San Diego Botanic Garden lights up for the holidays

San Diego Botanic Garden’s annual Garden of Lights returns on Dec. 1 with a magical holiday experience.

After the sun goes down Dec.1-23 and 26-30, the garden in Encinitas is transformed into a winter wonderland – Southern California style. More than 125,000 sparkling lights illuminate the flora of the 37-acre urban oasis each evening from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

The Botanic Garden's gazebo decked out for the holidays. John Bryant

Bring the family and experience the magic as you wander down the illuminated paths of several spectacular garden areas, including the iconic lawn garden, tropical rainforest, waterfall deck, the undersea succulent garden, eucalyptus grove, Seeds of Wonder (children’s area) and bamboo garden,containing the nation’s largest collection of bamboo.

Garden of Lights also features live music, visits with Santa, snow for sledding every night, horse-drawn wagon rides (on selected evenings), food trucks, holiday crafts and marshmallow roasting. Unique plant-related gift items will be on sale at the gift shop, as well as winter plants.

Regular night tickets are $18 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for youth ages 3-17. On premium nights (most weekends and Dec. 21-21, 26) tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for youth. For more information visit

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