Best Bets for events in La Jolla and San Diego area: Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020

The touring show for 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' hits downtown San Diego 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 at Balboa Theater.
The touring show for ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ hits downtown San Diego 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 at Balboa Theater.
(Courtesy Photo)

Best Bets for events in La Jolla and San Diego area: Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020


It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown!

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage,” produced by Gershwin Entertainment, is a fresh take on the timeless classic that gives audiences a new way of experiencing the storyline as portrayed by real actors who maintain the integrity and spirit of each Peanuts character. So, join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the gang in their journey to uncover the true meaning of Christmas, 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 at Balboa Theater, 868 Fourth Ave., downtown San Diego. (855) 797-3952. and


Celebrate the Holiday SEAson: Guests visiting Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla are treated to special appearances by Scuba Santa for the aquarium’s annual celebration, Seas ‘n’ Greetings, which runs through Dec. 31.
(Photo by Nelvin C. Cepeda)

Aquarium Holidays

Seas ‘n’ Greetings presents family activities — including appearances by Scuba Santa in a Kelp Dive Show — scavenger hunts, close-up animal encounters and live holiday music on weekends 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.


Jewish Christmas

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, 2019. Enjoy Glatt-kosher Chinese food and a screening of “Dirty Dancing.” $35 members, $38 non-members at 4126 Executive Drive. (858) 457-3030.


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 on evenings from 5-8:30 p.m. Photos are available with the Snow Princess, Dec. 26-30, 2019 at 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas. Tickets: $12-$25.


Last Call for ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet

San Diego Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” features an international cast of more than 100 dancers under the direction of Javier Velasco, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019 at Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., downtown San Diego. Tickets: $49-$139 (619) 294-7311.


New Year’s Eve at Noon

Bring the family for activities, refreshments and a ‘countdown to noon’ — 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 at Dan McKinney Family YMCA, 8355 Cliffridge Ave., La Jolla. Free. (858) 453-3483.


Under the Sea and the Scope

Ever wondered how the creatures in tide pools come into being? With scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, you’ll handle live sea stars and urchins, observe fertilization and development under the microscope, and learn about the research activities at SIO, 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 at La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Free. Ages 10-18. Seats 20. Register at


Tickets for ‘Bloomsday’

If you’ve ever wished you could go back and have a second chance at a decision you made in your 20s, a winsome tale will simmer in your mind long after the play ends. The San Diego premiere of Steven Dietz’s “Bloomsday,” runs Jan. 8 to Feb. 2, 2020 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. Set amid tourists exploring the pubs and streets of James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” the love story promises to “transport audiences into a compassionate world of history, humor and heartache, capturing the intensity of experiences that pass by fleetingly as an older couple retraces their steps to discover their younger selves.” There’s a talkback with the cast and artistic director at the Friday, Jan. 17 performance. Tickets from $46. (858) 481-1055.


New Music Fest

The 13th annual soundON Festival of Modern Music, “Thresholds,” begins 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, and continues 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 at Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla. Curated by guitarist and conductor Colin McAllister, the festival welcomes seven guest composers this year. San Diego New Music is a nonprofit dedicated to the public performance of notated music of the highest integrity and artistic caliber from the 20th and 21st centuries. Festival Pass (three concerts): $55 members, $70 nonmembers, $15 students. Single ticket: $20 members, $25 nonmembers, $5 students. (858) 454-5872.


SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration runs through Jan. 3, 2016 and includes holiday-themed entertainment, such as the comedic seal-and-sea lion show, ‘Clyde & Seamore’s Christmas Special,’
(Courtesy Photo)

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