Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 18-23, 2014

Surfboards - California Surf Museum

Four-day work week means the weekend is just around the corner! So when you stop by San Diego to warm up, take some time, enjoy everything the city has to offer, including these top things to do:

Museum Month

Surfboards - California Surf Museum

Learn the history of surfing during Museum Month at the California Surf Museum

Have you wandered through the flora of the San Diego Botanic Garden? Or felt the chill of something other-worldly at the Whaley House Museum? If you haven’t, then you need to take advantage Museum Month by exploring one of the 44 museums throughout San Diego county offering half-off admission!

When: Through February 28, 2014
> Find out more about San Diego Museum Month

Culture & Cocktails – South Asian Art

San Diego Museum of Art - Culture & Cocktails

The art jumps off the walls during the San Diego Museum of Art’s Culture & Cocktails

From Mughal courts to Mumbai, experience the vivid sights, sounds, colors and culture of South Asia during a Culture & Cocktails event celebrating the museum’s world-renowned Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Indian miniature painting. The gallery will be full of excitement with a Bollywood performance, henna body art, photo booth, cocktails, multi-color candy booth, music and more.

Where: San Diego Museum of Art – 1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 20, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $20
> Find out more about Culture & Cocktails – South Asian Art

San Diego Winter Brew Fest


Sample delicious craft beer from close to 40 breweries from California and beyond. All the while, enjoy live music, mouth-watering food and more. The Winter Brew Fest supports Outdoor Outreach and the San Diego Mountain Bike Association.

Where: San Diego Hall of Champions – 2131 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $10-$60
> Find out more about the San Diego Winter Brew Fest

Marilyn Monroe Marathon

Marilyn Monroe Marathon

Spend the day with one of films most beloved leading ladies. Journey through a selection of her best films including NiagraGentlemen Prefer Blondes, Seven Year Itch, and The Misfits. And while those are all classics, you don’t want to miss the best of the bunch, Some Like it Hot, with its picturesque scenes at the Hotel del Coronado.

Where: North Park Theatre – 2891 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104
When: February 22, 2014
Time: 12:00 to 11:00 PM
Cost: $10 per show. $25 all-day pass
> Find out more about the Marilyn Monroe Marathon

The Chieftains – Irish Spectacular!

The Chieftains - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Ireland’s premier musical ambassadors, The Chieftains, bring the Emerald Isles to San Diego

If I can find a sitter, I will be singing (badly) The Long Journey Home along with the six-time Grammy® Award-winners and “Ireland’s premier musical ambassadors” The Chieftains. In addition to featuring songs from The Chieftains recent critically acclaimed albums, the band will perform songs from throughout their 50+ year history, as well as some not heard live in well over a decade!

Where: 1245 Seventh Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: February 23, 2014
Time: 7:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $20-$85
> Find out more about The Chieftains – Irish Spectacular

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 everyone know in the comments below.


San Diego Museum Month: Half-Off at 40+ Museums

san diego museum month 2014

san diego museum month 2014

Exploring San Diego’s museums, both big and small, is a great way to learn about the life, culture, history and art that makes up the city. But if you plan on visiting more than one or two, admission prices can really add up.

Fear not, budget-savvy museum lovers. San Diego Museum Month 2014 is right around the corner. From February 1-28, 2014, visitors can pick up a special Museum Month pass that provides half-off admission to 44 participating museums around San Diego.

With so many participating museums, it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. Fortunately, San Diego’s wealth of museums means that visitors from all walks of life are sure to find something one (or more) to love.

History and Heritage

maritime museum of san diego

The Star of India is one of the ships featured at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The San Diego History Center showcases San Diego’s history with artifacts, costumes, art and one of the largest photograph collections in the western United States.

Famed architect Irving Gill designed the historic Craftsman period mansion, The Marston House, with an elegant English garden.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay offers one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the famous Star of India – the world’s oldest active tall ship.

Artsy and Cool

lux art institute

The Lux Art Institute sits hillside in San Diego’s North County

The Museum of Photographic Arts presents photography from leaders like Ansel Adams, as well as cutting edge new artists. An intimate and elegant, state-of-the-art movie theater screens film classics and cult classics alike.

Set on a secluded hillside in a bright, modern structure that resembles a tiny Getty Center, the LUX Art Institute in Encinitas maintains an artist-in-residence program offering up-close opportunities to view international artists at work.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego displays modern masterpieces, including multi-media exhibits from world-renowned contemporary artists, in two locations, downtown San Diego and La Jolla.

Only in San Diego

USS Midway Museum

The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier turned museum.

The USS Midway Museum is a decommissioned aircraft carrier museum in downtown San Diego along San Diego Bay featuring aircraft displays and interactive exhibits honoring the U.S. military.

Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad features more than 450 musical instrument displays and interactive areas to listen to music, ranging from ragtime to rock ‘n’ roll.

California Surf Museum in Oceanside preserves the legacy of pioneering legends of the surfing world.

Museum Month passes are free and can be picked up at any San Diego area Macy’s store location (plus locations in Temecula and the Imperial Valley). Be sure to grab one early to make the most of your time in San Diego!

> Click here for a full list of San Diego Museum Month Participants

In the comments below, tell us which museum is your favorite and why…

Robert Arends

Museum Month: Enchantment Awaits on Coronado Island

Coronado Museum of History and Art
Coronado Museum of History and Art

Coronado Museum of History and Art

As the days count down for San Diego Museum Month (1/2 price admission to 40 participating museums), across the bridge on Coronado Island, the charming Coronado Museum of History and Art, chock full of history and visionary tales told with a plethora of enchanting educational activities and exhibits, awaits visitors.

The following are 5 of my must-see/must-try picks at the Coronado Museum:

  1. Learn about Coronado’s role in World War II at the museum’s newest exhibit Coronado on the Frontline:  1942-1945.
  2. On a related note, don’t miss the popular Coronado Historic Homes Tour on May 13th where you can tour the island’s most beautiful homes and learn about World War II’s impact on the community.

    Coronado is considered the birthplace of U.S. Naval Aviation!

  3. The museum also houses a number of artifacts, uniforms and photographs documenting the U.S. Navy’s prominent presence on the island with permanent exhibits in the first and third gallery.

    Coronado historic walking tour.

  4. Take a walk back in time with the Museum’s docents, as well as discover the beautiful architecture and gardens around the island, on one of two private Walking Toursof the landmark Hotel del Coronado or of Historic Coronado.

    "Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz" was written in Coronado!

  5. L. Frank Baum, author of the beloved Wizard of Oz series, vacationed in Coronado where he wrote at least three of his famous books. In the museum’s first gallery, at the “Celebrities” wall,  visitors can view three rare first edition books by Baum: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz and The Road to Oz!

Follow the yellow brick road (or the San Diego-Coronado Bridge 😉 ) to Coronado and discover another fascinating side of the “Crown City” at the Coronado Museum of History and Art!


Museum Month: With Seven Days Left, Head North!

With only seven days left until the end of San Diego Museum Month, I still have a few museums to check out. As a resident of Encinitas, I’ve got a few favorites in North County that I frequent, and one in particular that tops my list of best museum I haven’t been to yet, but love already.

Music History Comes Alive at The Museum of Making Music

As a music lover and North County resident, I’m frankly ashamed that I haven’t been to this museum yet. Located in Carlsbad, The Museum of Making Music is the only museum of its kind in San Diego County. Founded in 1998 by the National Association of Music Merchants, the museum showcases and celebrates the music products industry.

The museum’s exhibits are arranged chronologically in five galleries, beginning with the coming of age in America’s music industry between 1890 to 1909, all the way to the 1980’s. Each gallery showcases hundreds of vintage instruments, along with historic audio and video clips and interactive displays, providing a 360 degree look at the innovations, trends and popular music of the era.

Unlike the traditional hall of fame or celebrity instrument collection, the Museum of Making Music focuses on the historical changes and innovations of musical instruments, how they came to be made and sold, and how these developments influenced popular music. Some of the breakthrough instruments in their collection include a Gibson mandolin, the Ludwig drum pedal, a Rickenbacker Lap Steel guitar, Fender Telecaster guitar, and Yamaha DX-7 Synthesizer.

Currently on view is a special exhibition that provides a comprehensive survey on the history of reed instruments, Roots of Reeds (through March 2012). I am completely jazzed about visiting the museum (pun intended), as I know it will surely deepen my appreciation of music and may even inspire me to finally sign up for that guitar lesson.

William Glen Crooks at the Oceanside Museum of Art

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a deserving friend get their due. In the case of William Glen Crooks, it was only a matter of time that his talent would be celebrated. I had the pleasure and privilege of working with him in my past life as a San Diego gallerist, and watched with glee as his star steadily rose over the years. His career retrospective exhibition Point of View at the Oceanside Museum of Art, curated by leading San Diego gallery Scott White Contemporary Art, celebrates a life’s work by the gifted painter and Imperial Beach native.

Known for glowing landscapes and timeless scenes, Glen’s paintings emanate a warmth that makes you feel the atmosphere of his pictures. He has an uncanny ability to bring out the extraordinary in what would otherwise be a mundane scene, and he does so with his own brand of modesty and humility that makes him a true original. On view through April 22, this is an exhibition you won’t want to miss!

Fantastical Home Furnishings at the Lux Art Institute

One of the most inspiring institutions and spaces in San Diego is nestled in the hills of Encinitas. The Lux Art Institute is a museum unlike any other, where you can witness the creative process and engage with the artists as they produce their work in a studio setting. Lux invites internationally renowned artists to live and work in their beautifully designed facility for several weeks as they create and exhibit their work.

Current artist-in-residence, sculptor Lila Jang, puts a whimsical spin on home furnishings. Restricted by a small apartment and armed with a desire to escape the mundane routine of everyday life, Jang looked at traditional home furnishings in a new light. By removing the need for functionality from chairs, dressers, stools, and other furniture, she transforms these everyday objects into fantastical sculptural works that are animated, playful and expressionistic. Ms. Jang’s residency and exhibition closes on March 3, 2012. Go for the art, and stay to explore the gorgeous architecture and lush landscapes that surround the museum premises.


True Jewels of San Diego: Explore the Museums of La Jolla

As one of the most beloved communities in San Diego, beholden by its natural beauty, rich heritage and a luxurious yet laid back vibe, La Jolla is a must-visit stop on any San Diego vacation itinerary. From the dramatic coastline unmatched in majesty, to premier dining establishments, elegant hotels, world-class shopping, treasured art and cultural institutions, La Jolla certainly lives up to the meaning of its name, which translates to “the jewel” in Spanish.

If you”re exploring La Jolla during February Museum Month, don’t miss three great arts and culture attractions that you can enjoy at 50% off admission. Just pick up a Museum Month pass at any San Diego County Macy’s location, and head to one of the following museums to take in mind-blowing contemporary art, explore wondrous sea creatures or dive into La Jolla’s historic past. Continue reading

Robert Arends

Make tracks for San Diego’s East County Museums

The Western art of Olaf Wieghorst

San Diego Museum Month is in full swing (1/2 price admission to 40 participating museums!) and there’s no better time to explore some lesser-known museum jewels in the San Diego’s East County communities. They may not be the biggest cultural institutions on the map, but they’re certainly some of the most charming and a great way to discover the Wild West heritage of our rustic backcountry.

Following are my Top 5 Favorite East County museums: Continue reading


Video Tour: San Diego Museum Month

San Diego Museum Month - 29 Days - 40 Museums - 50% Off

If you’re an art lover, museum buff or simply appreciate the value of a good deal, then February is the best time for you to visit San Diego. All month long, stop by any San Diego County Macy’s location to pick up a San Diego Museum Month pass and you’ll get half-off admission for you and up to three guests at 40 museums throughout the county.

From sports memorabilia to classic cars, mummies and hands-on science experiments, Balboa Park is a one-stop shop for Museum Month fun. Some of my favorites of Balboa Park’s 16 museums are those of the artistic bent, like the San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts and Mingei International Museum. Join me on a video tour of what you can expect to see at these three spectacular venues:

For a complete list of all the museums participating in Museum Month, visit the San Diego Museum Council’s website, and pick up your half-off pass before it’s too late!


February is Museum Month in San Diego

February is one of my favorite months of the year in San Diego. With longer days, warmer temperatures and a shorter month, the race to spring always brings an extra boost to my step. And what better way to celebrate the turn of seasons than to explore San Diego’s many museums throughout the county at half the price?

February is Museum Month in San Diego. Each year, the San Diego Museum Council organizes this month-long promotion, presented by Macy’s, which provides half-off admission to any of the 40 participating museums. And with 2012 being a leap year, you’ll have an extra day to explore the vast and diverse wealth of San Diego’s arts and culture attractions.

From art and history, to science and nature, San Diego museums offer exploration and education into a diverse range of interests. From iconic institutions like the San Diego Museum of Art or the USS Midway Museum, to hidden gems like the San Diego Botanic Garden or the Museum of Making Music, this is the time to visit an old favorite or discover some place new.

San Diego Museum Month Passes

Pick up your Museum Month pass at any San Diego County Macy’s location near you, starting February 1, and start planning out your museum month.

What museums will you visit during Museum Month?


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

From whale watching to black holes, visitors can find the best events and things to do this weekend!

1. Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists: Starting February 4th and running through April 29, 2012, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s exhibit will allow visitors to learn about the great mystery of Black Holes. The exhibit is designed like a space mission. Visitors are briefed, issued a Black Holes Explorer ID Card, and then sent on a journey to the edge of these strange phenomena to discover how the latest research is turning science fiction into fact, challenging our notions of space and time in the process.

2. Museum Month: During the month of February, visitors can receive 1/2 off their admission to 40 of San Diego’s finest museums. Passes can be picked up at any Macy’s in San Diego County. With a pass, up to four visitors can gain admission to any of the 40 participating museums for half-price. Plus, you can use the pass all month-long!

3. Whale Watching..Kayak Style: Kayak out from La Jolla Shores and see Grey Whales up close during this three-hour kayaking tour. Grey Whales migrate January through April traveling from Alaska south to Baja to breed in the warm, shallow lagoons along the Mexican coast. Trained naturalist guides will accompany you and tell you all about the surrounding area of La Jolla Shores and Cove.

4. Woodies! Woodies!: Head over to the San Diego Automotive Museum starting February 3rd to see some of the finest examples of woodies through the years. From their beginnings as estate cars for the resort owners and transport vehicles, these cars have made a revival and are now once again popular with the surfing crowd. This exhibit features classic designs as well as a few surprises.

5. Tidepooling Adventures: For the kids out there that love to get their hands dirty, head over to The Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla on February 4th. Aquarium naturalists carefully guide participants into fragile tide-pool communities and highlight the inhabitants.