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    December Nights in Balboa Park

    Written by: Elyse Sinsay

    Living in San Diego, I feel that we have a multitude of options for Christmas activities/viewing options. Each year it gets bigger and better too. I love it. But living here my whole life there has been one thing that I have yet to participate in. Be it because my parents were working, or it was always crowded, it got too late, or because we just didn’t go, this year was the year that we decided to go. My husband and I finally decided to commit to going to the infamous December nights. Almost 350,000 people attend each year over the two day event. There is food, Christmas, heritage, games, shows, museums, lights, activities, Santa, basically fun for everyone. So, like I said we decided to go and see the magic. Friday December 4, 2015 and Saturday December 5, 2015 were the two days you could go. Friday from 3:00pm to 11:00 and Saturday 12:00-11:00pm. Here is our story…

    For our journey we decided to brave the cold and go Friday. Felicity would be home, we could go pick up Anthony from work and have a magical Christmas evening… but first dinner. We looked up where to park where to NOT to drive, etc. We get to Anthony, have our dinner and head down there and guess what? THERE WAS NO PLACE TO PARK!! We literally drove around for over an hour, in part because we had no other choice to but in part because we were hoping for a Christmas miracle to find a spot so we could walk around for even just an hour. No such luck my friends. NOTHING! We were so bummed, so we went home and decided we were going to try again tomorrow. We would try earlier and park in a place we knew of that was in walking distance, those directions were the death of us. I mean we were going to be walking a lot anyway so the closer the parking the better, right?

    The next day we were ready. We went after Liam took a nap, got him up and then headed down. When we got there we found metered street parking at 3:00pm and only had to pay $3.75 for parking (when we were driving around the night before we saw places charging $20! And yes, they were full.) We only had to pay that much too because you only have to pay for meters till 6:00, so we were off! It was a beautiful day. Everything was open, but from 5-9pm the museums were free, all the shows started and music started playing. Oh! The lights came on then too. All that being said, we took our time and just scoped everything out till it got dark. Got a snack and paroozed.

    First, let me say that the food options there were, to say the least, A LOT! Everywhere you went there was food and such a variety. If you go there hungry you wot be for long. There were also so many people there selling so much cool stuff. Not just Christmas things too. They also had set up activity booths for kids to participate in for a few dollars. They had a Christmas hat decorating area, plate spinning art, cookie decorating, and ornament making. Also for the kids they had set up a Grinch area. I think that was my favorite. You could watch a short play, check out who-ville, and you could take pictures with the Grinch himself. Liam was a little intimidated by him, so no pictures of him! Ha-ha.

    When we wandered down to the Houses of the world area they had set up booths of food from their country. So of course we stopped by the Philippines and Colombia! It’s just so cool to see everyone come together like that for the holidays. When you go more down the hill they had set up a carnival! Complete with more food and games for the kids and prizes. Easy stuff for the kids, I imagine because with all that walking they wanted to let them have some fun at the end of it all.

    Well, that was it! Once 5:00pm hit there were massive lines for all the museums. We just wanted to walk around and see everything all lit up. With a two year old, lines are not your friend… but the walking was well worth it. I have one of those fitness trackers and at the end of the night we had walked a total of 3.5 miles! We had such a wonderful time. I recommend everyone go at least once. If you do here is my advice:

    v  Get there early!

    v  Find street parking and walk.

    v  Bring money.

    v  Be hungry.

    v  Bring a reusable bag for all the stuff you might buy or that the kids will make.

    v  Take lots of pictures!!

    v  Wear good shoes. I wore my flats and my feet were NOT happy with me by the end of the night…

    v  If you want to take advantage of the free museum, pick the one you want to go to, go there like 30 minutes early and get in line…

    v  Bring jackets, it gets cold.

    v  HAVE FUN!!

    We will defiantly be going next year now that we know how to appropriately attack this Christmas beast in all its awesomeness! It was so much fun, we need more pictures, more memories, more everything! Also, did you know that it was voted by USA Today the best Christmas Attraction in the US for 2015?! Oh yeah, go San Diego. I hope next year you are brave enough to go out and see this cool spectacle. It is worth it. No camera can truly capture all of it. It just takes a bit of planning. Until next time, have a happy Holiday and a very merry un-birthday to you!

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    Photos by: Elyse Sinsay

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