Cool on the Coast: Wrap up 2015 with festive events, food and theater

2014_COLUMN_MARINOWhile those from many other places don’t often think of San Diego County when they think of winter and the holidays, a palm tree can be wrapped in holiday lights just as well as a spruce. It’s also a heck of a lot warmer. Coastal San Diegans can enjoy beautiful sunsets over the ocean while sipping egg nog, making this region one with the best of both winter worlds. The remaining days of December have lots in store for North County coasters in the holiday spirit and for those who just want world-class entertainment. Check out our list of the best bets for December fun.

Christmas and Holiday Activities

While Hanukkah may already be over, there are lots of fun Christmas and general holiday events on the North Coast this December, not to mention bringing in the new year. With lots of twinkling lights, sweets and fun for the whole family, great times are still to be had in the perfect setting for holiday merriment.

  • Now through Jan. 4: The Gingerbread House Competition at Omni Resort La Costa — Each day throughout December from 10 a.m. to 7p.m., San Diegans can go to the Omni Resort at La Costa and see some of the most creative and beautiful gingerbread houses anywhere. Judging results are not announced until Jan. 4, so head to the Omni to see some of these confectionary miracles. More information:
  • Now through Jan. 31: Garden of Lights at the San Diego Botanic Garden — For almost a month, San Diego County will be treated to a truly spectacular show of natural beauty, lit up by the lights of the season. The show starts at sundown so bring the whole family to gaze at the Garden of Lights. Go to for full dates, times and information.
  • Now through Dec. 24: Kids’ Countdown to Christmas — The Hilton Oceanfront resort in Carlsbad hosts this weeklong countdown to Christmas with lots of activities. Each night will feature either a classic Christmas movie such as “Elf” or “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” or arts and crafts fun for the kids. Lots of treats and sweets will also be served. For more information go to and search “Hilton Oceanfront Carlsbad.”
  • Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Dinner at Addison Grand Del Mar — Widely known as San Diego County’s best fine dining restaurant, Addison at the Grand Del Mar Hotel brings a special Christmas Eve feast from Chef William Bradley, including seven decadent courses and optional wine pairings. Visit to view the full menu and make reservations.
  • Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve with Upfunk at Mr. Peabody’s — Bring in the New Year with one of North County’s premiere music venues and Upfunk. With a great stage and dance floor, outdoor seating and the salty sea air, there will be no mistaking you’re in coastal North County at Mr. Peabody’s when the clock strikes 12! To see the details of this New Year’s night, go to
  • Dec. 31: Singles’ New Year’s Eve with Hitman Honey — No one to kiss when you bring in 2016? There will be lots of singles age 40-60 at this New Year’s gala at the Del Mar Hilton. Classy dress, classy people and rocking tunes — there will be no Lonely Hearts moping with this group. For more information go to and search “Del Mar.”
  • Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Three-Course Dinner at L’Auberge — Not looking to party the night away but still want a delicious meal? That’s what beautiful places like L’Auberge are for! A three-course menu with optional champagne pairings is the perfect way to toast the end of 2015. For more information, visit

The Belly Up in Solana Beach

When planning December in coastal North County, one mustn’t forget the world-class music and fun at The Belly Up Tavern. With lots of shows still left, make sure you end the year with rock! For the full calendar, go to

  • Dec. 22: Abbey Road Presents a Beatles Christmas — Join one of the best Beatles tribute bands in the world for a special Beatles Christmas singalong. It’s sure to be “a wonderful Christmas time.”
  • Dec. 27: Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven — After all the holiday fun, it’s nice to get back to good old-fashioned rock. 1990s indie/country groups Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven always bring the house down with their fun brand of rock. The show always turns into a raucous sing-along with a very dedicated crowd.
  • Dec. 28: An Evening with Ozomatli — L.A.’s trippy, soulful Ozomatli is a crowd favorite in San Diego County, and after 20 years of great music the band is celebrating with a new album, “Place in the Sun,” and a tour to go with it. This show will likely sell out, so get your tickets soon.
  • Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve with Los Lobos — Start your New Year’s Eve party right with the legendary Los Lobos. Their spirited Mexican-inspired rock is always fun, but what a way to bring in the New Yea.! Get tickets quick, this show will sell out.

Plain Old December Fun

December doesn’t have to be all about the holidays, and as always the North Coast has lots to do that doesn’t have a holiday theme. Here are a few of the great events happening in coastal North County this month.

  • Now through Dec. 31: “The 1940s Radio Hour” at the New Village Arts Theatre — Carlsbad’s best kept secret for live theater is hosting an innovative take on Walt Jones’ musical as The Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade performs its last radio broadcast in 1941. For information and tickets, go to
  • Now through Dec. 27: “This Wonderful Life” — This December, the North Coast Repertory Theatre presents Steve Murray’s one-man show based on the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Both a Christmas classic and an excellent study in singular theatre, this story as told by one man adds a new twist on a timeless favorite. For more information, go to

Whether you’re in the holiday spirit, jazzed for New Year, or just want to have some winter fun San Diego style, the North Coast has you covered. If this year was anything to go by, 2016 will be just as action-packed and cool on the coast as ever.

Columnist Layla Marino is a San Diego music and arts writer. Visit Follow her on Twitter at Send questions and comments to [email protected].