Catch the Padres take on the Dodgers at the beautiful Petco Park
Spring is finally here and that means it’s time to put on the ol’ Padres baseball cap, pick up a box or two of cracker jacks and head downtown to the beautiful Petco Park for an afternoon or evening America’s pastime in San Diego!
Padres Opening Day
To kick of the 2014 season, the San Diego Padres will take on their heated rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday 30 March with first pitch at 5:05 PM.
While Sunday’s Opening Day game is already sold out, there is still plenty of fun happening around the park. Just pop into any one of the pubs/bars/restaurants in the East Village or Gaslamp Quarter to cheer on the Padres with plenty of fellow fans. Or you could enjoy the festivities at the East Village Block Party.
The Kia Classic features 144 of the best women golfers playing for the $1.7 million purse. The field features 2013 Kia Classic Champion Beatriz Recari and crowd favorites Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson. Sunday is Family Day, full of fun family activities including a scavenger hunt, special autograph sessions and the junior clinic held at 3:00 PM on the driving range featuring LPGA players.
Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival. Photo courtesy of Boardwalk Betty
The celebration brings colorful street performers from across the country including entertaining sword swallowers, jugglers on unicycles, escape artists and comedic stuntmen performing along the bayfront in downtown’s Seaport Village. The extraordinary and bizarre talents will provide outdoor amusement for all.
Mark your calendar with Play Days at the San Diego Zoo
Play Days at the San Diego Zoo is a whirl of animal activities and fun for all ages, as guests enjoy special presentations, keeper talks, and animal encounters. Come visit animals that climb, prowl, and plunge!
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Series
Catch the Padres take on the Dodgers at the beautiful Petco Park
Spring is here! Catch the San Diego Padres take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Sunday’s game is sold out, but you can watch the fun unfold at many bars and restaurants downtown and throughout the county. Pick up tickets for Tuesday’s game and get an opening day hat! During Wednesday’s game they will be giving away a schedule cling.
Bring the whole family to the waterfront community of Pacific Beach for some safe fun in the streets at CicloSDias
CicloSDias will open 2.5 miles of streets, car-free, in Pacific Beach to hundreds of pedestrians and families on bicycles. This is a fun opportunity for visitors and locals alike to come together and enjoy open, car-free streets in San Diego.
Where: The hubs of the event are the intersections at Garnet and Ingraham, Garnet and Mission Blvd, Turquoise and Cass St, and Turquoise and La Jolla Mesa Dr. When: March 30, 2014 Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Cost: Free > Find out more about CicloSDias Pacific Beach
Shout House’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration
The Shout House in the Gaslamp Quarter has been rocking dueling pianos for 10 years! To thank everyone, they are hosting an anniversary celebration with a hosted bar from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, free appetizers, giveaways and a special 10 Year Anniversary Show. RSVPs are required so don’t wait!
Moonlight Beach is just one of the places your kids will love along Highway 101
Growing up, my dad always wanted to “take the coast” home. In San Diego local speak, this meant driving along the Highway 101 versus taking the freeway. In fact, when my husband and I moved to Los Angeles for a brief four years, it was this exact stretch of road that had us asking, “Why did we ever move out of San Diego?!” Hence, we moved back. In other words, the coast highway is a gorgeously scenic route that is worth taking a drive. And if you feel like stopping along the way, here are some fun for the whole family stops to check out along Highway 101:
1. Harbor Fish Cafe
Let’s start at the north end of the Highway 101 in the town where I grew up, Carlsbad. Enjoy the very walk-friendly sidewalks along the ocean to work up an appetite and fuel your family at Harbor Fish while you catch the sunset. Go for the fish and chips while enjoying surfers and sunset views.
Where: 3179 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA
2. Moonlight Beach
Just as the hot weather hits, the snow cones start calling! Head to the recently renovated snack shack at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas to pick your favorite ice flavors, then enjoy pushing your kids in the swings or watch a volley ball game or two all the while seeing the waves crash along the shore. Locals Hint: Starting in October/November, the sand hills are usually back and San Diego’s very own version of “sledding” is to grab an actual snow sled or boogie board and watch your child’s delight as they glide down the sandy “mountain.”
Where: Encinitas Blvd, straight to the water.
3. Lumber Yard
No visit to San Diego would be complete without souvenirs! Check out this seaside set of shops, including every local’s favorite kid’s store: Magical Child. Pick up a unique gift that will entertain your child on the trip home, then grab some hot chocolate from Chuao and enjoy it next to the fountain as you toss coins to make their little wishes come true.
Where: 967 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA
4. The Self Realization Center
First stop at Java Depot for what my kids call “monkey hot chocolate” since they attach a plastic monkey to the cup or grab smoothies from Swami’s Café. Once finished, walk over to check out the amazing plants, Koi fish and views from The Self Realization Center. With so much to see and easy to navigate, it is often an afternoon favorite for our family to visit. Also, it’s great practice in learning to be quiet as they do ask that you “keep it down.”
Where: 939 2nd St, Encinitas, CA
5. Swami’s Tide Pools
Just a short distance down the highway from The Self Realization Center is one of the top surf spots. Even better for small kids than watching the waves is searching for sea urchins in one of the many tide pools at low tide.
Where: Coast Highway, Encinitas
6. Bull Taco
True, this is an eating spot on a camping ground, but it’s a family favorite for a spectacular sunset dinner. Perched high on a cliff, enjoy 360-degree ocean views, including of La Jolla. Grab an ice cream at the camp store to finish off your delicious tacos and burritos. Local hint: pull onto the campgrounds and let them know you just need temporary parking for dinner. Or park on the coast highway and enjoy a nice walk back to the car with ocean breezes after filling those tummies.
Where: 2050 S Coast Highway 101, Cardiff, CA
7. Fletcher Cove
A gorgeous beach just two blocks in from the 101, start your day with breakfast at the ocean view restaurant Naked Café, followed by some play time at the Fletcher Cove park play structure, then head down to the beach to collect shells. Just when you start to feel you have sufficiently worn out your wee ones, finish off the day with some lunch at the popular Pizza Port. Oh! And if you have train lovers, be sure to check out the station across the street.
Where: Solana Beach, CA – where Lomas Santa Fe meets the water
8. Torrey Pines
For a great hike in San Diego with kids, check out the easy trails along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline. Enjoy the wild flowers and the beauty of the Torrey Pine trees. Head to the ocean after to cool off while splashing in the waves.
Where: 12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, Ca
9. Birch Aquarium
It’s difficult to match the view from this fun for all ages aquarium atop a bluff overlooking the ocean. Stop by to see the Octopus and “hall of fishes,” then head to the hands on exploration area for kids. And when you are ready to have your breath taken away, step outside and enjoy the tide pool display all the while taking in the magnificent views.
According to Surf Diva, “The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun!” Photo courtesy Surf Diva
Spring is in the air and last Sunday the kids and I hit Ponto Beach in Encinitas for some boogie boarding since it felt more like summer 82 degrees. The ocean was definitely swimable without a wetsuit.
So with summer-like weather in mind, let’s start early: it’s time, don’t put it off, go surfing or learn how to surf as a family at either Surf Diva or Menehune Surf School. Both are located on La Jolla Shores, one of the most family friendly beaches in the county.
In addition to our wonderful beaches, here are a few other fun things to do with the kiddos in San Diego now that Spring is here.
Family Discovery Days at San Elijo Lagoon
Father and son building a free bird house at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center’s Family Discovery Day. Photo courtesy www.sandiego.org
For a day of free fun only steps from the beach, check out San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Preserve any time. For extra excitement, attend on one of the special event “Family Discovery Days,” also free, at the Nature Center on site.
The Lagoon’s Nature Center offers family days during spring that include free activities for kids that keep them active and educated about the birds and animals around them. We went to “Wings Over the Wetlands” and built free birdhouses, bird seed feeders, saw a presentation with live birds of prey, including beautiful owls, and walked the half-mile loop trail through the estuary. At our event, volunteers provided the children with a stamp book for the kids to stop at various stations along the trail and identify with binoculars the birds in the lagoon. They also have the birds and animals on display with taxidermy at the Nature Center, in case you are not lucky enough to spot the real thing on your visit. Warning: the free “prize” for identifying all the birds in the stamp book was a bird whistle.
Weekend “Art Shops” for All Ages at the Spanish Village Art Center
Weekly activities, art classes and art fairs make visiting the Spanish Village Art Center a fun time year round. Photo courtesy sandiego.org.
Discover a hidden talent, tap into your creativity, learn something new! Visit the quaint cottages housing cool art at the Spanish Village Art Center located between the San Diego Zoo and Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Take the family before or after visiting one of Balboa Park’s 16 museums, so they can truly appreciate the process of being an artist. Build kaleidoscope cane out of polymer clay, creating an art pendant you can wear. Learn basic hand-building techniques for ceramics while crafting an animal, mask or candle lantern. Explore Chinese brush painting and more. All classes are open to adults and some classes are available for 6 year olds and up; others start at ages 8, 9 or 10 and up depending on the difficulty and materials used.
Tea for two and Easter Bunny too at the Westgate Hotel, downtown. Photo courtesy The Westgate Hotel.
The Westgate Hotel downtown has an old world elegance found in grand European properties. Switch out the flip-flops and tank top for some patent leather Mary Janes and a frilly dress with a visit to The Westgate for tea time. Easter Bunny Teas will feature kid-friendly petit fours and mini pastries paired with a traditional European afternoon tea. Families can partake in an Easter egg hunt located in the Riviera Terrace, watch a demonstration by a magician and meet the Easter Bunny.
Over 160 films and videos from across Latin America and the United States will be screened at theaters throughout the county. Directors, actors, and audience members from around the globe will descend on San Diego for the festival. A number of showcases help guide attendees through the diverse array of films being shown, for example CineGay shows gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender films, while Documania shows documentaries.
San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering EXPO Day
Get hands on with science at this free family day at Petco Park
Participate 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.
Mission Beach Centennial Monument Dedication & Walk
Kick-off the year-long Mission Beach Centennial celebration with a monument/plaque dedication commemorating the 100 years of this popular beachfront community. The walk will begin at either end of Mission Beach meeting on the boardwalk where residents will stroll to the southwest corner of Belmont Park where the monument/plaque will be placed.
TRANSANNUAL will begin with empty sidewalks, and end with the memory of the experience. The Participating Artists and Assistant Collaborators will be creating/dissolving, installing/de-installing, and performing for the entire duration. There will be no Event Schedule, Map, or Information about the Artworks. Outside of the date, timeframe, and general area, the public will only be given this Conceptual Framework and some enigmatic clues.
We are hardwired to play. All mammals and birds play. Play binds us with other fellow creatures in an exuberant celebration of life. Play is essential for our survival, our health, and our well-being. It is one of the seven primary process emotions, so distinct and primeval that the brain circuit of play lights up the fMRI like a constellation in the night sky. When we play, we laugh: dogs laugh, monkeys laugh, rats laugh, parrots laugh (and dance). We need to laugh and play as much as possible.
Spring over to Coronado Beach, the #1 beach in America
Spring is just around the corner (March 20) and with the weather warming up, now is a perfect time to plan your Spring Break and discover the great outdoors of Coronado Island!
With miles of beaches and coastline on the sparkling Pacific and San Diego Bay, there are countless options for fun in the water including surfing, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and more. On land, the “Crown City” has just as much to offer: bicycling, inline skating, golf, tennis… and the list goes on.
Here are my top picks of things to do at Coronado’s big four fab resorts and hotels where outdoor activities abound:
The Gondola Company near Loews Coronado Bay Resort
Loews Coronado Bay Resort was made for play and enjoys the best of both watery worlds, situated on a peninsula on San Diego Bay just steps from Silver Strand State Beachand the ocean. Fun ways to soak in the sun include swimming in three pools (including one for adults only), surfing, sailing, kayaking, bicycling, rollerblading, cool interactive nature tours of the Silver Strand (a pristine preserve of rare plants, animals and birds) and tours of the resort’s herb garden.
Did you know: Just down the road from Loews, The Gondola Company offers enchanting cruises on authentic Venetian gondolas!
Flamingos, finches and ducks – oh my! – at the Coronado Island Marriott
I recently stayed at Coronado Island Marriott Resort where surprising outdoor finds made for quite a memorable visit, especially the aviary of finches, a flock of pink flamingos and families of ducks wading in ponds; photo opps galore! There’s also bicycling along beautiful bay-side paths, tennis and swimming/sunbathing in three pools. The resort even has its own private pier where you can take a water taxi across the bay to downtown San Diego.
The landmark Hotel del Coronado is a grand playground to explore with recreational options that take full advantage of its location on the #1 beach in America. There’s yoga on the beach, beach volleyball and beach rentals including boogie boards, surfboards and beach cruisers from PeDels (gotta love the name!). At night, s’mores on the beach is a sweet way to end the day.
Did you know: The Del’s tide break of giant boulders is a great spot to explore tidepools teeming with marine life.
Fore! at Coronado Golf Course
The charming Glorietta Bay Inn is in a prime location overlooking Glorietta Bay, home to the Coronado Boathouse where sailboat, speedboat, water ski, jet ski, paddleboat and kayak rentals are available. The Inn is also just down the street from the Coronado Tennis Center (8 courts) and scenic Coronado Golf Course. Golfers will love Glorietta Bay Inn’s new Golf Play & Stay package which includes one round of golf and a golf cart.
Did you know: On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Coronado Touring offers fascinating historic walking tours of downtown Coronado, departing from the Glorietta Bay Inn.
I for one welcome the month of March (especially when we can avoid the lousy Smarch weather) and the following top things to do in San Diego this weekend:
18th Annual San Diego Bird Festival
Learn about the more than 500 species living in San Diego county at the annual Bird Festival
San Diego County has a lot of birding to offer, with more than 500 species. The birding area encompasses diverse habitats ranging from desert to mountains, shore to coastal wetlands, urban and suburban. The weekend’s activities will include four pelagic trips, a birding and optics expo, keynote speakers, and a family fun day on Sunday.
Celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Ireland with the San Diego Museum of Man at Tower After Hours: Ireland! Share in the festive atmosphere and immerse yourself in Irish culture with San Diego’s own Irish community. Enjoy live performances of traditional music and dance by local artists, sample classic pub fare provided by local eateries, and, of course, delight in a glass of Guinness!
The Bicycle Film Festival celebrates the bicycle and all styles of bikes and bicycling:. Tall Bike Jousting, Track Bikes, BMX, Alleycats, Critical Mass, Bike Polo, Cycling to Recumbents. What better way to celebrate these lifestyles than through art, film, music and performance? The Bicycle Film Festival brings together all aspects of bicycling to advocate its ability to transport us in many ways.
Get lost in a sea of beauty and color at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad
Don’t miss the chance to see more than 50 acres of breathtaking Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers bloom and transform the landscape into a vast expanse of dazzling color. The Flower Fields® are the only working ranunculus farm in the world that allows kids to play and adults to linger among a sea of extraordinary blooms.
Explore the peaceful and beautiful gardens of the Japanese Friendship Garden during the Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival has been postponed by a week and will now take place on March 8, 2014.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is excited to once again share the Japanese tradition of hanami (enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms) with San Diego. View colorful cherry blossoms, a koi pond, and waterfall in the upper and lower garden expansions along with live entertainment, authentic street food, craft beer, sake, kids craft, shopping and more.
Why travel to Brazil when the San Diego Brazil Carnival Mardi Gras brings the fun to you
The spectacular Brazilian Mardi Gras Ball will feature pulsating samba beats, beautiful samba dancers, electrifying Capoeira performances and nonstop Brazilian music. Enjoy fun, feathers, fantasy and much, much more at one of the best Brazilian Carnivals on the West Coast!
Learn about other cultures through food, music and dance at the House of Pacific Relations’ weekly Lawn Program
From March through early November, member houses of the House of Pacific Relations (HPR) in Balboa Park feature music, dance, traditional costumes, arts, crafts and ethnic foods. The series kicks things off with the HPR Queen’s “Sampler Program.”
In some cities finding a great public golf course can be more challenging than the round itself. You’ll never have that problem in San Diego. The majority of our 90+ golf courses are open to public play.
To help you navigate the choices, I went right to the source, and asked the professionals from some of the best San Diego courses a simple question – What course would you recommend to a visitor and why?
For a complete golf experience, be sure to put Maderas on your golf bucket list. From the moment you arrive at the expansive clubhouse and are greeted with first class service, to dropping the last putt after 18 holes of manicured conditions over challenging topography, you will be glad you visited Maderas.
It’s hard to beat the beauty of the Torrey Pines Golf Course (photo: Paul Rode)
Torrey Pines South consistently challenges the abilities of the PGA Professionals during the Farmers Insurance Open. It allows professional and amateur golfers the opportunity to test their skills on one of the most demanding tracks in San Diego County.
I love Steele Canyon because of its scenery and seclusion – particularly the Canyon to Ranch route. It is the perfect “escape” from the hustle and bustle of my everyday life. It’s not an easy course and you have to think on most of your drives and approach shots. My favorite hole is Ranch Hole #4. A reachable Par-5, even for shorter hitters, but you have to be very accurate with your tee shot! There is a huge elevation drop and big trouble left and right.
Sycuan Golf Resort’s Par 3 Pine Glen is great for golfers of all abilities
Sycuan Golf Resort is always in great shape and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. Their Pine Glen 18 hole course is one of the best par three courses in the state! Perfect for golfers of all skill levels and abilities.
Rancho Bernardo Inn offers an challenging yet picturesque course
At Rancho Bernardo Inn, visitors can enjoy a round of golf on a traditional style golf course that winds its way through the valley with tree lined fairways and several bunkers and water features to navigate. The finish on number 18 is memorable as you play an uphill par 5 with a picturesque water feature to an elevated green. After the round enjoy the scenic view of the course in the valley from the outdoor patio dining area. It’s a great way to finish the day.
Riverwalk offers a course in the heart of San Diego
Riverwalk does a remarkable job at connecting with its guests. Their presence on the web, on social sites and their commitment to programming great golf, catering and social experiences put it on a short list of favorite courses for locals and travelers alike! The course is always in good shape and offers up a great test of golf to all skill levels. And adding to the experience is its commitment to player development and growing the game.
While everyone loves a good view while they dine, many diners worry that restaurants with a great view may rest on their laurels when it comes to the food. Fortunately for foodies everywhere, these restaurants in the seaside neighborhood of La Jolla offer food that’s just as delicious as the coastal view is spectacular.
George’s at the Cove
The food is just as good as the view at George’s at the Cove
Overlooking scenic La Jolla Cove, George’s at the Cove features executive chef Trey Foshee’s creative regional cuisine in an atmosphere of modern elegance. Foshee’s cutting edge and ever-changing menu can be enjoyed in three of the restaurant’s settings: the first-story California Modern featuring an elegant dining room, the bistro-styled George’s Bar and the rooftop Ocean Terrace, spanning spectacular ocean views.
The Marine Room is located right on the sand, offering incredible views
A local landmark since 1941, The Marine Room is nestled along the sand of La Jolla Shores. The changing tides and dramatic waves crashing against the restaurant’s windows provide the perfect backdrop for executive chef Bernard Guillas’ sophisticated dishes like maple smoked bison carpaccio, thyme-rubbed free range veal tenderloin and lemon verbena lobster tail. Chef Guillas was recently inducted into the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, becoming the only chef in San Diego to join the ranks of the 204 Master Chefs from around the world.
The Shores in La Jolla has a great view with a casual atmosphere.
The sister restaurant of The Marine Room, The Shores Restaurant offers the same breathtaking views of La Jolla shores, but with a more casual atmosphere. Families will feel right at home in the dining room or on The Shores’ beach-side patio. The Shores offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and an easy-going happy hour, as well as weekend brunch.
Overlooking La Jolla Cove, Brockton Villa has been serving award-winning breakfast, lunch and seasonal dinner for 20 years. Using local ingredients and seafood, the menu includes fresh takes on classic American cuisine. Not to be missed is Brockton Villa’s world-famous Coast Toast French toast, served throughout the day.
It’s not to late to sneak in a quick trip to San Diego this weekend and enjoy these top things to do:
San Diego Museum Month
Presented by Macy’s, San Diego Museum Month participants enjoy half-off entry fees at 44 San Diego Museum Council membership museums. The savings encourages everyone to explore a variety of arts, culture and science-oriented destinations. From Oceanside Museum of Art down to the Tijuana Estuary, there are ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.
John Isner will be one of the US Davis Cup team members playing for a win in San Diego
USA will play host to Great Britain at Petco Park in a rematch of the first-ever Davis Cup tie, which took place at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston back in 1900. Times have changed since then, however, and British No. 1 Andy Murray, who won all three points for Team GB in its World Group play-off against Croatia last September, will be favorite to win both his singles rubbers.
Immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture with food, music, dance and plenty of fun!
The San Diego Tết Festival promises fun for whole the family with such activities as carnival rides and games, authentic Vietnamese food, lion dancing and firecrackers. And entertainment programs, such as the Miss Vietnam of San Diego and a Cultural Village to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture.