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Cosmos’ December Nights Hot List

Cosmos Blog, Balboa Park December Nights, Christmas Story Tree, Spreckels Organ PavilionI’m just like a dog with a bone when it comes to enjoying the annual festival to end all festivals in Balboa Park.

Over 300,000 of my closest pack members will once again join me in Balboa Park this weekend (December 7-8) to experience howladay cheer like never before. Why? Because Balboa Park December Nights just keeps getting bigger and better.

As some of you may find it physically impossible to visit every entertainment stage and museum, eat every variety of specialty foods available, and take advantage of every Santa photo op (how he can be in so many places at once, I’ll never understand), here is my hot list for this year’s December Nights event:

International Christmas Festival — An epic, marathon Lawn Program, visitors get a taste of how the holidays are celebrated by 32 different cultures as they munch through a smorgasbord of all my favorite ethnic edibles. There’s probably no better place to start the December Nights experience.

Plaza de Panama — With cheer in place and tummy (temporarily) sated, it’s time to head to the next essential hub of activity. Under SDG&E’s dazzling light canopy, the likes of Sue Palmer and the Bayou Brothers will be hitting the Bon Temps Social Club Dance Pavilion Stage, as you consume gourmet bites provided by The Prado Restaurant and the Chop Soo-ey and Ms. Patty Melt food trucks.

Hall of Champions — The great thing about December Nights is that you can take your litter of pups just about anywhere (except the beer gardens, of course). But a couple of unique treats stand out, including a screening of classic holiday TV shows inside the Hall of Champions Sports Museum theater, from 5 to 9pm when the museum is open free.

Casa del Prado Stage — Another great way to cool your heels with your brood is by watching excerpts from the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. Each free performance runs for 30 minutes and is the perfect way to expose younglings with YouTube-conditioned attention spans to a Tchaikovsky ballet.

Spanish Village Arts Center — Easy to miss in the far northeast corner of Balboa Park is the Spanish Village’s bite-size festival, featuring flamenco guitar and hammer dulcimer music, festively lit artist studios bustling with shopping opportunities, and, yes, a food court. What more could you ask for?

The above venues and activities are just the star on top of the Christmas tree. Be sure to visit the December Nights main page for links to the complete listings.

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