Great Places to See Christmas Lights in San Diego 2009


holiday-lightsAre you ready to get in the Holiday Spirit?!  The recent bout of cold nights and mountain snow has help create the perfect setting to enjoy Christmas light displays and get into the holiday mood, San Diego style.

My favorites are the residential light displays. I love it when a whole neighborhood comes together to brighten up the holidays for the rest of us. Most of them string their own Christmas lights and they all endure a higher utility bill so we can get in the spirit. (Thank you to all those who put up neighborhood Christmas lights for the holidays!)  Best of all, there is no cost for us to see them.

A few years ago, I came across a web site for Tom Chapman with Fidelity National Title. He updates it each year with a listing of all the neighborhood Christmas light displays in San Diego. I’ve checked out a number of them and have never been disappointed. Generally, you will find at least three or four streets in each neighborhood where almost every home is covered in lights.

My favorites are in Clairemont, Poway, and Rancho Penasquitos. The display in Rancho Penasquitos offers the added benefit of viewing giant Greeting Cards designed by its very talented and creative residents.

I’ve heard the displays in Chula Vista are quite good and will try to check them out this year.

To enjoy the residential Christmas light displays, it is best to find nearby parking and walk through the neighborhoods. Many displays include Christmas music and handful of neighbors will have parties in their driveways. If you just want to drive through the neighborhoods, watch out for the following, especially on weekends:

  • Lots of stop-and-go traffic.
  • Lots of kids crossing the street.
  • Drivers only using their fog lights to help keep the neighborhoods dark.
  • Sudden stops by the car in front of you when you they see something that really catches their attention.
  • Sudden stops by you when you see something that really catches your attention.

If driving down neighborhood streets seems too stressful, you may want to check out one of the commercial displays instead.

Professional Holiday Light Displays

The Festival of Lights at the Wild Animal Park, a North County favorite for years, is replaced this year by the San Diego Zoo’s Jungle Bells.  The Zoo will be open until 8PM in the evenings, starting on December 12th, with plenty of holiday lights, shows, and activities.  (I’m crossing my fingers that the holiday magic the Zoological Society created at the Wild Animal Park can be replicated at the Zoo.)

The Del Mar fairgrounds is once again holding the largest animated drive-through holiday light show on the West Coast. This might be the best option for those who want to stay warm during our current cold snap. The show runs until 10PM daily (11PM on weekends). You can buy discounted tickets at Albertsons and Sav-On. Bring 5 cans of food for charity and get a coupon for next year’s San Diego Fair.

The world’s largest LEGO Christmas Tree will be shining at LEGOLAND and one lucky guest will get to light the tree each day. They will also being shooting off fireworks each evening between Christmas and New Years.

Keep your eye out when driving along I-5 for the largest Christmas tree in Southern California at SeaWorld. They too have a number of events to celebrate the holidays.

The most picturesque holiday light display will arguably be at the San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas. Over 100,000 lights will glow throughout the gardens. Starting on December 10th, the Gardens will be open until 9PM and will feature a different live music performance each evening.

So, get in the Holiday Spirit by visiting wonderful displays of light and attending the various parades and other San Diego holiday events I posted last week.

Happy Holidays!

Read more posts about: Things to do in San Diego |You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Great Places to See Christmas Lights in San Diego 2009”

  1. Maria says:

    Thank you for sharing those great tips. San Diego is a great city, and it is even better during the Holidays. There is a lot to do and see in San Diego all year long, and a full schedule of events during the holidays. At Fox Rent A Car Blog we also share those kind of tips, giving travel advice to our readers, hoping to inspire their next trip.
    thanks again for sharing.

What do you think about this unique aspect of life in San Diego?

Connect with Facebook

Or, fill in the form below: