Holidays

Winter Wonderlands

by Sherri Eisenberg

San Diego, California

The trimmings: Forget quaint Main Street parades. Located right on the ocean, San Diego's celebrations take to the water. During the annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights (held December 11 and 18 in 2011), more than 100 private boat owners decorate their craft and sail along the waters of San Diego Bay. Some of the best spots to set up a shoreline picnic (temps will be in the high 60s) include Shelter Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Coronado Ferry Landing. The vessels, ranging from kayaks to cutters, are festooned with plastic Santas, snowmen, and reindeer, as well as wreaths and elaborately strung lights. The parade kicks off at 5:30 pm with holiday-themed fireworks popping over the Pacific.

Check in: The Victorian-style Hotel del Coronado—which in 1904 was home to the first Christmas tree topped with electric lights—will be done up with silver bells and other period accents again this year, but the main draw is the ice-skating rink on oceanfront Windsor Lawn.

Hotel del Coronado
1500 Orange Avenue
Coronado, California
Tel: 800 468 3533 (toll-free)
From $225 per night including ice-skating (from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day)

Next: Where to find the world's largest Christmas tree >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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