San Diego’s favorite kick-off to the holiday season, Balboa Park December Nights will take place for the 37th year on Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6. The beloved holiday event, co-produced by the City of San Diego and the Balboa Park Conservancy, features sparkling lights, multi-cultural music and dance performances, carolers, bell-ringers, choirs, bands and food throughout the Park. In the spirit of the holidays, participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9pm both evenings. During December Nights, Balboa Park is transformed into a holiday wonderland with historic Park promenades, plantings and structures adorned with seasonal decorations and lights. More than 350,000 attendees are expected, making this the largest free community festival in San Diego.
There is such an eclectic offering of various world foods at December Nights. International Cottages’ Christmas Festival features specialties from around the world including empanadas, egg rolls, fried plantains, pierogi, baklava, paella and pie. There are also many other food options throughout the Park, including the Prado Pub on the Square in the Plaza de Panama, and the recently opened Panama 66 restaurant.
New this year, Balboa Park December Nights kicks off “Celebrate Balboa Park 2015” the centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. During opening ceremonies in Spreckels Organ Pavilion retrospective images will be shown on giant screens throughout the Pavilion, and a spectacular surprise will set the Park aglow. “The 2015 centennial celebration will bring our city together through events that celebrate, elevate and promote Balboa Park,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.”
· PETCO Park and lots around Park Blvd. and Imperial Ave There are more than 2,000 parking spaces in this area. Shuttle drops off at 6th and Laurel Streets
· City College Lots between 16th and "B" Street. Parking is free. Shuttle drops off at 6th and Laurel.
· Free disabled parking at the Fleet Science Center lot and the Federal lot near the Hall of Champions.
· Shuttle service runs from 3:00- midnight on Friday and 11:30 a.m.-midnight on Saturday.
· The last shuttle leaves all sites at 8:00pm for the Park. Plan to arrive at locations before 7:00pm.
In addition, there will be optional preferred parking for $25/vehicle at the Natural History Museum parking lot and the South Carousel lot (both accessible from Park Blvd. and Village Place). Paid parking will also be available at the Inspiration Point parking lot for $20/vehicle (accessible from Park Blvd and Presidents Way). There is limited free parking at the San Diego Zoo lot.
Visitors can also take public transportation for an easy ride to Balboa Park December Nights. To create your personal trip plan visit sdmts.com or call 511 to speak to one of the Transit Information Operators.
For more information on December Nights, visit balboapark.org/decembernights.