Robert Arends

Jolly Good Times in La Jolla this Holiday Season!

La Jolla for the holidays! Festive entrance to The Lodge at Torrey Pines

La Jolla for the holidays! Festive entrance to The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Happy Holidays from La Jolla, one of San Diego’s most magical winter getaways. Sparkling beaches, warm sun shiny days and a welcoming Village vibe await holiday visitors to this enticing seaside enclave.

Christmas Celebration

Make some merry memories at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

Make some merry memories at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

Festivities kick off this Sunday during the popular annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival. This year’s theme is “Spirit of Christmas – Peace on Earth.” Parade begins at 1:30 PM along Girard Ave. and Prospect Street. There will be marching bands, vintage cars, equestrians and floats. Arrive early for prime viewing spots.

Afterward, head to the La Jolla Recreation Center (615 Prospect Street) for a fun festival featuring local businesses like Birch Aquarium and Surf Diva, photos with Santa Claus, a live entertainment stage and Christmas tree lighting at 5:00 PM.

Did you know: One of the parade sponsors is Audrey Geisel and the Dr. Seuss Fund. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was one of La Jolla’s most famous residents!

> Dr. Seuss on the Loose in La Jolla

Where: Girard Avenue & Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
When
: December 7, 2014
Time: 1:30 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival

Curtain Call

“Fa la la la la!” at the La Jolla Theatre Ensemble’s briskly-moving adaptation of the holiday classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Where: La Jolla Community Center – 6811 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037
When
: December 13 and 15, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: $10 suggested donation
> Find out more about Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Shop Till You Drop

La Valencia Hotel's 14 ft. Christmas Tree in La Sala Lounge

La Valencia Hotel’s 14 ft. Christmas Tree in La Sala Lounge

Shop for everyone on your holiday list – and yourself! – at the shops in La Jolla Village, particularly along Prospect St. and Girard Ave. The La Jolla Festival of Lights is sure to bring a twinkle to your eye as storefronts and hotels glow with colorful lights, Christmas trees, menorahs and other eye-catching holiday décor.

This Friday, the Allied Artists Association of San Diego (aaaSD) presents an Art Reception and Holiday Shopping Bazaar at the La Jolla Community Center; a great chance to meet and mingle with local artists and shop for one-of-kind handmade holiday gifts including crafts, glass creations and paintings.

When: December 5, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Cost:  Free
> Find out more about the aaaSD Art Reception and Holiday Shopping Bazaar

La Jolla Hotel Holiday Deals

Chef's yummy holiday cookies at La Valencia Hotel!

Chef’s yummy holiday cookies at La Valencia Hotel!

Some wrapped and ready packages to make your La Jolla visit merrier include:

See you in La Jolla for the holidays! 🙂

Robert Arends

San Diego’s Maritime History Comes Alive this Weekend at the Cabrillo Festival

Cabrillo National Monument - the Plymouth Rock of the West

Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma – the Plymouth Rock of the West

In 1542, Cabrillo sailed the ocean blue and not only discovered San Diego Bay for Spain, but California and the U.S. West Coast as well. Yep, that’s right…San Diego is the Plymouth Rock of the West!

Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into the harbor on September 28 – almost exactly 472 years ago! – aboard the San Salvador, a magnificent Spanish galleon ship. He landed on Point Loma, home of Cabrillo National Monument (San Diego’s only national park, BTW).

Cabrillo Festival

Historic reenactment of Cabrillo landing on the shores of San Diego Bay

Historic reenactment of Cabrillo’s landing on Point Loma, San Diego Bay

This Sunday, September 28, 2014, the big 51st annual Cabrillo Festival at Ballast Point on Naval Base Point Loma (located on the south end of Rosecrans Street) celebrates Europe’s first steps onto our shores. Admission is Free! There will be music, dancing, children’s activities and authentic foods of Native Americans, Mexico, Portugal and Spain (yum!). There will also be Native American Kumeyaay basket making, knot tying and a 16th century Spanish soldiers living history encampment.

Folkloric dancers at the Cabrillo Festival

Folkloric dancers bring history alive

The photo-worthy festival highlight is the re-enactment of Cabrillo’s landing on the shores of San Diego Bay. The captain, his soldiers and a priest will sail into the bay on The Californian (a stand-in for the San Salvador) and once again claim the land for Spain (don’t worry, Spain will quickly give San Diego back to us 😉

The re-enactment begins at 1:00 PM, but arrive a little early to get the best views.

Cabrillo National Monument

Impressive statue of Cabrillo at Cabrillo National Monument

Impressive statue of Cabrillo at Cabrillo National Monument

Just up the street, stop by Cabrillo National Monument to check out a commanding statue of Cabrillo on the cliffs of Point Loma overlooking San Diego, a cool video dramatization about his discovery and birds eye views of the bustling harbor, downtown skyline and the U.S. Navy in action on Coronado Island.

San Salvador Village

Replica of Cabrillo's flagship, the San Salvador

Replica of the San Salvador. Photo courtesy of Jerry Soto

I also recommend visiting the build site of a full-size, historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador at San Salvador Village at Spanish Landing (near Harbor Island). The ship is incredibly cool, like how I imagined the Mayflower looked! It’ll be completed in the next few months – with her maiden voyage scheduled for January 2015 – and will become part of the permanent fleet of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

San Salvador Village is open daily, featuring costumed docents, shipbuilding demonstrations, sail making and Native American Kumeyaay demos such as tulle boats, baskets and pottery making. This is as historically real as it gets! 😉

See you on the “Big Bay”!

Nick Karvounis

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 14 – 17, 2014

Run, swim, and bike your way across Coronado Island!

Your friends will be green with envy when you tell them you’re heading to San Diego this weekend.  With so many great attractions and events, there’s something for everyone; you won’t need the luck of the Irish to have a good time.  Check out these top things to do in San Diego during this festive weekend!

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown San Diego

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is always a fan favorite!

There’s a party and then there’s a party on St. Patrick’s Day.  Celebrate with friends across the region at some of San Diego’s annual events including Irish 4 A Day – St. Paddy’s Eve Party Hop, shamROCK Gaslamp Block Party, St. Patrick’s Day at the Glass Door, St. Patrick’s Beer Train Tour, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival.  Read more on our St. Patrick’s Day blog.

Balboa Park STEAM Family Day

Balboa Park STEAM Family Day in San Diego

Kids — and adults — will have a hair-raising day at Balboa Park.

This one’s for the kids – and adults too!  This week-long festival takes place at various locations throughout the region. On Sunday, March 16th, enjoy Balboa Park STEAM Family Day, where more than two dozen institutions in the park gather to present park-wide events. Enjoy hands-on activities, crafts, a butterfly release, storytelling and much more.

Where: Balboa Park
When: Sunday, March 16,
Cost: Children 12 & under free with paid adult admission
>Read more about the schedule of events at Balboa Park STEAM Family Day

SUPERSEAL and SEAL Sprint Triathlons

Coronado Island is host to the SUPERSEAL triathlon

Run, swim, and bike your way across Coronado Island!

This one’s for the athletes… and the dreamers.  There’s no more spectacular setting than Coronado Island for an intense triathlon competition.  The course was designed by Navy SEALs who train on the island, so expect a rigorous race.  The SUPERSEAL consists of a 1,500-meter swin, 40K bike ride, and 10k run.  For the less-adventurous, the SEAL course is shorter with 500-meter swim in Silver Strand State Beach Bay, 20k bike ride, and 6k run.  Whatever you choose, good luck!

Where: 1100 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Cost: $100 – $245
>Read more about the triathlon on Coronado Island

Bike Tour through scenic Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs two-wheeled bike tour!

It’s a flat terrain course, but still a challenging 80-mile ride in Borrego Springs!

We’ll start with a caveat on this… the terrain is mostly flat.  But you still have to be in shape for this spectacular scenic bike ride through Borrego Springs.  Choose from 27, 40, 67, or 80-mile paved road courses while enjoying the beautiful mountains in the distance.  Don’t miss the landmark prehistoric metal sculptures too!

Where: Borrego Springs High School, 2281 Diegueno Drive, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
When: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Cost: $49
>Read more about this great two-wheeled Tour of Borrego

Art Above San Diego

Porto Vista Hotel hosts the annual Art Above San Diego fair

Enjoy a spectacular view at sunset during this elevated art fair!

This event at the Porto Vista Hotel literally elevates your art collection.  Enjoy a breathtaking view of San Diego’s Big Bay during sunset while sipping champagne on the rooftop terrace.  This open-air contemporary art fair features works from San Diego’s local emerging artists and galleries.

Where: Porto Vista Hotel, 1835 Columbia Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Cost: $5-$10 donations requested
>Explore more about the Art Above San Diego fair

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Candice

Top Things to Do in San Diego: Nov. 6 – 10, 2013

san diego asian film festival 2013

If you’re an arts lover, you’ll love these events coming up in San Diego, Nov. 6 – 10. And if you prefer to get outdoors, there’s lots of options for you, too: set sail on a historic ship, go ice skating or just sample some San Diego beers under the sun.

Medium Festival of Photography

medium festival of photography san diego 2013

Portfolio reviews are just one part of the Medium Festival of Photography.

The second annual Medium Festival of Photography pairs educational lectures, workshops, and portfolio review sessions with fun and unique after-hours celebrations. On Nov. 8, famed photographer Abelardo Morell will speak at The Lafayette in North Park, and the festival continues with lectures from photographers like  Doug Rickard, Stephen Berkman, Michael Lundgren and more. On Nov. 9, the Lafayette hosts “An Intimate View of Southern California,” an outdoor exhibition of 50 photographers housed in a vintage trailer.

Where: 2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
When: November 7 – 10, 2013
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies (some events are free, some require tickets/registration)
>Find out more about the Medium Festival of Photography

San Diego Asian Film Festival

san diego asian film festival 2013

The San Diego Asian Film Festival offers countless screening opportunities.

The San Diego Asian Film Festival is one of the largest exhibitions of Asian international and Asian American cinema in North America. Along with narrative features, the nine-day Festival also showcases documentaries, short films, and animation. Screenings take place primarily at the Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center, but there are additional screenings around town.

Where: Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center
When: November 7 – 16, 2013
Time: Various times throughout each day
Cost: General Admission $11.50
>Find out more about the San Diego Asian Film Festival

Art San Diego 2013

Art San Diego 2013 contemporary art fair balboa park

The Art San Diego 2013 contemporary art fair mixes the old with the new in Balboa Park.

The annual Art San Diego contemporary art fair returns for a fifth year Nov. 8 – 10. The theme for 2013 is “Collide,” which means guests and visitors are sure to find unexpected cross-sections of art and film coming together in new and unusual ways. Explore one of four districts – Contemporary Art, Contemporary Product & Furniture Design, Mid-Century & Modern Art, and Solo-Artist Curated Booths – set up in historic Balboa Park.

Where: 2145 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 8 – 10, 2013
Time: 12:00 – 4:00 pm daily
Cost: Varies
>View the complete Art San Diego 2013 schedule of events

Star of India’s 150th Birthday

san diego maritime museum star of india 150th birthday sailing trip

Set sail with the Maritime Museum of San Diego for the Star of India’s 150th birthday.

The world’s oldest active sailing ship turns even older this weekend. Before becoming part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the Star of India sailed the world, from South America to New Zealand to the Bay of Bengal and back. This Nov. 9, 10 and 11, she sets sail again out of San Diego Bay, and guests can travel alongside in the Maritime Museum’s Californian and America companion ships. The sail includes a light brunch, lunch buffet and beverages.

Where: 1492 N. Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 9, 10 and 11, 2013
Time: Ships set sail at 9:30am each day
Cost: $125 for Maritime Museum members, $150 general admission
>Buy tickets for the Star of India’s 150th Birthday Sail 

Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink Grand Opening

Viejas ice skating rink

SoCal’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at the Viejas Outlet Center.

Lace up your skates and head out to Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego’s East County for the opening of the largest outdoor ice-skating rink in Southern California – it’s even bigger than the famed ice rink at Rockefeller Center in New York! The rink opens for the season on Nov. 9, and guests can practice their axel jumps and salchows through Jan. 5.

Where: Viejas Outlet Center, 5005 Willows Rd., Alpine, CA 91901
When: Nov. 9 – Jan. 5
Time: Monday-Friday: 5-10 p.m., Saturday & Sunday: 12-10 p.m.
Cost: $14 for adults; $12 for kids 12 and under (90 min. rental)
>Find out more about ice skating at Viejas Outlet Center

Free Admission to The New Children’s Museum

san diego new childrens museum feast 2013

It’s all about hands-on fun at learning at the New Children’s Museum.

The second Sunday of every month, The New Children’s Museum offers free admission giving families the opportunity to enjoy interactive activities and creative new exhibitions like Feast: The Art of Playing With Your Food. Installations are designed to educate and inspire creativity which typically resonate more with older kids, but the museum also features lots of hands-on art projects that are engaging for kids of all ages.

Where: 200 W Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 10, 2013
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Cost: Free
>Find out more about the New Children’s Museum

San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden & Chef Celebration

Beer Garden attendees talking to a brewer during San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden

Meet the Brewers during San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines.

The 5th annual San Diego Beer Week comes to a close on Sunday with the week’s most lavish event yet. Held amidst the beautiful gardens of the Lodge at Torrey Pines, the Beer Garden & Chef Celebration pairs 24 local breweries with 12 top local chefs for a delicious and unique tasting event. Each admission includes unlimited tasters of beer and food.

Where: 11480 North Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: November 10, 2013
Time: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Cost: $75 (includes valet parking)
>Purchase tickets for the Chef Celebration & Beer Garden

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the Event Calendar

What will you be doing in San Diego this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Sarah Weinberg

10 Years of Taste at The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Celebrity Chefs San Diego Bay Wine Food Fest Festival

Where to start? This amazing series of culinary events that compose the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary from Nov. 18-24, offers opportunities for foodies, wine lovers and craft beer enthusiasts. The SDBWFF hosts internationally known chefs like Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s, Javier Plascencia of Mision 19 alongside local San Diego stars like 2012 Chef of the Fest winner, Tommy Fraioli of Sea Rocket Bistro.

Celebrity Chefs San Diego Bay Wine Food Fest Festival

Make a toast to fine food, celebrity chefs and drinking by the bay at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Fest. Photo courtesy Kevin Hulett.

This year, even fitness fans can join the feasting fun with a Fit Foodie 5K/10K prior to a Grand Tasting. The “main event” of the fest, the Grand Tasting will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23, gathering 170 wineries, breweries and spirit companies, 70 of San Diego’s top fine-dining restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies in the open-air Embarcadero Marina Park North on San Diego Bay to indulge in a food festival experience like no other.

Grand Tasting San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival 2013

The Grand Tasting at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival courtesy Kevin Hulett.

The food revelry doesn’t stop there.  The SDBWFF features 25 additional events throughout San Diego County, ranging from an Haute French Cuisine & Vintage Burgundy Tasting at Addison to a Fish Taco Challenge at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

Here’s my “Wish List” of 5 events not to miss at San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival this year:

Monday, Nov. 18: La Plancha Pop Up Dinner

Yellowtail crudo Plancha Baja Med Chad White Tequila Pop Up

Yellowtail crudo courtesy Plancha Baja Med by Chad White.

This unique collaboration of Baja and San Diego chefs includes Chad White of Plancha Baja Med, Javier Plascencia of Mision 19 and Jason Knibb of Nine-Ten. Feast upon six uniquely styled courses with tequila pairings selected by Marcela Valladolid of Hacienda de la Flor and Food Network’s Mexican Made Easy.

Tuesday, Nov 19: The San Diego Classics: Fish Tacos & Craft Beers

Fish Taco Craft Beer Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens

Something fishy and delicious is happening at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens during the Fish Taco & Craft Beer Challenge.

What is more “Classic San Diego” than craft beers and fish tacos? This new event celebrates the two classics along with the featured Fish Taco TKO Competition that will pit the top fish taco makers against each other in a mouthwatering battle hosted at the new Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens location in Liberty Station.

Thursday, Nov. 21: Wine Spectator Celebrity Chef Dinner & Big Bottle Live Auction

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival 2013  chef dinner big bottle auction

Enjoy tray passed hors d’ouvres, a sit-down multi-course meal prepared by 8 celebrity chefs and a wine auction at this event.

After tacos and beer, I thought I’d get in the spirit of the event and indulge in an evening catered by some big names in the restaurant biz. Eight top-notch chefs and 15 legendary wineries make for an unforgettable dining experience at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina.

Saturday, Nov. 23: Grand Tasting Event

SD Bay Wine & Food Fest courtesy Joey Hernandez

Pouring it on by the bay at The Grand Tasting Event during San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. Photo courtesy Joey Hernandez.

The grand finale of the five-day festival is the star-studded Grand Tasting Event held Nov. 23 on the Embarcadero Marina Park North behind Seaport Village. Take in the beautiful San Diego Bay and enjoy the ocean breeze as you partake in the largest, wine and food festival in Southern California.  This is where the “Chef of the Fest” competition takes place.

Sunday, Nov. 24: Celebrity Sunrise Yoga & Brunch

While I’m not so much into “sunrise” or “celebrity,” “Yoga & Brunch” are definitely up my alley. The editors of Cooking Light and Health magazines have created a revitalizing Sunday morning experience. Awaken mind and body during a sunrise yoga session for beginner to intermediate levels at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Afterward, yogis  will gather for a delicious and nutritious brunch.

>Find out more information about the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival.

Guests must be over 21 years of age to attend all San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival events. NO infants, strollers, animals or exceptions!

 

Candice

Top Things to Do in San Diego: Oct. 24-27, 2013

dia de los muertos mission san luis rey oceanside san diego

The weekend weather forecast calls for 70-degree days, but fall is in full swing in San Diego, thanks to these upcoming festivities.

6th Annual Fall Fest on Avenida de la Playa

La Jolla Shores Fall Festival 2013 San Diego

Join the fun at the Fall Fest along La Jolla Shores

Dubbed “Party on the Playa,” bring the kids and costumes for this super fun block party near La Jolla Shores, one of San Diego’s most iconic beaches. The fun festivities feature local restaurant tastings, a costume contest, bouncy house, live music from Hullabaloo, giveaways, and super spooktacular prizes from local merchants.

Where: 2160 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, 92037
When: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Time:  4 – 7 p.m.
Cost: $5 in advance, $10 day of event
For more information, call (619) 840-3482 or email lajollashoresmerchants@gmail.com.

Halloween Dinner & Party Cruise

San Diego Flagship Cruises and Events Haunted Halloween Dinner Party Cruise 2013

Break out your costumes for Flagship Cruises & Events’ Halloween Cruise (Photo by David Veit for Flagship Cruises & Events)

It’s going to be a scary good time aboard Flagship Cruises & Events’ special Halloween dinner cruise. Dig up your most ghoulish friends and best Halloween costume, and come out for a night full of screams out on the water! Your ticket includes a 2.5 hour cruise around San Diego Bay, dining, dancing, musical entertainment, a complimentary boarding cocktail, and the chance to win a great costume contest prize.

Where: 990 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, 92101
When: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Time:  7 – 10 p.m.
Cost: $54.50 – $80.50
> Find out more about Flagship Cruises’ Halloween Dinner & Party Cruise

Family Fun at Old Town San Diego’s Fall Festival

Old Town Fall Festival San Diego 2013

History comes alive in Old Town San Diego

Hop on the San Diego Trolley’s Green Line to get to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for its annual Fall Festival, which features tons of unique merchants and artisans peddling one-of-a-kind creations. Kids will get to experience craft making and activities like never before – organizers let their creative juices flow recreating old-fashioned activities that families enjoyed back in 1872. Be sure to check out the nearby Mormon Battalion site where kids can participate in an interactive tour that is educational, state-of-the-art and, most importantly, tons of fun.

Where: Old Town State Historic Park 4002 Wallace St, San Diego CA 92110
When: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Time: 12 – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Old Town Fall Festival

12th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival at Old Mission San Luis Rey

dia de los muertos mission san luis rey oceanside san diego

The culture and traditions of Mexico shine at Mission San Luis Rey’s Dia de los Muertos Festival

Dubbed the “King of the Missions,” Oceanside’s Mission San Luis Rey celebrates the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos. In addition to elaborate and beautiful altars and offerings to departed loved ones, the celebration includes 75 vendors, traditional food, a chalk cemetery, plus a carnival for the kids. The event even includes a creative car show, where classic car and lowriders become makeshift alters to the departed.

Where: 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, 92057
When: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Time:  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free ($5 parking fee)
> Find out more about Mission San Luis Rey’s Dia de los Muertos Festival

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

 

Robert Arends

Quick Guide to the 2013 San Diego Pride!

Walking under Hillcrest SignLet your rainbow colors fly! San Diego Pride is coming up this weekend, July 12-14. The glittery glamorous spotlight shines on Hillcrest, San Diego’s hip uptown neighborhood, during one of our city’s biggest summer events. Following is a quick guide to the big annual LGBT celebration.

Three Must-See San Diego Pride Events…

Dancers at Pride of Hillcrest Block Party!

Dancers at Pride of Hillcrest Block Party!

First, here’s the 411 on the big three must-see San Diego Pride events:

  • 2nd annual Pride of Hillcrest Block Party on July 12, 6-11pm, on Normal St.; starring former Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutta.
  • 39th Annual Pride Parade on July 13, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, down University Ave. Grand Marshalls are George Takei (of Star Trek fame!), his partner Brad and La Toya Jackson (really!)
  • Pride Festival, July 13-14, in beautiful Balboa Park, featuring eight dance/entertainment stages, including Ms. Jackson in concert.

Sip…

Good times on tap at Urban Mo's!

Good times on tap at Urban Mo’s!

So many bars, so little time! Let’s narrow down the list a bit to these Top 10 tried and true hotspots:

  1. Baby Cakes – cocktails and cupcakes, sweet! Fab for people watching from the patio.
  2. Bourbon Street – a classy touch of N’Orleans in neighboring University Heights
  3. Brass Rail – the official Pride Parade After Party, and no cover!
  4. Flicks – Hillcrest’s #1 video bar.
  5. Gossip Grill – caters to the ladies (gents welcome too)
  6. Hillcrest Brewing Company – toast San Diego’s hop-pening craft beer scene and the world’s 1st LGBT brewery!
  7. Martinis Above Fourth – swanky digs and best martinis in town!
  8. Number One Fifth Avenue – friendly neighborhood bar with patio out back to mix & mingle
  9. Pecs – Bears, oh my! Good times on tap all weekend.
  10. Urban Mos – dance floor, 3 bars, packed patio and great food…yes please!

Sup…

There are dozens of great restaurants in and around Hillcrest. Standouts include the new Great Maple, Project Pie (best pizzas!), D Bar and Snooze. Other favs: Baja Betty’s (muy bueno Mexican food), The Tractor Room, Yakitori Izakaya Tec Chan (for yummy late-night Japanese apps), Cucina Urbana and Café on Park (popular brunch spot!).

Sleep…

The coolest, closest gay-friendly hotel is Inn at the Park, just two blocks from Hillcrest and the Pride Festival. Their rooftop happy hour on Friday is off the charts!

PAR-TAY!

Go wild at the San Diego Zoo Party!

Go wild at the San Diego Zoo Party!

Groovestars unite at Rich’s nightclub for high NRG music and dancing till 2am. For you circuit boys and gals, four Pride Parties are sure to perk you up (get tickets here or at the door):

  • Pride Ball – July 12, 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM at Spin Night Club
  • Circuit Daze – July 13, 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park
  • The famous [for some, infamous ;-)] Zoo Party – July 14, 4:00 to 11:00 PM at the San Diego Zoo
  • Fete Accompli – July 14, 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM at the House of Blues downtown

P.S. While you’re here, work on that coppertone tan at Coronado Beach, one of “America’s Manliest Beaches,” according to The Travel Channel.

Denise

St. Patrick’s Day Family Fun in San Diego – 2013

Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Balboa Park
Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Balboa Park

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Balboa Park

Ready for a little Irish reveling on St. Patrick’s Day? Luckily, you don’t have to set sail to Ireland to celebrate because the luck of the Irish can be found right here in San Diego. Spend the day basking in San Diego’s glorious sunshine and make some memories with your loved ones at one of these local outdoor family-friendly events.

San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival

[youtube http://youtu.be/tMwUpMkjqhk]

Irish Festival

Dress the family in green and head out to the Irish Festival in Balboa Park. Held in conjunction with a grand St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the festival has something for the entire family including Irish faire, craft booths and live entertainment for you to clap, dance and sing-a-long with on two stages running. Kids can play in the Kids Zone complete with games, rides, llamas, face-painting and other fun. You can also step back in time at a Celtic Village where the year is 1582. A troupe of renaissance re-enactors will entertain you while portraying the daily drama of the soldiers of the House McFionn. Kids and adults alike will be amazed by authentic fighting demonstrations, as well as Irish dancing, songs and story-telling.

Parade

This annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will have more than 120 entries including marching bands, decorated floats, bagpipe contingents, the reigning Miss Colleen, the Smiling Irishman and much more. Get there early for best viewing of this popular, colorful parade.

Where: Parade – 5th & 6th Avenues, between Juniper and Upas
Date: March 16, 2013
Times:
Festival – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Parade starts at 10:30 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival

St. Patrick’s Day 10K Run, 4 & 2 Mile Fun Run

St. Patrick's Day 10K Run

“May the road rise to meet you” at this 33rd annual run/walk event in Mission Bay Park. The best Irish-themed running costume will be recognized, and the whole family can watch or participate, then spend the day playing at the park. Mission Bay’s cool breezes, tranquil waters and soft sand beaches welcome beach-goers to this beautiful area all year long. But if you do decide to come out for St. Paddy’s day, there are also abundant grassy areas for the kids to hunt for four-leaf clovers!

Where: Mission Bay Park – 1740 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Starting Time: 7:30 AM
> Find out more about St. Patrick’s Day 10K Run, 4 & 2 Mile Fun Run

> San Diego Blooms in Spring

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

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do in San Diego: November 29 – December 2, 2012

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

The holiday season is officially upon us! If you are avoiding the stores (or even better…done with your shopping), get out and enjoy one of these San Diego events and things to do this weekend.

1. NCAA® 2012 Women’s College Cup

NCAA 2012 Women's College Cup

Catch the excitement of the NCAA 2012 Women’s College Cup for its first visit to San Diego

For the first time ever, the University of San Diego will be hosting the NCAA College Cup, the women’s Division I soccer national championship on November 30 & December 2, 2012 at Torero Stadium. Penn State, Florida State, North Carolina and Stanford will make their way to San Diego to play for the national championship.

Location: Torero Stadium, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110 (map)
Dates: November 20 and December 2, 2012
Cost: $40 for all three games. Parking is free
> Find out more about the NCAA 2012 Women’s College Cup

2. LEGO Train City Exhibit

LEGO Train City Exhibit - San Diego Model Railroad Museum

All aboard the train to LEGO City at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum

If you have kids of a certain age, visiting this exhibit at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum is a must. The exhibit features LEGO trains, trestles, transportation, skyscrapers, canyons, mountains, an ocean boardwalk and town buildings. Little ones can also enjoy playful learning in a LEGO Brick City zone filled with interactive, creative and educational activities.

Location: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: November 20, 2012 – January 18, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (Closed on Mondays)
Cost: Included with admission. Adults – $8, Seniors – $6, Children 14 and under – Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s LEGO Train City Exhibit

3. Holiday Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObT5PiEu2Fk]

Enjoy the largest animated drive-through light show on the U.S. West Coast with more than 400 brilliant holiday light displays. Themed for the holiday season, the Holiday of Lights is a spectacular drive-through light show with crowd-pleasing, family oriented displays organized into themes, which include: Candy Cane Lane, Toyland, San Diego County Fair, Treasures by the Lake, Del Mar Racetrack, the Twelve Days of Christmas and Elves at Play.

> Find more Christmas light displays in San Diego

Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014 (map)
Dates: November 22, 2012 – January 1, 2013
Times: Sunday-Thursday: 5:30 to 10:00 PM. Friday-Saturday: 5:30 to 10:30 PM
Cost: $15 per car, up to 5 people. $20 per vehicle, 6 or more people. $50 per bus. $10 per person for the Holiday Hayride
> Find out more about Holiday Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

4. North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Get swept up in the holiday spirit during the North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Celebrating its 49th year, the North Park Toyland Parade and festival includes vintage cars, marching bands, dance groups, beauty queens and city officials. Keep your eye out for Santa Claus and his sleigh, as he jingles all the way down the parade route.

> Discover even more Holiday Things to Do in San Diego

Location: Click here for the parade route
Date: December 1, 2012
Time: Parade starts at 11:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

5. SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza

SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza Collage

Chili, Shopping, Chili, Beer and Wine, Chili and Family Fun at the SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza. Did we mention there will be chili?

For the past 3 years, the two neighborhoods of South Park and North Park come together for the SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza. This family friendly festival offers a kids zone, shopping from local artisans, music, local craft beer and, of course, chili made by local restaurants and residents. Stop by to taste some chili and vote for your favorite in the “People’s Choice Award.”

Location: 32nd Street and Thorn, San Diego, CA 92104 (map)
Date: December 2, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Festival is Free. $20 for a ceramic chili bowl, 5 restaurant tastings and unlimited community tastings
> Find out more about SoNo Park Holiday Fest & Chilipalooza

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

Know of any other great events going on in San Diego this weekend? Let us and others know about them in the comments below.