Visit with Santa at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
From twinkling boat parades to festive cocktail classes, it’s a winter wonderland here in San Diego thanks to these Santa-approved offerings.
Little Italy’s festive decor. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
BAY OF LIGHTS PARADE
More than 80 decorated ships bring some shimmer to the San Diego Bay during this annual parade, now celebrating its 50th anniversary. Guests of Hilton San Diego Bayfront will have a prime view of the beloved holiday spectacle, which lights up the waters Dec. 12 and 19. Hotel guests and visitors alike can also enjoy seasonal treats, Christmas-inspired cocktails, DIY stocking and ornament decorating, screenings of classic holiday films, visits with Santa and a photoworthy Christmas tree Dec. 3 through 26. sdparadeoflights.org; hilton.com
Hotel del Coronado’s oceanfront ice rink. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
This transporting walk-through experience at Noah Homes from Dec. 17 to 21 immerses visitors in glistening lights, majestic decorations, live music and merry activations. Get in the holiday spirit with gigantic candy canes, abundant Christmas trees, a confection-filled Candy Land and nightly Santa Claus cameos. All proceeds benefit Noah Homes, which provides housing and care to people with disabilities. enchantedvillage.org
Nason’s Beer Hall. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
HOTEL DEL CORONADO
Winter comes to California through Jan. 2 at the Del, which transforms with glistening white lights, majestic Christmas trees, intricate ornaments and ample garlands. As part of the hotel’s Home for the Holidays programming, the Windsor Lawn becomes a beachside skating rink open to the public benefiting Make-A-Wish San Diego. At the Paseo Lawn, make the visit one to remember by snapping photos with Saint Nick. hoteldel.com
The Rum and Cookies cocktail at Nason’s Beer Hall. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
LITTLE ITALY TREE LIGHTING AND CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
Brand-new decor, from 10-foot-tall gold nutcrackers to kinetic spiral trees, will transform Little Italy into a winter wonderland at the Little Italy Association’s 23rd annual event Dec. 4 from 4 to 8PM. The festive neighborhood fiesta will also feature two towering 25-foot-tall Christmas trees, vendors for holiday shopping, live music, a tree-lighting ceremony and seasonal surprises—including a virtual visit from Santa. littleitalysd.com
The Frostbite Lounge at Hotel del Coronado. PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
PENDRY SAN DIEGO
Visit this posh property in the Gaslamp Quarter to enjoy a holly, jolly lineup of festivities. Nason’s Beer Hall receives a merry makeover with dazzling decor and cocktails like the Rum and Cookies, which are sure to make spirits bright. Little ones will love the chance to dine with Santa in their comfiest attire at the Pancakes & Pajamas holiday brunch Dec. 18 at Provisional Kitchen, Cafe & Mercantile while the adults will equally enjoy curated three-course menus on Christmas Eve and Day. Finally, bring the Pendry magic home with a keepsake surfboard ornament designed by SoCal fashion designer Heidi Merrick. pendry.com/san-diego
RANCHO BERNARDO INN
Each year, this North County property erects a life-size gingerbread house—built and baked in-house. The project involves months of baking and construction with more than 4,000 pounds of delectable ingredients. The final result is as tasty as it is stunning, and is adorned with festive lights to complement the inn’s holiday decor. ranchobernardoinn.com
Sip and make cocktails like the Hot Graham! at You & Yours Distilling Co. Photo by Megan Jane Burgess.
YOU & YOURS DISTILLING CO.
Learn to make cocktails like the pros at You & Yours Distilling Co.’s tasting room in the East Village, where holiday-edition cocktail classes are on offer Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. Return Sunday, Dec. 12, for a fun-filled holiday tea from 2 to 4PM where spirited libations, seasonal sandwiches, pastries and scones will be on offer. youandyours.com