San Diego Holiday Parade Guide

Holiday Parades

Holiday time is officially here and this weekend marks the kickoff of many community celebrations.

You won’t be able to drive too far without seeing a Christmas parade or carolers. Here are some of the major neighborhood events:

Chula Vista’s Third Avenue Village Association is canceling its annual Starlight Parade because of area construction. Instead there will be a free, pedestrian-friendly Holiday in the Village celebration featuring carolers, booths, vendors and even an ugly sweater competition.

Location:   1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Along the Third Avenue Village district, Chula Vista. Free; (619) 422-1982 or

A day of adventure awaits in Coronado, beginning with a festival and visit to “Snow Mountain,” from 3 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 7. The popular parade down Orange Avenue begins at 6 p.m., and the evening closes at 7 p.m. with a tree lighting and concert at Rotary Park.

Location:   3 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7. Coronado Ferry Landing and down Orange Avenue. Free;

Christmas Comes to IB is a daylong celebration by the sea featuring crafts for kids, cookies and a visit from Santa.

Location:   Festivities begin at noon and go until the evening at Portwood Pier Plaza, 10 Evergreen Ave., Imperial Beach. Free;

The charming North Park Toyland Parade & Holiday Fair parade celebrates 49 years with marching bands, dance troupes, vintage cars and local politicians.

Location:   11 a.m. Saturday. University Avenue between Iowa and Utah Streets. Free;

The 33rd Annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade features everyone from yogis and roller derby girls to Woodies and floats along Newport Avenue.

Location:   5:05 p. m. Saturday. Along Newport Avenue. Free;

The Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village will have music and dancing as well as Italian cookies, cider and an assortment of vendors. Santa arrives on Little Italy Fire Engine 3 at 4:30 p.m.

Location:   4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. at Piazza Natale on the corner of W. Date and India streets. Free;

The La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival celebrates its 55th year with floats, horses and a tree lighting.

Location:   Parade begins at 2 p.m. Sunday along Girard Avenue and Prospect Street. The Holiday Festival begins at 3:30 p.m. at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. with a tree lighting at 4:30 p.m. Free;

December Nights, the popular Balboa Park celebration, returns for its 35th consecutive year. Museums are open for free.

Location:   5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 7 and noon to 10 p.m. Dec. 8. Throughout Balboa Park. Free;

Lakeside’s The Spirit of Christmas celebration brings area school performances, Santa Claus, food and drink and concludes with a tree-lighting ceremony.

Location:   4 to 9 p.m. Saturday. along Maine Avenue. Free;

The Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights and Snow Festival actually does feature real snow as well as a light-up parade.

Location:  Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7 along Alpine Boulevard. The Snow Festival is at 7 p.m. at Alpine Creek Town Center, 1347 Tavern Road. Free; (619) 445-2722 or

La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village transforms downtown La Mesa into a Victorian village with strolling minstrels, pony rides, food vendors and more.

Location:  5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 throughout the La Mesa Village district. Free;

Escondido’s annual Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland festivities include Santa, carolers, children’s crafts and snow.

Location:  4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. Free;

Vista celebrates its 50th anniversary at this year’s Christmas Parade.

Location:  1:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Vista. Free;

The Encinitas Holiday Parade features floats, marching bands, food and music. A tree lighting ceremony happens at The Lumberyard before the parade.

Location:   5 p.m. Saturday. Festivities begin in the Lumberyard courtyard, 937 S. Highway 101. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. down South Coast Highway 101 follows. Free;

Celebrate Holiday at the Rancho at Carlsbad’s Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park with community performances, pony rides, tree lighting and an outdoor screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Location:  5 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying LC Lane, Carlsbad. $8 at the door, free for ages 3 and under. (760) 434-2843 or

Oceanside’s Parade of Lights and Holiday Craft Fair brings out decorated boats in the water of the inner harbor.

Location:   7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8 1950 Harbor Drive North, Oceanside. Free; (760) 722-5751 or

Celebrate A Holiday Winterland in downtown Del Mar with crafts, horse and carriage rides, treats and more.

Location:   2 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Along Highway 101 from 15th to 13th Street. Free but activity books are sold separately;

Information taken from Nina Garin from

Family Swap Meet

Registration will be available January 2013.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Sunday, September 29, 2013

San Diego Family Magazine has the 2012 Map of Christmas Lights.  Pick up your copy at the Scripps Mende Well Being and various family friendly places around San Diego County.  Here are a few of the places that are listed along with a map.
  • Allied Gardens, 92120 - 7048 Hillsboro St.  Off Waring and Princess View.  Dec 8-30, dusk-10pm.  Santa & Mrs. Claus hand out candy canes. Dec. 22
  • Carlsbad, 92009 - 7607 Romeria St. Nicknamed "The Christmas House" with animated window displays and three snow machines.  Food Drive donations accepted Dec 2-Jan 1, 5-9pm.
  • Carmel Mountain Ranch, 92128 - Fairway Village, east and west sides of Stoney Gate Pl. 90+ homes decorated in "Holiday Magic". Lights synchonized to music. Dec 1-Jan1, 5:30-10:30pm
  • Chula Vista, 91910, 91911, 91914-91915 - Whitney St./Mankato Circle between First and Second Ave. off H St. & 1st Ave. "Christmas Circle" 55+ homes decorated Dec. 8-26, 5-10pm.
  • Clairemont, 92117 - Lana Dr. & Jamar Off Mt. Abernathy Ave. Circular street 40+ homes decorated Dec. 8-27. 4670 Norwalk Ave. Off Clairemont Mesa Blvd/Moraga Ave. Dec 11-Jan1, 7-10pm, weekends, 7-11pm.
  • East San Diego 92113 - 4641 Craigie St. Off Highway 94 and 47th. Dec 10-24, dusk-10pm
  • El Cajon, 92021 - Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights) Solomon Ave. Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area.  Off 67 & Bradley Dec 8-26, Mon-Th 6-9pm, Fri-Sun 6-10pm.  11456 Pegeen Pl. "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme, complete with Jack, Sally, Zero, the Mayor & Ooogie Booie. Dec 8-28, Mon-Th 6-9pm, Fri-Sun 6-10pm. 1838 El Pico Dr. Offi Hacienda Dr. 49th year of decorating the 20-ft star over 100 ft. Nov 25-Dec31. Also see a 55-ft train. Dec 9-31, dusk-10pm.
  • Oceanside, 92056 -- 3648 Esplanade St. Nicely decorated home with light and music show, Dec 1-31, 5-10pm.
  • Rancho Penasquitos 92129 - Oviedo St. Off Black Mountain Dr. "Chrstmas Card Lane" Also enter off Twin Trails Dr. & Carmel Mountain Rd. Ellingham St. Renato St. Oviedo St. Twin Trails Dr. Barrymore St. Rotherham Ave. Talca Ave. Talca Ct. Allenbrook Way, Davenport Ave. Amber Sky Lan. Dec 10-31, dusk-10pm
  • San Marcos 92069-92078 - 1639 Knob Hill. Off Nordahl Rd. Between Tam O'Shanter Dr. & Augusta Dr. 25th year of decoration. 100,000+ lights plus Carnival, Santa Puppy Rescue, North Pole and Santa's Wild Animal Park themes. Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 5-9pm, See Santa From 6:30-8pm from Dec. 10-23.  1145 Barham Dr. #20.  Santa & Mrs. Claus pass out candy canes in front of a festively decorated house. Nov 22-Dec 24, Sun-Thurs 5:30-8pm, Fri & Sat. 5:30-9pm.
  • Santee 92071 - Sunburt Santee. Tomel Court, off Magnolia. Many homes, Starlight Circle. Dec 17-26, 7-10pm. 9835 Pebble Beach Dr. Displays on house and yard set up to music. Dec 1-31, dusk -10pm. 9773 Rose Dr. 25,000 Christmas lights dancing to seven songs over 128 computer controlled channels. Dec 1-31. Sun-Thur, 6-10 pm, Fri-Sat. 6-11pm. Dec 17, 24, 25 & 31, 6-12 pm.
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