One of the best places to celebrate the holidays in San Diego is at the iconic Hotel Del Coronado.
The beachfront hotel will offer a full lineup of holiday activities including Skating by the Sea, the renowned ice-skating rink overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and so much more festive fun for the 2019 – 2020 season.
The theme is A White Christmas. While you’re there, be sure to stop in to see the two-story lobby tree decorated with ornaments in wintery whites, silver, and glass.
Here’s what’s happening at the hotel between Thanksgiving week and the first week of January.
See also: 15 Things to Do at the Hotel Del Coronado
Skating by the Sea
Daily from November 22 – January 5
Skating by the Sea is truly a Southern California experience and a great thing to do in San Diego for kids during the holiday season. This spectacular rink is located on the Windsor Lawn and features stunning views of the ocean and Coronado beach.
Skating sessions will be offered daily with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of San Diego. Note that opening times vary by day so be sure to check their detailed schedule of opening hours.
Guests may also reserve their own rink-side lounge at Frostbite: A Place to Chill, featuring seating for 4 – 6 around a fire pit and food and beverage service.
Skating is $35 per person ($30 per person if you buy online) and includes skate rentals. Reservations to skate are not required but why not save $5 and purchase tickets online.
Thanksgiving Day Buffet
Thursday, November 28
Join Hotel Del Coronado for a festive Thanksgiving weekend, beginning with a lavish buffet in the oceanfront Ballroom and in the iconic Crown Room on November 28, from 12 – 6:30 p.m.
View the menu and make reservations online. The cost is $140 for adults and $50 for children ages 4 – 10. Children ages 3 and under are free.
Krystal the Ice Princess
November 29 and 30, December 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 20 – 31 from 5 – 9 p.m.
Kids can look forward to meeting Krystal the Ice Princess who reigns over a magical land in the clouds where snowflakes are formed called Nimbus. She will do her best to bring winter and snowflakes to sunny Coronado.
Sunday Brunch with Santa
Sundays; December 1, 8, 15 and 22
During The Del’s famous Sunday Brunch, kids of all ages can visit Jolly Ol’ St. Nick in the Crown Room. (Parents will appreciate the bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys.)
Reservations are available between 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The cost is $105 for adults, and $40 for children ages 6 – 12. Children ages 5 and under are free. Make reservations and read further detail online.
Wednesday, December 11
On Wednesday, December 11, from 3:30 – 10 p.m., Del will host its annual Holiday Festival for the entire family though with many more activities than in prior years. The schedule is as follows:
- Photos with Santa: 3:30 – 8 p.m.
- Carnival games on Del Beach: 4 – 9 p.m.
- Snow Globe Bouncy House 4 – 9 p.m.
- Coronado school performances in The Ballroom: 4 – 5 p.m.
- Krystal, the Ice Princess – 5 – 9 p.m.
- Skating by the Sea on Windsor Lawn: 7 – 10 p.m.
- Jeff Granito ornament and artwork signing: 4 – 7 p.m.
- S’mores on Del Beach: 6 – 8 p.m.
- Skating performance on Windsor Lawn: 6:15 – 6:45 p.m.
- Fireworks on Del Beach: 6:45 p.m.
Tip: Make sure to make skating reservations in advance during this popular event.
White Christmas Social
Thursday, December 12 at 6 p.m.
Enjoy a Christmas party Hotel Del Coronado style complete with dinner, cocktails, dancing and a live DJ in the Crown Room during the White Christmas Social.
- Dinner Only (with cash bar) – $75 per person
- Dinner + 2 Drink Tickets – $105 per person
- Dinner + Open Bar – $150 per person
Holiday Movies At the Beach
December 14, 21 and 31
Watch favorite holiday-themed films (The Santa Clause on December 15 and Elf on December 22) in a “theater under the stars” on Del Beach. Lounge in a beach daybed or in a sand chair, enjoying s’mores as well.
December 14: Elf (2003)
December 21: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
December 31: Aladdin (2019)
Tickets are $20 per chair or $300 for the special VIP Family Movie Package. Reserve online. Movies begin at 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. (on December 31, the movie begins at 6:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m.)
Tip: On December 31, you’ll want to stay later for the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop at 9 p.m., followed by beach fireworks.
December 16, 18, 19, 21, and 23
Victorian Tea at The Del returns for the holidays between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. This charming tradition features dozens of traditional tea varieties served with finger sandwiches, classic tea cookies, and tarts. The cost is $65 for adults, and $35 for children ages 6 – 12. Children ages 5 and under are free. Make reservations online.
December 16 – 26 from 6 – 9:30 p.m.
Gather friends and family around the fire on the beach at sunset for a Jingle Roast at the Hotel Del Coronado. Colorful Santa hats and holiday s’mores are included but you can also opt for a full menu of fireside franks and other roasted favorites. Fire pits are $125 for 1 hour with optional add-on extras also available.
Polar Bear Tea
Saturday, December 20 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Families are invited to Polar Bear Tea for a classic tea party experience. A special children’s spread will include activities like cupcake and cookie decorating, crafts storytime with Mrs. Claus and more.
Bring a new, unwrapped teddy bear to donate to Toys for Tots and receive a plush polar bear keepsake gift from Coca-Cola. A portion of the proceeds from this tea will be donated to Toys for Tots. The cost is $65 for adults and $35 for children ages 4 – 10. Children ages 3 and under are free.
Chanukah Menorah Lighting
December 22 – 29
Join The Del as they light the menorah in the lobby to celebrate each night of Chanukah. On most nights it is held at 5 p.m. Check the detailed nightly schedule for exact times.
Chanukah on Ice
Thursday, December 26 starting at 4:30 p.m.
Celebrate Chanukah at Skating By The Sea (see above). Chabad of Coronado hosts a special skating session, Menorah lighting ceremony, ice skating show, and Chanukah treats at Chanukah on Ice.
Veuve Clicquot Lawn Lounge
A pop-up bar on wheels, in partnership with Veuve Clicquot, will roll up to the Windsor Lawn, serving champagne, a full menu of spirits and cocktails to the 21 and older crowd. This adults-only area will also feature lawn games and space to chill.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dining
Tuesday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 25
Celebrate Christmas Eve with a lavish four-course dinner from 4 – 7 p.m. in the magnificent Crown Room. The cost is $120 for adults, $55 for children ages 4 – 10, and children ages 3 and under are free.
On Christmas Day, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., enjoy a holiday feast in the oceanfront Ballroom or the historic Crown Room. The cost is $140 for adults, $50 for children ages 4-10, and children ages 3 and under are free.
New Year’s Eve Gala
Tuesday, December 31 from 7:00 pm – January 1 at 1:00 am
Hotel Del Coronado is the perfect place to ring in the New Year. For the annual New Year’s Eve Gala, the oceanfront ballroom transforms into a black and white masquerade gala, Bal Masque. Guests will enjoy a 5-course dinner, grand open bar, and music from the Mighty Untouchables. This event is for ages 21 and over only and priced at $375/person ($425 for VIP Ringside seating).
Kids and Teens New Year’s Eve Party
Tuesday, December 31 from 7:00 pm – January 1 at 12:30 am
Kids and teens ages 5-17 may enjoy their own New Year’s Eve party and dinner. Segregated by age groups. Kids 4-7 will celebrate together, as will those ages 8-12 and 13-17. The cost is $125 per child and $100 per additional child.
New Year’s Day Brunch
Monday, January 1 from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Recover from a fun night out at The Del’s annual New Year’s Day Champagne Brunch. Served in the historic Crown Room guests enjoy a chilled seafood bar, carving stations, gourmet Bloody Mary bar, made-to-order mimosas, and a spectacular candy and dessert bar. The cost is $140 for adults, $50 for children ages 4 – 10 and children ages 3 and under are free.
Holiday Shopping and The Annual Christmas Ornament
And, let’s not forget holiday shopping the various stores on-site like Babcock & Story Emporium and Spreckels Sweets & Treats.
This year’s Annual Collector’s Ornament celebrates A White Christmas and comes in a beautiful, padded gift box, ready for both travel and gift-giving. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Coronado Schools Foundation. You can order it online.
A Special Holiday Room Package
Many people, even locals, stay overnight at Hotel Del Coronado during the holiday season. I have some advice if this is in your plans.
Please book into the Victorian Building as the main pool is being renovated by the Ocean Towers and the California Cabana rooms are closed for renovation. The renovations do not impact holiday events or your enjoyment of the resort.
It’s best to book in one of two ways: Hilton’s Skating by the Sea package or Virtuoso (the latter is usually more advantageous).
The Skating by the Sea package includes overnight accommodations and two Skating by the Sea passes daily. Book this directly through Hilton.
If you won’t be skating or are considering a longer stay, it might be more beneficial to book with Virtuoso benefits that can include complimentary breakfast for two (buffet breakfast at Sheerwater), a $100 spa credit, room upgrade subject to availability (these are difficult to come by during winter break).
*If on mobile, scroll down to the footer and click “Full Site” to access online rates and booking.
See also: The Most Luxurious San Diego Beach Vacation: Beach Village at The Del
Other Hotel Del Coronado Holiday Tips
The Hotel Del Coronado is a popular place to spend the holiday season. Reservations for any dining, spa, and special events are highly encouraged. The common areas of the hotel are quite busy during the holiday season.
The entire hotel is valet parking only and that timed street parking is extremely limited.
What is your favorite thing to do at the Hotel Del Coronado during the holidays?
*Top photo is used courtesy of Hotel Del Coronado