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.
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.
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.
It”s a winter wonderland at La Mesa Christmas in the Village
Don”t miss the strolling minstrels, carolers and street entertainers, food and commercial vendors. Live Music is featured in a number of stage areas and Bonfires fill the Boulevard. The kids will love Santa, the Carnival Rides, Ponies and the Puppet Shows. All Specialty Shops, Boutiques and Restaurants open late during event. Thousands of unique gifts all season long!
The San Diego Zoo stays open late for fun holiday activities, shows and light displays during Jungle Bells.
Jungle Bells are ringing – it”s holiday time! The San Diego Zoo is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Guests can enjoy displays of lighted animal sculptures throughout the Zoo aboard the Twinkle Light Trolley, live animal presentations, Dr. Zoolittle”s lively version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas, special music and entertainment, delicious holiday treats, encounters with animal ambassadors, visits with Santa, and much more.
Are you looking for a great way to get into the holiday spirit and create family memories that will last a lifetime? Witness Christmas traditions come to life including Christmas tree lighting followed by the arrival of Santa & Mrs. Claus; horse-drawn hay and pony rides, petting zoo, and face painting; steam locomotive, model trains, and live entertainment; and holiday sweets and warm dinner foods.
This free, distinctly California celebration features boats decorated for the annual holiday season that will sail around Mission Bay. A highly anticipated event in the San Diego community, dozens of vessels take to the water for the parade.
Boats of all sizes get decked out with holiday lights and circle Oceanside Harbor
Fishing boats, sailboats, yachts, kayaks and dingys dressed up in holiday swag and circle the Oceanside Harbor to enchant onlookers at the harbor, casino restaurants and beach. Many of the boats feature people dressed up like Santa waving to the crowd.
Everyone with 2 to 4 Legs will have fun at the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade!
San Diego”s furriest festive parade returns to Downtown as the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade. All pet owners and their furry, feathered and scaled companions are invited to don their favorite costumes and put their best paw, wing and fin forward for this jolly promenade and pet expo.
View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!
Join us for 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. Held on two consecutive Sundays in December, the parade proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and the Ferry Landing in Coronado. Whether you”re a participant or spectator, the Parade of Lights is a festive and delightful experience for all!
Get the chance to choose samples from more than 700 wines at the Grand Finale Events. Photo courtesy of Joey Hernandez.
The weeklong celebration continues with plenty of events featuring more than 200 wineries, breweries and spirit purveyors, 70 of San Diego’s best restaurants, and 10,000 wine and food aficionados from across the nation for the biggest wine and food celebration on the West Coast. Don’t miss out on Saturday’s Grand Finale Tasting Event with more than 700 wines being poured!
Ice skate in the heart of San Diego at Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice.
If you’ve ever dreamed of spinning on the ice under the glow of big city lights, don’t head to New York’s Rockefeller Center – head to downtown San Diego. Sponsored by Sycuan and benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital, Fantasy on Ice sits right in the heart of downtown by Horton Plaza. Grab a date, head out to dinner at one of the Gaslamp Quarter’s 180+ restaurants, and cap off the night with a romantic spin around the rink.
Where: Horton Plaza, 225 Broadway Circle, San Diego, CA 92101 (map) Dates: November 20, 2014 – January 4, 2015 (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Days) Times: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Check website for time changes) Cost: $14-$35 > Find out more about Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice
San Diego MOvember Bash
If you are in San Diego this November, don’t miss the biggest Movember Moustache Party taking place in downtown East Village between the Convention Center and Petco Park! 2 Causes. 15 Movember Parties. 13 Welcome Shots Included.
Discover the Ingenious World of Dr. Seuss at the San Diego History Center. Hotel del Coronado – TM Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.
The highly popular traveling Dr. Seuss exhibition will be lively and whimsical, using state-of-the-art technology and engaging visitors in exploratory and immersive experiences. The exhibition will feature rare early works, ephemera, illustration, and editorial cartoons, as well as two newly released Geisel illustrations.
The largest parade in San Diego County is also the largest of its type west of the Mississippi. Each year, the Mother Goose Parade attracts thousands of spectators to the streets of El Cajon. More than 100 colorful and exciting parade entries come from around the United States to share in the excitement that is the Mother Goose Parade. The parade entries include spectacular motorized floats, glorious marching bands and drill units, eloquent equestrians, animated clowns, special characters, special guests, performing artists, celebrities, giant helium balloons, specialty vehicles, and of course, Santa Claus.
Food, music, rides, a beer garden and over 450 vendors at the Encinitas Street Fair
With 450+ booths to visit, plus dozens of unique downtown Encinitas retailers, here’s a great opportunity for your holiday shopping. Enjoy music and dance performances at two stages, as well as three new additions: the Kids Zone, Dog Park and Bike Valet.
When the night falls, San Diego’s fun side comes to life!
When you think of San Diego the first thing that probably comes to mind is our great weather and the beach, and yes, we are blessed with those two things. But San Diego is the kind of city that also knows how party, because once the sun sets on the beautiful Pacific Ocean, San Diego’s playful side comes to life!
In the past couple of months San Diego’s night scene has expanded with the addition of new alluring nightspots and it’s expected to grow even more with the opening of much anticipated new nightclubs that will spice up San Diego’s after dark entertainment.
It would be a sin not to party at AD – Courtesy of Elizabeth Daniels of Elizabeth Daniels Photography
AD Club opened its doors in August 2014 and since then has been offering a full nightclub experience with craft cocktails, synchronized areal theatrics, the latest in music, eleven bottle service booths and a small bites menu. The 4,000 square-foot space is decorated with traditional cathedral and religious elements that give the venue a unique bold and daring design. For those who worship food, exclusive dining “pop-ups” events are hosted with popular chefs who create special prix-fix menus for the occasion. AD Club is a creation of Coronado, CA entrepreneur Bayless Cobb and E.A. Anthony.
Formerly On Broadway, Parq is San Diego’s newest nightclub where patrons can enjoy of areal performers, VIP tables, a 10 ft. tall robot named Roca Tron and the latest laser technology. The interior décor is designed to submerge you in a mysterious forest with over-the-top features. Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 to 10:00 PM, Parq doubles as a restaurant, offering a sophisticated menu created by Executive Chef Errol D. LeBlanc II.
Hakkasan Group, known for its popular nightclub and dining destinations, has selected San Diego as the second location of their new nightlife concept, Omnia. Opening spring 2015, the new nightclub plans to make a grand entrance in San Diego shortly following the debut of the brand’s flagship location at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas (formerly PURE). The renowned hospitality company promises to deliver state-of-the-art technology, DJ’s, live performances and an unforgettable experience for locals and visitors.
One of the newest projects of Tosh Berman of EDL Management Group will arrive to San Diego next year. An exact date has not yet been disclosed, all we have is a name, CAKE. There isn’t much information in regards to the décor or what we can expect, but if we take a look at the recently inaugurated CAKE in Scottsdale, we can envision a boutique nightlife venue with designs inspired on 17th century European landscapes.
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.
Art San Diego 2014 returns with more than 50 leading galleries from the USA, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Asia will be taking part. In addition to the gallery booths, special features include gallery-curated exhibitions, contemporary furniture design, artistic interventions in public spaces “Art Labs”, San Diego focused exhibitions “Made in San Diego”, and the introduction of emerging artists and curators “Launchpad”.
Taste delicious cuisine from Royal India, drink Indian beer and IPAs, watch performances of Bollywood-style dancing, and receive beautiful henna body art. It will be an amazing night at the Museum of Man!
Dress in your best Vintage for the Del Mar Racetrack’s Bing Crosby Season Opening Day
After a thrilling summer of fast racing and huge events, the legendary seaside track will open again for its inaugural Bing Crosby Season with a Vintage Hollywood Fashion Contest. Old Hollywood style meets classic Southern California cool this November at Del Mar with four weeks of elite Thoroughbred racing, fresh events and musical performances to keep the good times rolling.
From amazing craft beer to local dishes, San Diego Beer Week showcases why San Diego is the Capital of Craft!
San Diego Beer Week is a ten-day celebration inviting people to drink local, craft beer and promoting San Diego’s thriving brewing culture with multiple events happening across the county. Join us and discover why San Diego is the Capital of Craft.
Union Bank Fallback Festival presented by G.Q.H.F.
Step back in time in the Gaslamp Quarter at the annual Fall Back Festival
Between old-fashioned festivities like pony rides and ice cream- and pie-eating contests, there are historical recreations and demonstrations with a “nineteenth-century” blacksmith plying his trade, prospectors teaching children how to pan for gold, butter churning and candle dipping demonstrations, and a Wild West shoot-out, to name a few.
Bring the whole family to the waterfront communities of Hillcrest and Bankers Hill for some safe fun in the streets at CicloSDias
CicloSDias San Diego welcomes everyone to walk, ride, stroll and enjoy. Come experience this free open street event where there will be activities along the route, shops and restaurants open for business and neighbors and friends from all over coming together to make our streets come alive.
To kick off the holiday season, Viejas Outlet Center is opening their massive ice skating rink early! Don your best costume for some Halloween fun on Southern California’s Largest Outdoor ice skating rink.
Enjoy a day of shopping, food and entertainment at the Carlsbad Fall Village Faire
Considered the largest single day street faire in the nation, the annual Carlsbad Village Street Faire features more than 900 vendors selling everything from clothes, accessories, plants and household products to art, antiques and home decor. An international food court provides dining choices from over 50 vendors and a children’s entertainment area includes games, a super slide, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, face painting and arts and crafts.
Parktoberfest Where: Gala Foods Parking Lot – 330 Grape Street, San Diego, CA 92102 When: October 11, 2014 Cost: Free
La Jolla Art & Wine Festival
The La Jolla Art & Wine Fesitval features the works of more than 150 established artists from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Baja and beyond
This two-day juried art show features the works of more than 150 established artists from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Baja and beyond, the LJAWF features something for everyone including a silent auction, roving entertainment, a gourmet marketplace, the Geppetto’s/Witt Lincoln Family Art Center and a wine and beer garden which will include premier wineries from around the world in addition to San Diego’s top breweries.
Now, the Little Italy Festa is the largest Italian American festival on the West Coast. Hip and Historic Little Italy welcomes attendees with the tantalizing sights, sounds and aromas of Italian culture. A full palette of Italian cuisine is complemented by traditional and modern Italian music, arts and crafts as well as a tribute to San Diego’s rich Italian American heritage.
Fifth Avenue Auto Showcase features high-performance automobiles and motorcycles ranging from the traditional classics to lavish luxury modern vehicles
An extravagant display of horsepower and ingenuity will halt traffic in the Gaslamp Quarter. This timeless event is free and open to the public and will showcase high-performance automobiles and motorcycles ranging from the traditional classics to lavish luxury modern vehicles. As you make your way down Fifth Avenue, you’ll gaze upon a decadent variety of Italian exotics such as Ferrari and Maserati, as well as the American icons, including the Thunderbird and Corvette.
Celebrate the Craft has been one of Southern California’s premier showcases for regionally grown ingredients and innovative cooking and winemaking
A festival that showcases the region’s best chefs, produce, wine, and beer. The Lodge Executive Chef Jeff Jackson will prepare the farm-to-table menu with an all-star lineup of chefs from around San Diego while the Lodge Sommelier Paul Krikorian will feature several vintners.
It’s that time of year – the days grow shorter, the weather grows colder and our dearly (and not-so-dearly) departed rise again for their unwelcome annual visit. If you’re brave or foolish enough to say hello to them, head out to one of these haunted houses and trails throughout San Diego county.
Just remember the words of Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) as you enter – Once, the door is locked, there is no way out…
The Scream Zone
Just keep telling yourself it’s just a hay ride, it’s just a hayride…or is it?
Get ready for three horrifying experiences at San Diego County’s largest haunted attraction. The Scream Zone features the House of Horror with rooms filled with terrifying scenes and scares lurking at every turn, take the Haunted Hayride through the haunted barns on the Del Mar racetrack and walk through The Chamber with the largest spinning tunnel in San Diego. New this year is the Zombie Paintball Safari…test your aim under pressure! Other features this year include: The Dusk Till Dawn Bar, The Walking Dead Prison, The Exorcist, and look for Pennywise the clown.
Note: The Scream Zone is designed for a teen and older audience.
The staff at The Haunted Hotel is dying to check you in! Photo by Mike Rollerson
Named one of the top 13 haunted houses in America by Haunt World magazine, The Haunted Hotel is one of San Diego’s longest running haunted houses. Do you you dare ride the Hellevator to who knows where, explore Freddy Krueger’s workshop, and visit rooms inspired by Legion and Shutter Island? Ride the moving Subway and meet the night riders, and try to escape the virus outbreak in the Zombie office. The heart-pounding effects are so real, you’ll be screaming for your life as you try to find the way out.
Note: No pregnant women, infants, or children being carried will be allowed entry. Not recommended for children under 10.
What ever you do, don’t walk into any of the houses along The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park! Photo by Mike Rollerson
If walking through haunted houses isn’t your thing, take a stroll through Balboa Park that you’ll never forget. The mile-long Haunted Trail has plenty of spine-tingling sights and sounds that will leave you trembling amongst the twisted grove of pines and gnarled oaks. In addition to the trail, you can make your way through “The eXperiment,” a maze that shows what can happen when Mother Nature takes her eye off the ball for even just a second.
Note: No pregnant women, infants, or children being carried will be allowed entry. Not recommended for children under 10.
Things aren’t always what they seem in the Ghastley Manor
Are you prepared to run for your life against hordes of the Undead? Can your heart handle coming face to face with the dark and twisted members of the Ghastley family? This year, you will be taken into the very depths of the Ghastley Family Manor, making your way through dark corridors, sinister rooms, and an army of the Living Dead.
Note: Monster Manor is targeted towards for ages 13+.
The Whaley House is one of the most haunted houses in America
Step into one of America’s Most Haunted Houses and immediately feel a chill! See something out of the corner of your eye that you can’t explain? Hear the sound of a ball bouncing off the wall but don’t see it? Throughout October, the Whaley House will be offering special tours, extended hours and the chance for you to have an actual paranormal encounter.
Spend the first weekend of Fall in San Diego enjoying the warm weather, autumn activities and these top things to do:
San Diego Restaurant Week
Leave the cooking to someone else and join over 140,000 diners in the celebration of Restaurant Week and indulge in discounted prix fixe menus including two-course lunches priced at $10, $15, and $20 and three-course dinners are $25, $35, or $45. No tickets necessary for this event, just make reservations for any of the participating locations, show up, choose from their prix-fixe menu and let your taste buds enjoy!
Kinky Boots is the exhilarating Broadway musical that will lift your spirits to new high-heeled heights! Winner of six Tony Awards® including Best Musical, this inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible…proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
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San Diego Film Festival 2014
This is the region”s premier showcase for award-winning independent films, studio premieres and director interviews – all against the backdrop of America”s Finest City. For film lovers and enthusiasts, it just doesn”t get any better. See it here first! 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County and Silver Linings Playbook were all screened here at the San Diego Film Festival.
Lederhosen, Beer, Bratwurst and Family Fun at the Authentic Oktoberfest in El Cajon
Come and enjoy authentic German food, such as bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, potato salad, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, red cabbage and a variety of German pastries. The El Cajon Oktoberfest offers a great selection of German beers and liquors, and soft drinks and water, to enjoy with your friends and family! Enjoy traditional folk dancing performances, compete in our numerous games and contests, check out vendor and craft booths, and treat your kids to their own Kids” Zone.
Dance like nobody is watching at SoCal”s largest free two-day music festival, the Adams Avenue Street Fair
The Adams Avenue Street Fair features more than 90 musical acts performing on seven stages on Adams Avenue. In addition to the exciting musical lineup, there will be beer gardens, a beer tasting area, giant carnival rides, and more than 300 food, arts and craft vendors selling their specialties throughout the street fair venue.
Where: 34th and Adams, San Diego, CA 92116 When: September 27-28, 2014 Cost: Free best online casino Street Fair” href=”http://www.sandiego.org/events/festivals-and-street-fairs/adams-avenue-street-fair.aspx” target=”_blank”>> Find out more about the 2014 Adams Avenue Street Fair
Western Fun at the Poway Rodeo
Professional rodeo cowboys from around the country compete during the 41st Annual Poway Rodeo. Guests can watch contestants compete in events such as Bareback and Saddle Bronc Riding, Barrel Racing, Tie Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping and Bull Riding. There”s even a “Mutton Bustin” event where kids under 50lbs. ride sheep. They try to hold on for 8 seconds, just like the cowboys.
Think you can build a better boat during Oceanside Harbor Days” Nail “n” Sail competition?
Two event filled days of sun, sand, and surf provide an outstanding opportunity for residents and neighbors to experience fun activities including the new Sandcastle competition, Entertainment Stage, Arts, Crafts and Food booth areas, Nail “n” Sail Competition, Military, Public Safety displays, and more.
Discover Unconventional Dance Spaces during the 2012 Trolley Dances. Photo by Yvonne M. Portra.
Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater returns with their annual celebration of dance that takes place within the community. This year, for the 16th Annual Trolley Dances, dancers will take to the streets and campuses of downtown and southeastern San Diego is this very urban version of the much loved event. Patrons then travel under the direction of trained tour guides to Market Creek Plaza and enjoy original dance created by some of San Diego”s best choreographers.
Where: 14th and C Streets, San Diego, CA 92101 When: September 27-28 and October 4-5, 2014 Cost: $15-$35 > Find out more about
The Mission Beach Centennial Festival is the last and largest event of the year-long Centennial Celebration and it is taking over the parking lots of Belmont Park with a large beer garden, live local music, decades bathing suit show, a chili cook-off, children”s area, more than 100 diverse vendors and much more! Fun, Family & celebrate 100 years of Mission Beach.
Learn about the history and cultures of San Diego at the Cabrillo Festival
The Cabrillo Festival is a fun event for the entire family, with educational activities, cultural demonstrations and exciting folkloric performances. Brightly colored clothing and dramatic music and dancing bring to life the traditions of the Native American, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish cultures that are part of the Age of Exploration. The Cabrillo Festival features food booths with delicious traditional Mexican, Native American, Portuguese and Spanish food. Vendors will showcase their various artistic goods.
Sample the best Tequilas at the Spirits of Mexico Tasting Festival
Sample some of the top Mexican spirits on the market including: Tequilas, Mezcals, Sotols, Bacanoras and Raicillas among others. Meet The Masters gives you the chance to speak with the pioneers and heroes of the industry, the master distillers & blenders themselves, while tasting the Extra-Añejos, some of the most lovingly-crafted and finest spirits in the world!
Places like Pizza Port are great kid friendly restaurants that also make sure Mom and Dad have a good time
For some reason (ahem), people are often surprised that my husband and I regularly eat out with our five kids, ages 10, 8, 5, 3 and 3. Yes, we know a thing or two about a restaurant that can cater to children and, well, ones that just can’t kid around (get it?). In general, San Diego is very family friendly, so it wasn’t easy to narrow down my top 5 kid friendly restaurants, but the promise for ice cream got me going (kidding… kind of). Here are five kids friendly restaurants that both the little ones and parents will enjoy!
Starting in North County, the top pick for locals is Pizza Port, located in Carlsbad (options are also in Solana Beach, Ocean Beach, and Bressi Ranch). Truly delicious pizza, the kids love it, too, as they can play video games or enjoy the grub. Go early as it can be tricky to nab a table, but nothing screams a beach town visit like some seaside pepperoni pie.
Truth be told, my family may as well start collecting our mail at this Cardiff breakfast/lunch joint. With plenty of outdoor seating, not only can you (very ) affordably feed a large family (trust me), you can also enjoy sea breezes and ocean views. In fact, three of my kids can share the “big breakfast” and Dana, who can regularly be found behind the coffee counter, is always good for a great big hug.
Hands down one of the most authentic, delicious Mexican food restaurants in town, this is a family favorite for its affordability, too. When the weather is nice, request outdoor dining or inside in the back room if you think your kids might need to be a li’l louder than usual. Though the booths inside the main dining are just as accommodating as are the coloring books and crayons that they offer to occupy the kids. Located in Solana Beach this is a San Diego must!
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Located near the airport, be sure to take a few minutes before entering and get a very up close view of the planes coming in for a landing! Though not your usual “kids” establishment, my children consider this unique twist on the usual Mexican food a favorite! Go early as the later crowd tends to be more “club”, but if you can arrive by 5, my kids love the free Mexican wrestler that comes with the children’s menu plates and the Chiclets chewing gum that accompany the bill. Also, music plays on the dance floor prepping for the later evening crowd and my fam has been known to bust a move. Though darker on the inside, you can request outdoor seating for an even better view of the overhead planes. And, whatever you do, don’t miss out on the churros for dessert!
Though it’s a chain that can be found in many cities, I had to include this pick as the downtown San Diego location was always a favorite of mine growing up. Not to mention, keeping kids happy on a vacation isn’t always easy, so a favorite stand by of past is sure to reel them back in. Catering to kids and families, it’s a sure-fire bet for fresh ingredients and old school pasta delights, including gluten-free options as well.