Holiday Food Truck Festival Brings Five Full Days Of Holiday Cheer To Balboa Park

San Diego residents and out-of-town visitors are invited to extend their holiday celebrations
at Balboa Park’s annual Holiday Food Truck Festival.

For five days between Christmas and New Year’s Day (December 26–30), the Balboa Park Conservancy is hosting free live entertainment under the Plaza de Panama’s dazzling holiday light display along with activities for families. More than a dozen local food trucks are serving up a diverse selection of gourmet dishes and desserts, and select museums are presenting their own brand of holiday-themed fun.

Holiday Food Truck Festival Brings Five Full Days Of Holiday Cheer To Balboa Park

Food trucks open for business at 12 noon each day, with the first set of live performances
beginning shortly thereafter. From 4:00pm to 7:00pm, a different musical group performs in the Plaza de Panama.

This year’s featured evening bands:

December 26th: Carmen Murray Jazz Trio

December 27th: Finnegan Blue

December 28th: Theo and the Zydeco Patrol

December 29th: Sue Palmer

December 30th: Bayou Brothers

The Holiday Food Truck Festival is also a great time to visit Balboa Park’s many cultural attractions. The adjacent San Diego Museum of Art is keeping its doors open until 7:00pm on December 26 and 28–30, and until 8:00pm on December 27 with special $5 admission, 5:00pm–8:00pm (Friday only). The Fleet Science Center and its Craveology café hours are 10:00am to 6:00pm during the festival (until 9:00pm on December 28–29).

For a listing of food trucks for each date and other event details, visit here. For updates, check
the website or call the Balboa Park Visitors Center at (619) 239-0512.

Holiday Food Truck Festival Brings Five Full Days Of Holiday Cheer To Balboa Park

Transportation and Parking

Visitors arriving by car should park in the Inspiration Point parking lot at the corner of Park Blvd. and President’s Way and ride the free tram, which runs 9:00am to 6:00pm, into the park.

Families are also encouraged to take public transit to Balboa Park. Rapid 215 provides a direct connection between downtown San Diego and the park. Purchase unlimited rides all day on buses and trolleys for only $6 on the Compass Cloud app at any time prior to boarding.

Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options

Many of our food truck vendors offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Some veggie and gluten-free items are listed on the respective truck’s menu, and some regular items can be altered on request. Check this special Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-Free Options Menu to learn more.

Holiday Food Truck Festival Brings Five Full Days Of Holiday Cheer To Balboa Park

Entertainment Schedule

Thursday, December 26

12:00pm–3:00pm:
Flavor Company Dance Entertainment presents a dynamic and colorful dance
medley featuring a variety of dance genres and themes.

4:00pm–7:00pm:
Carmen Murray Jazz Trio — Jazz drummer prodigy Carmen Murray brings
her talented young lions trio to perform jazz favorites and standards.

Friday, December 27

12:00pm–12:20pm,
12:40pm–1:00pm: Mariachi Victoria de San Diego — The talented
all-ages ensemble performs mariachi favorites. Part of the Youth Philharmonic
Orchestra.

4:00pm–7:00pm:
Finnegan Blue — The San Diego-based high-energy folk band blends Celtic,
bluegrass, and second line music with a punk rock edge.

Saturday, December 28

12:00pm–3:00pm:
Flavor Company Dance Entertainment presents a dynamic and colorful dance
medley featuring a variety of dance genres and themes.

2:00pm, 4:00pm: Circus Performers — Aerialists from Lindley Lopez Productions perform
high above on trapeze. Jugglers, unicyclists, stilt walkers, and a
contortionist from the Sofia Isadora Academy of Circus Arts provide additional
thrills in the Plaza.

4:00pm–7:00pm:
Theo and the Zydeco Patrol — Theo Bellow presents a tasty
musical gumbo of up-tempo deep southern tunes.

Sunday, December 29

12:00pm–12:50pm:
Creative Dancers 78 — An energetic group of youth dancers perform hip
hop, Latin rhythm, and contemporary dance styles.

1:00pm–1:20pm,
1:40pm-2:00pm: Naruwan Taiko performs their high-energy exuberant style of
Japanese drumming.

4:00pm–7:00pm:
Sue Palmer — The Queen of Boogie Woogie infuses the Plaza with all the
style, energy, and glamour she’s known for. A special dance floor will give
swing dancers an opportunity to strut their stuff.

Monday, December 30

12:30pm–3:00pm: Traditional Chinese Music and Dance Program
with pipa lute players, guzheng zither players, and the White Dragon lion dance
team.

4:00pm–7:00pm:
Bayou Brothers — A special dance floor will be rolled out for the Bayou
Brothers’s special blend of foot-stomping Cajun, zydeco, and blues.

Prize Drawings

Visitors can enter a special prize drawing at the Balboa Park Visitors Center all five days, from 9:30am to 5:00pm, December 26–30, for a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of general admission tickets to the following Balboa Park attractions:

Activities on the Plaza de Panama

On select days and times as noted.

Museum of Photographic Arts (Dec. 27, 4:00pm–7:00pm): A special nighttime photo op.

San Diego History Center (Dec. 27, 11:00am–4:00pm, in front of museum; Dec. 28, 11:00am–4:00pm, on Plaza de Panama): The museum’s Curiosity Cart will be rolled out to offer a family-friendly activity in conjunction with the History Center’s “Let There Be Light” program.

San Diego Junior Theatre (Dec. 28, 12:00pm–4:00pm): Kid-friendly activities and information on upcoming productions and programs.

San Diego Justice Center (Dec. 27, 12:00pm–5:00pm): Family-friendly activities offered by the local governmental agency dedicated to transitioning victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking into survivors (part of the City of San Diego Attorney’s Office).

San Diego Model Railroad Museum (Dec. 27, 12:00pm–2:00pm): Family-friendly activities.

San Diego Police Child Fingerprinting Service (Dec. 29, 12:00pm–4:00pm): The SDPD’s Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) unit provides a free child fingerprinting service to assist law enforcement personnel in locating a child in the event the child is reported lost or missing.

House of China (Dec. 30, 12:00pm–4:00pm): Family-friendly activities.

Holiday Food Truck Festival Brings Five Full Days Of Holiday Cheer To Balboa Park

Special Activities at Park Cultural Attractions

On select days and times as noted

Fleet Science Center (Dec. 26–27, 30, open until 6pm; Dec. 28–29, open until 9pm): Experience Winter Paradise, San Diego-style, with ice skating and rink-side cocktails. Beer and wine available at the Craveology Café.

San Diego History Center (Dec. 26–30, 11:00am–5:00pm): Enjoy kid-friendly activities and free seating in the museum atrium for eating your food truck dishes.

San Diego Natural History Museum (Dec. 26–30, 11:30am–5:00pm): The museum’s rooftop café is open for alfresco dining for anyone purchasing general museum admission.

Spanish Village Art Center (Dec. 26–30, 12:00pm–6:00pm): Participating studios open until 6pm. Take photos of the colorful courtyard featuring special stand-up displays.

The San Diego Museum of Art (Dec. 26, 28–30, open until 7:00pm; Dec. 27, open until 8:00pm): Special $5 admission from 5:00pm to 8:00pm on Friday, Dec. 27.

Holiday Food Truck Festival Brings Five Full Days Of Holiday Cheer To Balboa Park

The Holiday Food Truck Festival is a program of the Balboa Park Conservancy in partnership with the City of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation. It is supported by a grant from the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

See you there!

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