Candice

Seeing Stars: San Diego in the Movies

Anchorman - Panda Watch
Anchor Man - Movies Filmed in San Diego

Anchorman – Just one of the movies filmed in San Diego

As everyone’s eyes are on Hollywood this weekend for the Academy Awards, why not live the movies you love and explore some of San Diego’s famous locales. Everyone knows that Ron Burgundy calls San Diego his home, but the Anchorman isn’t the only famous face to film in San Diego:

Miramar

Years before he was jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s white couch, Tom Cruise and his Hollywood good looks made movie history as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 action-packed classic, Top Gun (1986). Inspired by a magazine article that highlighted the TOPGUN fighter pilots at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, the self-nicknamed “Fightertown USA,” movie producers were intrigued by the fast-paced Navy pilot lifestyle in a laid-back Southern California beach town and set up shop in San Diego to film the blockbuster hit.

Hotel del Coronado

Since 1888, the Hotel del Coronado has attracted numerous world dignitaries, Hollywood stars and the discriminating affluent with its unique red peaked roofs, stunning Victorian architecture and serene ocean vistas. But perhaps is most important role was its casting as the backdrop for the wildly popular film, Some Like it Hot (1959), featuring Marilyn Monroe,Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the United Sates with 15 museums, a Tony-award winning theatre, numerous gardens and much more. It has been nicknamed “The Smithsonian of the West” but it may be better known for its appearances in a number of movies, including Citizen Cane (1941), where the Spanish Colonial buildings served as Charles Kane’s (Orson Welles) mansion “Xanadu,” the appearance of the Museum of Man’s California Bell Tower in the film Almost Famous (2000), and the historic Organ Pavilion that was used to stage an explosion during the film Top Dog (1995), starring Chuck Norris.

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego is ever evolving as new hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and retail shops open each year. A perfect location for shopping and dining by day, and the “hottest” destination by night. Who knew the downtown area would live up to its reputation when a controlled car explosion stunt took place in the middle of the downtown streets during the filming of Traffic (2000) starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Douglas, and Benicio Del Toro; public safety agencies were present to make sure nothing got out of hand.

San Diego’s East County

In San Diego’s East County, a rugged landscape surrounds historic highways and provides scenic backdrops for colorful desert wildflowers and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, but the deserted area has also starred in a handful of films. East County’s beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was featured in Into The Wild (2007) during a scene that took place while Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) road tripped to Alaska. Borrego Springs doubled as Mesopotamia 3000 B.C. in the Scorpion King (2007) and was also where the popular Sci-Fi TV series, The X-Files, came to an end during the filming of the series finale at the recreated Anazazi Village.

Ocean Beach

With perpetual sun, swaying palms and sparkling surf, the funky neighborhood of Ocean Beach, is the epitome of Southern California beach culture. Producers of Almost Famous (2000) thought this beach town’s 1970s hippie attitude was the perfect location to film. Many locals wore their normal clothes and used their own vehicles as extras in the movie.

Don’t forget: Anchorman 2 hits movie theaters later this year! Stay classy, 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?