If you found this blog, you undoubtedly know San Diego’s official kick off to the holiday season, Balboa Park December Nights, is this weekend. But, you may be asking yourself, what’s all the fuss? Where do I go? What do I do?
To make the most of this grand tradition—that just keeps getting bigger—be sure to arrive early, either via public transportation or by parking in the free lots at the County Administration Building and San Diego City College and then taking a free shuttle into the Park.
Once you’re in the Park, it won’t take you long to realize that this event is everywhere! (see map) So assuming you arrived early, head straight to your favorite museums, which are open free of charge beginning at 5:00pm on both Friday and Saturday nights.
December Nights is the perfect opportunity for you to dig into the Natural History Museum’s Fossil Mysteries exhibition, set to holiday music, the Reuben H. Fleet’s recently upgraded Kid City, and the Timken Museum’s annual Christmas tree, displaying artist-made ornaments.
After taking in a few museums you will likely be hungry—real hungry. Thankfully, food stations will be in as much supply as holiday cheer. But for something more than the usual hot dog-on-a-stick fare, check out the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages' Christmas Festival where over 30 distinct cultures will serve a diverse assortment of world cuisine.
Another hot spot for Cosmos-approved treats is the Holiday Spirit Lounge in the Plaza de Panama, featuring food stations provided by the Cohn Restaurant Group and Prado Restaurant. These gourmet-savvy folk will also debut their meals-on-wheels food truck, Chop Soo-ey, so keep an eye out for my new best friend, a cleaver-wielding samurai pig.
In between museum and food hopping, be sure to stop by the many stages that really make this holiday event sing. Performers from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, and other talented groups will present lively sketches, music, and other holiday-themed entertainment throughout the night.
And, of course, what would an epic festival be without a family zone, conveniently located in the Palisades Midway in close proximity to the equally epic food zone at the aforementioned International Cottages.