San Diego's Annual December Nights At Balboa Park Repurposed Into Drive-Through "Taste Of December Nights"

October 29, 2020

For more than four decades, San Diegans have come out by the thousands to celebrate the winter holiday season at the annual December Nights at Balboa Park, but due to the current pandemic conditions, this year's event has been repurposed into a "Taste of December Nights".

Balboa Park’s annual December Nights holiday festival will look very different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Produced and managed by the City of San Diego, December Nights usually treats visitors to over 150 family-friendly music, dance, and theatrical performances, representing a wide variety of cultural traditions, and more than 100 food and retail vendors, set amid theme-park rides, historic buildings and gardens decked out for the season. The yearly event usually draws upward of 350,000 people to Balboa Park during one weekend in early December, but this year organizers have been forced to modify in order to adhere to social distancing and other mandated coronavirus precautions. 

Taste of December Nights will take place Friday, December 4 through Sunday, December 6. The three-day event will occur in a drive-thru setting in the Inspiration Point parking lot near Balboa Park, offering more than 20 food trucks and vendors selling their most popular menu items. Organizers ensure that all safety protocols in effect around the county will be strictly enforced. Customers will be required to remain in their cars, and bikes, scooters or walk-ups will not be permitted. Everyone in the vehicle must also wear a facial covering.

Balboa Park December Nights grew out of the annual Christmas on the Prado event, which first occured in 1978 as a relatively small event put on by a dozen institutions along El Prado to celebrate the holidays. As the crowds grew, more diverse entertainment was added, hours increased, and the footprint expanded beyond the El Prado walkway, ultimately necessitating a name change to Balboa Park December Nights in 2002. In 2004, the festival became a city-sponsored event. December Nights was voted into the number five position in a USA Today online reader’s poll of the Best Holiday Festivals in the United States in 2015.

Organizers are still finalizing details, but people are asked to visit for more information.