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!

Win a Stay in San Diego’s Vibrant East Village

Hotel Indigo San Diego

For years, people have known about New York City’s different neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and personality, but it may surprise visitors to San Diego that the beachside city also comprises more than 100 vibrant and distinct neighborhoods. Downtown alone is home to eight distinct neighborhoods, and (like New York) it includes an East Village.

Once an empty warehouse district, the revitalization of San Diego’s East Village was ignited in 2004 with the opening of PETCO Park, the San Diego Padres’ baseball stadium. Today, visitors can enjoy fashionable restaurants and cafes, rooftop bars, adorable boutiques and a variety of hip hotels. One of my favorite places to stay in the East Village is the Hotel Indigo, San Diego’s first LEED Certified hotel with a sleek, boutique vibe at prices that will make even the most budget-savvy traveler happy.

Hotel Indigo San Diego

Hotel Indigo San Diego's lobby and rooftop deck, featuring views of PETCO Park

In addition to their 24-hour “Phi”tness Studio, rooftop terrace with a reflection pool and fire pits, Hotel Indigo is known for their pet-friendly policy, making them a perfect fit for one of the country’s most pet-friendly cities. The ultimate time to check-in at the Hotel Indigo is when the Padres are playing at neighboring PETCO Park. If you’re a baseball fan, you don’t even need a ticket to enjoy the game. Pull up at chair at the hotel’s rooftop lounge, where you’ll have a first class view right into the ballpark.

Cafe Chloe San Diego

Cafe Chloe offers quaint, elegant French fare, including a killer croque madame.

For foodies, the East Village offers up some spectacular eats. Start the day with a buttery croissant and cup of spiced hot chocolate at Cafe Chloe, a quaint bistro that brings the seductive charm and spectacular cuisine of a Parisian cafe to downtown.

Neighborhood and Noble Experiment in San Diego's East Village

Neighborhood is a top dinner destination for locals, and Noble Experiment makes one of the best cocktails in town...if you can find it!

For lunch or dinner, Neighborhood can’t be beat. As the name suggests, San Diego locals frequent this burger joint that is anything but typical. Their burgers, smothered with toppings like béarnaise sauce or tomato confit, are too good for ketchup, which is strictly forbidden here. After dinner, push through a hidden door at Neighborhood to sneak into San Diego’s secret speakeasy, Noble Experiment. This pint-sized bar has a big reputation for unique specialty cocktails crafted to the utmost standards by the city’s most beloved bartenders.

Is the allure of the East Village calling to you? Leave a comment below to enter to win a one-night stay at the Hotel Indigo! A winner will be chosen at random from the commenters on Monday, June 4 at 10:00 am, so don’t miss your chance to take in this vibrant neighborhood first-hand. The Entry Period is Over.


Memorial Day Weekend Giveaway at the California Welcome Center in Alpine

Mount Laguna Sunrise - East County

Find Nature's Outdoor Play Ground in San Diego's East County

Interested in going on a cruise? Here is your chance! The public is invited to enter to win 4 tickets for a harbor or whale watching cruise aboard Hornblower Cruises and Events simply by stopping by the California Welcome Center-Alpine. Visit over Memorial Day weekend and enter for a chance to win. No purchase is necessary. Just come by and say hi!

The Welcome Center offers loads of free brochures, guidebooks, maps and friendly suggestions. This free resource is available to anyone when planning either a San Diego “staycation” or a California vacation! The Welcome Center also offers up to 20% off most San Diego major attractions including LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, The San Diego Zoo, The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Old Town Trolley Tours, harbor tours, museums and even Disneyland.

Visit the Alpine California Welcome Center at 5005 Willows Road, Suite H110 in the Viejas Outlet Center. The Welcome Center is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Brent Bernasconi

Show Your Support for Tourism to Win Padres Tickets

US Tavel Bus - Vote Travel

The "Vote Travel" Bus on their 20,000 mile road tour across the U.S.

The U.S. Travel Association’s “Vote Travel” Bus arrives to San Diego on Thursday, April 19, and you have a chance to win tickets to a future Padres game! We’re giving away two (2) sets of Four (4) tickets to watch the Pads v. Brewers on May 8, or the Pads v. Angels on May 18.

Here’s how to win:

  1. Come down to Tony Gwynn Drive in front of PETCO Park from 4:30 – 7:30 pm.
  2. Take a photo in front of the bus. Get there early to grab some free US Travel swag to incorporate into the photo.
  3. Now submit the photo in one of two ways:


Post your photo on the San Diego Facebook wall, telling us why you love to travel across the US, then share you post with your friends! The picture with the most likes by 10:00 am on April 24th will be eligible for one of the 4-pack of tickets.


Post the photo onto Twitter. Be sure to mention @VisitSanDiego and use the hashtag #VoteTravelSD. Once it’s up, start spreading the word and get your post retweeted. The Tweet/Picture with the most retweets by 10:00 am on April 24th will be eligible for one of the 4 pack of tickets.

You can follow US Travel’s “Vote Travel” Bus on Twitter and Facebook.

Good luck!!


Win Tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM in San Diego!

The Southern California exclusive showing of Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM is coming to the Del Mar Fairgrounds from April 26 to May 13, 2012 and we want to send you and a friend! TOTEM guides you on a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind with death-defying acrobatics, grace and laughter. It is the circus, after all!

The Crystal Man, doing his thing.

But the Crystal Man is no laughing matter. Elton John might love to get his hands on the velvet costume made up of 4,500 glittering mobile mosaics (as would I!), but not if it requires climbing down from the ceiling on a wire with any sort of confidence and grace. That is just hard. Magic crystal suit or not.

4,500 glitter mosaics! Wow. You want to know some more fun facts about TOTEM? I bet you do! It’s Monday after all! Officially* the best day ever to learn about Cirque du Soleil:

  • There are 18 countries represented by the 53 cast members of TOTEM: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, The People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Spain, Ukraine, The United Kingdom and the United States of America. Like a United Nations for Extremely Flexible Risk Takers.

The Circle of Life, TOTEM style.

  • TOTEM represents the circle of life both on and off stage. 23 children are on tour between the ages of 6 months to 17 years old. Currently, the youngest tour member is 6 months and the eldest is 61!
  • The site takes 8 days to set up but only 3 to take it down. Thanks, gravity.
  • 65 trailers transport 1,200 tons of equipment but not one, single elephant.

This is me and my bike club. We do this every Saturday. No biggie.

  • Cirque du Soleil was founded in 1894, with only 73 employees. Today they employ 5,000 people worldwide, including more than 1,300 artists. Artists as talented as my bike club, pictured above.

*Not at all official.

Want to see the Crystal Man in all his 4,500 glittering mobile mosaic splendor? We are giving away 2 tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM on May 9, 2012 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Just leave a comment on this blog post by 10:00 am P.S.T. on Thursday April 19, 2012 for a chance to win. What’s your favorite Cirque du Soleil act?


San Diego’s Passion for Fashion: THREAD

New York, Los Angeles and…San Diego? Yup, you can add America’s Finest City to the list of top fashion destinations thanks to THREAD. The multi-city shopping event promoting emerging designers and artists comes to San Diego this Sunday, Oct. 9 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Horton Event Space in Horton Plaza shopping center. Those who know me know that I have been known to lose all sense of budgetary wisdom when it comes to fashion, so I can’t wait to stock up on clothing and accessories from our many talented local designers that will be showcasing their wares. And the best part is that in addition to the lively party atmosphere that makes the event so fun, the designers participating will be offering below retail pricing.

So much more than just a fashion trunk show, THREAD includes a slew of activities to keep you entertained all afternoon, including live music, a pop-up local art gallery, the Style Lounge, manicure and pedicure station, a photo booth, live screen printing stations, a special “man cave” for the guys and so much more. Plus, designers will be offering a variety of giveaways all day long.

Interested in attending THREAD? We’re giving away 3 sets of tickets for you and a guest to enjoy the celebration of all things fabulous this Sunday. Just leave a comment on this post before 10:00 am on Wednesday, Oct. 5 to be entered to win, and we’ll select three winners at random to receive THREAD tickets for you and a guest. See you at the show!


Neighborhood Spotlight: La Jolla

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on beautiful La Jolla.

Dramatic coastline. Spectacular views. World-class restaurants. These are just a few of the reasons why La Jolla is one of the most desirable locations to visit in San Diego.

The scenic La Jolla coastline

1. The Beaches

La Jolla’s big draw for locals and tourists alike is its seven-miles of dramatic coastline spanning from Del Mar to Pacific Beach.

  • Black’s Beach – A de facto nude beach and an ideal spot for watching hang-gliders soar on the thermal updrafts created by the 300-foot sea cliffs.
  • La Jolla Shores – A mile-long crescent of prime sand beach favored by active beachgoers and families. Here, small boats can be launched directly into the sea from the end of Avenida De La Playa.
  • La Jolla Cove – A protected marine sanctuary and an ideal site for scuba diving and snorkeling. The Cove’s cliffs are riddled with sea caves and is home to “Sunny Jim Cave,” the only known cave on the California coastline that is accessible by land.
  • The Children’s Pool – Some of La Jolla’s most notable residents, the seals, have taken up permanent residence at what was built as a beach for families and kids.
  • Marine St. and Windansea – Looking for the local’s beach?  Head to Marine St. Beach or Windansea, two legendary surf spots known for thunderous waves and dynamic sunsets.

Paragliding Torrey Pines

2. The Great Outdoors

La Jolla is also home to Torrey Pines, where outdoor adventurers go to experience great hiking trails, soar above the Pacific, and play golf at a world-famous course.

  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve – A day-use park offering hiking trails (for every experience level), as well as guided nature walks.
  • Torrey Pines Gliderport – The launch-site for hang gliders, paragliders and glider planes. Visitors can fly tandem (with a professional pilot) or solo (with the appropriate credentials) for a fee.
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course – A top-ranked golf destination that boasts two of the most picturesque championship 18-hole golf courses in the world. Situated on cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, Golfweek Magazine heralds Torrey as one of the “Best Municipal Courses” in America.

Sculpture Garden at MCASD in La Jolla

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Brent Bernasconi

Dana Carvey’s World Ticket Giveaway

That is right ladies and gentlemen, Dana Carvey, the man who brought us the ever frowning Church Lady and the awkward but lovable Garth, is coming to Sycuan Casino on Friday, June 17th.

As a bonus for those who love San Diego, Sycuan has given us two tickets to giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment by Sunday,  June 5 at 11:59 pm, on this blog telling us your favorite Dana Carvey celebrity impersonation. If you need some reminding, Wikipedia has a great list for you. Mine would be George Bush, “Not Gonna Do It.”

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Make sure to “Like” Sycuan Casino on Facebook, using the button above, to show them a little love for giving away these great tickets! If you are not the winner, you can always order tickets for what is going to be a great show.

To order tickets for Dana Carvey’s standup show on Friday, June 17th, click here.

Now for your viewing pleasure, below is a comedy routine involving Dana Carvey and a guitar (warning, there is some explicit material, this may not be suitable for folk singers or lead guitarists).

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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!

Guest Blogger

Experiencing Wine Country in Southern California Style

This past weekend, I spent the day in Temecula’s Wine Country.  Temecula is an approximately 45 minute drive from downtown San Diego and boasts a variety of vineyards.  You can pretty much have your pick of types of wines and styles: from larger wineries that feature guided tours, restaurants and spas to small family-run places, where visitors can elbow up to the oak bar to taste a Fume Blanc and Petite Syrah.

My destination for the afternoon was South Coast Winery Resort and Spa. The weather was just right to be outside sipping some great varietals.I do not pretend to be a wine expert, although I certainly enjoy drinking it.  I have lately been on a white wine kick, so I started with their 2009 Pinot Grigio.  My favorite I have to say however was their 2003 Carter Estate Private Reserve Merlot.  The description states it is a blend of blueberries and rose petals mangled with a rich chocolate, coffee earthiness that is warmed with French oak.  All I can tell you was that we really enjoyed it!  Our wine expert Brett was a great source of knowledge and did a great job and made sure we sampled some great wines.

South Coast is a great place to spend the afternoon or stay for the night.  They have a restaurant, wine tasting area, spa and fabulous villas. It’s also really well known for hosting weekend getaways, weddings, and corporate events.  It has something for everyone.

Interested in wine tasting at South Coast Winery?  Submit a comment to the blog and five lucky winners will be chosen to receive “Behind the Scenes Winery Tour and Tasting for Two” at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa.  Winners chosen Tuesday, June 8, 2010.

Post by Suzzanne Ravitz.