Many consider Point Loma to be San Diego’s Plymouth Rock. It was here that explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first set foot on the West Coast in 1542. Today, history echoes throughout Point Loma, while contemporary visual and performing arts, great restaurants, shopping and more make it a terrific destination for a family adventure.
Discover the Art and Culture of Point Loma
Get Up Close to History
From European explorers to San Diego’s military history, there’s plenty of secrets from the past waiting to be uncovered around Point Loma.
The Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, but what really makes this site worth a visit is the spectacular view of San Diego Bay and beyond.
Dating back to 1855, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse was one of the first lighthouses on the West Coast. Visitors can view the quarters where the lighthouse keeper used to live.
NTC at Liberty Station was once a functioning U.S. Navy base, and the Point Loma Legacy Exhibit allows visitors to peak into what life was like as a Naval training recruit.
Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater is just one of several performing arts groups based in Point Loma
Music and dance lovers should keep an eye out for live performances around the neighborhood all year round:
Malashock Dance presents creative, contemporary dance performances around town and at their studio at NTC at Liberty Station.
See music in the making on a tour of Taylor Guitars’ factory floor
Bet you didn’t know that three of the world’s most renowned musical instrument companies are headquartered in San Diego’s picturesque East County – in the cities of El Cajon and Spring Valley and small town of Mount Laguna.
Join me for a fine tuned tour of East County to discover where world-class guitars, banjos and harps are made:
Taylor Guitar Company
Rockin’! Taylor Guitars Factory Tour in El Cajon
Our first stop is Taylor Guitar Company in El Cajon, a world-famous designer of top-line acoustic and electric guitars celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Taylor Guitars are played by some of the top musicians in rock and country music, including Neil Young and San Diego’s very own Jason Mraz. Visitors can take a free guided tour of the Taylor factory Monday through Friday at 1:00 PM.
Did you know: Taylor made 130,000 guitars in 2013!
Nearby Spring Valley is home to Deering – The Great American Banjo Company, played by contemporary musicians like Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Mumford & Sons and even Steve Martin (who’s collaborating with Edie Brickell BTW on the world-premiere musical “Bright Star” at The Old Globe theater in Balboa Park). Deering is the largest banjo manufacturer in the U.S., producing 10,000 of the sweet twanged musical instruments last year. Visitors can take a free Deering factory tour Tuesday through Friday at 1:00 PM. Call/email in advance to schedule a tour date: 1.800.845.7791, email@example.com.
Did you know: Deering produces more than 80 banjo models, including their basic Goodtime banjo that sells for $499.
Tucked away, high atop East County’s Mount Laguna – popular for hiking, camping and frolicking in the snow during the winter – is a world-renowned music marvel most San Diegans don’t know about: Robinson’s Harp Shop. Since 1967 this harp string manufacturer, housed in a cabin near the town’s general store, has been sending custom-made strings to loyal customers around the world. There aren’t any visitor tours, as it’s a low-profile, five-person operation that makes the most of its time to produce 150,000 handmade harp strings per year. But Laguna is lovely to visit any time of year…Check out my camping blog, featuring Laguna’s pristine alpine wilderness.
Did you know: Robinson’s is one of only four such harp shops in the U.S., and three of those are related to each other!
San Diego is fortunate to have world-class conductor Jahja Ling leading the San Diego Symphony. But even after 10 years as the symphony’s music director, Jahja still finds his inspiration in the city itself.
Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony
“We have great music, great culture and museums, the beautiful ocean and beaches,” Jahja says. “It’s like an orchestra! Many different pieces that are good together.” So what spots most inspire this music legend? Check out some of Jahja’s favorite San Diego hangouts.
Best Spots from a Pre-Symphony Meal
Located in the heart of downtown San Diego, the San Diego Symphony is in a prime location for pre-show dining. Here are a few of Jahja’s favorites that can be found just minutes from the symphony’s front door.
Bertrand at Mister A’s: With plenty of windows all along this 12th floor restaurant and a location perfectly situated atop a hill in downtown, Mister A’s gives you a view of the entire city along with exceptional fine dining.
Cucina Urbana: For high quality food with a cozy, neighborhood restaurant vibe, the creative Italian fare at Cucina Urbana is popular with many locals.
Downtown San Diego has restaurants featuring just about every type of cuisine. Jahja loves pho, Mexican, and Spanish tapas. Try Cafe Sevilla for a variety of tapas and sangria during a lively happy hour.
Jahja Ling’s Favorite Non-Symphonic Activities
Jahja knows that even the most ardent symphony lover visiting San Diego won’t spend his or her entire trip in Copley Symphony Hall, so why not get out and try a few other Jahja-approved San Diego activities!
The Old Globe: This famous theater company offers a popular summer Shakespeare Festival, in addition to many other productions year-round.
La Jolla Playhouse: Many New York theater goers never know that their favorite shows like Jersey Boys and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying began at this San Diego theater! You may be seeing the next Broadway hit before anyone else when you visit the La Jolla Playhouse.
Balboa Park’s museums: Jahja loves the variety of museums in Balboa Park. From contemporary art to a museum devoted to automobiles, there is something for everyone.
Ever wonder what San Diego would sound like if it were a musical instrument? Find out the answer and more from Jahja Ling at www.sandiego.org/goodstuff.
Halloween week means lots of spooky events around San Diego, but there’s more happening this week than just parading ghosts and goblins. The traditions of Mexico at Dia de los Muertos celebrations, zombies walking at a local theater, and some post-Halloween fun at a local street fair are all part of the top things to do in San Diego, Oct. 30 – Nov. 3:
Carlsbad Fall Village Faire
Families will find plenty to do at the Carlsbad Village Faire
Checking out street festivals when you travel to a new city provides real insight on the town, the people, and the local culture. From downtown San Diego, take the family on a scenic Coaster ride headed north to discover why the nation’s largest single day street fair takes place in this beautiful seaside community.
Sample Chef Chad White Baja-Med cuisine at a special pop-up dinner
Local chef Chad White from Plancha Baja Med takes over downtown’s Frauds & Swindlers cocktail lounge for an evening of delectable cuisine and libations. The “black & white” themed menu features creative dishes like oyster-coconut cream soup and ash-cured pork belly. The evening also features a costume contest, live music and dancing into the wee hours.
Where: 820 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101 When: Thursday, October 31, 2013 Time: 7:00 – 10:00 pm Cost: $70 per person >See the complete dinner menu
Spooky Silent Films
Scott Paulson’s Teeny Tiny Orchestra
If modern horror films with all the blood and guts aren’t your thing, check out The Teeny-Tiny Pit Orchestra’s presentation of Horror on Halloween. The event features scary silent films paired with live music and sounds. Audience participation in creating the creepy film scores is encouraged (have you ever tried to play a Theremin?).
The processional begins at the 2012 Dia de los Muertos celebration in Old Town San Diego
As a part of the Old Town San Diego’s Día de los Muertos celebration, Fiesta de Reyes and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will celebrate the Day of the Dead with live music, folklorico dancing, face painting, crafts for children and a tour of more than 15 altars on Nov. 1 to 3. Visitors won’t be disappointed by the extensive Day of the Dead display at Fiesta de Reyes and the special-themed menu at Casa de Reyes and Barra Barra Saloon.
Día de los Muertos – Honoring Mexico’s Singers & Composers
Dia de los Muertos in music at the San Diego Symphony
The San Diego Symphony hosts an evening honoring the music of some of Mexico’s most beloved singers and composers during a celebration of Día de los Muertos, Mexico’s colorful and magical tradition. San Diego favorite Mónica Ábrego, Metropolitan opera veteran José Luis Duval and one of the most famous mariachi musicians in the world, Rafael Palomar take the stage to perform passionate and exciting music. With world-class singers and world-class mariachi, don’t miss this classic take on a cross border tradition.
There’s no telling what crazy antics you’ll encounter at the Technomania Circus
Held in a spooky former church, Technomania Circus presents ‘Dia de los Zombies’ on Friday and Saturday Nov. 1 & 2. Seek shelter from wandering zombies on the Day of the Dead in this spooky ex-church and be amused by circus performers of the live and undead variety while you await your inevitable fate.
Listen to Charlie Musselwhite at the San Diego Blues Festival
One of San Diego’s premier music events is just around the corner. The 2013 San Diego Blues Festival is set for September 7, 2013, at Embarcadero Marina Park North.
This year’s headliners include three members of the Blues Hall of Fame and a Grammy Award winner.
Hall of Famers include harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite and Chicago musicians Billy Boy Arnold and Jody Williams, who helped Bo Diddley and others transform blues into rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s. They will be joined by Grammy winner Dave Alvin, who has assembled a special blues band just for this year’s festival.
Musselwhite is one of the best known blues harmonica players today and has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards. He recently released an album with guitarist Ben Harper.
Others set to take the stage include Billy Watson and his Submarine Trio, The Fremonts, Nikki Hill, Eden Brent, The Tighten Ups, the Bill Magee Blues Band and the indefatigable Lucky Peterson, whose work as a musician, arranger and composer has been featured on nearly 600 albums.
The festival features continuous music on two stages – and it’s one of the best music values anywhere: General admission costs just $15, plus two cans of food.
The fest benefits the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank with all proceeds going to the Food Bank. (In its first two years, the festival raised more than $100,000 and collected nearly eight tons of food for the food bank.)
VIP tickets cost $100 and include lunch and admission to exclusive, shaded viewing areas by each stage. A $500 Star Benefactor pass includes reserved seating, lunch, drinks, free parking, a Blues Fest t-shirt, a signed festival poster and a framed photograph with one of the musicians.
Children are welcome at the event; those 12 and younger are admitted free with a parent.
Bring your own low-back beach chair, sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and a windbreaker for late afternoon and early evening. Each festival-goer is allowed one factory sealed bottle of water. No other drinks, food or coolers are allowed.
There are numerous public parking lots near the venue, but your best bet is to take public transportation. The San Diego Trolley stops two blocks from festival grounds.
The sound of San Diego summer arrives with the return of 3 popular outdoor concert series. Don’t miss out on the experience of listening to your favorite bands combined with ocean views and a blanket of San Diego stars during these summer concerts.
Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
Humphreys Concerts by the Bay host a large selection of great shows throughout the summer.
The popular summer concert venue returns with a diverse line up starting on May 26, 2013 with Juanes – Loud and Unplugged Tour. With a different headliner almost every night, don’t miss out on classic act Air Supply and newcomer favorite Carly Rae Jepsen, in this star-packed season, running through the summer months and into the fall.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Green Flash Concert Series
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps holds the Green Flash Summer Concert Series atop the cliffs of La Jolla.
Starting May 15, 2013, pair live music with panoramic ocean views atop the cliffs of La Jolla on Birch Aquarium’s outdoor Tide-Pool Plaza. Enjoy music, drinks and food in one of San Diego’s most beautiful settings knowing you are benefiting a good cause. Proceeds from the concert series benefit exhibits and educational programming at Birch Aquarium at Scripps.
Treat mom to a weekend in San Diego, where she can enjoy a champagne brunch, shopping, a spa treatment and these top things to do:
Enjoy the Mother’s Day Weekend in San Diego
What better way is there to say ‘I love you’ than a trip to paradise? With a wide array of dining opportunities, day spas and outdoor activities, a vacation in San Diego is a gift any mother would love.
For this spectacular event, members of The Julian Woman’s Club gather wildflowers from all areas in and around Julian, including High Mountain, Desert, Oak and Pine Forest, Chaparral and High Desert. The wildflower specimens are then taken to the Town Hall where they are named and featured in a beautiful display. Another feature of the show includes a display of Native American uses for wildflowers.
Surf’s Up on the Big Screen at the San Diego Surf Film Festival
The SDSFF will highlight more than 35 international films, a surf art gallery, amazing live music, beach clean-ups, board shaping demos and surf expression sessions. Surf enthusiasts and filmmakers from around the world are welcome to come celebrate the art of surf cinema in our beautiful hometown.
Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Country musicians and Louisiana cuisine and culture.
Experience the culture and food Louisiana without having to leave San Diego! Knee-slapping good times abound at Spanish Landing on Harbor Island, with more than 70 performances on six stages, dance lessons, Cajun cooking demonstrations and delicious crawfish.
To infinity and… Space Day will feature demonstrations, giveaways, and hands-on activities with local and national space experts. You can also meet astronaut Garrett Reisman who made two trips on space shuttles to the International Space Station, remaining there as a long duration crew member.
The Amgen Tour of California, “America’s Greatest Race,” is coming back to Escondido! Cheer on the start of this 750 mile-long race with plenty of live entertainment, food trucks and a kids zone presented by Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.
“But be forewarned! The stars of this exhibition are sure to delight the young, inquisitive minds in your family and some grownups might find the little creatures quite outrageous.” Dr. Michael W. Hager
Sip, sample, and savor edible insect delights and enjoy a selection of local brews. Not feeling up to eating arthropods? Not to worry, as there will be hosted appetizers available as well. While your taste buds are experiencing an explosion of flavor, explore Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders! Learn from Dr. Michael Wall, Museum Curator of Entomology, how insects help create the amazing flavors we experience in our everyday foods!
Enjoy Bluegrass music and an Old West Festival all weekend long
Enjoy two full days of bluegrass and old-fashioned cowboy music, along with jam sessions and workshops for children, at the Ramona Bluegrass and Old West Festival. Make it the whole weekend by camping under the stars as the music in the background lulls you to sleep.
Enjoy a day of shopping, food and entertainment at the Carlsbad Spring Village Faire
Considered the largest single day street faire in the nation, the annual Carlsbad Village Street Faire features vendors sell everything from clothes, accessories, plants and household products to art, antiques and home decor; an international food court; and a children’s entertainment area includes games, a super slide, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, face painting and arts and crafts.
Perfect for adults and children the 2nd Annual Chocolate Festival: A Celebration of Chocolate on the Bay, a tasting and educational showcase and festival featuring food, wine, and of course, a variety of chocolate treats. Kids activities include games with prizes, a scavenger hunt and building a personal chocolate pizza.
Celebrating Alpine’s designation as America’s First Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation with and Garden tour and a festival including caterpillar races, butterfly releases, live birds of prey, live hummingbirds, snakes, reptiles, bugs & other critters, a garden mart, plant sales, opportunity drawings and live entertainment.
Don’t miss out on the exciting Hunter/Jumper Competitions at the Del Mar National Horse Show
The last week of the Del Mar National Horse Show is dedicated to Hunter/Jumper riding. The week also includes the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar, an evening filled with exciting speed, agility and nail-biting competition!
From North County to Old Town to Coronado, San Diego is closing out April with some amazing events. Make sure to check out at least one of these top things to do:
Best of North County Party
Enjoy food, wine and good friends at San Diego Magazine’s Best of North County.
Sample, sip and party along with the best that North County has to offer. Special appearances by the region’s top chefs, wine and food tastings from leading dining destinations and unexpected entertainment elements make for an unforgettable evening.
Pick up new plants, enjoy live music and learn about water conservation gardening at the Spring Garden Festival.
Urban farming is the theme of this year’s festival, which marks the event’s 20th anniversary! Visitors will enjoy demonstrations, the college nursery’s biggest plant sale of the year, Petting zoos, face painting and a farmers market.
Enjoy the traditional Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park.
Folklórico is a traditional Latin American dance that emphasizes local folk culture with ballet characteristics. Folklórico dancers from throughout Southern California will come to Old Town State Historic Park to perform their best dances as they compete for the championship.
Actor John C. Reilly is scheduled to perform at the 2013 Adams Avenue Unplugged
Over the course of 2 days and along the two-mile stretch of Adams Avenue, more than 180 artists will play live at 25 venues including restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, galleries and four outdoor community stages. A free shuttle will make it from one set to the next before the music starts.
Food, music, rides, a beer garden and over 450 vendors at the Encinitas Street Fair.
Enjoy two days of unique food, five live music stages, children’s rides, beer garden, and over 450 vendors selling clothes, accessories, plants, household products, environmental products, art, antiques and home decor.
Cheer on these endurance runners at the La Jolla Half Marathon.
Enjoy the coastal views while cheering on these endurance runners as they run 13.1 miles through this La Jolla course. (As someone who has run this half marathon before, any encouragement at the top of Torrey Pines is welcome…that is one heck of a hill!). If you are up for it, there is still time to register for the much shorter 5k.
With a forecast of temperatures in the high 70s, this is going to be a great weekend to be in San Diego! Here are our top things to do (when you are not at the beach):
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
A sea of flowers in San Diego’s Carlsbad.
Don’t miss the chance to see more than 50 acres of breathtaking Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers bloom and transform the landscape into a solid expanse of dazzling color. The Flower Fields also offers a host of family friendly activities including an open-air wagon ride through the fields via an antique tractor and a walk through the fragrant sweet pea maze.
Celebrate Ireland with food, drink, dance, music and more! Enrich your cultural knowledge and share in the festive atmosphere with the San Diego Museum of Man as they celebrate the Emerald Isle’s rich cultural heritage. Enjoy traditional music and dance performed by several groups, feast on classic pub fare provided by local restaurants, and, of course, delight in a glass of Guinness!
Enjoy new exhibitions at Pulse Gallery, Women’s Museum of California, and Casa Valencia presents three new female artists from Baja. Also new works at Monique Straub Studio/Gallery and Visions Art Museum with their latest acquisition Playing with a Full Deck – a clever “deck of cards” made of quilts. Don’t miss an exclusive performance from Malashock Dance and live music at the Recreational Music Center.
Let’s go fly a kite…at the Ocean Beach Kiwanis Kite Festival!
To celebrate its 65th year, the Kiwanis are making the Ocean Beach Kite Festival bigger and better than ever. In addition to the traditional free kite making for children, this year’s festival will include demonstrations of kite flying and kite stunts by kite professionals and dedicated amateurs; more carnival rides; more food options, and a brand new location.
House of Pacific Relations’ Lawn Program – House of Mexico
Olé! Enjoy Mexican dancing, music and food at the first House of Pacific Relation International Cottages’ Lawn Program of 2013.
Every Sunday starting in March, the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages focus on a country’s cultural heritage with music, dance, traditional costumes, arts, crafts and ethnic foods. This weekend, the fun kicks of with the House of Mexico.
See a Great Blue Heron while Birding in San Diego.
From sea to desert to mountaintop, San Diego County has a lot of birding to offer, with more than 500 species. The birding area encompasses diverse habitats ranging from desert to mountains, shore to coastal wetlands, urban and suburban. We’ll even go birding by bicycle and kayak. Sunday is a free Family Day with activities including a Beginning Bird Art Workshop, the Raptor Rap Workshop, a Puppet Show starring threatened California birds, and It’s a Hoot!, a bird-calling workshop just for kids.