Joyful colors of Christmas at December Nights.

House of England's Victorian gentleman with top hot and monocle!
House of England’s Victorian gentleman with top hot and monocle!

This afternoon I enjoyed several daylight hours at the 2014 December Nights event in Balboa Park! It looks like the Christmas spirit is alive in San Diego!

December Nights, which used to be named Christmas on the Prado, is an annual holiday celebration that attracts around three hundred thousand people over two absolutely amazing days. The best time to experience December Nights is after dark, when Balboa Park from end to end is lit with thousands of lights. The scene is vast and magical. Carolers and choirs seem to be everywhere you turn. There are so many jolly Santas taking pictures with families you might think you’d arrived at the North Pole! The traditional sights, yummy smells, and cheerfully lit colors of Christmas abound.

But, alas, my camera doesn’t cope well with darkness. So here are some sunny pics from a couple hours ago!

Santa, Frosty and joyful San Diegans at December Nights in Balboa Park.
Santa, Frosty and joyful San Diegans at December Nights in Balboa Park.
Presents, ornaments and cacti in Balboa Park's Spanish Village!
Presents, ornaments and cacti in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village!
An artist studio in Spanish Village behind many very colorful Christmas trees.
An artist studio in Spanish Village behind many very colorful Christmas trees.
These handmade blown glass ornaments were out on display.
These handmade blown glass ornaments were out on display.
Artist's message: Let there be Peace on Earth...
Artist’s message: Let there be Peace on Earth…
Is this face painter by the Balboa Park carousel Mrs. Claus or a ladybug.
Is this face painter by the Balboa Park carousel Mrs. Claus or a ladybug?
A smiling gingerbread man greets one and all to Casa del Prado.
A smiling gingerbread man greets one and all to Casa del Prado.
San Diego Floral Association hosted many Christmas trees created by local folk.
San Diego Floral Association hosted many Christmas trees created by local folk.
Sign acknowledges the Balboa Park Centennial, kicking off this weekend!
Sign acknowledges the Balboa Park Centennial, kicking off this weekend!
Lots of vendors everywhere had holiday crafts that would make great gifts.
Lots of vendors everywhere had holiday crafts that would make great gifts.
A table full of unique Christmas stocking stuffers.
A table full of unique Christmas stocking stuffers.
One table had cool model ships! I know what this kid wants for Christmas!
One table had cool model ships! I know what this kid wants for Christmas!
Kids from Colegio Ingles in Tijuana, Mexico perform in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Kids from Colegio Ingles in Tijuana, Mexico perform in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir sings rousing gospel music!
Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir sings rousing gospel music!
Manger scene in one of the huts along back of Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Manger scene in one of the huts along back of Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Gingerbread house in organ pavilion sells Christmas treats to the growing crowd.
Gingerbread House in the organ pavilion sells Christmas treats to the slowly growing crowd.
Santa Claus has landed with his little reindeer on a rooftop!
Santa Claus has landed with his little reindeer on a rooftop!
Huge, glorious poinsettia display inside the popular Botanical Building.
Huge, glorious poinsettia display inside the popular Botanical Building.
It's Wendy! No, I don't want a hamburger today. Thank you!
It’s Wendy! No, I don’t want a hamburger today. Maybe tomorrow.  Thank you!
Photos with Santa will take place here and elsewhere once the sun sets.
Photos with Santa will take place here and elsewhere once the sun sets.
Lots of people dressed for the holidays this afternoon at December Nights in San Diego.
Lots of people dressed for the holidays this afternoon at December Nights in San Diego.
These guys were probably informed they were naughty.
These guys were probably informed they were naughty.

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Dr. Seuss lives at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas banner on the Old Globe Theatre.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas banner on the Old Globe Theatre.

I saw on television that the Dr. Seuss Christmas tree in Balboa Park’s theatre complex was officially lighted a few days ago. I missed the event! Darn it! It looked like a whole lot of fun!

During my walk this morning, I decided to swing past San Diego’s famous Old Globe Theatre and check things out. It looks like all the colorful holiday decorations are up, and everything’s ready for the big Balboa Park December Nights festival in a couple weeks.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas has played at the Globe for seventeen consecutive seasons. Theodor Geisel, better known as much-beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, lived in nearby La Jolla, a beautiful neighborhood just north of downtown San Diego.

Dr. Seuss Christmas tree at the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
Dr. Seuss Christmas tree at the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
The fun Christmas tree is up again in Theodor Seuss Geisel's hometown!
The fun Christmas tree is up again in Theodor Seuss Geisel’s home city!
Kids love the Dr. Seuss displays all around the Old Globe plaza area.
Kids love the whimsical Dr. Seuss displays all around the Old Globe plaza area.
Another Who from Whoville near bench in the Craig Noel Garden.
Another Who from Whoville hanging out near a bench in the Craig Noel Garden.
Fun Grinch shirts for sale at the very cool Old Globe gift shop.
Fun Grinch shirts for sale at the very cool Old Globe gift shop.
Family gets a festive holiday photograph by the Seuss tree in Balboa Park.
Family gets a festive holiday photograph by the Seuss tree in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The grouchy old green Grinch is peering over the gift shop!
The grouchy old green Grinch is peering over the gift shop’s roof!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is playing at the Old Globe for its 17th season!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is playing at the Old Globe for its 17th season!

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Lots of Balboa Park December Nights photos!

Here comes a batch of photos taken Friday afternoon and early evening at 2013 December Nights.  If you haven’t been to Balboa Park’s massive holiday festival, you’re really missing out.  Hundreds of thousands of people turn out during the two day event, enjoying colorful lights, decorations, music, Christmas carols, food, entertainment, and just a whole bunch of fun.  Every corner of the park is crammed with stuff to see and do.  And it seems half of San Diego comes out to experience it all!

Some might recall that December Nights was once called Christmas on the Prado.  Fortunately, the event is as joyful, bright, inspirational and heart-warming as ever.  And the crowds seem bigger than ever!

Vendors set up festive booths in courtyard in front of the Museum of Man.
Vendors set up festive booths in courtyard in front of the Museum of Man.
Front of the Old Globe Theatre features a banner of the Dr. Seuss Grinch.
Front of the Old Globe Theatre features a banner of the Dr. Seuss Grinch.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas holiday tree in Balboa Park's theatre complex.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas holiday tree in theatre complex.
Getting ready for the evening crowds in Balboa Park's central plaza on Friday afternoon of December Nights.
Getting ready for crowds in Balboa Park’s central plaza on Friday afternoon.
Funnel cakes, lemonade and kettle corn for the holidays!
Funnel cakes, lemonade and kettle corn for the holidays!
December Nights crowd grows in Spanish Village by late afternoon.
December Nights crowd grows in Spanish Village by late afternoon.
Santa awaits beyond colorful decorations in Spanish Village.
Santa awaits beyond colorful decorations in Spanish Village.
An enormous Christmas tree decorates the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Enormous Christmas tree decorates the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
One nativity scene in the large creche at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
One nativity scene in the large creche at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Tijuana school kids dressed as vaqueros and angels wait to perform at December Nights.
Tijuana school kids dressed as vaqueros and angels wait to perform.
Children perform in front of big Christmas tree on Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage.
Children perform by big Christmas tree on Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage.
The December Nights fun zone rides will become more active after dark.
The December Nights fun zone rides will become more active after dark.
This guy's shirt wishes everyone a Merry Solstice.
This guy’s shirt wishes everyone a Merry Solstice.
Food and yummy smells can be found all over Balboa Park.
Food and yummy smells can be found all over Balboa Park.
Sunset nears and the tower atop the San Diego Junior Theatre building turns gold.
Sunset nears and the tower atop San Diego Junior Theatre building turns gold.
A December day fades above Balboa Park and the clouds are tinged with color.
A December day fades above Balboa Park and the clouds are tinged with color.
Now the evening crowd is really growing at December Nights!
Now the evening crowd is really growing at December Nights!
Glee Club of Australia kids sing and dance in Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Glee Club of Australia kids sing and dance in Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
One of several Santas in Balboa Park.
One of several Santas in Balboa Park.
San Diego Junior Theatre kids sing Christmas carols.
San Diego Junior Theatre kids sing Christmas carols.
Balboa Park Miniature Train in front of San Diego Zoo lit up with Christmas lights.
Balboa Park Miniature Train in front of San Diego Zoo lit with Christmas lights.
Balboa Park fountain and Natural History Museum illuminated for December Nights.
Balboa Park fountain and Natural History Museum lit up for December Nights.

Poinsettia Christmas tree at Seaport Village.

Poinsettia Christmas tree by Seaport Village carousel.
Poinsettia Christmas tree by Seaport Village carousel.

Every year during the holiday season you can find this enormous bright red Christmas tree standing right next to the Seaport Village carousel.  It’s built entirely of poinsettias!  Lots of visitors enjoy posing for photographs beside it!

Manchester Grand Hyatt towers behind poinsettia Christmas tree at Seaport Village.
Manchester Grand Hyatt towers behind poinsettia Christmas tree at Seaport Village.

Skaters live a fantasy on ice at Horton Plaza.

skaters live a fantasy on ice at horton plaza

It must be the holiday season, because the Fantasy on Ice skating rink has been erected in front of Horton Plaza here in downtown San Diego. I got some pics of carefree people gliding through the sunshine. I snapped this photo while standing right next to the NBC building, at Third Avenue and Broadway. You can see the Balboa Theatre in the background.

More pics:

Beginning ice skaters hang on for dear life!
Beginning ice skaters hang on for dear life!
Christmas tree next to the Horton Plaza ice skating rink.
Christmas tree next to the Horton Plaza ice skating rink.
Fantasy on Ice banners hang along Broadway.
Fantasy on Ice banners hang along Broadway.
Ice skating rink seen from upper level of Horton Plaza.
Ice skating rink in Horton Square, as seen from an upper level of Horton Plaza.

Surfing Santa arrives by flying a water jetpack!

here comes santa claus with a water jetpack

Wow! Santa returned to San Diego in grand fashion! He’s making his big entrance over the bay using a water jetpack! Here he comes! A huge crowd on the pier just north of Seaport Village was watching with excitement this Saturday afternoon!

Wait! That’s not just a regular, ordinary, everyday daredevil Santa Claus, but the one and only Seaport Village Surfing Santa!

santa is flying high on two jets of water

Surfing Santa rises high above the awestruck crowd to wave and wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Where’s his sack of presents?

santa whirls about in a circle above the bay

Now he’s just showing off. The jolly old guy is jetting about in a circle like a certified maniac with a ridiculously huge beard. The fish below are probably frightened out of their wits. The first time I saw Santa, I was a bit spooked, too.

an elf anxiously awaits surfing santa's arrival

This happy elf and Mrs. Claus patiently awaited old Saint Nick on the pier with a huge throng of onlookers. The reindeer must be taking the weekend off.

surfing santa walks down the pier for his reception

Here he is, larger than life! Surfing Santa! He’s boarded the pier and is making his way to Seaport Village to conduct his usual Santa Claus business.

santa boards pedicab sleigh at seaport village

After boarding a pedicab sleigh, Surfing Santa parades down the bayside walkway while people munching pizza look on in joy and disbelief.

Santa and reindeer fly through Balboa Park.

santa claus rides sleigh in balboa park

Santa Claus and his magical reindeer were recently seen flying through Balboa Park. A photo was snapped as he sped from the central plaza toward the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. There he is waving at happy children and thrilled park visitors!

santa's reindeer fly through balboa park

A second photo was snapped as the reindeer lifted off into the blue San Diego sky, pulling Santa’s sleigh up and away back toward the North Pole!

Old Saint Nick has to prepare for Christmas!

UPDATE!

Santa returned the following year! Here he is!

Santa's sleigh is back again for another Christmas in Balboa Park!
Santa’s sleigh is back again for another Christmas in Balboa Park!
The flying reindeer take once more to the blue San Diego sky!
The flying reindeer take once more to the San Diego sky!