Holiday Events: Christmas, Hanukkah & Santa 2020: Carlsbad

Susan C. Schena
·10 min read

CARLSBAD, CA — The holidays are nearing in Carlsbad!

Christmas this year falls on a Friday, Dec. 25. Hanukkah runs Thursday, Dec. 10 through Friday, Dec. 18. And Kwanzaa is Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

Celebrations are markedly different for 2020, to be sure. Many annual, community extravaganazas were canceled throughout Carlsbad and San Diego County this year due to the pandemic.

But festivities still abound throughout the area as towns and organizations are getting creative with drive-thrus, virtual and in-person, socially distanced events — many with limited availablity and required reservations.

Check out our annual event guide to see what's going on near you. And Happy Holidays, from Patch!

NOTE: Bookmark this page as additional events will be added when announced. Also, remember to double-check with organizers to confirm activities still are proceeding as originally planned.



DEC. 12: Christmas With The Animals: Lions, Tigers & Bears. Space is limited at animal sanctuary , so don't delay.

  • Lions Tigers & Bears, 24402 Martin Way, Alpine, CA



NOV. 27-DEC. 12: 'Winter WonderLights'- Holiday light show & snowfall every hour.

  • The Forum Carlsbad, 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, CA

DEC. 3: Virtual Winter Concert Featuring Val Vigoda. Tune in!

  • Online via Carlsbad City Library, Carlsbad, CA

DEC. 3: Celebrate Sustainably: Gifts and Glitz Webinar. For Carlsbad residents.

  • Online with I Love A Clean San Diego & City of Carlsbad Sustainable Materials Management Division, Carlsbad, CA

DEC. 5-20: Visits With Santa. "Santa will be inside a giant Snow Globe for social distancing."

  • The Forum Carlsbad, 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, CA

DEC. 10: Carlsbad Charitable Foundation Holiday Mixer Event. A virtual at-home charcuterie and wine-tasting event via Zoom.

  • Online via Carlsbad Charitable Foundation, Carlsbad, CA

Through DEC. 11: 'Warm For Winter' Coat Drive: The Shoppes At Carlsbad. Coats, gloves, hats, scarves & other warm clothing wanted.

  • The Shoppes at Carlsbad, 2525 El Camino Real, Carlsbad CA

Through JAN. 10: Holidays At LEGOLAND. Santa, Toy Soldier & Gingerbread Man are back, along with lights, treats & music.

  • One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA



DEC. 5: Holiday Starlight Parade & Childrens' Faire. Canceled.

  • Third Avenue, Chula Vista, CA

Through DEC. 11: Winter Coat Drive: Otay Ranch Town Center. Coats, hats, scarves & gloves needed.

  • Otay Ranch Town Center, 2015 Birch Road, Chula Vista, CA



NOV. 28-DEC. 24: Photos With Santa At The Del. Advance reservations required.

  • Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA

DEC. 4: Annual Holiday Parade. Canceled.

  • Orange Avenue, Coronado CA

DEC. 5-6: Holiday Sidewalk Sale. With festive cheer & shopping specials.

  • Downtown Coronado, CA

DEC. 13 & 20: 49th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. Canceled.

  • Route from Shelter Island, San Diego, to Ferry Landing, Coronado, CA



DEC. 5-6: Santa Photos By The Sea. Portion of proceeds benefit Del Mar restaurants & local frontline healthcare workers.

  • Del Mar Plaza, 1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA

DEC. 14: Chanukah Spectacular Drive-In Concert. Featuring Israeli Pop Star Gad Elbaz & Grand Menorah Lighting.

  • San Diego Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA



NOV. 22: Mother Goose Parade. "In its 74 year history, The Mother Goose Parade has NEVER been canceled, and this year is no different!"

  • Virtual format via 10News – ABC San Diego KGTV, San Diego, CA.



DEC. 5: Holiday Parade. Canceled.

  • S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA

Through DEC. 31: San Diego Botanic Garden Holiday Challenge. Weekly activities & challenges with prizes.

  • Online via San Diego Botanic Garden, 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA



NOV. 27-JAN. 3: Wild Holidays: San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "Safe, festive fun for the entire family."

  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA

NOV. 30-JAN.3: 'Northern Lights' Walk-Thru: CA Center For Arts. "Enjoy tunnels of twinkling lights, giant LED Christmas trees & blow-up figurines of favorite holiday characters."

  • California Center for the Arts, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA

DEC. 12: Water Lantern Festival. Expected to sell out.

  • Kit Carson Park, 3333 Bear Valley Parkway, Escondido, CA

Through DEC. 20: San Dieguito River Park Gingerbread Trail Contest. Create a gingerbread structure inspired by nature.

  • Online via San Dieguito River Park, 18372 Sycamore Creek Road, Escondido, CA

DEC. 21-31: Little Explorers Virtual Winter Camp. For ages 4-8.

  • San Diego Children's Discovery Museum, 320 North Broadway, Escondido, CA



DEC. 5: IB Holiday Artisan Market. "Shop small and shop local."

  • 829 Seacoast Drive, Imperial Beach, CA

DEC.: Santa Visit. Plans in the works.

  • Imperial Beach, CA



NOV. 28-DEC. 31: Seas 'n' Greetings: Birch Aquarium. Held outdoors with music, decorations & sea life exhibits.

  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2300 Expedition Way, San Diego, CA

DEC. 6: La Jolla Christmas Parade. Details in the works for 2020.

  • La Jolla, CA



DEC. 5: Holiday In The Village. Free & festive with safety precautions in place.

  • La Mesa Boulevard, between Palm Avenue & 4th Street, La Mesa, CA

Through DEC. 24: Snowmen Scavenger Hunt: Grossmont Center. Fun at the mall for ages 12 & younger.

  • Grossmont Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa, CA



DEC. 21-24 & 28-31: Winter Camp. Space is limited!

  • Lemon Grove Recration Center, Lemon Grove, CA



DEC. 5: Ocean Beach Holiday Reverse-Parade. Space is limited & reservations required.

  • Ocean Beach Dog Beach Parking Lot, San Diego, CA



DEC. 6: Christmas Concert: Mission San Luis Rey. Canceled.

  • Old Mission San Luis Rey, 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, CA

DEC. 15 & 17: Virtual Zoom Visits With Santa. Sign up soon. Event is free.

  • Online with Zoom via City of Oceanside, CA

DEC. 16: Holiday Blood Drive. "Give the ultimate gift of life this season of giving: Give blood."

  • North Coast United Methodist Church, 1501 Kelly St., Oceanside, CA



NOV. 30-DEC. 18: The Nutcracker - Virtual Field Trip.With performances by Southern California Ballet.

  • Online via Poway OnStage, 15498 Espola Road, Poway, CA

DEC. 12-24: Poway Chamber’s “12 Days of December" - Free treats!

  • Participating businesses, Poway, CA

DEC. 19: Teen Ugly Sweater Party. Cocoa & screening of "Elf," too.

  • Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Road, Poway, CA



NOV. 28-DEC. 20: Holiday Wine Trail. Passports just $10.

  • Participating wineries, Ramona Valley, CA

Through DEC. 4: Holiday Gift-Card Drive For Local Military Families. Replaces annual toy drive.

  • Via Justin Shaw, Remax Direct, 1410 Main St., Ramona, CA

DEC. 5: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. The community tradition will be different this year!

  • Online via Facebook with Ramona Chamber of Commerce, 1306 Main St., Ramona, CA



NOV. 28-DEC. 27: Holidays At Bernardo Winery. "Plenty of outdoor space, tasty wine and food and a beautiful setting."

  • Bernardo Winery, 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, San Diego, CA

Through DEC. 16: Holiday 'PJs 4 Kids' Pajama Donation Drive. With goal to collect 150 pairs of pajamas for local kids in need.

  • Drop-off: Village Mail & More, 12463 Rancho Bernardo Road or Windemere, 16783 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego, CA



DEC. 4-13: 'Wild Winter': Helen Woodward Animal Center. Hands-on animal encounters, crafts & more.

  • Helen Woodward Animal Center, 6461 El Apajo, Rancho Santa Fe, CA



NOV. 26, DEC. 5, 20 & 24: Old Globe's 'How Grinch Stole Christmas' On Radio. "A wonderful, whimsical musical based upon classic Dr. Seuss book."

  • Free on KPBS Radio 89.5 FM via The Old Globe, San Diego, CA

NOV. 27-29 & DEC. 5-6: SD Ballet 'Nutcracker' Drive-In: Liberty Station. A new format for San Diego Ballet's holiday tradition.

  • Liberty Station, 2820 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA

DEC. 2-30: Holiday ‘Dinner + A Movie’ Series at The Pearl Hotel. With line-up of classic holiday flicks shown poolside.

  • The Pearl Hotel, 1410 Rosecrans St., San Diego, CA

DEC. 4-6: Holiday 'Taste of December Nights': Balboa Park. Drive-thru venue with fave food trucks & vendors.

  • Inspiration Point Way at Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA

DEC. 4, 11 & 18: Beach House Holiday Movie Nights: Belmont Park. Reserve soon. Space is limited.

  • Belmont Park, 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA

DEC. 4-JAN. 3: SD Zoo's Jungle Bells. With music, festivities & culinary delights.

  • San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA

DEC. 5-27: Winter Wonder Holiday Spectacular: Belmont Park. Fun includes Illuminated Winter Nights when sun goes down.

  • Belmont Park, 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA

DEC. 6: Drive-Thru Wacky Wonderland & Toy Drive. Supports San Diego Center for Children.

  • San Diego Center for Children, 3002 Armstrong St., San Diego, CA

DEC. 11-13: Jingle Bell Run For Arthritis Foundation. Event goes virtual for 2020.

  • Location: Anytime, anywhere, San Diego County, CA

DEC. 13 & 20: 49th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. Canceled.

  • Route from Shelter Island, San Diego, to Ferry Landing, Coronado, CA

DEC. 17: Modeler Citizens - Jewels of the Season. Featuring collection of handcrafted ornaments.

  • Online with San Diego Model Railroad Museum & Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, CA

Through JAN. 4: SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration. Fun includes Santa, tunnel of lights, new shows & more.

  • SeaWorld, 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA



DEC. 4-20: 'Nutcracker Reimagined': San Elijo Dance. Set in outdoor, socially distanced winter wonderland.

  • San Elijo Dance & Music Academy, 1635 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, San Marcos, CA

DEC. 6: Drive-In "A Christmas Story" - Tickets on sale.

  • CSUSM, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, CA

DEC. 17: Drive-In "Elf" - Tickets on sale.

  • CSUSM, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, CA



NOV. 28-29 & DEC. 5-6: Holiday Hayride: Fort Cross Old Timey Adventure. With ornament making, candle-dipping, petting zoo & more.

  • Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures, 4425 California 78, Santa Ysabel, CA



DEC. 4, 11 & 18: 'Festive Fridays' & Santa. Several stations require advance bookings.

  • Different locations, Santee, CA

DEC. 6: Santa At The Lakes Meet & Greet. Reservations advised, as space is limited.

  • Santee Lakes, 9310 Fanita Pkwy., Santee, CA



NOV. 27-DEC. 31: The Art Dr. Seuss Collection Exhibition. A Merry Grinchmas!

  • Exclusive Collections Gallery, 212 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, CA

DEC. 9-31: North Coast Rep's 'A Christmas Carol' - "A delightfully reimagined way to experience Charles Dickens’ masterpiece for the first, or for the hundredth time.

  • Streaming via North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe, Solana Beach, CA

DEC. 11: Los Lobos Still at Home for the Holidays: Virtual Tour. Proceeds benefit Belly Up & artists.

  • Online via Belly Up Tavern, 143 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, CA

DEC. 18: The Abbey Road Beatles Christmas Show: Virtual Tour. Proceeds benefit Belly Up & artists.

  • Online via Belly Up Tavern, 143 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, CA

DEC. 19: Metalachi A Very Metalachi Christmas: Virtual Tour. Proceeds benefit Belly Up & artists.

  • Online via Belly Up Tavern, 143 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, CA



DEC. 18-23: 'Enchanted Village' Holiday Drive-Thru. Festive fun with more than 100,000 lights & Santa!

  • 2526 Campo Road, Spring Valley, CA



DEC. 5: Holly Jolly Christmas Parade. Canceled.

  • Cinepolis Parking Lot, 25 Main St., Vista, CA

DEC. 5-28: 'Jingle Terrace Park' Holiday-Lights Drive-Thru. Pack up the family, and enjoy the one mile-loop of lights!

  • Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA

DEC. 10-31: Miracle On 34th Street: A Musical Radio Play. "Gather your family around the fireplace, enjoy top-notch Moonlight talent."

  • Online via Moonlight Cultural Foundation, Vista, CA

DEC. 13-20: 34th Annual VCC Holiday Homes Tour. Supports VCC’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

  • Virtual via Vista Community Clinic, 1000 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA


ALSO SEE: Holiday Cocktail Recipes To Make The Season Merry & Bright

This article originally appeared on the Carlsbad Patch