With sunny skies, glistening crowd-free beaches and temperatures averaging 70 degrees, November is the perfect time to visit Coronado, located a bridge or ferryboat ride away from downtown San Diego. There’s so much to do, from craft beer tastings and lavish Thanksgiving feasts to ice skating by the beach, that you won’t know where to start!
The following are my Top 5 to Try in Coronado this November.
Good Times on Tap: San Diego Beer Week in Coronado
Craft beer by the bottle at Coronado Brewing Company
The luxurious Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado will host this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
Let the Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay Resort do all the cooking this Thanksgiving Nov. 28 as they serve up turkey with all the fixings in festive elegant style. The Del presents a lavish buffet spread in the Crown Room and Ballroom, with live entertainment. Loews hosts a fab champagne brunch buffet in its main dining room, plus a prix fixe family-style dinner in Mistral.
Ice Skating by the Sea
Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado
Lace up your skates and head to the Hotel del Coronado on Nov. 27 for the launch of Skating by the Sea, a magically surreal SoCal experience like no other where guests can practice their axel jumps just steps away from Coronado Beach. A portion of ice skate rental proceeds benefit San Diego’s Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K
Rollerblading the Silver Strand Half Marathon
Hightail it to the scenic Silver Strand for the popular annual Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K on Nov. 17. Participants can run, walk, even rollerblade or rollerskate from Coronado to Imperial Beach; handcyclists and wheel chair participants are welcome too!
Rock n’ Roll: “Suds” at the Coronado Playhouse
Suds hits the stage at the Coronado Playhouse this November.
Audiences are in for a rocking good time at the Coronado Playhouse– a 100-seat, cabaret-style theatre on lovely Glorietta Bay – presenting the 1960s musical soap opera “Suds” through the end of the month.
Join the fun at the Fall Fest along La Jolla Shores
Dubbed “Party on the Playa,” bring the kids and costumes for this super fun block party near La Jolla Shores, one of San Diego’s most iconic beaches. The fun festivities feature local restaurant tastings, a costume contest, bouncy house, live music from Hullabaloo, giveaways, and super spooktacular prizes from local merchants.
Where: 2160 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, 92037 When: Thursday, October 24, 2013 Time: 4 – 7 p.m. Cost: $5 in advance, $10 day of event For more information, call (619) 840-3482 or email email@example.com.
Halloween Dinner & Party Cruise
Break out your costumes for Flagship Cruises & Events’ Halloween Cruise (Photo by David Veit for Flagship Cruises & Events)
It’s going to be a scary good time aboard Flagship Cruises & Events’ special Halloween dinner cruise. Dig up your most ghoulish friends and best Halloween costume, and come out for a night full of screams out on the water! Your ticket includes a 2.5 hour cruise around San Diego Bay, dining, dancing, musical entertainment, a complimentary boarding cocktail, and the chance to win a great costume contest prize.
Hop on the San Diego Trolley’s Green Line to get to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for its annual Fall Festival, which features tons of unique merchants and artisans peddling one-of-a-kind creations. Kids will get to experience craft making and activities like never before – organizers let their creative juices flow recreating old-fashioned activities that families enjoyed back in 1872. Be sure to check out the nearby Mormon Battalion site where kids can participate in an interactive tour that is educational, state-of-the-art and, most importantly, tons of fun.
12th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival at Old Mission San Luis Rey
The culture and traditions of Mexico shine at Mission San Luis Rey’s Dia de los Muertos Festival
Dubbed the “King of the Missions,” Oceanside’s Mission San Luis Rey celebrates the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos. In addition to elaborate and beautiful altars and offerings to departed loved ones, the celebration includes 75 vendors, traditional food, a chalk cemetery, plus a carnival for the kids. The event even includes a creative car show, where classic car and lowriders become makeshift alters to the departed.
Time to start thinking about what you’ll wear for Halloween. Don’t wait until October 31 to try out your costumes. Here are some fun places in San Diego to take your dressed-up kids before Halloween even hits. Go ahead; get a few more wears out of those get-ups!
LEGOLAND for Brick or Treat
My son was so excited for Brick-or-Treat that he jumped out of his skin! 🙂
My kids’ favorite place for Halloween is LEGOLAND for Brick or Treat weekends in October. We’ve been lucky enough to go three years in a row and they are begging me to make it four this year. In addition to the always amazing and humorous spooky LEGO figures that are added to the park for the Halloween theme, my kids enjoy the interaction of the Brick or Treat Trail where they collect coloring books, healthy snacks, unhealthy snacks, and oh yes, some candy. The kids love that they are running around the park, in their costumes, at night, with a complimentary Brick or Treat bag full of free stuff.
Parents will agree it’s a great time to visit LEGOLAND because not only are hours extended during Brick or Treat weekends, there are free fireworks and extra shows on Saturday nights, and best of all, it’s Kids Free October in San Diego! Visitors get a free child admission with each paying adult through October.
Where: LEGOLAND California Resort, One LEGOLAND Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008 When: The Brick or Treat Trail is open Weekends in October 2013 Time: Saturday 12:00 to 9:00 PM. Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 PM Cost: Free with admission. Special $30 Party Nights Hopper tickets are available online only and valid for same-day admission to LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium between the hours of 5:00 to 9:00 PM on Brick-or-Treat Party Nights October 5, 12, 19 or 26. This is an exclusive online discount. Also, $59 Brick-or-Treat Hopper tickets are available online only and valid for same-day admission to LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium on customer selected Saturday in October. > Find out more about Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND
Even the animals get in on the Spooktacular Halloween fun at SeaWorld
Another family favorite is SeaWorld weekend’s during the Halloween season. Kids can wear costumes and hunt around the park for 10 different trick or treat stations. The Sesame Street characters have a special “Countdown to Halloween” show, Penelope”s Undersea Pumpkinfish Patch, and sea lion’s Clyde and Seamore’s new “Spooky Adventure” show.
Haunted Pirate Ships and More at the Birch Aquarium
Looking for an affordable, educational and family-sized Halloween event? Discover what lurks beneath the surface October 25 & 26 at the 13th annual Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked! The entire family can enjoy spooky science activities, explore the aquarium’s “wreckage” for sunken treasures, listen to zydeco band Billy Lee & the Swamp Critters, and enjoy the aquarium after dark, in costume. Haunted Birch Aquarium offers participants a fun and informal atmosphere in which to learn about ocean science and win prizes for best costume. This not-too-spooky event is geared toward families and open to guests of all ages. Children ages 2 and under are free, and children under 16 must be accompanied by a paid adult.
Gather round for haunted seafaring tales and lantern tours at the Maritime Museum of San Diego
For a historically haunting experience, venture on board the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship for a special 45-60 minute tour. Part of San Diego’s Maritime Museum collection, the Star of India’s storied past includes real-life encounters with ghosts, and the tour includes special activities for the family, including seafaring ghost stories and “creepy treats.” Kids are encouraged to wear costumes.
Bring the kids for some Halloween fun in San Diego’s Downtown
Want to get some shopping done while celebrating the spooky season? Take the family to Seaport Village’s Halloween Bash on the Bay and enjoy a kid’s costume contest with prizes, photos of your ghouls, princesses and pirates next to a living scarecrow, and music by the Monster Mash Band and Thriller DJ. The event will not include candy or trick or treating, but offers many family-friendly activities, including a scavenger hunt, face painting and harvest-themed games.
Over a dozen museums are treating families to free admission for children 12 and under during the 5th annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day on Saturday, October 26. In addition to free children’s admission with a paid adult, participating museums and cultural attractions will present a spooky array of hands-on activities, crafts, special tours, storytelling, and other free goodies.
Ah, sun-kissed Coronado, located a bridge away from downtown San Diego. Fall is one of the best times of year to visit the “Crown City,” as the beach crowds diminish, hotel rates dip ever so slightly and the days continue to be nice and warm, with an average autumn temp of 74!
If you’re headed to Coronado this season, following are some fun new things to see and do around the island:
1887 on the Bay
Coronado’s new 1887 on the Bay restaurant
The redesigned 1887 on The Bay – formerly the Coronado Boathouse, an iconic landmark on Glorietta Bay that looks just like the Hotel del Coronado’s main turret – introduces new Chef Jess Le Desma who instills a rich Asian/Hawaiian ethnicity into his Pacific Rim menu.
Just down the road, the elegant Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort – featuring spectacular panoramic views of San Diego Bay – introduces an eclectic global-fusion menu by new Chef de Cuisine Adam Cho that highlights his penchant for tapas-style small plates, Mediterranean flavors and passion for seafood.
Joy in the Journey
Coronado Kayaking Tour, San Diego’s only urban kayaking tour
For landlubbers, hop aboard the new Coronado Beach Buggy for a fun 40-minute tour that uncovers all the treasures that make Coronado so special, including America’s Best Beach, historic homes, the charming Village and Naval Air Station North Island. The buggys makes daily stops at the Glorietta Bay Inn; cost is only $10.
Sail along with “100+ Years of Coronado yachting”
Set sail for the Coronado Museum of History & Art (1100 Orange Ave.) to check out their popular new exhibit, “100+ Years of Coronado Yachting,” spotlighting the island’s rich nautical past as a yachting hub. Admission is free.
A Fall Classic of a different sort, a family trip to the pumpkin patch is an absolute must. Bates Nut Farm is still the granddaddy in terms of size and scenery, but outfits like Pumpkin Station offer smaller scale versions scattered throughout the county. Colorful pumpkins, kiddie rides, petting zoos – here’s a chance to finally update your family photo on Facebook.
I like taking my kids to a San Diego Farmer’s Market in the fall to remind them there’s life beyond the frozen food section. Kids go ga-ga when they get to sample everything from plump juicy peaches to fresh popped kettle corn. Our favorites include: Hillcrest, Little Italy and Oceanside.
4. Get back to nature
With its serene setting and convenient location, the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve makes getting back out into nature a breeze. Serpentine through the estuary trails that offer amazing photo opportunities and just the right amount of exercise. Pack a lunch and sit up on the rooftop deck to enjoy a million dollar view of the Pacific.
5. Take a family bike ride on a surrey!
Your family will have a blast on these quirky, easy-to-ride four wheelers, whether you roll along the Embarcadero or navigate the trails of Coronado. Wheel Fun Rentals will provide the perfect surrey to fit your size family. They offer a 2nd hour free when you get there before noon and use their online coupon.
6. Unleash your creativity at ArtSplash Chalk Fest (Sep 28-29)
Your pint size Picasso will get a chance to create his or her own asphalt masterpiece on the streets of Carlsbad at ArtSplash, an annual chalk art festival which draws over 30,000 visitors.
7. Experience East Village’s brand-new, 21st Century Library
Officially opening September 30th, the $185M state-of-the-art Central Library downtown is destined for greatness with its 9-stories, panoramic bay views, own café, free wi-fi and an impressive 9,141 square foot children’s section.
8. Take a day trip to Julian for the Apple Harvest
A day trip to this colorful countryside setting for the Julian Apple Harvest (September-Mid-October) will silence anyone who’s ever said San Diego doesn’t have seasons. Plan your excursion around the Apple Days Festival on October 5-6, 2013, when this charming gold mining town turned-apple growing Mecca is the place to be when it comes to pie-eating contests, gold panning, tractor rides and good ole fashion apple picking.
9. Stroll the San Diego Botanic Garden
This Botanic Garden draws some serious plant lovers, but my kids and I continue to flock here to climb the giant tree house and frolic in the unique children’s garden.
10. Explore Living Coast Discovery Center
Your kids don’t have to be future ornithologists to appreciate bird watching or any of the 350 animal and plant species that call this 3.3 acre wildlife refuge home. The educational Discovery Center also gives your little ones the opportunity to get up close and personal with sea turtles, rays and leopard sharks. Pack a lunch.
Autumn is upon us, San Diego’s Kids Free October promotion is around the corner, and below are a few Fall Festivals that offer the best bargain around: free for the entire family!
Free Family Fall Festival in Balboa Park’s Organ Pavilion
Try something different and Hula Hoop to classic organ music
In addition to the free organ concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park at 2:00 PM each Sunday in October and November, there’s a Family Festival in October, especially for kids. The 2:00 PM organ concert will feature Civic Organist Dr. Carol Williams along with guest young organists. Pre-concert activities start at 1:30 and include the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, hula hoop artist William Huson of SpinYang Hoops, and more. Kids are invited to sit onstage for a portion of the performance. The public is also invited to tour the inside the organ building which include views of the pipes, shutters and installation. Fascinating for “kids of all ages” to see and hear the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ.
Dance, drink, eat, shop and more at the free La Mesa Oktoberfest
This 3-day fall festival patterned after the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest, offers an assortment of arts and crafts, children activities, entertainment, German brats and cold beer. Admission to the general festival is free and attendees have the option to visit the large Beer Garden at the event and listen to spirited oom-pah-pah bands, watch costumed folk dancers perform traditional waltzes and polkas, and get the whole family out on the dance floor and join in the fun.
Family Fun and the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival. Photo: Steve Simpson
The 5th Annual La Jolla Art & Wine Festival takes place in coastal village of downtown La Jolla and features the works of over 150 established artists from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Baja and beyond. In addition to an eclectic mix of original artwork, the LJAWF offers an expansive wine and beer garden highlighting over 20 premier wineries from around the world including Baja’s flourishing Valle de Guadalupe region. A handful of San Diego’s renowned breweries will be pouring award-winning brews and a gourmet marketplace will offers attendees an eclectic taste featuring local favorites. Children have the opportunity to paint a car, take art or dance classes, participate in games, chalk art, crafts, edible art, cartooning, and even a family scavenger hunt. Other highlights include live music as well as roving entertainment by the San Diego Circus Center.
Enjoy the traditional Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park
Enjoy the history and charm of Old Town State Historic Park during two fall festivals: The Old Town San Diego Art Festival features contemporary artists, fine craft, fashion and home décor artisans along with the Flavors of Old Town international foods, a wine-tasting pavilion and continuous live entertainment. The Old Town’s Fall Festival provides fall crafts and children’s activities reflecting San Diego in the 1870s. The festival occurs in the central plaza at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and many merchants surrounding the park will have activities as well.
Where: Old Town State Historic Park – 2415 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Step back in time in the Gaslamp Quarter at the annual Fall Back Festival
Don’t forget to set your clocks for the Fall Back Festival in the Gaslamp Quarter. The annual children’s street faire shows guests what life was like in the mid- to late- nineteenth century when San Diego was a bustling new town. Admission is free and, while supplies last, kids in attendance can receive a free hot dog at Dick’s Last Resort Hot Dog Stand, free ice cream sundae and chocolate squares at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Saloon and a free pony ride. In addition to pie-eating contests, there are historical recreations and demonstrations with a “nineteenth-century” blacksmith plying his trade, prospectors teaching children how to pan for gold, butter churning and candle dipping demonstrations, and a Wild West shoot-out. Carnival rides are offered for a fee.
Free Día de los Muertos – Day of the Dead in Sherman Heights
Embrace Mexican culture and experience a traditional Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Sherman Heights Festival
One of San Diego’s most authentic and longest standing Dia de los Muertos Celebration takes place in the heart of Sherman Heights! Embrace Mexican culture and experience a traditional celebration, honoring our departed loved ones with an official blessing of the community altars, followed by live performances, food, shopping, altar tours and Day of the Dead themed workshops!
Spend another warm autumn weekend enjoying one of these great events in San Diego.
1. Haunted Tales of our Seafaring Past
Do you dare board the Star of India when the lights go out?
During this time of year, spooky things start to happen on the Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Climb aboard for creepy treats, a hauntingly fun tour, ghostly tales and more. Your tiny ghouls and princesses are encouraged to come dressed up for a night of Halloween excitement on the water.
Learn about the importance of water during SEA Days.
Water is essential to life on our planet. Bring the whole family to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps to learn about urban runoff, water quality, and conservation concerns with hands-on exploration, special activities, and a chance to interact with Scripps Oceanography scientists.
Get your handmade holiday decorations at the Harvest Festival in Del Mar.
For more than 40 years, craft lovers have converged at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the annual Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show. There will be food, music and plenty of unique handmade works from more than 300 arts and crafts people. It’s never too early to start your holiday shopping!
4. Oktoberfest Celebration at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Travel to Africa, Asia and Germany in one day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!
Spend the day exploring the exotic and wild animals for Africa and Asia before ending your adventures with a trip to Germany (while never actually leaving the park) during the Oktoberfest Celebration at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Enjoy live music, a delicious buffet of German-inspired specialties and a variety of German Beers (for those over 21).
Discover Ethiopian Injera (pancake-like bread) and Wat (stew) during San Diego African Restaurant Week. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
In its inaugural year, San Diego African Restaurant week invites everyone to experience African cuisine from Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Jamaica with a Prix Fixe menu including an appetizers, main course, and desserts at restaurants in the uptown neighborhoods. Throughout the week, there will also be cooking classes, traditional music and dance, and coffee ceremonies. Don’t miss the opening event at the WorldBeat Center on Friday, October 19 starting at 7:00 PM.
Find a great carving or cooking pumpkin at Pumpkin Palooza at Suzie’s farm.
With Halloween just around the corner, why not find the perfect pumpkin for carving or cooking at Suzie’s Farm’s Pumpkin Palooza (you can find plenty of other pumpkin patches here). The whole family can enjoy a day of pumpkin picking, music, organic food from popular food trucks and more.
It’s a musical fall in San Diego’s theater lineup, and big names are the big news. From a whimsical Broadway favorite to a melancholy reflection of American history to giant robots and contemporary indie rock music, these productions offer a theatre experience for just about every theatregoer’s taste.
Allegiance – A New American Musical
Allegiance at the Old Globe Theater stars George Takei.
Running now through Oct. 21, The Old Globe presents Allegiance – A New American Musical. This new production is an epic story of family, love and patriotism set during the Japanese-American internment of World War II. The star-studded cast includes Lea Solanga, winner of the 1990 Tony Award® for her role in Miss Saigon, and George Takei, the veteran actor best known for playing Dr. Sulu on the original Star Trek series.
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, based on the album by the Flaming Lips, debuts at the La Jolla Playhouse.
On November 6, the world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse will debut Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a new musical featuring a story by The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff (director of The Who’s Tommy and Jersey Boys). Based on the album of the same name by the indie rock band The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi tells the story of a young Japanese artist facing a battle for her life in a fantastical robot-world. This world-premiere production runs through December 16.
A classic childhood tale and Broadway smash hit comes to San Diego as Broadway/San Diego presents Peter Pan, Nov. 13-18. Peter Pan stars Cathy Rigby, the Olympic gymnast turned thespian, in the role that she made famous. Rigby’s high-flying theatrics will have everyone in the audience believing they will never grow up.
So, you think you can dance? Wait til you see this awesome little guy at the Barona Pow Wow.
Warm ocean temperatures, coastal highs in the mid-70’s and crowds back in school make fall one of the best times to visit San Diego’s beaches and world-famous family attractions. But, in my opinion, an even more exciting reason to visit in fall are all the cool events celebrating the cultures and people who make up San Diego.
It’s common to hear San Diegans say “everyone here is from somewhere else.” Well, here’s a chance to dig below the surface and find out where we come from – you might be surprised!
Fall cultural heritage events include:
The Pow-Wow Trail of California, celebrating the culture and history of the indigenous people of the state, winds through San Diego in September. The Barona Band of the Mission Indians holds their annual Barona Pow-Wow Sept. 4-6 at the Barona Reservation in Lakeside. The following weekend, Sept. 11-13, The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation holds their Pow-Wow at the Sycuan Reservation in El Cajon. Both events include traditional singing, dancing, games, arts and crafts, costumes, food and much more.
On Sept. 26-27, the Pacific Islander Festival brings the spirit of the islands to Mission Bay’s Ski Beach with a celebration of the traditional cultures of the indigenous people of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia – an area that includes more than 2,000 unique Pacific islands. This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the event which brings to San Diego the traditional food, dance, music, art and friendly hospitality of the people of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and many more vibrant island cultures.
More than 200,000 people gather in La Mesa during Oct. 2-4 for the largest three-day Oktoberfest west of the Mississippi. Lovers of German food, music, culture and beer flock to the festivities and celebrate German culture with traditional foods like bratwurst and sauerkraut, frosty brews flowing in three huge beer gardens, hundreds of craft vendors, costumed folk dancers and a children’s carnival.
On Oct. 11, San Diego’s Little Italy Association presents the 15th Little Italy Festa – the largest one-day Italian American festival west of the Mississippi. A grand celebration of Italian culture, more than 120,000 people gather annually for this traditional street festival that serves up traditional music, authentic foods, specialty crafts and Gesso Italiano, an Italian street chalk painting exhibition. Sporty types also enjoy the street stickball exhibition games – San Diego is home to 10 stickball teams and visiting teams come from around the region – and can register early to enter the bocce ball tournament on Oct. 12.
The San Diego Asian Film Festivalreturns Oct. 12-29 to Mission Valley with programming that has earned an international reputation as one of North America’s top Asian-American film festivals. Last year, it drew a record crowd of nearly 18,000 film buffs and attracted high profile filmmakers and celebrities, including Academy Award-winning director Jessica Yu (short film, Breathing Lessons), Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, Nick and Nora), John Cho (Harold and Kumar), Leonardo Nam (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants), and YouTube sensation Christine Gambito of HappySlip.
On Nov. 1, the city of Oceanside brings its Annual Dia del los Muertos celebration to the historic Mission San Luis Rey. The mission grounds are transformed into a Mexican plaza with thousands of marigolds used in the creation of “ofrendas,” or altars, which are memorials to loved ones who have passed. Guests can enjoy music, dancing, food booths, a retail mercado and the Chalk Cemetery, an interactive area where guests use flowers, candles and chalk to create their own ofrendas.