When it comes to the holiday season, San Diegans do it better than most. Whether with holiday tamales and margaritas, watching the parade of lights on San Diego Bay, or seeking out local holiday traditions, a San Diego Feliz Navidad day is in order. Because of our 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 Sights & Festive Nights Tour and ride a wave of holiday cheer! Join in sing-along caroling with our Elf conductors as they share fun holiday facts, trivia, history, and traditions. Enjoy a 15-minute stop at Seaport Village for holiday festivities. Hop aboard to see the festive holiday sights of Old Town, Embarcadero, Seaport Village, Banker’s Hill, and more!
Old Town Trolley’s Holiday Sights & Festive Nights Tour: A Great Way to Celebrate the Christmas and Holiday Season!
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 Sights and Festive Nights. 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.
Old Town Market – 4010 Twiggs Street.
Parking is FREE.
Dec. 3-23 and Dec. 26-30, 2022.
Approximately 75 Minutes. Includes a 15-minute holiday stroll through Seaport Village.
Adults: From $30
Children: From $25 (ages 4-12)
3 & under: Free
Adults are asked to hold their infant child on their laps during the tour. Seats are for paid guests.
Reservations are required. See online reservations for specific dates and times.
Check-in time with our sales rep at the ticket booth 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.
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.
November 9 – 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.
Country Christmas Tree Lighting
12:30 – 7:30pm
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 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.
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 16th 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.
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 the town.
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!
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.
San Diego Santa Run
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 11 & 18
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
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 6th 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.
Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade
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!