Robert Arends

Holiday Cheer and Lights on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights
San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights

From boats decorated with lights to a Big Balloon Parade, there plenty of Holiday Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay. Photo courtesy of Cook & Schmidt

For those of you making holiday plans to visit San Diego, following are a few fun and festive ways to make some merry on San Diego’s sparkling Big Bay.

43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

What’s better than a cool holiday boat parade? Two holiday boat parades! Yep, the 43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights takes place on two Sundays next month. More than 80 boats lavishly decorated from bow to keel with colorful twinkling lights and decorations will glide the waters of San Diego Bay.

It’s quite a spectacle and best part, it’s free! This year’s theme is “Children’s Stories” which is sure to be a hit with the kids. Check out the route map here. The procession starts at 5:30 PM, but head to the Bay early for prime viewing spots including the Embarcadero and Embarcadero Park (North & South), Seaport Village, Coronado Ferry Landing, Harbor Island and Shelter Island.

When: December 14 & 21, 2014
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Giant inflatable characters at Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Check out the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade, “America’s Largest Balloon Parade” floating down Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero. And who knows, you might be on TV! The parade is televised nationally and on local Channel 4. You’ll see world-class marching bands, colorful floats, drill teams and of course, a procession of enormous balloons of familiar cartoon and pop culture characters. Over 100,000 spectators are expected!

The parade is part of our big annual National University Holiday Bowl festivities when the eyes of the nation are on San Diego for exciting gridiron action between two Pac-10 and Big 12 Conference teams.

Where: San Diego Embarcadero – W Cedar Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 26, 2014
Time: Parade starts at 3:00 PM
Cost: Free. Grandstand Seats – $20
> Find out more about the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

Whale Watching

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

December is the launch of San Diego’s exciting whale watching season, when hundreds of majestic California gray whales are spotted of the coast making their annual migration from the Arctic to the warm lagoons of Baja California. These “peaceful giants of the sea” can be seen swimming our local waters through April. Hop aboard the HornblowerFlagship Cruises or one of the many other whale watching cruises departing daily from the Embarcadero on San Diego. The whales can also be seen from high atop Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma – bring your binoculars, though! 🙂

> Find out more about Whale Watching in San Diego

> Discover More Holiday Happenings in San Diego

Make some waves on San Diego Bay this holiday season!

Robert Arends

Big Bay Boom – Star-Spangled 4th of July Fun on San Diego Bay!

San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration
San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom 4th of July Extravaganza.

When it comes to 4th of July celebrations, three words that say it all: “Big Bay Boom” the biggest most spectacular fireworks show in San Diego!

This star-spangled extravaganza, impeccably choreographed to music (105.7 FM), takes place on San Diego Bay – “The Big Bay” – launching from barges strategically placed off Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Embarcadero North and South.

Where to Watch Big Bay Boom

More than 850,000(!) people are expected to ring the bay throughout the day to claim a prime viewing spot. The best viewing is at the north Embarcadero (scope out the beautiful new Waterfront Park), Seaport Village, Embarcadero Marina Park North and South, Coronado Ferry Landing, Shelter Island and Harbor Island.

Waterfront Park - prime new spot to watch the Big Bay Boom (photo credit: County of San Diego)

Waterfront Park – prime new spot to watch the Big Bay Boom (photo credit: County of San Diego)

The Port of San Diego is offering a FREE shuttle service to/from Shelter and Harbor Islands starting at 6 PM, going until 11 PM. Shuttles depart from the Port’s Administration Building parking lot (3165 Pacific Highway) and near the West Marine parking lot (3717 Rosecrans St.).

What to Do on the Bay Before the Fireworks

Big Bay Boom begins at 9:00 PM and lasts about 17 minutes. Since you’ve got all day to play beforehand, check out the plethora of attractions and activities on the bay, including:

Make a Splash

Take a ride on an authentic U.S. Navy Swift Boat!

Take a ride on an authentic U.S. Navy Swift Boat!

Ahoy! Maritime Merriment

Fun for all ages on the USS Midway!

Fun for all ages on the USS Midway!

  • Cabrillo National Monument, the Plymouth Rock of the West where explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542; kids will love the tidepools!
  • Spanish Landing Village where you can view a life-size replica of Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador taking shape (it’ll be set to sail this September)
  • Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship (Arrr! 😉 )
  • USS Midway aircraft carrier, where San Diego’s rich Navy history comes to life on the world’s most visited ship museum!

Animal Attractions

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

Fine Dines and Shop-Portunities

Have fun on San Diego Bay and see you at the Big Bay Boom! 🙂

> Browse the Comprehensive list of 4th of July Fireworks and Celebrations in San Diego

P.S. Just for fun, check out 2012’s Big Bay Boom which went off accidentally in one big 15-second boom seen around the world.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 25-30 2014

Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival

The last weekend in March is going out with a bang. Come and enjoy all the amazing activities and attractions San Diego has to offer along with these top things to do.

5th Annual LPGA Kia Classic

5th Annual LPGA Kia Classic - Top Things to Do in San Diego

The Kia Classic features 144 of the best women golfers playing for the $1.7 million purse. The field features 2013 Kia Classic Champion Beatriz Recari and crowd favorites Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson. Sunday is Family Day, full of fun family activities including a scavenger hunt, special autograph sessions and the junior clinic held at 3:00 PM on the driving range featuring LPGA players.

Where: Park Hyatt Aviara Resort – 7100 Aviara Resort Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92011
When: March 24-30, 2014
Cost: $10-$100
> Find out more about the 5th Annual LPGA Kia Classic

Spring Busker Festival

Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival

Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival. Photo courtesy of Boardwalk Betty

The celebration brings colorful street performers from across the country including entertaining sword swallowers, jugglers on unicycles, escape artists and comedic stuntmen performing along the bayfront in downtown’s Seaport Village. The extraordinary and bizarre talents will provide outdoor amusement for all.

Where: Seaport Village – 849 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 29-30, 2014
Time: 12:00 to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Spring Busker Festival

San Diego Zoo Play Days

San Diego Zoo Play Days - Top Things in San Diego

Mark your calendar with Play Days at the San Diego Zoo

Play Days at the San Diego Zoo is a whirl of animal activities and fun for all ages, as guests enjoy special presentations, keeper talks, and animal encounters. Come visit animals that climb, prowl, and plunge!

Where: San Diego Zoo – 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 29 – April 20, 2014
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about San Diego Zoo Play Days

San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Series

Inside Petco - Courtesy Petco Park

Catch the Padres take on the Dodgers at the beautiful Petco Park

Spring is here! Catch the San Diego Padres take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Sunday’s game is sold out, but you can watch the fun unfold at many bars and restaurants downtown and throughout the county. Pick up tickets for Tuesday’s game and get an opening day hat! During Wednesday’s game they will be giving away a schedule cling.

Where: Petco Park – 100 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 30 – April 2, 2014
Cost: Check website for seat pricing
> Find out more about the San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Series

CicloSDias Pacific Beach

CicloSDias Family

Bring the whole family to the waterfront community of Pacific Beach for some safe fun in the streets at CicloSDias

CicloSDias will open 2.5 miles of streets, car-free, in Pacific Beach to hundreds of pedestrians and families on bicycles. This is a fun opportunity for visitors and locals alike to come together and enjoy open, car-free streets in San Diego.

Where: The hubs of the event are the intersections at Garnet and Ingraham, Garnet and Mission Blvd, Turquoise and Cass St, and Turquoise and La Jolla Mesa Dr.
When: March 30, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about CicloSDias Pacific Beach

Shout House’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/87526588]

The Shout House in the Gaslamp Quarter has been rocking dueling pianos for 10 years! To thank everyone, they are hosting an anniversary celebration with a hosted bar from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, free appetizers, giveaways and a special 10 Year Anniversary Show. RSVPs are required so don’t wait!

Where: The Shout House – 655 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 27, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Cost: No Cover when you RSVP
Shout House’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – October 16-20, 2013

Haunted Star of India - Maritime Museum of San Diego

It’s a great time to visit San Diego! The weather is beautiful and in the 70s, kids eat, stay and play for free all month-long, Halloween is just around the corner, and there is plenty of fun to be had at these top things to do this weekend:

Taste of Coronado

Clayton's Cafe in Coronado

Discover why Clayton’s and other local restaurants are so popular during Taste of Coronado

Spend a night on Coronado Island, indulging your senses and enjoying amazing bites prepared by our local chefs. Take a culinary trip around the world sampling from the island’s local bistros. Meander along Orange Avenue or take a ride on the complimentary trolley. This will be a night to remember so come and bring your friends!

Where: 1100 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: October 16, 2103
Time: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Cost: $35-$30
> Find out more about Taste of Coronado

Haunted Tales of our Seafaring Past

Haunted Star of India - Maritime Museum of San Diego

Gather round for haunted seafaring tales and lantern tours at the Maritime Museum of San Diego

For a historically haunting experience, venture on board the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship for a special 45-60 minute tour. Part of San Diego’s Maritime Museum collection, the Star of India’s storied past includes real-life encounters with ghosts, and the tour includes special activities for the family, including seafaring ghost stories and “creepy treats.” Kids are encouraged to wear costumes.

Where: The San Diego Maritime Museum – 1492 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
When: October 18-19 and 25-26, 2013
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $8-$16
> Find out more about Haunted Tales of Our Seafaring Past

> Have more family friendly Halloween fun

2013 Escondido Fall Street Faire

Escondido Street Fair - Top Things to Do in San Diego

The Escondido Street Faire is fun for the whole family

Since 1989, the Escondido Street Faire has brought live entertainment, over 500 vendors, children’s rides and activities, and food from around the world to the downtown tree-lined streets of Escondido. Covering seven blocks along historic Grand Avenue, the Escondido Street Fair is the second largest single-day fair in California.

Where: Grand Avenue, between Center City Pkwy and Ivy, Escondido, CA 92025
When: October 20, 2013
Time: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Escondido Fall Street Faire

Pumpkin Express

Pumpkin Express

Your conductor is dying to take you to the Great Pumpkin’s Pumpkin Patch

Join in the fun aboard the Pumpkin Express at the historic Campo Depot and travel to the Great Pumpkin Patch. Children and their parents will enjoy the one hour train ride, then tour the Haunted Train, where each child gets to pick out his or her own pumpkin and decorate it inside the Display Building.

Advance reservations for this popular event are required.

Where: 750 Depot Street, Campo, CA 91906
When: Saturdays and Sundays through October 27, 2013
Time: Three Trains: 10:00 AM, 12:15 PM and 2:30 PM
Cost: $5-$15
> Find out more about the Pumpkin Express

> Find the perfect pumpkin at even more San Diego Pumpkin Patches

Bow Wow Brunch on the Bay Cruise

Bow Wow Brunch Cruise in San Diego - Top Things to Do in San Diego

This sailor is on the lookout for the Fire Hydrant of Youth!

Cruise around San Diego Bay and enjoy a delicious and bountiful buffet with unlimited champagne and desserts while Fido gets a pet buffet to choose from along with a dog relief area set up on the sun deck of the yacht! Portion of the proceeds for the Bow Wow Brunch on the Bay will go directly to helping Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Where: Grape Street Pier – 1800 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: October 20, 2013
Time: 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
Cost: $70 per person. Dogs cruise free
> Find out more about the Bow Wow Brunch on the Bay Cruise

> PSST…here’s a $2 off coupon for the Bow Wow Brunch on the Bay Cruise

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – September 12-15, 2013

#SDRWTASTE2013 - San Diego Restaurant Week

Holy Smokes! This weekend is packed with so many great things to do including the sneak peek of San Diego Restaurant Week, #SDRWTASTE2013, and so much more. There”s no reason not to be in San Diego!

#SDRWTASTE2013

#SDRWTASTE2013 - San Diego Restaurant Week

Get a sneak peek of San Diego Restaurant Week at #SDRWTASTE2013

Along the waterfront, more than 40 of San Diego Restaurant Week”s best restaurants and chefs will be serving up samples of house specialties that will delight your taste buds! Local wineries and breweries will also serve tasters paired with the food samples to enhance the flavors.

Where: Broadway Pier, San Diego, CA 92101
When: September 12, 2013
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $60
> Find out more about #SDRWTASTE2013

San Diego Bayfair

San Diego Bayfair

Fueling up to reach speeds up to 225 miles an hour over Mission Bay at the San Diego Bayfair

More than 150 teams will race at speeds up to 225 miles an hour over the waters of Mission Bay. Those on land can marvel at the high-speed racing while also enjoying live entertainment, vendors, great food and beer gardens, fireworks, kid”s fun zone and other family activities.

Tip: Save yourself the hassle of trying to find parking near the festival and use one of the shuttle”s parking area.

Where: 1404 Vacation Rd‎, San Diego, CA 92109
When: September 13-15, 2013
Cost: $20-$250
> Find out more about San Diego Bayfair

¡LATIN FOOD FEST!

Latin Food Fest - Top Things to Do in San Diego

¡LATIN FOOD FEST! is a culinary celebration with over 14 events. Don”t miss out on the grand tasting event at The Port Pavilion on Broadway where you will taste delicious tapa-size dishes and drink samples from the region”s top 60 restaurants, and purveyors of artisan food, beer, wine and spirits – all celebrating the cuisine of Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Where: Various locations
When: September 12-15, 2013
> Find out more about ¡LATIN FOOD FEST!

Fiestas Patrias Celebration

Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park

Enjoy the traditional Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park

The Fiestas Patrias commemorates Mexico”s independence from Spain and the beginning of the main period of significance for Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Activities will focus on the rich and diverse Mexican heritage that was vital in the development of San Diego and California. Enjoy music, dancing, games and activities for the entire family.

Where: 4002 Wallace St., San Diego, CA 92110
When: September 14, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Fiestas Patrias Celebration

San Diego Music Thing

San Diego Music Thing 2013 - Top Things to Do

In addition to being an amazing 2-day conference featuring speakers, interactive and roundtable sessions with nationally-known panelists from New York, Los Angeles and Austin online casino representing the best and most innovative aspects of the music business, the San Diego Music Thing will also include an evening Music Festival, with more than 150 local, regional and national bands performing at more than 12 venues around San Diego.

Where: Conference – Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego – 1433 Camino del Rio S, San Diego, CA 92108
Concerts – Various locations throughout San Diego
When:
September 13-14, 2013
Cost: $25-$55
> Find out more about San Diego Music Thing

Coronado Art Walk

Coronado Art Walk Kid

Bring the whole family for an afternoon of art, sunshine and plenty of fun

Take a walk along San Diego”s Enchanted Island and browse amazing works by local artists featuring painting, hand-crafted jewelry, photography, ceramics and other mediums. Coronado Art Walk will also include art activities to delight both children and adults, including The Rad Hatter, face painting and weaving.

Where: Coronado Ferry Landing – 1100 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: September 14-15, 2013
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Coronado Art Walk

24th Annual Sycuan Pow-Wow

Sycuan PowWow

Immerse yourself in the dance of the Kumeyaay Nation at the Sycuan Pow-Wow

Join the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation for three days of cultural dance, music and food. While only registered contestants can participate in the dancing contests, everyone else can take part when an “intertribal” dance is announced, as everyone shares a place in the circle. There are no spectators at a Pow-Wow, everyone is a participant!

Where: 5459 Sycuan Road, El Cajon, CA 92019
When: September 13-15, 2013
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 24th Annual Sycuan Pow-Wow

Santee Bluegrass Festival

Santee Bluegrass Festival -

Beautiful weather, delicious food and drink, and great music at the Santee Bluegrass Festival

Take part under the warm skies of East County with an evening of fine wines, a bevy of brews, tasty treats, bidding bazaar and live Bluegrass music played by Box Canyon and The Tail Draggers.

Where: 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA 92071
When: September 14, 2013
Time: 5:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $35-$45
> Find out more about the Santee Bluegrass Festival

More Top Things to Do this Weekend

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar for Even More Top Things to Do

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – April 30 – May 5, 2013

Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park

From Cinco de Mayo in Old Town, to bugs paired with local beers in Balboa Park, to Bluegrass music in East County, there’s a lot going on! Here are the top things to do in San Diego this weekend:

Cinco de Mayo

Mariachis in Old Town

Mariachis entertain throughout San Diego this Cinco de Mayo.

Ajua! Celebrate the culture, dance, music and food of Mexico during the weekend long celebration of Cinco de Mayo in San Diego.

> Read our blog post on Cinco de Mayo 2013

Bugs & Beer, A True Test of Your Taste Buds!

Jerusalem Cricket - San Diego Natural History Museum

“But be forewarned! The stars of this exhibition are sure to delight the young, inquisitive minds in your family and some grownups might find the little creatures quite outrageous.” Dr. Michael W. Hager

Sip, sample, and savor edible insect delights and enjoy a selection of local brews. Not feeling up to eating arthropods? Not to worry, as there will be hosted appetizers available as well. While your taste buds are experiencing an explosion of flavor, explore Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders! Learn from Dr. Michael Wall, Museum Curator of Entomology, how insects help create the amazing flavors we experience in our everyday foods!

Where: San Diego Natural History Museum – 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 1, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $20-$25
> Find out more about Bugs & Beer, A True Test of Your Taste Buds!

Ramona Bluegrass & Old West Fest

Ramona Bluegrass and Old West Festival - Top Things to Do In San Diego

Enjoy Bluegrass music and an Old West Festival all weekend long

Enjoy two full days of bluegrass and old-fashioned cowboy music, along with jam sessions and workshops for children, at the Ramona Bluegrass and Old West Festival. Make it the whole weekend by camping under the stars as the music in the background lulls you to sleep.

Where: Ramona Outdoor Community Center – 421 Aqua Lane, Ramona, CA 92065
When: May 4-5, 2013
Cost: $5-$20. Entry with Camping Spot – $15-$40
> Find out more about the Ramona Bluegrass & Old West Fest

Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Enjoy a day of shopping, food and entertainment at the Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Considered the largest single day street faire in the nation, the annual Carlsbad Village Street Faire features vendors sell everything from clothes, accessories, plants and household products to art, antiques and home decor; an international food court; and a children’s entertainment area includes games, a super slide, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, face painting and arts and crafts.

Where: Grand Avenue between Carlsbad Blvd. and Jefferson St.
When: May 5, 2013
Time: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

2nd Annual Chocolate Festival

2nd Annual Chocolate Festival at the Maritime Museum of San Diego - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Perfect for adults and children the 2nd Annual Chocolate Festival: A Celebration of Chocolate on the Bay, a tasting and educational showcase and festival featuring food, wine, and of course, a variety of chocolate treats. Kids activities include games with prizes, a scavenger hunt and building a personal chocolate pizza.

Where: Maritime Museum of San Diego – 1492 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 4-5, 2013
Cost: Members – Free. Nonmembers – $15.
> Find out more about the 2nd Annual Chocolate Festival

Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour and Festival

Sage & Songbirds Festival - Butterflies

Butterfly releases at Sage & Songbirds Festival.

Celebrating Alpine’s designation as America’s First Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation with and Garden tour and a festival including caterpillar races, butterfly releases, live birds of prey, live hummingbirds, snakes, reptiles, bugs & other critters, a garden mart, plant sales, opportunity drawings and live entertainment.

Where: Viejas Outlet Center – 5000 Willows Road, Alpine, CA 91901
When: May 3-5, 2013
Cost: Free. Garden Tour – $20
> Find out more about the Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour and Festival

Del Mar National Horse Show

Del Mar National Horse Show - Hunter/Jumper Week

Don’t miss out on the exciting Hunter/Jumper Competitions at the Del Mar National Horse Show

The last week of the Del Mar National Horse Show is dedicated to Hunter/Jumper riding. The week also includes the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar, an evening filled with exciting speed, agility and nail-biting competition!

Where: Del Mar Fair Grounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Dates: Through May 5, 2013
Cost: $10-$19. Weekdays – Free.
> Find out more about the Del Mar National Horse Show

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Alison

Valentine’s Day Ideas – Best Places to Kiss in San Diego

Great places to kiss in San Diego on Valentine's Day
Great places to kiss in San Diego on Valentine's Day

Shalalala, my oh my, go on and kiss the girl!

February is for sweethearts. But where’s the most romantic spot in San Diego for sharing a smooch on Valentine’s Day? Ask five locals and get five different answers. We’d love to hear about your favorite place for romancing…

In the meantime, here are a few of our favorites:

Balboa Park

Stroll Balboa Park in late afternoon as the sun casts golden light onto the Prado. Share your kiss on a winding path in Palm Canyon, a 2-acre tropical garden that’s a hidden gem for lovers.

Coronado Cays

Snuggle up under a warm blanket during a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Coronado Cays. It may not be Venice, but the Gondola Company manages to provide a passport to old world magic.

Cabrillio National Monument

Find the bunker just beyond the lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument. The view is breathtaking. It’s easy here to imagine yourself part of that iconic scene on the bow of the Titanic – just lean into your Valentine.

Mission Bay

Rose Marie Starns South Shores Park on Mission Bay is deserted in winter. Build a bonfire in a beach fire ring and cozy up. Move in for your kiss just at the right moment: as fireworks erupt at SeaWorld San Diego. Your date will definitely be impressed.

Embarcadero

Become Prince Charming (or his one true love) during a horse-drawn carriage ride along the Embarcadero. Cinderella-Carriage Co. provides the transportation. You provide the fairytale kisses.

Rooftop Views

San Diego has dozens of romantic dining rooms and rooftop bars that ooze romance. La Jolla’s Marine Room, Bertrand at Mister A’s, the Top of the Hyatt are classics. At Point Loma’s Old Venice, ask for a table under the twinkle lights on the back patio. Or reserve a table for two on the bayfront patio at Coronado’s Il Fornaio; oogle the city skyline – when you’re not oogling each other.

At the Drive-In

For a blast from the past, head to a Drive-in movie. San Diego has three: the South Bay Drive-in, the Santee Drive-in and the new ’50s-retro Full Moon Drive-in in Pacific Beach. Bucket seats make canoodling a greater challenge than it used to be – so improvise.

La Jolla (Of Course)

Last, but definitely not least: The grassy bluff overlooking the surf at Coast Boulevard Park in La Jolla (just south of the backside of the Museum of Contemporary Art). Embrace the salty scent of the sea – and each other. This spot is especially close to my heart because it’s where my husband proposed all those years ago – and where we go year round to replay the moment.

> Browse more Valentine’s Day Ideas and Packages in San Diego

Denise

San Diego Museum Month – Discover Something New for Half Price all February

San Diego Museum Month Logo 2013

San Diego Museum Month Logo 2013

If you like saving money (and who doesn’t), then be sure to pick up a free San Diego Museum Month pass. Presented by Macy’s, this popular event allows participants to enjoy half-off entry fees at 42 San Diego Museum Council membership museums during the entire month of February. You can pick up a free pass beginning February 1, 2013, at any of Macy’s fourteen locations throughout the San Diego area, Temecula and Imperial Valley. With one pass, up to four visitors can gain admission and it’s good all month-long.

From the Oceanside Museum of Art to downtown’s USS Midway Museum to the Tijuana Estuary, there’s plenty to see and ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.

San Diego Museum Month Highlights

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Escape from the ordinary and step into the shockingly odd world of Ripley at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. This is the first time a Ripley’s exhibition is returning to San Diego since the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935. (This special exhibition requires an additional entry fee)

San Diego Natural History Museum

Check out Chocolate the Exhibition. Where does chocolate come from? How is it made? And how has it sweet-talked its way into our hearts?  Get the complete story behind this crave-worthy treat in Chocolate.

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

See the new exhibition Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Meteors, Asteroids. The threat of a catastrophic impact from an asteroid or comet is a staple of popular culture. If there was a dinosaur killer in Earth’s past, is there a human killer in our future? What are the chances and how do we assess the risks? For that matter, what are asteroids, comets, and meteorites, and where do they come from? Find out more in this 3,000 square-foot interactive exhibition.

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Discover the Maritime Museum of San Diego and its world-class collection of historic vessels including sailing ships, steam-powered boats and submarines. You can board and explore the ships and, on some, even set sail.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Explore where the wonders of the ocean come alive! See more than 3,000 fish in 60+ habitats plus a museum on ocean and earth science.

Living Coast Discovery Center

Enter the fascinating world of sharks and rays at the Shark & Ray Experience. Touch the velvety backs of friendly rays as they glide through the interactive touch pool, and view four different local shark species in a 21,000 gallon exhibit with multiple underwater viewing areas.

> Full list of all 42 participating museums during San Diego Museum Month

Which museum do you plan on discovering or revisiting during San Diego Museum Month?

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego: January 22-27, 2013

100 Wines Hillcrest San Diego Restaurant Week

Our picks for things to do this weekend are top-notch with delicious food, world-class golfers, a festival for the whales and wonderful pieces of art that chronicle the story of America. This is your weekend:

San Diego Restaurant Week – Week 2

Things to Do - 100 Wines Hillcrest San Diego Restaurant Week

Try 100 Wines Hillcrest during San Diego Restaurant Week

By popular demand, San Diego Restaurant Week has been extended for another week! Enjoy a prix fixe lunch or dinner at over 120 restaurants throughout the county. Hurry up, because the deliciousness ends on Friday!

Dates: Through Friday, January 25, 2013
Cost: $10-$40
> Find out more about San Diego Restaurant Week

Farmers Insurance Open

Farmers Insurance Open - Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler in Round Three at the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open. Photo courtesy of Stan Badz.

Spend this weekend enjoying beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean while also watching the world’s greatest golfers play at the south and north courses of Torrey Pines Golf Course during the Farmers Insurance Open. Single day tickets are still available.

Location: 11480 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037 (map)
Dates: January 21-27, 2013
Cost: Free – $1200
> Find out more about the Farmers Insurance Open

Big Bay Whale Festival

[youtube http://youtu.be/W8oyXaZG4ec]

The Big Bay Whale Festival is a free, one-day family festival with a wide variety of interactive and hands-on displays to learn about California gray whale ecology and conservation. Children will enjoy the walk-through gray whale, train rides, giant inflatable obstacle course, free face painting and art mural coloring project.

Location: Broadway Pavilion, Broadway and North Harbor Drive (map)
Dates: January 26, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Big Bay Whale Festival

Behold, America!

Eastman Johnson, The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket

Eastman Johnson, The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket. Oil on canvas, 1880. Putnam Collection, Timken Museum of Art

As part of a collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of ArtBehold, America! tells a cohesive story of the history of art in the United States. The works on display range from the colonial period to the present.

Location: 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: Through February 10, 2013
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Behold, America! at the San Diego Museum of Art

> Browse more great things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Candice

Wine and Dine During the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting

November should be renamed Food and Drink month here in San Diego. In addition to the ubiquitous stuffing of turkeys happening at restaurants all over town, November is also host to 10 days of highlighting San Diego’s craft beer during San Diego Beer Week, which conveniently rolls right into 5 days of local food and wine pairings during the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting

Photo: Ken Loyst

The annual celebration of all things culinary comprises nearly 30 separate events. Here are just a few that are sure to tempt your palate:

SWISH: Serious Sips & Urban Eats – November 14, 2012

Start off the festival with a mid-week kick off party including plenty of drinks from up to 25 edgiest wineries and breweries along with food from some of San Diego’s hottest new food trucks.

Location: 57 Degrees
Date: November 14, 2012
Time: 7:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $45 (includes $7 voucher for use at any of the participating food trucks)

The Vault: Reserve Wine Experience & Silent Auction

A can’t-miss event for the true wine enthusiast, large, collectable and rare wines will be up for auction at this exclusive event. In addition to the bidding wars, guests can take part in the fun by sampling offerings from 160 wineries and spirits producers.

Location: San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina, Marriott Ballroom
Date: Friday, November 16, 2012
Time: 5:30 to 8:30 PM
Cost: $125

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival 2012

Photo: Ken Loyst

Grand Tasting Event

Soak up beautiful San Diego Bay views from Embarcadero Marina Park as you sip and savor offerings from more than 170 wine and spirit makers, 70 chefs, and 30 culinary companies. Plus, find out which chef will take home the coveted “Chef of the Fest” award in an action-packed culinary competition.

Location: Embarcadero Marina Park North
Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Time: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Cost: $125 in advance/$150 at the door

Re-Mixed Official Festival After Party

New this year, the Re-Mixed after party turns the focus from wine to cocktails as bartenders from San Diego’s hottest cocktail joints including Grant Grill, Searsucker, Prohibition, Noble Experiment, Vin de Syrah, Craft & Commerce, Tower 23 and more mix it up for guests.  Be sure to stop by the champagne, oyster and bacon station.

Location: U.S. Grant, Celestial Ballroom
Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Time: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Cost: $50

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival 2012

Photo: Joey Hernandez

Which San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival event are you most looking forward to this year?