Skip to main content

Dig Imperial Beach

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

Nov 29, 2018 11:39AM ● By Paul Spear

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.

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.

The 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.

“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


Note: If you would like to make sure you don't miss stories like this or any other news about the community of Imperial Beach and South County, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter. Please note that every subscriber of our newsletter receives a Community Calendar of Events at the 1st of every month. Click here to: Subscribe

Paul Spear, Publisher, and Editor of Dig Imperial Beach 


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Dig Imperial Beach's free newsletter to catch every headline