Wondering what’s open on Christmas Day in San Diego? Turns out, there are 10 fun things to do on this special day
San Diegans have ample opportunity to soak up the sunshine and partake in family-friendly fun things to do year-round —and, lucky for us, Christmas Day is no exception. So after the gifts have been ripped open, the last drip of the best hot chocolate drunk, and the last seasonal treat is scoffed down, head out and expend some festive energy around town. If you’re wondering what’s open on Christmas Day, turns out, there are plenty of merry activities to make December 25th the most wonderful day of the year. From harbor tours and top-notch museums to dazzling lights and ice skating, some of our favorite things to do in San Diego are open on Christmas Day. PS: Check out our winter bucket list for more ways to make the most of your holiday break.
1. Ice Skating by the Sea at Hotel Del
Treat your family to a day on the ice at Hotel del Coronado's famous beachfront ice rink. Dust off your winter hat and mittens for a spin with the most stunning views of the Pacific. Enhance your experience by reserving a rink-side or ocean-side Frostbite Lounge with plush seating, roaring fire pits, holiday-themed libations, and delectable bites. The resort is one of the most festive spots in San Diego to spend the holidays and also serves a Christmas Day Feast or brunch.
1500 Orange Ave.
2. Cabrillo National Monument in Torrey Pines
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 (turn right after you enter the ranger station and go all the way down towards the ocean).
Insider Tip: The next California King Tides (the lowest and highest tides of the year) will be December 23-24, 2022 and January 21-22, 2023. This is when you can explore the coastline during the lowest tide of the year—exposing sea life that is normally hidden. And even if you miss these dates, winter is still the best time to go tidepooling and see all the sealife and animals living on our coastline.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr.
3. Explore Seaport Village
Seaport Village is fun for the whole family. Here you’ll find interesting local shops where your little elves can scope out some treasures. Plus, who doesn’t love a walk by the seaside and patio dining near the ocean? Specific tenant hours will vary but in general, Seaport Village is expected to be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
849 West Harbor Dr.
4. Harbor Cruise & Whale Watching
Be a tourist for the day and take a boat tour of the bay. This is the perfect way to spend the holiday with out-of-town visitors, especially if grandma or grandpa would prefer more of a "sitting" activity, while still seeing the sights and spending time with the family. Reserve a Christmas Day brunch (kids 3 and under are free) or dinner cruise, or just hop on for an hour-long sightseeing cruise that includes whale-watching cruises this month too.
5. Balboa Park
Balboa Park is open 24 hours a day to walk around and you’ll even find some museums are open too! Enjoy the free open-air gardens and beautiful architecture. There are often food vendors and street performers (they may not be here on Christmas Day). The carousel and mini-train ($3 each) are open on holidays too; you’ll find them at the end of Spanish Village.
1549 El Prado
6. Japanese Friendship Garden
Find peace and tranquility in these beautifully landscaped gardens. There’s a smooth flat trail that meanders from the top down into the bottom of the ravine so it’s perfect for strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs. You’ll pass bamboo water fountains, koi fish pond, Japanese sculptures, bonsai trees as you go over arched bridges and jump across the stepping stones. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with the last admission at 3 p.m. and good to know—kids 6 and under are free.
2215 Pan American Rd E.
7. Fleet Science Center
What better day than Christmas to avoid the crowds and check out one of San Diego's top museums—the Fleet Science Center? Open 365 days a year, it's open on Christmas Day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Their hands-on science exhibits will amaze any age (push buttons are self-sanitizing after every push!), check out their new DigitalMe and Automata exhibits and kids 5 and under will love playing in Kid City.
They just upgraded their IMAX dome screen to a laser projection; which means they’re now showing Blockbuster movies on their IMAX! On Christmas Day you can even watch the new release of Spider-Man: No Way Home (buy tickets early). You can always watch their beautiful short wildlife films; which are perfect kid-length shows, that are narrated by top actors like Morgan Freeman and Ryan Reynolds (currently Into America’s Wild, Great Bear Rainforest & Turtle Odyssey). They even have popcorn, snacks, and drinks.
1875 El Prado
8. The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are open every day of the year, rain or shine! These are great places to spend a holiday with out-of-town guests and show off our world-famous zoo. The San Diego Zoo has its annual Jungle Bells during the holidays and the Safari Park has its Wild Holidays happening now; each has its own fun sights and lights.
Insider Tip: For any guests with difficulty walking, you should consider taking one of the guided bus tours, where you can sit down and still see a lot of animals.
2920 Zoo Dr.
Spend some family time at SeaWorld this holiday during their Christmas Celebration. All of their fun and educational animal shows have a really cute holiday twist to them. Watch their new Santa’s Cirque or Elmo’s Christmas Wish shows, head to Santa’s Cottage for Santa photos, dance through the light tunnel with synchronized music and catch their fireworks show 10 minutes before park closing.
Insider Tip: Plan your day around which shows you don’t want to miss
500 Sea World Dr.
10. LEGOLAND California
May your holidays be awesome when you visit LEGOLAND California on Christmas Day. Take photos with a life-size LEGO Santa on his sleigh, see the LEGO Tree decorated with over 400 LEGO ornaments with a “snow” fall as the lights dance to holiday music at the Light Show. There’ll be live music, festive food and of course the 60+ rides, shows and other attractions that LEGOLAND is known for.
One Legoland Dr.