San Diego Parade of Lights: 2023 Guide

San Diego Bay is set to dazzle once more as sailboats, kayaks, and yachts dressed up in festive elegance make their splendid return, promising to enchant spectators alike. Witness the magic and sights of the 53rd San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

Whether you want to be a part of this long-standing San Diego tradition or add extra sparkle to your holiday season, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights treats you to a visual feast, featuring adorned sailboats and ships.  While watching the glittering water ripple and delight in the parade, be sure to keep your camera handy for picture-perfect memories.

Related Post: A Weekend in San Diego: How to Plan the Perfect Trip

Follow along as we share everything about the San Diego Parade of Lights!

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights Tickets

Viewing the Parade of Lights San Diego is absolutely free of charge.

Flagship Cruise San Diego Discount Tickets

Don’t just watch the decorated yachts and sailboats from the shore; upgrade your experience with the Flagship cruise, where you can enjoy unobstructed views in total comfort. 

Flagship Cruise San Diego Packages

Your San Diego vacation only begins once you’ve checked out the Big Bay. For a blissful and thrifty sojourn along the 34-mile waterfront, book any of these Flagship Cruises tours

About San Diego Bay Parade of Lights 

Embrace the holiday spirit with the annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, a time honored tradition that illuminates the America’s Finest City each December. See how participants in this year s highly anticipated holiday boat parade will decorate their boats to fit this year s theme.

The parade of lights promises an enchanting experience as vessels of every size and shape gracefully glide across the tranquil night waters. From grand yachts to charming sailboats, exhibitors illuminate the bay with their creativity, offering a dazzling display that symbolizes unity and celebration.

Best Viewing Experience

Those who stay ashore will find prime viewing locations at the North and South ends of the Embarcadero, as well as along the picturesque Coronado pathway. These areas are known for their lesser crowds, allowing for a serene parade-watching experience. Explore the park behind Seaport Village and the brand-new pier at Cesar Chavez Park as well.

Important Details to Know

Finding parking can be a challenge due to the thousands of attendees, so we recommend utilizing San Diego Public Transit, including the efficient San Diego Trolley system, for hassle-free access to the event. The three trolley lines and several bus routes link to stations featuring spacious parking lots, ensuring effortless access to the dynamic North Embarcadero district. Notable stations in this lineup are Fashion Valley, America Plaza, and Old Town.

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights Date and Details

The Bay of Lights Parade San Diego happens on December 10, 2023, and December 17, 2023, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

San Diego Boat Parade of Lights Venue

The procession proceeds at the pier at Shelter Island before making its way to Coronado. Please see the parade route:

  • Shelter Island (start of parade): 5:30 PM
  • Harbor Island: 6:00 PM
  • The Embarcadero (N. Harbor Drive): 6:30 PM
  • Seaport Village: 7 PM
  • The Pier at Cesar Chavez Park: 7:15 PM
  • Ferry Landing on Coronado: 7:30 PM

Experience the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Who wouldn’t want to be enchanted by 80 lavishly decorated boats, yachts, ships, and kayaks? America’s Finest City’s long-standing procession of approximately 80 boats is back for Christmas to entertain bayfront crowds and, with more lights promises to dazzle viewers.

This time honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the city’s boating community, brings more than 100,000 San Diego residents and visitors to the shores of San Diego Bay each year. 

Related Post: 7 San Diego Landmarks You Can’t-Miss

Before heading down to the city to witness the extravaganza, make sure to reserve your seats at the San Diego Parade of Lights Dinner Cruise with Flagship to view the parade most conveniently! On top of a spectacular viewing experience of seeing how the boats dazzle and entertain bayfront spectators, you’ll get to savor eats and libations on their spacious indoor deck while enjoying the crisp breezes and soft waves.

Don’t skip this long standing San Diego parade while in town! 


Start Date:

December 10, 2023 @ 5:30 pm CST

End Date:

December 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm CST



Flagship Cruises Events

990 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101 United States

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Written by Anne Joyce Raymundo

Anne is a Filipino writer who formerly managed and created marketing strategies and materials for numerous websites and eCommerce platforms. Now, her voice...

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