Brent Bernasconi

Contest: Win Tickets to the 2012 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – Contest has Ended

Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Catch the excitement at the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

On December 27, 2012, the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl festivities kick off with the free and family friendly Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade at 10:00 AM. The excitement continues later that evening when the UCLA Bruins take on the Baylor Bears at Qualcomm Stadium.

> Here’s a full rundown on San Diego’s Poinsettia and Holiday Bowls

Win Tickets to the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Contest has ended.

Which team are you rooting for, UCLA Bruins or Baylor Bears? Tell us in the comments below for your chance to win two (2) tickets to the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl at 6:45 PM on December 27, 2012 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

The rules:

  • Leave a comment below on which team you are rooting for in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. Duplicate entries will be filtered out and discarded, so adding additional comments won’t increase your likelihood of winning.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One winner will receive a two (2) tickets to the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl on December 27, 2012.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within one day of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries (comments) can be submitted until December 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST. Good luck!

“San Diego is Calling” Video Contest…What’s your Answer?

Get out your cameras! Get creative! And you could win a trip for 4 to San Diego or an iPad 3! Between April 18 and May 18, 2012, we want you to submit videos about your San Diego happiness. Show us what you love!


You do love San Diego, right? Of course you do! (Why else would you be reading this?) Here at we definitely *heart* our city, but we also know our fans are some of the most passionate, awesome people out there. So we think it is time we got to know you. We need YOU to show US what it is about San Diego that produces the biggest smiles and happiest memories. About time, right?

So whatever you are doing this weekend, grab your video camera and keep San Diego on your mind…you might be surprised by how many smiles you capture. 🙂

Grand Prize:

First Prize:

  • iPad 3: 16GB Wi-Fi White

Happiness is calling…what’s your answer?

Brent Bernasconi

Live Like A Californian Sweepstakes

Live Like a Californian SweepstakesThe California Travel and Tourism Commission wants you experience life as a Californian. You can enter a weekly quiz with a chance to win a $250 Visa Gift Card, round trips flights, or a grand prize trip. I know that you will want to win the San Diego Grand Prize trip! Below is what you could win:

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz calls San Diego home. Get the star treatment when you and three (3) of your friends are chauffeured in a VIP Mercedes to and from a Jason Mraz concert in Southern California. Go backstage before or after the show and meet the rocker in person! You and your crew can make the rock ‘n’ roll life last a few days longer with $200 in Karma Kash for dinner at the legendary House of Blues San Diego and nights hanging out at the trendy Siren Pool & Uber Lounge conveniently located inside the Sè San Diego Hotel in the historic Gaslamp District where you will stay for three (3) nights of luxury.

This Rock Star package also comes with round trip airfare provided by Travelocity and a four (4) day rental car voucher, as well as a CityPASS that gets you into must-see San Diego attractions.

Make sure to answer this weeks quiz for your chance to win a trip to San Diego and live like a Californian (you know, like me!).

Enter the Live Like a Californian Sweepstakes!


Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes: Perfect 5 Day Itinerary Part 4

Have you entered our Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes? Hurry and enter by Friday, May 13th, and you could win a five night stay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel and roundtrip airfare for two! How would you like to spend those five beautiful days in San Diego? Let me count the ways…

1. La Jolla: While La Jolla’s majestic coastline is more than enough reason to visit, it also boasts a vibrant arts community, centered on the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The building’s exterior installation of suspended rowboats is just the beginning inside you’ll find an internationally recognized collection and superb rotation of exhibitions. Afterwards, a stroll through La Jolla’s downtown offers up many smaller galleries and art dealers well worth the stop.

2. Downtown: San Diego’s downtown area is full of theaters dedicated to performing arts, from local bands at the neighborhood pub to the grand, 2,967 capacity San Diego Civic Theatre. One worth checking out is Lyceum Theatre. Its smaller stage offers a more intimate setting for progressive and thought provoking work by the San Diego Reparatory Theatre while the larger theater showcases many modern and compelling pieces by the San Diego Ballet.

3. Old town: Get in touch with San Diego’s past in Old Town State Historic Park. Enjoy the views from the Presidio, and then make your way down through the many different original and reconstructed buildings, including the newly restored Cosmopolitan Hotel, haunted Whaley House, Little Adobe Chapel, and a row of San Diego’s most notable Victorian homes in Heritage Park.

Balboa Park

4. Balboa Park: Pack a picnic and enjoy the gardens of Balboa Park. The Botanical Building and its adjacent Lily Pond is one of the most photographed scenes in the park, and at first glance you’ll know why. The intricate, Victorian lath structure is the largest in the world and filled to the brim with beautiful botanicals. Stay and bask on the lawn, or check out the other gardens in the park, including a Japanese Friendship Garden, Palm Canyon, Rose Garden, Desert Garden and Marston House Garden.

5. USS Midway Museum: That goliath aircraft carrier you see in the harbor? That’s the USS Midway, and you are welcome to come aboard! Explore this floating “city at sea” with its 60 exhibits and 25 restored aircraft as well as 50 years of history on the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Haven’t had enough? Then continue along to the Maritime Museum, where the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India, docks.


Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes: Perfect 5 Day Itinerary Part 3

In our Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes, we are giving away round trip airfare for two and a five night stay at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Hotel. You can enter here! How would you spend it if you brought the kids? Well, I must say, this might be the easiest blog I’ve ever written. Of course I have help, my two kids ages 8 and 10. They are the true ambassadors to San Diego and are experts on all things San Diego kid friendly. In fact, all five of these were handpicked by them. The hardest part was limiting them to five!

SeaWorld's Journey to Atlantis

1. One of the first things our out-of-town friends say when they come to visit is, “we want to go to SeaWorld.” And who wouldn’t? With live shows, animal encounters and fun rides, it’s a day well spent. Our favorite, Journey to Atlantis.

Crusin' Coronado Island

2. While staying at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Hotel, take one of the water ferries over to Coronado Island and rent bikes. The island is almost entirely flat and it’s a great way to see the island. We love riding around and then stopping at one of the great restaurants along Orange Avenue.

Corvette Diner (and yes those are straws in my hair!)

3. Looking for somewhere to take the kids for dinner? Head over to Corvette Diner located in the historic Liberty Station. Hands down, their favorite spot to eat. With a 50’s theme, yummy shakes and a huge game room, everyone will leave happy.

Another cool thing at Legoland that my son can stick his head into

4. My son’s favorite place is Legoland. We’ve been there so many times, I’ve lost count. If you have kids under 12, I highly recommend it. Insider Tip: Bring along a Lego minifigurine and if you see any Legoland worker wearing one on their badge, ask to trade them. It’s a fun way to interact with the staff and get some fun and funky new figurines.

Plane at the USS Midway Museum

5. The USS Midway Museum is one of my favorite places to bring my kids and any visitors. From grandparents down to 5 year olds, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t had a great time there. Touring the retired aircraft carrier is so fascinating and I learn something new every time. Be prepared to walk up and down a lot of very narrow stairs and take time to visit “The Island.”

Remember to enter our Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes!

What San Diego family activity do you think is missing?


Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes: Perfect 5 Day Itinerary Part 2

Our Escape to San Diego Sweepstakes is in full swing. We are giving away a 5 night stay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel and round-trip airfare for two! Contest ends May 13, 2011, so be sure to enter today. How would you spend your five days in San Diego? Last week I highlighted our amazing beaches and outdoors. Sure we have an average year-round temperature of 70 degrees and over 70 miles of beaches, but there is so much more to explore. Today I’m highlighting the perfect Urban Escape.

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel is the perfect setting for your Urban Escape. Located downtown, with a new pedestrian bridge connecting you to the Gaslamp Quarter, the hotel is an urban oasis with a spectacular waterfront setting.

Little Italy

1. One of my favorite areas of downtown is Little Italy. Once home to San Diego’s flourishing tuna fishing industry and generations of Italian families who made their living on the sea, Little Italy is a quaint and lively neighborhood filled with patio cafes, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, shops, hotels, and the beautiful Amici Park.

Urban Solace

2. One evening, head to the neighborhood of North Park for a night of bar-hopping. North Park’s nightlife comes alive at the intersection of University and 30th Street. My go to spot in North Park is usually Urban Solace. The menu features a unique combination of American dishes, both classic and cutting edge, and an intriguing wine and crafted beer and cocktail list.

Gaslamp Quarter

3. Learn how the now trendy Gaslamp Quarter once flourished as a red-light district on the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation’s walking tour. You can either do a self-guided walking tour or join one of the guides as they take you back to the 1800’s and discover the haunts of famous former resident, Wyatt Earp.


4. If you love live music, then Anthology should be on your hit list. Located in Little Italy, Anthology embraces the spirit of classic supper clubs from the 1940’s with a decidedly modern spin. Anthology draws renowned local and international musicians of jazz, classic rock, blues, Latin and more.

GoCars Tour

5. One of the most unique ways of seeing downtown is with GoCars. These cool yellow GPS guided scooters deliver an informative tour, pointing out places of interest along the way. I recently tried the downtown tour that takes you through Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park. We learned a lot and are blast to drive!

Enter here to win!


Escape To San Diego Sweepstakes: Perfect 5 Day Itinerary

Do you love visiting San Diego? Really love it? Then enter to win our sweepstakes and you could win a 5 night stay at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel and airfare for two! And as the big winner, you’ll have five whole days to enjoy all that San Diego has to offer. Never been to San Diego or interested in trying something new? Here’s how I would spend my five days highlighting the outdoors and our amazing beaches.

Waking up each morning at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel will provide inspiration as you plan your day. The hotel, located on the waterfront, features sun and sea inspired design and a casually sophisticated design.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Day 1: Explore trails while overlooking the ocean
Hike Torrey Pines State Reserve or take a guided tour. Among the eight miles of trails, guests can encounter native chaparral plants, wildflowers, birds, reptiles and butterflies. My favorite trail is the beach trail. During low tide, you can take the stairs down to the ocean and walk between the ocean and cliffs.

Sail on the Bay

Day 2: Set sail on the San Diego Bay
Strap on your sea legs and rent a sailboat in Coronado from Seaforth Rentals. Choose from over 200 rental boats, including boats for sailing, cruising, skiing and fishing, jetskis, speedboats, fishing charters, sunset sails.

Mission Beach

Day 3: Cruise the boardwalk in Pacific and Mission Beach
The favorite hangouts of active young sun-worshipers, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are connected by a three-mile boardwalk crowded with inline skaters, skateboarders, runners and bikers – and beachgoers just wanting “to be seen.” End your stroll by walking to the end of the Crystal Pier for a beautiful coastline view.

Sunset Kayak Cruise

Day 4: Take a sunset kayaking trip and witness the sun dip into the Pacific
Try Hike Bike Kayak’s popular Sunset Paddle Tour, where you’ll kayak along the La Jolla sea caves and ecological reserve during a beautiful sunset on the Pacific Ocean. Expert naturalist guides provide insights and fun facts about the amazing environment.

Ocean Beach

Day 5: Hang out in Ocean Beach – doggies included!
Ocean Beach is one of San Diego’s prime surf spots. The neighborhood is also popular for its kid-friendly tide pools, long wooden pier that is perfect for fishing and Dog Beach, where even the tail-wagging members of the family can play Frisbee and romp in the surf.

Enter to Win a 5-night hotel stay and two round trip airfare tickets here!


Spring Break in San Diego

Travel & Leisure recently named San Diego as the #3 destination for Best Time to Visit – Spring Break. And why wouldn’t we be? From beaches to attractions to the best weather in the country (we were named #1 for weather!); San Diego has so much to offer.

One great way to see San Diego’s best attractions, museums and general sightseeing is the Go San Diego Card. With the Go San Diego Card, visitors can purchase 3, 5, and 7 day cards that will give you entrance into over 50 San Diego area venues. Popular itineraries include the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Legoland California, Safari Park, USS Midway Museum, and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. But those are just suggestions, with so many options, you can customize your Spring Break into whatever you like. The folks at Go San Diego Card tell us that some popular options for Spring Break include the rides at Belmont Park, Bike and Kayak tours in La Jolla (kayak rentals or beach cruisers) or “ride the wave” at the Wave House Athletic Club. And even better, the Go San Diego Cards are unlimited and work for consecutive days.

Interested in trying the Go San Diego Cards for your Spring Break? Comment on the blog below and one lucky winner will win 4 Go San Diego Cards. Comment by Monday, March 21st at 10:00 a.m.


It’s a Whale of a Time

Every year from December through March, visitors to San Diego have an opportunity to watch the gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja. One of the most unique ways to see these magnificent creatures is by kayak. Kayak you ask? Yes! OEX Dive & Kayak in La Jolla offers whale watching kayak tours from La Jolla’s Ecological Preserve, a marine sanctuary and home to the seven seas caves, Leopard Shark City and the La Jolla Sea Lion and Harbor Seal colonies. Whale watching from a kayak allows participants the opportunity to be one with the ocean and enjoy an incredible up-close view of the whales as well as provides a nice little workout. I should note: you aren’t always guaranteed a glimpse of the whales (they don’t always get the memo that we’ve just paddled out to see them), however according toMike at OEX, no one has ever been disappointed. Seals, dolphins and other marine life are almost always swimming around and are happy to oblige the kayakers.

Of course this isn’t the only way to get out and see the whales. From land to sea, check here for a complete round-up on whale watching in San Diego.

Interested in giving the kayak tour a try? Comment below on our blog and one lucky winner will win a pass for two to OEX Dive & Kayak’s whale watching tour. Must comment by Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 10:00 a.m.

OEX Dive & Kayak Center offers kayaking, scuba, stand-up paddleboard and snorkel tours and rentals from several locations throughout San Diego County. Check out their website to learn more!


New Year’s Eve at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter

Spending New Year’s Eve in San Diego is great way to ring in the New Year. One sure hot spot every year is the Gaslamp District. With over 35 pubs and nightclubs, 100 restaurants and over 20 hotels, visitors will find something that suits their party style. One celebration that is sure to create an evening to remember is the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter’s Bottom’s Up party.

Guests start their evening at the Marriott Gaslamp’s street-level Soleil @k and Latitude Lounge. Party revelers will sample a whole new standard of cuisine with assorted fresh greens, decadent raw seafood bar, street taco stand and artisan flatbreads. There will also be happy hour specials from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Then guests head up 22 stories in the sky to their rooftop bar, ALTITUDE Sky Lounge. If you didn’t get your fill at the bottom, guests will find a sushi bar, carving stations, assorted desserts and a chocolate fountain. Once your palate is satiated, guests can dance the night away with beats by DJ Rooster and DJ Ramsey as they count down to 2011. There will be a celebratory midnight toast on the 1st and 22nd floors with party favors. (Did I mention this is an evening to remember?) For only $125 per person, this celebration is sure to please. Ticket sales are limited and go fast!

Sound like fun? How about free tickets? Comment on the blog below and one lucky winner will win 2 tickets to the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp District’s Bottom’s Up bash. Comment by Tuesday, December 28th at 10:00 a.m. P.S.T.