The best things to do this weekend in San Diego: Nov. 30 to Dec. 3

The best things to do this weekend in San Diego: Nov. 30 to Dec. 3

Here are some of the best things to do this weekend in San Diego from Thursday, Nov. 30 to Sunday, Dec. 3.


Elf, The Musical”: Theatre at the Welk presents this new musical comedy based on the children’s book and Will Ferrel movie about a human boy raised as a Christmas elf at the North Pole who returns to New York City to find his human family and restore the spirit of Christmas in the Big Apple. 1 and 7 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays; 1 p.m. Sundays. Through Dec. 24. 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido. $67, adults; $32.50, children 14 and under. (760) 749-3448,

“Proof”: Backyard Renaissance Theatre presents David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about young woman who has inherited both her late father’s mathematical genius and, perhaps, his mental illness. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. Through Dec. 9. Tenth Avenue Arts Center, 930 Tenth Ave., downtown. $18-$40. (760) 975-7189,

Comic Nimesh Patel plays ‘Fast and Loose’ in San Diego: Stand-up comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” writer Nimesh Patel will perform a solo show on Thursday in San Diego. Patel was recently named one of Vulture magazine’s “Comedians You Should and Will Know in 2023” and his new comedy special, where he talked about his experience with testicular cancer, has nearly 500,000 views on YouTube. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Downtown. $39.50 and up.


James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash: All Over Again Productions presents this 16-year-old concert tribute act dedicated to the Man in Black. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.$25-$49.

Tree Lighting Celebration: Festive activities at this celebration include live music, holiday characters and a visit from Santa along with lighting of the Christmas tree and a light show and snowfall. 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. The Forum Carlsbad, 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad.

December Nights at Balboa Park: One of San Diego’s largest holiday celebrations returns to Balboa Park with back-to-back days of family-friendly activities. A family zone will be open until 9 p.m. each night. There will be photo opportunities with Santa at multiple locations, ice skating, food vendors and live entertainment. An international spirits garden will serve beverages from around the world south of the International Collages. Many of the museums in the park will be open with special activities. 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Balboa Park. Free.

Holiday Light Show: Village Walk at EastLake hosts a new holiday event featuring a light show with choreographed music and dancing lights. Children will receive free magic glasses to view the light show in assorted colors. The Discovery Charter School Choir will perform opening night at 5:30 p.m. and between the two light shows. Other community caroling groups will sing holiday favorite songs to entertain visitors between the 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. light shows in December. 6 and 7 p.m. Premieres Friday, continues Thursday through Sundays though Dec. 24. Village Walk at Eastlake, 884 Eastlake Parkway, Chula Vista. Free.

A scene from “El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)” which San Diego Opera will present on Dec. 1 and 3 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

(Courtesy of Lynn Lane)

‘El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)’: San Diego Opera presents this 2019 mariachi opera, co-produced by Houston Grand Opera and Arizona Opera, was written by Javier Martinez, son of the late Jose “Pepe” Martinez, whose “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna” and “El Pasado Nunca Se Termina” mariachi operas were presented by San Diego Opera in 2013 and 2015, respectively. “El Milagro” is a prequel to “Cruzar la Cara” and features the same characters. Set during Christmas time in a small village in Michoacán, Mexico, this production is about how the townspeople are impacted by the loss of men who move to the U.S. for work as they prepare to present their holiday posada performance. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Sunday. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., San Diego. $13 and up.

Coronado Holiday Parade: Welcome the season of holiday cheer with the an evening of activities including a parade and tree lighting. The parade will run from 7th Street and Orange Avenue and loop at RH Dana Place and Adella Avenue. There will be live music, holiday sing-alongs and Santa will light a tree in Rotary Park after the parade. 6 p.m. Friday.

Light at the Lakes: Enjoy opening night of the Light at the Lakes holiday show Friday. This one-mile drive-through experience includes more than 35 different light displays synced to music that visitors can play on their car radios. Find the entrance at 9120 Carlton Oaks Drive. Select dates through Dec. 28. Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. 9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee. Tickets start at $19.99 per vehicle. Select a time slot online.

Holiday bonfire: Lemon Grove hosts its 25th annual free community bonfire. It will be ignited at 6 p.m., and a community aerial photo will be taken at 6:15 p.m. The ugly sweater contest is at 7 p.m. Enjoy a game truck, food trucks, bounce house, arts and crafts, rock climbing and live music. Free hot chocolate, popcorn and cookies will be available. 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight. Treganza Park, 3200 Main St., Lemon Grove.

A couple and Santa Calus sit inside a see-through plastic tent.

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina is hosting snow globe picnics (Santa not included) on its pool deck Dec. 1, 2, 15 and 16.

(Blue Wesley)

Marina Kitchen hosting snow globe picnics: Marina Kitchen restaurant at the Marriott Marquis San Diego hotel has set up see-through plastic igloo-like tents on its pool deck, which diners can reserve for a two-hour period to enjoy an a la carte menu ($100 minimum food and beverage purchase per four-member party). The igloos are available by reservation for only four nights this month: Friday, Saturday and Dec. 15 and 16. Cost is $150 for up to four guests.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”: Lamplighters Community Theatre presents Charles M. Schulz’ stage adaptation of his “Peanuts” comic strip holiday stories. Opens tonight and runs through Dec. 17. Showtimes, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. 5915 Severin Drive, La Mesa. $24-$29. (619) 303-5092,

“Man and Moon”: Moxie Theatre presents Siena Marilyn Ledger’s play about two people who meet in an oncology waiting room: a transitioning man with breast cancer and a 12-year-old girl whose mom is in treatment. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd., Ste. N, Rolando. $25-$50. (858) 598-7620,


A view of the annual Christmas village in Little Italy.

A view of the annual Christmas village in Little Italy.

(Courtesy of Little Italy Association )

Celebrate Christmas, Italian style: Little Italy hosts a tree lighting and Christmas village with twinkle lights and 10-foot-tall nutcrackers decorating the neighborhood, along with kinetic tree holiday displays on street corners. Enjoy seasonal vendors, live music, holiday treats and other entertainment and an appearance by Santa Claus. A permanent 25-foot-tall live tree anchors the Piazza della Famiglia, where a traditional Italian tree lighting ceremony takes place at 6:30 p.m. You can find one-of-a-kind stocking stuffers and gifts the the Christmas village on India Street, between West Cedar and West Grape streets. 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Piazza della Famiglia, 523 W. Date St., San Diego.

Holiday at the Rancho: This event features a tree lighting at 5:45 p.m., train rides, games, a visit from Santa, a plush snowball arena, crafts, face painting, cookie decorating, holiday shopping, photos and a holiday movie, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas,” on the outdoor screen at 6 p.m. Food and beverages will be sold. Additional parking can be found at Carrillo Elementary School, 2875 Poinsettia Lane. 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Lane, Carlsbad. Tickets are $10; free for ages 3 and younger.

Encinitas Holiday Parade: Encinitas’ annual holiday parade — themed “Traditions of Encinitas” — will feature floats, marching bands and decorated cars along Coast Highway from D to J streets. The event kicks off with a tree lighting and brief appearance from Santa at 5 p.m. in The Lumberyard shops courtyard, between H and I streets, followed by the parade at 5:30 p.m. Free parade shuttles will run from 4 to 8:30 p.m. from the San Dieguito Academy High School parking lot at Melba Road and Nardo Road and the YMCA/Ecke Sports Park parking lot on Saxony Road to the North County Transit District bus station on Vulcan Avenue, a half-block from the parade route. ADA-accessible bus runs from San Dieguito Academy. 5 p.m. Saturday. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas. Free.

“Nochebuena: A Christmas Spectacular”: ArtPower presents singers, dancers and mariachi musicians performing a mix of indigenous and Spanish traditions to celebrate the season. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Epstein Family Amphitheater, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla. $20-$95. (858) 534-1430.

“Christmas Joy! A Choral Celebration”: L.A.’s Masters of Harmony a cappella choir and La Jolla’s Pacific Coast Harmony choir will join voices for this seasonal holiday concert. 3 p.m. Saturday. Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 3459 Manchester Ave., Cardiff. $27. (760) 942-0920,

The cast of New Village Arts'

The cast of New Village Arts’ “1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas.”

(New Village Arts)

“1222 Oceanfront: A Black Family Christmas”: New Village Arts Theatre presents the third annual production of local playwright Dea Hurston’s holiday musical comedy about a widow whose decision to change her holiday traditions after a new man enters life causes an uproar with her extended family. Opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 24. Dec. 1. Showtimes, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. 2787 State St., Carlsbad. $28-$55. (760) 433-3245,

“La Pastorela”: Tierra Caliente Academy of Arts presents a Spanish-language performance of La Pastorela (the Shepherds’ Play). Originating in medieval Europe as religious dramas and later brought to the New World and Alta California by the Spanish missionaries, La Pastorela recreates the long trek of those first shepherds to the holy site of the Nativity with songs and humor. 7 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. The Brooks Theater, 217 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside. $20. (760) 433-8900,

The Magic of Bubbles: As part of the ConRAD Kids Series, watch Italian clown and actor Michele Cafaggi’s theatrical show dedicated to soap bubbles. 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Avenue, San Diego. Tickets start at $23.


Starlight Parade and Festival: The holiday fest returns with a parade, holiday market, children’s holiday train rides, tree lighting, live entertainment and photos with Santa. The lighting of a 25-foot tree takes place at 5:45 p.m. on the plaza at the northwest corner of Memorial Park The parade starts at 6 p.m. on Third Avenue and goes from E Street to H Street, featuring marching bands, decorated floats, automobiles and dance teams, among other entries. 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Downtown Chula Vista. Free.

San Diego Master Chorale: Messiah Sing: Music Director John Russell will lead a communal sing-along of selected sections from Handel’s Messiah with Martin Green at the organ. Bring your own score or rent one at the venue. 4 p.m. Sunday. St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Ave., Bankers Hill. $15-30. (858) 581-2203.

“By the Hearth”: La Jolla Symphony & Chorus presents this holiday sing-along concert featuring Handel’s “Messiah” oratorio. 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Community Village Presbyterian Church, 6225 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe. $15-$20.

SoNo Fest & Chili Cookoff returns: More than 20,000 people are expected at North Park’s annual SoNo Fest on Dec. 3, which raises money for McKinley Elementary School’s Spanish, art and music programs. This year’s event will features 30 local chefs, 20 breweries, a Bivouac Ciderworks cider bar, a holiday artisan market, two music stages, a kids zone and stage and food trucks. More than two dozen local restaurant chefs will compete in the chili cookoff, which the public will get to taste. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 32nd and Thorn Streets, North Park. Tickets for five chili tastings are $25-$28. Beer, wine and spirits are $8. Purchase tickets online at

Ongoing events

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T-F-U-L-L-Y Christmas”: In a nod to the huge success of its long-running productions of “Million Dollar Quartet” in 2022 and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” in 2023, Lamb’s Players Theatre has crafted a new holiday show of Christmas songs and carols featuring cast members from both shows. 7 p.m. Tuesdays- Saturdays. 2 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. Through Dec. 24. Lamb’s Players Theatre, 1142 Orange Ave., Coronado. $36-$72. (619) 437-6000.

“Plaid Tidings”: San Diego Musical Theatre once again presents this holiday edition of the popular doo-wop musical comedy “Forever Plaid.” In this version, the long-dead 1960s-era men’s vocal quartet, the Plaids, are resurrected for one night to give the holiday concert they never got to sing in life. 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. 8 p.m. Fridays. 3 p.m. Saturdays. 2 p.m. Sundays. Through Dec. 24. SDMT Stage, 4650 Mercury St., San Diego. $25-$70. (858) 560-5740,

Holidays at Legoland: Live entertainment, twinkling lights, holiday treats and some snowfall can all be expected at Legoland’s holiday season starting Saturday. There will be nightly tree lightings at the park’s 30-foot Lego tree decked with lights and Lego ornaments. Photos can be taken with life-size Lego models of Santa and his reindeer in Fun Town or costumed characters such as Lego Santa, toy soldier and gingerbread man. Through Jan. 7. Legoland California, One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad. Activities inside the park are included with regular park admission.

‘Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show’: The Old Globe brings back its fast-paced comedic take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which was first presented at the Globe in 2019. Playing Scrooge this year is two-time Tony nominee Christopher Sieber, who memorably starred as Miss Trunchbull in Broadway’s “Company,” “Shrek” and “Matilda.” Through Dec. 24. 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $29 and up. (619) 234-5623,

‘Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’: The Old Globe’s 26th annual production of this holiday classic will once again star Andrew Polec, who returns for his third year in the title role. Based on a 1957 children’s book by the late La Jolla author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, the musical by Timothy Mason and Mel Marvin premiered in 1994 at a children’s theater in Minneapolis. In 1998, it moved to the Old Globe, where artistic director Jack O’Brien worked with Geisel’s widow, Audrey Geisel, to add music from the famous 1966 animated TV version and a storybook-come-to-life scenic and costume design. It’s been an annual tradition ever since. Now playing through Dec. 31. Showtimes vary, but mostly evenings Tuesdays-Fridays and multiple shows on weekend days. The Old Globe, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego. $49 and up. (619) 234-5623,

Botanic Garden Lightscape: It will feature a more than one-mile trail decorated with holiday lights that winds through the garden with lantern trees, tunnels and light attractions, along with installations from international artists that come alive at night with color and sound. 5 to 10 p.m. select nights through Jan. 1 (except Nov. 23 and Dec. 24-25). San Diego Botanic Garden, 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas. Advance tickets are $26-$32 for adults, $16-$20 for children ages 3-12, and free for ages 2 and younger. Discounted tickets for garden members and military with ID. Parking is $10 paid online in advance or $20 on day of visit. Tickets are at

‘A Twenties Holiday Affair’ opens at Hotel del Coronado: The Hotel del Coronado’s annual holiday activities return. Skating by the Sea kicks off at 11 a.m. at the hotel’s beachfront ice rink. General admission is $40, with a portion of proceeds going to Make-A-Wish San Diego, and includes skate rental and 90 minutes of skating. Tonight brings the opening of the “All That Jazz” light show. The 11-minute show runs every 30 minutes from 5 to 9 p.m. on the Founders Lawn with a 1920s jazz soundtrack. Among other holiday fun, the hotel’s beach-side igloos are also returning. They can be rented out for up to eight people, and come with a dedicated server and unlimited supplies to make s’mores on the igloo’s fire pit. Holiday activities run through Jan. 7. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave.

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