Garden of Lights

San Diego Botanic Garden’s Annual Gift to the San Diego Community

Santa Claus came early to the Garden this year and decided to offer FREE Admission for Active Duty Military and up to 5 immediate family members on the following dates during Garden of Lights 5-9 pm:
December 7, 8
December 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
December 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
December 26, 27, 28, & 29

Just show your Military ID at the Welcome Center on any of these dates for FREE admission at San Diego Botanic Garden, located at 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas. For more information visit

Garden of Lights 2016

December 3 – 23 and 26 – 30
5 – 9 pm

After the sun goes down in December, the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland! More than 125,000 sparkling lights illuminate the flora of this fantastic 37-acre urban oasis each evening from 5 – 9 pm for a magical holiday experience.

Garden of Lights, from December 3 – 23 & 26 – 30, is the San Diego Botanic Garden’s annual gift to the San Diego Community. Garden of Lights has events and activities that everyone in your family will enjoy. Nightly entertainment, including local blues and jazz bands, as well as delicious food from Red Oven Artisanal Pizza and Pasta, and hot coffee and treats from the Jitter Bean, will be available. Numerous family-friendly activities are also part of the festivities including:

  • Horse-drawn wagon rides (on selected evenings)
  • Holiday Crafts
  • Spin Art
  • Marshmallow Roasting
  • Visits with Santa (December 3 – 23)
  • Hot Mulled Wine
  • Snow for sledding (on selected evenings)
  • Puppet Shows (on selected evenings)
  • Holiday Carolers (on selected evenings)
  • Nutcracker display

Unique plant-related gift items will be on sale at our Gift Shops for the plant lovers in your life. Cork purses, garden-themed jewelry, hats, aprons, candles, and garden art are all available. As well as winter plants, ready to enhance your holiday garden.

Come out and experience the holidays ‘Southern California Style’ at San Diego Botanic Garden’s Garden of Lights!

(Sunday – Thursday):
Members $10; Seniors, Active Military and Students $10; Non-Members $15.
Children ages 3–12, $5.

Admission on Premium Nights
(Friday and Saturday):
Members, Seniors, Active Military and Students $10, Non-Members $20
Children ages 3–12, $5.

(Coupons will not be accepted for Garden of Lights)

There will be additional fees for some activities.

2016 Activities Calendar

DATE % Chance
of Snow*
Entertainment Horse &
  Garden of Lights Garden of Lights Garden of Lights Garden of Lights
Dec 7
100% YES Ecke YMCA dance group NO
Dec 8
75% YES Moonlight Youth
Holiday Stars
Dec 9
50% YES Latin Holidays with
The Ray Briz Trio
Dec 10
100% YES Sacha Boutros wishes you a Merry Christmas! YES
Dec 11
75% YES Peace on Earth Carolers -
A Victorian Christmas
Mon, Dec 12 100% YES The Decembers - A 1950s Christmas celebration YES
Dec 13
75% YES

Carlsbad Community Theatre

Wed, Dec 14 50% YES Janet Hammer ‘Sweathearts’ trio YES
Thur, Dec 15 N/A YES Highland Way X-Mas Show YES
Dec 16
N/A YES Rhythm Express
(Janet Hammer trio)
Dec 17
N/A YES Leonard Patton singing in the Holidays YES

Dec 18

N/A YES Mariachi imperial de
san diego
Mon, Dec 19 N/A YES Double Take YES
Dec 20
N/A YES Holiday Hipsters Quartet YES
Dec 21
N/A YES Tripp Sprague & the Ray Briz Trio wishing you
Happy Holidays
Dec 22
N/A YES Jimmer Bolden Quartet wishing you Jazzy Holidays YES
Dec 23
N/A YES Jimmer Bolden Quartet wishing you Jazzy Holidays YES
Dec 26
100% YES The guitar & vocal sounds
of ‘JJ’ Jenkins
Dec 27
50% YES Joe Rathburn - An Eclectic Accoustic Holiday YES
Dec 28
100% YES Joe Rathburn- An Eclectic Accoustic Holiday YES
Dec 29
50% YES Con Alma wishing you Happy Holidays YES
Dec 30
25% YES Len Rainey & the Midnight Players- Bluesy Holidays YES

*The snow forecast is a “Best Guess” prediction based on information available at the time of posting. All snow activity days are dependent upon the current weather conditions and subject to change.  

Children’s Crafts – Crafts are available each night in the Ecke Building

Visits with Santa – Available each night through December 23

Marshmallow Roasting –
Available each night in the Lawn Patio area

Food by Red Oven Pizza
Artisan Pizzas

Feel Good Coffee Cart Traditional fare: coffee, hot cocoa, spiced cider, snacks and s’mores are available next to the Gift Shop

All Activities Are Subject To Change Without Notice


Watch the GOL video – click here


The Garden of Lights is presented by the County of San Diego

County of San Diego

Gold Sponsors of the Garden of Lights.

Shea Homes

The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians
are Gold Sponsors of the Garden of Lights.

County of San Diego

Garden of Light sponsorship opportunities are now available!
Please contact Carolyn Zollars
at or 760/ 436-3036 x216.

Garden of Lights

Garden of Lights

Banner Photos by John Bryant and Rachel Cobb