Thanksgiving is more than just a day to gorge on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. It is also a time to get out and celebrate the many things to be thankful for in San Diego. Thanks to our great weather, San Diego offers a number of exciting activities and events to celebrate the holiday both indoors and outdoors across the county.
Catch a flick — Looking for a fun activity to help recover from your turkey-induced food coma on Thanksgiving weekend? The much-anticipated second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, “Catching Fire”, is now screening at Digiplex Mission Valley 7 Theatre at the Hazard Center, and DonorNation is offering discounted movie tickets right here. Not only can you be thankful for the great deal, but you can also show your thanks by supporting a local school of your choice through your ticket purchase. Tickets are valid on Saturday, November 30 at 9 a.m.
Pig out animal style — The San Diego Zoo is getting wild this Thanksgiving with two gourmet dining options at Albert’s Restaurant and the Zoo’s Treetops Banquet Room. Choose from a three-course prix fixe Thanksgiving feast at Albert’s Restaurant for $37.50 for adults and $13.95 for children 3 to 11, or dine on a bountiful buffet at the Zoo’s Treetops Banquet Room from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $42.50 for adults and $18.95 for children ages 3 to 11. Both dining options come with Zoo admissions, and the fine fare is sure to satisfy any diner’s ferocious stomach growling this Thanksgiving.
Take a Thanksgiving Day trot – Before indulging in a scrumptious Thanksgiving Day feast, take a trot alongside 10,000 fellow San Diegans for Father Joe’s Villages’ 12th annual Thanksgiving Day 5K run to help those in need. The Thanksgiving Day run begins at Balboa Park’s Museum of Man at 1350 El Prado. All proceeds from registration fees go to help provide housing, health care, food clothing, education, job training and child development for San Diego’s homeless population. Race registration closes on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Tickets for timed and non-timed races are available here for $42-$45 for adults or $32- $33 for children ages 6 to 12.
Ice skate by the city or the sea – For a one-of-a-kind experience that can only happen in a seaside city like San Diego, Hotel Del Coronado is offering a unique outdoor ice skating experience overlooking a stunning coastal panorama of the great Pacific. Each year, the historic hotel converts its oceanfront Windsor Lawn into a shimmering sheet of ice with daily skating sessions available from Nov. 27 to Jan. 5. Tickets for one 2-hour session are $23 for adults and $18 for children 10 and under. Military members and patrons who wear their own ice skates will receive a $5 discount off the regular ticket price. A portion of the skating proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.
If you want to experience some family fun in the heart of America’s Finest City, while also helping out a good cause, take the family out for an ice skating session at Horton Square in downtown San Diego. Just grab your coat and gloves and get to Horton Plaza anytime between Nov. 21 and Jan. 5 for an icy wintertime experience in the city. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for children ages 12 and under, and season passes are $35. Admission includes rental ice skates for the duration of the season, and proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital.
Help others in need — Thanksgiving Day is not only a day to count one’s blessings; it is also a day to reflect on how you might help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Taking the time to volunteer during the holidays not only lifts your own spirits, but it also lifts the spirits of fellow San Diegans in need. The San Diego Food Bank offers endless opportunities to volunteer as an individual or a group to help hundreds of families during the holidays by packaging food for distribution. Volunteer projects include cleaning and packaging fresh produce, inspecting, sorting, boxing and labeling food donations, and assembling food packages for seniors, moms with children and school-aged children.
Shop ‘til you drop — For shopping aficionados, Black Friday may be even more exciting than Thanksgiving Day itself. For those savvy bargain shoppers and deal-seeking fashionistas looking for the best deals in town on Friday, Nov. 29, look no further than your own San Diego backyard. Westfield UTC, Fashion Valley, Carlsbad Premium Outlets, and the newly-opened Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar open at midnight on Black Friday to give those devoted San Diego shoppers the opportunity to hit the deals early. With shopping hotspots across the county offering the hottest deals in town, don’t miss out on great holiday shopping opportunity at a shopping center near you!
Sea life in coastal tide pools – For a nature-loving holiday activity, take the family outdoors this Thanksgiving to observe a marvelous slice of San Diego’s vast coastal ecosystem right at the foot of Cabrillo National Monument. Point Loma’s underwater pools teem with sea life ranging from flowery anemones, octopi, starfish, sea cucumbers, crabs and urchins. Low tides and winter months during full and new moons offer some of the best viewing opportunities, so get your family into the great outdoors and see an underwater winter wonderland like no other.
Amuse the family at a theme park – Thanks to San Diego’s proximity to a number of family-friendly amusement parks like LegoLand, SeaWorld and the Wild Animal Park, opportunities to entertain the entire family throughout San Diego County are vast during the holiday season. Many offer special activities just for the holidays, like LegoLand’s “Holiday Snow Days” and “Winter Nights” fun complete with snow tubing, snowman-building, holiday lights shows, and more holiday entertainment between Nov. 29 and Dec. 25. SeaWorld is also transforming its park into a winter wonderland for a Christmas Celebration, from Nov. 16 to Jan. 4 complete with a “Snow World” attraction, breakfast with Santa and Shamu offering, and nightly lighting of San Diego’s largest Christmas tree.
Add a bit of drama — From now until Dec. 15, La Jolla Playhouse and DonorNation are offering great deals on tickets to “Side Show”, a re-imagined musical theatre performance based on the true story of conjoined twin sisters and entertainers Violet and Daisy Hilton. Watch the extraordinary tale unfold in front of your very eyes as the sisters venture on a quest toward musical stardom in the 1930s vaudeville circuit, while also striving to find love and normalcy in the spotlight. To show your gratitude to schools this Thanksgiving, shop for your tickets on DonorNation and 100% of the proceeds from your tickets’ purchase price will be donated to the school of your choice.