San Diego’s Best Seasonal Souvenir Snaps

San Diego is a beautiful place to visit at all times of the year, but there’s something extra-special about the yuletide season. The nights are longer, the weather is milder, and everyone you meet is filled with even more good cheer than usual. Even though we’re not surrounded by snow, there are still plenty of ways to capture the holiday spirit here in town. Check out our list of the most festive San Diego holiday photo ops to look forward to this season.

Holiday Lights Displays

(Photo: @sandiegoholidaylights)

Jack Frost may not be nipping at your nose here in Southern California, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to decorate for the holidays! There are countless locations all across town where you can snap festive displays of seasonal cheer. From downtown to east county, theme parks to green spaces, up the coast to down the bay, there’s no end of spots to get merry and bright. Here are some of the most popular.


Seasonal Speakeasy Stops

(Photo: @falseidoltiki)

San Diego’s surreptitious sipping spots are a blast to visit whenever you find yourself in town, but the holidays are a particularly good time to hunt them down. Not only are many offering special seasonal drink menus, but their already photogenic environments are decked out in festive finery that makes for even sweeter snaps. Not sure where to start? Check out this list of area pubs with a penchant for getting festive at the holidays.


Ice Skating Rinks

(Video: @laurenashleymedia)

Although beautiful beaches and warm sunshine may be the first images that spring to mind when you think about San Diego, our fair city has a surprisingly active ice skating scene during the holiday season. So if you’re interested in taking some skating snaps surrounded by palm trees (for a uniquely tropical holiday IG shot your East Coast followers won’t have), head out to the rinks at Skating by the Sea in CoronadoViejas Casino, Poway Community Park, San Diego Ice Arena, or the Ice Rink at Rady Children’s Hospital.


Belmont Park (1.1 miles)

(Photo: @belmontparksd)

San Diego’s favorite boardwalk theme park always goes all-out with holiday cheer. Every holiday, Belmont is filled with activities, midway games, and other fun distractions that can easily fill a day’s worth of sun-filled fun. Don’t miss the tiki mini-golf, climbing wall, roller coasters, or sky ropes course! Of course, the extra festive décor during the holidays always makes for some family-friendly photos. Surfin’ Santa always comes by for photos, and the carousel will be decked out in festive finery. So stop in, have fun, and grab some shots! And speaking of shots, if your seasonal plans include a little holiday spirit of the distilled variety, be sure to stop by the nearby Beach House Tequila + Taqueria for a little sippable warmth.

Belmont Park: B3146 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Beach House Tequila + Taqueria: 3125 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109


Liberty Station (3.9 miles)

(Photo: @libertystation)

Liberty Station is a place where locals and visitors can convene to meet, shop, dine, and enjoy entertainment. It’s really a “town square” of sorts for the city, drawing millions of visitors every year. And it truly comes alive during the holidays. Liberty Station’s “Salute the Season” celebration offers visitors a wide range of events and occasions where they can mix and mingle and grab some yuletide snapshots — including the annual tree lighting, arrival of Santa, menorah ceremony, and much more.

2820 Historic Decatur Rd. San Diego, CA 92106


Seaport Village (7.2 miles)

Seaport Village in San Diego

(Photo: @seaport_village)

The oceanfront enclave of Seaport Village has everything you need for your holidays, with special events, gifts, the much-anticipated return of Surfin’ Santa, and more. Visitors always enjoy crossing names off of their holiday shopping lists as they stroll the Village’s sunny, open-air thoroughfares. Specialty shops offer seasonal items ideally-suited for home décor and gifts. Plus, Seaport Village is a great place to sit with a meal or beverage, and check out the Mission Bay Parade of Lights!

849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101


“Greetings from San Diego” Mural (8.3 miles)

(Photo: @d.c._realestate)

This incredibly photogenic backdrop in North Park quickly became just as much of a San Diego landmark as LA’s hillside “Hollywood” sign or the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign in Sin City. There’s just no better spot to snap a “wish you were here” pic than right here. And after you grab your shot, there’s plenty to do in the area, too — starting with stopping in at next door’s Belching Beaver Brewery for a few pints of local holiday cheer.

4225 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104


Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier (10.7 miles)

(Photo: @thescrippspier)

You simply can’t leave town without securing a pic at one of the most iconic spots in San Diego: just beneath Scripps Pier. This famous landmark has been one of the city’s most popular photo settings for years, featured on postcards, holiday cards, in engagement and wedding photos, and countless other stunning snaps. If you’d like to grab a few for yourself, the short drive to charming nearby La Jolla is worth the trip.

8650 Kennel Way, La Jolla, CA


Torrey Pines Reserve (18 miles)

Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego

Torrey Pines Reserve is one of San Diego’s most visually stunning outdoor spaces. Ancient sandstone features sweep elegantly across the terrain here, adjacent to truly spectacular views of the Pacific. If hiking’s your thing, While here, don’t miss getting a shot of the most notable feature of this striking area — the reserve is one of the only places on Earth where you can see the Torrey Pine, one of the rarest trees in existence.

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037


Start Your Seasonal Snaps Tour at The Dana

(Photo: @danamissionbay)

Ready to plan your seasonal sojourn to sunny San Diego? The Dana on Mission Bay is the perfect way to stay! We’re not only centrally located right on beautiful Mission Bay, but we’ve also got exceptional accommodations, thoughtful amenities, festive décor, and exclusive offers sure to fill you with good cheer. Reserve your holiday getaway today!