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Thursday Nov. 19, 2009

Take your family to experience the completely Southern Californian San Diego Bay 38th Annual Parade of Lights this December.  This free and open to the public nighttime spectacular has become a Christmastime tradition for Southern California locals and San Diego visitors alike.  The festivities are presented by the Port of San Diego and will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Sundays December 13 and 20, 2009 with an impressive fireworks display.  The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights will begin immediately following the fireworks.

An estimated 80,000 people are expected to come see over 80 vessels that will don their best and most creative holiday apparel for this much beloved tradition.  Boat owners will compete for awards for creative lighting, decorations, and crowd engagement.  This year's theme is "Christmas at the Zoo," which is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The parade route begins at the east end of Shelter Island and winds into the downtown waterfront before ending in Coronado.  The entire parade takes approximately an hour to pass any given point along the parade route and is anticipated to be completed around 9 p.m.

Because of this event's popularity we highly recommend arriving early for the event and reserving your spot.  You may even want to pack a picnic dinner and just enjoy the evening outdoors.  To help you determine when and where you'd like to view the parade, here are estimated arrival times of the parade for various locations where you can get the best parade views:

Shelter Island (start of parade): 5:30 p.m.
Harbor Island: 6:00 p.m.
The Embarcadero: 6:30 p.m.
Seaport Village: 7:00 p.m.
Ferry Landing on Coronado: 7:30 p.m.

For ultimate convenience you can stay at one of the hotels that are nearby the parade route.  We highly recommend the Manchester Grand Hyatt and Humphrey's Halfmoon Inn & Suites, both of which are offering a 3rd night free over the Parade of Lights.  These specials are subject to availability, so book your San Diego vacation today!

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