Balboa Park December Nights will take place for the 36th consecutive year. As always, the event brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy, learn more about the cultural value of Balboa Park and kick-off the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5:00 to 9:00 PM both evenings and more than 350,000 visitors are expected to experience the joy of San Diego’s largest free community festival. Those who attend will participate in a truly multicultural experience, enjoying food, music and entertainment from around the world.
Revelers can watch top-notch musical and dance performances, enjoy delicious and diverse food choices and help spread a heavy dose of holiday cheer. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.
Here are just a few amazing activities you can enjoy:
- Blind Community Center At the Blind Community Center booth on the Prado, take a moment to enjoy hourly performaces by our blind carolers accompanied by guitar. Also explore and purchase beaded angels, light-up holiday beaded statues, knitted scarves and hats – all handmade by the blind.
- Bon Temps Social Club Hosts Gator by the Bay and Bon Temps Stage in the Plaza de Panama. Features rollicking Cajun/Zydeco music and dance lessons.
- California Quadrangle Presented by SWEA: Get a taste of Sweden on the California Quadrangle near the Museum of Man. LUCIA, the candle-crowned Queen of Lights, is the traditional Swedish antidote to dark winter nights. She comes as the harbinger of Christmas and bringing hope to the world. Located on the California Quadrangle stage, the annual celebration of the Santa Lucia Procession again brings this stirring festival of lights to December Nights. Enjoy the candle light procession and hear Lucia’s attendants sing traditional Swedish songs of peace on earth, and to all people good will. Also hosted by SWEA in the California Quadrangle:Swedish crafts, and traditional Swedish food favorites include: Meatballs, open-faced sandwiches, pea soup, rosettes (pastries), hot chocolate and glögg (hot spiced wine)
- Civic Dance Arts San Diego Civic Dance Company performs the classic “We Need a Little Christmas” Rockette-style number along with other favorites in the Casa del Prado patio. Performances are hourly from 5:15-9:15pm. Other dancers representing the City of San Diego Dance Arts Program will perform on Saturday at 12:00, 2:00, & 3:30pm. Each evening enjoy tomato basil pasta, cookie decorating, and photos with Santa and his elves.
- Committee of 100 The Committee of One Hundred will be on site at the Panama-California Sculpture Court in the Courtyard of Casa del Prado to answer questions about the history of the “temporary” Exposition buildings and tell the stories behind the sculptures on display. 6:00-8:00 p.m. both nights.
- Community Christmas Committee The Community Christmas Center Committee displays the 8-piece Nativity and Gingerbread House in the Organ Pavilion. The committee also installs Santa and his reindeer in the center Mall. A non-profit organization, the committee relies on public & private donations and hundreds of volunteer hours.