Festive frolicks, colourful parades and plenty of seasonal highlights make La Jolla's Christmas Parade one of the best small holiday festivals near San Diego.
- When? 3rd December 2017
- Where? Girard Avenue, La Jolla, San Diego
- Price: free
If you're looking for some seasonal jollity then the La Jolla suburb of San Diego (around a 20 minute drive from the city centre) is the place to warm your cockles. The La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival is a jam-packed family-fun event that sees locals and visitors celebrate heartily.
Brass bands thump past, cheerleaders twirl batons and colourful planes take to the skies overhead - all in honour of the parade. The 2016 theme is 'Christmas of the Future' so expect to see plenty of futuristic Santas and technological reindeer. Visitors are encouraged to dress up and make their own costumes, so you can go as low-key, or creative, as you want. Around 20,000 people attend the festivities and you can pre-register to participate in one of the following categories: marching band, beauty queen, canine unit, equestrian, fire engine, float, parade teams and colour guards. Alternatively, enjoy from the sidelines.
In 2016 the parade celebrates its 59th birthday edition so expect plenty of eager community members keen to show their pride. The event relies heavily on local support and donors and as such, it has a creative, inclusive and diverse feel. Beginning at 1.30 p.m. and running until 5 p.m. there's plenty of time to glimpse all of the action, which starts on central Girad Avenue. Throughout the day you can enjoy plenty of festive treats including gift and handicraft stalls, choirs, plus live musicians and bands. For kids (and big kids) there's face-painting and a meet Father-Christmas barn. The day is finished with a magical tree lighting service in the town centre.
If you get hungry along the route, stop for some local fare cooked up by resident chefs from cosy food trucks. There's also a chance to stop for some festive grog (mulled cider or spiced wine) too. If you're looking to keep going after the fest ends, then stop in at one of the town's favourite eateries or bars; two of our favourite are Piatti's Italian or The Spot.
We think this event is one of the Jolla-iest around so you're probably going to leave with a warm fuzzy glow and plenty of holiday cheer. Scrooge-types haven't got a chance.
- Get there: San Diego International Airport is only half an hour away from the La Jolla neighbourhood. Take the airport bus.
- Stay: Stay by the sea in a hotel along La Jolla Shores.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!