December Nights in Balboa Park

Saturday, December 5, 2009


One of my favourite things of the holiday season is December Nights in Balboa Park. It's basically the official Christmas kick-off of the San Diego holiday season. What's amazing about it is that not only is everything Christmas-ed out with lights and trees and santas, or that there's tons of vendors and sales merchants and all the artist's open their galleries; it's that all the museums open up to the public for free and you can walk in and out of any and all as much and as often as you please.

In general, Balboa Park has always been one of my favourite places in the entire world. All the museums are breathtaking, the botanical gardens have a mystical quality rarely replicated, and the park itself is absolutely beautiful. The architecture continually stuns me. So when it's all covered in bright lights and tinsels and stars...it's pretty much my own personal heaven.

I went first in 2004, and returned last night for the first time and I'm glad to report that it is every bit as awesome as it was the first time (and a lot more crowded). One of my favourite parts has to be the opening ceremonies...the speeches are boring, but the singing Elf choir is spectacular. The Elf Choir (I should probably find out the real name of the choir....hold please as I Google.) is comprised of a bunch of elderly men, and their voices are pretty damn amazing. Plus, they tell cheesy jokes and dance. Who could want more than that?! (Thank you, Google: the Elf choir is the Sun Harbor Chorus.)

Because of the open museums, I went into the Museum of Art, which was pretty damn cool.san diego museum of art Pictures, Images and Photos

I'm not generally a fan of Asian-inspired art, but I did enjoy their exhibit of Oceanic (specializing in art from the Pacific Islands) and Asian art. It's pretty stunning seeing original Picasso works and walking upstairs to see an original Monet (one of my favourite artists!), then walking across the entryway into the Italian Renaissance room (my favourite kind of art). And, there was another choir inside the Impressionist room singing traditional hymns and songs (hmmm...should Google again...hold please). We missed over half the museum, but I definitely want to make my way back there again. I even think it is worth it to pay the entry price. (Thank you, Google, Part 2: the choir is Pacific Camerata.)

I feel the need to add a special shout out to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, whose Interactive Science exhibit is the coolest place EVER. Totally worth it to spend over an hour in that room, and we didn't even get to hit all the experiments! Really, who could ask for more than experiments you're allowed to touch and play with and move?

It only goes on for 2 days (the celebrations and vendors, that is...the rest of the month has all the decorations), but there is no question to me why so many people make it out to December Nights. It's free AND fun.

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I'm fairly obsessed with penguins, Peanuts (the comic), and the TV show Friends. Parentheses may or may not be (over)used in this blog, and books will pretty much be the only thing I ever talk about because they are my One True Love.

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