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Venetian Magic

Venetian Magic, Venetian splendor!  Oh, how I love the Venetian grandeur.  This hotel/resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, is my absolute favorite out of all of them there.  I have stayed at the Venetian many years ago, and absolutely loved it!  I wish I could always stay there when ever I visit Las Vegas.  Even when I stay elsewhere, I make it a point to go visit the Venetian.  If you can’t go to Venice, at least go to the Venetian – it’s a bit of the real thing.  Here are some pictures:

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

My kids outside the Venetian, last Christmas

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

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The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

Isn’t this place pretty?  Isn’t it magical?  Wish I could have a permanent suite there!  These were all pictures taken outside of the Venetian, next time I will show you some pictures taken inside.

 

Christmas In Las Vegas

Christmas in Las Vegas was a new experience for us, and a rather nice one.  We spent Christmas, 2015 in Vegas, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Here are some more pictures, these were nearly all taken on Christmas day, 2015.  The last one was taken on Christmas Eve at The Carnival World Buffet which we went to prior to going to Christmas Eve mass at Our Lady of Wisdom Church.

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

We didn’t stay at Bellagio though as much as I would have liked to.  Actually, if you ask me which place I would like to stay at my number one choice is Venetian, and number two is Bellagio.  We actually stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Resort of which I am a member (through my timeshare ownership).  I won’t even go into my tea-bag dilemna that I had there – can you believe they didn’t have regular black tea?  I certainly had tea withdrawal!  Enough said of that for the time being, other than to say you hotels should never just cater to coffee lovers, there’s tea lovers too!   My view wasn’t too bad though.

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View from Hilton Grand Vacations Resort, Las Vegas Blvd

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View from Hilton Grand Vacations Resort, Las Vegas Blvd

We had brunch at the Paris Hotel’s Le Village Buffet, I will show you pictures of that separately in another post. Here are pictures of the Bellagio, where we spent the majority of our Christmas day, just strolling around – what a beautiful Christmas display!

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

We had Christmas Eve lunch at The Carnival World Buffet at Rio

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Carnival World Buffet at Rio, Las Vegas

We ate a lot in Vegas.  My kids talked me into getting them the Buffet Pass which cost $55 per person for 48 hours.  So we started the pass at around 5pm on Christmas Eve and it lasted until Boxing Day at 5 pm.  Therefore, we were able to use it for meals over 3 days, but had to time the last meal on Boxing Day to be in the line for the meal before 5 pm.  If you can time it properly, it works out well.  All the meals and drinks that you want are included in this price (except alcohol of course) – but you will be sure to put on a few pounds!  I will post more pictures of Las Vegas soon.  I can’t believe it’s already April, and I’m just getting around to doing this post now.  Where does time go to?

 

Christmas Eve In Las Vegas

I’ve spent New Year in Las Vegas, and summer in Las Vegas, but not Christmas in Las Vegas, so last Christmas we tried it, and we liked it!

There are less crowds in Vegas in Christmas, than there are at New Year.  Also, when it’s New Year, it’s just not the best place for kids in all that noisy, raucous Vegas celebration – what with the drinks and the drunks, and well…..let’s say I think Christmas was a little more mellow in Vegas.

Have you ever associated Las Vegas with Christmas? Or have you ever even considered it to be a good place to celebrate such a joyous occasion?  Well, I think our Christmas in Vegas in 2015 was spectacular, partly, because we found a beautiful church to celebrate Christmas Eve in.  I am Sikh, but I like all kinds of churches, temples (including Hindu temples, as well as Sikh temples) and have even enjoyed visiting Mosques or at least taking pictures of them, see this link.  The church we visited is an Italo-Greek Byzantine Catholic Church called Our Lady of Wisdom, located on 2120 Lindell Road, Las Vegas, NV  89146, only about 5 minutes drive from the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard.  It is such a truly beautiful, spectacular church, and is very European looking – I could not believe I was in the USA while I was in this church, it was such a wonderful feeling that the church gave me.  Here are some pictures:

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

I managed to get my two daughters in the picture

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

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Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Las Vegas

I don’t really think I was supposed to be taking pictures at the church, but I think it was too beautiful to not take pictures.  I would love to be at this church every Christmas Eve, too bad it’s not in San Diego!

 

December Nights in San Diego

December Nights in San Diego at Balboa Park

Time’s already flying by, and it’s February now, but I still haven’t shared December Nights, 2015 with you.  Must hurry up, or it will be December again.  Just my luck!  I don’t want time to go that quickly.  There’s no rush…..I will get too old too quickly like this – slow down time!

December Nights at Balboa Park in San Diego is always a fun event.  It’s a two day extravaganza, and my family really enjoys it.  This year we had to go without Niki, my oldest – since she has started college, and moved away.  Still, it’s a fun event for kids of all ages, and adults alike, and I think I might love it even more than my kids do!

This year, we went early.  Even though the even starts at 12 noon or so, most people don’t go until 5pm, as they like to be there in the evening when all the lights are on, as well as the Christmas tree at the Organ Pavilion.  However, traffic is crazy and hectic, and so is parking.  A few times now, we have parked at Petco Park, and then taken a shuttle bus from there to Balboa Park, but this time I wanted to park at the Zoo, and combine December Nights with a trip to the Zoo.  So, we got to the Zoo at around 1:45 pm, and were easily able to find a parking spot.  We spent about one and a half hours there.

We then took the short walk to Balboa Park – an easy 5 or 10 minute walk.

We first saw the Fountain area, close to one of the museums, and had a little snack, then walked past the Botanical Gardens area where the beautiful flowers, and Reflective Pond is; then we went to the Grinch tree, which is by the Old Globe Theatre, and actually spotted the Grinch!

We then went to see some of the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and since Chandra wanted to eat, we went towards the International Cottages area. When I heard Indian music, that beckoned me, and I was so glad I had allowed myself to be beckoned like that – because that became the highlight of my entire evening.  I normally enjoy the Organ Pavilion area, and the Christmas songs so much, and enjoyed them again this year, but this time I allowed myself to actually wander away from the performances at the Organ Pavilion to experience more of what was taking place at the International Cottages area, and these are two competing performance areas – one on the big stage, and the other on a smaller stage, but equally powerful in performance.  While one concentrates on performances that are mainly musical, and showcases instruments being played, and singers performing – the smaller stage at the International Cottages focuses on dance.  The dance aspect is really entertaining, as you still have the music and the songs, but now have further entertainment too.  I absolutely loved it, and my little Chandra got up to dance on the stage for the Grand Finale of the Indian dancing!

Here are two videos that I made – one shows the Grand Finale that Chandra was in,

and the other one shows a variety of performances, and dances that were performed.  This includes the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and the Scottish Bagpipe Band, as well as the San Diego Chorus, and of course, the Indian dance performances which took place at the International Cottages.

 

I love December Nights, there is nothing quite like it!

 

 

A Little Bit of Paradise At The Hotel Del, Coronado

I love to go to the Hotel Del – that place is just what the doctor would order or should order for anyone to get away from it all!  It makes me feel content and serene and as though I am on vacation.  Yesterday, on November 30th, we finally got to go and visit this beautiful place again.  My heart had been yearning for the Hotel Del.  I was so excited to go and visit it again.

On the way to the Hotel Del, there are many picture taking opportunities:

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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near the Hotel Del, Coronado

Don’t park in the hotel grounds as you will have to pay for parking, and it isn’t cheap.  There is plenty of free parking by the beach on the main streets.  We had to park about a ten-minute walk away from the hotel, but it’s such a lovely place to take a walk.  Just take in the surroundings all around and you won’t be disappointed.

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near the Hotel Del, Coronado

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near the Hotel Del, Coronado

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near the Hotel Del, Coronado

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near the Hotel Del, Coronado

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near the Hotel Del, Coronado

People just love to gaze at the Hotel Del, well……it’s so swell!

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near the Hotel Del, Coronado

Coronado near the Hotel Del

Coronado near the Hotel Del

Finally, we got to the Hotel Del.  The ice-skating rink is now open for the holidays and I could just stand here for hours taking in the happiness of everyone and the beauty all around.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted pictures with the hotel in the background

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

or without it

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del

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Hotel Del Ice-Skating Rink, Coronado

Hotel Del Ice-Skating Rink, Coronado

Hotel Del Ice-Skating Rink, Coronado

You might want to start with taking a break, just to take in the surrounding beauty while you have an ice-cream from Moo-Time Creamery or grab a cup of coffee or a cold drink – this area shown in the picture below is a self-service area and it is ever so relaxing and a great place to sit.

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

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Moo-Time Creamery, Hotel Del, Coronado

There’s plenty of shops and places to get treats

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The Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Then, you’ll want to go and see the lobby and  the Christmas tree, and some more of the grounds of the hotel

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

This tree is located where the Sheerwater Restaurant is and close by to where the self-service coffee shop is located

Hotel Del, Coronado

If you go through the lobby and past the tree, then you can exit from the other side and wander out into the beautiful garden

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

This area shown below is a restaurant with out-door seating and a prime view of not just the ocean, but people-watching

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

We ended up staying for several hours, and got treated to a nice sunset.

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Hotel Del, Coronado

Feel like some hot chocolate out by the ice-skating rink?  Then you should try Coffee By The Sea

Hotel Del, Coronado

The ice-skating rink is now bathed in a beautiful sun-set

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Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Did you know that the beach is just a few steps away from the Hotel Del?  Such a fantastic setting!
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Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Then the sunset became even more spectacular, but how could it be other than spectacular in this beautiful of most beautiful places?

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

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Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Last, but not least…..this place is just where you have to come to get into the holiday spirit!  It looks like a holiday bonanza, and it is so festive and elegant here that I can’t describe it accurately enough.

Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Did I tell you that I loved the Hotel Del, did I tell you it is so so swell?  It is beautiful and I highly recommend that you visit.

Las Vegas Can Be Contagious

Las Vegas is a beautiful place to visit for the holidays.  The lights will dazzle you, and the city will grab you in its grasp – but you should be warned – it can be contagious.

Vegas has so much atmosphere.

The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Venetian, Las Vegas

Vegas can dazzle you.

Fashion Show Shopping Mall, Las Vegas

Fashion Show Shopping Mall, Las Vegas

The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Bellagio, Las Vegas

The Bellagio, Las Vegas

Vegas can leave you amazed.

The Bellagio, Las Vegas

The Bellagio, Las Vegas

Vegas even has the Grinch!

The Bellagio, Las Vegas

The Bellagio, Las Vegas

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

The Forum Shops, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

The Forum Shops, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

You should go see H&M in Caesars Palace, it’s truly spectacular!

H&M, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

H&M, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

H&M, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

H&M, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

There were so many pictures to take outside the Venetian, this is certainly my favorite place in Vegas.   It is almost as good as going to the real Venice, but not quite.

Las Vegas Blvd - The Strip

Las Vegas Blvd – The Strip

Las Vegas Blvd - The Strip

Las Vegas Blvd – The Strip

The Venetian - Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian – Las Vegas Blvd

Venetian, Las Vegas

Venetian, Las Vegas

The Venetian - Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian – Las Vegas Blvd

Vegas has incredible lights!

The Venetian - Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian – Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian - Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian – Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian - Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian – Las Vegas Blvd

Of course, the inside of the Venetian is equally as spectacular as the outside.

The Venetian - Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian – Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian - Las Vegas Blvd

The Venetian – Las Vegas Blvd

This place has delicious gelato – it is so good, you will definitely go back for seconds if not thirds!

Venetian, Las Vegas

Venetian, Las Vegas

Las Vegas knows how to sparkle for the holidays – and Las Vegas knows how to make you yearn to go back, even if just for the pictures.

The Magic of December Nights in San Diego

I knew December Nights at Balboa Park was going to be magical.  There’s not a better way to kick-start the holidays than going to Balboa Park, and experiencing December Nights.  What is/are December Nights?  I wrote about it in my previous post, just click here to see More Info on December Nights (that post contains some external links with more information too).

Now that December Nights (which occurred on December 7 & 8, 2012) are over, there’s still plenty of reasons to visit the Park.  The magical tree is still there, and so are the lights and the great atmosphere, and at least you won’t have the crowds to deal with.  Here’s some pictures:

First the magical tree:

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It gets even more magical – it opens up!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It changes color!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It changed color again!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

This one is more fuzzier, because my camera’s battery died and I had to use my I-phone.

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

This one’s fuzzy too, but I’m including it because I want you to see the spectacle of color that was so beautiful during the December Nights concert.

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Here’s the same color for background, but the tree has closed up

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for a lighter shade of blue

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

And the last two of the tree at least!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for some pictures of the Park in the dark.  Me and my family went to December Nights on both December 7 and December 8.  Why miss out on the magic?

I believe this church now houses the Museum of Man

St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Museum of Man & St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Museum of Man & St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Museum of Man & St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Today, I suddenly stumbled on a second picture that I took of the Church at Balboa Park, I thought I only had one like the one above.

The Museum of Man, December Nights, Balboa Park

The Museum of Man, December Nights, Balboa Park

Are you ready for more Christmas trees?  Here’s another one at the Park, closer to the church shown above

Christmas Tree, near Museum of Man, Balboa Park

Christmas Tree, near Museum of Man, Balboa Park

Oh, my gosh!  The Grinch was here, but Chandi didn’t want to have her picture taken with him, so I had to take it of someone else instead!

The Grinch at Balboa Park

The Grinch at Balboa Park

Even dogs like December Nights, this picture was taken with no flash, but it wasn’t very good, however, it will give you an idea of what the lights were like and how it really looked in the dark

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

The dog also has glasses, more clearly seen in the picture below.

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

It’s just so nice strolling through the Park, even in the dark!

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park was nicely lit up for the holidays

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

There were so many people there, you wouldn’t believe it.  I think I read somewhere that there were at least 300,000 people.

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Here’s the Botanical Gardens Building at night time bathed in a beautiful blue light

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

You can’t tell from these pictures just how many people there were in Balboa Park during these two very busy nights.

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Of course, there were a lot of delicious choices for food, but I didn’t get to take too many pictures of the different vendors.  Here’s one at least.

Food Options, December Nights, Balboa Park

Food Options, December Nights, Balboa Park

This fountain is near one of the many museums at the park, and is closest to the path to the San Diego Zoo.

Fountain, Balboa Park, San Diego

Fountain, Balboa Park, San Diego

The words “Happy Holidays” lit up one of the museums

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

The Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego

The Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego

Here’s a clearer picture of some people at December Nights

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

For some reason, I like this picture

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of Balboa Park at night, it is beautiful both at night and day

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

I didn’t quite get the picture above centralized, see how it looks below, still not right.  It would have been perfect if I could have got both “Season’s Greetings” and the lighting on the wall on the right in just one picture balanced out better.  Oh, well.  I’ll have to make do with two pictures.

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for where the reindeers are with presents laden on the sleigh

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

A different angle of the reindeers

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Now, there’s the presents at the back (I guess on the sleigh).

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Some more lights

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

Now, some more pictures of the amazing tree from a different angle.

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

And lastly, some pictures of the performers who entertained us at the site of the magical tree.

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Just incase you don’t get the full flavor of what it’s like at Balboa Park during December Nights, I made this video especially for you.

I still haven’t had the chance to take more daytime pictures of Balboa Park, so in the meantime, you can look at these pictures taken by someone who linked to my post previously, so now I will link to his – so you can see his amazing pictures of Balboa Park: http://onecoolthingeveryweekend.com/2012/11/21/picture-tour-of-the-san-diego-balboa-park/

Oh, by the way, I went to the International Houses on the 8th of December and saw various cultural dances there, including Indian dances, but only managed to get a few pictures.  Perhaps, I will put those in another post.  Anyway, I hope you can see that Balboa Park is so magical when it’s the holidays.  If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you, and if you don’t – Happy Holidays!