Brian

4 Reasons Why It’s Easy to Love Padres Baseball in San Diego

Major League Baseball returns to San Diego today when the Padres host the L.A. Dodgers in the season opener for both clubs.

An Entire Family of Padres Fans

An Entire Family of Padres Fans

That means the start of 81 home games in the East Village between April and September. With San Diego’s perfect weather, PETCO Park is the place I want to spend my summer evenings. Since I couldn’t wait for the season opener, I took my family for a preseason contest on Tuesday to get my baseball fix a little early. It reminded me why we love baseball so much as a great family experience.

Here are four reasons to get excited and book a San Diego baseball trip this spring:

Petco Park's Park at the Park

Catch the exciting Padres' Action from the Family Friendly Park at the Park

1. Park at the Park

Only in San Diego do you have a park within the stadium. For as little as $5, you can get into the game, throw down a blanket on the raised lawn and watch the game. There is a whiffle ball park where kids can play a game of their own, as they hit, run and throw until they tire themselves for bed. And with a prime view of the game on the jumbo screen, you won’t miss a minute of the action.

TaylorMade Simulator at PETCO Park

TaylorMade Simulator at PETCO Park

2. Two Sports, One Location

The new TaylorMade golf demo area allows visitors to swing golf clubs and try out their latest clubs. That’s like bacon dipped in chocolate; two of my favorite things combined.

San Diego's East Village

PETCO Park in the Heart of San Diego's East Village

3. East Village

The area around PETCO Park, known as East Village, really sprouted up since the park opened in 2004. That means most everything around the ballpark- restaurants, bars and hotels – is new and fresh. Be sure to check out great hotels like the Omni, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, San Diego Marriott Gaslamp, Hotel Solamar and Hotel Indigo. They’re all great spots to enjoy pregame and postgame drinking and dining.

4. Get to know the Rookies

I’m a die-hard baseball fan, so I always look forward to April and a new season. ESPN.com says the Padres have the #1 ranked farm system in baseball, so I’m excited to see the young guns make their way this season.

What to know:

Parking
There are scores of lots around the park that range between $10-$20 depending on proximity. The trolley is also a great option if your hotel is near the line or if you don’t have a vehicle.

Tickets
The Padres have tickets that start at just $5. There is a new dynamic pricing model in place this year, so be sure to check out padres.com/tickets.

Follow this link for more details and upcoming Padres’ home games

Courtney

10 Great Ways to Beat the Heat in San Diego

With mild coastal temperatures in the 70s complemented by refreshing ocean and bay breezes, San Diego is the perfect place to beat the heat during this sweltering summer. Here is a list of 10 Great Ways to Beat to the Heat in San Diego.

Sunset on Coronado, rated the #2 beach in the country by Dr. Beach

1. Swim, snorkel, surf, kayak, paddleboard and build sandcastles along San Diego’s 70 miles of picturesque coastline. With refreshing Pacific waters, San Diego’s beaches offer a variety of unique settings, from the white sandy shores of Coronado Beach (rated the 2nd best beach in the country by Dr. Beach) to the Mediterranean-like coves of luxurious La Jolla.

SeaWorld San Diego's 25-degree Penguin Encounter is home is five species of Antarctic penguins

2. Chill out at the Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld San Diego and spend time with some of the park’s coolest inhabitants. Guests can watch the playful antics of nearly 300 penguins including regal emperor penguins and smaller Adelie, gentoo and macaroni penguins.

3. Sample chilly, creamy treats from San Diego’s top sweet shops. Guests of all ages can indulge with an exotic Pineapple Chili or Lavender Lemonade popsicle from Viva Pops in Normal Heights or blend their own custom creation at MooTime Creamery in Coronado.

4. Enjoy an entertaining outdoor Summer Pops concert by the world-class San Diego Symphony along San Diego Bay. During the summer, light jackets and blankets are often recommended after the sun sets above San Diego’s most beautiful outdoor music venue.

Splash Zoo at LEGOLAND California

5. Build a raft and float down a lazy river at the LEGOLAND Water Park in LEGOLAND California Resort. Visitors can enjoy a variety of splash-filled water activities including a wet-and-wild climbing structure, six-person raft slide, tube slides, body slides and much more.

6. Take a libation break with a frosty pint of some of San Diego’s award-winning craft beers. Rated the “#1 Beer City in the U.S.” by Men’s Journal magazine, San Diego’s 35 local breweries are sure to quench the thirst of the most parched beer lovers.

Tatqiq (left) and Kalluk (right) at Polar Bear Plunge. Photo by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo.

7. Embark on an expedition to the Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and encounter the rulers of the frozen tundra: the mighty polar bears. Along the way, guests can also come across other northern neighbors like reindeer and Arctic diving ducks.

8. Let the wind blow through your hair as you take a thrilling ride on San Diego Bay with San Diego Speedboat Adventures. Guests sit in the captain’s seat and charter their own two-person mini speedboat around San Diego’s busy harbor, enjoying one-of-a-kind views of U.S. Navy ships, the sweeping San Diego-Coronado Bridge,  downtown skyline, USS Midway Museum and more.

The gentle waters of Mission Bay are ideal for SUP (standup paddleboarding)

9. Take a relaxing, carefree bicycle ride along the 27 miles of pathways on the shores of Mission Bay. After bike riding, guests can enjoy waterskiing, jet-skiing, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, or SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) in this 4,600-acre water playground.

10. Feast on local fresh seafood and produce at one of San Diego’s many waterfront restaurants. Peohe’s on Coronado offers foodies award-winning meals along with spectacular downtown views, while George’s at the Cove in La Jolla offers a chic, modern dining experience with gorgeous views of La Jolla Cove and the Pacific.

Click the link below and enter the Thank a Million sweepstakes from Smart Destinations

Go San Diego Card (from Smart Destinations) is a  multi-attraction ticket that gives you access to many of these “cool” San Diego attactions and activities. Throughout the entire month of August, Smart Destinations is running a sweepstakes as part of their “Thanks A Million” promotion to celebrate the passing of their millionth customer. 

Click here and get entered to win one of the great prizes: a 3-day Go City Card for any destination (including San Diego) or an Explorer Pass for any 3 attractions in New York City or Las Vegas; plus the Grand Prize of a 4-day/3-night vacation for two to any Smart Destination locale, along with two 3-day passes for that destination!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Hot New Dining in Coronado

Coronado is making waves in the local dining scene this summer with the opening of four fabulous new restaurants. The Hotel del Coronado also gets into the gastronomic act with the debut of a new culinary team at 1500 Ocean. From urban eclectic cuisine and gourmet burgers to savory sushi and classic English pub fare, there’s something to tickle just about everyone’s taste buds. Let’s dine around the island, in five easy courses:

1.  Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge (1015 Orange Ave., next door to Mootime Creamery), brings urban chic to the Crown City with its hip industrial look and a fresh flavorful menu of locally-sourced sustainable food created by Executive Chef Mel Ford. Standouts include the Diver Scallop Sliders, Duroc Bone in Pork Chop with maple bourbon glaze and ginger pears, and refreshing Watermelon Salad with arugula, dry goat cheese, almonds and balsamic reduction. In a word: yum!

Saiko Sushi - as fresh as it gets!

2.  Saiko Sushi (116 Orange Avenue near the Coronado Ferry Landing) is a progressive Japanese restaurant and sushi bar featuring modern Asian-styled food, sustainably-sourced fish, seasonal produce and micro-brewed sake. There’s a great family-friendly atmosphere with patio seating to enjoy amazing views of downtown San Diego.

The (English) Tavern.

3.  Blimey, is that an English tavern across the street from McP’s Irish Pub? Yep! Aptly named, The Tavern (1310 Orange Avenue) boasts a vintage industrial look designed with weathered materials from yesteryear, including salvaged high school basketball court planks – a slam dunk for the flooring and bar top! Casual and welcoming, enjoy a pint while noshing on chicken sliders, fish sandwiches, mac & cheese with breadcrumb topping and more.

4.  The island is abuzz about Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint, opening in two weeks at the corner of 1st Street and Orange Ave. Burgers are primo here, hand-pressed and made from Grade A corn-fed Midwestern beef, using fresh organic vegetables and house-made sauces that bring out the freshest, most robust tastes possible. I’ll update everyone on the vibe and design after the grand opening.

1500 Ocean's new Chef Aaron Martinez & Wine Director Joe Weaver.

5.  The Del’s 1500 Ocean welcomes Chef de Cuisine Aaron Martinez who developed his passion for food at restaurants in Belgium and Spain, and most recently at Addison at the Grand Del Mar. He believes in fresh, local ingredients and uses the hotel’s onsite herb garden to create coastal-inspired dishes. Also new is Wine Director Joe Weaver who cultivated his passion for wine while traveling in Europe; he currently holds a Court of Master Sommeliers Level 2 Certification.

Sweet San Diego Chocolatier!

For dessert I MUST mention Sweet San Diego Chocolatier which just opened at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, Rocky Road apples and peanut/peacan sticks are just a few of their sweet sensational creations.

All this talk of chocolate, fine wine and food is making me hungry…

Bon appétit from Coronado!

Alison

Hilton Shows Local San Diegans a Little Love

The Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on Mission Bay is inviting locals to drop in on Sundays for a little poolside R&R.

From 11:00 am until 7:00 pm on Sundays through Sept. 4, locals can lounge by the pool at this AAA Four Diamond bayside resort – for free.  Enjoy live music from 4:00 until 7:00 pm – and Happy Hour specials at Fresco’s, the poolside bar, from 5:00 until 7:00 pm.  (Register online at www.sandiegohiltonlocals.com to win a weekly drawing for a $50 gift card to Fresco’s.  To win, you’ll have to be present at the 6 PM Sunday drawing.)

“We hope to do this for locals every summer,” said resort spokeswoman Lisa Campbell.

Locals who’d like to extend their fun can get half off all available rooms on Sunday nights, through Sept. 4.  (Add $28 for overnight parking; daytime parking is free.) The hotel’s 357 rooms were renovated in 2007. All have patios or balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows; some suites have expansive patios with firepits. You’ll need a valid San Diego ID to get the deal and it’s available only to those 21 and older.

Set on 18 acres of lush tropical gardens and rolling lawns, the resort has its own sandy beachfront and a private dock where guests can rent equipment for nearly every land or water sport imaginable. There’s a luxe full-service Spa Brezza, a fitness center, five tennis courts and a jogging track – though jogging along the path that stretches along the bayfront is likely to be far more interesting, especially on Sundays, when roller-skaters gather for a dance jam on a wide swath near the hotel.

The hotel is at 1775 East Mission Bay Drive. For reservations, phone 619-276-4010 or go to www.sandiegohilton.com.

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Summer Events in Coronado

Bay views from Coronado Island Marriott Resort.

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on Coronado.

Things are heating up this summer in Coronado, just a bridge away from downtown San Diego. Visitors with swim towels, beach umbrellas and boogie boards are finding their happy place on the island’s 28 miles of beaches on sparkling San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to fun under the sun, following are Five Summer Events to Try on San Diego’s enchanted island:

Picnic at Promenade Concerts in the Park.

1.  Sure, there’s the soothing sound of palm trees swaying in the breeze, but visitors can also hear the sweet sound of live music in Coronado. A beloved local tradition is the Promenade Concert in the Park Series, which takes place every Sunday at 6:00 pm, through mid-September, in Spreckels Park. A perfect activity for families and picnickers; admission is free.

Bayside concerts at Coronado Ferry Landing.

2.  Also music to your ears: the Summer Concert Series at Coronado Ferry Landing which takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, through September 5, at the Coronado Ferry Landing shops on scenic San Diego Bay. Featured musicians include the Crown Island Jazz Band, Coronado Big Band and Teagan Taylor Trio. Continue reading

Alison

Free Summer Concerts Rock San Diego

The Mighty Untouchables Rock a Free Summer Concert

Free twilight concerts have become summertime traditions in neighborhoods throughout San Diego County. From Chula Vista to Carlsbad, from Coronado to El Cajon, the early evening summer concerts are an opportunity for visitors, locals and their families to socialize, picnic, enjoy music together – and maybe even dance as the sun sets on another perfect San Diego summer day.

Here’s a sampling of what’s being staged:

San Diego

  • Pacific Beach Concerts on the Green are set for Sundays July 24 through Aug. 14. Shows run from 4:00 until 6:30 pm at Kate Sessions Park (Lamont Street, just north of Beryl). The Blue Breeze Band opens the season, followed by the Stoney B Blues Band, Candy Kane and Three Chord Justice.
  • The Point Loma Summer Concert Series will open at 6:00 pm on July 15 with a salute to the Beatles – and continue from 6:00 until 8:00 pm on consecutive Fridays through Aug. 12.  Boogie to music by The Mighty Untouchables, the MarDels, Rockola and Cash’d Out.  Bring blankets and lawn chairs, picnics and frisbees to Point Loma Park, 1049 Catalina Blvd.
  • Mission Hills’ 2011 Concerts in the Park series opens at noon July 4 with Mama Red on stage at Pioneer Park, 1425 Washington Place. Twilight concerts are set for July 15 and 22, 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the park.
  • Balboa Park’s Twilight in the Park concert series kicks off at 6:15 pm June 21 and continues on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 25 at the park’s Organ Pavilion. The hour-long concerts will feature everything from classical music to Dixieland to Old School R&B.
  • Enjoy organ music? Then check out the free Monday evening concerts, beginning at 7:30 pm at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Top organists from around the country will perform. The season opens June 20 and concludes on Aug. 29.
  • The Bird Park Concert Series in North Park will open at 5:30 pm on July 2 with the Stoney B Blues Band. More concerts are scheduled from 5:30 until 7:30 pm on July 16, 30 and Aug. 13. Bird Park is at 28th and Thorn streets.
  • University Heights’ Trolley Barn Park is the setting for Friday night concerts July 8 through Aug. 5. Shows run 6:00 – 8:00 pm and feature a lineup of hot local groups, from Billy Lee & the Swamp Critters to Sue Palmer & her Motel Swing Orchestra. Continue reading
Courtney

5 to Try: Summer Events in La Jolla

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on beautiful La Jolla.

Poster for the 25th Annual La Jolla Festival of the Arts

1. 25th Annual La Jolla Festival of the Arts – The La Jolla Festival of the Arts, one of the top-rated art shows in the state, is taking place June 18 and 19 on the USCD east campus.  Showcasing nearly 200 award-winning local and national artists, live music, classic cars, celebrity chef food demonstrations, and a live street chalking exhibition, this event is not to be missed.

Fireworks at La Jolla Cove

2. July 4th in La Jolla – The La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation’s Fourth of July festivities kick off around 5:00 pm with a summer concert at Ellen Browning Scripps Park.  Then at 9:00 pm, the fireworks blast off from La Jolla Cove.  The best spots for watching the display are: Ellen Browning Scripps Park, La Jolla Shores, and Kellogg Park.

SummerFest returns to La Jolla this August

3. SummerFest 2011The La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest kicks off on August 3 with SummerFest Under the Stars, a free concert at La Jolla Cove.  Running through August 26, SummerFest will feature more than 70 world-class performances.

James Turrell, Stuck Red and Stuck Blue, 1970, construction materials and fluorescent lights. Copyright James Turrell. Photo by Philipp Scholz Rittermann. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Museum Purchase, Elizabeth W. Russell Foundation Funds.

4. Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface – On September 25, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will open its most ambitious exhibition to date.  Phenomenal will be on view at both the La Jolla and downtown San Diego locations through January 22, 2012.

Boundless Energy at Scripps Aquarium Opening July 9

5. Boundless EnergyBirch Aquarium at Scripps’ newest exhibit, Boundless Energy, opens July 9. An outdoor, interactive exhibit exploring how we can use natural forces to power our lives, Boundless Energy features highly educational, interactive elements that encourage learning through play.

We want to send you to Birch Aquarium this summer.  Comment below by Thursday, June 16th at 10:00 am and get entered to win a family four-pack of tickets to Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Robert Arends

Family Fun in San Diego! Beaches, Boardwalks, Insider Tips

San Diego continues to put itself on the map as the place to play this Memorial Day – and all summer long! According to AAA, our sun-kissed city ranks second among its top 5 destinations for Southern California travelers. With 70 miles of coastline and a perpetually warm sunny climate, it’s easy to see why we’re such an enticing summer getaway.

Surf's up at Coronado Beach!

Speaking of sun, surf and sand, the June issue of Parents Magazine just hit newsstands with a feature story: 10 Best Family Beaches in America.” Coronado Beach nabbed the #4 spot! The mag said it ”has everything families could want: perfect weather…spotless white sand (the town even invented an environmentally friendly rake to clean up the kelp), and warm, gentle water.”

Sand dunes of Coronado Beach.

FamilyVacationCritic.com also rated Coronado Beach as its #5 pick for 10 Best Beaches for Families.” They called the sparkling stretch of sand “memorable” for its “long sandbar and fantastic waves to stoke any one of your little surfers.” They set their sights on San Diego’s bustling boardwalks too, calling Pacific and Mission Beach – home of Belmont Park and the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster – the #8 best boardwalk in their 11 Best Beach Boardwalks for Families.”

Walk this way... to the Mission Beach boardwalk!

NBC Los Angeles even touted San Diego’s “beach bliss” (Thanks for the shout out, Alysia – you’re “rad!”).

For families planning a summer trip to San Diego, following are some insider tips, courtesy of Eileen Ogintz, author of Taking the Kids To Sunny Southern California.” Her San Diego chapter is full of fun facts and recommended activities, from animal encounters (“San Diego may be the best place in the country to meet and greet all kinds of animals”) and ship tours (“You can visit an aircraft carrier to see what it’s like to live and work on a floating city…At the Maritime Museum, climb aboard the century-old windjammer the Star of India… “) to Balboa Park’s bounty of cultural delights (“It’s got everything from the zoo to a merry-go-round, a miniature train and model train museum, a puppet theater—even an outdoor pipe organ” offering free Sunday concerts.).

Eileen also shows parents how to travel “smarter and saner with kids this summer,” including money-saving and theme park tips.

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Wishing you safe travels…

Suzzanne

5 Reasons to Visit San Diego’s Attractions This Summer

LEGOLAND California Star Wars Miniland

1.This past March, LEGOLAND California unveiled its newest exhibit, STAR WARS Miniland. Guests will be taken to a galaxy far, far away with six new live-action LEGO displays of memorable scenes from the classic Star Wars movies. Over 1.5 million LEGO bricks create life-size models and interactive features from famous Star Wars scenes including Tatooine, Endor, and the Millennium Falcon.

San Diego Zoo's Red Panda

2. This summer, the San Diego Zoo is unveiling Panda Trek. This giant panda reserve will include newly built homes for the red pandas, takins and pit vipers as well as feature six species of bamboo and other Chinese plants including camellias and azaleas.

Splash Zoo at LEGOLAND Water Park

3. Opening May 26, 2011, the new Splash Zoo, just for toddlers, will open over at the LEGOLAND Water Park. This brand-new area will feature zoo-themed animals, interactive spray pads, fountains and a teeter totter.

SeaWorld's Sea Turtle Bay

4. Scheduled to open in June 2011 is SeaWorld San Diego’s Sea Turtle Bay. This new attraction will offer an up-close look at more than 60 threatened or endangered sea turtles. The attraction’s highlight is Turtle Reef, a 300,000-gallon aquarium, with a massive, underwater viewing window where visitors can watch as many as 60 green and hawksbill sea turtles.

Cheeta Run San Diego Zoo Safari Park

5. Be part of a Summer Safari at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. From July 2 – August 21, 2011, visitors will be treated to entertainment, activities and animals that embrace the spirit of Africa in its Summer Safari-An African Extravaganza. Acrobats, artisans and Ethiopian circus performers will entertain in the Safari Park’s village. Guests can join African artisans to create beaded necklaces and decorate safari hats in the African Activities Plaza.

Robert Arends

5 to Try in the Sun, Surf and Sand

Spring Break has come and gone, but to ensure those postcard images of San Diego linger on through Memorial Day – and to put folks in a summertime frame of mind – following are five fun activities to try in Coronado that are just “beachy”!

BTW, forecast for this weekend: clear skies and warm!

Let’s soak up the sun:

What SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding)!

  1. Take a stand… Stand up paddle boarding! This popular past time is often seen in the calm waters of San Diego Bay or just beyond the surf line of Silver Strand Beach and Coronado Beach. For first-timers, lessons are available from Loews Coronado Bay Resort’s on-site Coronado Surfing Academy and Gnarly Neal’s at the Hotel del Coronado.

    Silver Strand walk on the wild side.

  2. Go wild… On a ranger-led nature walk at Silver Strand State Beach – one of the top 10 beaches in the world and home to some amazing tideland and shoreline creatures, including sand dollars, crabs, snowy plovers, pelicans and the mysterious grunion fish. You may even spot a dolphin hanging 10! Tours depart every Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 – 11:30 am, from the lobby of Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

    Bicycle built for... four!

  3. Wheel fun… Surrey biking! Bicycles built for two to four people, are a great way to sightsee around the island. The beach and bay boardwalks are the most scenic routes. Rentals available throughout the island, including Bikes & Beyond at the Coronado Ferry Landing, Wheel Fun Rentals at Coronado Island Marriott Resort, Loews Coroando Bay Resort, PeDels at the Hotel del Coronado and Holland’s Bicycles on Orange Ave.

    Finding Zen in the sand.

  4. Chill out… with yoga on the beach. Visitors can find some serious Zen on the sands of Coronado Beach during a session with the Hotel del Coronado’s Hatha Yoga instructor. Altogether now, “Ommmm…”

    S'mores on Coronado Beach - sweet!

  5. S’more fun… Roasting marshmallows around a bonfire on Coronado Beach, Tidelands Park or Silver Strand State Beach is a sweet way to end a perfect beach day in Coronado. Guests at The Del can indulge in their very own s’mores on the beach experience with a cozy fire pit and all the fixins (marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate) provided!