New Year's Eve in San Diego: Things to Do and Where to Celebrate

December 22, 2021

Searching for somewhere to spend New Year’s Eve? Look no further than America’s Finest City.

San Diego isn’t known as the finest for no reason. Beautiful beaches, a cultured cuisine scene, and ideal weather year-round make it a one-stop shop for the perfect vacation. And when New Year’s Eve rolls around, the City in Motion knows how to get the party started.

Theme parks, cruises, and parties light up for this unforgettable final night of the year. With so many options, what will you choose to do? We’re here to save the day with this New Year’s Eve guide so you’ll know just what to do.

New Year’s Eve Events in San Diego

Kids’ New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND California

If you’re bringing the little ones this year, there’s no better place to celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Diego than LEGOLAND. In addition to all their fan-favorite rides and attractions, kids are treated to fireworks, a countdown, and other festive activities.

Best of all, they’ll still be able to make it to bed on time. The park will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You won't want to miss out!

Related Post: San Diego on a Budget: How to Save BIG With a Go City Pass

Close up photo of two women cheering their coffees together under an arch of blue lights at SeaWorld in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: SeaWorld San Diego via Facebook

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

On New Year’s Eve, SeaWorld San Diego packs in all the fun and thrills it possibly can. Catch an adrenaline rush on one of the classic rides and learn about marine life while you’re at it.

A spectacular fireworks show begins at 8:50 p.m.,10 minutes before the park closes. Still can’t get enough of Christmas?

Related Post:  Current Events and Festivals in San Diego

The Christmas Celebration will still be going on so you can get in on all the holiday magic, including holiday treats, shows, and light displays. 

Pro Tip: Before you go, read our SeaWorld tips and prepare for a full, festive day at the theme park.

Close up photo of a reindeer eating a Christmas wreath for Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: San Diego Zoo via Facebook

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Animal lovers know where they’ll be this New Year’s Eve: the San Diego Zoo! Mingle with all your favorite furry friends as you celebrate the new year.

Special holiday attractions include wandering through Northern Frontier’s Holiday Forest and Aurora, a magical immersive light experience.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to the San Diego Zoo: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Spirit of San Diego Yacht Party

Wave hello to the new year on a yacht! The Spirit of San Diego Yacht Party features appetizers, party favors, champagne, and more -- all included with your ticket.

You’ll also get to party the night away with two rockin’ DJs and dance floors. Take in the spectacular San Diego skyline from the Pacific Ocean on the scenic sky deck! No area of the yacht is off-limits.

Related Post: 5 of the Best Things to Do in Old Town San Diego

Tickets are $179 per person. The yacht boards at 8:30 p.m. and cruises from 9 p.m. to approximately 1 a.m.

front of cruise boat with passengers looking over San Diego skyline on Hornblower Cruises in San Diego, California, USASan Diego Harbor Cruise by Flagship

Before you hit up the Gaslamp Quarter or San Diego’s party scene for the night, spend your day on the San Diego Harbor Cruise by Flagship!

Take in the sights and landmarks of the Plymouth of the West for a nautical New Year’s Eve. Harbor tours are available at various times throughout the day and offer remarkable views of the city, beaches, and historical landmarks.

Related Post: San Diego Hidden Gems: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Secret Spots

Travel to times past by learning about the history of San Diego before you leave the past behind and dive into a new year.

Pro Tip: Remember to bring a light jacket, as it could get a little chilly on the waves!

A women in a flapper costume facing away from the camera leaning on the wall with bright lights in front of her at the New Year’s Eve Roaring 20s Speakeasy at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: Hotel del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA) via Facebook

New Year’s Eve Parties in San Diego 

New Year’s Eve Roaring 20s Speakeasy at the Hotel del Coronado

The Hotel del Coronado is arguably San Diego’s most renowned hotel. Ring in a shiny new year at their Roaring 20s Speakeasy New Year’s Eve party. Guests can expect entertaining performances, awe-inspiring decor, and incredible sights as the hotel transforms into a giant party for one night only!

Related Post: Top Beer Tours in the U.S.

Dance the night away to the music of the Mighty Untouchables and a live DJ on a spacious dance floor. Live-action food stations and a champagne toast are part of the fun, too! The celebration begins at 8 p.m. and runs until 1:30 a.m. Tickets are $640 per person.

New Year’s Eve Movie on the Beach at the Hotel del Coronado

Alternatively, attend the New Year’s Eve Movie on the Beach at the Hotel del Coronado! “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Times Square Ball Drop at 9 p.m.

Related Post: The Ultimate Balboa Park Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Grab a sand chair or beach daybed around a bonfire and enjoy some s’mores for ooey-gooey New Year’s Eve goodness.

Hard Rock Hotel’s New Year’s Eve Party

End the year on a high note this New Year’s Eve at Hard Rock Hotel’s rooftop New Year’s Eve party! Celebrate with dancing and complimentary champagne.

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

Multiple DJs will be there to get the party started. Tickets start at $40 and increase as they sell out, so get yours today!

Several women in bright red bras cheering champagne flutes together fo NYE 2022: Ball on Broadway at Park Nightclub in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: Park via Facebook

NYE 2022: Ball on Broadway

One ticket to the NYE 2022: Ball on Broadway gets you into five party rooms for one of the biggest parties of the night! Arrive at the Parq Nightclub by 11:30 p.m. to get in. Wrestler Justin Credible will provide entertainment for the night! Tickets start at about $55.

Big Night San Diego New Year’s Eve Party

There’s no shortage of room to get the party started when you attend this party, spread across ten rooms and eight dance floors. This year, Big Night San Diego takes place at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Drinks and party favors are included with your ticket!

Related Post: 18 Activities That Should Be On Your San Diego Bucket List

Upgrade to get in on the delicious food options, too. It all leads up to a spectacular midnight celebration!

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s nightlife capital. Visitors will find everything from speakeasies to delectable taco shops to sports bars in this entertainment district. When you spend New Year’s Eve in San Diego, you have to stop by this lively neighborhood. There’s always something going on!

entrance to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego CaliforniaAttractions Open on New Year’s Eve in San Diego

As you eagerly anticipate your evening plans, there’s no shortage of fun things to do during the day in San Diego. Whether you’re a history buff, whale watcher, or ordinary sightseer, there’s a great way for you to spend your day!

Related Post: Best Places for Whale Watching in the U.S.

If you’re looking to make the most of your time in San Diego without breaking the bank, Tripster is here for you! Bundle attraction tickets and hotel rooms to save some serious dough.

Here are some of our favorite ways to explore the city by boat, scooter, or something in between: 

The Best Eats on New Year’s Eve in San Diego 

It’s impossible to fully experience the culture of America’s Finest City without tasting it. Whether you like spicy Mexican food or ultra-fresh California-style pizza, there’s no shortage of flavor ready for you to devour. 

Related Post: 7 of the Best Beaches in San Diego for Families

Check to see if you’ll need reservations or if holiday hours change before heading to chow down!

Close up photo of a chef putting the finishing touches on two chicken dishes at Serea Coastal Cuisine in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: Serea Coastal Cuisine via Facebook

Here’s where to go if you’re craving… 

Authentic Mexican food

Mexican food is an essential taste of San Diego, and El Comal knows what they’re doing when it comes to the spicy, vibrant fare. 

Terrific tacos

If the Mexican food you’re craving is specifically tacos, then you’ve come to the right city. The Fish Shop boasts award-winning tacos. 

Fresh seafood

You can’t get fresher than the sea-to-table menu at Serēa.

California-style pizza

Blind Lady Ale House was a pioneer in this crispy thin, fresh style of pizza.

Thai food

It’s no secret San Diego does Southeast Asian farewell, and Lanna Thai Cuisine is a great choice to get in on the deliciousness. 

Related Post: The Best Things to Do in San Diego at Night

How Will You Celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Diego?

Once you sort through the myriad of possible New Year’s Eve plans in San Diego, we know one thing is for sure: the city is an excellent destination of choice to ring in the new year. Set alongside the ocean and packed with fun things to do, it’s a West Coast New Year’s Eve dream.

If you’re looking to do it all on a budget, Tripster has you covered! Find the best rates on attraction tickets and hotel stays when you book with us. The new year just got a lot brighter (and cheaper)!

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