Best Bets for Holiday Events in La Jolla and San Diego: Dec. 19-25


Best Bets for Holiday Events in La Jolla and San Diego: Dec. 19-25, 2019


Aquarium Fun

Seas ‘n’ Greetings features family activities, including appearances by Scuba Santa in a Kelp Dive Show, scavenger hunts, close-up animal encounters and live holiday music on weekends, continues through Dec. 31, 2019 at Birch Aquarium at Scripps, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed Dec. 25.) Admission: $16-$19.50. (858) 534-3474.


Sounds of the Season

San Diego School of Creative & Performing Arts students will stage a musical program at the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla meeting, noon, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 in the social hall of La Jolla Presbyterian Church, 7715 Draper Ave., La Jolla. The meeting includes lunch, $15 per person. All are invited. (314) 277-9853.


Nutcracker Ballets

City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is on stage through Dec. 22, 2019 at Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway, downtown San Diego. Tickets from $32. Post-concert Champagne On-Stage Reception Saturday, Dec. 21 for an additional $25 per person. (858) 272-8663.

San Diego Ballet’s version of “The Nutcracker” features an international cast of more than 100 dancers under the directon of Javier Velasco, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29 at Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., downtown San Diego. Tickets: $49-139 (619) 294-7311.


Holiday Concert

San Diego Symphony will perform a Noel Noel Concert, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-22, 2019 with Christmas gems and choral favorites. Tickets: $25-$84. Tickets: $13-$28. Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., downtown San Diego. (619) 235-0804.


Some of the cast members in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach
Some of the cast members in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach
(Photo by Aaron Rumley)

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep will stage “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” directed by Benjamin Cole and based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson, 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20, 2019; 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 2 p.m. Dec. 22 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. Tickets: From $12. (858) 481-1055.


Garden All Aglow

San Diego Botanic Garden presents its annual Holiday Wonderland: Holiday Nights in the Garden with 37 acres of illuminated flora and more than 125,000 sparkling lights. There’s live entertainment, holiday crafts, a twinkling light tunnel, 10-foot poinsettia tower, musical light show and Kids Fun Zone with nightly “snowfall.” Visitors can stop by from 5-8:30 p.m. Photos are available with Santa, Dec. 19-23, 2019; and photos with the Snow Princess, Dec. 26-30 at 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas. Tickets: $12-$25.


Jewish Christmas

<square_bullet> Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center will continue the popular Jewish tradition of eating Chinese food and seeing a movie on Christmas day, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 25. Enjoy Glatt-kosher Chinese food and a screening of “Dirty Dancing.” $35 members, $38 non-members at 4126 Executive Drive. (858) 457-3030.


Festive Fun at Theme Parks

SeaWorld San Diego, 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego. (619) 222-4732, — SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration runs Nov. 23, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020. Holiday music fills the air, a sea of 1 million lights sparkle, two new shows: Cirque Christmas and Winter Wonderland on Ice, Rudolph’s Christmastown and new Sesame Street Christmas Village. Included with admission, from $73.99.

LEGOLAND California, 1 LEGOLAND Drive in Carlsbad, holds its Holidays at LEGOLAND through Jan. 5, 2020. The theme park’s Fun Town area features a 30-foot, fully decorated LEGO Christmas tree with more than 400 LEGO ornaments. After sunset, a LEGO tree light show with singers and dancers perform throughout the evening. Photo opportunities include meet-and-greets with human-sized LEGO Santa, toy soldiers and gingerbread people aboard a giant LEGO sled. Throughout its Miniland area with sprawling LEGO replicas of major cities like New Orleans, New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., holiday scenes and numerous hidden Santas have been added to the giant dioramas. On Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, Kids’ New Year’s Eve offers live bands, party favors and a 6 p.m. giant LEGO-brick drop countdown, followed by fireworks. Holiday entertainment included with admission, from $90. (760) 918-5346.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park, 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido. (619) 231-1515. — Wild Holidays, select days Nov. 29, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020. Experience seasonal entertainment, holiday decor and special activities in a festive atmosphere. $46-56.

San Diego Zoo, 2920 Zoo Drive in Balboa Park, San Diego. (619) 231-1515, — “Jungle Bells,” 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 13, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020 (no evening event on Dec. 24 when the Zoo closes at 5 p.m.). Twinkling lights, animal-shaped light sculptures, special animal experiences and music, high-flying acrobats, Dr. Zoolittle and the Zoo’s costumed characters. Santa will also be present. $56 adult, $46 ages 3-11.


Festive yuletide cheer is in store at Knott’s Merry Farm with the brand-new show for 2019, "Home for the Holidays," where joyous merriment takes over the Calico Mine Stage with dancing and snowfall, set to popular holiday tunes. Guests will be swept into a magical scene of an old-fashioned Winter Wonderland and celebrate timeless holiday traditions — including a magical transformation of the massive stage that happens right before the audience's eyes.
(Photo by Daniel K. Lew)

Knott’s Berry Farm gets merrier as “Knott’s Merry Farm”

Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. (714) 220-5200, — Knott’s theme park in Orange County transforms into “Knott’s Merry Farm” for the Christmas season with added entertainment, delightful décor, and two dozen new-and-festive “holiday foods with a twist” — such as Turkey Dinner Burger, Apple Pie Pizza, Christmas Chicago Dog, Horchata Funnel Cake, and Turkey & Stuffing Egg Rolls. Taking place Nov. 22, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020, Knott’s Merry Farm offers seasonal festivities and joyful experiences inspired by the spirit of the holidays.

This year, the Knott’s Merry Farm is debuting a new musical revue celebrating the importance of family and friends rejoicing in holiday traditions — the “Home for the Holidays” stage show features classic Christmas tunes, world-class performers, festive lights, magical dancing toys and dazzling snow; all set on a grand stage that literally and magically transforms right in front of audience’s eyes.

Also, holiday-themed décor transforms the entire park into a classic winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights, miles of themed garland, jumbo snowflakes and a variety of picturesque holiday settings.

Parkgoers of all ages can enjoy classic shows like “Merry Christmas, Snoopy!” — the beloved ice-skating show stars the famous beagle, the Peanuts Gang, and a cast of world-class and athletic ice skaters.

Plus, at the heart of Knott’s Merry Farm is the park’s streets of Calico — which play host to Christmas carolers; a Christmas Crafts Village offering one-of-a-kind gifts and hand-crafted items for sale; Santa’s Christmas Cabin for photos with Santa, plus holiday treats and drinks; a nightly tree-lighting ceremony; and the enchanting “Snow and Glow experience with falling snow.

Knott’s Merry Farm entertainment is included with admission: $53-$84 with bigger discounts for tickets purchased at


Guests visiting Six Flags Magic Mountain during its "Holiday in the Park" event from Nov. 23, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020 can meet Looney Tunes characters like Sylvester the cat, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, who are decked out in winter-clothing accessories.
(Courtesy Photo)

Six Flags Magic Mountain lights up with “Holiday in the Park”

Six Flags Magic Mountain, 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia (about 40 minutes north of Los Angeles). (661) 255-4100, — In addition to being the “Thrill Capital of the World” as the current world-record holder with the most roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain lights up the season even brighter with “Holiday in the Park,” its annual holiday extravaganza. With more than 2 million lights and seven uniquely themed areas, the park transform into a spectacularly lit winter wonderland. Running Nov. 23, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020, Holiday in the Park begins each day at 5 p.m., signaled by the first falling snow of the evening.

In addition, Six Flags Magic Mountain is bringing back its popular, holiday-themed “Taste of Holiday in the Park” Food Festival from Dec. 14-29. From traditional holiday-inspired culinary delights to surprising and unique taste-bud-tempting, non-traditional treats, guests will find a wide variety of specialty holiday foods that run the gamut between delicious main courses and mouth-watering desserts. With about 30 holiday foods available, foodies will want to purchase a “Sample Passport” to indulge in as many items as possible.

Guests visiting Six Flags Magic Mountain during Holiday in the Park can experience seven, one-of-a-kind themed areas:

• Merry Lane in the “Metropolis” area is a must-see with thousands of twinkling lights synchronized to holiday music and a larger-than-life, 30-foot brilliantly lit walkthrough of ornaments.

• Santa’s Cottage near “Bugs Bunny World” includes meet & greets with the jolly man himself, plus crafts with Mrs. Claus and her merry elves

• Gleampunk District: A Steampunk Holiday transports guests back in time to the 19th century with sights and sounds of the industrial revolution; plus a unique photo opp in a steampunk sleigh

• Holiday Square envelopes the park’s entrance with a kaleidoscope of breath-taking colors, features thousands of lights on trees and buildings throughout the area, while snowflakes delight guests as they enter this magical scene.

• Snowy Nights, a live holiday show, features contemporary music and themed dancers, percussionists and a DJ playing dance-able tunes on the stage by Full Throttle roller coaster to create a holiday-themed party zone.

• Winter Wonderland area (beginning on the midway past Viper roller coaster and extending up through the Mining Town area) features spiced-up holiday treats, falling snow and larger-than-life toy soldiers.

• The DC UNIVERSE area (near the Batman roller coaster) comes to life as Rockin’ Universe with three dancing-light shows — each customized to contemporary holiday music. As one of the largest programmed light shows on the West Coast, each 5-minute display includes multiple lighting variations with tens of thousands of lights synchronized to holiday musical favorites.

Holiday in the Park entertainment is included with admission: $56-$93 with bigger discounts for tickets purchased at