Arlene

A Few of the Best Dive Bars to Visit in San Diego

San Diego Dive Bars
San Diego Dive Bars

How many of these San Diego dive bars have you visited?

San Diego may be known for its near perfect weather year round, but what many do not know is that the nightlife in this 75 degree city stretches from the Mexico border to the North County and there is something to do almost every night of the week.

But San Diego’s nightlife isn’t just about clubs! If large-scale clubs aren’t your thing, there are plenty of dive bars and lounges sprinkled throughout the county.

Here are the some of best dive bars you want to visit while in San Diego.

Dive Bars in Encinitas

Starting in the North County, you can find not one but two bars side by side. The Saloon and Shelter in Encinitas that are popular among residents of the North. Both located on South Coast Highway 101, each offers a variety of events including live music and DJ’s playing both top 40, dance music and classics. The Saloon also has a jukebox for your listening pleasure. Shelter launched a casual dining menu in late 2014 so if you’re hungry after one too many shots, hop on over there.

Classy Dive Bars in La Jolla

Moving towards the south we find ourselves heading farther west towards the coast and into the area of La Jolla. This neighborhood is known for its high-end cars, stars and bars. In other words, it’s fancy! You can take a nice stroll down Prospect St. and have some cocktails at La Valencia Hotel before heading to Prospect Bar & Grill. On Sundays you’ll get a great view from the rooftop and during the summer they have guest DJ’s so you can sip a martini and dance to house/dance music as you watch that gorgeous sunset in those fancy pants.

Dive Bars by the Beach

Just south are the more casual beach communities of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach. Each neighborhood has its own very unique character so whether you’re interested in watching buskers in OB, surfers and college students party in PB or families ride the rollercoaster in MB, you’ll be able to find a sweet watering hole somewhere. In PB, there are plenty of clubs for the college age demographic, but a favorite spot for those straying from Rhianna remixes is the Silver Fox Lounge on Garnet Ave. A classic dive bar with pool tables, darts and all.

A Bit More Urban Dive Bars

The center of the county soon becomes dense with many eclectic and vibrant neighborhoods including Hillcrest, Bankers Hill, Golden Hill, Normal Heights, North Park and South Park among many others. Being a native of Golden Hill and North Park myself, I have an affinity for these and surrounding neighborhoods. One of the older dive bars located in North Park is Livewire on El Cajon Blvd. This is where you’ll often find bartenders on their nights off, listening to great music in the near dark. They even have guest DJ’s come in that tend bar, or are regulars there. In South Park, Whistle Stop Bar is a cash only staple of the neighborhood that has been around since the late 70s. You can hang at the bar or on certain nights you can listen to anything from 80s vs 90s, to New Wave or live music and dance. Warning, it gets warm in there.

For those searching for some craft cocktails made by gentlemen in bowties and beards or ladies that know whiskey like the back of their hand, head over to Polite Provisions on Adams Ave. in Normal Heights. You may feel like you’re in the bar of the Titanic, but that is one of the reasons this spot is so awesome. The details of the décor compliment the details put into each cocktail. Both are exquisite. This is a great place to try drinks you’ve never heard of. You can walk across the street afterwards to dance at AC Lounge, a lounge/club that won’t overwhelm your senses. They even have a small VIP room with the only LED dance floor in San Diego. If you preferred camping over disco in the 70s, head over to Sycamore Den, more great craft cocktails and you’ll feel like you’re in a cabin with the fireplace, 70s rock playing and orange & brown tones of the décor. Very campy indeed!

Dive into these Bars in Hillcrest and Banker’s Hill

Heading closer to downtown we enter Hillcrest and Banker’s Hill. Hillcrest is known worldwide for being a neighborhood that supports the LGBT community and there is always a party around. There are several places to grab drinks here but some favorites are The Alibi, Urban Mo’s and Uptown Tavern. All are within walking distance on University Avenue. Banker’s Hill is in a curious space in between Hillcrest and downtown San Diego and there are some gems to be found here. Nunu’s is a bar straight out of the 70s as well (think Three’s Company), Cherry Bomb is another bartender/service industry favorite dive with some of the stiffest pours around and The Balboa Bar & Grill has some great local bands.

Finally – Dive Bars in Downtown San Diego

After naming so many bars…you’re probably already buzzed just thinking about them. But Wait! There’s More! We have arrived to Downtown San Diego, the heart of the city and where crowds flock every single weekend (and some weeknights) to drink and dance. I understand, you’re not into the Vegas style clubs and that’s ok. You want a smaller, quainter place to order one of 3,875 craft beers on tap or maybe just an Old Fashioned. I get it and I like it! First stop is El Dorado, located on the edge of downtown. Ryan Kuntz is usually behind the bar and will be sure to offer you some great suggestions for cocktails.  There is a great selection of oldies and rock and roll on the jukebox and if you feel like killin’ some game they have a sweet Buck Hunter video game console there. Another hidden gem, literally, is Noble Experiment, found behind a fake wall inside Neighborhood on 8th and G St. They house award-winning bartenders, Trevor Easterman (GM) and Adele Stratton and have been named one of the best craft cocktail bars in America by several publications including Esquire and Playboy Magazine. It’s a very small place so be sure to make a reservation or plan on waiting.

Speaking of small bars, how about visiting the smallest bar in San Diego? Pop’s Liquor Cabinet is named appropriately as it only has 4 seats in the 157sq foot space. JJ Licari, a owning partner of the preciously petite place, helped opened this spot on F St. in between large clubs so if you blink you may miss it! I recommend popping in for a drink before you wander around the Gaslamp Quarter. There will be more bottles of booze than people fit in there so the ratio is ideal. If you happen to enjoy cash only spots where the only things served are well drinks and beer then you will love Star Bar located on E St. between 4th and 5th Avenues. You are not allowed to say you live in San Diego until you have a Star Bar story. If jet lag has you wide awake at 6:00 AM you’re in luck…because that’s when they open! If you’re there that late (or early?) then you will definitely have a story to take home.

San Diego’s Oldest Tavern

The last bar I will stumble upon is none other than Waterfront Bar on Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy. Proudly known as San Diego’s oldest tavern, Waterfront also opens up at 6:00 AM and has a menu for those late night or early morning hunger pains. This is truly a classic place to visit in San Diego as it has outdoor seating to people watch, solid food and it gets packed on weekends and weeknights often.  I have a video of my buddies and I there one morning and after one too many mimosas and beers we turned the jukebox on and decided we should all sing at the top of our lungs. I have it on video if anyone is interested in seeing the worst version of Bohemian Rhapsody ever filmed.

Cheers!

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 17-22, 2015

It’s going to be a beautiful first weekend of Spring here in San Diego with amazing weather, colorful wildflowers and these top things to do.

A Midsummer Nights Dream and Carnival of the Animals

San Diego Ballet's A Midsummer Nights Dream & Carnival of the Animals

Frolicking fairies, star-crossed lovers. and bounding Amazons share the stage in Javier Velasco’s fast, fleet, and funny adaptation of Shakespeare’s immortal comedy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Join us in this witty romp through enchanted glades where “the course of true love n’er did run smooth.” Set to some of Mendelssohn’s most memorable melodies, Midsummer’s makes magic! Created especially for the children, Carnival of the Animals is a colorful journey through the animal kingdom, set to the beloved music of Camille Saint-Saens and folk music from all over the world. This performance is presented in association with Animal Cracker Conspiracy and the Living Coast Discovery Center.

Where: Balboa Theatre – 868 4th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 20-21, 2015
Cost: Tickets start at $27
> Find out more about A Midsummer Nights Dream and Carnival of the Animals

Nations of San Diego International Dance Festival

Celebrating the 22nd Anniversary Year, Southern California’s Largest Multi-Cultural Dance Festival will be held in the beautiful historic Spreckels Theater in downtown San Diego and feature more than 250 dancers and musicians representing cultures spanning the globe.

Where: Spreckels Theatre – 121 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 20-22, 2015
Cost: $20-$30
> Find out more about the Nations of San Diego International Dance Festival

The Spring Thing at MCASD Downtown

The Spring Thing at MCASD Downtown

Join MCASD for an evening Artful Dining featuring a cocktail hour menu created by Chef duo Giuseppe Ciuffa of Giuseppe Restaurants and Fine Catering and Guest Chef David Warner of the East Village favorite, Bottega Americano, and a dinner menu designed exclusively by all-star Chef Andrew Spurgin in collaboration with Culinary Concepts. Or arrive at 8:30 PM for The After Party with the turn-table talent of DJ Adam Salter and DJ Steve French, a Mixology Lounge featuring signature cocktails from Patrón, and hosted bar and bites until the clock strikes midnight!

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – Downtown – 1001 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 20, 2015
Time: 7:00 to Midnight
Cost: $75-$175
> Find out more about The Spring Thing at MCASD Downtown

The White Snake

The White SnakeOne of the true geniuses of the American theatre makes her long-awaited San Diego debut with The White Snake! Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman creates an enchanting theatrical spectacle with live music and sumptuous visuals. In this visionary staging of a classic Chinese fable, a gentle serpent transforms into a beautiful woman. She falls in love with a dashing young man and decides to stay human forever, until a wicked monk discovers her true identity and vows to destroy her.

Where: The Old Globe Theatre – 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 21 – April 26, 2015
Cost: Tickets start at $29
> Find out more about The White Snake

San Diego Sings Festival

San Diego Sings Festival

The annual San Diego Sings Festival brings together 20 of San Diego’s top choral groups in a free day-long concert. Participating performers range from children’s choruses and barbershop groups to a symphony chorus, and from community choirs and women’s groups to a Norwegian male chorus and a Chinese choral society.

Where: Spreckels Organ Pavilion – 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 21, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Sings Festival

Apollo 13 45th Anniversary

Apollo 13 45th Anniversary - Top Things to Do

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is offering a special and rare opportunity to meet the astronauts of Apollo 13, plus the key people on the ground who directed the efforts to help save them in space. Joining them will be others from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs to relate how they all triumphed over great adversity.

Where: San Diego Air & Space Museum – 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 21, 2015
Time: 5:30 to 10:30 PM
Cost: $295
> Find out more about the Apollo 13 45th Anniversary

Sailor Days

maritime museum of san diego

The Star of India is one of the ships featured at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Come aboard and become a sailor for the day. Families can explore the vessels while on a scavenger hunt, make brass rubbings, raising sail, rope making, knot tying, rowing and more.

Where: Maritime Museum of San Diego – 1492 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 22 – April 5, 2015
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Sailor Days

San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo

San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo Day

Hands on edutainment and experiments at the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo Day

Now in its seventh year, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering EXPO Day at Petco Park is the Festival’s culminating event with over 130 local businesses, corporations, and organizations providing interactive, hands-on activities showcasing STEM from all parts of Southern California.

Where: Petco Park – 100 Park Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 21, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo

Book Your Stay in San Diego - Discover Unpublished Rates

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Find more Top Things to Do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 3-8, 2015

Warm up by spending the first weekend of March in San Diego and revel in the beautiful weather and these top things to do.

> Click Here to Enter the Spring to San Diego Sweepstakes

19th Annual San Diego Bird Festival

19th Annual San Diego Bird Festival

The San Diego Bird Festival celebrates the birds and habitats of San Diego County, which truly offers some of the best birding in the United States. In a world where social media and smart devices seem to be taking over, birds are a lovely reminder that the world is full of real experiences. All you need to do is Look Up!

Where: Marina Village Conference Center – 1936 Quivira Way, San Diego, CA 92109
When: March 5-8, 2015
> Find out more about the 19th Annual San Diego Bird Festival

TNT: Remixed

TNT: Remixed

Converge on Figi Concourse, the historic colonnade located between MCASD’s downtown location and adjacent train tracks

Join MCASD as they celebrate the opening of Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui at TNT: Remixed! This lively evening which will include two performances by Jimmy LaValle of famed San Diego band The Album Leaf, as well as interactive performances and art-making experiences with artist Keenan Harsten and his sound sculptures, food, drinks and more.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – Downtown – 1001 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 5, 2015
Time: 7:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $8-$10. Members – Free
> Find out more about TNT: Remixed

City Ballet’s Balanchine Spectacular

City Ballet's Balanchine Spectacular

Three full-length masterworks choreographed by George Balanchine

City Ballet of San Diego presents three full-length masterworks choreographed by the 20th century genius, George Balanchine. George Balanchine’s ballets are presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust. City Ballet of San Diego is honored to be recognized by The George Balanchine Trust as having the technical skills and artistic quality to present these George Balanchine ballets.

Where: Spreckels Theatre – 121 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 6-8, 2015
Cost: $29-$79
> Find out more about City Ballet’s Balanchine Spectacular

SeaWorld Wild Days

SeaWorld Wild Days - Jack Hanna

Join Jack Hanna and Julie Scardina the weekend of March 7-8 for exciting animal presentations in the Mission Bay Theater

During SeaWorld Wild Days, get up close with SeaWorld’s zoological team and learning firsthand the ways they can make a difference with their own everyday actions. At the Wild Days Amphitheater, SeaWorld vets and animal care specialists will interact with guests and share information about the way they care for animals. Scientists from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute will also be on hand, as well as representatives from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.

Where: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
When: Weekends March 7-29, 2015
Cost: Included with Admission
> Find out more about SeaWorld Wild Days

Spring Busker Festival

Spring Busker Festival - Seaport Village

Step Right Up! See amazing feats of human strength at the Spring Busker Festival

The celebration brings colorful street performers from across the country to perform their bizarre talents like sword swallowers, jugglers on unicycles, escape artists and comedic stuntmen to the cobblestone streets of downtown’s Seaport Village. The extraordinary and bizarre talents will provide outdoor amusement for all unlike any other festival in the region.

Where: Seaport Village – 849 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 7-8, 2015
Time: 12:00 to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Spring Busker Festival

Best Coast Beer Fest

Best Coast Beer Fest

You. Beer. Music. Food trucks. San Diego Bay. Taste beer from nearly 100 of the West Coast’s craft breweries, enjoy the sweet sounds of local bands and possibly enjoy a sensible lunch from our food truck alley. The whole shebang. According to Will Ferrell, there is no physical way in the universe you can enjoy a day better than this. He has done the research. It’s science.

Where: Embarcadero Marina Park South – Marina Park Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 7, 2015
Time: 12:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $20-$125
> Find out more about Best Coast Beer Fest

10th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

japanese friendship garden cherry blossom

Enjoy the sights and smells of cherry blossoms this weekend

Celebrate spring and the blooming of the Japanese Friendship Garden’s 150 Cherry Tree Grove with cultural performances, traditional food, unique local vendors, children’s corner and a beer tasting! Guests may partake in Hanami, the traditional custom of picnicking under the cherry trees.

Where: Japanese Friendship Garden – 2215 Pan American Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 8, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $5-$6
> Find out more about the 10th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

2015 Women’s Film Festival

2015 Women's Film Festival - Women's Museum of California - Top Things to Do

Join the Women’s Museum of California as they screen films that will educate and inspire future generations about the experiences and contributions of women through the art of film.

Where: Women’s Museum of California – 2730 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106
When: March 4-22, 2015
Cost: $8-$40
> Find out more about the 2015 Women’s Film Festival

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Find more Top Things to Do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Book Your Stay in San Diego - Discover Unpublished Rates

Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 24 – March 1, 2015

Visit San Diego this weekend and take in the vibrant colors, beautiful sights and soothing sounds the city has to offer while you enjoy these top things to do.

> Saving up for a Rainy Day in San Diego with the Kids

San Diego Museum Month

San Diego Museum Month - Top Things to Do

Don’t miss out! It’s the last week to take advantage of 50% admission to 45 museum throughout San Diego county.

> Find out more about San Diego Museum Month

Whale Watching Cruises

If you're lucky, you can spot a whale breaching the surface along the San Diego coastline.

If you’re lucky, you can spot a whale breaching the surface along the San Diego coastline.

San Diego is an ideal destination to see the impressive parade of more than 200,000 grey whales migrate south each spring. Book a daily voyage aboard vessels ranging from luxurious private charters to affordable group cruise ships to see these gentle giants up close.

> Find out more about Whale Watching Cruises

Cirque du Soleil – Varekai

From the sky falls a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world populated by fantastical creatures, this young man sets off on an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of all possibilities, begins an inspired incantation to life rediscovered.

Where: Valley View Casino Center – 3500 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92110
When: February 25 – March 1, 2015
Cost: $25-$165
> Find out more about Cirque du Soleil – Varekai

Tower After Hours: Ireland

San Diego Museum of Man's Tower After Hours: Ireland - Top Things to Do

Join in the fun and experience the rich cultural heritage of Ireland at Tower After Hours: Ireland! Taste delicious Irish pub fare from local eateries, watch lively performances of music and dance, and enjoy a cold Guinness. Don’t miss this great Irish party!

Where: San Diego Museum of Man – 1350 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: $15-$30
> Find out more about Tower After Hours: Ireland

The Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour

Drawing material from Celtic Thunder’s nine Public Television Specials, eleven CDs and DVDs and eight US tours to date, the tour aims to combine all Celtic Thunder classics, fan favorites and hit songs into a formidable stage show, married with that huge Celtic Thunder signature sound, dramatic lighting and imposing set that audiences and fans everywhere have come to expect from a Celtic Thunder show.

Where: Historic Balboa Theatre – 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 26, 2015
Time: 7:30 to 9:15 PM
Cost: $60-$65
> Find out more about The Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour

Jay Mohr

Jay Mohr at The American Comedy Company

Celebrate The American Comedy Co’s 3 Year Anniversary Weekend with Jay Mohr! Comedian, actor, radio host and bestselling author, Jay Mohr has been performing stand-up comedy since he was sixteen years old. With a career that has spanned over three decades, Jay has become an artist that is very difficult to define.

Where: The American Comedy Company – 818 B 6th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 26 – March 1, 2015
Cost: $30
> Find out more about Jay Mohr at the American Comedy Company

The Chinese New Year Red Ball – Year of the Sheep

The Red Ball 2015 - A Chinese New Year Celebration

Don’t forget to wear red to ring in the Chinese New Year!

Usher in Chinese New Year at The Annual Red Ball held at Club M inside the Grand Del Mar, California’s luxurious 15-Star Resort! The Year of the Sheep recurs once every twelve years in the Lunar calendar, and symbolizes peace and compassion. At this coveted 21 & up Lunar New Year party, guests will enjoy award-winning hospitality, live music, DJ, dancing and more! Guests of every culture are welcome. Red cocktail attire suggested for good luck.

Where: Club M at The Grand Del Mar – 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA 92130
When: February 27, 2015
Cost: Free Admission
> Find out more about The Chinese New Year Red Ball – Year of the Sheep

The Flower Fields

The Carlsbad Flower Fields

Get lost in a sea of beauty and color at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad

Don’t miss the chance to see more than 50 acres of breathtaking Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers bloom and transform the landscape into a solid expanse of dazzling color. This sanctuary of natural beauty offers a host of family friendly activities and events including an open-air wagon ride through the fields via an antique tractor, a walk through the fragrant sweet pea maze, and more.

Where: 5704 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: March 1 – May 10, 2015
Cost: $6-$12
> Find out more about The Flower Fields

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Find more Top Things to Do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 17-22, 2015

Visit San Diego this weekend for a ton of great top things to do including half off museums, amazing opera, lunar new year’s festivals, dinosaurs, craft beer and more:

San Diego Museum Month

San Diego Museum Month - Top Things to Do

Leap into 45 museums in San Diego this February. Presented by Macy’s, this popular event allows participants to enjoy half-off entry fees at 45 San Diego Museum Council membership museums. The savings encourages locals and visitors to explore a variety of arts, culture and science-oriented destinations. From Oceanside Museum of Art down to the Tijuana Estuary, there are ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.

When: Through February 28, 2015
> Find out more about San Diego Museum Month

Mardi Gras

Samba Dancer at Mardi Gras -Courtesy Enne Bi Communications

Let Loose at a Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration in San Diego

The rhythm of Brazil comes to San Diego during Mardi Gras. Let loose, dance and indulge at carnival celebrations ranging from massive block parties bumping with music from the best DJs to more traditional festivities with feather-adorned dancers in samba shows, performances of the Brazilian martial-arts dance form capoeira, caipirinhas, and more.

When: February 17, 2015
> Find out more about Mardi Gras Celebrations in San Diego

San Diego Opera’s Don Giovanni

San Diego Opera's Don Giovanni - Top Things to Do in San Diego

This intense opera stuns as Giovanni stalks his latest conquest, a beautiful young bride. But he cannot escape his past sins – the daughter of the nobleman who he brutally murdered and a woman he carelessly left at the altar – or the ones who try valiantly to bring him to justice. In a shocking conclusion, we find out that the living are not the only ones who can seek vengeance.

When: Through February 22, 2015
> Find out more about San Diego Opera’s Don Giovanni

Shen Yun: 5,000 Years in One Night!

SHEN YUN means “the beauty of heavenly being dancing.” Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, and takes you on a journey through 5,000 years. The 2-hour Shen Yun performance consists of about 20 pieces, moving from one story, region, and dynasty to the next.

When: February 18-24, 2015
> Find out more about Shen Yun: 5,000 Years in One Night!

Chinese New Year Food & Cultural Fair

Chinese New Year Food & Cultural Fair - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Join in the New Year of the Horse celebration at the Chinese New Year Food & Cultural Fair

In 2015, we again welcome the San Diego community to share our celebration of the Year of the Ram – a time for family, friendship, and giving thanks. This is a free two-day event fun-packed with various cultural performance including lion dancers, martial arts demonstrations and acrobatics, children’s crafts, lantern parade and a wide variety of Chinese and Asian food booths.

When: February 21-22, 2015
> Find out more about the Chinese New Year Food & Cultural Fair

San Diego Winter Brew Fest

The San Diego Winter Brew Fest will celebrate craft beverages from around California and beyond and features; live local music, food, and other vendors. This event benefits Outdoor Outreach and the San Diego Mountain Bike Association (SDMBA).

When: February 20-21, 2015
> Find out more about the San Diego Winter Brew Fest

San Diego Tết Festival

San Diego Tet Festival - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture with food, music, dance and plenty of fun!

The festival promises fun for whole the family with such activities as carnival rides and games, authentic Vietnamese food, lion dancing and firecrackers. And entertainment programs, such as the Miss Vietnam of San Diego and a Cultural Village to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture.

When: February 20-22, 2015
> Find out more about the San Diego Tết Festival

Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train Live!

Dinosaur Trail Live! Buddy’s Big Adventure embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains. The show encourages basic scientific thinking skills as the audience learns about life science, natural history and paleontology.

When: February 21, 2015
> Find out more about Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train Live!

Stone Belgian Fest

Stone Belgian fest

Trip to Belgium too expensive? Head to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens – Liberty Station way for their first, annual Belgian Festival here at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. With Lambics, Gueuzes, Dubbles, Tripels, Quadrupels, and Flanders Red Ales at your fingertips, you won’t know if you’re in Brussels, Bruges, or San Diego.

When: February 22, 2015
> Find out more about the Stone Belgian Fest

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Find more Top Things to Do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 10-17, 2015

This weekend in San Diego will be full of Valentine’s Day love, Mardi Gras bon temps and more while you are out enjoying these top things to do.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day in San Diego

Fall or Fall Back in Love during a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend in San Diego

Romance is in the air and San Diego is the perfect backdrop for a romantic rendezvous. From the finest cuisine and unparalleled views of the Pacific to a hip singles cruise to find your true love, there’s something for everyone on the sweetest holiday of the year.

> Browse Valentine’s Day Offers, Packages and Events in San Diego

Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations

Samba Dancer at Mardi Gras -Courtesy Enne Bi Communications

Let Loose at a Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration in San Diego

The rhythm of Brazil comes to San Diego during Mardi Gras. Let loose, dance and indulge at carnival celebrations ranging from massive block parties bumping with music from the best DJs to more traditional festivities with feather-adorned dancers in samba shows, performances of the Brazilian martial-arts dance form capoeira, caipirinhas, and more.

> Browse Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration in San Diego

[Tweet “From romance to indulgence, #SanDiego has you covered with these top things to do this weekend.”]

Lunar New Year at SeaWorld

Chair Stacking - SeaWorld Lunar New Year Celenration

Marvel at amazing acrobatics during SeaWorld San Diego’s Lunar New Year celebration

During Lunar New Year at SeaWorld, the park’s Lunar New Year Festival area will feature Asian-inspired culinary offerings and a stage featuring cultural performances celebrating Asia, such as taiko drummers, lion dancers and fan dancers. Also, the Chinese Acrobats of Hebei will perform 25-minute acrobatic shows at Mission Bay Theater.

When: February 13 – March 1, 2015 (Select Dates)
> Find out more about Lunar New Year at SeaWorld

California Open Wildlife Art Festival

California Open Wildlife Art Festival

See top carvers, wildlife artists and art lovers from all over the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan

Pacific Southwest Wildlife Arts, is proud to present the “California Open Wildlife Art Festival.” The exhibition and competition attracts top carvers, wildlife artists and art lovers from all over the United States, Canada, Russia and Japan.

When: February 12-15, 2015
> Find out more about California Open Wildlife Art Festival

KuumbaFest

KuumbaFest - Top Things to Do in San Diego

KuumbaFest is San Diego’s longest running and premier celebration of African-American expression, culture, and heritage

The three day festival will include traditional African art and pageantry, drama, educational workshops, community leadership awards, an African marketplace, a health fair, Hip Hop Showcase, tribute to the famed Apollo Theatre “Live at the Lyceum,” a Gospel Concert, and powerful guest speakers and artists.

When: February 13-15, 2015
> Find out more about KuumbaFest

Lunar New Year Festival

Lunar New Year Festival at Qualcomm Stadium

2015 marks the Year of the Goat, an animal that represents elegant, charming, artistic, gifted and creative characteristics. Goats encourage us to engage and entertain our own sense of curiosity by sampling a little bit of everything in order to know more deeply the world around us – a perfect match for this year’s theme: Taste, See, Hear, Touch, Smell and Feel the Asian Experience.

When: February 13-15, 2015
> Find out more about the Lunar New Year Festival

Tribute to the Reggae Legends

Tribute to the Reggae Legends - Exodus: Movement of Jah People

For the 34th Annual Black History Month Celebration, The Worldbeat Cultural Center is proud to present Tribute to the Reggae Legends – Exodus: Movement of Jah People. This two day music festival will feature more than 25 of the best reggae bands in Balboa Park’s new cultural plaza.

When: February 14-15, 2015
> Find out more about Tribute to the Reggae Legends

Brewbies 6th Annual Beer Festival

Brewbies Beer Festival

Support Women’s health while enjoying the best of San Diego’s craft beer at Brewbies

This year will be better than last year, featuring breweries from all over the country sharing some rare and delicious beers all in the name of boobies. There will be a VIP session that will feature some beers and breweries not available in the general session.

When: February 14, 2015
> Find out more about Brewbies 6th Annual Beer Festival

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

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Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – January 22-25, 2015

You need to be in San Diego this weekend to enjoy the weather forecast calling for temps in the 70s, blue skies, and these top things to do:

San Diego Restaurant Week

San Diego Restaurant Week 2015 - Top Things to Do

Eat your hearts out at over 200 participating restaurants that will offer three-course prix-fixe dinner menus and/or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus. Also, Saturday is now included with San Diego Restaurant Week and there are new price points for dinner giving you even more variety in your dining options!

When: Through January 24, 2015
Cost: $10-$50
> Find out more about San Diego Restaurant Week

San Diego Sunroad Marina Boat Show

San Diego Sunroad Marina Boat Show

See the latest in Maritime technology while enjoying beautiful views, food and libations

In addition to the tremendous boats, there will also be a plethora of marine vendors and electronics with the latest nautical products and services, boating seminars, as well as food and beverages for attendees to enjoy a day on San Diego Bay.

Where: Sunroad Marina – 955 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: January 22-25, 2015
Cost: Adults – $12. Kids 12 and Under – Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Sunroad Marina Boat Show

Coming Up Onstage in San Diego

Enjoy everything from local talent to Broadway hits on stage in San Diego this weekend:

Kevin Nealon at the American Comedy Company

Kevin Nealon at the American Comedy Company

With his unique sense of humor, profound dry wit and likeable demeanor, Kevin Nealon has established himself as one of the premiere television, theatrical and stand-up comedians of his generation.

Where: American Comedy Company – 818 B 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: January 23-24, 2015
Cost: $30
> Find out more about Kevin Nealon at the American Comedy Company

La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini

La Bohème, San Diego Opera

Join San Diego Opera for their 50th anniversary as we journey back to the first opera they ever produced in 1965, La bohème, where they’ll traverse the lives of a band of Bohemian friends and a love affair between a young poet and his mistress whose love is so intense it is unbearable to be apart, yet impossible to be together. La bohème will mirror your own memories of young love and just starting out in life…the struggles, the joy and the good friends who got you through.

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1101 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: January 24-February 1, 2015
Cost: $45-$290
> Find out more about La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

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Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 23-28, 2014

Hopefully you are lucky enough to spend the Christmas weekend in San Diego enjoying the warm weather, plenty of college football, and these top things to do:

Holiday Happenings

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

From beach-front ice skating rinks to concerts, ballets, theater and endless holiday shopping, we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

> Discover Holiday Excitement in San Diego

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Aztecs - Poinsettia Bowl

Will the hometown Aztecs take home the Poinsettia Bowl championship?

Following a 42-40 victory Friday over South Alabama, the Naval Academy officially accepted an invitation to play in the 10th annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The Midshipmen will face San Diego State University Aztecs. This will be Navy’s fifth trip to San Diego for a bowl game and the Mids’ fourth appearance in the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl.

Where: Qualcomm Stadium – 9449 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: December 23, 2014
Kickoff: 6:30 PM
Cost: $45-$175.50
> Find out more about the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

2014 Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Marvel at America’s largest balloon parade along the Embarcadero

The scenic, bayside streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the 2014 Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade – a National University Holiday Bowl Production. As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons-more than any other parade!

Where: San Diego Embarcadero
When: December 26, 2014
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 PM
Cost: Free. Grandstand Seats – $20
> Find out more about the 2014 Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

National University Holiday Bowl

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

The University of Southern California Trojans and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have accepted invitations to play in the 37th annual National University Holiday Bowl. It marks the first appearance in the San Diego bowl game for the Trojans and fourth appearance for the Cornhuskers.

Where: Qualcomm Stadium – 9449 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: December 27, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $65-$140
> Find out more about the National University Holiday Bowl

Pajama Jam: New Year’s Family Night Out

New Children's Museum Pajama Jam

Jump into your jammies and celebrate an early New Year’s Eve with the little ones! They’ll have delicious dinner, New Year’s-themed art activities, games, music and a countdown balloon drop! Adults will enjoy a hosted bar and the opportunity to bid on prizes in a silent auction.

Where: The New Children’s Museum – 200 W Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 27, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: $20-$35
> Find out more about the Pajama Jam: New Year’s Family Night Out

Mannheim Steamroller 30th Anniv. Christmas Tour

Mannheim Steamroller 30th Anniv. Christmas Tour

Mannheim Steamroller is celebrating 30 years with a festive Christmas Tour

This is a very special year for Mannheim Steamroller. They’re celebrating 30 years since the release of Chip’s first Christmas record – and 30 years of having the privilege of sharing the Christmas season with you! It’s also the 40th Anniversary of Chip’s very first Fresh Aire record. So make sure you join them during this Extraordin-AIRE-y Mannheim Steamroller 30/40 year!

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 28, 2014
Time: 7:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $35-$97.50
> Find out more about the Mannheim Steamroller 30th Anniv. Christmas Tour

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

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Arlene

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with Some San Diego Nightlife

The holidays are all about indulging yourself and experiencing great times with the ones you love. As a San Diego native (yes we do exist!), I can tell you that I am spoiled when it comes to good weather and a cold craft beer. If you have decided that spending this season vacationing in the warm San Diego sun is your forte you have made a wise choice my friends! “Chilly” nights here dip into the 50s so you can still head out on the town without wearing five layers of clothing!

With the ever-expanding nightlife and bar scene in San Diego you will never get bored or not find something that suits your style. We are, after all, America’s finest city. Good tunes, good cocktails and good times are around every corner from Encinitas to South Bay.

My top choices for nightlife and things to do include attractions for every type of visitor, from the low-key whiskey bar in the middle of town to the seasonal beachside ice skating rink at the famous Hotel Del Coronado.

Holiday Wonderland in Petco Park

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park

Let the kids run around Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park while you enjoy a warm cocktail in the VIP Lounge

If you want to fully experience holiday cheer, be sure to visit Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park in the East Village neighborhood of downtown San Diego. Petco Park Events has truly done an outstanding job of transforming the home of the San Diego Padres into a holiday spectacle to behold! Fun for the whole family includes a snow hill for sledding, live reindeer, face painting, train rides, holiday treats for sale, a VIP lounge to relax, live entertainment, adult cocktails for sale and several themed areas each with their own holiday vibe. Try the Roast Beast sandwich, the Grinch approves.

Where: 100 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Through December 24, 2014 (Special Days – December 18, 22-24)
Time: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost:
Admission – $10-$15
Photo with Santa – $25
Train Ride – $5
> Find out more about Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

If you’re looking for something more romantic or beach vibe with a holiday twist, head to Hotel Del Coronado for a nice stroll along the beach at sunset, hold hands while trying out the ice skating rink set up between the sand and the hotel, then mosey over to the hotel bar for a glass of champagne and watch the sunset. The hotel is lit top to bottom in holiday lights, which makes for some amazing photos your friends back home will be sure to admire. You can also head to Coronado Brewing Company for a pint or two and see across the bay towards the twinkling lights of downtown from the island.

Where: Hotel del Coronado – 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
When: Through January 4, 2015
Cost: $25
> Find out more about Skating by the Sea

Side Bar

Side Bar Holiday Bartenders

Jingle bell rock your socks off at Side Bar in Downtown San Diego. Photo courtesy of Arlene Ibarra

If you are ready to shed the gloves and parka and jingle bell rock your socks off, be sure to check out Side Bar. Wednesday nights, also known as “Industry Night”, is known to get wild. You’ll probably end up seeing someone dancing on the bar at least once by nights end and the stunning go-go dancers are decked out in outfits that match the theme of the any given night. I also hear that they’re giving away gifts including Michael Kors watches, MAC makeup gift cards and more weekly to make things more festive this holiday season! Talk about a party with perks!

Where: 526 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Side Bar

Seven Grand

Jay the British Bartender - Seven Grand

This holiday season, say Cheers to Jay the British Bar Manager of Seven Grand

Want to chill out at a bar and sip a nice glass of whiskey instead? Head over to Seven Grand located in North Park (one of America’s best hipster neighborhoods as voted by Forbes magazine). Located just six minutes from downtown SD in the center of the city, Seven Grand is a dark and inviting neighborhood bar staffed by some of the most charming people around. Whiskeys line the large wall in the main room and the bartenders can pick one that suits your taste or make you one of their delicious cocktails. Try either a whiskey sour, aviation or, my personal favorite, a simple glass of Buffalo Trace Bourbon served neat. Warms me up just thinking about it! Sitting in a dimly lit bar with folks playing pool in one room and live jazz in the back bar sets a nice mood for a little holiday cheer. Take friends and make friends there. Wear an ugly Christmas sweater for a good conversation starter and say “cheers” to Jay the British bar manager.

Where: 3054 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Seven Grand

> Discover More of San Diego’s Dining & Nightlife Scene

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 16-21, 2014

Santa's Christmas Village - SeaWorld San Diego

Make sure you’re in San Diego this weekend for holiday fun, meeting Santa, sledding on snow, enjoying plenty of lights and these top things to do.

> We’re Counting Down the 12 Days of Christmas With A Sweepstakes

Holiday Fun at San Diego Attractions

Santa's Christmas Village - SeaWorld San Diego

Meet Santa, sled on snow and more this weekend at San Diego attractions

Get into the holiday spirit with lights, festive music, hot chocolate and more at these San Diego Attractions:

Holiday Blog Round Up

Holiday Pops: A Celtic Celebration

San Diego Symphony Holiday Pops - Top Things to Do

The San Diego Symphony Celebrates the Holidays with an Celtic Christmas

With the Luck-o’-the-Irish this holiday season, we set sail for the Emerald Isle. Grammy Award-winning and nine-time, all-Ireland fiddle champion Eileen Ivers joins the San Diego Symphony for an evening of festive Irish holiday songs including “The Holly Tree,” “Don Oiche Ud im Beithil (One Night in Bethlehem),” “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” – in traditional jig time, and “The Wexford Carol” dating back to the 12th century along with so many traditional favorites.

Where: 1245 Seventh Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 19-21, 2014
Cost: $30-$72
> Find out more about Holiday Pops: A Celtic Celebration

Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

Battle of the Bands - Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

Two bands march down 5th, only one will leave champion of the Gaslamp March

Marching bands and spirit squads from the participating Poinsettia Bowl universities will parade from each end of 5th Avenue performing holiday classics, and meeting up at Market Street for a heart-pounding Battle of the Bands! After the dust has settled at Market Street, bands will continue on with their parade of holiday favorites.

Where: 5th and Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 21, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights - Top Things to Do in San Diego

80 boats will be decorated for the holiday season on San Diego’s Big Bay

Join us for the second weekend of the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, an annual time-honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community. The parade takes place on San Diego Bay with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated to a new theme each year.

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

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Find more Top Things to Do on the San Diego Event Calendar