: Downtown San Diego, Seaside, and Inland San Diego.

Alright, let’s get to it! 

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO 

There are lots of neighborhoods that are considered to be a part of “downtown San Diego,” however, this article will talk about four different neighborhoods. These neighborhoods consist of Banker’s Hill, Mission Valley, South Park, and Balboa Park. For a list of more downtown San Diego Christmas lights events check out the San Diego Family website.

1. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN SAN DIEGO: BANKERS HILL

Where: The Forward House in Bankers Hill 108 Ivy St, San Diego, CA 92101

When: November 24th-December 31st from 5-10 pm 

Cost: Free

The Forward House in Bankers Hill was built in 1905 for Mayor John Forward Sr. This house is colored with Christmas lights every year since 1998. Go experience the beauty for yourself. 

2. GLOBAL WINTER WONDERLAND 

Where: SDCCU Stadium

When: waiting on dates to be announced

Cost: $19

The SDCCU Stadium is transformed into a global winter wonderland. Celebrate holidays from all around the world. The entire idea is for visitors to experience the world in one day.

There will be plenty of activities for the kids, a huge Chinese lantern festival, carnival rides, and even an acrobatic performance. For more details on this spectacular event click here.

3. LUMINARIA

Where: South Park along 30th St. and Fern St. 

When: November 27th- January 1st

Cost: Free

The neighborhood of South Park transforms into a winter dream. All the trees, houses, roofs, courtyards, lamp posts are all decorated with Christmas lights. Literally, anything you can think of will be covered in lights. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and head to South Park for a nice evening stroll. 

4. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN SAN DIEGO, BALBOA PARK 

Where: San Diego Zoo

When: December 13th-January 5th from 9am-8pm 

Cost: prices vary on the price of admission

The San Diego Zoo Christmas lights are some of the best Christmas lights in San Diego. Enjoy spending time with the animals during this holiday season. You will get to experience a celebration of lights and a carol of the jungle bells. There will be plenty of live entertainment and even a twinkle light trolley. Head to the San Diego Zoo website to purchase tickets.

You should plan to spend more time in Balboa Park during your holiday in San Diego. Not only is Balboa Park beautiful, but there are a lot of other Christmas activities that occur in the park. For a list of more Christmas activities check out the top 15 things to do in San Diego this Christmas.

SEASIDE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Enjoy a spectacular arrangement of lights along the seaside towns. As you may know, San Diego is quite the beach city. Lots of these ocean neighboring towns will light their streets up in colorful Christmas lights. 

Read further to get details on these towns with Christmas lights in San Diego: Point Loma, Coronado, Mission Bay, and Ocean Beach. 

5. GARRISON STREET 

Where: Garrison Street in Point Loma 

When: month of December from dusk -10pm

Cost: Free

Head over to Garrison street (crossroads with Chats-worth) for a 3D Christmas light adventure. Throughout the month of December, the houses on Garrison street go all out with the Christmas lights. Walk through lit up archways and under lit up trees for your cold winter night holiday experience. 

6. CORONADO CHRISTMAS EVENTS

Hotel Del Coronado at Christmas. Coronado, CA

Hotel Del Coronado at Christmas. Coronado, CA

Where: Hotel Del Coronado

When: starts November 25th

Cost: Free

Experience the winter magic that Hotel del Coronado creates. Whether that be skating on their beachfront ice rink or watching the Hotel del be lit up, Coronado has it all. Bring your friends and family to experience this San Diego Christmas light event. For more information on Hotel del holiday events check out their website.

7. BOAT PARADE IN MISSION BAY

Where: Mission Bay 

When: December 14th from 6-9pm

Cost: Free

This is a classic San Diego Christmas light event that occurs each year. The Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parad of Lights displays boats that are all decorated and decked out in holiday lights. These boats sail around the bay from 6-9pm. Grab a warm blanket and make sure to arrive early so you can get a spot to sit and see the lights. 

8. OCEAN BEACH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Where: 4729 Newport Ave Map

When: The month of December

This is an event you can drive up to in your car or walk up to. Each year the Olson family lights their home up to synchronized Christmas music on the radio station FM 89.7. Head to this Christmas light display for a fun quick holiday activity. They operate Monday – Thursday and Sunday from 6-10pm and Friday/Saturday from 6-11pm. 

Are you looking for a place to stay for your time in San Diego? Check out the best hotels in this seaside location.

INLAND CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The following set of San Diego Christmas lights are based on neighborhoods that are more inland. These neighborhoods consist of Carmel Mountain Ranch, Poway, and Rancho Penasquitos. 

9. CARMEL MOUNTAIN RANCH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SAN DIEGO

Where: Stoney Gate Pl, San Diego, CA 92128

When: December 10th – January 1st from 5:30-10:30pm 

This residential street really shines during the holiday seasons. Walk around this brightly lit street and join in on the annual block party. Enjoy hot cocoa or cookies made by the residents.

10. CANDY CANE LANE

Where: Stoutwood Street in Poway

When: December 10th-24th from 6-9pm 

Cost: Free

Almost the entire neighborhood lights up their houses and decorates there front yard in candy canes. Hence the name: candy cane lane. It is recommended that you park a few streets away as parking here can be difficult. Walk-through the light displays at your own pace. 

11. CHRISTMAS CARD LANE

Family visiting the Christmas lights in San Diego at Christmas card lane

Where: Ellingham, Oviedo and Renato street off Black Mountain Road.

When: Month of December nightly from dusk -10pm

Ranch Penasquitos is known to put on one of the liveliest San Diego Christmas light displays. Over 200 residents decorate their front yards with plywood greetings from cartoon characters: hence the Christmas Card Lane name. 

FINAL THOUGHTS FROM A LOCAL

Well, there you have it! Some of the best Christmas lights San Diego has to offer. Make sure you are prepared for these fun Christmas light events. Dress warm, it does get cold at night. Layer up bring a cup of hot cocoa and prepare for eyes to be dazzled! Let me know in the comments if you enjoy looking at Christmas lights.

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13 Comments

  1. So fun! San Diego is such a beautiful city, and it’s awesome to know where to go to see the Christmas lights! You made it super helpful by adding the exact address, price (if any) and time of the month it’s open. Thank you!

  2. Hotel del Coronado is the one I would love to stay at for the festive season. I can imagine enjoying the beach during the warm days and ice skating on the beachfront in the cold evenings, for the first time since I was 16 🙂

  3. I just moved to San Diego and I’m excited to experience Christmas here! It may not have a white Christmas, but San Diego definitely doesn’t lack Christmas spirit!

  4. Each year, more than 20 houses are lit up in Lakeside with festive lights and front-yard decorations. This neighborhood definitely goes all out for the Christmas season!

  5. Some of the best Christmas lights San Diego has to offer. Make sure you are prepared for these fun Christmas light events. it’s awesome to know where to go to see the Christmas lights! You made it super helpful by adding the exact address, price, and time of the month it’s open. I’m excited to experience Christmas here! It may not have a white Christmas, but San Diego definitely doesn’t lack a Christmas spirit.

  6. I can imagine enjoying the beach during the warm days and ice skating on the beachfront in the cold evenings. This neighborhood definitely goes all out for the Christmas season. It is recommended that you park a few streets away as parking here can be difficult.

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