10 Free & Cheap Holiday Happenings in San Diego!

By Courtney Daly-Pavone November 27, 2023

*Free Annual Community Bonfire in Treganza Park

Friday Dec. 1 from 4:30 to 8:30 PM

Treganza Park, 3200 Main St. Lemon Grove

Lemon Grove hosts its 25th annual free Community Bonfire. The bonfire will be ignited at 6 p.m., and a community aerial photo will be taken at 6:15. The Ugly Sweater Contest is at 7 p.m. Enjoy a game truck, bounce house, arts and crafts, rock climbing and live music. There will be free hot chocolate, popcorn and cookies. Food trucks will also be there. Visit

*Free Santa Visits The Village Walk at Eastlake

Saturday Dec. 2nd 12 PM to 3 PM

@ Eastlake Parkway and Miller Drive

A family holiday festival is part of a number of free events in December. Santa will come on the Holiday Express and visit with children. There will be free train rides and holiday entertainment, photos, free holiday crafts for children ages 12 and younger and holiday activity books from Santa’s elf. Visit

*Free La Mesa Holiday in the Village

Dec. 2 from 12 PM to 9 PM

La Mesa Boulevard from Spring Street to Fourth Street in downtown La Mesa

The annual La Mesa Holiday in the Village will ring in holiday cheer with live music, cozy fires, local craft vendors, food, holiday photo ops, including “Selfies With Santa,” and a children’s area along with other entertainment and snack specialties. Visit

*Free Little Italy Tree Lighting Ceremony

Saturday, December 2nd from 4:00 pm-8:00 pm

Come see two Christmas trees, seasonal vendors, live music and entertainment, holiday treats, a traditional Italian tree lighting ceremony, and SANTA! Enjoy the Christmas Village, located on India Street between W. Cedar and W. Grape Streets, for holiday gifts from local artisans and select Little Italy Mercato vendors. Festivities start at 4:00 pm, with the Tree Lighting Ceremony taking place in the Piazza della Famiglia at 6:30 pm.

*$10 Holiday Celebration @ The Leo Carillo Ranch

Saturday December 2nd from 5 PM to 8 PM

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying L.C. Lane Carlsbad 

This event features a tree lighting at 5:45 p.m., train rides, games, a visit from Santa, a plush snowball arena, crafts, face painting, cookie decorating, holiday shopping, photos and the holiday movie “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” on the outdoor screen at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10; free for ages 3 and younger. Food and beverages will be sold. Additional parking is at Carrillo Elementary School, 2875 Poinsettia Lane. Visit

*Free Holiday Festival @ Piazza Carmel Shopping Center

A free Holiday Festival with crafts, a magic show and a visit with Santa is from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Piazza Carmel shopping center, 3810-3890 Valley Centre Drive.

*Free Winter Festival @ California Center for the Arts

Dec. 2 and 3 from 1 PM to 5 PM

California Center for the Arts, Lyric Courtyard

340 N. Escondido Blvd. Escondido

A winter festival with themed crafting activities led by artists, browse for gifts sold by local businesses, meet Santa and play in snow. This year’s entertainment features student holiday recitals. Visit

*Free The Kringle Mingle Featuring Santa, Music & Treats!

Sunday Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m

The 16th annual Kringle Mingle features live music, children’s crafts and holiday treats, hot coffee and hot chocolate hosted by Cardiff 101 Main Street and vendor booths for holiday shopping until 5 p.m. in downtown Cardiff along South Coast Highway 101. Santa and his vintage Camera Camper sleigh will be ready for photos from noon to 3 p.m. Admission is free. Visit

*Free Holiday Celebration @ The Sikes Adobe in Escondido!

December 3 11 AM to 2 PM

The Friends of Sikes Adobe will celebrate the season at the historic Sikes Adobe Farmstead, 12655 Sunset Drive. The family-friendly event includes free farmhouse tours, ornament making, cookie decorating, beverages and treats. Admission is free; donations appreciated. Email or visit

*Free La Jolla Christmas Parade

Dec. 3 

La Jolla holds a Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival with the theme “Christmas on the Sand” on Dec. 3. The festival opens at 11:30 a.m. at Girard Avenue and Wall Street, and the parade starts at 1:30 p.m. at Kline Street and Girard. The event closes at 4 p.m. Visit

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