Best Holiday Art Events and Shows in San Diego


Yiddishland California: “Artistic walk on the theme of Hanukkah”

visual art

Yiddishland California just opened a year ago as a cultural center and hub for Jewish and Yiddish arts and culture – it’s in the heart of La Jolla, run by the Yiddish Arts and Academics Association of North America (YAAANA).

They are having a Hanukkah-themed event on the First Friday Art Walk, with a market of Judaic — Jewish ceremonial art and objects used in rituals and traditions.

The art walk also marks the opening of an exhibition by the painter Miriam Libhaber. Libhaber was born in Mexico City and has a background in architecture that still influences her work, not just in her cityscapes, but even the way she paints forests evoke clusters of skyscrapers.

It is part of the La Jolla First Friday Art Walk, so there will be plenty to see throughout the village area. Hanukkah this year starts from December 18 to December 26.

Details: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, December 2, 2022. Yiddishland, 1128 Wall St., La Jolla. Free.

A step beyond: ‘El Alebrije’


“El Alebrije” is a reimagining of the Nutcracker ballet, inspired by Mexican culture. In pre-Hispanic Mexican culture, an Alebrije is a spirit guide, and the term is also used for carved and painted animal figurines, as well as a sense of fantasy or fantasy – which follows as a spin on Nutcracker dolls.

Courtesy of One Step Beyond

The dancers from A Step Beyond are featured in the 2021 production of “El Alebrije.”

This is an outdoor show at the Kit Carson Amphitheater in Escondido, with a single performance. There is a huge cast, including 150 students from the A Step Beyond ballet school. The story, costumes and props are transformed in the Mexican tradition, but the music is the same “Nutcracker Suite” by Tchaikovsky.

Details: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, December 10, 2022. Kit Carson Amphitheater, 100 Amphitheater Dr., Escondido. General admission is $10, children under 5 are free.

Nutcracker Tea Parties: San Diego Ballet and Scripps Performing Arts Academy


If you want to pull out all the stops for the ultimate “Nutcracker” experience with a tea party, the Scripps Performing Arts Academy will be hosting their Holiday Tea and Holiday Brunch “Nutcracker” performances at the Fairmont Grand in Del Mar. tea is friday 23rd december ($88+), and the brunch is Saturday, December 24 ($100+).

The San Diego Ballet will also host a Nutcracker Tea Party at Liberty Station Sunday, December 18 ($55+).


Conductor Christopher Dragon will lead the San Diego Symphony Orchestra for “Noel Noel” from December 9-11, 2022.

San Diego Symphony Orchestra: “Christmas Christmas”

music, storytelling

“Noel Noel” is a mix of story telling and acting and holiday music. It’s a new story and storyline this year, so if you’ve seen it in the past, it will feel new. It is conducted by Christopher Dragon (Wyoming Symphony), and the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Master Chorale and San Diego Children’s Choir will perform.

Details: 7 p.m. on Friday December 9, 7 p.m. on Saturday December 10 and 5 p.m. on Sunday December 11, 2022. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way, Downtown. General admission is $20+.

San Diego Gay Male Choir: ‘Jingle’


“Jingle” is the annual holiday show of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (San Diego Gay Man’s Chorus), and it also kicks off their 38th season, now with their new artistic director, Dr. Charles Beale. The event celebrates how music — especially song — is an integral part of how we commemorate the holidays. The SDGMC will perform holiday classics with music from Eric Whitacre, The Temptations, James Taylor and more.

Details: 8:10 p.m. Dec. and 3 p.m. 11 Dec. 2022. Balboa Theater, 868 4th Ave, Downtown. General admission is $30+.

Cygnet Theater: “A Christmas Carol”


This production of the Charles Dickens classic has original music and puppets, plus everything we know and love about that story. Artistic director Sean Murray will play Scrooge. Murray notably voiced all of the characters from “A Christmas Carol” for a one-man streaming adaptation of the play during the pandemic.


Ken Jacques / Cygnet Theater

An earlier production of “A Christmas Carol” at the Cygnet Theater is shown in a 2019 photo.

You can find shows at the Old Town Cygnet Theater almost every day until Christmas Eve, including some with American Sign Language interpreters.

Details: Until December 24, 2022. Cygnet Theatre, 4040 Twiggs Street, Old Town. General admission is $30+

San Diego Botanical Garden: “Lightscape”

visual art

“Lightscape” is an immersive installation along a one-mile pathway inside the San Diego Botanical Garden in Encinitas, featuring over a million lights. There are tunnels of light, pyrotechnics, sculptures, and visual art activations along the way. There are timed entry tickets available in the evenings until January 1, and they recommend around an hour and a half.

Winter Cathedral.jpg

Courtesy of San Diego Botanical Garden

The “Winter Cathedral” installation at “Lightscapes” is shown in an undated photo. The light show runs at the San Diego Botanical Garden through January 1, 2023.

The trail has sections of dirt and hills, so comfortable shoes are recommended. Strollers and wheelchairs are permitted, although some sections with steps require a detour and/or assistance from staff.

Details: 5pm-8.30pm Nov 18-20, 23, 25-27; 1-4, 8-11, 14-23, 26-31 Dec. ; January 1st. San Diego Botanical Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. Admission is $13 to $29.

La Jolla Music Society: Holiday Songs

Music, Books, Crafts

The La Jolla Music Society’s “Holiday Sing-Along” features the Pacific Coast Harmony Choir, along with a La Jolla librarian for a reading of “‘T’was the Night Before Christmas.”

Plus, artists from the Spanish Village Art Center will guide families in creating their own pop-up greeting cards. This is a free event, held in the outdoor courtyard, and you can bring a book to donate to the Friends of La Jolla Library.

Details: 5 p.m. Sunday, December 11, 2022. Wu Tsai QRT.yard at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. Free entry.

Art products: “Holiday market of handicrafts”

Visual arts, Shopping

There are so many gift markets, but don’t miss the Craft Works Holiday Market at Art Produce. The market is open every weekend through the end of the year and is brimming with handmade goods courtesy of faculty, students, and friends of San Diego City College’s arts program, including jewelry, candles, soaps, ceramics, textiles and works of art. It takes up the entire front gallery of Art Produce in North Park, and 70% of every purchase goes directly to the artist and the rest supports Art Produce, which is a non-profit organization.

Details: 2-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday until December 30, 2022. Art Produce, 3139 University Avenue, North Park. Free entry.

For more winter holiday events, visit our special holiday calendar listings. For more art events and editor’s picks, check out the KPBS/Arts Calendar.


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