One of the best places to celebrate the holidays in San Diego is at the iconic Hotel del Coronado

The beachfront hotel offers a full lineup of holiday activities that have been modified to fit the requirements of this most interesting year.

Sadly, one popular activity on pause is Skating by the Sea, the renowned ice-skating rink overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I am hopeful that it will return in 2021.

Whether you check-in overnight or visit for the day, here’s what to expect at the resort between Thanksgiving week and the first week of January.

See also: 15 Things to Do at the Hotel Del Coronado

1. Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Thursday, November 26

Sadly, due to state regulations, dinner in the spectacular Crown Room has been canceled. Thanksgiving dinner at Serea is sold out. However, you can bring a fantastic Hotel del Coronado Thanksgiving dinner home with you for 10-12 people to eat with your family. Reserve online.

2. Winter Wonderland

The Windsor Lawn will be turned into an outdoor Winter Wonderland of festive holiday activities.

Beachfront Christmas Tree

Go to see the 35-foot outdoor Christmas tree on the Windsor Lawn that will be the focal point of the resort during the season.

(Locals and tourists usually come to see the tree in the historic lobby which is closed for renovation. So, this is the hotel tree to take photos of this year.)

Pictures with Santa

While Santa sits in his sleigh full of presents, guests will be able to take properly distanced photos in front of the sleigh. The cost is $20 and includes a professionally-taken 5×7 photo printed onsite. You will need to make a reservation.

Frostbite Bar

Get your holiday treats and libations on the South Paseo Lawn at the Frostbite Bar.

To-Go Holiday Crafts

Guests will be able to purchase to-go holiday crafts for kids to do at home on in their hotel rooms. These include cookie decorating kits, kids’ crafts including a faux gingerbread house, a DIY snow globe, Santa hat and ornament decorating kits.

3. Holiday Movies At the Beach

December 12, 19 and 31

Watch favorite holiday-themed films in a “theater under the stars” on Del Beach. Lounge in a beach daybed or in a sand chair, enjoying s’mores as well — physically distanced, of course.

December 12: A Christmas Story (1983)
December 19: 
Elf (2003)
December 31: 
Back to the Future (1985) + the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop at 9pm and beach fireworks

Tickets are $20 per chair or $300 for the special VIP Family Movie Package. Movies begin at 6:30 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. Reserve online.

4. Jingle Roasts

December 15 – 25 at 5:30 or 7:00 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 $230 for 1 hour with optional add-on extras also available. You can take advantage of this whether you’re a day or overnight guest, but reservations are required.

5. 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 features Santa in his sleigh, honoring the spirit of the holiday season at Hotel del Coronado. It 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 or pick it up in The Signature Shop.

6. Book A Special Holiday Room Package (or Use My Benefits)

Many people, even locals, stay overnight at Hotel del Coronado during the holiday season. I have some advice if this is in your plans. And, I also have access to some amazing perks and service at the hotel.

It’s best to book in one of two ways: the Merry and Bright package or Virtuoso (the latter is usually more advantageous).

The Merry and Bright package includes a 2020 Annual Collector’s Ornament and a $50 Daily Resort Credit for use towards dining, spa, and activities. Book this directly through Hilton.

However, it’s usually more beneficial to book with Virtuoso benefits that can include complimentary breakfast for two (a la carte breakfast at Sheerwater), a $100 resort credit, room upgrade subject to availability (these are difficult to come by during winter break), and my help.

*If on a mobile device you’ll need to access the desktop version of the site in your browser to access online rates and booking.

See also: The Most Luxurious San Diego Beach Vacation: Beach Village at The Del

A Placeholder for Skating by the Sea

Many of you are already thinking about traveling later in 2021. So, I’m leaving the 2019 Skating by the Sea details her so that you can see how neat of a holiday event it is.

The Hotel Del Coronado offers some of the best holiday events in San Diego from Skating by the Sea to Victorian tea.
Where else can you ice skate on the beach?

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 usually located on the Windsor Lawn and features stunning views of the ocean and Coronado beach.

A portion of the proceeds benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of San Diego. Guests were able to 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.

Let’s hope we can skate again next year!

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, but health and safety measures are in place.

Right now, the entire hotel is self-parking only and that timed street parking is extremely limited. Parking is $20 for the first two hours ($10 discount with purchases) and $10 per hour after that or $40/night for overnight guests.

I do not yet have information about Christmas dinner at Hotel del Coronado or New Year’s Eve festivities. When I do, it will be posted here.

What is your favorite thing to do at the Hotel del Coronado during the holidays?

*Top photo is used courtesy of Hotel del Coronado

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  1. Great post! Though we’ve live in Coronado, The Del has continues to be a Christmas destination for us for over 24 years. I also collect the ornaments (but don’t have 24 because I don’t always like the design), and part of the proceeds benefit the Coronado Schools Foundation. Fab place all around!

  2. We go to the Del every year at Christmas time to view The Tree and buy a new Christmas ornament. The Del never fails to deliver….Love Love Love the candy store…have had my eye on the mini version huge stuffed black lab for years.. maybe I’ll purchase this year…