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What’s New in Balboa Park This Holiday Season?

View of holiday lights in Balboa Park, California Tower in backgroundLast week, I barked about some of Balboa Park’s most beloved holiday traditions. We are creatures of habit, so it’s only natural we would flock to what’s familiar to mark the holidays. But even a bird brain would realize those traditions had to start at some point in time, when they were in fact new.

So I figured this would be as good a year as any to sniff out newer holiday activities in Balboa Park that may prove to be the most enduring ways future park visitors experience the park during the holidays.

Holiday Food Truck Festival — Plaza de Panama (Dec. 27–30, 4pm–8pm)

This first ever (dare I say “first annual”?) four-day food truck feeding frenzy will take advantage of the season’s dazzling holiday lights and decorations throughout the park to showcase live entertainment, kids activities, and more (details to come in a future blog post).

Holiday Starlight Stroll — Japanese Friendship Garden (through Dec. 31)

The Japanese Friendship Garden is digging back up this after-hours tradition that allows visitors to stroll through the garden under holiday lights and enjoy holiday-themed crafts and classes until 7pm each night. This tradition may be combined with the Holiday Food Truck Festival above.

Doggone Art Show — Spanish Village Art Center, Gallery 21 (Dec. 21–Jan. 2)

Okay, so this really doesn’t have anything to do with the holidays. But it is most definitely tradition-worthy. Why? Because in addition to honoring all canines, both wild and domestic, through the juried fine art works on display, proceeds from sales will benefit the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Holiday Memories — San Diego Model Railroad Museum (through Jan. 9)

Train lovers can learn about holiday traditions from around the world and share their own memories as they explore a vintage holiday village train layout around a train-themed Christmas tree, complete with an operating Polar Express locomotive.

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