What to Expect at San Diego’s December Nights

balboa park

San Diego’s Balboa Park is a beautiful place to visit any time of year, but it’s particularly great in December, when the park puts on the winter- and holiday-themed December Nights. Now in its 39th straight year, the event will be held on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. December Nights is expected to attract 350,000 people over both days, and you should be one of them. Here’s why:

Check Out the Museums — for Free!

Balboa Park is home to 17 museums. It’d normally cost you a pretty penny to visit them all — but not so during December Nights, when each and every one is free to get into from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. both days. Let’s take a look at a few:

  • Museum of Man — This museum, housed in the the park’s centerpiece building boasting the California Tower, is arguably the park’s most popular. Expect a long line if you’re looking to visit during the free period.
  • Air and Space Museum — This museum devoted to the frontiers of adventure is great for kids and adults alike, featuring food, ride simulators as well as real-life airplanes and space vessels.
  • Natural History Museum — Here in one of the nation’s oldest museums you’ll find an amazing collection of fossils from the creatures that walked present-day California and Baja long ago. The newest exhibit is Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science and Coast to Cactus in Southern California.

airplane in museum

Eat Cuisine From Across the Globe

Balboa Park’s International Village is a quaint place with houses devoted to different nations around the world, where visitors are educated about culture — and cuisine. For December Nights, the houses will be showcasing cuisine native to their nations. Enjoy authentic food from Turkey, Colombia, Denmark, and more than 30 other countries. Here’s the full expected menu. Come hungry!

If you (somehow) can’t find something to eat in the International Village, there will be dozens of other food vendors at the park, too.

Watch Live Dance and Music

There are literally dozens of performances scheduled for each day, from dance troupes to school bands to puppet shows and more. You can see the full schedule here. But, just to whet your appetite, here are a few of the performances you can catch:

  • Regular organ concerts
  • Polynesian dancers
  • Excerpts from The Nutcracker
  • A Scottish pipe band
  • San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus
  • A puppet show of A Christmas Carol
  • Hammered dulcimer performance
  • Kumeyaay birdsongs
  • Glee, as performed by Muirlands Middle School
  • Tap dancers from Helix High School
  • Cajun and Zydeco bands


Shop For Crafts From Local Vendors

One of the coolest things about December Nights is that the performances, food options and other vendors are mostly all local folks. Dozens of local craft vendors get the opportunity to sell their wares to a massive crowd. Show them your support! There will be folks selling everything from pillows to body creams to hats.

A full list of vendors is here (you have to scroll past the food options first).

About PC Housing

PC Housing is proud to be based in San Diego, where there are always great events like this one happening. We offer short- and long-term housing rentals across the U.S. and Canada. If you’re traveling on business, you need to see the sorts of places we have available. Get in touch with us to learn more.

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