Ann Wycoff

Bliss on a Budget – 5 Affordable Spas in San Diego

Karma - Affordable Spas in San Diego
Karma - Affordable Spas in San Diego

Rejuvenate and relax while not breaking the bank at one of these affordable spas in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Karma Spa and Ed Alfaro

A spa experience is no longer considered just an indulgent day of pampering, as taking the time to de-stress and calm the body and mind has myriad health and wellness benefits. While not everyone can afford the high prices at many luxurious destination spas and hotels, San Diego has some reasonably priced gems tucked throughout town, where a little relaxation and rejuvenation doesn’t have to break the bank.

Happy Buddha

Off Convoy Street in Kearney Mesa, Happy Buddha specializes in Chinese reflexology. Eight comfy maroon recliners welcome guests to sit back and relax. After soaking your feet in hot water infused with Chinese herbs and enjoying a head, neck and back massage for 20 minutes, each foot receives 20 heavenly minutes of reflexology, believed stimulate elimination, improve circulation and support the immune system. All for $29.99. Afterward, drift next door to the famous Dumpling Inn for authentic northern Chinese fare.

Where: 4619 Convoy St., Suite E, San Diego, CA 92111
> Find out more about Happy Buddha

Massage Thai Way

At Massage Thai Way in Linda Vista and Mission Valley, an authentic 60-minute Thai massage only costs $45. White curtains separate long firm mattresses where expert Thai therapists perform deep massage and stretching techniques to elongate the body, improve posture, open up energy blockage and improve circulation.

Where:
Linda Vista – 2354 Ulric St Ste A, San Diego, CA 92111
Mission Valley – 6690 Mission Gorge Rd, Suite P, San Diego CA, 92120
> Find out more about Massage Thai Way

Karma Spa

Karma Spa has two locations, one in Hillcrest, the other in Carlsbad.  These pretty spas, which incorporate colorful lighting and soothing water features, offer an excellent menu of deluxe treatments such as hot stone and couples massage, French facials, infrared sauna therapy and ionic detoxing footbaths. Brow waxing runs only $10 and their Foot and Body Fusion Massage is a mere $36. The friendly therapists are well-trained and the prices are more than fair, making it possible for many people to reap the benefits of a spa day.

Where:
Hillcrest – 3969 1st Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Carlsbad – 
2614 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA. 92008
> Find out more about Karma Spa

The Hidden Spa

In Ocean Beach, The Hidden Spa is another affordable sanctuary with some of the best deals on skin care in the city. Their European Facial, performed by skillful estheticians, involves a deep cleanse, exfoliation, gentle extractions, massage, aromatherapy, and mask, which costs only $60. Their mini-facial, a 30-minute skin refresher and hydration treatment is $40.

Where: 4969 Santa Monica Ave, San Diego CA 92107
> Find out more about the Hidden Spa

Massage Envy

While Massage Envy are membership spas, they can be found all over the country, so it’s worth joining if you can commit to a monthly massage. These no-frills franchises are clean, home to good therapists and make it possible to get a solid one-hour massage for $59 and under.

> Find out more about Massage Envy

> Rejuvenate the Body and Soul at San Diego Spas

Please note: Spa prices are as of May 2015.

Posted in Uncategorized
Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – April 28 – May 3, 2015

San Diego is the place to be this weekend! Check out this amazing list of top things to do with events from Mexico to Carlsbad and everything in between!

Filmatic Festival

The 2nd Annual Filmatic Festival takes adventurous digital media lovers on a 4 day journey of exploration through digital films, sonic and 3D events, gaming exhibitions, interactive performances, workshops, and so much more! Curated by respected digital media experts and thought leaders, the Filmatic Festival redefines and transforms traditional passive film-going attendance into fun, active, immersive and inspiring experiences.

Where: UC San Diego – 9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093
When: April 30 – May 2, 2015
Cost: $12-$125
> Find out more about the Filmatic Festival

Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo

Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo 2015

Don’t miss the 32nd annual Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo 2015, a San Diego tradition since 1983. This celebration in Old Town is the largest event of its kind in Southern California. Three days of music, food and fun including 3 live music stages, a cantina garden, LowRider car show, historical demonstrations, equestrian performances, and more.

Where: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
When: May 2-3, 2015
> Find out more about Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo

SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival

SeaWorld's Seven Seas Food Festival

Explore and celebrate a world of flavor at SeaWorld San Diego’s Seven Seas Food Festival. Local craft beer and California wine are perfectly paired with fresh and bold culinary creations, which will feature local, sustainable ingredients and unique signature flavors from around the world. Nearly a dozen culinary stations will focus on seven different destinations from around the world: California, France, Latin America, Asian Street Food, Mediterranean, India and the Caribbean.

Where: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
When: Weekends – May 2-24, 2015
Cost: Included with Admission. Tastings available for purchase
> Find out more about SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival

Beach Soccer Jam

Beach Soccer Jam - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Beach Soccer Jam is a Faster, Hotter Version of the World’s most Popular Sport filled with Entertainment. Come enjoy the excitement including Beach Soccer, Brazilian Samba and Capoeira dancers, Cinco de Mayo Celebration, some of San Diego’s best Entertainment DJs and a Beer Garden.

Where: Fiesta Island – 1550 Fiesta Island Road, San Diego, CA 92109
When: May 2-3, 2015
Time: 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM
Cost: General Admission – Free. Team Registration – $550
> Find out more about Beach Soccer Jam

In Bloom Market

San Diego Made In Bloom Market

This exciting shopping and culture event will feature handmade goods by more than 40 local artists and craftsman, food trucks, spring-inspired craft cocktails and large-scale floral installations. Patrons can mingle in the enchanted garden lounge decorated with vintage furniture donated by Pow Wow, and hang out inside an interactive Teepee by Lester Corral of Fornature Designs. Live music performances by Adam Townsend, Rachel Aldous and the Road Home Band, Ruby Cloud, David Alan, Stage4Entertainment, and more. The first 75 people who arrive each day will receive a free grab bag with items donated by San Diego Made vendors.

Where: UNION – Barrio Logan – 2191 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92113
When: May 2-3, 2015
Cost: Free
> Find out more about In Bloom Market

Tacos and Tequila Festival

Tacos and Tequila Festival

Tacos and Tequila festival in a fun interactive event celebrating the best margaritas and tacos in San Diego. Ten of the best mixologists in town will be serving complimentary samples of their signature margaritas, guest vote for their favorites. Ten of the best restaurants will be serving complimentary signature tacos. Guests get two voting cards to pick their top choices. Winning restaurant will get the golden taco award.

Where: SILO in Makers Quarter – 753 15th Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 2, 2015
Time: 2:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: $35-$45
> Find out more about Tacos and Tequila Festival

Flagship’s 100th Anniversary Party

Flagship's 100th Anniversary Party

In celebration of a century on San Diego Bay, Flagship Cruises & Events will host a 100th anniversary party. Guests will enjoy food, drinks and fun aboard Flagship’s fleet of luxury yachts, docked along the recently remodeled Embarcadero. Highlights include live music, complimentary appetizers, local craft beer and wine for sample and purchase, local olive oil tastings, kids entertainment, and free rides on the Patriot Jet Boat!

Where: 990 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: May 2, 2015
Time: 2:00 to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Flagship’s 100th Anniversary Party

Uncorked Wine Walk and Concert

Uncorked Wine Walk and Concert

Enjoy a self-guided wine walk to 4 wine gardens throughout Westfield UTC. Savor some of Temecula Valley’s finest vintages while tasting bites from Westfield UTC’s finest restaurants. Enjoy live acoustic performances from top local Plaza Unplugged artists.

Where: Westfield UTC – 4545 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122
When: May 2, 2015
Time: 4:00 to 7:00 PM
Cost: $20-$30
> Find out more about Uncorked Wine Walk and Concert

Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Carlsbad Village Faire San Diego 2013

Families will find plenty to do at the Carlsbad Village Faire

Just like at past fairs, over 900 vendors will sell everything fathomable, including clothes, accessories, plants, household products, art, antiques and home decor. The international food court will once again feature more than 50 booths serving everything from Thai to Hawaiian cuisine. The children’s area will entertain youngsters with games, a super slide, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, face painting and arts and crafts. The Rotary Club of Carlsbad’s beer and wine garden will entertain fairgoers with a large screen TV and live bands.

Where: Carlsbad Blvd & Grand Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: May 3, 2015
Time: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Carlsbad Spring Village Faire

Chef Celebration San Diego

Chef Celebration San Diego

Join Stone Brewing Liberty Station in their gardens for a delicious celebration of great food and beer! You’ll enjoy 14 small-bite courses created by each of the 14 local chefs from outstanding eateries, and each course will be paired with a craft beer hand-picked by “Dr.” Bill Sysak! And the best part is that in addition to enjoying a sumptuous repast, you’ll be helping to raise money for a special scholarship fund. Cuisine for a cause!

Where: Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens – Liberty Station – 2816 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
When: May 3, 2015
Time: 12:00 to 3:00 PM
Cost: $49
> Find out more about Chef Celebration San Diego

More Top Things to Do

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

Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 31 – April 5, 2015

Easter in San Diego

San Diego is the place to be this weekend with plenty of Easter fun, family friendly festivals, live theatre, beautiful weather and more top things to do.

Easter Events in San Diego

Easter in San Diego

Easter Egg Hunts, Brunch, Train Rides and More

Hop on down with the whole family for an amazing Easter Weekend in San Diego. Fill up your basket of fun with everything from egg hunts on the beach to delectable Easter brunches to colorful wildflowers to a train ride with the Easter Bunny himself.

> Browse Easter Events in San Diego

Theatre on Tap – My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady - Cygnet Theatre - Top Things to Do

Join Cygnet and Helm’s Brewing Company for Theatre on Tap! Enjoy a pre-show beer tasting, and mix and mingle with other craft beer lovers. The complimentary tasting begins at 7:00 PM, followed by an 8:00 PM performance.

Where: Cygnet Theatre – 4040 Twiggs St, San Diego, CA 92110
When: April 3, 2015
Time: 7:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Starting at $42
> Find out more about Theatre on Tap – My Fair Lady

Buyer & Cellar

Buyer & Cellar - Old Globe Theatre

What’s a renowned diva to do with decades of memories that light the corners of her mind? And where to put the acres of memorabilia bursting the seams of her Malibu estate? If you’re Barbra Streisand, you enshrine them in a mini-mall in your basement where you can pretend to go shopping! Out-of-work actor Alex More can’t pass up the oddest of odd jobs – an offer to play shopkeeper for one tough customer who doesn’t let anyone rain on her parade. Soon it begins to take a toll on his patience, his love life, and his view of people (who need people).

Where: Old Globe Theatre – 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: April 4 – May 3, 2015
Cost: Tickets start at $29
> Find out more about Buyer & Cellar

Filipino Sun Festival

The 2nd Annual Filipino Sun Festival will be celebrating and sharing Filipino American culture with a cultural pavilion, culinary food demos, live art, dance competitions, delicious food, easter egg hunts, a beer garden and more.

Where: Mira Mesa Park – 8575 New Salem St, San Diego, CA 92126
When: April 4, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Filipino Sun Festival

Valley Center Food Truck Festival

Valley Center Gourmet Food Truck Festival - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Sample many of San Diego’s best food trucks in one place at the Valley Center Food Truck Festival

Food Truck Nation America and Bates Nut Farm are bringing back many of Southern California’s most popular gourmet food trucks for the annual Spring Festival. As always, there will be unique and delicious food, vendors, entertainment and family fun. A variety of international cuisine will be offered; guests will have a hard time deciding between Sushi, German, Gourmet Burgers, BBQ, Hungarian, Polish or American Comfort Food, as well as decadent desserts. Live music, a beer garden and children’s activities round out this day in the country.

Where: Bates Nut Farm – 16954 Woods Valley Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082
When: April 4, 2015
Time: 12:00 to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free Admission
> Find out more about the Valley Center Food Truck Festival

37th Annual Cultural Celebration – Oh The Places You’ll Go

37th Annual Cultural Celebration - Oh The Places You'll Go

Celebrate cultural diversity through food, dance, music, and art from around the world! Join us to experience one of the largest and longest standing traditions at UC San Diego on the Marshall College campus. There will also be a Children’s Village with hands-on activities, bounce house, rock wall and more.

Where: Thurgood Marshalls Crossroads, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: April 4, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 37th Annual Cultural Celebration – Oh The Places You’ll Go

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

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

Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Robert Arends

Rock Out – Rock Climbing in Mission Valley and Beyond!

Nope, we’re not talking rock concerts, but rather rock climbing! Located in the center of San Diego, within easy reach of most major attractions and activities, Mission Valley is the gateway to some of the best rock climbing and bouldering in Southern California.

If you’re looking for some serious face climbing (ascending a vertical rock face using finger holds and edges), scaling the best new handcrafted rock climbing wall in San Diego or just hiking to amazing photo-worthy rock formations (bring your camera!), Mission Valley and environs has something for everyone.

Following are a few standouts:

Grotto Climbing & Yoga

Mission Valley's new Grotto Rock Climbing & Yoga

Mission Valley’s cool new Grotto Climbing & Yoga

The new Grotto Climbing & Yoga is perfect for all experience levels (translation: you don’t need to be a pro). This urban rock climber’s dream features a massive 7,000-square-foot climbing/bouldering wall with 13,000 handmade holds that mimics San Diego’s rocky climbing trails. This is the spot to hone your rock climbing skills before heading into our great outdoors. Afterward, relax your weary muscles and Zen out in their studio offering 11 types of yoga classes.

Check out this cool time-lapse video of the action at Grotto Climbing!

Mission Trails Regional Park’s Mission Gorge

Climber's Loop Trail along Mission Gorge in Mission Trails Regional Park

Climber’s Loop Trail along Mission Gorge in Mission Trails Regional Park

For climbers ready to ascend real rock walls, Mission Gorge, part of Mission Trails Regional Park – one of largest urban parks in the U.S. – is San Diego’s best and oldest established climbing area, encompassing over two miles of the San Diego River. The granite slopes here are steep (40 to 80 feet high) and slick, offering a mix of crack and face climbing.

Main Climbing Wall in popular Mission Gorge

Main Climbing Wall in Mission Gorge

The one-mile Climber’s Loop Trail leads to a great mix of rock climbing areas, including a popular Main Climbing Wall, The Thumb, Skyline Pinnacle, Lunch Rock, Limbo (full of granite towers) and Middle Earth (calling all J.R.R. Tolkien fans!).

Santee Boulders

A bouldering playground at Santee Boulders!

A bouldering playground at Santee Boulders!

East of Mission Valley, the Santee Boulders is San Diego’s most popular bouldering area. (Bouldering is the practice of climbing on large boulders vs. rock cliffs 😉

Potato Chip Rock

The popular Potato Chip Rock atop Mt. Woodson Trail

The popular Potato Chip Rock atop Mt. Woodson Trail

There’s also the famous Potato Chip Rock on the Mt. Woodson Trail in Poway, which attracts shutterbugs galore. Our friends at So San Diego Tours did a great write-up on the hike up to this aptly named, narrow strip of stone.

If you’re up for a rock solid adventure in San Diego, look no further than Mission Valley and a couple popular points to the east. 🙂

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 10-15, 2015

Make your friends green with envy as you rocket to San Diego for this weekend’s top things to do including plenty of sunshine, music, film, flowers, butterflies, St. Patrick’s Day and more!

2015 San Diego Latino Film Festival

The 22nd San Diego Latino Film Festival presented by Lexus, set to take place at the AMC Fashion Valley 18 at Simon Fashion Valley, 2015 Spotlight Films represents diversity on all levels, including genre, nationality represented, and the range of emotions our audience will experience.

Where: AMC Fashion Valley 18 – 7037 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: March 12-22, 2015
> Find out more about the 2015 San Diego Latino Film Festival

CRSSD Festival

CRSSD Festival - Top Things to Do in San Diego

CRSSD Festival is a two-day electronic music festival at the 12 acre San Diego Waterfront Park featuring three stages and 36+ performers. In addition to the music, the festival will offer craft beer, mixed drinks, food, and a VIP area.

Where: San Diego County Waterfront Park – 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 14-15, 2015
Cost: $75-$145
> Find out more about the CRSSD Festival

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Gather up your favorite lads and lasses and celebrate the one day a year where everyone’s Irish. San Diego offers parades and celebrations suitable for the family and your little leprechauns, and late night parties and pub crawls with ever-flowing green beer for the grown-ups.

> Browse San Diego’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Butterfly Jungle

Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Meet a few of the over 10,000 butterflies in the Butterfly Jungle

More than 10,000 beautiful butterflies flit, float, and flutter around you in this spectacular spring fling event at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Each spring the Safari Park’s Hidden Jungle exhibit is filled with amazing and delightful exotic butterflies of all colors and sizes, and guests can walk among them, take photos, and enjoy pointing out different species using our butterfly identification guide.

Where: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92027
When: March 14 – April 12, 2015
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Butterfly Jungle

Spring Garden Festival and Tomatomania

San Diego Botanic Garden's Spring Garden Festival and Tomatomania

Don’t miss the Garden’s new Spring Garden Festival and Tomatomania!® featuring a wide variety of herbs, spring plants, bromeliads, garden art and implements and of course tomatoes! Garden experts will be on hand to answer questions and provide helpful advice on spring plantings and caring for your entire garden. Terrific food will be available from Divine Fresh and musical entertainment from Bob Ballentine and friends. Be sure not to miss our petting zoo and pony rides. Bring out the whole family!

Where: San Diego Botanic Garden – 230 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA 92024
When: March 14-15, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about the Spring Garden Festival and Tomatomania

> Marvel at San Diego’s Spring Flower Fields & Displays

Nixon in China by John Adams

San Diego Opera's Nixon in China

From serious political discussions to a toast-filled banquet scene where every toast tries to outdo another, with Chinese dancers and a fantasy scene with Kissinger, Nixon in China explores a heroic gesture by a sitting American President towards a burgeoning world power. Join us for a whirlwind diplomatic trip which changed history and an opera that has risen to the top rank of 20th century American operas and is arguably one of the most influential of the last few decades.

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 14-22, 2015
Cost: $45-$290
> Find out more about Nixon in China by John Adams

National City Mariachi Festival and Competition

National City Mariachi Festival and Competition

The Mariachi Festival and Competition will highlight mariachi music in the schools, showcasing Mariachi student groups from throughout the United States and Mexico. In addition to offering a wholesome community friendly event, the festival provides entertainment for families to come together and celebrate San Diego’s heritage through mariachi music and traditional ballet folklorico dancing.

Where: Pepper Park – 3299 Tidelands Avenue, National City, CA 91950
When: March 14, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the National City Mariachi Festival and Competition

Balboa Park STEAM Family Day

Balboa Park Science Family Day - Paper Airplane Festival

Learn how to make a paper airplane and more at the Balboa Park STEAM Family Day

As the first major event for families on the 2015 Centennial Celebration calendar, Balboa Park STEAM Family Day brings a world of discovery to children of all ages. Over two dozen cultural organizations will put the fun into STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math – through hands-on activities, crafts, demonstrations, special exhibitions, and more.

Where: Balboa Park
When: March 15, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: Free. Museum Admission – Kids 12 and Under Free with Adult Admission
> Find out more about the Balboa Park STEAM Family Day

Book Your Stay in San Diego - Discover Unpublished Rates

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

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

Top Things to Do Weekend Forecast

Candice

Discover the Hidden Gems of Mission Valley

Mission Basilica de Alcala

Mission Valley is frequented by San Diego locals, but even most locals have yet to discover the hidden cultural gems of this neighborhood. Check out a few of these spots, and impress a native San Diegan with your knowledge of a neighborhood best known for shopping!

Discover the Arts and Culture of Mission Valley

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Get Up Close to San Diego History

For history buffs, Mission Valley is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

  • The area is called Mission Valley for a reason: this is where you’ll find Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, the first Franciscan mission in California.
  • Step back in time at Old Town San Diego. The State Historic Park was the site of California’s first permanent settlement showcases what daily life was like for the earliest settlers.
  • To return to San Diego’s truly native history, visit Mission Trails Regional Park, where artifacts from the Kumeyaay Indians can be found in the Visitors Center as well as on their hiking trails.
Mission Basilica de Alcala

Explore the rich cultural and natural history of Mission Valley by starting at the Mission Basilica de Alcalá.

Entertainment in the Valley

Visitors to Mission Valley some unique options when it comes to entertainment on stage and screen.

  • Located in Old Town, the Cygnet Theater offers an eclectic array of theatrical performances throughout the year.
  • Every March, the San Diego Latino Film Festival takes over the UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center to showcase the best in films from Latino artists.
  • Even Mission Trails offers its own take on live entertainment, with concerts held throughout the year at the park’s outdoor amphitheater.

> Explore More of San Diego – Nine Arts Districts, One Vibrant City

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 23-28, 2014

Hopefully you are lucky enough to spend the Christmas weekend in San Diego enjoying the warm weather, plenty of college football, and these top things to do:

Holiday Happenings

Skating by the Sea at the Hotel del Coronado

Skating by the Sea at The Del!

From beach-front ice skating rinks to concerts, ballets, theater and endless holiday shopping, we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

> Discover Holiday Excitement in San Diego

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Aztecs - Poinsettia Bowl

Will the hometown Aztecs take home the Poinsettia Bowl championship?

Following a 42-40 victory Friday over South Alabama, the Naval Academy officially accepted an invitation to play in the 10th annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The Midshipmen will face San Diego State University Aztecs. This will be Navy’s fifth trip to San Diego for a bowl game and the Mids’ fourth appearance in the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl.

Where: Qualcomm Stadium – 9449 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: December 23, 2014
Kickoff: 6:30 PM
Cost: $45-$175.50
> Find out more about the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

2014 Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Marvel at America’s largest balloon parade along the Embarcadero

The scenic, bayside streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the 2014 Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade – a National University Holiday Bowl Production. As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons-more than any other parade!

Where: San Diego Embarcadero
When: December 26, 2014
Time: 3:00 to 4:30 PM
Cost: Free. Grandstand Seats – $20
> Find out more about the 2014 Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

National University Holiday Bowl

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

The University of Southern California Trojans and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have accepted invitations to play in the 37th annual National University Holiday Bowl. It marks the first appearance in the San Diego bowl game for the Trojans and fourth appearance for the Cornhuskers.

Where: Qualcomm Stadium – 9449 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: December 27, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $65-$140
> Find out more about the National University Holiday Bowl

Pajama Jam: New Year’s Family Night Out

New Children's Museum Pajama Jam

Jump into your jammies and celebrate an early New Year’s Eve with the little ones! They’ll have delicious dinner, New Year’s-themed art activities, games, music and a countdown balloon drop! Adults will enjoy a hosted bar and the opportunity to bid on prizes in a silent auction.

Where: The New Children’s Museum – 200 W Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 27, 2014
Time: 5:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: $20-$35
> Find out more about the Pajama Jam: New Year’s Family Night Out

Mannheim Steamroller 30th Anniv. Christmas Tour

Mannheim Steamroller 30th Anniv. Christmas Tour

Mannheim Steamroller is celebrating 30 years with a festive Christmas Tour

This is a very special year for Mannheim Steamroller. They’re celebrating 30 years since the release of Chip’s first Christmas record – and 30 years of having the privilege of sharing the Christmas season with you! It’s also the 40th Anniversary of Chip’s very first Fresh Aire record. So make sure you join them during this Extraordin-AIRE-y Mannheim Steamroller 30/40 year!

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 28, 2014
Time: 7:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $35-$97.50
> Find out more about the Mannheim Steamroller 30th Anniv. Christmas Tour

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

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

Guest Blogger

Amazing San Diego Theater for this Holiday Yuletide Season

From family classics to a Disney musical, as well as some local holiday traditions, there is something for everyone at San Diego theaters this yuletide season.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The La Jolla Playhouse is staging the Disney-produced, U.S. premiere of the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame, featuring the Disney film score by the high-powered team of composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. The San Diego choir SACRA/PROFANA will serve as the show’s onstage chorus. There are massive bells and grand sets to recreate Paris” Cathedral of Notre Dame, where the deformed Quasimodo lives in the bell tower but descends to the streets to become an unlikely hero. Based on Victor Hugo”s 1831 classic, the musical retains many of the novel’s darker themes, but the top-notch performances make it a highly entertaining night at the theater. Catch it before it goes to Broadway!

Where: La Jolla Playhouse – 2910 La Jolla Village Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: Through December 14, 2014
Cost: Starting at $99
> Find out more about The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Second City”s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue

If Hunchback puts you in a dark and stormy mood, check out The Second City”s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue on one of the La Jolla Playhouse’s nearby stages. For what promises to be a hilarious night, the famed Chicago-based improv and comedy troupe performs original songs, sketches and improv.

Where: La Jolla Playhouse – 2910 La Jolla Village Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: November 28 – December 21, 2014
Cost: Starting at $15
> Find out more about The Second City”s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue

Charles Dickens” A Christmas Carol

Scrooge - A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play at Cygent Theatre

Hear and See Scrooge come alive on the “radio” at this San Diego Holiday theatre classic

Cygnet Theatre in Old Town re-imagines Charles Dickens” A Christmas Carol as a musical. Set on a Victorian stage, there’s an original score, perhaps with melodic “humbugs” from a singing Scrooge? Worth finding out, especially since the production also includes amazing puppetry and live Foley sound effects visible on stage. It”s not hard to imagine how they”ll create the rattling chain sounds of Marley’s Ghost, but don’t you want to see what clever contraption will sound like falling snow or the sounds of London? Find out by heading over to Cygnet this holiday season.

Where: Cygnet Theatre – 4040 Twiggs St, San Diego, CA 92110
When: November 28 – December 28, 2014
Cost: $29-$69
> Find out more about Charles Dickens” A Christmas Carol”

An American Christmas

Step back online casino in time 100 years for an old fashion Christmas at the Hotel del Coronado

A San Diego theater tradition happens every year at the Hotel Del Coronado, courtesy of Lamb”s Players Theatre. Walking into the gorgeous Grand Ballroom at the historic Hotel Del, you”ll be transported to 1914 where costumed players will dance, sing, and tell stories as you enjoy a 5-course holiday meal. Put on your best holiday attire and enjoy one of the most festive parties in town.

Where: Hotel del Coronado – 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92120
When: December 15-27, 2014
Cost: $128-$160
> Find out more about An American Christmas

Festival of Christmas: Northern Lights

Festival of Christmas is a show the entire family will enjoy packed with great music of the Season, both old and new

Lamb”s is also staging Festival of Christmas: Northern Lights, a holiday drama for the entire family. The play tells the story of three generations who adjust their traditional holiday plans after the pipes burst at the family home. Surprise guests, family discoveries, and a magnificent night sky all make for one memorable Christmas.

Where: Lamb”s Players – 1142 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
When: November 29 – December 28, 2014
Cost: $22-$72
> Find out more about Festival of Christmas: Northern Lights

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker - New Village Arts Theatre

See The Nutcracker in a whole new way in this Non-Ballet Version. Photo courtesy of Daren Scott

New Village Arts in Carlsbad has the west coast premiere of The Nutcracker, the non-ballet version! Young Clara is still at the center of this drama and she’s still trying to save Christmas but she won’t be doing it on pointe. This modern adaptation is a family drama that includes magic, original songs and a bit of spectacle.

Where: New Village Arts Theatre – 2787 State Street, Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: November 29 – December 31, 2014
Cost: $20-$46
> Find out more about The Nutcracker

Dr. Suess” How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Dr. Suess

Even the Grinch can”t take away the early holiday spirit. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

And lastly, the meanest and greenest of San Diego theater holiday traditions, there”s Dr. Suess” How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. Based on the classic Dr. Suess book, this annual production of holiday cheer and whimsy is not to be missed. Kids love it, but the banter is so witty adults will enjoy it too. Plus, the sets and costumes of Whoville, not to mention the Grinch himself, are a wonder. Don”t forget to bring your camera for a family portrait in front of the Dr. Seuss Christmas tree in the Old Globe’s plaza.

Where: The Old Globe – 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego, CA 92101
When: November 15 – December 27, 2014
Cost: Tickets start at $32
> Find out more about Dr. Suess” How the Grinch Stole Christmas

> Enjoy More Live San Diego Theater This Holiday Season

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – November 11-16, 2014

San Diego is calling you to visit this weekend enjoy plenty of outdoor adventures, golfing, shopping, spas and more including these top things to do:

Veteran’s Day

Bob Hope Memorial - San Diego's Embarcadero

San Diego honors its troops year round in with memorials throughout the county.

Since San Diego’s military history runs deep and is grateful for the sacrifice each of the members of the United States Armed Forces makes. Below are ways to honor them on Veteran’s Day (or any day of the year):

Events

Locations

> San Diego Military Museums, Memorials & More

San Diego Beer Week Continues

San Diego Beer Week - Top Things to Do in San Diego

From amazing craft beer to local dishes, San Diego Beer Week showcases why San Diego is the Capital of Craft!

Didn’t make it to the first weekend of San Diego Beer Week events? Don’t worry, there is still plenty of tap takeovers, rare releases and more through this Sunday.

> 5+ San Diego Beer Week Events You Don’t Want to Miss

> Browse the Entire San Diego Beer Week Schedule

Holiday Fun

Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - Old Globe Theatre

Even the Grinch can’t take away the early holiday spirit. Photo by Henry DiRocco.

I know, I know! Santa has not even made his way down Broadway in New York, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get into the Holiday Spirit a little early. Here are two fun holiday themed events that start this weekend:

Open Doors La Jolla

MCASD La Jolla Visitors

See La Jolla in a different way durring Open Doors. Courtesy Greg Lambert

Visitors are invited to enjoy free admission and tours at each of the 8 participating institutions that make up the historic Cultural Zone of La Jolla. This open house-style event provides guests the opportunity to learn La Jolla’s story by exploring buildings the public may not typically have a chance to see.

When: November 16, 2014
Time: 11:30 to 2:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Open Doors La Jolla

San Diego Bay Food & Wine Festival

SD Bay Wine and Food Festival - Top Things to Do

Sample over 200 wineries at various San Diego Bay Food & Wine Festival events. Photo courtesy of Joey Hernandez.

This year’s festival is bigger and better than ever. Celebrate 11 years in the making with new events, the best wines in the world and some of today’s biggest celebrity chefs and culinary personalities. Join over 200 wineries, breweries and spirit purveyors, 70 of San Diego’s best restaurants, and 10,000 wine and food aficionados from across the nation for the biggest wine and food celebration on the West Coast.

When: November 16-23, 2014
Cost: $45-$625
> Find out more about the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

San Diego Chargers VS. Oakland Raiders

Chargers' Quarterback Philip Rivers

Watch as Quarterback Philip Rivers drives the Chargers to a victory!

The San Diego Chargers are coming off of a slight slump and need your support. Let’s make sure the stadium is packed this Sunday with blue and white jerseys!

> Where to Grab Some Grub and Beer Before the Chargers Game

Where: Qualcomm Stadium – 9949 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
When: November 16, 2014
Cost: $52-$130
> Find out more about the San Diego Chargers VS. Oakland Raiders

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

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

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Edna Gutierrez

Dia de los Muertos Festivals and Events in San Diego

Dia de Los Muertos Altar -Courtesy Sandé Lollis

The dead are remembered with altars decorated with candles, incense, flowers (marigolds), food, drinks and personal belongings.

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them” – George Eliot

> Check out the latest Dia de Los Muertos Events Guide

Every year on November 1st and 2nd, Mexico remembers the dead by celebrating their lives. The Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday that dates back hundreds of years and honors those friends and family members who have passed away. It is believed that the spirits of loved ones who have died return to earth to reunite with friends and family, and to welcome their spirits and aid them in their journey back to earth, family members create altars with their favorite foods, drinks, personal belongings, flowers, candles and incense. Also, vigils are held, and families go to cemeteries to fix up their graves. Day of the Dead has become one of the biggest holidays in Mexico, and celebrations are becoming more common in areas of the United States with a large Hispanic population.

Celebrate life and remember the departed at one of the many lively festivals and events being held throughout San Diego.

Dia de los Muertos at La Vista Memorial Park

FDDLM memorial park

Celebrate life and death with an array display of traditional Mexican dances

Held at one of the oldest cemeteries in California, the fifth annual community celebration of Día de los Muertos at La Vista Memorial Park will feature catrina and altar building contests, dance rituals, stilt walkers, a tribute to Frida Kahlo and a varied live entertainment line up including a performance from highly acclaimed New York band, Pistolera. This family event will also offer an array of booths, old-school carnival games and Mexican lottery.

Where: La Vista Memorial Park – 3191 Orange St., National City, CA 91950
When: Saturday, Oct. 25
Time: 12 to 9 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Fifth Annual Dia de los Muertos at La Vista Memorial Park

[Tweet “Celebrate the lives of your loved ones at these #DiaDeLosMuertos celebrations in #SanDiego.”]

14th Annual Día de los Muertos Old Mission San Luis Rey

14th Annual Dia de los Muertos Old Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside The Old Mission San Luis Rey will celebrate the Day of the Dead with a lively family event featuring carnival rides, altar displays, arts & crafts, a classic car show, chalk cemetery, live entertainment and delicious traditional food. Let your creativity come to life at the Día de los Muertos Catrina Court Contest open for women all ages.

Where: Old Mission San Luis Rey – 4050 Mission Ave. Oceanside, CA 92057
When: Saturday, October 26, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free. Parking – $5
> Find out more about the 14th Annual Dia de los Muertos Old Mission San Luis Rey

Encinitas’ Día de los Muertos Celebration

Encinitas Dia de los Muertos The Encinitas Library will host its first Día de Los Muertos celebration. The admission-free event will feature hands-on workshops, art exhibits and demos, food trucks, prize drawings and performances by Ballet Folklorico El Tapatio and Rafael Renteria and Danza Azteca. A community ofrenda (remembrance shrine) featuring Surfing Madonna will be on display at the lobby on November 1st and 2nd, and attendees are encouraged to contribute a photo or non-valuable remembrance in honor of a loved one who has passed away.

Where: The Encinitas Library – 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas, CA
When: Saturday, November 1, 2014
Time: 12:00 to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Encinita’s Dia de los Muertos

The 19th Annual Día de los Muertos Festival – Escondido

19th Annual Día de los Muertos Festival

Only on Nov. 1, enjoy free access to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido’s special exhibition “Colores de la Muerte” curated by Lisette Atala-Doocy

The 19th Annual Día de los Muertos Festival will feature traditional Mexican fare and live entertainment by Mariachi Los Caballeros de San Diego. Guests will have the opportunity to decorate their own sugar skull and create altars in honor of their loved ones. Also, attendants can explore the rich history of Mexico at The California Center for the Arts, Escondido museum exhibition, Colores de la Muerte. Admission to the exhibition will be free only on November 1.

Where: CA Center for the Arts – 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025
When: Saturday, November 1, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Dia de los Muertos Festival

Día de los Muertos in Old Town

Old Town Dia de los Muertos Altar

Altars can have from two to seven levels and are created to honor de deceased – View one of the 50 altars on display at the Dia de los Muertos in Old Town

Old Town San Diego will celebrate the history, culture, and heritage of the region by honoring Día de los Muertos. Join this annual community wide event by touring the museums and shops within Old Town, viewing up to 50 festive altars and enjoying mariachi music, dances and other live performances. A candlelight procession to El Campo Santo Cemetery will take place on the night of Sunday, Nov. 2. The public is encouraged to bring their mementos to add to a public altar in the historic cemetery.

Where: Old Town San Diego – 2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego CA 92110
When: November 1-2, 2014
Time: 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Día de los Muertos in Old Town

First Annual Day of the Dead Festival presented by Jacobs and Izcalli

dayofthedead-inside

The festival will feature traditional native dances and a blessing by the Kumeyaay Nation.

Celebrate history, culture and the multitudes of the human spiritual experience at the First Anual Day of the Dead Festival, organized by The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and Izcalli. The event will feature a comedy performance, traditional native dances, Mariachi bands and an appearance by Grammy Award-winning bilingual Latin band Quetzal. Besides the opportunity to taste traditional Mexican food and view art exhibitions, activities will include calavera face painting, hands-on workshops, a Catrina competition and Calaveritas (poems of the dead).

Where: Market Creek Amphitheater – 310 Euclid Ave., San Diego, CA 92114
When: Saturday, November 1, 2014
Time: 12:00 to 8:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about The First Annual Day of the Dead Festival 

More Day of the Dead Events and Festivals

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