Parade Schedule

When: Sunday, December 8, 2024 and Sunday, December 15, 2024

Kids at the paradeThe 53rd annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights promises to dazzle and entertain bayfront crowds during two evenings in December each year. Participants in this year’s highly anticipated holiday boat parade will decorate their boats to fit this year’s theme, which is “PEACE ON EARTH“.

Presented by the Port of San Diego, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights brings more than 100,000 San Diego residents and visitors to the shores of San Diego Bay each year. The procession of approximately 80 lavishly decorated boats has become one of the most iconic events in the region.

This year, for the 6th time, the parade will proceed to the pier at Cesar Chavez Park before making the turn to Coronado, giving spectators another area to view the parade. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. each night, the parade starts at Shelter Island and proceeds to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and ends at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. The parade takes about an hour to pass any given point and there are many comfortable waterfront viewpoints along the route. Due to increased traffic and parking demand, observers are encouraged to plan ahead or take the trolley.

For added insight into the participating boats, viewers can watch the parade from near the announcers’ areas. Announcers will be located at the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero and at Coronado Landing. As each boat passes these viewing points, the announcers offer a brief history and description of the participating vessels.

  Sunday, December 10, 2023

  • The procession will start at 5:30 p.m. and will follow the predetermined parade   route.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

  • The procession will start at 5:30 p.m. and will follow the predetermined parade   route.

Parade Route & Approximate Times at Locations around the Bay

The parade takes approximately one  hour to one and a half hours to pass any given point along the parade route.  The approximate arrival time of the parade at various locations are:

  • Shelter Island (start of parade)   5:30 p.m.
  • Harbor Island                                   6:15 p.m.
  • The Embarcadero                            6:45 p.m.
  • Seaport Village                                 7:15 p.m.
  • The Pier at Cesar Chavez Park    7:30 p.m.
  • Ferry Landing on Coronado          7:45 p.m.


  • Begins at 5:00 p.m. from south end of Shelter Island
  • Proceeds from south end to north end of Shelter Island
  • Proceeds from north end of Shelter Island across       America’s Cup Harbor entrance to west end of Harbor Island
  • Proceeds from west end of Harbor Island to east end of Harbor Island
  • Proceeds from east end of Harbor Island to just west of Maritime Museum’s ferry, Berkeley
  • Proceeds past Berkeley and Star of India
  • Parallels the Embarcadero to the “G” St. Mole
  • Proceeds past Seaport Village and the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina
  • Proceeds past Marina Park and new in 2016, down to the new Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and turns south to cross the Bay to the Marriott Coronado Hotel
  • Proceeds west to the Coronado Ferry Landing
  • Finishes at buoy 22a

Important Parking Information for the Parade

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights  is seen by approximately 100,000 people every year. As a result, parking will be  limited in and around the Bay.

To get within a short walk of Harbor Drive, ride the Trolley! Take the UC San Diego Blue Line or Green Line to Santa Fe Depot, or the Orange Line to Courthouse Station. ​​Use your PRONTO card or app to load money in advance. It is recommended that you load enough fare for a round trip to save you time at the station. All riders need their own separate PRONTO card or app and must tap or scan before every ride. On Saturdays and Sundays up to two children (age 12 and under) may ride free with a fare-paying adult (age 18 or older) on all MTS routes. All riders 18 & under can ride MTS and North County Transit District (NCTD) services for FREE with a Youth PRONTO app account, or a Youth PRONTO card. Get more information here.

Another Alternative is to park  downtown and utilize San Diego Pedicab service for transportation to the  Embarcadero. Fares run about $1 per minute.

The following outlines other free  and paid lots:

Metered spaces along Harbor Drive Metered – 7 Days a week
Allright Parking (Broadway &  Harbor Dr.) Paid
Seaport Village Paid
Parking Lot in front of Fish Market Restaurant north of Seaport Village Metered
Harbor Island Free but limited
Shelter Island Free


Viewing the parade from the water is a little tricky since the boats in the parade concentrate their decorations on the port side of their boats. There are a few small areas where one can park a boat and see the port side of the parade boats as they pass. The largest of these areas is where the boats cross the channel going to the Coronado side. Remember the parade route itself is restricted to the boats in the parade. The parade is a USCG approve Marine Event.

For landlubber viewers, the north  and south ends of the Embarcadero are great areas for viewing, as well as the  pathway along Coronado as these areas tend to be less crowded. Another excellent  viewing point is the park behind Seaport Village and the new pier at Cesar Chavez Park.

If you plan on viewing the parade  from Harbor Island, get there early and be aware that parking is at a premium.

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