Merry Things to Do with Your Family on Christmas Day

Read next

Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information. However, new closures occur at the last minute due to Covid-19. We highly recommend that you call ahead or check the website of your destination for the latest updates before you pack your kids (and all those snacks, and diapers…) and haul them across town. Stay safe! 

Once the gifts have been unwrapped, your fam will likely be looking to have even more festive fun. We’ve got jolly things to do on Christmas Day that will make your spirits bright. Read on for some amazing ways to spend Christmas Day with your family.

Northern Lights

Behold the beautiful, twinkling Northern Lights experience at California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Safely walk through this free event for an enchanting Christmas activity your family will love.

Learn more details here.

If you don't mind a bit of a road trip, you can also head to Electric Noel in Norco for a drive-through holiday light display that will bring even more merriment to your evening.

Celebrate at Downtown Disney District & Buena Vista Street

Disneyland is still closed, but guests are welcome to share the special joys of the holiday season in the Downtown Disney District. Known for its exceptional selection of dining and shopping, the Downtown Disney District recently expanded to include the Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop and Buena Vista Street. Downtown Disney District and Buena Vista Street will be open on Christmas Day. Families can check the Disneyland app to see which restaurants will be offering food for take-out. A trip to experience this Disney magic is a Christmas gift in and of itself!

Visit Disneyland's informative webpage here for important and helpful details before you venture out.


Stroll at Seaport Village

Seaport Village is fun for the whole family. Here you'll find interesting local shops where your little elves can scope out the treasures. Plus, who doesn't love a walk by the seaside and patio dining near the ocean?

Specific tenant hours will vary.

Seaport Village's hours for Christmas Day are 11am-5pm. Here is more info.


The Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument

If you want to calm the crazy gift-opening energy, then drive out to the Cabrillo National Monument for serene sights and tide-pooling fun. The drive itself has beautiful ocean and city views. Spot sea urchins and starfish at the tide pools (at the bottom of the park). Your brood will come home refreshed and relaxed.

Good to Know: Check the tide chart for the lowest tide time of day.

Read about our favorite places to go tidepooling in San Diego.


Take a Drive to Julian

Cool-weather on Christmas Day? You may even find snow if you’re lucky. So don some warm clothes and head up the mountain to Julian. If you have a toboggan or sled, it would be smart to bring it along. Check the weather first to make sure you're headed for snow.

Julian, CA 92036

Do an Easy Hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Just a short drive along the coast will lead you to this beautiful State Natural Reserve. For ease of use, the paid parking is best, or find a free spot (luck be with you!) along the coast. There are plenty of family hikes for all ages and experience levels. The simplest route to explore is the Guy Fleming Trail which is perfectly-suited for little ones.

Good to Know: It will be crowded Christmas Day, so an earlier venture out is better. Parking costs $20-$25.


photo: Beth Shea

Head to La Jolla Shores

Take a walk, stroll the town. Although few eateries are open that day, you can still walk along the coast. It’s a good chance the weather will be mild, so get exercise. Grab a stroller and head from the bluffs over to the Children’s pool to watch the sea lions. Find an open coffee shop and grab a hot cocoa. Enjoy the day, then go home and play!

La Jolla, CA 92037

––Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea


Merry & Bright! Must-See Christmas Light Displays in San Diego

Experience Gifts for Kids That They’ll Cherish for a Lifetime

U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms & Our Fave Spots to Pick Your Pine