We’ve compiled a list Christmas & Holiday Events throughout North County San Diego. If you know of any that didn’t make our list, email us at [email protected]. To see our comprehensive list of North County San Diego Christmas & Holiday Light displays, see our North County San Diego Christmas Lights & Displays page.
San Marcos Christmas Events
Santa’s Magical Village
Sat, Dec 5 & Sun, Dec 6
This magical village will feature arts and crafts vendors, free children’s crafts, the annual tree lighting, visits with Santa, food and entertainment. (View Photos from 2014)
Saturday, Dec 5
- 3 to 8pm: Shop Arts and Crafts Vendors, Free children’s crafts, Visits with Rudolph, Gourmet Food Trucks
- 4:30 – 6:30pm and 7:15 – 8pm: Visits and photos with Santa Claus
- 5pm – 7pm: Outdoor Entertainment
- 6:30 pm: City Council Greetings, Lighting of the Tree. (Watch the 2014 Lighting of the Tree)
Sunday, Dec 6
- 9 to 3pm: Shop Arts and Crafts Vendors, Free children’s crafts, Food Vendors
- 12 – 3pm: Visits and photos with Santa Claus
Event Location: San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069.
19th Annual Kiwanis Club of San Marcos Holiday Parade
Sun, Dec 6, 1pm
This year’s theme, A Storybook Christmas, will highlight the Christmas stories we grew up with (or read to our children)… memories we treasure no matter our age! The parade starts at the corner of Comet Circle & Mission Road, heading east on Mission Road to the San Marcos Civic Center. The Grand Marshal this year are the students and CEO/Founder (Cheryl Kilmer) of the T.E.R.I. Campus in San Marcos.
A Marvelous hometown parade to kickoff the holiday season in San Marcos!! View Parade Map.
Old California Restaurant Row – Free Photos & Visits With Santa & Free Train Rides
Sun, Dec 6, Noon to 2pm
Bring the entire family to enjoy a free photo with Santa and then enjoy a free train ride on the holiday express. Santa will be giving away free holiday activity pads to every child sharing their Christmas wishes with him. More information.
Scrooge – Six Shows Put on by the San Marcos Historical Society
SCROOGE is back again this year at the San Marcos Historical Society. Proceeds will be donated to the San Marcos Historical Society (non-profit). The play is put on by Art Animates Life. Tickets can be purchased at www.smhistory.org or by calling 760-744- 9025.
Encinitas Christmas Events
Garden of Lights
Every December, during certain weeks, the San Diego Botanic Garden sets up for their annual Garden of Lights. From 5pm 9pm, the San Diego Botanic Garden transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 100,000 sparkling lights that illuminate the Garden.
To buy DISCOUNTED tickets and to learn more, see our Garden of Lights page.
Escondido Christmas Events
Escondido Christmas Parade
Sat, Dec 12th, 9:30am-1pm
Celebrate “Christmas Around the World” with the 64th Annual Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade! The Escondido Jaycees 64th Annual Christmas Parade is the longest running community event in Escondido. This year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World”. The Parade starts promptly at 9:30am at Escondido High School and will continue south on Broadway to Grape Day Park. More information.
Event Location: Escondido High School, 1535 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92026.
Note: On the morning of the parade, Broadway and connecting side streets and driveways, including Highway 78, will be closed to vehicle traffic from north of Escondido High School to Valley Parkway starting around 8am. Please plan accordingly.
After the parade, head over to Maple Street Plaza and continue the celebration at Christmas on Maple (below).
Christmas On Maple
Sat, Dec 12th, 10am-3pm
Escondido Events is excited to announce the 3rd Annual Christmas on Maple in historic downtown Escondido. Santa will join us as we come together as a community on Maple Street Plaza to celebrate the traditional spirit of Christmas. This is a FREE family-friendly event!
Highlights of this event include unique holiday vendors, a visit from Santa (teddy bears from Santa while supplies last), cookie decorating courtesy of Major Market, caroling, and children’s Christmas stories. Home Depot will be building us a Letter to Santa mailbox and doing a holiday craft with the children.
We are pleased to announce their will be a professional photographer on site to take pictures with Santa, prints will be available to take with you the same day. More information.
Carlsbad Christmas Events
Holiday at the Rancho
Sat, Dec 5, 5-8pm
- Giant snow hill
- Tree lighting ceremony
- Outdoor movie screening
- Photos with Santa*
- Holiday pony rides*
*additional fees apply
Tickets are $6 if you buy early, $8 at the door. More information.
Event Location: Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Lane, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Carlsbad Village Faire Holiday Events
Fallbrook Chamber Orchestra / Photos with Santa
Sat, Dec 5, 12pm-2pm
Annual “Holiday Tree Lighting”
Sun, Dec 6, 2pm-5pm
This traditional event begins with the arrival of Santa by fire Engine after which the family can take in a delightful Holiday program, concluding with Mayor Hall lighting the Holiday Tree. Free coffee & hot cider, tasty cookies, and free pictures for the first 350 children 8 years & younger. 2pm to 5pm. Sponsored by The Rotary of Carlsbad and numerous others local businesses. More information.
“Tis the Season” Holiday Open House
Sat, Dec 12, 12pm-4pm
Music, shopping discounts, giveaways, “goodies”, Take your own photos with “Santa” (12pm-2pm)
Pets on Parade
Sun, Dec 13, 12pm-4pm
Pet photos with Santa, 9am to 12:00 & 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Group photos by Holiday Tree 12:30
Pup Parade to follow at 12:45 pm
Live Music / Photos with Santa
Sat, Dec 19, 12pm-2pm
Event Location: 300 Carlsbad Village Dr (map)
View full schedule of events at Carlsbad Village Faire Shopping Center
Vista Christmas Events
Vista Winterfest and Christmas Bazaar
Fri, Dec 4, 5pm-9pm
- Krikorian Area: Christmas Carolers, Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Christmas Bazaar Vendors, Kids bounce rides, Christmas Tree Lighting (6:15PM), Silent Night sing-along (8:45pm)
- Historic Downtown: Carnival Rides, Christmas Carolers, Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Vista Village Passport Shopping, Living Nativity (Broadway)
*Horsedrawn Carriage Rides will run regularly from the vicinity of Starbucks along Main St. to Art Beat on Main and back via Broadway and Starbucks.
Sat, Dec 5, 1oam-5pm
- Krikorian Area: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Foam, Photos with Santa & Superheros, Christmas parade (Theme “Comic Book Christmas”), Live DJ
- Historic Downtown: Carnival Rides, Christmas Bazaar Vendors, Christmas parade (Theme “Comic Book Christmas”), Vista Village Passport Shopping
Event Location: Main Street, Downtown and other venues
Solana Beach Christmas Events
Holiday Tree Lighting
Sun, Dec 6, 5pm
Solana Beach Parks and Recreation is hosting their annual Holiday Tree Lighting Event at Fletcher Cove Park. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Cookies, Live Music, Performances. More information.
Event Location: Fletcher Cove Park, 111 South Sierra Avenue
Oceanside Christmas Events
Holiday Tree Lighting
Thu, Dec 3, 6pm-8pm
The elves are dusting off their tools and the Jolly Old Man has sent his red suit to the cleaners. The City of Oceanside and MainStreet Oceanside will host the Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Regal Cinema Plaza across from the Oceanside Sunset Market on Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 6pm to 8pm.
Mission Avenue will be filled with activities for the whole family! Children can visit with Santa Claus, create a craft, enjoy the zip-line, tree climb, bounce houses, and games or take a ride to the pier in the horse-drawn carriage. After the tree lighting ceremony, be sure to head over to the Sunset Market for all your holiday gift needs, plus music, and a children’s activity area! Bring your holiday cheer and join us for this family-friendly holiday event.
The Holiday Market will be open Thursdays in December from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Come enjoy an evening with family and friends in Downtown Oceanside. Please note, this year the Sunset Market will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Event Location: Regal Movie Theatre, 401 Mission Avenue
Parade of Lights
Sat, Dec 12, 7pm-9pm
Fishing boats, sailboats, yachts, kayaks and dingys dressed up in holiday swag and circle the Oceanside Harbor to enchant onlookers at the harbor, restaurants and beach.
Many of the boats feature people dressed up like Santa waving to the crowd. One of the best viewing spots is along the side of the Oceanside Harbor near the fishing dock and police station. From this vantage point, you can see the parade twice. The concrete walkway that surrounds much of the harbor is also good for spectating the event.
Harbor Village at North Harbor has shops, dining, and seating areas.
Event Location: Oceanside Harbor, Oceanside, CA 92054
Valley Center / Bates Nut Farm Christmas Events
Christmas In the Valley
Fri, Dec 11, 4pm-8pm
Sat, Dec 12, 10am-4pm
Families can start a new Christmas tradition at Bates Nut Farm with the 3rd annual “Christmas in the Valley”. The event kicks off Friday evening, December 12th at 4:00. Santa arrives by fire truck at 5:30, and at 6:00 the Christmas tree lights go on. The event will feature live entertainment, storytelling, Christmas carols and a Polar Express Hay Ride to visit Santa, all free of charge. Enjoy Christmas shopping at Bates, Farmer’s Daughter, and with the vendors who will set up for the 2-day event. There will be plenty of unique gifts for each person on your gift list.
Gingerbread House Contest
Sat, Dec 12, 10:30AM-12PM
Bates announces the 2nd annual Gingerbread House Contest! As part of the “Christmas in the Valley” festivities, you or your group can design and build a gingerbread house to exhibit. Your entry can be traditional, or not! Use your imagination, and create special memories while you design and build your entry. Everyone will receive a certificate of participation, and all gingerbread houses will remain on display throughout the weekend. The winning gingerbread houses will be displayed in the Bates store until Sunday, December 21st.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea Christmas Events
Sunday, Dec 6, 1pm-5pm
The Kringle Mingle is a free holiday celebration for the entire family. Enjoy a variety of engaging musical performances throughout the afternoon, yummy treats from local restaurants, a festive holiday scene complete with a decorated tree and photo op with Santa. More information.
Event Location: Cardiff Town Center