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 along with the history of this great city. You’ll also get to see the festive Christmas lights of Old Town San Diego, the Embarcadero, Balboa Park, Coronado and more!
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.
My favorite part was seeing all the fantastic Christmas lights that were on display. Garrison Street in Point Loma was a nice touch. Other highlights include the Gaslamp Quarter area and some of the beautiful neighborhoods near Balboa Park. It was a chilly night but it was fine because the trolley was nice & warm.
Old Town Market – 4010 Twiggs Street.
Dec. 5-23 and Dec. 26-30, 2019.
Approximately 75 Minutes.
$25 for adults
$15 for kids ages 3-12 (2 & under – free)
Adults are asked to hold their infant child on their laps during the tour. Seats are for paid guests.
*Closed December 24, 25 & 31.
Reservations are required. See online reservations for specific dates and times.
Check-in time is 30 minutes prior to departure time.
Late check-in may result in forfeited seat. First to check-in, first seated.
Reservation based tickets are non-refundable. You may reschedule up to 24 hours in advance of tour time by calling (866) 754-0966.
This tour is not included with the Hometown Pass Program.
Parking is FREE at Old Town Market – 4010 Twiggs Street.
Balboa Park closed December 6 & 7 for December Nights event.
For private tours or groups of 15 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.
Come to San Diego and experience an unforgettable ride on a Holiday Lights & Sights Tour this season! Need more holiday cheer? Check out these holiday events going on throughout San Diego.
November 10 – December 29, 2019
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
On select days and times
Tickets range in price
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a wonderful, whimsical musical based on the classic Dr. Seuss book. Back for its 22nd incredible year, the family favorite features the songs “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and “Fah Who Doraze,” the delightful carol from the popular animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash.
November 23 – December 24
Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show
On select days and times
Tickets range in price
San Diego has a new show for its Christmas stocking with this fast, funny, and highly theatrical reimagining of one of the most beloved holiday stories ever told. All the traditional elements of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol are intact—including the iconic ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future—but with a comic local twist! Audiences of all ages will cheer Ebenezer Scrooge’s rediscovery of the Christmas spirit in this riotous Dickens mash-up filled with music and laughter—all set in “wintery” San Diego!
December 6-7, 2019
Balboa Park December Nights
Friday, December 6: 3:00pm – 11pm.
Saturday, December 7: 12:00pm – 11:00pm.
Balboa Park, House of Hospitality
Friends, families and the community are invited to come together for festive fun, food and attractions throughout the park, including complimentary admission to Balboa Park museums from 5:00 to 9:00pm. The largest free community festival in San Diego, December Nights is expected to attract more than 375,000 visitors to the park over two days to revel and enjoy the season.
December 13-14, 2019
La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village
The Village is transformed into a Victorian Wonderland during La Mesa’s Holiday in the Village. Walk the streets of La Mesa’s historic downtown and enjoy live music and dance, cozy fires, craft vendors, food, and a kids’ area with holiday movies and activities.