10 Reasons to Visit San Diego in 2011

10 to Try in 2011Ready or not, the New Year is upon us and so, I’ve put together my list of 10 reasons to visit San Diego in 2011.

In no particular order…

  1. A World Premiere: This February, the La Jolla Playhouse brings us the World Premiere of Little Miss Sunshine.  This new musical based on the Academy Award-winning film, is sure to be outrageously funny (if not Broadway bound?), as it follows the Hoover family on a cross-country trek to a children’s beauty pageant where they hope their bad luck will change as the youngest daughter, Olive, chases the coveted title of “Little Miss Sunshine.” 
  2. Fabulous Food: The Nation’s Restaurant News released their list of dining trends for 2011 and among the top was locally grown ingredients, locally sourced meat and seafood and sustainability. How did San Diego restaurants respond? Check, check and check!  Stop by The Linkery, Sea Rocket Bistro and A.R. Valentien to see what I mean.
  3. RC 44 San Diego Cup: The NASCAR of all boating events will speed into San Diego in March for the first time ever! The RC44San Diego Cup highlights the world’s best sailors as they compete in high-performance boat races along San Diego Bay. 
  4. New Attractions: This summer, SeaWorld will debut Sea Turtle Bay, a new attraction all about sea turtles. Highlights will include Turtle Reef, a 300,000-gallon aquarium with a massive, a ride where you spin in boats on a sea turtle rescue mission and much more.  Also, stay tuned for news about BIG changes to come at LEGOLAND
  5. New Flight: I dedicate this one to our friends in the UK – In June, British Airways will offer daily, nonstop flights between from London’s Heathrow Airport and San Diego.
  6. Five Diamond Properties: That’s right; we’ve got some top dogs here in San Diego that are waiting to wine and dine visitors. Three hotels and one restaurant were recently awarded 2011 AAA Five Diamond Awards, the highest rating possible from the American Automobile Association and the most coveted symbol of excellence in the hospitality industry. Congratulations to: The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, The Grand Del Mar and its signature restaurant, Addison.
  7. Weather or Not: In Travel + Leisure’s recent America’s Favorite Cities Reader Poll, San Diego was voted the #1 destination for Best Weather. We also scored #2 for Most Athletic/Active People; #2 for Most Attractive People; #3  destination for Best Time to Visit – Spring Break and #4 destination for Best Time to Visit –  Summer. Check us out! 
  8. Centennial of Naval Aviation: In February, Coronado’s North Island Naval Air Station and San Diego Bay will celebrate the 100th anniversary of naval aviation and the first-ever flight of a Navy aircraft. The special event will include Navy ship tours, aircraft exhibits, music, food vendors and a large flyover in the afternoon featuring over 200 vintage aircraft.
  9. Wildflowers That Wow: San Diego has had the rainiest winter that I’ve seen in years! While that disrupted my wintertime summer dress wearing, it does mean that our famous wildflower display will be bursting with blossoms this spring.  If you want to see a natural phenomenon, head over to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to see colorful wildflowers bejewel the desert landscape; make sure to double check the status of the wildflowers prior to your visit by calling the Park’s 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760-767-4684.
  10. Baby Animals Galore– Who doesn’t love to ooh and ahh at the sight of cute and cuddly little creatures? In 2010, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed a variety of calves, cubs and cutie pies, including newborn tigers, cheetah, rhino, zebra, giraffe and four elephants!  Come by the Safari Park to congratulate the new moms and watch these little guys grow.

5 to Try: Larger Than Yours

San Diego may not be home to the largest tire, the largest artichoke or the largest floating loon, but San Diego is home to some really neat “off-the-beaten path” attractions that just so happen to be largest too! (Ha, I’m such a good rapper)

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Spreckels Organ Pavilion: the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ
Located in Balboa Park, the organ graced the opening of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and became the first outdoor organ of its kind. Free organ concerts are offered every Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. and an International Summer Organ Festival is offered on select evenings throughout the summer at 7:30 p.m.

Mission Bay

Mission Bay: the largest aquatic park in the world
This 4,200-acre aquatic playground is the largest facility of its kind and offers designated areas for sailing, power boating, fishing, swimming and water skiing. Surrounding the bay is 27 miles of paths for running, walking, biking and skating.

Hamilton Children's Garden

San Diego Botanic Garden: the largest interactive children’s garden on the West Coast
The one-acre Hamilton Children’s Garden opened in June 2009 with 14 interactive areas for exploring, climbing, creating and educating children about nature. San Diego Botanic Garden is also home to the largest bamboo collection in the nation.

Chicano Park

Chicano Park: the largest collection of outdoor murals in the country
Beneath the base of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan is the colorful Chicano Park. The murals painted here commemorate the history of the Chicano people who fought against the city in the 60s and 70s to reclaim their heritage and keep the park a sacred place for families. Their strife, struggles and success are represented throughout the park’s 20 plus murals.

Anza Borrego

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: the largest state park in California
Spanning 600,000 acres in San Diego’s rustic East County, Anza Borrego offers camp sites, nature trails, horseback riding, hiking trails, 12 wilderness areas and so much more. Amid the acres of untouched wilderness, rare species of wildflowers blossom every spring and animals like roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes and mule deer can be spotted.