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Thanksgiving Activities in San Diego

What to do with family and friends during Thanksgiving Week.


Thanksgiving activities often involves a meal and activities with family and friends. Here are some suggestions to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Diego.

Ice Skating at Horton Plaza

Usher in the holidays as you skate in a festive outdoor rink, a cool way to help the Rady Children’s Cancer Care Center. Open daily beginning through Jan. 6, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Adults $14; kids $12. 225 Broadway, adjacent to Horton Plaza, downtown San Diego.

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Hotel Del Coronado

If you want a grand setting for your Thanksgiving meal (and don't want to fuss with cooking a turkey), what better place to do it than the Hotel del Coronado? The oceanfront Ballroom and magnificent Crown Room feature elegant buffet dinners decked with all the trimmings and live musical entertainment. Adults, $89.50; Children ages 6-10, $39.50; Children 5 and under are free. 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Afterwards, go ice skating at the hotel's seaside ice skating rink.

Visit the Tide Pools

Because the year's lowest tides typically occur during fall and winter, November and December is a great time to explore the natural wonders of our ocean tide pool ecosystems. You can explore sea creatures in their ocean environment: crabs, sea mollusks, fish, octopi. It's a fascinating glimpse into a very fragile ecosystem. Which means look but don't touch - and absolutely, do not remove any living creatures from the pools. If you do, you contribute to the extinction of this wonderful environment.

Ice Skate by the Sea

The Hotel del Coronado is pleased to offer a unique Southern California experience – outdoor ice skating overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The oceanfront Windsor Lawn will be transformed into a spectacular ice rink with skating sessions offered daily. November 25 – December 187: Daily: 2pm - 5pm & 6pm - 9pm; weekend & holiday matinee: 11am - 1pm. December 18 - January 2: Daily: 2pm - 5pm & 6pm - 9pm; daily matinee: 11am - 1pm. Three-hour sessions cost $20 for adults and $15* for kids (ages 10 years and under); two-hour matinee sessions cost $15 for adults and $10* for kids (ages 10 years and under). Skate rental is $5 per person.

Father Joe's Thanksgiving Day 5K

Help Father Joe provide more than 1.7 Million meals. You can help change the lives of your neighbors in need. Run or walk on a course winding through beautiful Balboa Park. Thursday, November 22, 2012. 8 a.m. San Diego Museum of Man 1350 El Prado, Balboa Park

Go Out to Dinner

Forget about stressing over cooking a turkey, just reserve a table online and enjoy a fine Thanksgiving meal at a number of local restaurants serving up special Thanksgiving menus. Check out the participating restaurants at OpenTable.com.

Volunteer For The Holidays

Make a difference and give back to the community. You can help hungry San Diego families by volunteering at the San Diego Food Bank. If you are an individual, you can join a fun group project. If you are looking to sign up a large group, we can work with you to get everything set up. The average volunteer visit is three hours, and in that time you will help hundreds of families in need by processing and packaging food for distribution.

Start Your Christmas Shopping

The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, is obviously the start of the holiday shopping season. Now, you might think, "Why would I want to fight the madness that ensues at the local shopping center?" I don't have an answer for that, but thousands of people feel compelled to do so. Maybe it's having a sense of community with your fellow citizens? Or maybe you just need another TV for $150?

Visit an Amusement Park

You have friends visiting from out of town. Or maybe you just feel like playing tourist with your time off. It's a good time to hit one of the local amusement and theme parks. San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Legoland - Thanksgiving week is a good time to take in the local theme park experiences.

Mother Goose Parade

It's considered the unofficial start of the holiday season in San Diego. So, what better way to head into Thanksgiving week than to attend a parade? The Mother Goose Parade is a San Diego institution and attracts upwards of 400,000 spectators along the streets of El Cajon. The event always takes place the Sunday before Thanksgiving and the parade begins at 10 a.m.

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