Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 2-7, 2014

balboa park organ pavilion san diego december nights holiday event

December is here and that means this weekend’s list of top things to do in San Diego is packed with at ton festive fun!

> Holiday Happenings in San Diego

LEGOLAND Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights

LEGOLAND California Santa

Take a photo with a life size Santa made of LEGOs!

Build a snowman with LEGO® accessories and throw real snowballs at colorful targets. Ride snow tubes down a hill. And brand new this year, Ice Skating! Experience the magic of Winter Nights with shows, music, and twinkling lights. There’s even a food truck with yummy treats served by Santa’s Elves. Stay for the nightly fireworks over Miniland USA, December 26 – 30. Witness the lighting of a 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas Tree and enjoy live entertainment with LEGO Friends Live. A life-sized LEGO Brick Santa and Reindeer make the perfect family photo.

Where: LEGOLAND California – One LEGOLAND Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: December 1-31, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about LEGOLAND Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights

Hotel del Coronado’s Holiday Festival – A Family Celebration

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

The Del will feature a special event for the whole family – “Holiday Festival…A Family Celebration.” In addition to the outdoor ice rink, there will be Santa’s Village with games and prizes, photos with St. Nick and his elves, performances by Coronado school children, complimentary s’mores roasts, and carols from Coronado School of the Arts students.

Where: Hotel del Coronado – 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
When: December 3, 2014
Time: 4:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Hotel del Coronado’s Holiday Festival – A Family Celebration

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park - Top Things to Do

Discover a Holiday Wonderland in Downtown San Diego at Petco Park

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park provides a spectacular holiday destination for all. Open for 12 nights in December, there will be fun for people of all ages. Get in the spirit and walk through the magical lighting displays, ride Polar Express trains, explore Candyland, feed live reindeer, take a photo with Santa near a 40′-tall Christmas Tree, enjoy the festive fare and so much more!

Where: Petco Park – 1 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 5-24, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $10-$15
> Find out more about Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park

Balboa Park December Nights

balboa park organ pavilion san diego december nights holiday event

Festive performances take place on the beautiful stage of the Organ Pavilion.

Get into the holiday spirit with two magical nights of lights, free live entertainment, free entrance to many museums, foods from around the world, shopping and more.

Please Note: Getting to and from the park will require patience and time. Please consider carpooling and/or alternative forms of transportation.

> Read the transportation information for getting to December Nights

Where: Balboa Park – El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 5-6, 2014
Times: Friday: 3:00 to 11:00 PM. Saturday: 12:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Balboa Park December Nights

Holiday Parades & Festivals

North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Get swept up in the holiday spirit during the North Park Toyland Parade and Festival

Get into the holiday spirit at these parades and festivals throughout San Diego County:

2014 SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

Sample amazing chilis from more than 40 of San Diego’s best Restuarnats at SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

The neighborhoods of South and North Park come together in a friendly chili competition among 40 top local restaurants competing as guests try out their chili in hand-spun ceramic bowls. The event offers two free live music stages, great holiday gifts and crafts from local artisans, five food trucks, a game truck and a kids’ activity zone with free cookie decorating, and craft beer and wine garden featuring 10 local breweries.

Where: 3216 Thorn Street, San Diego, CA 92104
When: December 7, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Festival is free; handmade ceramic bowls with chili tastings: $20
> Find out more about the 2014 SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Find more Top Things to Do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – September 30 – October 5, 2014

It’s the first weekend of October and it’s going to be packed with haunted houses, pumpkin patches, fall fun and these top things to do in San Diego:

Fashion Week San Diego

San Diego Fashion Week - Top Things to Do

San Diego Fashion Week brings local and international designers together in an amazing destination

Fashion Week San Diego is the largest collaborative entertainment fashion event in San Diego that celebrates emerging designers by showcasing and highlighting the pulse of these entrepreneurs and what they are creating. It includes events like: The Art & Beauty Behind Fashion, Runway Shows and Trunk Show/Shopping Day.

> Strike a Pose for 2014 Fashion Week San Diego

Where: Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier – 1000 North Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: September 29 – October 5, 2014
Cost: $15-$200
> Find out more about Fashion Week San Diego

MCAS Miramar Air Show

Blue Angels are back! MCAS Miramar Air Show features three full days of flying and entertainment, food and novelty booths, children’s activity area, military displays, trade show, and more!

Where: East Gate MCAS Miramar, Miramar Way, San Diego, CA 92145
When: October 3-5, 2014
Time: 10:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free. VIP Seating – $5-$250
> Find out more about MCAS Miramar Air Show

Oktoberfests

La Mesa Oktoberfest Dancers

Dance, drink, eat, shop and more at the free La Mesa Oktoberfest

The Munich celebration may have more than 150 years on us in San Diego, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to throw a party. Here’s where you can chug a hefty stein of lager, chow down on a Bratwurst and oom-pah-pah to your heart’s content this weekend:

Julian Melodrama

Julian Melodrama

Julian Melodrama brings the mining town of old to life every October

The Julian Triangle Club is “fired up” for an all new Melodrama The Villain Wore a Dirty Shirt or Always Wash your Long Johns ‘Cause it Makes a Lotta “Cents”. With so many miners in Julian during the gold rush, the laundries are doing a good business. Our hero, the young sheriff, Jack B Nimble, is in love with the orphan heroine, Sweet Sally, but every time he gets close he turns into a babbling fool. Will he ever conquer his shyness and propose to Sweet Sally?

Where: Julian’s Historic Town Hall – 2129 Main Street, Julian, CA 92036
When: October 3-25, 2014
Cost: $5-$25
> Find out more about the Julian Melodrama

Art & Craft Show Old Town San Diego

Art & Craft Show - Old Town San Diego

The Art & Craft Show Old Town San Diego features contemporary artists, fine craft, fashion and home décor artisans. This event brings together the essence of Southern California; beautiful San Diego weather, the Flavors of Old Town international foods, a wine tasting pavilion and continuous live entertainment.

Where: 2415 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
When: October 4-5, 2014
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Art & Craft Show Old Town San Diego

Julian Apple Days Festival

Julian Apple Days Festival - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Apple pies, live entertainment, children’s activities and more at the Julian Apple Days Festival

The highlight of the fall apple harvest is the Julian Apple Days Festival, a two-day celebration featuring apple displays, music and dancing, an antique tractor display, children’s games and activities, gold panning demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, food and merchandise vendors, contests, the coronation of Mr. and Mrs. Apple Days, and, of course, apple pie. The first 250 people through the gate (paid admission only) each day receive a free pie server.

Where: Menghini Winery – 1150 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian, CA 92036
When: October 4-5, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $5. Children 5 and Under – Free
> Find out more about Julian Apple Days Festival

Pacific BeachFest

Pacific Beachfest

 

Visitors and residents of San Diego are welcome to “Discover the Action” this year at the annual Pacific BeachFest. This one-day event is perfect for visitors looking to enjoy all that San Diego beaches have to offer. Whether traveling or walking from your house down the street, young, old or somewhere in between Pacific BeachFest has something for everyone!

Where: Pacific Beach Boardwalk between Diamond Street and Thomas Street, San Diego, CA 92109
When: October 4, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM to 6:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Pacific BeachFest

Happy Hatching Day

Living Coast Discovery Center Turtle

This Eastern Pacific Green Sea Turtle is turning 5 and he is inviting you to join him in his birthday celebration.

Our Eastern Pacific Green Sea Turtles are turning 5 years old! The splashy sea turtles that we fondly call Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello will be 5 years old this October. Join us on Saturday, October 4th, as we give the boys special sea turtle celebration cakes, play fun turtle themed games, drop in on lunchtime story time, and, of course, have some yummy cake yourself.

Where: Living Coast Discovery Center – 1000 Gunpowder Point Dr, Chula Vista, CA 91910
When: October 4, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Included with Admission
> Find out more about Happy Hatching Day

San Diego Night Market

The San Diego Night Market brings together a fusion of Asian street food, culture and entertainment within the bustling Convoy District, an emerging cultural, economic and innovation hub in central San Diego. The Market offers a spacious, open-air, evening-time urban experience, inspired by the lively Night Markets found in large cities throughout Asia. Don’t miss this exciting night that is unique to San Diego.

Where: 7990 Engineer Road, San Diego, CA 92111
When: October 4, 2014
Time: 4:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $2. Kids 12 and Under – Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Night Market

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Find more Top Things to Do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – August 5-11, 2014

Sunset at Oceanside Pier.

Make a break for San Diego this weekend and enjoy these top things to do.

Flicks on Bricks

Join the Athenaeum on their outdoor patio for balmy summer nights and screenings of classic cinemas al fresco. Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North By Northwest kicks off this year’s series.

> Watch more Outdoor Summer Movies

Where: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library – 1008 Wall Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: Thursdays, August 7-28, 2014
Time: 7:30 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $17-$80
> Find out more about Flicks on Bricks

2014 ASP 6-Star Supergirl Pro

Justine Dupont - Supergirl Pro in Oceanside

See more than 100 of the world’s best female surfers compete at the Supergirl Pro. Photo courtesy of Supergirl Pro

The largest field of talent of any female surfing event in the world, this weekend jam is packed with competitions that will have you and 100+ of the top professional surfer girls in the world on their toes and a festival village loaded with athlete autograph signings, various vendors and activities related to surf, skate, art, fashion, music, fitness, dance, sustainability, food and beer garden.

Where: Oceanside Pier – 300 N the Strand, Oceanside, CA 92054
When: August 8-10, 2014
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 2014 ASP 6-Star Supergirl Pro

Winkie Con 50

OZ Con Interntational's Winkie Con

Welcome, everyone, to the Land of Oz! This year’s Winkie Con not only marks its first half-century, but also its first convention in San Diego – a city with many connections to L. Frank Baum, the creator of Oz. Baum spent winters at the Hotel Del Coronado and then rented a house in Coronado where he wrote the fifth Oz book, The Road to Oz. The coast of La Jolla was a starting point in several of Baum’s fantasies, including The Scarecrow of Oz. We’ll be exploring these San Diego connections to Oz and more at Winkie Con 50.

Where: Town & Country Resort Hotel & Convention Center – 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108
When: August 8-10, 2014
Cost: $12-$110
> Find out more about Winkie Con 50

National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show

National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show - Top Things to Do

Marvel at classics at the National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show

More than 200 participants will showcase their automobiles and compete for awards in a variety of categories, ranging from turn-of-the-century production cars to classics and muscle cars. You can also expect live music, food from a variety of National City’s popular eateries, entertainment for children and specialty booths.

Where: Kimball Park – D Avenue & E 12th Street, National City, CA 91950
When: August 9, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show

Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair

Annual Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair

Spend Sunday evening in Hillcrest at the annual CityFest

Stay past sundown and dance with Hillcrest’s best DJ’s under the Hillcrest sign with Cityfest Night! CityFest takes place in the heart of Hillcrest and is a huge celebration of community spirit with games, activities, over 250 vendors, live headliner music, a beer garden and much more.

Where: 5th and University, San Diego, CA 92103
When: August 10, 2014
Time: 12:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair

The 30th Philippine Cultural Arts Festival

The 30th Philippine Cultural Arts Festival

Join in and experience the Philippine culture first-hand with Filipino food and treats, interactive workshops, live entertainment and more.

Where:Balboa Park – Park Blvd. & President’s Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: August 9-10
Time: 11:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about The 30th Philippine Cultural Arts Festival

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Edna Gutierrez

Beer Floats – Dessert is All Grown Up in San Diego

As a kid, I always found ice cream sodas or root beer floats to be odd. Soda with ice cream? Really? Who came up with that? But somehow the combination of a carbonated soft drink with a scoop of vanilla ice cream tasted delicious. Nowadays, it’s not very common to find root beer floats “floating” around the dessert menu, and even if I do see one, I usually tend to pick the fancied-up-gourmet dessert…after all, I am a grownup now.

I recently noticed floats were making a comeback, however, soda has been replaced with beer. Now, I know beer floats are not a new thing, but I noticed that bars and restaurants have not only added them to menus, but have added their own interpretations. Curious about the different options of beer floats available; I decided to invite a couple of friends on a Friday night to try different beer floats in what we named The Beer Float Roundup.

Warning About Beer Floats

Side effects of drinking more than one beer float in one night, just like we did, might include a two-hour sugar rush that will make you burst into singing and dancing on the streets.

First Stop: Ritual Kitchen and Beer Garden

A Stone Stochasticity Project ‘Quadro Triticale’ with strawberry banana ice cream.

This North Park gem offers a good selection of craft beers and a tasty food menu.

The Float

Beer floats can be found in the dessert section with the option to combine any beer on tap with their daily selection of house made ice creams. I picked the strawberry banana ice cream with the Stone Stochasticity Project ‘Quadro Triticale’, a Belgian-style beer with wheat and rye. Garnished with cranberries and presented in a tall glass with the beer and ice cream blended, this float looked exactly like a milkshake, but certainly did not taste like one. The result was an interesting combination of wheat and banana that I truly enjoyed.

Cost: Depends on the beer you pick, plus $4 for the ice cream.
Where: 4095 30th St., San Diego , CA 92104
> Find out more about Ritual Kitchen and Beer Garden

Second Stop: Belching Beaver Brewery

Belching Beaver Beer Floats

The Honey Butter with butter pecan ice cream, Me So Honey (Belching Beaver’s honey wheat ale), whip and organic honey.

Also located in North Park, along 30th Street, this local brewery offers award-winning beers like their Peanut Butter Milk Stout.

The Float

An elaborate version, referred to as Beaver Floats. With three different options I decided for the Honey Butter: butter pecan ice cream, Me So Honey (Belching Beaver’s honey wheat ale), whip cream and organic honey. The float came in a cold beer mug, with lots of whip cream, a spoon and a straw. This was not only fun to drink, but also caught the attention of everyone around.

Cost: The Beaver Floats ranged from $8 to $9
Where: 4223 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about Belching Beaver Brewery

Third Stop: Soda & Swine

Old Viscosity, the bourbon barrel-aged beer from Lost Abbey, with vanilla ice cream.

Known for their meatballs and convenient proximity to award-winning bar, Polite Provisions, this University Heights food spot offers apple pie and a wide selection of soda pops.

The Float

Make any of their daily draft beers into a float. Soda & Swine had five beers on tap and three different flavors of ice cream to choose from: vanilla, chocolate and twist. The waiter recommended trying the vanilla ice cream with Old Viscosity, the bourbon barrel-aged beer from Lost Abbey. The presentation was the most traditional of all. The ice cream, which by itself was flavorful, came in a traditional ice cream glass with the beer on the side. Even though I am a big fan of bourbon, the after taste of the bourbon gave the float a peculiar flavor.

Cost: Depends on the beer you pick, plus $1 for the ice cream.
Where: 2943 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
> Find out more about Soda & Swine

Interesting Fact

Around 1870, soda floats were a rave, unfortunately at the time it was illegal to drink soda on Sundays. Soda fountains had to figure out a way to make a profit, so they started to serve ice cream, creating the term “Sundaes”.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – July 15-20, 2014

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

From movies by the pool to spectacular opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack hats to amazing sandcastles to a parade full of pride, there is a ton of family fun to be had this weekend in San Diego with all of these top things to do.

Dive-In Movies

Dive-In Movies - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Relax and cool off in a pool with a classic movie

Relax and cool off after a warm day exploring San Diego by hanging out in a pool and catching a classic movie on a big screen:

> Browse more free outdoor summer movies

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Don your favorite hat and join in the revelry at the Del Mar Racing Season’s Opening Day

And they’re off! Hundreds of fashion-minded guests participate in Del Mar’s illustrious “One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest.” A parade of eye-popping creations, this celebration is an annual tradition that gets the nod from spectators and fashionistas alike.

Where: Del Mar Racetrack – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: July 17, 2014
Time: 11:30 AM to 7:00 PM
Cost: $10-$20
> Find out more about Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Del Mar Racing Season
When: July 17 – September 3, 2014
> Find out more about the Del Mar Racing Season

San Diego Pride Rally, Block Party, Parade and Festival

Rainbow Flag at the San Diego Pride Parade

Celebrate diversity and the LGBT community during San Diego’s Pride’s weekend long celebration

San Diego Pride continues to bring together the skills, talents and vision of a diverse community to produce the annual LGBT Pride Celebration which attracts 250,000 participants to Hillcrest for America’s Finest Pride Parade and Festival.

> Get the all the details on the 2014 San Diego Pride Weekend

Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival

Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival

The IB Sun & Sea Festival will showcase some of the best sand creations on the West Coast

The 2014 Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival will feature world-class sandcastle sculptors creating some of the best sand creations on the West Coast as well as a community parade and pancake breakfast, live music, children’s craft activities, a Kids ‘n Kastles competition, Farmer’s Market and International Food Fair.

Where: 10 Evergreen Avenue, Imperial Beach, CA 91932
When: July 18-19, 2014
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival

Art in Bloom

Art in Bloom at the Spanish Village Art Center

Art in Bloom – Where floral designs mimic art at the Spanish Village Art Center

This 3-day event features over 40 art and floral vignettes which will stimulate your senses and delight your creativity. Each year floral designers choose from an array of original artworks to interpret in flowers. Then the artwork together with the floral creation are displayed in captivating vignettes accompanied by live music in the patio.

Where: Spanish Village Art Center – 1770 Village Pl, San Diego, CA 92101
When: July 18-20, 2014
Time: 11:00 to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Art in Bloom

Festival of the Bells

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

Celebrate the founding of the first California Mission at the Festival of the Bells

This weekend event celebrates the anniversary of Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the Mother of California’s 21 Missions, which was founded by Blessed Father Junipero Serra on July 16, 1769. The celebration includes food, entertainment, dancing and traditional activities like the Blessing of the Bells and the Blessing of the Animals. All five Mission bells are rung during the weekend festivities, including an original bell dating back to 1802.

Where: Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala – 10818 San Diego Mission Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: July 19-20, 2014
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Festival of the Bells

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below or on TwitterFacebook and Google+.

Frank

Your Guide to the 2014 San Diego Pride Weekend

Rainbow Flag at the San Diego Pride Parade

Rainbow Flag at the San Diego Pride Parade

San Diego LGBT Pride celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer with a jam-packed schedule of activities and entertainment geared for all ages. The three-day weekend attracts nearly 300,000 participants that include visitors from all over the world, as the spirit of celebration descends upon the areas of Hillcrest and Balboa Park. Among its many sponsors, Alaska Airlines is offering 10 percent discounts on flights to San Diego between July 16 and 22 from most major cities.

The Spirit of Stonewall Rally

San Diego Pride weekend kicks off with an energizing, outdoor rally that pays homage to the flash point of the modern-day LGBT movement, when patrons of New York City’s Stonewall Inn protested against police harassment on June 28, 1969. This year’s San Diego Pride rally sets the stage for a host of political speakers and LGBT activists that include transgender actress Laverne Cox of the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. She will be joined by California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria and veteran activist Nicole Murray-Ramirez. The free event also spotlights San Diego Pride’s annual award recipients, honored for their contributions to the community.

Where: Pride Flag at University Avenue and Normal Street in Hillcrest
When: July 18, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 7:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about The Spirit of Stonewall Rally

Pride of Hillcrest Block Party

Food, drinks, dancing and celebrity performances by Taryn Manning and acclaimed DJs are on tap for Pride’s third annual block party, an event for those 21 years of age and over. The festivities don’t exclude go-go dancers and VIP private cabanas.

Where: University Avenue and Normal Street in Hillcrest
When: July 18, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: $25-$1500
> Find out more about the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party

The Parade

The mile-long parade is San Diego’s largest civic event, attracting thousands of cheering sideliners and upwards of 150 colorful floats and contingents that will include members of the Armed Forces, politicians, civic organizations and an array of gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses unique to San Diego. The wildly colorful procession heads west on University Avenue and then turns south on Sixth Avenue, ending near the entrance of Pride’s two-day festival in Balboa Park. Seize your perch early because the crowds start gathering around 9:30 AM.

If you’re staying in centrally located hotels such as the Inn at the ParkAnn Callahan’s Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast, the Sommerset Suites Hotel or Balboa Park Inn, the parade site is in easy walking distance. If driving, free parking lots and shuttle service to the area are available at the Old Naval Hospital (Park Boulevard and President’s Way) and San Diego City College (1313 Park Blvd.)

Starting Point: University Ave. and Normal Street, San Diego, CA 92103
When: July 19, 2014
Starting Time: 11:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Pride Parade

The Festival

San Diego Pride’s two-day festival spans across grassy areas shaded by eucalyptus trees in Balboa Park’s Marston Point area. The idyllic venue will make way for hundreds of exhibits, including a “Destination Station” by NASA, as well as food vendors, beer gardens and 10 performance stages. Fueling the main stage this year are headline performers such as Canadian R&B singer-songwriter Deborah Cox; house music producer Robbie Rivera; and Australian songwriter tyDi.

Other festival highlights include: “My Big Gay Wedding Expo” presented by leading wedding-industry experts; a youth zone; a children’s garden; a “bear country” saloon; a wine grotto and more.

Where: 6th Ave & Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92103
When: July 19-20, 2014
Cost: Both Days – $20. Children 15 and Under – Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Pride Festival

Tips and info regarding San Diego Pride weekend

  • Bring sunscreen because the parade and festival rarely occur under cloudy skies.
  • A majority of bars and restaurants along University and Sixth Avenues open early the day of the parade.
  • The Spirit of Stonewall Rally and mile-long parade are free events.
  • Depending from where you view the parade, walking to the festival takes between 5 and 30 minutes.
  • Backpacks are subject to searches when entering the festival; alcohol, firearms and glass containers are not permitted.
  • Service animals are permitted inside the festival grounds; pets are not.
  • ATMs are available near the festival entrance.
  • Parking is extremely limited throughout Hillcrest during parade and festival. It’s best to use the free parking lots and shuttles at the Old Naval Hospital and San Diego City College, as mentioned above.
Sarah Weinberg

Summer Camps…Where the San Diego Living’s Easy

As a working mom, I do want to spend lots of quality time with my kids when we’re on a family vacation, but I’ve found that adding half-day summer camps for the kids to a vacation itinerary when you visit San Diego can be a win-win for the entire family. Kids gets the chance to try out a new watersport, do stimulating science experiments or spend the day at an amusement park, and mom and dad get some time off, taking a break from parental duties to get in a yoga class or a long walk on the beach together. A morning half-day camp can make an afternoon of family time together more enjoyable. Most all of these summer camps have full day and early drop off/late pick up options as well.

Taking it to the Beach

Kid campers at the Watersports Camp on Mission Bay enjoy activities from sailing to surfing and more.

Kid campers at the Watersports Camp on Mission Bay enjoy activities from sailing to surfing and more.

There’s a crazy amount of watersports available in San Diego. The Watersports Camp in Mission Bay, a partnership of the YMCA and two local universities, has a great range of programs that enable your child to pick one watersport to master over the week’s sessions, or there’s a multi-sport camp option that teaches the camper the basics of surfing, sailing, kayaking, waterskiing, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), wake boarding and more – a different sport each day from 8:00 to 11:00 AM. My daughter is adventurous and went for the kayaking but my son preferred the marine science camp. They were both tired, happy, and had made new friends when I picked them up at 11:30 to start the family part of our vacation day.

Where: Mission Bay Aquatic Center – 1001 Santa Clara Point, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about The WaterSports Camp

Park it at a Museum Camp

Balboa Park Summer Camps

Girls Gone Mad Scientist! The Reuben H Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park has an amazing array of camps for kids of all ages.

If your kids are getting enough beach time on the vacation but perhaps need intellectual and artistic stimulation, send them to Balboa Park. This iconic gem of a park is my favorite place to spend the day in San Diego. There truly is an interest for everyone in the park. My 9-year-old’s all-time favorite camp was at the Reuben H Fleet Science Center. It is one of more than a dozen museum camps in the park offering hands-on camps for children, covering subjects from ballet to art to chess to rocket building. Each participating museum has a pretty amazing program of full- and half-day camps for K-8, and some of the sessions in the park, such as the Museum of Photographic Arts, offer instruction for teens (through 12th grade). Most of these half-day camps run 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and many have full-day options. Balboa Park museum camps offer a chance for parents to drop off the kids, explore the park and get an in-depth look at a museum exhibit on one’s own (or just time to go back to the hotel for a vacation nap).

> Find out more about all the different summer camps in Balboa Park

Lights! Camera! Film Camp!

Youth Media and Tech Camp Courtesy Digital Gym

Learn the art of filmmaking and more during one of the Digital Gym’s summer camps

If Junior doesn’t want to learn to surf and is not excited by the museum camps, The Digital Gym‘s Summer Youth Media and Tech Camp might be just up his/her alley. These film-making camps are available for 7-14 year olds, with a Saturday camp for teens called the “Teen Producers Project.” The weekly camp options include opportunities for original projects and new creative challenges including learning how to write, storyboard, shoot, edit, and score a project. The camp allows the students to use everything the Digital Gym offers, including cameras, the production studio, and software like iMovie, iStopMotion, and Garageband. Every week-long camp ends with a screening and exhibition for family and friends. Camp runs from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday-Friday.

Where: 2921 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104
> Find out more about the Digital Gym’s Youth Media & Tech Camps

Flow Ride, Take It Easy…With This Summer Camp

Learning to surf the Flow Ride Wave Machine at Belmont Park is just one of the fun activities in this summer day camp on the beach.

Learning to surf the Flow Ride Wave Machine at Belmont Park is just one of the fun activities in this summer day camp on the beach.

I don’t know if you can technically call Belmont Park‘s Flow Camp a summer camp. Is a day at a beach-side amusement park playing arcade games, riding a historic roller coaster, competing in a sand castle contest, playing laser tag, riding bumper cars, rock climbing, and topped off with learning to surf or body board on a flow rider wave machine considered a camp or Heaven on Earth for the 6-13 year olds who get to attend this weekly camp Monday-Friday from 9:00 to 4:00 AM?

Where: 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego CA, 92109
> Find out more about Belmont Park’s FlowRide Camp

Where the Turf Meets the Surf

Del Mar Camp kids waiting to start the hippty hop race on the track get high-fived from a jockey.

Del Mar Camp kids waiting to start the hippty hop race on the track get high-fived from a jockey.

If mom and dad like to play the ponies but feel a bit guilty about gambling while on a family vacation, Camp Del Mar at the Del Mar Racetrack is the answer. No need to pre-register for this drop-in day camp that offers onsite activities such as animal themed crafts, miniature golf, an inflatable jumper, air hockey, various tournaments, and my daughter’s favorite event, hippity hop race on the thoroughbred racetrack! All while mom and dad are close by placing bets and sipping Del-Margaritas. At this camp you could win enough to pay for your San Diego vacation. The offerings change daily and the camp is available for ages 5-12. The $24 fee includes lunch, snacks, and a Camp Del Mar t-shirt.

Where: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
> Find out more about Camp Del Mar

San Diego’s major attractions like LEGOLAND California, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, and SeaWorld all offer day camps as well.

> Discover more fun with our San Diego Summer Guide

Sandra

Upscale Boutiques are at Their Finest in San Diego

Azzurra Capri

Even though San Diego is known for its laid back and comfortable style, the region is home to plenty of upscale, luxury boutiques that will satisfy even the pickiest fashionista.

Gerhard Boutique

Gerhard Boutique

Gerhard’s customers say that this boutique is “like shopping in New York without the hassle”

Some of the prominent boutiques that cater to posh-style shopping needs are Gerhard Boutique in the Design District of Solana Beach. Gerhard’s customers say that this boutique is “like shopping in New York without the hassle.” With a strategic customer based clientele, Gerhard carries a well thought out, high-end inventory. The minimally designed space allows for an easy overall shopping experience. Carrying designers such as Narciso Rodriguez, Stella McCartney, and the gorgeous cashmere items by Casmari you won’t be disappointed with the selection. Be sure to check out the one-of-a-kind designer sunglasses by Salt.

Where: 143 South Cedros, Ste. J., Solana Beach, CA 92075
> Find out more about Gerhard Boutique

Laura Gambucci

Laura Gambucci Boutique

Laura Gambucci Boutique is a one-stop-shopping experience for all of the fashion jet-setters out there

Just south from Cedros, located in the village of LaJolla, is Laura Gambucci. This boutique provides a one-stop-shopping experience for all of the fashion jet-setters out there. Think of everything from unique layering pieces to great date night ensembles. Laura Gambucci carries sought-after designer pieces from Barbara Bui, and French designers such as Emanual Ungaro, and Jean Paul Gaultier. The boutique also collaborates with the jewelry designers of Erickson Beamon creating exclusive pieces just for this boutique. Be sure to check out their refined leather handbags, on-trend hats, and extraordinary collection of shoes. This boutique is high-end heaven.

Where: 7629 Girard Ave., Ste. C-3, La Jolla, CA 92037

Chateau Bel Age Boutique

Chateau Bel Age Boutique

Chateau Bel Age Boutique is like shopping in an elegant French women’s personal closet

Situated on a chic shopping street in Mission Hills, Chateau Bel Age Boutique is like shopping in an elegant French women’s personal closet. With an electric array of uptown-smart ensembles for day to elegant evening dresses for night, this boutique exudes luxury. Be sure to look in every case to see the noteworthy jewelry and accessories. They are known for carrying exclusive pieces made just for the Chateau and with designer brands such as Cop. Copine out of France and Joseph Ribkoff, it won’t be hard to add some new sophisticated pieces to your high-end wardrobe. Don’t leave without purchasing one of the fabulous caftans designed by local designer Jennafer Grace.

Where: 1578 West Lewis St.
> Find out more about Chateau Bel Age Boutique

Azzurra Capri

Azzurra Capri

This luxury brand flagship boutique carries exquisite Italian hand-made leather sandals

San Diego is excited to have the new boutique in the quaint area of Little Italy aptly named Azzurra Capri. This luxury brand flagship boutique carries exquisite Italian hand-made leather sandals, created by top-notch Italian craftsmen using the finest Italian leather. Each unique sandal is adorned with their trademark Swarovski crystals, making your feet be the stand-out item. This is one way to get that classic Jackie “O” look. In addition to the exquisite sandals, this boutique carries imported resort wear from Italy & France and showcases Terracotta New York silk scarves and jewelry by Ocnarf Sairutsa and Hokise. This is a must-see boutique.

Where: 1840 Columbia St., San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Azzurra Capri

> Find more retail therapy in San Diego

Where do you go to splurge on fashion in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below.