Parade of Lights to Dazzle San Diego Bay with Decorative Vessels December 9 and 16

One of the region’s most anticipated holiday events will take place on two Sundays in December. The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, presented by the Port of San Diego, will delight spectators with a dazzling display of decorative vessels on Sunday, December 9 and Sunday, December 16, 2018.

holiday parade of lights boat

About 80 pleasure craft are participating in this year’s parade. The boats will be festively bedecked to align with the 2018 parade theme, “Tropical Island Christmas.” This is the 47th year of the event, which attracts approximately 150,000 spectators to the shoreline of San Diego Bay.

Parade of Lights logoThe parade begins at 5 p.m. at Shelter Island. The route proceeds to Harbor Island, the North and South Embarcadero areas, then turns south at Cesar Chavez Park and heads toward the Ferry Landing on Coronado. The entire procession takes about two hours. Two announcing stations will be set up on the shoreline of the route – one at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and one at the Coronado Landing. As each boat passes these viewing points, the announcers will offer a brief description of them.

Ideal viewing areas for the parade are Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero Marina Parks North and South, Cesar Chavez Park and Pier and the Coronado Ferry Landing.

Parade of Lights 2018 route
Image: Parade of Lights website

5pm – Shelter Island (start of parade)
5:30pm – Harbor Island
6pm – The Embarcadero
6:30pm – Seaport Village
6:45pm –  The Pier at Cesar Chavez Park
7pm – Ferry Landing on Coronado

“The Parade of Lights is a regional tradition, drawing thousands of residents and visitors to the waterfront,” said Rafael Castellanos, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “The Port of San Diego is proud to sponsor this free event which showcases beautiful San Diego Bay and provides a wonderful holiday celebration for all to enjoy.”

The parade is sponsored through the Port’s Tideland Activation Program and is one of  66 Port-sponsored events taking place during fiscal year 2018-2019. The events are community-based, representing many diverse interests and take place in all of the Port’s member cities.

As part of the event, the Port will provide free bleacher seating on Broadway Pier for both parade dates, along with food concessions and music. Bleacher seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, at Cesar Chavez Pier, located at Cesar Chavez Park in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego, there will be refreshments and musical entertainment.

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is open to all boaters, and awards will be presented to the most creatively and lavishly decorated vessels. To register, visit




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Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: