About Suzzanne

I love to buy books, but seldom actually finish one. I like african violets, my iPhone, and everything that smells like lavender.  I am seriously adverse to the cold and am known to bring a sweatshirt to the beach in the summer.  I have two kids – a boy whose 10 and a girl 12.

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

It would start by having breakfast somewhere near the ocean – either Pannikin in Encinitas or Beach Grass Café in Solana Beach.  Then we would head to the beach hang out for a few hours, head home and then catch a concert in the park in Balboa Park.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

We love riding our bikes around town.  There are great places to ride in San Diego that kids can handle – Coronado Island, Point Loma or the boardwalk in Pacific Beach are just a few.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Depends on the day, a good burger and craft brew can really hit the spot, but I would probably end up ordering linguine and white wine.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are…

Snow Patrol, O.A.R., Mike Moran, Eric Hutchinson

Follow Suzzanne on Twitter at @sunnysd365

Preview: La Jolla Art and Wine Festival

Kids Painting a car at the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival
Kids Painting a car at the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival

Family Fun at the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival. Photo: Steve Simpson

The 2012 La Jolla Art and Wine Festival returns to La Jolla October 13th and 14th and takes place in the heart of the village, between Prospect Avenue and Kline Street. The two-day juried art show has quickly garnered a reputation as one of the most prestigious art and wine festivals on the west coast.

The free festival is open to the public and will feature over 150 established artists from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Baja and beyond. Visitors will enjoy a little bit of everything from a silent auction, roving entertainment, a gourmet marketplace along with a beer and wine garden, which will include premier wineries from around the world in addition to San Diego’s top breweries. Families can enjoy a scavenger hunt, crafts, games, musical entertainment, even a car to paint!

La Jolla Art and Wine Festival Information

Where: Girard Avenue between Prospect Avenue and Kline Street, La Jolla (map)
Dates: October 13-14
Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free

Event Parking and Shuttle Information

Valet parking will be located at the entrance on Kline Street at Girard Avenue for $10. There will also be free shuttles with stops at Muirlands Middle School as well as in front of the Holiday Inn Express on La Jolla Boulevard.


Top Free Things to Do In San Diego: October 4-7, 2012

This weekend we are highlighting some fun activities you can do…all for free!

1. Annual Pacific Beachfest

Pacific Beachfest Logo

On Saturday, October 6, Pacific Beach will be hosting a one-day event to highlight all that San Diego beaches have to offer. This year the Pacific Beachfest will feature a Pro/Am Surf Competition Final with surfers competing from around the world, an Action Alley where professional skaters will be on hand demonstrating their skills, a beach volleyball tournament, as well as artists, vendors, activities and music.

2. ArtOberfest Walkabout

On Saturday, October 6 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM, visitors can walk around the neighborhood of South Park and enjoy a fun-filled evening festival and be introduced to the shops and cafes of South Park. From Kalmia to Beech Streets, you’ll find shops open late, entertainment, specials and surprises. Browse, explore, shop and celebrate the independent spirit of this legendary neighborhood!

3. Old Town San Diego Art Festival

Old Town San Diego Art Festival Banner

Watch the streets of Historic Old Town San Diego transform into an art extravaganza on Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7. Stroll down San Diego Avenue and see the variety of artists, entertainment, food and wine. And for the first time this year, there will be a Young Artist area that will feature a children’s art competition.

4. Friday Night Liberty & Fall for the Arts Kickoff

October is when arts and culture takes center stage in San Diego. Fall for the Arts is a month-long spotlight on the many vibrant arts and cultural activities throughout the region in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month. On Friday, October 5, at the NTC Liberty Station, local arts and culture organizations will present hundreds of free (and almost free!) events to ensure residents and visitors can get more bang for the buck!

> Discover More Great Things to Do with San Diego’s Event Calendar

What do you have planned for the weekend?


Top Things to Do In San Diego: September 27-30

Band Playing at Oktoberfest

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love pumpkin patches, crisp evenings and all the fun things there is to do in San Diego. Here’s my top picks for this weekend. What will you be doing?

1. Cabrillo Festival

Cabrillo National Monument

For the 49th year, San Diego will celebrate the day in 1542 when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed on the shore that is now San Diego. On September 29th and 30th, visitors can learn more about San Diego’s early history at this fun event for the whole family.

2. Oktoberfest in El Cajon

Band Playing at Oktoberfest

Lederhosen, Beer, Bratwurst and Family Fun at the Authentic Oktoberfest in El Cajon.

Head east and partake in authentic German food, beers and liquors at the annual Oktoberfest in El Cajon. Visitors will enjoy traditional folk dancing performances, games and contests, vendor and craft booths and a Kids’ Zone. The fun kicks off September 28th.

3. 40th Annual Poway Rodeo

Girls Carrying Flags on top of Horses at the Poway Rodeo

Western Fun at the Poway Rodeo

Get a taste of the western life as professional rodeo cowboys from all over the country compete at the annual Poway Rodeo. This rodeo has everything including, bareback riding, tie down roping, a clown act, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Break out your dancing boots for the Rodeo Dances on both nights. Rodeo runs Friday, September 28-Saturday, September 29.

4. Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair

Normal Heights sign above the Adams Avenue Street Fair

Music, Food, Rides and More at the Adams Avenue Street Fair

Southern California’s largest free music festival features arts and crafts, carnival rides, food, circus acts and musical acts on six outdoor stages. Festivities take place September 29-30 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM on Saturday and 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday.

5. Trolley Dances

Discover Unconventional Dance Spaces during the 2012 Trolley Dances. Photo by Yvonne M. Portra.

Hop on board and travel to six stops along the MTS Trolley line featuring site-specific dance. New work to be performed by 50 of San Diego’s most adventurous dancers. As an added twist, this year’s event will present WillyGood, a French circus duo. Tickets includes a free all day Trolley Pass with advance purchase.


Fall Activities with the Kids in San Diego

Fall is a great time to visit San Diego. And it’s even better with kids free all month-long in October. I plan on taking full advantage of all the free offerings around town. Below are my top 5 fall activities I’m doing with my kids.

1. Tide Pools

Explore the many tide pools throughout San Diego.

San Diego’s tide pools are a blast to visit. Besides being completely free, they offer a chance to touch up close the little sea creatures. One of my favorite spots is Swami’s in Cardiff. During a good low tide, you can explore and see sea hares, brittle stars and octopi.

2. San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Are you faster than a cheetah?

With the temperatures dropping in Fall, the Safari Park is a perfect time to visit. Recently we were lucky enough to catch their famous Cheetah Run. For an extra $10 per person, you get to stand up close and watch the fastest land animal on the planet run. What a thrill!

> Kids Go Free to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park this October

3. Pumpkin Patches

It wouldn’t be fall without a visit to a Pumpkin Patch. This year, we are going to Bates Nut Farm. Kids can enjoy hayrides, a maze, pony rides, and a petting zoo. Guests can bring a picnic and hang out on one of the many picnic benches.

4. LEGOLAND California’s Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

I’ve been to LEGOLAND pretty much every time of year, and I have to say, this is my favorite time to visit. Every Saturday night in October, LEGOLAND celebrates from 5:00 to 9:00 PM with its Brick-or-Treat Party Nights. Kids can come in costume and visit several areas that will be open late including Land of Adventure, Castle Hill, the Imagination Zone and Park favorites Coastersaurus and Safari Trek. Be sure to have the kids dress in costume. Prizes will be given for Best Pirate, Most LEGO Themed and Most Creative.

> Kids Go Free to LEGOLAND California this October

5. Balboa Park’s Halloween Family Day

Costumed fun in San Diego’s Historic Balboa Park

Over a dozen museums are treating families to free admission for children 12 and under during the 4th Annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day on Saturday, October 27. There will be a spooky array of hands-on activities, crafts, special tours, storytelling and other free goodies from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

> Kids Go Free to San Diego County Museums this October

> Take Advantage of Over 100 Kids Free Offers this October in San Diego

What do you have planned for your kids this Fall in San Diego?


Savor San Diego Restaurant Week at Flavor Del Mar

San Diego Restaurant Week officially kicks off Sunday, September 16th and runs through the 21st and this year is better than ever with over 180 restaurants participating. With so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one, so I’ve decided to try several! One I’m most excited to try has it all: great food, great service and a great view – Flavor Del Mar.

Nestled atop Del Mar Plaza with a pitch perfect ocean view, dining at Flavor Del Mar is a full sensory experience. Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski offers a youthful and inspired approach to California Cuisine, creating simple, yet unique blend of flavors and fragrances that are as fresh as the Pacific breeze.

At my most recent trip to the restaurant we were started off with warm bread and spiced salts. I made sure I tried them all and absolutely loved the house sea salt with fresh rosemary. Next we ordered the tuna tacos to share. These tacos alone were worth the trip, my mouth waters just thinking about those tacos. For the entrée, I had the seared scallops. I love a good scallop and these lived up to the restaurant’s name, Flavor. They melted in my mouth as if they were butter. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for Restaurant Week!

San Diego Restaurant Week runs from Sunday, September 16 through Friday, September 21st. Over 180 restaurants are participating and are offering three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for just $20, $30 or $40 per person and/or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus for only $10, $15 or $20 per person. Tickets and passes aren’t necessary for this week of discounted dining; show up at any participating location or call ahead to make a reservation and eat to your heart’s desire!


25 Free Things to Do With Kids This Fall in San Diego

Enjoy A Bonfire with the Kids

Fall is a great time for the kids to explore many of San Diego’s free outdoor activities including the beach, hiking sports, sightseeing and more.

Below are just 25 of the free things kids can do this fall in San Diego:

  1. Head to one of San Diego’s 33 beaches, all open to the public, and perfect for body surfing, boogie boarding, building sandcastles, collecting seashells and basking in the sun.
  2. Catch a magnificent Pacific sunset and watch sea lions play along the shoreline at La Jolla Cove, one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world.
  3. Take free fly-fishing lessons from the San Diego Fly Fishers club on Sunday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Lake Murray, located in La Mesa. If you don’t have your own gear, arrive early for a free equipment loan.
  4. Sample some of the more than 200 varieties of fresh produce grown in San Diego at one of the region’s many Farmer’s Markets, held daily at locations throughout the county.
  5. Bike, walk or play along Mission Bay Park’s many trails. Bikers, walkers and joggers share more than 20 miles of scenic paths winding through sunlit and shade near the shoreline.
  6. Rollerblade, skateboard, or bicycle along the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach Boardwalk, a scenic three-mile boardwalk running along the coastline of these lively neighborhoods.
  7. Take a scenic drive to Mt. Laguna to hike, bike or picnic while enjoying the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines.
  8. Hike the trails of Torrey Pines State Reserve and see the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, a number of animal species and miles of unspoiled beaches below.
  9. Visit Mission Trails Regional Park featuring a state-of-the-art Visitors Center where guests explore and learn about the wonders of nature and the native people who once lived on the land. The park also offers over 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
  10. Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego’s shores to see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Shores and Cove offer some of the clearest waters on the California Coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserve to explore.
  11. Walk along the downtown Embarcadero and view impressive public art sculptures, tributes, and memorials set along San Diego Bay. The artworks celebrate San Diego’s international ties, cultural diversity, military significance and unique oceanfront environment.
  12. Watch tail-waggin’, Frisbee-catchin’ and stick-fetchin’ dogs splash in the surf. Man’s best friend is permitted to roam leash-free at all hours of the day on designated dog beaches in Ocean Beach, Coronado and Del Mar.
  13. Talk a walk through Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the United States, and discover its beautiful Spanish Colonial-Revival architecture and glorious gardens. Also, visitors can take advantage of the Park’s variety of other free offerings, including ranger-led walking tours at 11:00 AM on Tuesdays and Sundays.
  14. Gather friends, family and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of San Diego County’s bonfire-friendly beaches, located in Coronado, Ocean Beach, Oceanside, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.
  15. Go on a self-guided walking tour of The Stuart Collection, a display of contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla. Tour maps are available at the Gilman Drive campus entrance.
  16. Spend an afternoon at Tidelands Park in Coronado. The park’s 22 bayfront acres feature four baseball fields, a playground, skatepark, picnic tables, small beach with an exercise course, boat access, fishing pier and bike and pedestrian paths.
  17. Explore the clear shallow tide pools of La Jolla Cove and Point Loma when the tide is low and the pools are teeming with aquatic life.
  18. Visit Julian in San Diego’s East County and enjoy this quaint, historic mining town that grew into San Diego County’s second largest urban center during the Southern California gold rush of 1869.
  19. Take a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, home of the Mt. Soledad Veterans War Memorial, for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego. Spectacular views also await at the top of Mt. Helix in La Mesa, offering visitors a birds-eye glimpse of San Diego’s East County communities.
  20. Witness the living legacy of California’s birthplace in Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego’s first “downtown.” The six-block park features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, restaurants, museums and several carefully preserved or restored adobe and wooden buildings.
  21. Visit the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the nation’s first warm-weather, year-round Olympic training facility, located in Chula Vista. Free guided tours of the 150-acre lakefront facility are offered at 11:00 AM on Saturday; tours begin at the Copley Visitor Center. Self-guided tours are also available 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Mondays – Saturdays.
  22. Visit downtown San Diego’s Seaport Village for hours of free entertainment, leisurely strolling and window shopping. Enjoy a laid-back day of hanging out in the grass and watching the many passing yachts and ships on picturesque San Diego Bay.
  23. Fly a kite along the grassy field in the Tecolote Shores of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park.
  24. Hang 10 at the California Surf Museum, which houses a permanent collection of historic boards, photographs and videos on Highway 101 in Oceanside. During free admission day on Tuesdays, visitors can explore its colorful and educational display on the sport of surfing and the legends who braved the waters over generations.
  25. Head over to La Mesa for the annual Oktoberfest. Traditional German celebration in San Diego’s East County featuring dancing, Bavarian bands, arts and crafts and more.

Even More Kids Free Fun this October

Visiting with the kids during October? After they have checked everything off the list above, save on other attractions, food and more with over a hundred kids free offers.

> Browse Over 100 Kids Free San Diego Offers for this October

Know of any other great free fall activities for kids? Tell us in the comments below.


Top Things To Do In San Diego: September 13-16, 2012

It looks like another great weekend is ahead of us in San Diego. For those not headed to the Q for the Chargers game, here are our top picks for the weekend.

1. San Diego Bayfair

Head over to Mission Bay to witness San Diego’s World Series of Powerboat Racing, September 14-16. The boats, some racing at speeds over 225 miles per hour, come every year to San Diego because of the outstanding race course conditions and summer weather. But it’s the family festival, live entertainment, vendors, great food and beer gardens, fireworks, kid’s fun zone and other family activities, which set the event apart from others, all in San Diego’s jewel, Mission Bay Park.

2. Arts Month San Diego

This week’s highlight is La Jolla. La Jolla is home to the La Jolla Playhouse, The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as UCSD’s Stuart Collection. Visitors can walk around the University of California, San Diego’s campus and enjoy the public art on display. One of my favorites is the “Bear.”

3. San Diego Restaurant Week

Indulge in a week of delicious dining during San Diego Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week kicks of Sunday, September 16 and runs through Friday, September 21. Foodies can eat their way through over 180 participating restaurants that will offer three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for just $20, $30, or $40 per person.

4. Haute La Jolla Nights

The Village of La Jolla comes alive, Saturday, September 15 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM with great bands playing throughout the Village, restaurants and bars preparing delicious tastings and drink specials as well as a sidewalk sale and other fun events.

5. Julian Apple Harvest

Delicious Apples Grown Locally in San Diego’s Julian

Take a drive to Julian to experience the annual Fall Apple Harvest. Activities include live music, arts and crafts shows, apple picking and more.

> Discover More Great Things to Do with San Diego’s Event Calendar

What do you have planned for the weekend?


Win Tickets to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition!

Visit Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at San Diego Natural History Museum before it sets sail September 9! This educational and emotional exhibition takes visitors through the entire journey of the iconic ship and features 200 artifacts recovered from Titanic’s wreck site. Once the exhibition leaves San Diego, there are no current plans for it to return to a West Coast city, so see it while you can! Tickets are $27 for adults and discounts for children, students, seniors, museum members, military and groups of 10 or more are available.

Visitors to the highly anticipated blockbuster exhibit will receive a replica boarding pass granting them permission to “board” the White Star Line’s R.M.S. Titanic, and from there the journey begins. The galleries focus on the legendary Titanic’s compelling human stories as best told through authentic artifacts recovered from the ocean floor and extensive room re-creations. Perfume from a maker who was traveling to New York to sell his samples, china etched with the logo of the elite White Star Line, even pieces of the Ship itself, and many other authentic objects offer haunting, emotional connections to lives abruptly ended or forever altered.

Here’s your chance to go for free! Comment on the blog below by Monday, September 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST and one lucky person will win two tickets to see this amazing exhibit. Please include your email address (not in the comment itself) so we can contact you if you are the winner.


Top Things to Do in San Diego: August 30-September 3, 2012

dragon sand castle

Abounding with BBQs, beaches and bathing suits, San Diego is the ideal Labor Day vacation destination. Spend your holiday weekend participating in one of these fun-in-the-sun activities.

1. Festival of Sail

Star of India

More than twenty tall ships and other fascinating vessels from around the world will transform the North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park. The festival kicks off with a majestic parade of tall ships on San Diego Bay, Thursday, August 30. Parade begins at 11:00 AM and can be seen from the Embarcadero, Harbor Island, Shelter Island and Coronado. Festival visitors can enjoy touring the ships, live entertainment at the Festival of Sail main stage, food and drink from dozens of restaurant booths, a petting zoo and more.

2. US Sand Sculpting Challenge

dragon sand castle

From August 31 – September 3rd, head downtown to see some astonishing sand sculptures from professional world masters, the California masters team competition to student competitions. Other activities include sand sculpture classes for kids, dancers, musicians, pirates, magicians and more.

3. SoCAL Music Festival

Head over to San Diego’s East Village for the SoCAL Music Festival, Saturday, September 1 from 2:00PM to midnight. Over 25 DJ’s and Bands will be performing on four stages. Tickets available starting at $40 per person, 21 years and up.

4. Julian Grape Stomp

Drive over to Julian to take part in the annual olde-world style grape stomp and festa at the Menghini Winery Saturday, September 1 from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. There will be two barrels for stomping – one for adults and one for children. Admission is $10 for adults 21 and over, $5 ages 6-20 and 5 and under are free.

> Find Even More Great Labor Day Activities in San Diego