Balboa Park December Nights, the nation’s premier holiday festival, will take place for the 38th consecutive year on December 4-6. 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 p.m. 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.
New to the festival this year is the Children’s Interactive Area, including a dynamic Community Mural where families can creatively contribute to giant-sized coloring book page featuring Balboa Park. Following December Nights, the Community Mural will then be on display in the Park throughout the holiday season! The Children’s Interactive Area will also include hands-on crafts, games, and entertainment and will be located adjacent to the beautiful and historic Botanical Building.
Other highlights include free performances of “A Christmas Carol” by the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre. This beloved holiday story is told with animal puppets both life-size and hand-puppet size. A holiday tradition that is funny and sweet, there will be three performances at 6, 7, and 8 p.m. You also won’t want to miss the offerings by the San Diego Floral Association. They will have display of 30 evergreen trees, and 10 artistic floral arrangements celebrating eras or events since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Includes a display of holiday trees with a miniature holiday railway provided by Walter Andersen Nursery.
Make time in your schedule to see excerpts from “The Nutcracker,” performed by the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. Take an extraordinary journey to the magical Land of Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. Witness the epic battle between toy soldiers and mice before being whisked away to an enchanted land of falling snow, waltzing flowers, and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Set to the timeless music of Tchaikovsky, this annual holiday production will become a cherished family tradition. Performances will take place at the Casa del Prado Theater on December 4th and 5th, at 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., ad 8:00 p.m.
Be sure to stop by the Balboa Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality, where you can get information about food, music, and more December Nights from friendly volunteers. As assortment of light-up accessories and holiday gifts are available in the Visitor’s Center gift shop, along with Balboa Park-themed gifts, sundry items, snacks, and drinks.
Admission to Balboa Park December Nights is free.