Candice

Meet Jahja Ling: San Diego’s Guide to the Good Stuff for Music

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San Diego is fortunate to have world-class conductor Jahja Ling leading the San Diego Symphony. But even after 10 years as the symphony’s music director, Jahja still finds his inspiration in the city itself.

Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony

Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony

“We have great music, great culture and museums, the beautiful ocean and beaches,” Jahja says. “It’s like an orchestra! Many different pieces that are good together.” So what spots most inspire this music legend? Check out some of Jahja’s favorite San Diego hangouts.

Best Spots from a Pre-Symphony Meal

Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the San Diego Symphony is in a prime location for pre-show dining. Here are a few of Jahja’s favorites that can be found just minutes from the symphony’s front door.

  • Bertrand at Mister A’s: With plenty of windows all along this 12th floor restaurant and a location perfectly situated atop a hill in downtown, Mister A’s gives you a view of the entire city along with exceptional fine dining.
  • Cucina Urbana: For high quality food with a cozy, neighborhood restaurant vibe, the creative Italian fare at Cucina Urbana is popular with many locals.
  • Downtown San Diego has restaurants featuring just about every type of cuisine. Jahja loves pho, Mexican, and Spanish tapas. Try Cafe Sevilla for a variety of tapas and sangria during a lively happy hour.

Jahja Ling’s Favorite Non-Symphonic Activities

Jahja knows that even the most ardent symphony lover visiting San Diego won’t spend his or her entire trip in Copley Symphony Hall, so why not get out and try a few other Jahja-approved San Diego activities!

  • The Old Globe: This famous theater company offers a popular summer Shakespeare Festival, in addition to many other productions year-round.
  • La Jolla Playhouse: Many New York theater goers never know that their favorite shows like Jersey Boys and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying began at this San Diego theater! You may be seeing the next Broadway hit before anyone else when you visit the La Jolla Playhouse.
  • Balboa Park’s museums: Jahja loves the variety of museums in Balboa Park. From contemporary art to a museum devoted to automobiles, there is something for everyone.

Ever wonder what San Diego would sound like if it were a musical instrument? Find out the answer and more from Jahja Ling at www.sandiego.org/goodstuff.

Candice

Meet Greg Koch: San Diego’s Guide to the Good Stuff for Beer Lovers

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To craft beer fans, Greg Koch may be a household name. The co-founder and CEO of Stone Brewing Co., one of San Diego’s largest craft breweries, definitely knows his beer. But rest assured, even if you’re a beer novice, Greg has some tips to get event the first-time craft beer drinker started. As Greg would say, “I’m a beer nerd so that you don’t have to be!”

“San Diego is considered a Mecca,” says Greg. “We’re looked at as being a leading destination in the world for beer.” So where would this craft beer expert spend his time in San Diego? Check out Greg’s tips for getting to know San Diego’s craft beer and much more.

Great Breweries are Everywhere

Stone Brewing Co Greg Koch

Greg Koch enjoys a beer at Stone Brewing Co.’s World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station

Stone Brewing Co. is, naturally, Greg’s favorite brewery, but he has plenty of other favorites, too. “Many of them are doing incredibly specialized, unique creative things that nobody else does,” says Greg. Here are some of Greg’s favorite San Diego craft breweries:

Beyond the Beer Suggestions from Greg Koch

It’s true – there’s more to San Diego than craft beer! Break up your beer tasting with a few of Greg’s other favorite activities:

Get more insight from Greg Koch on exploring San Diego’s craft beer scene, including tasting tips, at www.sandiego.org/goodstuff.

Benjamin Eastman

San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

It’s that time of year again where San Diego’s Irish community celebrates in true kilt-wearing, bagpipe blaring, whiskey drinking camaraderie! San Diego St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are scattered throughout the region and there is no shortage of green beer! So whether you’re out to celebrate your heritage or just be Irish-for-the-day (we won’t tell!), get out there, do a jig and keep an eye out for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

cloverthetop
For those looking to celebrate a little early, Harrah’s Resort Southern California will be partying “Clover The Top” all weekend long with a number of events including their Neon Nights Lazy River Party, River Dancers & Fiddlers and a performance by The Fighting Jamesons – not to mention loads of specials in the casino, restaurants and bars!
Location: 777 Harrah’s Resort Southern California Way; Valley Center, CA 92082
When: March 15-17, 2014

SHAMROCK

shamrock
We couldn’t forget the Gaslamp Quarter‘s major Block Party SHAMROCK!  In it’s 19th year of helping San Diegans celebrate all things Emerald Isle, 20,000 revelers will swarm the streets of downtown drinking Jameson Irish whiskey specials, green beer and rocking out at one of the 3 main stages of performers.
Location:  Gaslamp Quarter
Time:  4:00pm – 12:00am
Cost:  Starting at $30

Hooleyfest

hooleyfest
Music lovers will want to head to Hooleyfest in La Mesa for an evening of performances by Tony Cummins, Jukebox and Lexington Field. This Guiness sponsored event is raved about every year for its memorable performances. And since San Diegans love our tacos, why not try one of Hooley’s famous corned beef tacos while you’re there?
Location:  Tents at Grossmont Center in La Mesa
Date:  March 17, 2014
Time:  5:00pm – 12:00am
Cost:  $25 at the door

Want to celebrate, but not excited about the crowds and big events? San Diego has plenty of great hole-in-the wall Irish Pubs that will welcome you with open arms, such as Dublin Square, Stout Public House, Gallaghers and O’Sullivans.

How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in San Diego? Let us know in the comments.

Jeff Terich

Best Live Music Venues in San Diego

lestats normal heights san diego live music venue

For decades, San Diego has had a vibrant and eclectic local music scene, and that’s reflected in the number of great places to see live music in town. There are dozens upon dozens of clubs, bars, theaters, coffeehouses and arenas to see a show — so many that it can be overwhelming to figure out where and when to go. Depending on where you go you can get a very different experience, so here are recommendations for a handful of the best places to see live music in San Diego.

The Casbah

the casbah san diego live music venue

The Casbah is your best bet for rock music.

In January, this local institution celebrates its 25th anniversary, and in those 25 years, The Casbah has played host to an incredible list of bands that includes The White Stripes, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, among hundreds of other greats. The midtown rock club is small, but on any given night there’s great music to see, cold beer flowing from the taps, and some vintage video games in the Atari Lounge if you feel like taking an 8-bit break. The vibe and kitschy decor is cool, but the main reason to come is the talent that occupies the stage, all year long.

Belly Up Tavern

belly up tavern san diego live music venue

M83 plays at the Belly Up in Solana Beach in 2009.

There aren’t as many great venues in North County as there are in the city of San Diego, but one of the best just happens to be in Solana Beach, just a short hop from the coast. The Belly Up Tavern is one of the bigger clubs in the county, with a capacity of 650, and its sound is impeccable. Plus, if you’re feeling peckish, the Wild Note Cafe — a full service restaurant — is adjacent to the club. Have a bite before you rock out.

Lestat’s

lestats normal heights san diego live music venue

Lestat’s is an intimate venue to see singer/songwriters.

For a more intimate, mellow live music experience, head to Normal Heights and catch an acoustic showcase at Lestat’s. A coffeehouse with an adjacent seated venue, Lestat’s is a prime venue to hear great local and touring folk acts or singer/songwriters. It’s laid back, comfortable, and open 24 hours! So if you feel like curling up in one of its comfy chairs and keeping the espresso flowing after the music stops, go ahead and make yourself at home.

Open Air Theatre

san diego state university open air theater live music

The Open Air Theater is big enough for large acts to play, but small enough to still feel close to the performers.

For bigger names, there are a handful of giant arenas that pull in some of the biggest acts in the country, but a good middle ground is San Diego State University’s Open Air Theatre, which is big enough to house a marquee act, but still small enough not to require a Jumbotron. The sound is great, and it’s outdoors, so patrons can listen to their favorite band while lounging under the stars.

This is just a sampling of the many live music venues in San Diego, but pick a night to visit any of these four and you’re guaranteed a good time.

jeff terich san diego music critic best san diego live music venuesJeff Terich is the music editor of San Diego CityBeat and has been writing about music for over a decade. A contributor to top music magazines including American Songwriter and ALARM, Jeff is also the founder of Treblezine.com, an independent music feature and review site.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – July 9-14, 2013

Get out and enjoy a weekend in San Diego with these top things to do:

San Diego Pride Rally, Block Party, Parade and Festival

San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival - Top Things to Do

San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival

This weekend, visitors and San Diegans alike will be out celebrating our vibrant cultural diversity. The festivities begin on Friday at 6:00 PM with the San Diego Pride Rally followed by a new event, the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party. On Saturday Morning, the 4th largest pride parade in the U.S. will make its way down University Avenue to 6th Avenue, ending at Balboa Park and the family-friendly LGBT Pride Festival.

When: July 12-14, 2103
> Find out more about the San Diego Pride Parade

9th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am

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The 9th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am presented by Hurley will feature surf contests for both adults and kids 16 and under, live music performances by Switchfoot and other local bands, and nerf surf jousting exposition between surf contest heats. There will also be an official after-party at the Belly Up.

Where: Moonlight Beach – 252 5th Street, Encintas, CA 92024
When: July 13, 2103
Time: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 9th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am

60th Annual Over the Line Tournament

Over the Line Tournament

Sand, Sun and OTL…a perfect San Diego Combination

Batter Up! It’s time once again for sun, sand and the annual Over the Line (OTL) tournament, a San Diego invented sport. If you have never seen OTL before, go check it out on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. You will not regret it. Remember, observe the five B’s rule: No Babies, No Bottles, No Bowsers, No Bikes, No Boas. Enjoy!

Where: Fiesta Island in Mission Bay
When: July 13-14 and July 20-21
Time: 7:30 AM to Dusk
Cost: Free to watch
> Find out more about the 60th Over the Line Tournament

Festival of the Bells

Mission San Diego de Alcala

Hear the historic bells of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá ring during the Festival of the Bells.

To commemorate the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the Mother of California’s 21 Missions, all five Mission bells are rung, including an original bell dating back to 1802. The weekend-long celebration will also include food, entertainment, dancing and traditional activities like the Blessing of the Bells and the Blessing of the Animals.

Where: Mission San Diego de Alcalá – 10818 San Diego Mission Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: July 12-14, 2013
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Festival of the Bells

OMMS Christmas in July Artisan Fair & Carnival

OMMS Christmas In July - Top Things to Do

Even Santa needs a little R&R along with a dose of sunshine!

What? It’s only July and we are already starting to talk about Christmas?! Why not get all that decorative shopping out-of-the-way with handmade arts and craft items from over 150 local artisans. There will also be a rummage sale, bake sale, food court, kid’s activities and live entertainment.

Where: Mission San Luis Rey Parish – 4070 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92057
When: July 13-14, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the OMMS Christmas in July Artisan Fair & Carnival

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

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

Maren

Live Music in San Diego: November Rocks!

Transfer Band

Transfer Band

It’s rock, roll and robots this November in San Diego. From rock legends to hometown favorites, La Jolla Playhouse to the Casbah, November is the month to get indoors and see the myriad ways live music in San Diego rocks.

Walk the Moon

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With a youthful vibe and infectious rhythms, Walk the Moon has managed to rise to fame in as little as 4 years.  With hits like “Tightrope” from their self-titled album, released in June of 2012, they show little sign of slowing down.

Location: House of Blues – 1055 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Date: November 14, 2012
Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $27 ($17.50 + $9.50 service fee)
> Get Walk The Moon Tickets

Dave Mason

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8_FOQ7-P30]

Take the chance to see rock legend Dave Mason, who first found fame with the rock band Traffic and has played and recorded with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Fleetwood Mac and Cass Elliot over his four decade career.

Location: Anthology Supper Club – 1337 India St, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Date: November 15, 2012
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: $19-$79
> Get Dave Mason Tickets

Transfer

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x39IsffUiYY]

See hometown favorites, Transfer, in their last San Diego appearance of2012. Alreadt winners of “Best Rock” and “Song of the Year” at the 2011 San Diego Music Awards, Transfer continues to win crowds over with soaring vocals and memorable anthems.

Location: Casbah – 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Date: November 17, 2012
Time: 8:30 PM
Cost: $12
> Get Transfer Tickets

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Banner - La Jolla Playhouse

The music of the Flaming Lips comes alive through 14-foot robot puppets, dancers in “glowing” LED costumes and stunning projections in this world premiere musical at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Location: La Jolla Playhouse –
Dates: Now through December 16, 2012
Times: Vary by Date
Cost: Starting at $15
> Get Yoshimi Battle the Pink Robots Tickets

> Discover more Live Music in San Diego

Let us know in the comments below, what rocks about San Diego?

Suzzanne

Top Free Things to Do In San Diego: October 4-7, 2012

This weekend we are highlighting some fun activities you can do…all for free!

1. Annual Pacific Beachfest

Pacific Beachfest Logo

On Saturday, October 6, Pacific Beach will be hosting a one-day event to highlight all that San Diego beaches have to offer. This year the Pacific Beachfest will feature a Pro/Am Surf Competition Final with surfers competing from around the world, an Action Alley where professional skaters will be on hand demonstrating their skills, a beach volleyball tournament, as well as artists, vendors, activities and music.

2. ArtOberfest Walkabout

On Saturday, October 6 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM, visitors can walk around the neighborhood of South Park and enjoy a fun-filled evening festival and be introduced to the shops and cafes of South Park. From Kalmia to Beech Streets, you’ll find shops open late, entertainment, specials and surprises. Browse, explore, shop and celebrate the independent spirit of this legendary neighborhood!

3. Old Town San Diego Art Festival

Old Town San Diego Art Festival Banner

Watch the streets of Historic Old Town San Diego transform into an art extravaganza on Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7. Stroll down San Diego Avenue and see the variety of artists, entertainment, food and wine. And for the first time this year, there will be a Young Artist area that will feature a children’s art competition.

4. Friday Night Liberty & Fall for the Arts Kickoff

October is when arts and culture takes center stage in San Diego. Fall for the Arts is a month-long spotlight on the many vibrant arts and cultural activities throughout the region in conjunction with National Arts and Humanities Month. On Friday, October 5, at the NTC Liberty Station, local arts and culture organizations will present hundreds of free (and almost free!) events to ensure residents and visitors can get more bang for the buck!

> Discover More Great Things to Do with San Diego’s Event Calendar

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Suzzanne

Top Things To Do In San Diego: September 13-16, 2012

It looks like another great weekend is ahead of us in San Diego. For those not headed to the Q for the Chargers game, here are our top picks for the weekend.

1. San Diego Bayfair

Head over to Mission Bay to witness San Diego’s World Series of Powerboat Racing, September 14-16. The boats, some racing at speeds over 225 miles per hour, come every year to San Diego because of the outstanding race course conditions and summer weather. But it’s the family festival, live entertainment, vendors, great food and beer gardens, fireworks, kid’s fun zone and other family activities, which set the event apart from others, all in San Diego’s jewel, Mission Bay Park.

2. Arts Month San Diego

This week’s highlight is La Jolla. La Jolla is home to the La Jolla Playhouse, The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as UCSD’s Stuart Collection. Visitors can walk around the University of California, San Diego’s campus and enjoy the public art on display. One of my favorites is the “Bear.”

3. San Diego Restaurant Week

Indulge in a week of delicious dining during San Diego Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week kicks of Sunday, September 16 and runs through Friday, September 21. Foodies can eat their way through over 180 participating restaurants that will offer three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for just $20, $30, or $40 per person.

4. Haute La Jolla Nights

The Village of La Jolla comes alive, Saturday, September 15 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM with great bands playing throughout the Village, restaurants and bars preparing delicious tastings and drink specials as well as a sidewalk sale and other fun events.

5. Julian Apple Harvest

Delicious Apples Grown Locally in San Diego’s Julian

Take a drive to Julian to experience the annual Fall Apple Harvest. Activities include live music, arts and crafts shows, apple picking and more.

> Discover More Great Things to Do with San Diego’s Event Calendar

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Suzzanne

Top Things to Do in San Diego: August 30-September 3, 2012

dragon sand castle

Abounding with BBQs, beaches and bathing suits, San Diego is the ideal Labor Day vacation destination. Spend your holiday weekend participating in one of these fun-in-the-sun activities.

1. Festival of Sail

Star of India

More than twenty tall ships and other fascinating vessels from around the world will transform the North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park. The festival kicks off with a majestic parade of tall ships on San Diego Bay, Thursday, August 30. Parade begins at 11:00 AM and can be seen from the Embarcadero, Harbor Island, Shelter Island and Coronado. Festival visitors can enjoy touring the ships, live entertainment at the Festival of Sail main stage, food and drink from dozens of restaurant booths, a petting zoo and more.

2. US Sand Sculpting Challenge

dragon sand castle

From August 31 – September 3rd, head downtown to see some astonishing sand sculptures from professional world masters, the California masters team competition to student competitions. Other activities include sand sculpture classes for kids, dancers, musicians, pirates, magicians and more.

3. SoCAL Music Festival

Head over to San Diego’s East Village for the SoCAL Music Festival, Saturday, September 1 from 2:00PM to midnight. Over 25 DJ’s and Bands will be performing on four stages. Tickets available starting at $40 per person, 21 years and up.

4. Julian Grape Stomp

Drive over to Julian to take part in the annual olde-world style grape stomp and festa at the Menghini Winery Saturday, September 1 from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. There will be two barrels for stomping – one for adults and one for children. Admission is $10 for adults 21 and over, $5 ages 6-20 and 5 and under are free.

> Find Even More Great Labor Day Activities in San Diego

Suzzanne

Top Things to do in San Diego: August 23-26

From the King of Pop to a Wine and Food festival, there’s a lot to keep you busy this weekend. What will you be doing?

1. 10th Annual Chula Vista Rotary Wine & Food Festival

Get your fill on some of the best restaurants, breweries, wineries and spirits at the 10th Annual Chula Vista Wine and Food Festival. The event will take place at the Otay Ranch Town Center on Saturday, August 25 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. With over 40 participants this year, there will surely be something for everyone. Tickets are $50 per person.

2. San Diego Symphony: The Music of Michael Jackson

Head over to the Embarcadero for the San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops series. On Thursday, August 23, the Symphony will be highlighting the King of Pop’s 40 years of hits. From ABC to the Man in the Mirror as well as I’ll Be There, Beat It and the Way You Make Me Feel. It’ll be a Thriller!

3. San Diego Spirits Festival

It’s all about Cocktails, Culinary and Culture on Saturday and Sunday, August 25-26 at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. The Spirits Festival will highlight the cocktail and culinary community and the talented bartenders who are shaking up San Diego’s vibrant scene.

4. Wholistic Expo

The Convention Center will be surrounded by a virtual aura of peace and tranquility created by the Wholistic Expo, the wellness, health and knowledge event, August 24-26. With the purpose of providing a “whole holistic” experience, the Wholistic Expo is designed to promoted mind, body, emotional and spiritual balance.

5. Summer Whale Watching Cruise

For the past few years, giant blue whales have been making an appearance off the coast of California. Catch a ride on one of the many boats leaving San Diego Harbor everyday for your chance to see the largest animal ever to lived.