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Five Full Days of Holiday Fun in San Diego’s Balboa Park

Celebrate the holidays with visiting family and friends under Balboa Park’s dazzling holiday light display. For five days and evenings between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the annual Holiday Food Truck Festival serves up gourmet food from over a dozen of San Diego’s top food trucks, along with free live entertainment and fun activities for families. Food trucks will be in the park beginning at 12:00 p.m., with live entertainment and other activities starting at 2:00 p.m. (Visit the Balboa Park Conservancy for complete details). There will also be a rotating selection of games/activities on the Plaza, including giant checkers, hula hoops, bowling, cornhole, and giant tumbling blocks.

The Holiday Food Truck Festival is a great time to visit Balboa Park’s many cultural attractions. The adjacent San Diego Museum of Art will keep its doors open until 7:00 p.m. on December 26, 27, 29, and 30, and until 8:00 p.m. on December 28, offering special $5.00 admission 5:00-8:00 p.m. (Friday only). Also, the Fleet Science Center hours are 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. during the festival. Beer and wine will be served at the Fleet’s Craveology Café during those hours.

Transportation and Parking

Visitors arriving by car should park in the Inspiration Point parking lot at the corner of Park Blvd. and President’s Way and ride the free tram, which runs 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., into the park.

Attendees can avoid traffic hassles altogether during the Holiday Food Truck Festival by using rideshare options.  All Lyft app users can receive 20% off 2 rides (up to $5.00 off each ride) with code HFTF2018 from December 26 to December 30, for all rides to and from the park (Limited quantity available. 20% off 2 rides. Other restrictions may apply).

Families can also choose public transit as a great way to get to Balboa Park! Rapid 215 provides a direct connection between downtown San Diego and the park. Purchase unlimited rides all day on buses and Trolleys for only $5.00 on the Compass Cloud app at any time prior to boarding.

Special Activities

Visit the Balboa Park Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality building (open 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Dec. 26–30) for a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of general admission tickets to the following Balboa Park museums and the Balboa Park Carousel.

Numerous activities for the whole family are available including:

Fab Trailers Vintage Photo Booth: Festival revelers can capture their special night in the park with visiting friends and family beginning at 2:00 p.m. (Dec. 26–30) in the Fab Trailers Photo Booth.

FROM Mail Truck: On December 29 to 30, 2:00-7:00 p.m., the first on-the-go, DIY greeting card service of its kind, will help festival-goers make thoughtful and creative holiday cards for loved ones using recycled materials from the back of a 40-year-young bright green postal Jeep named Al Green.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum: From 12:00-4:00 p.m., December 28–29, kids can engineer their own railroad layout using paper cutouts.

Entertainment Schedule

A variety of entertainment will take place throughout the festival including the San Diego Children’s Choir on December 28 and the Carmen Murray Jazz Trio on December 29. All entertainment tends to be scheduled between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.

Food Truck Roster

Many of the food truck vendors offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Some veggie and gluten-free items are listed on the respective truck’s menu, and some regular items can be altered on request.  15 food truck vendors are available each day and each day is a different selection of vendors.

Find all the various details such as the entertainment schedule and food truck vendors at the Balboa Park Conservancy.

The Holiday Food Truck Festival is a program of the Balboa Park Conservancy in partnership with the City of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation.

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