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Why not a holiday bar crawl?

Bike ride, Messiah sing-along, Santacon bar crawl, Vintage flea market

Vintage flea markets are held on the parking lot behind the Observatory.

Everybody’s got their own small rituals to enact this time of year. Holiday traditions vary by country, culture, region, and household, and in every instance they’re what make the season special. I’m a nontraditional kind of guy, so I like to seek out activities that put a twist on popular traditions or establish new ones altogether. Why not a bike ride or bar crawl? They’re still the holidays, even if we all do it differently.

Holiday Joy Ride

  • 1450 El Prado
  • Balboa Park

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is organizing a group bike ride for December 7th. Riders are encouraged to decorate their bikes with tinsel to look festive, and to dress themselves in 1890s attire (because the bike coalition was founded in 1897). For $25, riders will meet at Panama 66 at 5:30 p.m. for a one-hour night ride in and around Balboa Park. Then it’s back to Panama 66 for a party celebrating this year’s Golden Gear Award recipients — those individuals and organizations that have worked to further the coalition’s 30-year mission to make the county more bicycle friendly.

Messiah Sing-Along

St. Paul's Cathedral & Episcopal Church

2728 Sixth Avenue, Bankers Hill

Saturday, December 9th, at 1 p.m., the 100 accomplished singers of the San Diego Master Chorale will turn their talents to performing a classic holiday oratorio at St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. Traditional enough. But what makes this rendition of Handel’s Messiah special is that the audience will be expected to sing along. It’s $25 for tickets ($20 for seniors, kids, and military), and $5 to rent a score to sing from (if you don’t have your own). Don’t be deterred by a lack of talent — the chorale’s got that part covered. Just bring enough passion to really feel the holiday spirit during the composition’s famous “Hallelujah” chorus.

Pacific Beach Santacon

Sandbox Pizza

1014 Grand Avenue, Pacific Beach

What says Christmas in Pacific Beach better than a holiday-costume bar crawl? On December 16th, people dressed as surfing Santa, his elves, his reindeer, or even a Seussian Grinch will gather at Sandbox Pizza between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. From there, they’ll parade, amble, stumble, or rollerblade between neighborhood bars and restaurants, taking advantage of drink specials along the way. Bring toys, because as much as this is an excuse to drink in fur-trimmed hats, it’s also a Toys for Tots fundraiser. Each unwrapped toy donation nets you a raffle ticket, and raffle drawings will distribute prizes at each bar stop along the way.

Holiday Vintage Flea Market

  • 2891 University Avenue
  • North Park

For many, shopping for Christmas presents at the mall represents a tradition all its own. But for those of us unimpressed by Black Friday specials, the San Diego Vintage Flea Market will host a holiday edition on December 17th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Observatory theater. Gift shoppers seeking unique presents for their loved ones will find a host of independent vendors selling vintage items and several offering locally crafted goods. An assortment of gift-wrapping “elves” will be working for donations to Lionel’s Legacy Senior Dog Rescue, and the market will serve as donations hub for San Diego Food Bank’s holiday food drive.

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