December Nights, Parade of Lights and Much More Weekend Fun: December 7-9

Enjoy holiday entertainment at the Organ Pavilion during Balboa Park December Nights.
Photo: Bradley Lamont

Brought to you by SoCal Kids San Diego.

Check out these family-friendly events and activities happening this weekend in San Diego! To find more kid-friendly fun, head on over to SoCal Kids San Diego, a website dedicated to keeping parents in-the-know about family-friendly events and activities in San Diego. You can also subscribe to a free monthly e-newsletter that highlights local people, places, and events.

Balboa Park December Nights will celebrate 35 years of bringing families together on Friday, December 7 from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday, December 8 from Noon-10 p.m. In the spirit of the holidays, participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5 to 9 p.m. both evenings. This free community festival will feature music and dance performances, food from around the globe, unique gift shopping at museum stores, plus exciting exhibits from participating museums. Let’s not forget the elaborate decorations and holiday cheer!

Family Day at the Lux Art Institute is Saturday, December 8 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. This event features free studio tours, live music from The Donnis Trio, refreshments and hands-on art workshops for the kids. View the works of Italy-based painter Alan Feltus, then paint a mural inspired by him. Enjoy more hands-on activities… all for free!

Pinkalicious The Musical is back at the North Coast Repertory Theatre! Based on the book “Pinkalicious” by Elizabeth Kann & Victoria Kann, Pinkalicious The Musical is part of the Professional Theatre for Families series, created to bring the excitement of live theatre to children and their families. Pinkalicious can’t stop eating pink cupcakes and ends up with Pinkititis. Oh no! How will she get out of this predicament? Dates are December 7 & 14 at 2 p.m., December 8-9 & 15-16 at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.

Image: Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego is kicking off the holiday season with their annual free, family event, San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, on Sunday, December 9 at 5:30 p.m. This will also serve as the official launch to the Port’s 50th anniversary, with more events planned throughout 2013. The Port will host a pre-parade event for the whole family at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, 1000 North Harbor Drive, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event will include a performance by the Navy Region Southwest Band, food trucks, and craft-making activities for children. There will also be two inflatable bounce houses, a train ride, and a sleigh for photo opportunities. The parade features more than 80 local boats decorated in festive holiday lights. This year’s parade theme is “USS Santa Claus.”FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7

Pinkalicious, the Musical: This is the tale, based on the popular book by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, of Pinkalicious, who can’t stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents. North Coast Repertory Theatre. 2-3 p.m. Price: $16/$20.

Friday Night Liberty: Featuring open artist studios, galleries, shopping and entertainment throughout NTC Promenade. Liberty Station. 5-8 p.m. Price: Free.

Balboa Park December Nights: This holiday event (also on Dec. 8) features music, dance, carolers, choirs and participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. both evenings. Balboa Park. 5-9 p.m. Price: Free.

Alpine Parade of Lights & Snow Festival: Featuring a parade, Christmas Tree lighting, holiday sing-along, and sledding. Alpine Creek Town Center. 6:30-9 p.m. Price: Free.


Riparian Restoration Planting: Join the San Diego River Park Foundation in caring for the Mission Valley Preserve, a 52 acre urban open space park in the heart of Mission Valley, through a native planting event to restore the habitat. Meet at YMCA (Friars Rd.). 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Price: Free.

Guided Nature Walks: Learn about the history, geology, plants, animals and ecology of the park! Mission Trails Regional Park. 9:30-11 a.m. Price: Free.

Santa’s Coaster Express: Enjoy a round trip ride between Oceanside and Sorrento Valley with Santa and his elves. Oceanside Transit Center. Two rides: 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Price: $6/person (tickets will not be sold the day of the event).

6th Annual Holiday Family Workshop: Combining imagination and personal style, each person will have the opportunity to create unique pieces using natural resources such as clay and raffia. San Diego Archaeological Center. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Price: $2/$5.

Kids in the Garden Class: Learn about soils and cook up some compost using leaves, grass, and weeds. Alta Vista Gardens. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Price: $5/child; Accompanied adults are free. READ MORE.

Family Day: Featuring free admission, live music, refreshments, and a hands-on art project. For families with children ages 3+. Lux Art Institute. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Price: Free.

Kids Crafts: Children will get to enjoy nature while creating art. Louis Stelzer Park. 12-1 p.m. Price: Free.

Winter Watershed Wonderland: Enjoy watershed wetland education with a certificated teacher, live animals, basket weaving demonstration, crafts, and more. Agua Hedionda Lagoon. 12-3 p.m. Price: Free.

A Christmas Carol, the Musical: A lively musical retelling of this holiday classic. California Center for the Arts, Escondido. 2-4 p.m. Price: $15-$17.

Christmas in the Park: Featuring Christmas tree lighting, face painting, photos with Santa, horse-drawn hayride, live music, old-fashioned games, and lots more. Old Poway Park. 3:30-8:30 p.m. Price: Free admission (nominal fee for some activities.

Garden of Lights: Featuring sparkling lights, horse-drawn wagon rides, campfire, music, children’s holiday crafts, and more. San Diego Botanic Garden. 5-9 p.m. Price: $4-$12.


Target Free Second Sunday: Special activities include a performance from Ecke Dance Expressions and a “Meet the Musician” session with Camarada. The New Children’s Museum. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Price: Free.

Photo: Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre

A Christmas Carol Benefit Performance: The puppet theater’s holiday tradition, this rollicking fun animal puppet production of A Christmas Carol is performed by members of the Balboa Park Puppet Guild. This is a benefit for the puppet theatre. Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre. Three shows: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Price: $5/person.Family Drop-In Days: Explore and learn about the art on view through interactive games, child-friendly tours and art making. Recommended for families with children ages 6-12. San Diego Museum of Art. 1-3 p.m. Price: Included with admission ($4.50-$12).

Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade: Once a year San Diego pets and owners are invited to dress up in their favorite costumes for a special promenade throughout the Gaslamp Quarter to celebrate the holiday season. Enjoy the Pet Expo following the parade. Hilton Park. 1-5 p.m. Price: Parade registration $15/advance, $20/day of; Free to watch and enjoy the Expo.

RB Chorale “Joys of the Season”: This year’s show will feature lots of Christmas music with a dash of Hanukkah and a patriotic tribute to honor our veterans and active military members. Santa Claus will be there, too, with treats for the children. Poway Center for the Performing Arts. 2-4 p.m. Price: $5/$18/$20.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights: Boats decorated for the holiday season sail San Diego Bay. This year’s theme is “Our 41st Anniversary, USS Santa Claus.” San Diego Bay. 5:30 p.m. Price: Free.

*It’s always a good idea to check with the venue before heading out as cancellations, postponements, and date/time changes do occur on occasion.

About SoCal Kids San Diego
SoCal Kids San Diego was founded by Kathie Zaccaria, an East County Mom dedicated to providing families all over San Diego with events and activities that are kid-friendly. From science to festivals, concerts to crafts – SoCal Kids San Diego aims to be your one-stop-shop for family fun!

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