Barrio Logan is one of San Diego’s best kept secrets. Many residents know that this neighborhood is the heart of the city for San Diego’s Mexican-American community, but visitors are just starting to discover all the hidden gems this part of town has to offer. From unassuming taco joints to pop-up art galleries, Barrio Logan is bustling with creativity and culture.
Discover the Art and Culture of Barrio Logan
Art Galleries, Street-Style
In Barrio Logan, looks can be deceiving. That average-looking warehouse just might be housing some of the region’s most cutting edge art.
Located in a former Weber bakery, the Bread & Salt gallery is just as interesting for its architecture as for the innovative visual art and music performances you can find there.
You’ll find something different on display every time you visit La Bodega, a 9,000 sq. ft. warehouse turned gallery, but you’re guaranteed to see something unique and authentically San Diegan.
Chicano Art Gallery showcases voices from the community, featuring everything from painting exhibitions to spoken word events.
Discover Arte y la Cultura Auténtica in San Diego’s Barrio Logan
Whether you want true Mexican street food or a perfectly crafted cup of coffee, serious foodies know this neighborhood for its culinary offerings.
Don’t be put off by the long lines at Las Cuatros Milpas. The tacos and chorizo bowls are worth the wait!
Cafe Virtuoso wins the praise of many serious coffee snobs. You can find many top-notch restaurants serving their brews, but stop by Barrio Logan for their proprietary cafe.
The newly opened San Diego Taco Company call themselves the “King of All Tacos,” and for good reason. Their fish tacos are some of San Diego’s best. Keep an eye out for their new restaurant, Salud!, in Barrio Logan.
Northeastern San Diego is home to a sprawling landscape of scenic rolling hills. This vast corner of the county is where many locals make their homes, as do a few local wineries and breweries. For most visitors, northeastern San Diego is still undiscovered, but there is plenty to uncover in this historic and artistic region.
Discover the Arts and Culture of Northeastern San Diego
History in the Hills
Secrets to San Diego’s past are scattered throughout Northeastern San Diego – you just have to know where to look.
The San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park commemorates the battle between U.S. and Californio forces during the Mexican-American War. The park and small museum are great year-round but come to life with battle reenactments in the winter.
Southeastern San Diego may not be on many travelers’ radar yet, but this hidden gem is one of San Diego’s most culturally diverse regions. Located about 5 miles from downtown, the neighborhoods of Southeastern San Diego are easily accessible by the San Diego Trolley and offer lots of ways to see, hear and taste the many facets of life in America’s 8th largest city.
Discover the Arts and Culture of Southeastern San Diego
Cultural Fairs and Fests
With a variety of African and Asian residents, Southeastern San Diego features numerous festivals throughout the year where visitors can immerse themselves in authentic cultural experiences.
The annual FilAmFest is one of the region’s most popular cultural festivals, and features live entertainment and cuisine from the Philippines.
Every April, the Wat Lao Buddharam temple hosts Boun Pimai, a Lao New Year celebration featuring a processional with traditional music.
The Somali American Cultural Fest is just one of many colorful cultural events held each year at Market Creek Plaza.
Colorful Public Art
The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation has helped the Southeastern community turn their neighborhoods into outdoor galleries thanks to lots of public art on view at and near Market Creek Plaza.
The amphitheater at Market Creek Plaza features special artistic touches, including bronze sculptures of children at play and the Sempra Childrens’ Art Wall, a bright mosaic of hand-painted tiles decorated by local children.
The many smiling faces gazing down at visitors to Market Creek Plaza are part of the Community Faces Project, a series of murals celebrating local leaders.
Just down the road from the plaza is Writerz Blok, a park devoted to graffiti art. In addition to offering local artists and youth a place to experiment with contemporary art practices, Writerz Blok is a remarkable sight to take in.
Many consider Point Loma to be San Diego’s Plymouth Rock. It was here that explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first set foot on the West Coast in 1542. Today, history echoes throughout Point Loma, while contemporary visual and performing arts, great restaurants, shopping and more make it a terrific destination for a family adventure.
Discover the Art and Culture of Point Loma
Get Up Close to History
From European explorers to San Diego’s military history, there’s plenty of secrets from the past waiting to be uncovered around Point Loma.
The Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, but what really makes this site worth a visit is the spectacular view of San Diego Bay and beyond.
Dating back to 1855, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse was one of the first lighthouses on the West Coast. Visitors can view the quarters where the lighthouse keeper used to live.
NTC at Liberty Station was once a functioning U.S. Navy base, and the Point Loma Legacy Exhibit allows visitors to peak into what life was like as a Naval training recruit.
Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater is just one of several performing arts groups based in Point Loma
Music and dance lovers should keep an eye out for live performances around the neighborhood all year round:
Malashock Dance presents creative, contemporary dance performances around town and at their studio at NTC at Liberty Station.
There’s a tale of a Cat, so cool in a Hat, that…did you hear…was created right here! 🙂
Yep Dr. Seuss, that master smith of rhyming words for kids, lived atop a hill called Mt. Soledad in La Jolla (north of downtown San Diego) where his fantastical world of Cat in the Hat and other memorable characters came to life for readers of all ages.
I’ve always been a big fan of Dr. Seuss whose real name BTW is Theodore (Ted) Seuss Geisel. His widow Audrey still lives in lovely seaside La Jolla.
On the heels of Dr. Seuss’ recently released new book, Horton and the Kwuggerbug and more Lost Stories, me thinks with my thinker that a fun way to tinker would be an incredibly fun linker to a few Seussian sights and events in La Jolla:
Wish Dr. Suess at Happy Birthday at UCSD
Dr. Seuss birthday celebration at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla
Every year in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2, the aptly named Geisel Library at University of California at San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla exhibits selections from their Dr. Seuss Collection of over 10,000 items(!), including his drawings, rough drafts, notebooks and other cool memorabilia. It’s the world’s largest repository of original works by Seuss. Last year Mrs. Geisel substantially added to the collection, donating an additional 1,500 items from his personal archive!
Look for an announcement of next year’s big b-day bash on Geisel Library’s news page after New Year’s.
7 ½ foot Cat in the Hat
Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat sculpture at Geisel Library, UCSD in La Jolla
In the meantime, next time you’re in La Jolla, check out the life-size bronze sculpture of Dr. Seuss and a towering 7 ½ foot Cat in the Hat in front at the library. Seuss selfies are encouraged!
Secret Art of Dr. Seuss
The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss includes Unorthodox Taxidermy
In the charming Village of La Jolla, the Legends Gallery displays some wonderful imaginings in its “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” exhibit. Visitors can view the sophisticated, technically accomplished and unrestrained side of Seuss’ talent, including lesser-known paintings, illustrations and sculptures from his Unorthodox Taxidermy collection (a fun fav!).
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe
“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at the Old Globe in Balboa Park
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.
Exploring San Diego’s museums, both big and small, is a great way to learn about the life, culture, history and art that makes up the city. But if you plan on visiting more than one or two, admission prices can really add up.
Fear not, budget-savvy museum lovers. San Diego Museum Month 2014 is right around the corner. From February 1-28, 2014, visitors can pick up a special Museum Month pass that provides half-off admission to 44 participating museums around San Diego.
With so many participating museums, it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. Fortunately, San Diego’s wealth of museums means that visitors from all walks of life are sure to find something one (or more) to love.
History and Heritage
The Star of India is one of the ships featured at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
The San Diego History Centershowcases San Diego’s history with artifacts, costumes, art and one of the largest photograph collections in the western United States.
Famed architect Irving Gill designed the historic Craftsman period mansion, The Marston House, with an elegant English garden.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay offers one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the famous Star of India – the world’s oldest active tall ship.
Artsy and Cool
The Lux Art Institute sits hillside in San Diego’s North County
The Museum of Photographic Arts presents photography from leaders like Ansel Adams, as well as cutting edge new artists. An intimate and elegant, state-of-the-art movie theater screens film classics and cult classics alike.
Set on a secluded hillside in a bright, modern structure that resembles a tiny Getty Center, the LUX Art Institute in Encinitas maintains an artist-in-residence program offering up-close opportunities to view international artists at work.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego displays modern masterpieces, including multi-media exhibits from world-renowned contemporary artists, in two locations, downtown San Diego and La Jolla.
Only in San Diego
The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier turned museum.
The USS Midway Museum is a decommissioned aircraft carrier museum in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay featuring aircraft displays and interactive exhibits honoring the U.S. military.
Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad features more than 450 musical instrument displays and interactive areas to listen to music, ranging from ragtime to rock ‘n’ roll.
Museum Month passes are free and can be picked up at any San Diego area Macy’s store location (plus locations in Temecula and the Imperial Valley). Be sure to grab one early to make the most of your time in San Diego!
Balboa Park December Nights is as close as San Diego gets to becoming a winter wonderland, and this year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever. San Diego’s largest free festival, which is designed to be the city’s holiday gift to the community, is expected to draw at least 300,000 in this its 35th year.
The two-day celebration of entertainment, food and fun, takes place Friday, Dec. 6, from 3–11 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, from noon–11 p.m. Balboa Park is decked in twinkling lights and silvery garlands. Fanciful Christmas trees abound, and the aromas of multi-cultural holiday treats waft through the air.
The Lily Pond and Botanical Building decked out for December Nights. (Photo by Manny Cencieros)
In the spirit of the season, participating park museums open their doors to the public free of charge from 5–9 p.m. both evenings. Many present special holiday programs. Kids will be awed by the elaborate gingerbread constructions at the Mingei International Museum and can join in holiday-inspired craft projects at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. All ages will be enthralled by the amazing handbell ringers who perform at the San Diego History Center, and don’t miss the San Diego Floral Association’s exhibit at the House of Hospitality of 30 beautifully decorated holiday trees.
Festive performances take place on the beautiful stage of the Organ Pavilion.
Festivities are family friendly, multi-cultural and staged throughout the park. The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet will perform excerpts from “The Nutcracker” on the Casa del Prado Stage. Steps away on the California Quadrangle near the San Diego Museum of Man, revelers can see the Santa Lucia Procession and children’s choir performances. The San Diego Civic Dance Company will present Rockettes-style routines, while a puppet version of “The Christmas Carol” will be presented at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. African drumming and dance performances and Reggae music performances are planned at the WorldBeat Center. Dozens of singers, dancers and musicians will take to the stage at the Organ Pavilion.
Kids can get their photo taken with the Grinch at the Old Globe.
Youngsters will have the opportunity to visit with Santa as he strolls the park, and they can pose for a photo in the Old Globe courtyard with Dr. Seuss’s Grinch who stole Christmas. Kids of all ages can join with Junior Theatre students singing holiday songs. A series of children’s holiday movies will run nonstop both evenings in the theater at the Hall of Champions. There also are plenty of carnival rides to keep the younger set entertained.
Hungry? December Nights is known for its mouth-watering range of food and drink offerings. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages offer traditional holiday foods from a smorgasbord of nations: think empanadas, egg rolls, shepherd’s pie, pasties, pancit, samosas, plantains, pierogi, bourekas, baklava, paella, and even blueberry soup. Many museums offer tasty treats as well. You’ll find roasted chestnuts at the San Diego Art Institute, yakisoba at the Japanese Friendship Garden and hot toddies at the Hall of Champions. In addition, numerous food vendors sell an array of yummy holiday delights, from melted Swiss raclette to fresh-baked gingerbread cookies. The 21+ set can sip a locally crafted brew at one of several beer gardens.
Ethnic food specialties are part of the delicious fun at December Nights.
December Nights are prime time for holiday shopping. Find great gifts at museum stores, from Spanish Village artisans and at a wide range of arts and crafts booths. For $300 or less, buy a piece of original art right off the walls at the San Diego Art Institute. And don’t forget to buy a sprig of locally sourced mistletoe from San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers.
With so many attending December Nights, parking can be tougher than fitting down a chimney. Your best bet is to take public transportation or park for $5 at Petco Park or for free at City College. Free shuttles will ferry celebrants to and from 6th & Laurel from 3 p.m.–midnight on Friday and from 11:30 a.m.–midnight on Saturday.
Finally, be sure to bundle up! While San Diego may better known for sandmen than snowmen, it can get downright chilly here on December nights.
What’s your favorite part of December Nights in Balboa Park? Let us know in the comments.
If you’re an arts lover, you’ll love these events coming up in San Diego, Nov. 6 – 10. And if you prefer to get outdoors, there’s lots of options for you, too: set sail on a historic ship, go ice skating or just sample some San Diego beers under the sun.
Medium Festival of Photography
Portfolio reviews are just one part of the Medium Festival of Photography.
The second annual Medium Festival of Photography pairs educational lectures, workshops, and portfolio review sessions with fun and unique after-hours celebrations. On Nov. 8, famed photographer Abelardo Morell will speak at The Lafayette in North Park, and the festival continues with lectures from photographers like Doug Rickard, Stephen Berkman, Michael Lundgren and more. On Nov. 9, the Lafayette hosts “An Intimate View of Southern California,” an outdoor exhibition of 50 photographers housed in a vintage trailer.
The San Diego Asian Film Festival offers countless screening opportunities.
The San Diego Asian Film Festival is one of the largest exhibitions of Asian international and Asian American cinema in North America. Along with narrative features, the nine-day Festival also showcases documentaries, short films, and animation. Screenings take place primarily at the Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center, but there are additional screenings around town.
The Art San Diego 2013 contemporary art fair mixes the old with the new in Balboa Park.
The annual Art San Diego contemporary art fair returns for a fifth year Nov. 8 – 10. The theme for 2013 is “Collide,” which means guests and visitors are sure to find unexpected cross-sections of art and film coming together in new and unusual ways. Explore one of four districts – Contemporary Art, Contemporary Product & Furniture Design, Mid-Century & Modern Art, and Solo-Artist Curated Booths – set up in historic Balboa Park.
Set sail with the Maritime Museum of San Diego for the Star of India’s 150th birthday.
The world’s oldest active sailing ship turns even older this weekend. Before becoming part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the Star of India sailed the world, from South America to New Zealand to the Bay of Bengal and back. This Nov. 9, 10 and 11, she sets sail again out of San Diego Bay, and guests can travel alongside in the Maritime Museum’s Californian and America companion ships. The sail includes a light brunch, lunch buffet and beverages.
SoCal’s largest outdoor ice skating rink at the Viejas Outlet Center.
Lace up your skates and head out to Viejas Outlet Center in San Diego’s East County for the opening of the largest outdoor ice-skating rink in Southern California – it’s even bigger than the famed ice rink at Rockefeller Center in New York! The rink opens for the season on Nov. 9, and guests can practice their axel jumps and salchows through Jan. 5.
It’s all about hands-on fun at learning at the New Children’s Museum.
The second Sunday of every month, The New Children’s Museum offers free admission giving families the opportunity to enjoy interactive activities and creative new exhibitions like Feast: The Art of Playing With Your Food. Installations are designed to educate and inspire creativity which typically resonate more with older kids, but the museum also features lots of hands-on art projects that are engaging for kids of all ages.
San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden & Chef Celebration
Meet the Brewers during San Diego Beer Week Beer Garden at the Lodge at Torrey Pines.
The 5th annual San Diego Beer Week comes to a close on Sunday with the week’s most lavish event yet. Held amidst the beautiful gardens of the Lodge at Torrey Pines, the Beer Garden & Chef Celebration pairs 24 local breweries with 12 top local chefs for a delicious and unique tasting event. Each admission includes unlimited tasters of beer and food.
Family fun in the sun in Coronado! Courtesy Joanne DiBona, SanDiego.org
The Kidvasion has begun! Kids Free in San Diego month is in full swing. As you and your family are in town enjoying the numerous (100+) free deals, be sure to visit sun-kissed Coronado, a bridge away from downtown San Diego.
Kids are sure to get a kick out of these free activities around the island:
Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America – Coronado Beach
Make sandcastles at Coronado Beach – the #1 beach in America – with its expansive stretch of soft white sands. To the north, check out the tail-wagging fun at Dog Beach where friendly fidos splash in the surf and play fetch. Along Ocean Blvd., can you spot the giant sand dunes that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O? Pretty neat!
Mighty aircraft carriers and high-flying jets at NAS North Island
Fly by the Coronado Museum of History & Art (kids under 12 are free with 1 adult paid admission) to check out their new 100+ Years of Yachting exhibition, plus cool U.S. Navy display. To see the real thing, head to Shoreline Park (First St. & I Ave.) for a peek at the Navy’s mighty aircraft carriers. A free air show of sorts can be seen almost daily at Coronado Beach, with Navy jets and helicopters flying overhead on their way to NAS North Island.
Wizard of Oz scenes at the Coronado Public Library
Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library to gander at massive glass panels depicting scenes from the Wizard of Oz. Oz author L. Frank Baum lived in Coronado! Join Coronado Touring on a walk back in time through the Hotel del Coronado (Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City) and past the yellow cottage where Baum wrote a few of his fantastical children’s books. Tour is free for kids under three ($12 each for mom and dad).
Secret Art of Dr. Seuss
The whimsical “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” at Stephen Clayton Galleries
Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat greets guests at Stephen Clayton Gallery
Another famous children’s author who lived in San Diego was Dr. Seuss. Discover the “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” – including sculptures of magical creatures and other-worldly paintings – at the Stephen Clayton Galleries at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
And don’t forget Coronado’s Kids Free month participants and special deals, including: