S'more by the beach at The Seabird

What to Do in Oceanside This Christmas


By Suzanne Davis

Nobody does holiday cheer quite like Oceanside, California. For one thing, our weather is significantly more blissful than what you’ll find in frigid climes, meaning you can often pair your ugly Christmas sweaters with flip flops and shorts. For another, The Seabird Resort is even more megawatt than usual — literally — thanks to holiday decor and glowing trees that seem to dust every other surface with the season’s twinkly magic. Plus, there’s plenty of merry fun to be had here in Oceanside and the surrounding San Diego area, whether you want to visit a holiday market to splurge on gifts or treat yourself to an evening of spectacular Christmas lights.

Read on to find out what to do in Oceanside this Christmas for the hap-happiest season of all…no coal-stuffed stockings in sight.


Shop the Holiday Gift Market

Oceanside has Christmas markets aplenty this time of year, and they’re always a fantastic way to shop ‘til you drop. The Holiday Gift Market is the one you really can’t miss. Held each Thursday night in December from 5-9 p.m., you’ll find 200 vendors of all kinds (everything from flameworked glass to leather goods), edible thrills like cannoli and baklava, and an array of comfort foods that will outdo your last trip to grandma’s house, including cheesecake, beignets, and handmade caramels. Did we mention the big man — Santa — will be there for visits on December 1, 8, and 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Watch the Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

On Saturday December 10 at 7 p.m., the Oceanside Marina transforms into a watery winter wonderland thanks to this annual parade of cheerfully lit boats. Look closely enough at the yachts adorned with LED razzle dazzle at the Oceanside Yacht Club, and you’re likely to spot at least one or two Santa Claus lookalikes dancing the night away. The best gift of all — it’s completely free to attend.

Christmas decoration inside the lobby


Celebrate the season with Jingle on the Beach

The Seabird Resort’s annual Jingle on the Beach holiday fun includes seasonal stay specials, gratis sunset champagne toasts in The Shore Room, holiday movie nights by the pool — what says Christmas more than sipping hot chocolate while watching “Home Alone” together? — and so much more. Other kid-friendly activities at The Seabird this time of year involve caramel apple dipping (you’ll get to top yours with all manner of treats, from graham crackers to crushed oreos), workshops like ornament decorating and writing letters to Santa, and even storytime with elves while cozy in your PJs.


Ice skate like a champ

There’s really nothing like a whirl around an ice rink each winter to set the holiday mood, and among Oceanside’s many seasonal lures, Icetown Carlsbad is practically required. About a 20-minute drive from The Seabird, the rink offers open skating nearly every day of the week.


The nutcracker with the drum


Catch a live performance of The Nutcracker

A family Christmas tradition since it was first created in 1892 with music by Tchaikovsky, ”The Nutcracker” is being performed by the City Ballet of San Diego, accompanied by the City Ballet Orchestra and Chorus at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. It’s well worth the 30-minute drive from the resort. We wouldn’t be surprised if you want to dance like a sugar plum fairy all the way back to the hotel.


Hit the San Diego Zoo for Jungle Bells

The cheekily-named Jungle Bells event at the world-famous San Diego Zoo is everything your little one could want from a Christmas extravaganza, and runs December 9 through January 1. On your itinerary: strolling through a jaw-dropping light show, watching a live brass band play holiday tunes on the Front Street Stage, and posing for photos with Churchill Polar Bear, Harry Lion, and other cuddly creatures. Don’t miss seeing the live reindeer at the Polar Bear Plunge, and stopping by the Boardwalk Beer Garden at 5:35, 6:05, 6:35, and 7:05 p.m. for a truly magical (and rarely seen in San Diego) experience: snow!


Enjoy a Christmas light show at the San Diego Botanic Garden

If you love a little sparkle, you’ve come to the right place. The San Diego Botanic Garden hosts  Lightscape that runs through January 1 and is an absolute jaw-dropper. Less than a 30-minute drive south along the coast, the lush and leafy 37-acre plot is exactly the same Lightscape seen in London, New York, and L.A and full of otherworldly holiday ligh

Ready to stay and celebrate at The Seabird this holiday season?