Beaches and breweries aren’t the only sceneries well worth your time in San Diego. The city is also home to a vibrant clutch of local artists working in every medium imaginable. Recent years have seen startup galleries and spaces burst onto the scene dedicated to featuring this homegrown talent. Here are some of the best stops around town to keep your finger on the art world’s pulse. Continue reading
When it comes to things to do in April, Balboa Park is not fooling around. From secrets to star gazing to sonnets in celebration of Shakespeare, there is plenty to see and do all throughout the park. Continue reading
San Diego’s local art scene is thriving more than ever. World-class museums abound across the county. As do independent galleries, unique pop-ups, and outdoor installations that can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to our perfect climate. February is Macy’s Museum Month in San Diego, which means you can enjoy half off admission to more than 40 local museums. When you’re looking for inspiration, it’s easy to enjoy the bounty of artistry right here in these creative-minded ‘hoods. Continue reading
It’s February and love is in the air and there is plenty to love in Balboa Park, too. From the science of love to pop-up Latin art to strolling Japanese gardens in a kimono, the park is alive with experiences you won’t want to miss. Continue reading
San Diego’s uptown neighborhood of Hillcrest, home of San Diego’s LGBT community, celebrates diversity year-round with a vibrant rainbow mix of accommodations, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, chic boutiques, vintage clothing stores, kitschy novelty shops and so much more.
With San Diego Pride coming up next month (July 12-14), now is the perfect time to spotlight a few of my favorite places worth checking out:
Where to Stay
The historic Inn at the Park, located right across the street from Balboa Park, is home to the best happy hour in Hillcrest: Top of the Park, a Friday night tradition where hundreds gather on the rooftop to soak up the sunset and kick-off the weekend over cocktails.
Stay at Ann Callahan’s Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast for a relaxing escape in the heart of Hillcrest and still just a short walk away all the shops, restaurants and bars on University Avenue.
Urban Mo’s is fun and boisterous with strong margaritas and booming dance music on a packed outdoor patio and indoor dance floor. Hillcrest Brewing Company, claiming to be the World’s First “Out and Proud LGBT Brewery”(wow!), has 9 tasty in-house craft brews on tap to quench your thirst. If crafty cocktails are more your thing, Martinis Above Fourth is a swanky go-to spot.
If you’ve got to get your groove on, Rich’s with its two dance floors and sexy go-go boys can’t be beat!
Filter Coffee House is the place to see and be seen while sipping espresso and “studying” the crowd for cuties, day or night.
Dinner & a Show
D Bar restaurant is my new fav with its sleek moderne design and delish dishes like Southern fried Belgian – a sweet waffle with fried chicken (yep!). Their macarons are also off the charts! Afterward, head to Diversionary Theatre for cutting edge theater at its finest.
Brunch ‘n Lunch
Colorful Café on Park with its deliciously imaginative breakfast dishes like egg scrambles, Captain Crunch pancakes (yep!) and crab cake benny, is sure to satisfy!
Shop till you drop
Stroll along Fifth Ave. and University Ave. for funky, one-of-a-kind finds. Park Blvd. is great for retro, mid-Century modern treasures.
It’s never too early to start planning your weekend celebration. From frisky nighttime parties to relaxing strolls through wildflower, here are our top things to do in San Diego this weekend that are sure to please a variety friends and family.
Little Italy Carnevale
Revel in a Venetian style Carnevale celebration in San Diego’s Little Italy. The 10th Annual Little Italy Carnevale is a family-friendly event with plenty of fun including live music and dancing, stilt-walkers, art and mask-making for kids, as well as great Italian food.
Wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
The chance of showers on Friday means the chance to see the wildflowers bloom in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on Saturday and Sunday! Make sure to call the 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760-767-4684 to get an update before heading out.
Where: Visitor Center – 200 Palm Canyon Dr, Borrego Springs, CA 92004 (East County)
When: Through April
Time: Dawn to Dusk
> Find out more about the Wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
The Red Ball 2013 – A Chinese New Year Celebration
Ring in Chinese New Year in style! As we bid farewell to the Year of the Dragon and welcome the Year of the Snake, guests are invited to dress in red and re-do New Year’s Eve with an official countdown at midnight to kick off the Lunar New Year, live music, DJs, tapas, cocktails and more.
Where: The Grand Del Mar – 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, Del Mar, CA 92130 (North County Coastal)
When: February 9, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Cost: Complimentary admission. Priority entry with Bottle Service, starting at $180.
> Find out more about The Red Ball 2013 – A Chinese New Year Celebration
Brazil Carnival Mardi Gras 2013
Rich in beauty and color, the Brazil Carnival Mardi Gras presents a “Spectacular Samba Show” featuring dancers in glittering costumes adorned in sequins, beads and feathers accompanied by percussionists playing the authentic Batucada rhythms of Rio de Janeiro, even more carnival bands, capoeira, parades, and Mardi Gras beads!
Where: San Diego Museum of Art – 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92108 (Downtown)
When: February 9, 2013
Time: 8:30 PM to 1:30 AM
> Find out more about Brazil Carnival Mardi Gras 2013
Ray at Night
Join local artists, gallery owners, and hipsters alike during this fun, family friendly evening of art and creativity, music and food. Artwork on display includes paintings, sketches, sculptures, ceramics, blown glass, organic art and jewelry. Entertainment runs the gamut from jazz, blues and cultural music to poetry readings and performances by dance groups.
San Diego Padres Fan Fest
Get ready for the 2013 season with Padres FanFest presented by State Farm. Meet the players, play on the field, get some tips on your pitching and hitting, buy unique padres gear, see what goes into opening day, and more.
San Diego Winter Brew Fest
Start off the weekend with The San Diego Winter Brew Fest and celebrate craft beverages from around California and beyond with live local music, food, and other vendors.
Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.
Over 16 museums and cultural institutions are spread throughout the almost 1,200 acres that make up the “Smithsonian of the West,” Balboa Park. Each museum offers unique experiences enticing visitors to return.
All of the museums keep things fresh with special traveling exhibitions that highlight exciting topics. These special exhibitions are always thought-provoking, educational and interactive. Below are just a few of these great exhibitions currently on display:
Through January 2013
Ever wanted to learn to fly a plane, or simply wondered how they fly? You can at the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s How Things Fly… special exhibition. For the parents in the audience, the exhibition sneaks in education through four different areas of hands-on fun: aerodynamics, propulsion, meteorology and air traffic control. The kids won’t see the learning coming!
Even the adults will have fun while attempting simulated flight on a helicopter or the temperamental Wright Flyer. Visitors can also strap on wings in a small wind tunnel, watch global updates of weather around the world in real time, or rediscover the simple joy of the flying a paper airplane.
Through September 9, 2012
While visitors might not find the Heart of the Ocean diamond (sorry, I just had to!), visitors to the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum will encounter over 200 artifacts retrieved from the wreckage of the doomed RMS Titanic, including delicate bottles of perfume, china bearing the logo of the elite White Star Line, and many other now-priceless objects.
As visitors enter the exhibit, they will climb inside recreations of the Titanic’s beautiful interior, assuming the identity of one of its unfortunate passengers to relive the ill-fated journey. Moving through the exhibit, the artifacts provide an intricate narrative of the sunken wreckage as they lay dormant beneath the sea between 1912 and their discovery in 1985.
Through May 27, 2012
Imagine driving west, with the warm summer wind blowing though the rolled down windows, the surfboards strapped to the roof, the Beach Boys blasting through the speakers and the car filled with excitement as you head toward the beach. What type of car would you be driving? Why the Woodie of course!
At the San Diego Automotive Museum, the endless summer continues with over a dozen impeccably restored Woodies take visitors back in time. Explore the history of these iconic and quintessential beach vehicles. Swim trunks and flip-flops are encouraged! Surf boards not included.
Through April 29, 2012
Discover how to avoid be sucked into a black hole at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center! Young and old scientists will journey into space to learn about how the theory of black holes came to be. The interactive exhibits provide an insight into how black holes work, and clears up many common misconceptions.
Remember to not get sucked in for too long, there is plenty more to see at the Fleet including Geometry Playground, on display through June 19, 2012.
There are even more great exhibitions throughout Balboa Park and you can find more information at SanDiego.org/Arts. Pick up a Passport to Balboa Park or Stay-for-the-Day Pass to save on admission. (Note: Some special exhibitions have an added cost).
Tell us in the comments below, why do you keep going back to visit the beautiful Balboa Park?
Over 40 museums are participating in San Diego Museum Month and this is the last weekend to take advantage of half-off admission. Simply stop by any Macy’s to pick up your pass. Here are my top five picks for this weekend.
Be sure to check out the film Sharks 3D inside the Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater. The film explores an amazing underwater universe inhabited by larger-than-life creatures which ruled the seas millennia before dinosaurs conquered the Earth and even face-to-face encounter with the “T-Rex of the Sea!”
Through June 17, 2012, the exhibit A Fantastic Voyage – The Art of Ynez Johnston is on display. The exhibit will survey six decades of the artist’s wood and bronze sculptures, paintings, prints and ceramics from the 1940s to 2010, including recent works that have never publicly been shown.
On display through May 31, 2012 is the Special Installation of French Modern Paintings. An important group of Modern French paintings from a local collection will be juxtaposed with the highlights of the Gluck Collection. The loans will include paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Paul Serusier, Fernand Leger, Édouard Vuillard, and Pierre Bonnard, which will be shown alongside other Post-Impressionist and early twentieth-century paintings by Vuillard, Bonnard, Georges Braque, Amadeo Modigliani and others from the Gluck Collection.
A special feature at the Botanic Garden is the Sculpture in the Garden. Through April 16, 2012, 26 artists will present their sculptures set against the beautiful backdrop of dragon trees, fruit gardens, bamboo groves, and many more unique garden areas in Sculpture in the Garden.
A great exhibit at the Children’s Museum is TRASH. The artists in TRASH, each with differing prerogatives and intentions, share the common desire to draw attention to an invisible issue that increasingly dominates our lives. Did you know that in the United States, the average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash every day? In this exhibition, their mission is to change how we see trash, and changing perspective starts by asking more questions.
October is a great month for families to visit San Diego County museums and attractions – because at many of them, kids under 12 get in free all month-long. About two dozen museums and attractions are participating. It’s a great opportunity for families to learn about art, history or science in a fun and interactive environment. Up to two children get in free with each paying adult. The freebie is for general admission and doesn’t apply to field trips or special events and exhibitions. Make sure to print the require coupon!
The country’s largest urban cultural park, Balboa Park, has been one of my favorite San Diego spots since childhood. I can remember taking class field trips to the many museums, my 8-year-old self awestruck by their enormous grandeur. As an adult, I still love visiting Balboa Park. No matter how many times I wander the park’s vast Spanish Colonial walkways, I always find something new and exciting to explore that awakens my inner 8-year-old spirit.
To celebrate Arts Month San Diego, take your inner child to explore the arts offerings of the nation’s largest cultural park. With 15 major museums and spectacular performing arts venues, art lovers of all walks are sure to find something to marvel at. Here are just a few of the inspired offerings you’ll find this September in Balboa Park:
Legendary designer Zandra Rhodes serves as the honorary chair for this annual exhibition and special event gala at the Timken Museum of Art. Fashion enthusiasts will be bowled over by the extraordinary fashions inspired by 15 artworks from the museum’s collection. Proceeds from tickets to the grand celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24 benefit the Timken’s art education programs, and Art of Fashion programming will continue at the Timken through October.
Fashion certainly plays an important role in this ground-breaking show that launched a cult phenomenon. The Old Globe’s stage production features all the outrageous music and characters created by Richard O’Brien, who wrote the original book, music, and lyrics for The Rocky Horror Show. Do the time warp back to Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter’s castle as it was meant to be seen – live onstage. The show runs through Nov. 6.
On view through Nov. 6, this momentous exhibition spanning five centuries showcases 64 masterful pieces from Spain’s most celebrated artists, including Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. In addition to the big names, visitors will discover works by artists little-known in the U.S., such as the Romantic Manuel Barrón y Carrillo, or the Modernist Romero de Torres.
From the Spanish masters to masters of photography, Balboa Park’s art museums are some of the best in the country. Be sure not to miss Imagine That! at the Museum of Photographic Arts, now through Oct. 9. Expect to see the unexpected in this exhibition that highlights unique perspectives, unknown realms and phenomena inaccessible to the naked eye and immediate senses.
Donated to the City of San Diego by John D. and Adolph Spreckels in 1914, the Spreckels Organ is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, containing 4,530 pipes that range in length from the size of a pencil to 32 feet. Since 1917, San Diego has had a civic organist, who performs free weekly Sunday concerts.
Want to experience all the Balboa Park has to offer for free? Leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win two Passport to Balboa Park certificates. Each Passport includes a one-time admission coupon to each of 14 museums, and the coupon booklet is valid for seven consecutive days. A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, Sept. 28, so be sure to post before 10:00 am on Wednesday!