Join us on Dec. 2 and 3 for the City of San Diego’s largest free holiday festival in beautiful Balboa Park. The family-friendly event brings San Diegans together to enjoy the lights, the sounds, the attractions, and of course, the amazing food. Visit for more info.

Hours and Events

Check below for details on each organization's participation

  • San Diego Civic Dance Arts

    Santa Claus:

    • Friday, December 2nd – 6-9 PM
    • Saturday December 3rd – 6-9 PM


    • Friday, December 2nd at 6:15pm, 7:15pm, 8:15pm,9:15pm
    • Saturday, December 3rd at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6:15pm, 7:15pm. 8:15pm. 9:15pm
    • Located at interior patio of the Casa del Prado Building

    Continuing a December Nights tradition, the San Diego Civic Dance Company will perform the classic “We Need A Little Christmas” Rockette-style number along with other favorites in the patio of the Casa del Prado Building. As in years past, the patio will be transformed into a holiday wonderland–coming alive with holiday lights and decorations, photos with Santa and his elves and hot beverages and pastries. (Patio is decorated by Fri 12/2 at 3pm)

    No Alcohol

  • Marston House Museum and Garden


    • December 3rd: 10:00 AM -4:00 PM

    The holiday decor at the historic Marston House Museum & Gardens will reflect the Marston family’s great love of flowers. With 122 roses alone planted in 1905 at the house- we bring the garden feel indoors with special holiday floral décor.

    No Alcohol

  • Balboa Park Carousel

    Closed during December Nights

  • San Diego Natural History Museum


    • December 2nd: 3 PM – 9 PM (last entry at 8:30 PM)
    • December 3rd: 3 PM – 9 PM (last entry at 8:30 PM)

    Movie showings ($5 fee) in our theater at the following times: 3:30 PM, 4:15, 5:00, 5:45, 6:30, 7:15, 8:00 PM. The Pomerado Brass Quintet in our Atrium (both nights 5 PM – 6:30 PM and The TubaFours in our Atrium (both nights, 6:45 PM – 8:45 PM)

    We are putting-up our Holiday Wreaths (North Entrance) and our Christmas Yucca-tree (Atrium), decorating the welcome areas with e-candles, and creating Holiday themed signage. Holiday decorations are expected to be up by November 18.

    Alcohol served on the rooftop (21+ only)

  • San Diego Automotive Museum


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 5:00-9:00 PM

    Santa Pictures on the International Harvester – 5:00-9:00 PM

    The museum will be decorated as well as some of the cars

    No Alcohol



  • San Diego History Center


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 5:00 – 9:00 PM

    A 9 ft Poinsettia Tree is on view starting the week of Thanksgiving until the New Year

    Alcohol available at Taste SD, 21+ only

  • Panama 66


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 12:00 – 9:00 PM

  • Japanese Friendship Garden


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 3:00 – 7:00 PM
    • Free admission 3pm-7pm for December Nights

    There will be Japanese cultural demonstrations at 4pm & 5pm. Upper garden ceremonial gates: Inflatable gingerbread family, snowmen, a penguin and a 14 ft. reindeer! Holiday activities include craft your own origami ornament or custom make an ornament and have your name written in Kanji!

    Alcohol available in Beer Garden (21+)



  • Fleet Science Center


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 5:00-9:00 PM
    • Museum will be open 10am-5pm for paying visitors and open for free from 5-9pm only.

    There will be a free kids dance zone from 5pm-9pm in the upstairs lobby.

    Alcohol available in the lounge area (21+).


  • San Diego Junior Theatre


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 6:00 – 10:00 PM
    • Performances are every 30 minutes between 6pm – 10pm.

    Performances will be held on the grass along Village Place, between the Casa del Prado Theatre and Casa del Prado Classroom Building. A festive outdoor stage will be located on the grassy area in front of the Casa del Prado. Makes a great backdrop for a holiday photo in between performances!

    Sing along with San Diego Junior Theatre’s JT-On-Tour as they delight children of all ages with an assortment of holiday musical favorites. Junior Theatre’s Auxiliary will sell food and beverages and our student leadership organization will sell holiday cookies.

    No Alcohol

  • San Diego Museum of Art


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 5:00 – 9:00 PM
    • Closed during the day. Special exhibitions (Sergio Hernandez & Justin Sterling) will be closed during Dec Nights.

    The museum will be decorated with garland, lights, and poinsettias in Rotunda.

    No Alcohol

  • Balboa Park Visitors Center


    • Info Desk – 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    • Gift Shop – 12:00 – 10:00 PM

    Holiday items for sale (light up wands, light up necklaces, ornaments)

    BPVC will be distributing Parking Permits to organizations beginning Sunday, November 20th through Monday, November 28th during our operating hours of 10am – 4pm.

  • Comic-Con Museum


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 3PM – 9PM (last entry 8:30PM)

    The full Museum will not be open. Only the Lobby for a “Paint & Take” activity and the Gift Shop will be open. The Museum Lobby is open for a limited “Paint & Take” activity. Childrens Art activity in 20′ x 20′ tent in Palisades S. Parking Lot. Gift Shop Open. Snacks sold to public at front door.


  • San Diego Civic Youth Ballet

    No performances during December Nights

  • Casa de Balboa


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 5:00 – 9:00 PM


  • San Diego Air and Space Museum


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 4:00 – 10:00 PM

    Both days we will be open from 4 – 10pm only where guests will have full access to our General Exhibits and then can pay to tour Galileo & Space along with options to try out our 4D Theater and Simulators for a fee along with great Gift Ideas in our Museum Store. Both days we will be open from 4 – 10pm only where guests will have full access to our General Exhibits and then can pay to tour Galileo & Space along with options to try out our 4D Theater and Simulators for a fee along with great Gift Ideas in our Museum Store

    A sleigh from the 1800s with a Santa cutout will be available for a photo OP. There will be Holiday Music and DJ although no set performance times. We will have Christmas Trees, Wrapped Presents, Holiday Lighting, Inflatable Displays and Moving Gobos. Holiday Music, Scavenger Hunt and our Education Team will be in the Palisades Plaza in front of our Museum as part of the Kid Activity Zone.

    We will have Holiday Crafted Speciality Cocktails along with Coffee Drinks, Beer, Wine, Soda and Water. We will also a Consession Stand that will be selling Chili Cheese Dogs, Nachos, Homemade Chili and Speciality Desserts.

  • ICA San Diego


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 3:00 – 9:00 PM

    Friday and Saturday will be closed from 12-3, open late for ICA December Nights including cash bar and DJ.

    The ICA Engagement Guides will give tours of the exhibition from 3-6pm. All guests will be registered to win a raffle prize and we will have an art activity onsite during open hours. The Education Hub will be transformed for the ICA Holiday Clay Maker’s Market. We will have a Ceramics Sale including holiday ornaments. There will be a DJ in the Gallery from 6-9 PM with alcohol available 6-9 PM.



  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum


    • December 2nd: 5:00 – 9:00 PM
    • December 3rd: 11:00 – 4:00 PM and 5:00 – 9:00 PM

    The Model Railroad Museum will have holiday decor, including a Christmas tree, set up throughout the exhibits.

    No Alcohol

  • San Diego Zoo Wildlife Allicance


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 5:30 – 10:00 PM

    The Zoo closes to day guests at 5:00pm. December Night guests will be able to enter our Zoofari Party Area Lounge free or charge beginning at 5:30pm. Guests will enter area near Spanish Village entrance. Guests will be able to buy tickets to ride Skyfari (round-trip) and purchase food, beverage and merchandise. Guests may also purchase tickets to ride Balboa Park Miniature train. Tickets will be sold for Skyfari Aeriel Tram (Round-trip) and Balboa Miniture Train.

    Alcohol available.


  • San Diego Floral Association


    • December 2nd: 3:00 – 11:00 PM
    • December 3rd: Noon – 11:00 PM

    In Room 101, Casa del Prado there will be the Festival of Trees. Botanically-themed lighted trees decorated by local garden clubs and community groups provide a fragrant atmosphere that brings holiday magic to life. Individual floral arrangements showcase the creative talents of local designers. Protea and gingerbread cookies will be for sale.

    No Alcohol

  • Mingei International Museum


    • December 2nd and 3rd: 5:00 – 9:00 PM (last entry 8:30pm)

    Museum closed during the day. Terraces will be closed except for event on Saturday. Artifact restaurant and Courtyard will be closed. Craft Cafe will be open, hours TBD. Entrance will be through Plaza-facing doors and exit only through Alcazar Garden doors. Capacity will be limited.

    We will have a ticketed event (Making Merry on the Terraces – tickets available online) on Saturday offering drinks on our terrace from 5:30-8:30pm.

    The Craft Cafe will be open 8:30 AM -7 PM on the 2nd and 3rd. ARTIFACT will be closed and reopens Sunday, December 4th, 11:30 AM -2:30 PM.

  • Spreckels Organ Society


    • December 2nd: 4:15 – 5:15 PM
    • December 3rd: 2:40 – 4:30 PM

    50 minutes Raul Prieto SD Civic Organist in Concert: Friday 4:50pm and Saturday 2:40pm || Open House to See the Organ Chamber (West Pavilion Entrance, through the colonnade): Saturday 2:40pm until 4:30pm

    Organ Chamber Tours Friday 4:15pm, followed immediately by concert at 4:50pm. And Saturday at 3:05pm, immediately following 2:40pm concert.


    No Alcohol

  • Timken Museum of Art


    • December 2nd: 10:00 – 4:00 PM and 5:00 – 9:00 PM
    • December 3rd: 10:00 – 4:00 PM and 5:00 – 9:00 PM

    The Timken Museum of Art will display in it’s central gallery, it’s holiday installation: Jewels of the Season On View November 17, 2022 – December 31, 2022 Description: This annual holiday tradition showcases the exquisite ornaments handmade by San Diego artists Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi. Often compared to Fabergé eggs, each ornament features elaborate designs of semi-precious gems, sequins, stones, and filigree collected around the world by the two artists. Since 1988, the Timken’s annual holiday tree has featured the Hord & Schlappi collection of ornaments. This year, to expand the display of over 1,400 ornaments, the Timken has again partnered with grad students from SDSU’s Theatre, Television, and Film department and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum to create a custom, multimedia installation which showcases the holiday treasures. The Timken will sparkle with decades of craftsmanship.

  • Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater


    • December 2nd: 6 – 9 PM Family Friendly San Diego International Fringe, “That Holiday Thing” and “Ha Ha Da Vinci”
    • December 3rd: 6 – 9 PM Family Friendly San Diego International Fringe, “That Holiday Thing” and “Ha Ha Da Vinci”

    Performance schedule:

    6pm That Holiday Thing, 7pm Ha Ha Da Vinci, 8pm That Holiday Thing

    The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater will be decked out for the hoiidays with puppets and a variety of trees, wreaths and other ornamentaion starting Thanksgiving weekend!

    We will not have defined puppet shows during December Nights other than emceeing the San Diego International Fringe shows, which also include puppetry.

    Live theater performances of original works by local Writers, Directors and Actors in “That Holiday Thing” and Returning Artist Phina Pipia reprising her show “Ha Ha Da Vinci” from this year’s San Diego International Fringe festival. The rest of December will be family friendly puppet holiday shows on our regular schedule, with Marie Hitchcock’s former apprentice Steve Taylor, Ventriloqust doing shows from December 27 through New Years Day!

  • Centro Cultural de la Raza


    • December 2nd: 12:00 – 9:00 PM


  • Museum of Us


    • December 2nd and 3rd: Closed 10 to 5 pm, open 5-9 p.m.

    The Museum will be closed during our normal business hours (10 am to 5 pm), and open 5-9 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. California Tower Tours will not be offered on Friday or Saturday.

  • Veterans Museum

    Closed during December Nights

  • Spanish Village Art Center

    There will be musicians on both Friday & Saturday nights, along with food vendors in our back parking lot. Enjoy the festive holiday decor, take your holiday pictures at the Village and get a coffee or hot chocolate from Daniel’s Coffee and stroll the 37 artist studios that will open for browsing. There is no entrance fee to enjoy our village.

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