December Nights at Balboa Park is a fun family event and it is free for the whole family to enjoy. There will be dancers, carolers, and other live entertainment throughout the event. Friday December 4th the event will run from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday December 5th from noon to 11 p.m.
A wonderful part of the December Nights is participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 pm both evenings! Yes, the museums will be open for free for all to enter and explore on both nights. Some of the museums included are the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum, San Diego History Center, San Diego Museum of Man, The San Diego Museum of Art, theNAT: San Diego Natural History Museum, and more. This year more than 350,000 visitors are expected to experience the joy of San Diego’s largest free community festival. Those who attend will participate in a truly multicultural experience, enjoying food, music and entertainment from around the world.
Revelers can watch top-notch musical and dance performances, enjoy delicious and diverse food choices and help spread a heavy dose of holiday cheer. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.
With more than 350,000 people attending December Nights and extremely limited parking at Balboa Park, it is encouraged to use the FREE off-site shuttles or take public transportation. Avoid the 163 southbound during the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., as this highway will be very congested. Use alternate routes to get to the Park and the shuttle stops. FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE – The December Nights Shuttles at PETCO Park and City College run on Friday from 3:00-midnight and on Saturday from 11:30 until midnight in all locations. The last shuttle leaves all sites at 8:00 pm so plan to arrive at shuttle location BEFORE 7pm! The last shuttle from the park is at 11:45pm.
- City College Lots between 16th and “B and C” Streets: Parking is free and there are more than 1,500 parking spaces. Shuttle drops off at 6th & Laurel Streets. The Park is approximately 1/4 mile from City College, so walking is an option. To get to the City College lots use I-5 and exit at “B” Street.
- Downtown San Diego on Ash St between 5th and 6th Ave. Numerous parking lots in this area at $5, or free street parking after 6pm. Shuttle drops off at 6th and Laurel.
- ***NOTE***There will be NO Shuttle from Petco Park this year!
New this year! Children’s Interactive Area including a dynamic Community Mural where families can creatively contribute to giant-sized coloring book page featuring Balboa Park. Following December Nights, the Community Mural will then be on display in the Park throughout the holiday season! The Children’s Interactive Area will also include hands-on crafts, games, and entertainment and will be located adjacent to the beautiful and historic Botanical Building.