Twinkling lights on palm trees, Santas with sunburns, and competitions celebrating the most architecturally favorable sandcastles – not snowmen – are San Diego’s whimsical signs that the holiday season is finally here. The numerous dinner parties, family gatherings, corporate Secret Santa days and final trips to the mall for last-minute shopping can be entirely exhausting. Thankfully, San Diego offers a buffet of festive events and performances, keeping your holiday spirits bright while giving you a little break from the frenzy.
From the classic A Christmas Carol, to music-fueled celebrations with An Irish Christmas, San Diego has a variety of theatre fun to keep you warm throughout the winter. Discover our top San Diego theatre picks for the holiday season.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
For those with a bit of Christmas grief, step into The Old Globe Theatre this season as it’s once again transformed into a whimsical, snow-covered Whoville for Dr. Seuss' meanie-turned-sweetie story. Playing Nov. 17 to Dec. 29, the classic story returns for its 15th incredible year as a family-favorite. For more information, visit theoldglobe.org.
A Christmas Carol
For a more traditional Christmas show, A Christmas Carol can be seen this season at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Repertory Theatre. The traditional telling of Charles Dickens’s masterpiece brings 19th-century London to life on stage and reprises the story’s favorite characters, including Ebenezer Scrooge. The story plays out from Nov. 30 to Dec. 24 at the Segerstrom Stage. For more information, visit scr.org. You can also enjoy the nostalgia of the holidays in A Christmas Carol, the Musical at California Center for the Arts, Dec. 8-9. For more information, visit artcenter.org. For a brand new adaptation of Dickens’s holiday classic, Cygnet presents the live radio play at the Old Town Theatre from Nov. 23 to Dec. 30. Be a part of the live studio audience as the WCYG Players bring a unique presentation of the classic to life. Complete with holiday music, commercials and live sound effects. For more information, visit cygnettheatre.com.
The season’s most magical ballet returns with dancing mice, toy soldiers and the bigger-than-life Nutcracker. The Civic Theatre hosts the California Ballet Company's production Dec. 15 to Dec. 23 with live accompaniment by the San Diego Symphony. For more information, visit sdcivic.org. The West Coast Ballet Theater’s production at the CA Center for Arts, Dec. 15 & 16, features over 200 performers with internationally acclaimed guest artists. For more information, visit sandiegonutcracker.com. Lastly, Spreckels Theatre will present the holiday classic from Dec. 14 to Dec. 24, with live music by City Ballet Orchestra. For more information, visit cityballet.org.
Holiday Pops Concert
Brought to us from the San Diego Symphony, the annual Holiday Pops Concerts is embracing a Celtic celebration this year with Grammy-Award winning nine-time all-Ireland fiddle champion Eileen Ivers. Festive Irish holiday favorites will burst with joy from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23 in the Copley Symphony Hall. For more information, visit sandiegosymphony.org.
Scrooge – The Musical
The Scrooge is back to take over the Mission Theatre stage in December for a charming musical the whole family can enjoy. This Fallbrook Christmas tradition includes songs from the hit film including “Thank You Very Much” and “Happiness.” Catch the Scrooge Nov. 23 to Dec. 23. For more information, visit missiontheater.com.
Festival of Christmas & An American Christmas
Hotel del Coronado presents two unique holiday shows, both produced by Lamb’s Players Theatre. Festival of Christmas runs Nov. 30 to Dec. 30 and is continually re-scripted with a variety of locales and eras. An American Christmas running Dec. 17 to Dec. 26 is a 1910 feast and celebration inside the ballroom, where music and dance are enjoyed during a five-course Christmas meal. For more information, visit lambsplayers.org.
Drinkin’ Singin’ Swingin’: Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
The holiday favorite offers a night of song and comedy, featuring the music of winter time classics in acappella style. Join the multi-talented cast as they bring the much loved characters of Nat King Cole, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to stage. Swing around the Christmas tree in this hilarious holiday production. This festive production runs Nov. 14 to Dec. 31 at the Welk Resorts Theatre in Escondido. For more information, visit welkresorts.com.
An Irish Christmas
At the Escondido California Center for the Arts, Kerry Records presents An Irish Christmas on Friday, Dec. 21. Enjoy a lively night of traditional dance, storytelling, laughter and Irish soul. Ciaran Maguire and Collette Dunne of Magic of the Dance fame join Kevin Horton of Riverdance and the Kerry Dance Troupe in what promises to be an electrifying dance display. For more information, visit artcenter.org.
Although it's been said many times, many ways, Happy Holidays…to you