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About December Nights

Balboa Park December Nights is the largest free community festival in San Diego, attracting more than 350,000 visitors over two days. In the spirit of the holidays, participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9pm both evenings.

Entertainment, wonderful food and holiday cheer are all part of this classic and elaborate San Diego celebration. Long-standing traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the charming Santa Lucia Procession at the San Diego Museum of Man; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.

In addition, the varied museums open for free from 5-9pm both nights feature a wide variety of exhibitions and entertainment, from the Timken Museum’s annual Christmas Tree displaying the exquisite Schlappi Collection of Hord and Schlappi Christmas ornaments, to the Reuben H. Fleet’s kid-friendly and interactive exhibits, to the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Fossil Mysteries set to holiday music in the atrium.

Information booths are located in the Plaza de PanamaCascades Holiday MarketplaceSpreckels Organ Pavilion Stage, and Palisades Midway and are staffed by cheerful volunteers from the Balboa Park Visitors Center and the Friends of Balboa Park. 

Santa can be found at: Organ Pavilion (Gingerbread Cottage); Auto Museum; Fleet Science Center; Spanish Village; Civic Dance Arts; Hall of Champions.
Also photo ops with The Grinch at The Old Globe, and an Allosaurus in a Santa hat at theNAT!   

2013 Festival Areas

Plaza de Panama

Cascades Holiday Marketplace

Christmas on the Prado

California Quadrangle

Palisades Midway

Museums & Cultural Organizations

Spreckels Organ Pavilion Stage