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

The beachfront hotel offers a full lineup of holiday activities. Many exciting activities and events that could not take place last year are returning this year. 

Good news! One popular Christmastime activity that will be returning in 2021 is Skating by the Sea, the renowned ice-skating rink overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

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. Skating by the Sea

November 22–January 2

The Hotel Del Coronado offers some of the best holiday events in San Diego from Skating by the Sea to Victorian tea.

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. Tickets cost $35 per person for 90 minutes of skating time and can be reserved online.

Discounted tickets will be available for military members and first responders on particular days for $30. Check out the schedule online for the specific hours the rink will be available for use. 

2. Frostbite Bar

November 22–January 2

Get your holiday treats and libations on the South Paseo Lawn at the Frostbite Bar. With a perfect view of the beachfront ice skating, guests in groups of up to six people can sit around a cozy fire pit with access to a full food and beverage service.

The minimum pricing for the food and beverage service is $100 for 1–3 people and an extra $30 will be charged for every additional person. An additional $50 reservation fee will be included to reserve each lounge.

Guests can make their reservations online in advance. 

3. Thanksgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 25

This year, Hotel del Coronado’s magnificent Thanksgiving dinner will be featured at The Del’s Crown Room and Coronet Room. Guests are invited to give thanks and celebrate with friends and family over an extravagant feast and live musical entertainment.

Pricing includes $175 for adults (ages 11 and up) and $75 for children ages 4–10, plus additional charges. Children who are three and under will be granted free entry.

While the Thanksgiving dinner is currently sold out, guests are invited to join the waitlist online. For those interested, the menu is also available online for viewing. 

4. Pictures with Santa

December 1, 9–11, 16–18, and 22–24

Guests of all ages are invited to take photos with Old St. Nick on the beachfront Paseo Lawn. The cost is $25 and includes a professionally-taken 5×7 photo printed onsite.

Guests are also welcome to take their own photos, as well. For those interested, you can make a reservation online to secure your spot. 

5. Two-Story Lobby Christmas Tree

November 22–January 2

Swing by the newly-renovated lobby for a peek at the famous lobby Christmas tree. It’s one of the most popular places to snap photos.

6. Holiday Movies At the Beach

December 4, 11, 18 and 31

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

  • December 4: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • December 11: A Christmas Story (1983)
  • December 19: Elf (2003)
  • December 31: Big (1988) + the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop at 9 pm

Tickets are $25 per chair or $300 for the special VIP Family Movie Package. Movies begin at 7:30 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. Interested parties must make reservations online.

Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets to stay warm, but there will also be a limited number of blankets for sale. 

7. Jingle Roasts

December 15–25 at 5:30 or 7:30 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 to purchase food from ENO Market & Pizzeria or the Beach + Taco Shack.

Fire pits are $230 for 1 hour for up to 10 people 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.

8. Gingerbread Houses

December 17, 19, 20, and 21

This holiday season, guests are invited to decorate gingerbread houses in the Coronet Room. This sweet event will be bursting with festive decorations and holiday treats, including a fully stocked candy bar.

To make things easy, the culinary team at Hotel del Coronado will be pre-assembling the gingerbread houses to allow kids of all ages to focus on the best part: decorating. Pricing includes $60 per gingerbread house and reservations must be made in advance. 

9. Elf Deliveries

December 10–24

Do you want to surprise your loved ones with a little something special? Leading up to Christmas Day, Santa’s elves from the Hotel del Coronado are delivering personalized, themed bags to rooms upon request filled with holiday treats, a stuffed animal, and a book signed by Santa himself.

Pricing is $75 per child and reservations can be made online. 

10. Victorian Tea

December 17, 19, 20 and 21, 1–4 p.m.

Guests can enjoy a wide range of teas, finger sandwiches, and sweet treats while relaxing to beautiful music in the Coronet Room.

If you have children you would like to bring along, there are special kids plates catered for a younger crowd that are available.

This Victorian Tea will truly feel like you’ve been transported to another time. Pricing includes $75 for adults (ages 11 and up) and $40 for children ages 4–10, plus additional charges. Children ages 3 and under can attend the tea free of charge.

The Victorian Tea is currently sold out, but guests can join the waitlist online. 

11. Christmas Eve

December 24

This year, guests can experience an extraordinary Christmas Eve at the Crown Room and Coronet Room, while marveling at the sparkling lights, magnificent Christmas Trees, garlands, and holiday decor. This special event will feature a holiday buffet with traditional fare, along with some surprise dishes.

Pricing includes $175 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $75 for children ages 4-10, plus additional charges. Children ages three and under can dine for free. Reservations must be made and prepaid. 

12. Christmas Day

December 25

Guests can celebrate Christmas Day with a special holiday banquet at the Crown Room and Coronet Room. The elaborate menu will include all of your favorite Christmas fixings along with some less traditional options.

Along with the delicious feast, guests can take in their surroundings, which will include sparkling lights, towering trees, garlands, holiday decorations, and the two-story Christmas tree in The Del’s lobby.

Pricing includes $175 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $75 for children ages 4–10, plus additional charges. Children ages three and under can dine for free. Reservations must be made and prepaid.

13. New Year’s Eve Gala

December 31

Guests are invited to reign in New Year’s Eve at a 20’s Speakeasy-themed event in the Crown Room. The lively event will include a live DJ, performances, live-action food stations, a midnight champagne toast, and an open bar. Reservations are not currently available yet for this event. 

14. New Year’s Day Brunch

January 1, 2022

This year, Hotel del Coronado is going all on out for its New Year’s Day Brunch. This elegant affair will take place in the Ocean View Ballroom and will feature a brunch menu filled with a chilled seafood bar, regionally inspired dishes, international cuisine, and carving stations.

Pricing includes $230 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $100 for children ages 4–10, plus additional charges. Children ages three and under can dine for free. If desired, guests can also upgrade reservations to enjoy the bottomless Mimosa & Bloody Mary bar. Reservations can be made online. 

15. Holiday Shopping and The Annual Christmas Ornament

And, let’s not forget holiday shopping at the various stores on-site like Babcock & Story Emporium. 

This year’s Annual Collector’s Ornament is inspired by the hotel’s 1888 stained glass “Coronation Window,” which was restored earlier in 2021, and can now be viewed at the resort’s Front Porch and Lobby. An interior light is also included on this gorgeous ornament.

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 now participate in the exclusive online pre-sale

16. 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 Skating by the Sea package or Virtuoso (the latter is usually more advantageous).

The Skating by the Sea package includes two passes to Skating by the Sea. Book this directly through Hilton.

However, it’s usually more beneficial to book with Virtuoso benefits that include:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (room upgrades are not possible in Beach Village)
  • Daily breakfast credit of $40 per person for two guests per bedroom
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

*The desktop version of Virtuoso.com is where you’ll search rates and book online. To enable the desktop version from a mobile device, after clicking on a Virtuoso hotel link, scroll down to the navy blue section at the bottom of the web page and click “Full Site.” When searching rates, do not input children ages 17 and under as they will be priced as adults. I’m notified when you book and will add them when I contact you about your reservation. You can also use my form to request rates.

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, but health and safety measures are in place.

Day guests use self-parking in the North Garage only. The current parking rates are $20 for the first 2 hours and $10 for each additional hour. The daily maximum is $70. However, if you shop or dine at the resort you’ll receive a $10 parking discount.

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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3 Comments

  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…