Robert Arends

Holiday Cheer and Lights on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights
San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights

From boats decorated with lights to a Big Balloon Parade, there plenty of Holiday Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay. Photo courtesy of Cook & Schmidt

For those of you making holiday plans to visit San Diego, following are a few fun and festive ways to make some merry on San Diego’s sparkling Big Bay.

43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

What’s better than a cool holiday boat parade? Two holiday boat parades! Yep, the 43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights takes place on two Sundays next month. More than 80 boats lavishly decorated from bow to keel with colorful twinkling lights and decorations will glide the waters of San Diego Bay.

It’s quite a spectacle and best part, it’s free! This year’s theme is “Children’s Stories” which is sure to be a hit with the kids. Check out the route map here. The procession starts at 5:30 PM, but head to the Bay early for prime viewing spots including the Embarcadero and Embarcadero Park (North & South), Seaport Village, Coronado Ferry Landing, Harbor Island and Shelter Island.

When: December 14 & 21, 2014
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Giant inflatable characters at Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Check out the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade, “America’s Largest Balloon Parade” floating down Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero. And who knows, you might be on TV! The parade is televised nationally and on local Channel 4. You’ll see world-class marching bands, colorful floats, drill teams and of course, a procession of enormous balloons of familiar cartoon and pop culture characters. Over 100,000 spectators are expected!

The parade is part of our big annual National University Holiday Bowl festivities when the eyes of the nation are on San Diego for exciting gridiron action between two Pac-10 and Big 12 Conference teams.

Where: San Diego Embarcadero – W Cedar Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 26, 2014
Time: Parade starts at 3:00 PM
Cost: Free. Grandstand Seats – $20
> Find out more about the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

Whale Watching

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

December is the launch of San Diego’s exciting whale watching season, when hundreds of majestic California gray whales are spotted of the coast making their annual migration from the Arctic to the warm lagoons of Baja California. These “peaceful giants of the sea” can be seen swimming our local waters through April. Hop aboard the HornblowerFlagship Cruises or one of the many other whale watching cruises departing daily from the Embarcadero on San Diego. The whales can also be seen from high atop Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma – bring your binoculars, though! 🙂

> Find out more about Whale Watching in San Diego

> Discover More Holiday Happenings in San Diego

Make some waves on San Diego Bay this holiday season!

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! 🙂

Robert Arends

Big Bay Boom – Star-Spangled 4th of July Fun on San Diego Bay!

San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration
San Diego's Big Bay Boom 4th of July Celebration

Celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom 4th of July Extravaganza.

When it comes to 4th of July celebrations, three words that say it all: “Big Bay Boom” the biggest most spectacular fireworks show in San Diego!

This star-spangled extravaganza, impeccably choreographed to music (105.7 FM), takes place on San Diego Bay – “The Big Bay” – launching from barges strategically placed off Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the Embarcadero North and South.

Where to Watch Big Bay Boom

More than 850,000(!) people are expected to ring the bay throughout the day to claim a prime viewing spot. The best viewing is at the north Embarcadero (scope out the beautiful new Waterfront Park), Seaport Village, Embarcadero Marina Park North and South, Coronado Ferry Landing, Shelter Island and Harbor Island.

Waterfront Park - prime new spot to watch the Big Bay Boom (photo credit: County of San Diego)

Waterfront Park – prime new spot to watch the Big Bay Boom (photo credit: County of San Diego)

The Port of San Diego is offering a FREE shuttle service to/from Shelter and Harbor Islands starting at 6 PM, going until 11 PM. Shuttles depart from the Port’s Administration Building parking lot (3165 Pacific Highway) and near the West Marine parking lot (3717 Rosecrans St.).

What to Do on the Bay Before the Fireworks

Big Bay Boom begins at 9:00 PM and lasts about 17 minutes. Since you’ve got all day to play beforehand, check out the plethora of attractions and activities on the bay, including:

Make a Splash

Take a ride on an authentic U.S. Navy Swift Boat!

Take a ride on an authentic U.S. Navy Swift Boat!

Ahoy! Maritime Merriment

Fun for all ages on the USS Midway!

Fun for all ages on the USS Midway!

  • Cabrillo National Monument, the Plymouth Rock of the West where explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542; kids will love the tidepools!
  • Spanish Landing Village where you can view a life-size replica of Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador taking shape (it’ll be set to sail this September)
  • Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship (Arrr! 😉 )
  • USS Midway aircraft carrier, where San Diego’s rich Navy history comes to life on the world’s most visited ship museum!

Animal Attractions

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

Fine Dines and Shop-Portunities

Have fun on San Diego Bay and see you at the Big Bay Boom! 🙂

> Browse the Comprehensive list of 4th of July Fireworks and Celebrations in San Diego

P.S. Just for fun, check out 2012’s Big Bay Boom which went off accidentally in one big 15-second boom seen around the world.

Candice

Top Things to Do in San Diego: Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2013

Surfing Santa Seaport Village San Diego holiday event

The holiday season has definitely arrived in San Diego. This weekend, you’ll find lots of festive events, as well as live jazz and and a tasty chili fest to keep things a little spicy.

Here are the top things to do in San Diego, Nov. 27 – Dec. 1 , 2013:

San Diego Jazz Fest

san diego jazz fest

A New Orleans-style street band is just one of the jazz types you’ll find at San Diego Jazz Fest.

Presented by the America’s Finest City Dixieland Jazz Society, this annual festival features all types of jazz, ranging from traditional to ragtime to rockabilly and everything in between. Held every Thanksgiving weekend, the 34th Jazz Fest will offer big dance halls as well as small listening rooms to draw jazz lovers of every taste and style.

Where: Town & Country Hotel and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108
When: Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2013
Time: 7 – 11 p.m. (Wed. and Thurs.), 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Fri.), 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Sat.), 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sun.)
Cost: Varies; single day tickets start at $15 and multi-day tickets start at $95
>Find out more about the San Diego Jazz Fest

Surfin’ Santa’s Arrival at Seaport Village

Surfing Santa Seaport Village San Diego holiday event

Take a picture with surfing Santa!

 

The magic of the sea comes to life at Seaport Village when Santa arrives by jetpack and soars above the ocean surface to greet kids and adults. This family event will include pictures with Santa surfing a giant wave, ornament making, live music and plenty of holiday cheer at this cobblestoned shopping and dining hub located along the Downtown waterfront.

Where:  Seaport Village, 849 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When:  November 30, 2013
Time:  1 – 5 p.m. (Santa arrives at 1pm in front of the Pier Café)
Cost:  Free
>Find out more about Surfin’ Santa at Seaport Village

Jingle Bell Jump at Mission Marketplace in Oceanside

santa parachute jump

Where else can you see Santa arrive by parachute?

Kids and families will witness Santa parachuting from the sky to greet those who attend this fun-filled community event in the city of Oceanside. The festivities include photo opportunities with Santa, a complete snow playground, kids’ crafts, live music and much more!

Where:  Mission Marketplace, 471 College Blvd, Oceanside CA 92057
When:  November 30, 2013
Time:  12 – 3 p.m.
Cost:  Free
>Find out more about Jingle Bell Jump

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

SoNo Chili Fest San Diego

Enjoy chili, beer, live music and more at the SoNo Fest.

The neighborhoods of South and North Park come together in a friendly chili competition among 29 top local restaurants competing as guests try out their chili in hand-spun ceramic bowls. The event offers two free live music stages, great holiday gifts and crafts from local artisans, five food trucks, a game truck and a kids’ activity zone with free cookie decorating, and craft beer and wine garden featuring 10 local breweries.

Where: 3216 Thorn Street, San Diego, CA 92104
When: Sunday, December 1, 2013
Time: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Festival is free; handmade ceramic bowls with chili tastings: $20
>Find out more about the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

Luminaria First Light in South Park

buona forchetta south park san diego

Enjoy some pizza from Buona Forchetta or other tasty treats in South Park.

The historic craftsman neighborhood of South Park kicks off the holiday season with a beautiful display of luminarias presented by local businesses and homeowners. After 5 p.m. tree lighting, stroll the scenic streets to shop local boutiques and enjoy live music and tasty treats from neighborhood eateries.

Where: Beech St., between Fern St. and 30th St., San Diego, CA 92102
When: Sunday, December 1, 2013
Time: 5 – 9 p.m.
Cost: Free
>Find out more about the Luminara First Light in South Park

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the Event Calendar

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

Sarah Weinberg

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

Celebrity Chefs San Diego Bay Wine Food Fest Festival

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

Celebrity Chefs San Diego Bay Wine Food Fest Festival

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

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

Grand Tasting San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival 2013

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

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

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

Monday, Nov. 18: La Plancha Pop Up Dinner

Yellowtail crudo Plancha Baja Med Chad White Tequila Pop Up

Yellowtail crudo courtesy Plancha Baja Med by Chad White.

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

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

Fish Taco Craft Beer Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, Nov. 23: Grand Tasting Event

SD Bay Wine & Food Fest courtesy Joey Hernandez

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

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

Sunday, Nov. 24: Celebrity Sunrise Yoga & Brunch

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

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

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

 

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 20-24, 2013

San Diego Zoo Play Days - Top Things in San Diego

Escape to San Diego for the first weekend of Spring and bask in the warm sunshine while enjoying these fun top things to do:

San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo Day

San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo Day

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

Join the largest single-day science and engineering event in Southern California at Expo Day at Petco Park. Future scientists can engage in hands-on activities, meet real scientists and engineers and learn how their discoveries and research affect our daily lives, the Festival is a unique opportunity to reach students of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring the next generation of innovators.

Where: Petco Park – 100 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 23, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Expo Day

San Diego Zoo Play Days

San Diego Zoo Play Days - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Mark your calendar with Play Days at the San Diego Zoo

Starting this Saturday, the San Diego Zoo becomes one big playground – for visitors and animals alike! San Diego Zoo Play Days offers up-close encounters with our animal ambassadors, special activities and presentations at animal exhibits all around the Zoo, keeper talks, opportunities to see animals enjoying enrichment and munching on their favorite food treats, the Camp Critters live animal show, a digital Easter egg hunt around the Zoo using your smartphone, and even visits with the Easter Bunny himself.

Where: 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 23 – April 7, 2013
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about San Diego Zoo Play Days

Spring Busker Festival

Spring Busker Festival - Seaport Village

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

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

Where: Seaport Village – 849 W Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 23-24, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Spring Busker Festival

Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Fest

Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Fest

Enjoy live music while sample beer from 30 local breweries and food from 20 local chefs

Come for the beer, stay for the food or come for the food, stay for the beer! The Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Fest believes beer and food are natural partners and offers a wide variety of both with 30 breweries and 20 chefs. Add to that 3 fantastic bands and a partnership with Wounded Warrior Homes and you have a spectacular day of food, beer and fun for a great cause.

Where: Handlery Hotel San Diego – 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108
When: March 24, 2013
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: $25-$50
> Find out more about the Mission Valley Beer & Food Fest

The Second City’s Laughing Matter Tour

The Second City's Laughing Matter Tour

Legendary sketch comedy theatre, The Second City, returns with their Laughing Matters Tour, featuring some of the best sketches, songs and improvisations from the company’s 53-year history. Whether it’s ripped from the morning headlines or a classic gem from their archives, The Second City is always a laugh out loud hit.

Where: La Jolla Playhouse – 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: March 20-23, 2013
Cost: Starts at $30
> Find out more about The Second City’s Laughing Matter Tour

Menopause the Musical

Menopause the Musical - Historic Balboa Theatre

This hilarious musical parody staged to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles. Set in a department store, four women with seemingly nothing in common but a black lace bra on sale, come to find they have more to share than ever imagined. The all-female cast makes fun of their woeful hot flashes, forgetfulness, mood swings, wrinkles, night sweats and chocolate binges.

Where: Historic Balboa Theatre – 868 Fourth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 22-23, 2013
Cost: $52.50-$67.50
> Find out more about Menopause the Musical

1st Annual Authentic Street Food Market

San Diego Market Presents the First Annual Authentic Street Food Market

The San Diego Public Market’s 1st Annual Authentic Street Food Market will celebrate the diversity of San Diego and its food scene with authentic and innovative takes on traditional street foods from many cultures, utilizing fram fresh, local ingredients and the imaginations of mare than 40 incredible chefs.

Where: 1735 National Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113
When: March 24, 2013
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: $65-$85
> Find out more about the 1st Annual Authentic Street Food Market

> 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

Beachside Easter Brunch in San Diego

Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado

This Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, make sure to enjoy your champagne brunch with a side of ocean views. With San Diego’s 70 miles of beaches, it is easy to find an amazing restaurant at any point along the coast. Get the most mileage out of your Easter with these great beachside brunch recommendations. Reservations are limited, so hop to it!

Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado

Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado

Coronado

The Hotel Del Coronado Easter Champagne Brunch Buffet  is the grand dame of Easter brunches, elegantly served in the oceanfront Ballroom and the magnificent Crown Room. The sumptuous buffet will feature classic holiday fare for adults as well as a special children’s buffet. Both the Crown Room and the Ballroom will have live musical entertainment. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. $80 for adults and $34 for children ages 6-10 (not including tax and gratuity). Children 5 and under eat free.

Downtown

Celebrate Easter in the spirit of Aloha across the bridge from Coronado at Buster’s Beach House in Seaport Village with champagne, made to order omelets, carved ham and freshly baked muffins. 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. $23.95 for adults and $9.95 for children ages 3-ll (not including tax and gratuity).

Baleen at Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Baleen at Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Mission Bay

It’s not technically the beach, but you can dock your boat right outside the award-winning San Diego waterfront restaurant, Baleen, at Paradise Point Resort & Spa this Easter. The menu will include brie and apricot waffles, apple-brined porkchop and upside-down pineapple pancakes (yum!). 10:00 am – 3:00 pm with entrees starting at just $12.

JRDN

Pacific Beach

Beautifully perched on the Pacific Beach boardwalk, Jrdn at Tower23 commingles California casual and West Coast hip and is perfect for those interested in a little less Easter and a little more beachside brunch. Full brunch menu from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

The Shores Restaurant at La Jolla Shores Hotel

La Jolla

Join The Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel for an extensive oceanfront brunch buffet this Easter. Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Amy DiBiase highlight local flavors with special menu items, such as Lavendar Honey Glazed Bone-In Iowa Ham, a decadent French Toast Station and Children’s Station. 10:00 am – 2:30 pm. $46 for adults. $23 for children ages 6-12, $4 per year for children 5 and under.

Del Mar

Can’t decide between oysters and omelets this Easter? You don’t have to at Waterfall Terrace at L’Auberge Del Mar. 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. $65 for adults and $32.50 for children ages 12 and under.

With 70 miles of beach, I couldn’t list them all! Where will you be brunching beachside this Sunday?

Suzzanne

3 for Free This Weekend in San Diego

Spring always brings fun street festivals, artwalks, baseball, BBQs and more to San Diego. Here are 3 Free springtime events coming up this weekend:

Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival

1. Sixth Annual Busker Festival

This annual celebration brings colorful street performers like sword swallowers, jugglers on unicycles, escape artists and comedic stuntmen to the cobblestone streets of downtown’s Seaport Village, Saturday and Sunday, March 24-25. The extraordinary and bizarre talents at this year’s festival will provide outdoor amusement for all unlike any other festival in the region.

The Holy Family Returning to Nazareth, The Timken Museum of Art

2. Timken Museum of Art, Object Lessons: France in the Golden Age

Stop by the Timken Museum to see a concentration of French 17th century paintings on display including the loan of Nicolas Poussin’s The Holy Family Returning to Nazareth from the Cleveland Museum of Art. In honor of the loan of The Holy Family Returning to Nazareth, the Timken has arranged for it to be shown alongside four paintings by Poussin’s contemporaries: the Timken’s own Christ Healing the Blind by Philippe de Champaigne; its Pastoral Landscape by Claude Lorrain; the San Diego Museum of Art’s Aeneas and his Father Fleeing Troy by Simon Vouet; and The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist in a Classical Landscape attributed to Nicolas or Pierre Mignard and generously lent from a private collection in San Diego.

South Park Spring Walkabout

3. South Park Spring Walkabout

On Saturday, March 24th from 6:00 – 10:00 pm, South Park comes alive for the first walkabout in 2012. There will be free Trolley rides, a free Urban Safaris walking tour at 6:30 pm (from Juniper Street) as well as live music. Be sure to take in the gallery show openings, new shops, sales and specials. Additionally, Beech Street eateries will serve up Walkabout plates with tasty BBQ’d goodies for a small fee.

Tell us, what is your favorite free weekend activity in San Diego?

Suzzanne

Spring Fun in San Diego

Anza-Boreggo Desert State Park Wildflowers

Springtime in San Diego makes a colorful entrance every year as warm weather sweeps through the County and brilliant flowers bloom. There are also spring celebrations at the region’s major attractions and enough festivals, fairs and events to keep visitors entertained throughout the season. Be sure to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful San Diego Spring weather!

Anza-Boreggo Desert State Park Wildflowers

Wildflowers in the Anza-Boreggo Desert State Park

Floral Celebrations

A spectacular display of color occurs annually between February and April in the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego’s East County as wildflowers bejewel the sun-scorched desert landscape. Guests are advised to call the Park’s 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760-767-4684 before planning a tour of the desert flora.

At the Flower Fields of Carlsbad California, a vibrant sea of giant ranunculus flowers transforms 50 acres of hills into rows of brilliant color. During March through May, guests can stroll past oceans of flowers and through beautiful gardens, including a miniature rose garden, fragrant sweet pea maze, a garden featuring more than 50 All American Rose Selection winners and a spectacular display of red, white and blue flowers planted in the shape of a giant American flag.

Balboa Park‘s Offshoot Tours provides free, one-hour tours that highlight the park’s lush botanical offerings; the tours begin at 10:00 am on Saturdays in front of the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Must-sees are the beautiful Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, displaying approximately 2,500 roses of nearly 200 varieties, and the award-winning Alcazar Garden, with a floral design patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Butterfly Jungle

Butteryfly Jungle Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Springtime Attractions

Guests can celebrate spring with Shamu and friends during Spring into Night at SeaWorld San Diego. During weekends in spring, exact dates TBA, visitors can laugh with sea lions Clyde and Seamore at the Sea Lions Tonite! nighttime show and be amazed at the visually stunning evening performance of Shamu Rocks before looking to the sky for a fantastic fireworks show.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park presents Butterfly Jungle, March 24 – April 15. During this four-week celebration, guests can walk through the Park’s Hidden Jungle, an African aviary, and surround themselves with thousands of butterflies of every shape, size and color.

Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival

Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival. Photo courtesy of Boardwalk Betty

Festivals, Fairs and Events

Seaport Village comes alive with a celebration of street performers during the Spring Busker Festival, March 24 – 25. In a battle of entertainment, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind performers including jugglers, sword swallowers, comedic stuntmen and Didgeridoo players take to Seaport Village’s cobblestone streets for a weekend of outdoor family amusement.

The La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, sponsored by the La Jolla Historical Society, takes place April 1 in Scripps Park near La Jolla Cove and draws droves of classic car enthusiasts.

The city of Fallbrook in San Diego’s North County celebrates its designation as “the avocado capital of the world” during the Annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival on April 15. Highlights include arts and crafts, games and creative foods featuring the delicious, green fruit.

Tell us in the comments, what are you looking most forward to this spring in San Diego?

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

From festivals to flowers to a tasting of some of the best restaurants in Hillcrest, there is plenty to do in San Diego this weekend!

Fallbrook Avocado Festival

1. Fallbrook Avocado Festival. Since the 1960’s, tens of thousands of avocado lovers converge in Fallbrook, located in San Diego’s North County, to sample avocados, check-out the crazy cooking contest entries, buy funky avocado-themed gifts and enjoy bands, live entertainment and friendly beer gardens. Avocado loving day is Sunday, April 17th.

Spring Busker Festival

2. Seaport Village comes with a celebration of street performers during the Spring Busker Festival, April 16-17. In a battle of entertainment, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind performers including jugglers, sword swallowers, comedic stuntmen and Didgeridoo players take to Seaport Village’s cobblestone streets for a weekend of outdoor family amusement.

Taste of Hillcrest

3. Get ready to experience this year’s most tantalizing taste event as you explore the Taste of Hillcrest taking place on Saturday, April 16th from noon to 4:00 pm. Enjoy a self-guided stroll that will take you around to some of the top chefs in San Diego. With samples created from over 40 of the area’s prominent restaurants, you are sure to find a new takeout favorite or dining hotspot.

Coronado Flower Show

4. The 86th Annual Coronado Flower Show, taking place in Spreckels Park, is the largest tented flower show in the West. This year’s theme is “Dig, Design and Dine.” Flower exhibits are displayed inside tents surrounding a central gazebo, which becomes the stage for live entertainment and trophy presentations. There are also flower sales and food vendors. Check out our Coronado Flower Show 5 to Try.

Lakeside Rodeo

5. Giddy up! During April 15-17, the Annual Lakeside Rodeo and Parade aspiring cowboys and cowgirls can see bareback bronco rides, calf roping and other traditional rodeo competitions along with food and crafts at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds in San Diego’s East County.