Nick Karvounis

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 14 – 17, 2014

Run, swim, and bike your way across Coronado Island!

Your friends will be green with envy when you tell them you’re heading to San Diego this weekend.  With so many great attractions and events, there’s something for everyone; you won’t need the luck of the Irish to have a good time.  Check out these top things to do in San Diego during this festive weekend!

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown San Diego

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is always a fan favorite!

There’s a party and then there’s a party on St. Patrick’s Day.  Celebrate with friends across the region at some of San Diego’s annual events including Irish 4 A Day – St. Paddy’s Eve Party Hop, shamROCK Gaslamp Block Party, St. Patrick’s Day at the Glass Door, St. Patrick’s Beer Train Tour, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival.  Read more on our St. Patrick’s Day blog.

Balboa Park STEAM Family Day

Balboa Park STEAM Family Day in San Diego

Kids — and adults — will have a hair-raising day at Balboa Park.

This one’s for the kids – and adults too!  This week-long festival takes place at various locations throughout the region. On Sunday, March 16th, enjoy Balboa Park STEAM Family Day, where more than two dozen institutions in the park gather to present park-wide events. Enjoy hands-on activities, crafts, a butterfly release, storytelling and much more.

Where: Balboa Park
When: Sunday, March 16,
Cost: Children 12 & under free with paid adult admission
>Read more about the schedule of events at Balboa Park STEAM Family Day

SUPERSEAL and SEAL Sprint Triathlons

Coronado Island is host to the SUPERSEAL triathlon

Run, swim, and bike your way across Coronado Island!

This one’s for the athletes… and the dreamers.  There’s no more spectacular setting than Coronado Island for an intense triathlon competition.  The course was designed by Navy SEALs who train on the island, so expect a rigorous race.  The SUPERSEAL consists of a 1,500-meter swin, 40K bike ride, and 10k run.  For the less-adventurous, the SEAL course is shorter with 500-meter swim in Silver Strand State Beach Bay, 20k bike ride, and 6k run.  Whatever you choose, good luck!

Where: 1100 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Cost: $100 – $245
>Read more about the triathlon on Coronado Island

Bike Tour through scenic Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs two-wheeled bike tour!

It’s a flat terrain course, but still a challenging 80-mile ride in Borrego Springs!

We’ll start with a caveat on this… the terrain is mostly flat.  But you still have to be in shape for this spectacular scenic bike ride through Borrego Springs.  Choose from 27, 40, 67, or 80-mile paved road courses while enjoying the beautiful mountains in the distance.  Don’t miss the landmark prehistoric metal sculptures too!

Where: Borrego Springs High School, 2281 Diegueno Drive, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
When: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Cost: $49
>Read more about this great two-wheeled Tour of Borrego

Art Above San Diego

Porto Vista Hotel hosts the annual Art Above San Diego fair

Enjoy a spectacular view at sunset during this elevated art fair!

This event at the Porto Vista Hotel literally elevates your art collection.  Enjoy a breathtaking view of San Diego’s Big Bay during sunset while sipping champagne on the rooftop terrace.  This open-air contemporary art fair features works from San Diego’s local emerging artists and galleries.

Where: Porto Vista Hotel, 1835 Columbia Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Cost: $5-$10 donations requested
>Explore more about the Art Above San Diego fair

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Denise

5 Great Family Friendly Biking Trails in San Diego

Family Friendly Biking on Coronado
Family Friendly Biking on Coronado

There’s almost nothing like feeling the sunshine and a cool breeze while pedaling along these family friendly biking trails in San Diego

Riding a bike is one of those great activities that transcends age – it’s for the young and young at heart – plus, they say once you’ve learned how to do it, you’ll never forget. Add that to San Diego’s year-round sunshine and biking rises to the top of the must-do activity list for outdoor family fun when exploring the best scenic terrain San Diego has to offer.

Here are a few family friendly biking trails you can choose, and cruise, for the ultimate San Diego family adventure.

Mission Bay Park

Besides incredible views of San Diego’s gorgeous shoreline, Mission Bay Park is an epicenter for biking enthusiasts of every age. There’s a wide paved path covering about 4 miles and Fiesta Island is nearby if you want to extend the ride another 2 to 5 miles depending on the path you choose. There are also other challenging options for advanced riders.

Mission Beach Boardwalk

This is the quintessential San Diego beach biking experience. Along the 3-mile oceanfront boardwalk, you’ll find funky surf shops, cool places to eat and the iconic Belmont Park amusement park. It can get crowded, however, making it tricky navigating around joggers and walkers, especially if you have little bikers in tow. If you’re bringing the family, the best time to ride is on a weekday or early morning.

Coronado

Coronado is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S., if not the world. There are about 30 miles of dedicated bike, blading and running paths with awesome views around town and the beach. You can bike the island via Coronado’s beachfront boardwalk, ride under the Coronado Bridge, pedal to the world-famous Hotel Del Coronado or venture down the Silver Strand.

Lake Miramar

Lake Miramar is an absolute treasure for families. You’ll find great picnic areas, and bikers share a 5-mile paved path around the lake with walkers, joggers and nature lovers watching assorted ducks, geese and critters who also call the lake home. For more experienced bikers, the area offers unpaved and rugged trails as well.

Santee Lakes

A beautiful 194-acre park surrounds seven scenic lakes providing instant relaxation and more than 5 miles of trails for biking. This is a natural environment perfect for families and the locals refer to it as one of “the best backyards in San Diego!”

> Enjoy Even more Family Friendly Biking in San Diego

Please remember to ride safe and obey all the San Diego traffic and safety laws.

Tell us about your favorite family friendly biking trail in San Diego.

Brent Bernasconi

Museums to Marathons – Working Out in Balboa Park

Runner in Balboa Park's Florida Canyon Trial

In addition to Balboa Park’s 15 museums, theatres, gardens, fountains and fine dining; the 1,200 acre oasis also provides locals and visitors a great place to work up a sweat and exercise.

Throughout the year there are plenty of organized 5k runs (Thanksgiving Day Run is my favorite) and walks in the park, but these workout options are available anytime you’re ready to get up and go. Continue reading

Suzzanne

25 Free Things to Do With Kids This Fall in San Diego

Enjoy A Bonfire with the Kids

Fall is a great time for the kids to explore many of San Diego’s free outdoor activities including the beach, hiking sports, sightseeing and more.

Below are just 25 of the free things kids can do this fall in San Diego:

  1. Head to one of San Diego’s 33 beaches, all open to the public, and perfect for body surfing, boogie boarding, building sandcastles, collecting seashells and basking in the sun.
  2. Catch a magnificent Pacific sunset and watch sea lions play along the shoreline at La Jolla Cove, one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world.
  3. Take free fly-fishing lessons from the San Diego Fly Fishers club on Sunday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Lake Murray, located in La Mesa. If you don’t have your own gear, arrive early for a free equipment loan.
  4. Sample some of the more than 200 varieties of fresh produce grown in San Diego at one of the region’s many Farmer’s Markets, held daily at locations throughout the county.
  5. Bike, walk or play along Mission Bay Park’s many trails. Bikers, walkers and joggers share more than 20 miles of scenic paths winding through sunlit and shade near the shoreline.
  6. Rollerblade, skateboard, or bicycle along the Mission Beach and Pacific Beach Boardwalk, a scenic three-mile boardwalk running along the coastline of these lively neighborhoods.
  7. Take a scenic drive to Mt. Laguna to hike, bike or picnic while enjoying the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines.
  8. Hike the trails of Torrey Pines State Reserve and see the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, a number of animal species and miles of unspoiled beaches below.
  9. Visit Mission Trails Regional Park featuring a state-of-the-art Visitors Center where guests explore and learn about the wonders of nature and the native people who once lived on the land. The park also offers over 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
  10. Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego’s shores to see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Shores and Cove offer some of the clearest waters on the California Coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserve to explore.
  11. Walk along the downtown Embarcadero and view impressive public art sculptures, tributes, and memorials set along San Diego Bay. The artworks celebrate San Diego’s international ties, cultural diversity, military significance and unique oceanfront environment.
  12. Watch tail-waggin’, Frisbee-catchin’ and stick-fetchin’ dogs splash in the surf. Man’s best friend is permitted to roam leash-free at all hours of the day on designated dog beaches in Ocean Beach, Coronado and Del Mar.
  13. Talk a walk through Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the United States, and discover its beautiful Spanish Colonial-Revival architecture and glorious gardens. Also, visitors can take advantage of the Park’s variety of other free offerings, including ranger-led walking tours at 11:00 AM on Tuesdays and Sundays.
  14. Gather friends, family and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of San Diego County’s bonfire-friendly beaches, located in Coronado, Ocean Beach, Oceanside, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.
  15. Go on a self-guided walking tour of The Stuart Collection, a display of contemporary sculptures scattered throughout the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla. Tour maps are available at the Gilman Drive campus entrance.
  16. Spend an afternoon at Tidelands Park in Coronado. The park’s 22 bayfront acres feature four baseball fields, a playground, skatepark, picnic tables, small beach with an exercise course, boat access, fishing pier and bike and pedestrian paths.
  17. Explore the clear shallow tide pools of La Jolla Cove and Point Loma when the tide is low and the pools are teeming with aquatic life.
  18. Visit Julian in San Diego’s East County and enjoy this quaint, historic mining town that grew into San Diego County’s second largest urban center during the Southern California gold rush of 1869.
  19. Take a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, home of the Mt. Soledad Veterans War Memorial, for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego. Spectacular views also await at the top of Mt. Helix in La Mesa, offering visitors a birds-eye glimpse of San Diego’s East County communities.
  20. Witness the living legacy of California’s birthplace in Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego’s first “downtown.” The six-block park features 12 acres of Mexican lore and historical sites presented in shops, restaurants, museums and several carefully preserved or restored adobe and wooden buildings.
  21. Visit the U.S. Olympic Training Center, the nation’s first warm-weather, year-round Olympic training facility, located in Chula Vista. Free guided tours of the 150-acre lakefront facility are offered at 11:00 AM on Saturday; tours begin at the Copley Visitor Center. Self-guided tours are also available 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Mondays – Saturdays.
  22. Visit downtown San Diego’s Seaport Village for hours of free entertainment, leisurely strolling and window shopping. Enjoy a laid-back day of hanging out in the grass and watching the many passing yachts and ships on picturesque San Diego Bay.
  23. Fly a kite along the grassy field in the Tecolote Shores of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park.
  24. Hang 10 at the California Surf Museum, which houses a permanent collection of historic boards, photographs and videos on Highway 101 in Oceanside. During free admission day on Tuesdays, visitors can explore its colorful and educational display on the sport of surfing and the legends who braved the waters over generations.
  25. Head over to La Mesa for the annual Oktoberfest. Traditional German celebration in San Diego’s East County featuring dancing, Bavarian bands, arts and crafts and more.

Even More Kids Free Fun this October

Visiting with the kids during October? After they have checked everything off the list above, save on other attractions, food and more with over a hundred kids free offers.

> Browse Over 100 Kids Free San Diego Offers for this October

Know of any other great free fall activities for kids? Tell us in the comments below.

Candice

Video Tour: Outdoor Adventure in San Diego

With weather this perfect, it’s hard to stay indoors in San Diego. From hiking and biking to rockclimbing and horseback riding, there tons of outdoor adventures to be had. Join me on a video tour of some of my favorite ways to explore San Diego’s great outdoors.

Suzzanne

5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

1. San Diego Beer Week: From November 4-13, hundreds of beer-centric events take place throughout the county during this 10-day festival that highlights San Diego’s award-winning craft beer, breweries and pubs. Two capstone events are the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival’s kick-off on November 5 at Liberty Station on Point Loma and the closing event, a beer and food pairing at the Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla on November 13.

2. Fall Back Festival: On Saturday, November 6, experience life in San Diego in the 1800s by heading on down to the historic Gaslamp Quarter for real gold pannin’, authentic Wild West shootouts, western bands and fun interactive activities. This annual children’s historic street faire will feature ice cream eating, pig calling, spaghetti eating and a costume contest. Kids will also love the pony rides, wagon rides and a chance to visit the William Heath Davis House for a tour of the “House of a Thousand Spiders.”

3. An Evening with America: In conjunction with the Getty-initiated Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, The GRAMMY Museum, along with Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, is honored to present iconic, GRAMMY Award-winning rock group America, this Friday, November 4 at 8:00 p.m. Hear the band in discussion about their success as hit writers of enduring rock-folk-pop classics, their celebrated 40th Anniversary Tour and the release of Back Pages, their newest album, a collection of glimmering interpretations of timeless songs. After the interview, moderated by GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli, America will take audience questions and will perform an acoustic set.

4. Bike the Coast-Taste the Coast: On November 5th, grabe your bike and take a tour of the coast. The Bike the Coast, Taste the Coast takes cyclists 7, 15, 25, 50 or 100 miles up the coast to the Oceanside Pier, where food, beer and music await. Must register by November 4, or just join in the fun at the Pier.

5. Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting Weekend: Head up to Temecula for this two day event, November 5-6, gives ticketed guests the opportunity to visit over 30 Member wineries for a fun-filled food and wine adventure. Delicious foods and wine samplings are offered at each stop as well as barrel and/or tank samples of finished and unfinished wines often not available to the general public.

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!