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San Diego trolley holiday tour driving at night past Balboa Park with a fountain, historical building and Christmas tree behind it
nighttime holiday decorations during San Diego holiday tour featuring a row of reindeer and lights

Old Town Trolley's Holiday Lights and Sights Tour

Seasons Greetings!

When it comes to living that laid-back West Coast lifestyle, San Diegans do it better than most. Whether it’s sunbathing with the seals in La Jolla or seeking out the hottest regional Mexican food, easy and breezy is the order of the day. Because of the year-round picture-perfect weather here, sometimes we need reminding when the holidays are approaching. But when they do, we go all out! For a full-on, unique experience in ‘America’s Finest City,’ take an Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Lights & Sights Tour and ride a wave of holiday cheer! Join in sing-a-long caroling with our Elf conductors as they share fun holiday facts and traditions. Enjoy a 15-minute stop at Seaport Village for holiday festivities. You’ll also get to see the festive holiday lights of Old Town, Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Balboa Park and more!

San Diego building lit up in green and red holiday lights
San Diego holiday tour guests standing with host in front of trolley
nighttime picture of guests strolling Seaport Village decorated with holiday lights

Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Lights and Sights Trolley Tour: A Great Way to Celebrate the Christmas and Holiday Season!

Tour Highlights

Entrance to Old Town Market San Diego decorated for the holidays
1
The best way to experience the holidays in San Diego
Holiday Cheer
San Diego Christmas tree
2
Join in sing-a-long caroling
Great Narrators
close up picture of a Christmas tree with holiday lights and a bell ornament
3
See festive Christmas lights!
Seaport Village
row of reindeer and string of holiday lights in San Diego

San Diego Insider Travel Examiner

By Darlynne Reyes Menkin

For some people, the thought of Christmas means long lines at the store, endless baking and running around trying to finish off that famous “to do” list. But for others, it’s a whole different story. For those folks, it’s all about spending time with family, enjoying the holiday spirit and doing fun activities like the one we did just the other week. 

This year, Old Town Trolley Tours is doing a wonderful tour called Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Lights and Sights Tour.  It’s a great activity for the family, not to mention a good way to get into the holiday spirit.

From the moment you step onto the trolley, the Christmas cheer is on.  From the colorful candy canes they hand out to the uplifting holiday music that plays throughout the tour… the Christmas spirit is alive and well on this adventure! We especially liked the song lyric books that were given out, as it allowed us to sing along. The tour guide was also very friendly, informative and had lots of funny stories that complimented the music and tour. Even the guests had a great sense of humor… and didn’t have any problems playing along with the tour guide’s quirky Q&A games.

Tickets & Schedule

WHERE

Old Town Market – 4010 Twiggs Street.

Parking is FREE.

WHEN

Dec. 6-24 and Dec. 26-30, 2021.

DURATION

Approximately 75 Minutes. Includes a 15-minute holiday stroll through Seaport Village.

price tag

PRICE

BUY TICKETS
icon in the shape of two tickets

RSVP

San Diego Christmas Lights Tour by Old Town Trolley

Private Tours and Groups

For private tours or groups of 18 people or more, please email us or call 619-298-8687 – press 4 for the Group Sales Department.

Groups are asked to check-in all at the same time at the ticket booth to receive boarding passes to help ensure all are boarded on the same trolley together. Individuals from the group arriving late may be assigned a different trolley from their group.

2021 Holiday Events

November 10 – December 31
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego CA 92101
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book. Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into the snow-covered Who-ville, right down to the last can of Who-hash.

November 27
SURFIN’ Santa
1:00pm – 5:00pm
Named one of the ten best Santa sightings by USA Today, Santa will break out his boardshorts and favorite Hawaiian shirt and cruise in from San Diego Bay by watercraft, for the 15th annual Surfin’ Santa celebration at Seaport Village. Surfin’ Santa will be posted up in his lifeguard tower, ready to snap a few poses with your family. 1:00pm Surfin’ Santa Arrival on Tuna Harbor Pier. 1:00pm-1:40pm Surfin’ Santa Parade down the boardwalk. 1:45pm-5pm Surfin’ Santa photos. 12-3pm Live Music & Entertainment.

November 27
Julian Christmas Tree Lighting
Main St., Julian, CA 92036
Christmas comes to Julian every year in an old-fashioned way that will make you picture sleigh rides, chestnuts roasting on open fires, and Jack Frost painting the whole town white. That may be a bit of a dream. But due to its Cuyamaca Mountains location, the holiday time in Julian gets closer to that dream than most spots in Southern California. You’ll feel a nip in the air, sniff wood fires, and maybe catch a glimpse of snow capped mountains surrounding town.

December 3-5
Balboa Park December Nights
11:00am – 10:00pm
Balboa Park, House of Hospitality, San Diego, CA 92101
For more than 40 years, the San Diego community has welcomed in the holiday season by celebrating the annual December Nights in Balboa Park. Due to the potential uncertainty of public health conditions at the time of December Nights, and out of an abundance of caution, the City has made the decision to expand upon the 2020 successful drive-through experience, “Taste of December Nights,” for this year’s event. The three-day event will feature some of your favorite food vendors, food trucks, and entertainment from past December Nights in a festive drive-through setting at the Inspiration Point parking lot near Balboa Park. All County and State safety protocols will be enforced. Customers must remain in their cars.

December 4
Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village
4:00pm – 8:00pm
After an incredible Little Italy Holiday Special last year, we are thrilled to welcome back our annual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village. Transforming into a winter wonderland with Christmas twinkle lights down all the streets, our beautiful urban neighborhood will be adorned with 10-foot tall nutcrackers and kinetic tree holiday displays on street corners, Christmas songs and more. Family, friends, and neighbors are invited to come together to experience true holiday joy at this family-friendly event and enjoy the neighborhood’s festive décor—including two Christmas trees, Joshua Hubert’s Aurora tree at Piazza Basilone and the permanent 25-foot tree at Piazza della Famiglia, seasonal vendors, live music and entertainment, holiday treats, a traditional Italian tree lighting ceremony, and a special message from Santa that you don’t want to miss!

December 10
Liberty Station Hanukkah & Menorah Lighting
5:00pm
Liberty Station, 2640 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego, CA 92106
Liberty Station in partnership with The Chabads of Downtown San Diego and Pacific Beach will host a public menorah lighting at Liberty Station’s Central Promenade to commemorate the first night of Hanukkah on Thursday, December 10 at 5 p.m. The magical, family-friendly festivities will be complete with music and the traditional lighting of the menorah.

December 11
Christmas in the Park
3:30pm – 8:30pm
Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Rd., Poway, CA 92064
The City of Poway invites you to join us for our holiday tradition. This event will feature caroling, live music, horse-drawn hayrides, and so much more. Purchase tasty holiday treats, finish your Christmas shopping, or board the Poway Midland Railroad. Children of all ages will enjoy the free crafts, model trains and of course a visit with Santa.

December 11
San Diego Santa Run
9:00am
875 Garnet Ave., San Diego, CA 92109
The Annual San Diego Santa Run is a holiday experience like none other in San Diego! The event will consist of a series of runs that will take place on Garnet Ave. featuring a 5K run for everyone from the competitive runner to the family of walkers! Come out in your finest (or ugliest) Christmas attire as you take part in this one-of-a-kind holiday experience. Then stick around to watch the annual Pacific Beach Holiday Parade!

December 12 & 19
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
5:30pm
Port of San Diego, 1449 Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy, San Diego, CA 92101
The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community. Continuing its long-standing tradition, the 50th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights promises to dazzle and entertain crowds during 2 evenings. This year, for the 5th time, the parade will proceed to the pier at Cesar Chavez Park before making the turn to Coronado, giving spectators another area to view the parade.

December 18
County Christmas Light Parade
5:45pm
Main St., Julian, CA 92036
A new tradition was created in 2020. A Light Parade Down Main Street. What brought the community together turned into a wonderful, fun experience for all in attendance. So much so that we had to plan it again in 2021 and we hope for years and years to come. Join us on Main Street Julian for a small town celebration of holiday lights on cars, trucks and any other street legal vehicle you can imagine.

December 28
Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade
10:00am
America’s Largest Balloon Parade! Marching bands, floats, drill teams and giant balloons parade down San Diego’s beautiful waterfront in celebration of the Holiday Bowl. The scenic, bayside streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by Kaiser Permanente! As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons – more than any other parade! Over 100,000 street-side spectators will enjoy the parade along with a nationwide television audience. Street side viewing of the parade is free!

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