Get into the festive spirit with our curated list of holiday events in North County! From dazzling light displays and parades to charming winter markets, discover the best seasonal activities to make your holidays merry and bright.



December 1, 6-9 pm – Tree Lighting Celebration at The Forum Carlsbad

Don’t miss this celebration featuring live entertainment by Crown City Bombers, festive characters, Santa’s grand entrance, the official Christmas Tree lighting, a spectacular light show, magical snowfall, and photo opportunities with Santa.

Through January 7 (hours vary) –  Holidays at LEGOLAND

Immerse yourself in holiday magic at LEGOLAND® featuring festive character meet-and-greets with Santa, the Toy Soldier, and the Gingerbread Man, along with dazzling seasonal shows and delectable holly jolly themed food and drinks throughout the park.

(More Carlsbad Holiday Events!)


Del Mar

December 3, 12-5 pm – North Pole by the Sea

Enjoy festive moments with Santa photos, holiday characters, carolers, and hot chocolate, culminating in the enchanting Holiday Tree Lighting with Santa and the Grinch.

December 14, 4-9 pm – Coastal Christmas Holiday Light Spectacular Del Mar

Experience a magical holiday at the Del Mar Fairgrounds with a dazzling light display, eco-friendly skating rink, Holiday Market, Frosty’s Fun Zone, free Santa photos, festive lounges, and seasonal treats.



December 2, 2-5 pm – ‘Traditions of Encinitas’ Holiday Parade

Celebrate the holiday season at the Encinitas Holiday Parade featuring a tree lighting ceremony, a “Traditions of Encinitas” theme, and Grand Marshal Carolyn Cope.

Through 1/1, 5-10 pm – Lightscape at San Diego Botanic Garden

Embark on a mesmerizing one-mile lighting loop through a reimagined display at the Garden, blending nature and art to create a magical nighttime experience with festive sights and sounds. Purchasing tickets and parking in advance. Food and beverage options available.


Holiday Event

Lightscape Reimagined for 2023 at the San Diego Botanic Garden



December 7, 5:30- 8 pm – Community in Unity

Celebrate the holiday season with local delights, festive entertainment, and the opportunity to bring NEW pajamas for Solutions For Change and unwrapped toys for the Escondido Police Athletic League.

December 8 & 9, 8 pm – Carols by Candlelight

Experience the magic of Carols by Candlelight! Since 1990, this festive event has featured country stars singing Christmas carols and hits, with net proceeds benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego.

December 9, 10 am – Jaycees Annual Christmas Parade followed by Escondido Holiday Festival from 11 am-5 pm

Join in the joy at Grape Day Park after the Jaycees Christmas Parade, featuring live performances, music, craft vendors, tasty treats, and Santa Claus spreading cheer with toy giveaways in our close-knit community.

December 10, 11 am-4 pm – Small Business Holiday Market (Rancho Guejito Vineyard)

Explore local treasures with 70+ vendors, free Santa photos, family and pet-friendly fun, including face painting, DIY crafts, giveaways, dog rescue, mini golf, bounce house, vineyard hay rides, live music, and a variety of goods like clothing, home decor, candles, skincare, art, desserts, and more!



December 2, 5 pm – Fallbrook Christmas Parade

Themed “Small Town Christmas,” this parade features Santa, lighted floats, music, marching bands, dancers, and classic cars along Main Street in downtown Fallbrook.

December 15-31 (hours vary) – Winter Wonders Tour in Bonsall

Explore the enchanting Winter Wonders and Holiday Lights tour at Wild Wonders’ Bonsall animal refuge, where nocturnal creatures come to life amidst festive decorations on a 5-acre facility.



December 7, 6 pm – Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony & Gift Markets from 5-8:30 pm

Celebrate the holiday season in Oceanside with a festive Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and family-friendly activities, followed by Holiday Sunset Markets every Thursday in Downtown Oceanside throughout December.

December 9, 7 pm – Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Don’t miss the festive Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights, featuring boats adorned in holiday attire, lights, and festive trimmings, with captains and crews dressed in their holiday best. Prizes are given for the best-decorated boats.

(More Oceanside Holiday Events!)



December 8-9, 3:30-8:30 pm – Poway’s Christmas in the Park 

Step back in time at Old Poway Park for a nostalgic holiday tradition! Delight in live music, meet Santa, indulge in tasty holiday treats, shop at the craft boutique for unique gifts, and take a night-time ride aboard the Poway Midland Railroad.



December 2, 7 pm – Ramona Tree Lighting with event from 5-9 pm

Celebrate the season with the Ramona Chamber of Commerce, featuring a tree lighting, holiday decorations, late shopping, live music, vendors, kids crafts, dancing, carolers, and Santa photo ops.


A family watching a light show on stage

Jingle Terrace Live at the Moonlight Theater in Vista. It’s free!


San Marcos

December 2, 5:35 pm  – San Marcos Tree Lighting & vendor market from 2-7 pm

Attend the annual tree lighting event featuring free festive crafts, activities, vendors, snacks, and courtyard entertainment, culminating in a magical ‘snow’ experience right after the tree lighting.

December 3, 1 pm – San Marcos Holiday Parade

Celebrate “A BEARY Merry Christmas” with floats and entries commemorating 120 years of Teddy Bears, supported by 12 local Kiwanis Division 37 clubs, and enjoy the 2.5-mile parade route from Palomar College to the Civic Center.


Solana Beach

December 5, 4:30-7 pm – Holiday Tree Lighting at Fletcher Cove Park

Experience the annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Fletcher Cove, a free family-friendly celebration with sweets, treats, and Santa’s arrival by fire-truck escort at 5:20 PM against the beautiful ocean backdrop.


Valley Center

December 8 & 9, 9 am-3 pm – Christmas in Valley Center (Bates Nut Farm)

This magical event for all ages, features Santa’s arrival, a Polar Express ride, free crafts & activities, carols, and holiday fun. Explore the craft market for Arts n’ Crafts, open both Friday and Saturday.



December 2, 1-3pm – Vista Christmas Parade

Celebrate the holiday spirit with the “Viva Vista” Christmas Parade, honoring the chamber’s 100th anniversary and featuring Grand Marshal Danny Villasenor with a festive procession through historic downtown.

December 8-23; 5:30-8:30 pm – Jingle Terrace Live

Enjoy the festive “Jingle Terrace Live” at Brengle Terrace Park, featuring free nightly holiday light shows, photos with Santa, crafts, live entertainment, a Jingle Holiday Video and Light Show, a Maker’s Market, and a chance to support the North County Food Bank’s holiday food drive.

Looking for more North County business events? Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.




Business Assistance

North County's Economy

Workforce + Education

Copyright © 2024 SDNEDC | Design by VLD Studios