Brent Bernasconi

15 Things You Must Try in San Diego in 2015

It’s the new year and it’s time to explore more of what San Diego has to offer visitors and locals alike. Here are 15 things to try in 2015:

100+ Years of Awesome

1. Climb the California Tower

California Tower - Museum of Man

Climb the California Tower for amazing views of Balboa Park and beyond

For the first time since 1935, Balboa Park’s California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man is open for public tours! From the second floor of the Museum, you go up a staircase hidden to the public for decades. Then you climb seven floors, getting glimpses through narrow windows of the beauty outside. Finally, you climb a spiral metal stairway and emerge into sunlight where you will see a spectacular Southern California vista.

> Find out how you can Climb the California Tower

2. Balboa Park Centennial

Balboa Park Lily Pond

Celebrate the cultural jewel of San Diego throughout 2015 during the Balboa Park Centennial

100 years later after the opening of the Panama-California Exposition, the City of San Diego and Balboa Park are doing it all over again. Join us as we celebrate the art, science and culture of Balboa Park and the City of San Diego with a year of breathtaking performances, awe-inspiring exhibitions, and historical experiences with a reverence to how San Diego has grown, and how Balboa Park has evolved over the last century.

> Find out more about the Balboa Park Centennial

3. Coronado Celebrates 125 Years

San Diego's Coronado

Join Coronado in the celebration of 125 years

In 2015, the City of Coronado will celebrate 125 years since its incorporation on December 11, 1890. Since the traditional anniversary gift chart doesn’t go beyond 100 (10K diamond), Coronado has decided to give its citizens and visitors a year-long celebration of a year-long celebration of the Crown City’s history, its accomplishments, its citizens, and its future. Designated “Coronado Celebrates 125,” the City, working through its Cultural Arts Commission, will collaborate with a wide variety of individuals, businesses, and organizations to engage citizens and visitors alike in an extraordinary celebration.

> A Link to the Celebration will be added as soon as it is ready

From the Hidden to the New

4. Explore the Nine Districts of San Diego

San Diego - Nine Art's Districts, One Vibrant City

From the hills of La Jolla to the plains of the northeast and everywhere in-between, come take a tour with us and discover the artistic side of some of San Diego’s most exciting neighborhoods.

> Discover San Diego – Nine Arts Districts, One Vibrant City

5. Discover the New Embarcadero

Port of San Diego New Embarcadero

Enjoy a relaxing visit to the new section of San Diego’s Embarcadero. Photo courtesy of the Port of San Diego

San Diego’s picturesque Embarcadero keeps getting better! In addition to the beautiful Waterfront Park unveiled in 2014, the Embarcadero just became more pedestrian-friendly with a beautifully landscaped 105-foot wide promenade featuring public art by internationally known artist Pae White; lush, colorful gardens, landscaped plazas and pathways feature comfortable wooden benches and seating areas, groves of 42 purple-blooming jacaranda trees; and the popular Carnitas Snack Shack (opening early Summer 2015).

> Play or Relax at one of the Port of San Diego’s Public Parks

The Great Outdoors

6. Decobike

Decobike San Diego

Explore San Diego on two wheels

With all the transportation options available in San Diego, it’s easy for anyone to explore most of the city without ever needing to rent a car. In 2015, visitors and locals will be able to quickly move around the city on two wheels thanks to San Diego’s new bike-sharing program, Decobike. Once the system is fully operational, you will be able to rent one of the more than 1,700 bikes by the hour or day at any of the more than 180 solar-powered stations.

> Find out more about Decobike San Diego

7. Kayak Whale Watching Tours

Grey Whale Breach - Hike, Bike Kayak La Jolla

Hike Bike Kayak Sports La Jolla owner “Big Wave Dave” getting up close on a Kayak Whale Watching Tour

Get up close to a grey whale while being active on a kayak whale watching tour. Outfitters like Hike Bike Kayak Sports La Jolla, La Jolla Kayak and Everyday California offer daily kayak whale watching tours from December through March.

> Go Whale Watching in San Diego

8. Run a Race

Running Along the Boardwalk

Take a run in San Diego in 2015

With amazing weather and breathtaking waterfront views, it’s easy to see why San Diego hosted the first triathlon more than 40 years ago. Today, you can run anything from a 5K to a full marathon every month in San Diego. So in 2015, challenge yourself to run a race in San Diego and then reward yourself with a few days of recovery at one of San Diego’s sparkling beaches.

> Run a Race in San Diego

9. Tidepooling

Swami's Tidepools - Encinitas

Swami’s Tidepools – Encinitas

There’s no telling what tiny creatures you’ll encounter in these incredible little ecosystems teeming with life along San Diego’s shoreline. It all happens when the tide rolls out – shallow pools form around the rocks and become home to tiny octopuses, colorful sea stars, hardy hermit crabs and other remarkable critters. And that’s just what’s visible to the naked eye.

> Hang out at one of San Diego’s Tide Pools

Celebrate the Craft of San Diego

10. Coffee – Pour-Overs to Espresso

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters San Diego

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in La Jolla

From Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in La Jolla to Ryan Bros. Coffee in Barrio Logan, the fine craft of freshly roasted coffee is exploding all over San Diego. Since there are so many amazing options, here are a few other spots to check out for a warm pour-over: Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, Coffee & Tea Collective, Caffe Calabria, Influx Cafe and Roast Coach.

11. San Diego Spirits

Old Harbor Distilling Co.

Outfits like Old Harbor Distilling are Celebrating the Craft of San Diego by distilling local spirits

As San Diego’s award-winning craft beer scene reaches maturity, brewers are starting to become distillers along with a few newcomers into San Diego’s craft scene. Old Harbor Distilling Co., Malahat Spirits, Liberty Call Distilling Co. and Kill Devil Spirit Co. are the first distillery-only operations looking to grow the world of locally distilled spirits. Breweries Twisted Manzanita and Ballast Point are distilling everything from barrel-aged rum to an East County moonshine.

12. Donuts

Doughnuts - Donut Bar

You never know what you will find in one of San Diego’s amazing doughnut shops. Photo courtesy of Donut Bar

Sorry cupcake lovers, donuts are the new cool…again. Donut Bar in downtown San Diego was one of the first to cook up these overly decadent pastries. In North Park, Nomad Donuts and Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee are frying up some cakey deliciousness. If you are looking for something a bit more old-fashioned, Dunkin Donuts has returned to San Diego and plans to expand throughout the county.

13. Meat-Centric Establishments

Deli Counter - S&M Sausage & Meat

Meat-centric establishments let you enjoy amazing cuts in the restaurant or take them home to cool. Photo courtesy of S&M Sausage & Meat

San Diego, which has its fair share of vegetarian restaurants, is seeing a rise in the popularity of more meat-centric establishments. S&M Sausage & Meat and Cowboy Star invite you to not only dine on some of the best cuts, but to take some home from their in-house delis. The Heart & Trotter Whole Animal Butchery will offer locally sourced meats and promises that nothing will go to waste. (H&T retail location is set to open sometime in 2015). For those in the North County, stop by Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad.

Make San Diego Your Home Port

14. Disney Cruise

Disney Cruise Line

Starting October 2015, Disney will offer Mexican adventures embarking from San Diego. Photo courtesy of Diana Zalucky

San Diego is the perfect place for your pre- and post-cruise vacation. In October 2015, Disney Cruise Line will offer 3- and 5-day cruises to Mexico that embark from San Diego. So now you and your family can enjoy a few days in San Diego, then explore Mexico and finish up with a few more relaxing days in San Diego. Talk about the ideal vacation!

> Cruise from San Diego

15. Explore Baja California

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By staying in San Diego, visitors and locals can conveniently (and safely) make a day trip south of the border. Tour companies like Turista Libre open up the city of Tijuana and highlight the growing arts and culture scene, delectable cross-border restaurants, mouth-watering taco shops and even local craft breweries. Those looking something a bit more romantic can venture further south to the Valle de Guadalupe for amazing wines and romantic hotels. Local museums like the Museum of Contemporary Arts San Diego are also offering tours of Valle de Guadalupe.

> Start Planning Your Trip to San Diego

Brent Bernasconi

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

12 Days of Christmas Sweepstakes

12 Days of Christmas Sweepstakes

We’re counting down the 12 Days of Christmas with 12 giveaways celebrating the surf, city and everything in between! Win a stay at the best local hotels, discover San Diego’s watering holes or explore dining and shopping by participating in daily contests! Check our Facebook page daily, entries from December 12-23, 2015 will be considered through 11:59 PM and a winner will be announced the next day.

12 Days of Christmas Sweepstakes Prizes

  1. 12 December – 2 Night Stay at the Hampton Inn San Diego Mission Valley
  2. 13 December – Brewery tour with Brew Hop
  3. 14 December – Dinner for Two at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay’s Red Marlin
  4. 15 December – Tickets to the San Diego Zoo
  5. 16 December – Gray Whale Watching Kayak Tour with Everyday California
  6. 17 December – 2 Night Stay at the Embassy Suites San Diego – La Jolla
  7. 18 December – 1 Night Stay at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
  8. 19 December – Fashion Valley Mall Shopping Spree with $50 to Macy’s
  9. 20 December  – 1 Night Stay at The Pearl Hotel
  10. 21 December – 1 Night Stay at the Catamaran Resort, Hotel and Spa
  11. 22 December – Twosome at the Maderas Golf Club
  12. 23 December – 2 Night Stay at the Bahia Resort Hotel

Official 12 Days of Christmas Rules: http://bit.ly/12X5FvX

Candice

Travel + Leisure Readers Have Spoken – San Diego is the #1 City for Weather…and Spas!

Looking for a spa getaway? San Diego is a top destination, according to Travel + Leisure!

Looking for a spa getaway? San Diego is a top destination, according to Travel + Leisure!

The votes are in, and when it comes to great weather and top notch spas, San Diego can’t be beat! So say the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, and we in San Diego couldn’t agree more.

The national travel magazine just released the results of its 2014 “America’s Favorite Cities” survey, and those who have been to San Diego won’t be surprised to see that the city ranked high for beach getaways, relaxing weekends, and athletic and attractive residents.

You can see the full results of the survey at Travelandleisure.com. In addition to being the #1 city for weather and spas, here’s how San Diego stacked up in a few key categories:

Best Cities for Weather

  1. San Diego
  2. Honolulu
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Albuquerque
  5. Tampa

> Check San Diego’s Weather Forecast

Best Spa Vacation Destination

  1. San Diego
  2. Miami
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Honolulu
  5. Las Vegas

> Relax at one of San Diego’s tranquil spas

[Tweet “Did you know @TravlandLeisure readers ranked #SanDiego #1 for weather…and spas?! That’s Right!”]

Most Athletic/Active People

  1. Minneapolis/St. Paul
  2. San Diego
  3. Portland, OR
  4. Denver
  5. Austin

> Get outdoors and explore San Diego

Most Attractive People

  1. Miami
  2. San Diego
  3. Charleston
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Providence
Girls Biking on Mission Beach

It must be all that athletic activity that makes our residents so attractive.

Best Beach Getaway

  1. Honolulu
  2. Tampa
  3. Miami
  4. San Diego
  5. Los Angeles

> Feel the sand beneath your toes at one of San Diego’s amazing beaches

Best Relaxing Weekend

  1. Tucson
  2. Charleston
  3. Albuquerque
  4. San Diego
  5. Portland, ME

Best Romantic Escape

  1. Charleston
  2. Honolulu
  3. San Francisco
  4. New Orleans
  5. San Diego

What do you think about Travel + Leisure’s rankings? Is San Diego one of your favorite cities? Tell us why in the comments below!

Robert Arends

Catch of the Day: Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on San Diego Bay!

Posing with a big box crab at Tuna harbor Dockside Market!

Posing with a big box crab at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market!

If you”ve ever been to Pike Place Market in Seattle or Fisherman”s Wharf in San Francisco, you know what a delight it is to see seafood as fresh as it gets from local waters.

San Diego now has its very own open-air seafood market called the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, located on Fish Harbor Pier on picturesque San Diego Bay between Seaport Village and Ruocco Park (across the street from the chic new Headquarters at Seaport District).

Folks checking out the new Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Folks checking out the new Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

I didn”t know what to expect when I ventured to the market a recent Saturday morning with my camera at the ready. Some fish on ice…perhaps an unusual sea creature or two. But when I saw spiky crabs clawing for attention and a massive 5-foot octopus wriggling for a close-up, I knew I was in for a treat!

Fresh catches of the day at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Fresh catches of the day at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Hours are from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and folks line up early for the best seafood picks online casino to purchase before they”re sold out. I opted to arrive a bit later (around 9:30 AM) and though the line was a few dozen people deep, it moved along at a nice steady pace.

For shutterbugs like me, there”s no line to wait in. Just aim your camera between folks as they shuffle by, zoom in on the bountiful sea life and click away!

What I saw was amazing! Albacore and skipjack tuna, yellow tail, blue fin, lots of bright red-colored rock fish, black cod, Mahi Mahi, halibut, sea urchin (San Diego”s known for delectably fresh sea urchin/uni – yum!)…

Sea urchin/uni, a local San Diego seafood delicacy!

Sea urchin/uni, a local San Diego seafood delicacy!

…three varieties of crab, including rock crab…

Rock crab at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Rock crab at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

…and my favorite, the feisty box crab; check out this cool video I took!

The weekly catch is posted here. The fisherman and women are very friendly and more than happy to pose with their catches and fishing boats anchored in the background!

If you”re looking for a fun, photo-worthy San Diego experience second-to-none, head downtown to the Big Bay on Saturdays and dive into the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. San Diego”s legendary commercial fishing and maritime heritage come alive before your eyes! 🙂

Brent Bernasconi

Where to Watch the 2014 World Cup in San Diego

Where to Watch the World Cup in San Diego

Adidas Brazuca 2014 World Cup Soccer Ball

Germany vs. Argentina – Sunday, July 13 at 12:00 PM

World Cup North Park Viewing Party

This Sunday, 30th Street Will be closed from Lincoln to University for the Ultimate Fan Zone Party! Watch the World Cup Final outdoors on an 11″ X 20″ JumboTron Monitor with DJs Eddie Turbo & Prince Zohar, and food trucks.

This event is all ages and free to the Public!

Early Birds

You are welcome to join us as early as 9am to get a good seat. Bring your blankets & beach chairs!

No alcohol will be allowed on the street.

Parking Dos:

There will be $1 Parking all-day (7:00 AM to 7:00 PM) in the Parking Structure on 30th & North Park Way (Entrance to the parking garage is 3829 29th Street, across from The Birch North Park Theater).

Parking Don”t

To prepare for the Viewing Party, production will start after 2am on Sunday Morning. On Sunday, July 13th, there will be NO PARKING on 30th Street, between Lincoln & University from 3am-10pm. There will be some select areas surrounding the street closure that will also be NO PARKING areas.


 

USMNT vs Belgium – Tuesday, 1 July at 1:00 PM

The United States Mens Team has made it to the knock out round! The San Diego Padres are inviting soccer fans to watch the game on <a title=”Petco Park”s Park at the Park to show 2014 FIFA World Cup USA vs. Belgium match Tuesday” href=”http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140627&content_id=81910444&vkey=pr_sd&c_id=sd” target=”_blank”>Petco Park”s Park at the Park”s big screen. Gates will open at 12:30 PM. If your up for a March to the Match, join the American Outlaws at Dublin Square (554 4th Avenue) at 12:10 PM.


Do you remember where you were when Landon Donovan put the ball behind GK Raïs M”Bolhi in the 91st minute of the US vs. Algeria game in 2010 World Cup? I do! Even though I had work that day and the sun had barely come up, I made my way to the Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights and anxiously hoped for a miracle. When Donovan placed Dempsey”s rebound in the back of the net, the entire bar erupted with thunderous applause, high fives and a few tears of joy!

Even though San Diego may not have a soccer team (cough, cough…MLS…cough, cough…Chivas needs a new home and a fresh start…cough, cough), it does have some of the most rabid football fans in the country (during the 2010 World Cup, San Diego ranked in the top 5 TV markets). Bars, restaurants and pubs throughout the county will be full of fans watching Brazil”s opening kick off against Croatia to the final on July 13.

If you want to feel the rush and excitement of the world”s most popular game, head to any one of these pubs/bars and join in the chants (especially on Monday, 16 June, at 3:00 PM):

O”Brien”s Pub – The Official US Soccer Bar in San Diego

Home to the San Diego”s American Outlaws and an amazing craft beer selection, O”Brien”s Pub is the go-to place for the die-hard US soccer fan.

Where: 4646 Convoy St., San Diego, CA 92111
> Find out more about O”Brien”s Pub

World Cup North Park

Restaurants and bars throughout North Park have banded together to make their neighborhood the World Cup headquarters of San Diego.

> Find out more about World Cup North Park

The Field Authentic Irish Pub & Restaurant

A real Irish pub in the middle of the <a title=”San Diego”s Historic Gaslamp Quarter” href=”http://www.sandiego.org/discover/gaslamp-quarter.aspx” target=”_blank”>Gaslamp Quarter? Yep. The interior was shipped from Ireland to San Diego and soccer oozes out of every pore. Stop by for every World Cup match and an authentic Irish dish.

Where: 544 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
best online casino Authentic Irish Pub & Restaurant” href=”http://www.sandiego.org/members/restaurants/the-field-authentic-irish-pub-restaurant.aspx” target=”_blank”>> Find out more about The Field

Shakespeare”s Pub & Grille

You can tell just by the name that this is a popular spot for football. Shakespeare”s will be pouring cold ones and serving up pub food throughout the World Cup.

Where: 3701 India St, San Diego, CA 92103
> Find out more about Shakespeare”s Pub & Grille

Phileas Foggs Bar & Restaurant

Traditional British fare, more than 200 imported and craft beers, and football on the TVs, Phileas Foggs is a great place to catch the World Cup in the <a title=”San Diego”s North County Inland” href=”http://www.sandiego.org/discover/north-county-inland.aspx” target=”_blank”>North County Inland area.

Where: 11385 Poway Road, #100 San Diego, CA 92128
> Find out more about Phileas Foggs Bar & Restaurant

Costa Brava Cocina Española

Costa Brava brings all the flavors of Spain to Pacific Beach including a deep passion for fútbol. Tapas will be served along with prizes and more throughout the World Cup.

Where: 1653 Garnet Avenue, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Costa Brava Cocina Española

Hooley”s Irish Pub & Grill

For those out in East County, Hooley”s sports two World Cup locations serving up traditional Irish pub fare along with cold beers straight from the tap.

Where:
La Mesa – 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, CA 91941
Rancho San Diego – 2955 Jamacha Road, El Cajon, CA 92019
> Find out more about Hooley”s Irish Pub & Grill

Blind Lady Ale House

If you read the first paragraph, you know why Blind Lady is on the list. Add to that an amazing craft beer selection and you have a great place to watch the games.

Where: 3416 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about the Blind Lady Ale House

American Outlaws Recommendations

Benchmark Brewing
Where:
 6190 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA 92120
> Find out more about Benchmark Brewing

The Harp Irish Pub & Restaurant
Where: 4935 Newport Ave., San Diego, CA 92107
> Find out more about The Harp Irish Pub & Restaurant

More World Cup Viewing Spots

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  • Bluefoot Bar & Lounge – 3404 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
  • Princess Pub & Grille – 1665 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101
  • EndZone Pub and Grill – 859 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104
  • <a title=”Karina”s Mexican Seafood” href=”http://www.karinasseafood.com/” target=”_blank”>Karinas Mexican Seafood Cuisine – 986 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91911
  • > Find more sports bars in San Diego

    Did I miss another great World Cup bar in San Diego? Let me know is the comments below or send me a tweet at @bernasconi.

    Sarah Weinberg

    Fall in Love with San Diego’s Valentine’s Day Hotel Deals and Packages

    Couple Walking on Ocean Beach Pier
    Couple Walking on Ocean Beach Pier

    Bring your Valentine to San Diego for the perfect romantic sunset.

    With spectacular scenery, sun-kissed beaches, world-class restaurants and luxury resorts, San Diego calls to all lovebirds looking for a romantic getaway. This February, special Valentine’s Day offerings from San Diego hotels and resorts make it the perfect time to let Cupid’s arrow fly and treat a special friend or loved one to a relaxing retreat or fun-filled adventure in romantic San Diego.

    Modern Day Romance

    Log-in and tweet for the Twitter-Patter package at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa with a Valentine’s deal that includes overnight accommodations at this lush, garden estate and a $150 credit that can be used for spa treatments or dinner at Adobe El Restaurant. Guests also receive chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of private label sparkling wine, Twitter-themed cookie welcome amenity and two plush monogrammed robes with guest’s personalized Twitter handle. For reservations, tweet “My heart wants to go #TwitterPatter with my sweetie at @estancialajolla.” The hotel will then tweet back details on how to book.

    Package Dates: February 8-24, 2014
    Cost: Rates start at $499
    > Find out more about the Twitter-Patter Package at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

    Take the Plunge on Valentine’s Day

    Not just any couple can be swept away by the Hotel Del Coronado’s Drop the Question Package. The landmark hotel offers the ultimate in luxury including three nights in a Beach Village cottage suite, rose petals, Taittinger champagne and caviar welcome amenities, private butler and engagement concierge service throughout the stay, private candlelight dinner prepared by the Chef de Cuisine, private sailing brunch cruise, exotic car rental, and just before sunset, two sky divers will drop from the sky and parachute onto the beach with a banner asking, “Will you marry me?” Afterward, enjoy a private romantic dinner for two on the beach with a violinist, and later a couple’s massage in your cottage, a $1,000 shopping spree at the Shops at The Del, dinner for two at 1500 OCEAN and breakfast in bed daily.

    Package Dates: Available beginning February 14, 2014
    Cost: $50,000 (subject to change)
    > Find out more about the Hotel Del Coronado’s Drop the Question Package

    The Way to a Lover’s Heart

    If you can’t be in Paris this Valentine’s Day, look no further than downtown San Diego’s Westgate Hotel, where a stunning lobby reflects the anterooms at Versailles and classic décor emulates the palaces of Europe. The Westgate offers several romance packages; the most luxurious is the Etre Amoureux package (English translation: “to make you fall in love all over again”). This package includes one-night accommodation in the Presidential suite or Governor suite along with a five-course dinner with wine pairing prepared by a private chef, butler service, a dozen red roses, love quotes, a bottle of Champagne and chocolate truffles, breakfast in bed and parking.

    Package Dates: February 14-15, 2014
    Cost: $3100
    > Find out more about Westgate Hotel’s Etre Amoureux Package

    During the month of February, the historic Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows in the hip uptown neighborhood of North Park offers the Some Like It Hot Valentine’s package. First choose either dinner and bottomless champagne for two or breakfast and bottomless mimosas for two, then enjoy a special Lafayette intimacy kit and additional nights at 20% off best available rate.

    Package Dates: February 1-28, 2014
    Cost: Rates start at $159 per night
    > Find out more about the Lafayette Hotel’s Some Like it Hot Package

    Romance and Relaxation

    Fell the sand of Mission Bay under your toes at the Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa. The Catamaran’s Sweetheart package includes a two-night stay in a standard room, California sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries on arrival, two 50-minute spa treatments and spa gifts, and breakfast for two.

    Package Dates: February 1-28, 2014
    Cost: Rates start at $730
    > Find out more about The Catamaran’s Sweetheart Package

    > Spoil Your Sweetheart with a Valentine’s Day in San Diego

    What’s your favorite San Diego Valentine’s Day tradition or idea?

    Brent Bernasconi

    14 New and Different Things to Try in San Diego in 2014

    Flagship Patriot Jet Boat Tour

    Happy New Year! During your next visit, you will still be able to enjoy San Diego’s amazing weather (it’s in the 70s as I am writing this) and gorgeous beaches all while checking out these 14 things to try in 2014:

    1. Explore San Diego’s Breweries

    San Diego Breweries

    Sample San Diego’s best beers straight from the source with a brewery visit

    With over 80 breweries currently operating and 30 more in the works, it can be a challenge to visit all of them. Of course, the best way to sample San Diego’s award-winning beers is to visit the breweries themselves. If you want to visit a few and enjoy many samples, take advantage of a built-in Designated Driver on a brewery tour offered by Brew Hop, Brewery Tours of San Diego, and San Diego Beer & Wine Tours.

    Since San Diego’s beers are so delicious, please remember to drink responsibly.

    > Sample more of San Diego’s Craft Beer Scene

    2. Discover Something New at a Museum Exhibition

    Real Pirates at the San Diego Natural History Museum

    There are chests full of golden knowledge to be found at new exhibitions like Real Pirates at theNAT

    In 2014, museums throughout San Diego will be hosting new and exciting exhibitions. Just a few include Real Pirates at theNATGUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center,  Tattoos & Scrimshaw, the Art of the Sailor at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and BEERology: Craft, Culture, and Civilization at the San Diego Museum of Man.

    > Discover more new exhibitions at museums throughout San Diego

    3. Tull Family Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    Tull Family Tiger Trail Rendition - San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    Rendition of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s upcoming Tull Family Tiger Trail

    A forested habitat providing a new home for the Safari Park’s Sumatran tigers, a critically endangered species, Tiger Trail offers up-close views of the fascinating felines and highlights conservation efforts for the species. The five-acre exhibit includes three separate yards with rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts and long grasses for catnaps.

    Where: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027
    When: Opening Memorial Day Weekend 2014
    Cost: Included with admission
    > Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

    4. LEGO® Legends of Chima Water Park

    LEGOLAND California's Legend of Chima Water Park

    Based on the popular LEGO set “Legends of Chima,” the new three-acre addition to LEGOLAND Water Park will feature an interactive wave pool designed for families with young children; an iconic 30-foot tall floating “Mount Cavora;” Cragger’s Swamp is a hands-on water play area featuring water slides, water cannons and jets, and a slide through the head of a massive crocodile; Eglor’s Build-A-Boat gives young guests the opportunity to build their own boat and learn how to change the currents, build and dodge obstacles and race against their friends; and a dining area called Wolves’ Cantina.

    Where: One LEGOLAND Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
    When:
    Opening Summer 2014
    Cost: Included with water park admission
    > Visit LEGOLAND California Resort

    5. SeaWorld’s 50th Anniversary

    SeaWorld San Diego's 50th Anniversary

    A Sea of Surprises awaits at SeaWorld San Diego! SeaWorld will celebrate their 50th year (and they look so young) with the Surprise Squad handing out prizes to random guests, new roaming entertainment including a bubble lab and even more meet-and-greets with some of the animal-ambassadors throughout the park.

    Where: 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
    When: Starts in March 2014
    Cost: Included with admission
    > Visit SeaWorld San Diego

    6. Explore the Pan-Asian Foods of San Diego

    There’s much more to San Diego’s dining scene than fish tacos and California burritos. San Diego is also home to amazing restaurants highlighting foods and dishes from across Asia:

    • Korean/Pan-Asian – The new Zion Market in Clairemont Mesa started out as a Korean market but is now a foodies dream with a pan-asian supermarket and food court (there’s even a French bakery just for fun).
    • Vietnamese – Taste delicious Vietnamese dishes at over 10 restaurants in San Diego’s Little Saigon, a six-block stretch along El Cajon Boulevard from Highland to Euclid.
    • Filipino – Head a few miles south to Little Manila on Plaza Boulevard in National City for amazing Filipino restaurants like Manila Sunset, Tita’s Kitchenette and Goldilocks Bakeshop.
    • Indian – From exotic spices to delicious curries, Little India on Black Mountain Road is a spice lovers dream.

    Darn it, now I am hungry! 🙂

    7. Lakeside Rodeo turns 50

    Lakeside Rodeo in San Diego's East County

    Three days of Bareback bronco rides, calf roping and other traditional rodeo competitions at the Lakeside Rodeo

    Break out the boots and put on your favorite cowboy hat for the Lakeside Rodeo’s 50th Anniversary! Since 1964, the El Capitan Stadium Association has brought top rodeo talent and entertainment to San Diego’s East County to put on a world-class rodeo all while raising funds for the local schools.

    Where: 12584 Mapleview St., Lakeside, CA 92040
    When: April 25-27, 2014
    Cost: $5-$250
    > Find out more about the Lakeside Rodeo

    8. Taumata Racer® at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark

    Taumata Racer at Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark

    Are you brave enough to slide down Aquatica’s newest water slide, Taumata Racer?

    Are you ready?! Taumata Racer, the new slide at Aquatica, will zoom riders down a 375-foot slide, around a 180-degree swooping turn, and in and out of tunnels before racing them across the finish line. This head-first mat-racer water slide is a unique blend of competitive racing and high-speed thrills, featuring six side-by-side lanes. After that adrenaline rush, you might want to spend a few minutes in the lazy river and calm down!

    Where: 2052 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911
    When: Summer 2014
    Cost: Included with admission
    > Visit Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark

    9. The Need for Speed on San Diego Bay

    Flagship Patriot Jet Boat Tour

    Speed across San Diego Bay aboard a jet powered boat like Flagship’s Patriot

    Fulfill that need for speed with massive 1,400 HP engines propelling you over San Diego Bay at very high speeds! A ride aboard Flagship’s Patriot will take your breath away with amazing views of San Diego and 360-degree hairpin turns. Or, hop aboard Speed Boat Adventure’s Sea Rocket for a thrilling tour, blaring music and a ton of fun. A word of warning to thrill chasers – Watch out, you will get wet!

    10. Jetpacks

    Flying over Mission Bay with Jetpack America

    Taking off over the waters of Mission Bay with Jetpack America

    Live on the edge and soar up to 30 feet above Mission Bay with a water-powered jetpack from Jetpack America! Within minutes, you can learn all the basics of jetpack flight, such as take-off, landing, elevation control, turning and hovering. I took a flight a few months ago and it was amazing!

    Where: 1010 Santa Clara Place, San Diego, CA 92109
    Cost: $159-$549
    > Find out more about Jetpack America

    11. Bike San Diego

    Girls Biking on Mission Beach

    From the Beach to the Mountains, San Diego offers plenty of ways to explore on two wheels

    Whether on a beach cruiser or a 24-speed, San Diego’s year-round beautiful weather makes it an amazing city for a bike ride. Explore the city with paths along San Diego Bay, Mission Bay and Ocean Beach. Up for a challenge, try the 24 mile Bayshore Bikeway.

    In early 2014, the City of San Diego and Deco Bikes will install the first of many bike sharing locations throughout the downtown area. Once the stations are ready, visitors and locals will be able to quickly move around the city on two wheels.

    Please Note: California law requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when on a bicycle. It is also recommended for adults to wear a helmet when riding in the city.

    > Explore San Diego on Two Wheels

    12. Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Wizard of OZ Week

    Wizard of Oz

    Coronado is gearing up for its premier Wizard of Oz week, August 1-10, 2013 being held in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz movie and 50th anniversary of Winkie Con at the Town & Country Resort. There will be Wizard of Oz walking tours of Coronado, Oz film screenings and storytelling, an exhibition of Oz memorabilia, Wizard of Oz character costume contests and more.

    Did you know: Author L. Frank Baum lived in Coronado and wrote three of his famous Oz books on the island; the Hotel del Coronado was his inspiration for the Emerald City!

    13. Without Walls Festival

    KAMCHATKA at La Jolla Shores

    Art breaks out of it’s four walls and into the most amazing settings during the Without Walls Festival

    After a successful first year in 2013, the Without Walls (Wow) Festival will return in 2014 with over 20 theatre and art performances by local, national and international artists brought together by Festival founder La Jolla Playhouse and partners UC San Diego, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) and The New Children’s Museum.

    When: Fall 2014
    > Find out more about the Without Walls Festival

    14. Del Mar Races in November?!

    Del Mar Races Trumpeter

    Hear the First Call Twice at Del Mar Racetrack in 2014

    Up until last year, Del Mar Racetrack only held races from mid-July through early September. However, with the close of the Hollywood Park, Del Mar will have a second season this year in November. Now you have two opportunities to wear a fancy hat on opening day!

    > Start Planing Your San Diego Vacation at SanDiego.org

    Have something you’re looking forward to seeing and/or doing in San Diego during 2014? Let us and others know in the comments below.

    Brent Bernasconi

    Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 31 to January 5, 2014

    Stone Brewing Co's New Years Eve Party - Top Things to Do in San Diego

    Goodbye 2013! Here’s to 2014 and all the excitement the new year will bring. Start the year off right with these top things to do in San Diego:

    New Year’s Eve

    Stone Brewing Co's New Years Eve Party - Top Things to Do in San Diego

    From San Diego’s Craft Beer to Champagne, the parties will be flowing this NYE

    Still don’t have plans for tonight? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to find the perfect New Year’s Eve event with our handy guides:

    > San Diego 2013 New Year’s Eve Parties Are Epic!
    > New Year’s Eve Celebrations for Kids in San Diego
    > Find even more NYE events and packages on SanDiego.org

    New Year’s Day Recovery

    Champagne Cruise on San Diego Bay - Hornblower

    Start off the New Year right with a recovery brunch along with beautiful views of the San Diego skyline.

    Welcome to 2014! Get those resolutions started with walks along the beach and hikes through one of San Diego’s many parks. Or, you could postpone the exercise and recover from last night with one of these delicious New Year’s Day brunches and/or dinners: New Year’s Day Brunch at the Hotel del CoronadoNew Year Day Brunch at the WestgateFlagship New Years Day Brunch Cruise and New Year’s Day Dinner Cruise on Hornblower.

    > Discover more delicious dining options  in San Diego

    Last of the Holiday Festivities

    Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

    Skating by the Sea at The Del!

    Even though the holidays have come on gone, the festive fun still continues with outdoor ice skating, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration including plenty of snow, and a magical winter wonderland at the San Diego Zoo’s Jungle Bells.

    2014 San Diego International Auto Show

    San Diego International Auto Show - Things to Do

    See the cars of today and tomorrow at the San Diego International Auto Show

    Where the cars are the stars! The 2014-model vehicles showcase the newest levels of technology that enhance the driving experience, packaged in luxurious interiors and wrapped in cutting edge designs. When not captivated by the cars, you can participate in exciting, fun new features, family entertainment, and interactive activities.

    Where: San Diego Convention Center – 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
    When: January 1-5, 2014
    Cost: $8-$12
    > Find out more about the 2014 San Diego International Auto Show

    A Prairie Home Companion Live Radio Broadcast

    A Prairie Home Companion Live Radio Broadcast

    Travel to Lake Wobegon with Garrison Keillor, Sara Watkins, and The Wailin’ Jennys for a visit full of comedy sketches, music, and news from the small town. This classic public broadcast is a great reason for why the radio still continues to entertain.

    Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
    When: January 4, 2014
    Time: 2:45 to 5:15 pM
    Cost: $38-$200
    > Find out more about A Prairie Home Companion Live Radio Broadcast

    More Top Things to Do in San Diego

    > Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

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

    Sarah Weinberg

    A Few Hot Tamales in San Diego

    Tamales are a year-round source of pleasure and sustenance in San Diego. Made from masa, a corn-based dough that is steamed or boiled in a corn-husk wrapper and filled with meat, cheese, fruit or vegetables, tamales are often part of San Diego families’ holiday celebrations. While the best tamales in San Diego are those made by a mom or abuela at home, here are some local places to buy these Mexican treats.

    The Mission

    The Mission Restaurant's sweet corn tamales breakfast

    The Mission Restaurant’s sweet corn tamales breakfast satisfies the soul and stomach.

    Start off your day right with an order of Plato Verde con Huevos at one of three Mission Restaurants in San Diego. The sweet corn and green chili tamale and eggs over medium covered with roasted tomatillo sauce and served with a side of black beans and salsa offers a sweet and savory combination not to be missed.

    Pancho Villa Farmers Market

    Pancho Villa Farmers Market chicken tamales burst with filling.

    Pancho Villa Farmers Market chicken tamales burst with filling.

    I love going to the Pancho Villa Farmers Market grocery store hungry! I do my shopping then sit and have a bite from the Mexican food “deli” section offering freshly made street tacos, birria, and five flavors of tamales. This busy supermarket makes tamales daily with generous portions of cheese, beef, pork, pineapple or chicken filling. The chicken can be a little dry, as these tamales are overstuffed with filling, but my favorite is moist masa stuffed with a hunk of melted cheese and a mild pepper.

    Las Cuatro Milpas

    The line out the door at this old-school joint in Barrio Logan is testament to the authentic Mexican food served within, and particularly to their fresh tortillas made from scratch in front of diners.  Las Cuatro Milpas offers solely pork tamales, but they do them right. Moist, with just the right amount of pork stuffing, this place is the go-to restaurant for local families catering their celebrations at home.

    Northgate Gonzales Market

    Just around the corner in Barrio Logan is the shiny new Northgate Market, one of several in a Southern California chain. This supermarket does incredible volume in the prepared food section and offers five flavors of delicious, inexpensive tamales made fresh all day long. The stuffing is not as generous as Pancho Villa’s tamales, but the ratio is pretty darn perfect. The pork filling is a bit too spicy for my family’s taste. Our Northgate favorites are the sweet corn and the cheese and pepper versions.

    Tamales Ancira

    What will they think of next? Strawberry tamales from Tamales Ancira in South Bay.

    What will they think of next? Strawberry tamales from Tamales Ancira in South Bay.

    Tamales Ancira in Chula Vista offers the widest variety of tamale flavors; tamales are all they serve (along with rice and beans on the side). In addition to traditional beef, pork, chicken, sweet corn, cheese and jalapeño, Tamales Ancira creates picadillo (ground beef with tomato, vegetables and serrano peppers), chicaroon (pork cracklings in a delicious tomatillo sauce), beans and cheese, pecans and raisin, chocolate, strawberry, blueberry and pineapple tamales. Get there before they close or call in your order because tamales are made fresh each day and usually sell out before closing.

    Of course, some of the best tamales are served from little carts located throughout San Diego County, supplied by cooks crafting the labor-intensive treat at home and selling on the street.

    Where do you buy your favorite tamales?

    Denise

    San Diego Summer Fun – “Teen Tested, Mother Approved!” Activities

    Summer in San Diego
    Summer in San Diego

    Even teens will admit to their parent’s that summer in San Diego is awesome!

    Alice Cooper said it best, “No more teachers, no more books…school’s out for summer!” When the final school bell rings and summer break begins, there’s no better place to bring your kids than San Diego, especially teenagers. San Diego has great teen activities known to cause many of them to happily lay down their smart phones and join in the fun. Here are a few “teen-tested, mother approved” San Diego activities that my own two teenagers enjoy every summer.

    Boogie Boarding

    The beach and boogie boarding go hand in hand, like San Diego and sunshine. With 70 miles of gorgeous beaches, there’s plenty of surf for everyone. The best thing about it, just about anyone can do it. Teens love boogie boarding, and smaller kiddos and adults can jump right in for unlimited wave action too. Boogie boards can be rented at any of the surf shacks close to the beach.

    Surf Lessons

    Surfs up! Surfing is a way of life in San Diego, but if your teens don’t know how, don’t fret. Try Surf Diva Surf School located in La Jolla Shores, which is recognized world-wide and offers surfing lessons year-round. There’s also Menehune Surf School in La Jolla, founded and staffed by local school teachers who will have your teens up on a board and riding waves in no time. Or, if you want to experience “sheet wave” technology, try The Wave House in Mission Beach, which harnesses the power and challenge of the ocean in a man-made, closed system that gives you non-stop action.

    Gather Around the Fire Pit

    Most Southern California teens (including my own) love hanging out at the beach around a roaring beach bonfire. The Hotel Del Coronado offers “S’Mores on the Beach” where you can sit around a crackling fire pit under the stars, toes in the sand, and snack on the classic combination of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. Other options for fire pits are Mission Bay Park, Mission Beach, La Jolla Shores and Moonlight Beach in North County.

    Bike Riding

    The great thing about riding a bike is that most teens never outgrow it. San Diego has an abundance of biking trails for you and your teens to ride along paths with awesome views of the Pacific Ocean. Along the beach and boardwalk, there are ample places where bikes can be rented.

    Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Petco Park

    During baseball season, my teenage son loves watching the Padres at Petco Park, one of America’s newest ballparks. But in the off season, your teens can catch all the MLB action with a behind-the-scenes tour, offered seven days a week. Discover “writer’s row” in the press box or explore the Padres dugout. The crown jewel of downtown San Diego, Petco Park serves up baseball Southern California style-complete with swaying palm trees and a sandy beach beyond center field.

    Shopping

    Both guys and girls will find plenty to browse for at Seaport Village, Old Town, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, which are the usual suspects, but offer one-of-a-kind San Diego souvenirs. There are also major malls, boutiques, surf shops and incredible outlet stores throughout San Diego County that offer big brand names and big discounts for fashion-progressive teens.

    > Find more to do this Summer in San Diego

    Tell us where you and your teens like to spend time in San Diego!