San Diego Burgers Teens (and Adults) Will Love

hodads san diego burgers

If there’s one thing San Diego knows how to do, it’s make a great burger – just ask the readers of Travel + Leisure. If your burger tastes run toward the exotic, then Trioli’s Crazee Burger is for you where burger ingredients include venison, buffalo and kangaroo.  But for my family (which includes a teenage boy), the classics done really well are what we crave. Here’s a short list of some of our favorites.

Five Guys

five guys burgers san diego

Five Guys has several locations around San Diego.

If you don’t have a Five Guys Burgers & Fries near you or haven’t tried one yet, then make this a stop on your San Diego vacation. There are four San Diego locations including HillcrestPoint LomaCoronado and Barrio Logan. Made to order just the way you like it and very reasonably priced, Five Guys serves up a great burger. Plus, they don’t charge extra for any of the dozen toppings offered.

Burger Lounge

burger lounge san diego

Turkey burgers are a popular option at Burger Lounge (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of  Serious Eats. Read the complete Burger Lounge review at Serious Eats.)

With several locations in LA and seven (soon to be eight) in San Diego, Burger Lounge is a Southern California favorite that started in San Diego. Touted as 100% fresh, single source American grass-fed beef and cooked on a high temperature flat top grill, this is just a terrific bite. Burgers are served with fresh toppings and their own fresh baked buns.


smashburger-san-diego burgers

Smashburger wins the teen vote (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of Serious Eats. Check out Erin’s complete review of Smashburger.)

Hands down my teenage son’s favorite burger, Smashburger is another chain exploding across the U.S. and San Diego is lucky enough to have 11 locations including three near downtown, two in Mid-City, three along the North County coast and two in East County. What makes Smashburger so fantastic is the fresh, not frozen, Angus beef, which is very tasty and juicy. The burgers are served with fresh produce, lots of toppings and your pick of an artisan bun. They also have awesome milkshakes made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream.


hodads san diego burgers

Hodad’s loads up their burgers (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of Serious Eats. Read the full review of Hodad’s on Serious Eats.)

Only found in San Diego, Hodad’s has been recognized by CNN as one of the top 5 burger joints in the country, and for good reason. With sizes from a mini to a double double, these extra-large, extra tasty burgers come conveniently served with large cut homemade fries in a combo.  There are three locations in San Diego, boasting a classic surf grunge atmosphere, including the original in Ocean Beach and two in downtown on Broadway Ave. and in Petco Park.

The Waterfront

waterfront san diego restaurant tavern burger

The Waterfront serves up a classic burger (Photo by Erin Jackson, courtesy of Serious Eats. See the Serious Eats full review of the Waterfront’s burger. )

Located in Little Italy, the Waterfront is San Diego oldest tavern.  Opened in 1933, the Waterfront remains true to its origin: a neighborhood hangout serving cold drinks and delicious noshables.  The tavern is 21 and over only and has a revolving calendar of bands and events.  But the real draw is the burgers.  Big, tasty and loaded with grilled onions – yum.

Do you have a favorite teenager-approved San Diego burger? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Special thanks to Erin Jackson, burger blogger for Serious Eats, for the photos. Check out her reviews for more San Diego burgers at SeriousEats.com

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – October 11-13, 2013

Ocean Beach Oktoberfest - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Escape to Germany, Italy and the western frontier while never being more than a few miles from the beach! Here are your top things to do in San Diego this weekend:

Little Italy FESTA!

Gondoliers at the Little Italy Festa!

Gondoliers ready to serenade at the Little Italy Festa!

Little Italy FESTA! is the largest Italian American festival on the West Coast. Hip and historic Little Italy welcomes visitors with the tantalizing sights, sounds and aromas of Italian culture. A full palette of Italian cuisine is complemented by traditional and modern Italian music, arts and crafts as well as a tribute to San Diego’s rich Italian American heritage.

Where: 2210 Columbia St, San Diego, CA 92101
When: October 13, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Little Italy FESTA!

Hillcrest Hoedown

Hillcrest Hoedown - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Come celebrate this fall season with a family friendly, cowboy and cowgirl inspired street festival in Hillcrest featuring plenty of live music, line dancing lessons, Furry Foster Humane Petting Zoo, costume contest and a Street Side Saloon.

Where: Normal Street and University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
When: October 12, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Hillcrest Hoedown

Ocean Beach Oktoberfest

Ocean Beach Oktoberfest - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Ocean Beach Oktoberfest – the perfect combination of a German Festival and San Diego Sunshine

German Festival – San Diego Style! The festival will include Mrs. & Mr. Oktoberfest Contest, the Sausage Toss, the Brat Trot Beach Run, the Beer Garden Band Slam on Friday night and all of the great live music, great food, beachside vendors and of course, Oopma Bands!

Where: Newport Avenue and Abbott Street, San Diego, CA 92107
When: October 11-12, 2013
Cost: Festival – Free. Beer Garden Donation – $3. Brat Trot Beach Run – $15-$30
> Find out more about the Ocean Beach Oktoberfest

> Prost to more Oktoberfests in San Diego

La Jolla Art & Wine Festival 2013

Kids Painting a car at the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival

Family Fun and the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival. Photo: Steve Simpson

Featuring the works of over 150 established artists from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Baja and beyond, the festival features something for everyone including a silent auction, roving entertainment, a gourmet marketplace, the Geppetto’s/Witt Lincoln Family Art Center and a wine and beer garden which will include premier wineries from around the world in addition to San Diego’s top breweries.

Where: Girard Avenue and Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: October 12-13, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost: Free. Suggested donation of $5 to benefit local schools
> Find out more about the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival 2013

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – June 18-23, 2013

Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

It’s here…the first weekend of summer! That means it’s time for body surfing at the beach, hiking through to mountains, cycling along the boardwalks, bonfires in the evening and these top things to do in San Diego:

An Evening with Rita Coolidge

An Evening with Rita Coolidge

Spend an evening with Grammy award-winning Rita Coolidge.

Join The ASI Way in beautiful San Diego for a night with Rita Coolidge, a multiple Grammy award-winning vocalist.

Where: Town & Country Resort Center
When: June 18, 2013
Cost: $30-$40
> Find out more about An Evening with Rita Coolidge

Taste of Little Italy

Taste of Little Italy - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Savor the Italian flavors from restaurants throughout Little Italy.

Enjoy live music while strolling and dining in San Diego’s hip and historic Little Italy. Appetizers, entrees, beverages and desserts will be served by the area’s finest restaurants. This year there will be two smaller routes to choose from, and if you are feeling very hungry, the two routes can be combined.

When: June 19, 2013
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: North or South Route Only – $28. Combine Route – $42.
> Find out more about Taste of Little Italy

San Diego Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival

San Diego Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival

Sample wine, cheese and chocolates while supporting a local non-profit.

Sample mare than 50 wines, cheeses and chocolates from donors, private chefs and local California vineyards while dancing to the music of Sue Palmer, San Diego’s “Queen of Boogie Woogie.” There will also be a silent auction.

Where: North Promenade at Liberty Station – 2730 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
When: June 21, 2013
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $35-$50
> Find out more about the San Diego Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival

San Diego International Beer Festival

Breweries from around the world will come to the San Diego County Fair with over 300 beers for you to sample. New this year for the competition will be crowning a Champion Brewery in addition to our Best of Show Beer.

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: June 21-23, 2013
Cost: $55-$90. Includes admission to the San Diego County Fair
> Find out more about the San Diego International Beer Festival

Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

Music, shopping, art and chili at the Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off.

Spend the day in Ocean Beach enjoying over 5 stages of live music, a community mural art project, a children’s play area, shopping and chili from more than two dozen entrants vying for the titles of Hottest Chili, Judges’ Award and grand prize People’s Choice Award.

Where: Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107
When: June 22, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
> Find out more about the Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off

2013 Loews Surf Dog Competition-Unleashed by Petco

Surfs Up! Whether catching a wave with a furry friend or seeking fun on the beach with friends and family, this year’s attendees can expect a fun-filled day on the beach. Activities also include a chance to meet Petco’s most experienced trainers or try relaxing with a Puppy Massage/People Massage.

Where: Imperial Beach Pier – 10 Evergreen Avenue, Imperial Beach, CA 92118
When: June 22, 2013
Time: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: Free to attend. $50-$55 to compete.
> Find out more about the 2013 Loews Surf Dog Competition-Unleashed by Petco

Annual San Diego Scottish Highlands Game & Gathering of the Clans

Rival clansmen will test each other’s prowess at various sports – running, jumping, wrestling, or primitive forms of weight putting with stones, or dividing into roughly equal sides against each other in a very early form of camanachd or shinty. Lastly the clansmen will vie with each other in piping and in dancing, the pipers taking turns to demonstrate their skills and the clansmen to demonstrate their agility and neatness of movement by dancing complicated steps to the pipe music. These relaxations were in effect the forerunners of the modern Highland games.

Where: Brengle Terrace Park – 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista, CA 92084
When: June 22-23, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $6-$14
> Find out more about the Annual San Diego Scottish Highlands Game & Gathering of the Clans

La Jolla Festival Of The Arts

La Jolla Festival of the Arts 2013

Stroll through La Jolla browsing among art from more than 200 local and national award-winning artists, listening to live music and marveling at live chalk art creations. There will be plenty of food and a children’s area. Proceeds from the festival support recreational and rehabilitative services to injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Where: UC San Diego Warren Field – 3453 Voigt Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093
When: June 22-23, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: $12-$15. Active military and kids 16 and under – Free.
> Find out mare about the La Jolla Festival Of The Arts

> Browse more top things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.


Seeing Stars: San Diego in the Movies

Anchorman - Panda Watch
Anchor Man - Movies Filmed in San Diego

Anchorman – Just one of the movies filmed in San Diego

As everyone’s eyes are on Hollywood this weekend for the Academy Awards, why not live the movies you love and explore some of San Diego’s famous locales. Everyone knows that Ron Burgundy calls San Diego his home, but the Anchorman isn’t the only famous face to film in San Diego:


Years before he was jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s white couch, Tom Cruise and his Hollywood good looks made movie history as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 action-packed classic, Top Gun (1986). Inspired by a magazine article that highlighted the TOPGUN fighter pilots at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, the self-nicknamed “Fightertown USA,” movie producers were intrigued by the fast-paced Navy pilot lifestyle in a laid-back Southern California beach town and set up shop in San Diego to film the blockbuster hit.

Hotel del Coronado

Since 1888, the Hotel del Coronado has attracted numerous world dignitaries, Hollywood stars and the discriminating affluent with its unique red peaked roofs, stunning Victorian architecture and serene ocean vistas. But perhaps is most important role was its casting as the backdrop for the wildly popular film, Some Like it Hot (1959), featuring Marilyn Monroe,Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the United Sates with 15 museums, a Tony-award winning theatre, numerous gardens and much more. It has been nicknamed “The Smithsonian of the West” but it may be better known for its appearances in a number of movies, including Citizen Cane (1941), where the Spanish Colonial buildings served as Charles Kane’s (Orson Welles) mansion “Xanadu,” the appearance of the Museum of Man’s California Bell Tower in the film Almost Famous (2000), and the historic Organ Pavilion that was used to stage an explosion during the film Top Dog (1995), starring Chuck Norris.

Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego is ever evolving as new hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and retail shops open each year. A perfect location for shopping and dining by day, and the “hottest” destination by night. Who knew the downtown area would live up to its reputation when a controlled car explosion stunt took place in the middle of the downtown streets during the filming of Traffic (2000) starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Michael Douglas, and Benicio Del Toro; public safety agencies were present to make sure nothing got out of hand.

San Diego’s East County

In San Diego’s East County, a rugged landscape surrounds historic highways and provides scenic backdrops for colorful desert wildflowers and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, but the deserted area has also starred in a handful of films. East County’s beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was featured in Into The Wild (2007) during a scene that took place while Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) road tripped to Alaska. Borrego Springs doubled as Mesopotamia 3000 B.C. in the Scorpion King (2007) and was also where the popular Sci-Fi TV series, The X-Files, came to an end during the filming of the series finale at the recreated Anazazi Village.

Ocean Beach

With perpetual sun, swaying palms and sparkling surf, the funky neighborhood of Ocean Beach, is the epitome of Southern California beach culture. Producers of Almost Famous (2000) thought this beach town’s 1970s hippie attitude was the perfect location to film. Many locals wore their normal clothes and used their own vehicles as extras in the movie.

Don’t forget: Anchorman 2 hits movie theaters later this year! Stay classy, San Diego.


7 Pier Fishing Spots in San Diego

Family Pier Fishing under a Blue San Diego Sky
Family Pier Fishing under a Blue San Diego Sky

Pier Fishing in San Diego is Amazing!

Scrape away the years and years of fishing experiences from most old salts and you’ll probably find a pier or barge fisherman under all those tales of whoppers and the ones that got away.

Pier fishing is how many fishermen started out. It’s a blue-collar way to enjoy the sport. Anglers don’t need a fishing license to fish a public pier, so there’s that, but it’s also a great place to take kids because there’s always something for them to do.

San Diego is blessed with some of the best fishing piers in the state, including two that are nearly 2,000 feet long.

Pier Fishing Gear

Let’s start with the gear you’ll need. It’s better to keep it simple for the walk from your vehicle to where you plan to fish on the pier. Some of the avid pier rats have carts to carry all their gear, but to get started, you can get away with a good, medium-action to stout 7- to 9-foot rod, a saltwater spinning reel (bit larger than your lake model, with the reel loaded with at least 20- to 25-pound test line or a second outfit with 10- to 15-pound line for fishing closer to shore), bait in the form of frozen squid, bloodworms, mussels, sardines or anchovies, terminal tackle should include an assortment of saltwater hooks 9 (size 2-8)  and sinkers (1 to 4 ounces). Lures are good, too, with jigs and spoons being the best options. Be sure and pack sunscreen, a good hat, sunglasses and wear comfortable shoes or Crocs. Other essentials include pliers, a fillet knife and a cooler with drinks and snacks, especially for piers with no food for sale.

Here’s a rundown on San Diego’s fishing piers and some tips for fishing them. In the summer, these piers can offer really good fishing when the grunion are running around the full moon. The beach-spawning grunion attract bigger fish like halibut, bass and other fish, and that means good action for inshore fishermen.

Imperial Beach Pier

Surfer in front of Imperial Beach Pier in San Diego's South Bay

Imperial Beach Pier

Imperial Beach Pier, San Diego’s southernmost pier, extends out 1,491 feet into water 20 feet or more deep. As with most San Diego piers, the closer to shore you are the lighter gear you want to use for inshore fish like barred surfperch, California corbina or yellowfin croaker. Halibut can lurk there, especially on nights when grunion are running. Sand bass also may be biting, too. At the end of the pier, anglers target bonito, mackerel and small barracuda, with an occasional yellowtail or white seabass.

Amenities: Restaurant, Restrooms, Fish-cleaning stations
 To reach the pier, take I-5 south to Palm Avenue (Highway 75); follow Palm Avenue to where it divides with Highway 75, stay on Palm Avenue to Seacoast Drive, turn right to the pier.
Hours: 24/7

Coronado Ferry Landing Pier

The Coronado Ferry Landing Pier is one of the area’s secret fishing spots. It’s tucked behind the Old Ferry Landing Shopping Complex over on Coronado Island, so many don’t know it’s there. It’s only 377 feet long, but can be an excellent fishing spot for sand bass, spotted bay bass, mackerel and bonito. There’s also good action for perch, croakers, rays and sharks. You’ll need lighter tackle here because the water is very clear and shallow. There’s no bait or food for sale on the pier, but the shopping center has some options. The restrooms are a short walk from the pier.

Amenities: Restaurants, shops and bathrooms with walking distance
To reach it, take the Coronado Bridge over to Coronado. Once there, you’re on 3rd Street, follow it to B Avenue, turn right and follow it to the front of the Old Ferry Landing at the intersection of B Avenue and First Street. The pier is behind the shops.
Hours: 24/7

Embarcadero Marina Park Pier

Embarcadero Marina Park Pier is another of the lesser-known fishing spots, but it can be very good. It’s southwest of the San Diego Convention Center and stretches out just 95 feet, but it has a T-shaped end and is 300 feet wide. There’s an artificial reef nearby that draws some quality fish like schools of bonito, mackerel, jack mackerel and small barracuda. But there’s usually always good fishing for calico bass, sand bass and spotted bay bass.

Directions: Take I-5 to the Market Street exit, follow Market Street west to Harbor Drive, turn left on Harbor Drive and go to 8th Avenue, turn right onto Convention Way. Follow that a short block to 5th Avenue and the pier.

Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach Pier

The Ocean Beach Pier is the longest pier in San Diego County at 1,971 feet. It’s a great place to fish and sight-see. There’s a stocked bait and tackle store and the Ocean Beach Pier Café offers good chow all day long. The T-shaped design gives this pier nearly one mile of railing for anglers, so fishing options are many. Most go to the end of the T to fish the deeper water for bass, perch, mackerel and even California spiny lobster (but only in-season, October to March).

Amenities: Restaurant: Pier Café, Bait and Tackle Shop
Take I-5 north of San Diego to the Sea World Drive exit. Follow Sea World Drive to Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, take Sunset Cliffs Boulevard to Newport Avenue, turn right on Newport Avenue and follow it to the end and the pier parking lot.
Hours: 24/7

Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier is one of the great spots in San Diego because it offers stay-on-the-pier and over-the-ocean cottages and some good fishing off Pacific Beach. It’s a private pier at night, but anglers may fish it during the day, and the fishing can be very good for barred surfperch, corbina, walleye surfperch, shovelnose guitarfish and even an occasional halibut. There’s also fair fishing for sand bass and calico bass at the end of the pier, mostly. It’s a great lobster spot, too, and a tradition for some on the opening night of lobster season. The Crystal Pier Hotel offers great lodging, but make sure you make your reservations well ahead of time.

Amenities: Crystal Pier Hotel
Take I-5 to Garnet Avenue and follow Garnet to the foot of the pier.
Hours: 7:00 AM to 7 PM for visitors, 24 hours for motel guests.

Shelter Island Pier

Shelter Island Pier is located near the most vibrant fishing community in San Diego. The Marlin Club is down the street, the Shelter Island Launch Ramp is east of the pier and the boardwalk is a great place to take a nice, long walk along the waterfront. It’s also a short drive from the San Diego-based sport fleet, four landings landings that offer every kind of fishing trip, from half-day to multi-day runs into Mexican waters. There are lots of quality restaurants like Fiddler’s Green. But here on the pier, you’ll see the fleet’s sport boats and private boats, and even a Navy ship or two, cruise by as you relax on the 200-foot pier with a T-shaped end that stretches 500 feet. There is lots of room to fish for mackerel, yellowfin croaker, calico and sand bass and an occasional halibut. Also lots of shovelnose sharks and bat rays.

Amenities: Restaurant, Bait and Tackle Shop
Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Highway 209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Drive and follow the road until you see the pier and entrance to the parking lot on the left.
Hours: 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM

Oceanside Pier

Picnic Area in front of Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier is another of the area’s top tourist spots, located near a thriving harbor and marina area, a very active beach and surfing spot and even has a restaurant at the end of the pier, Ruby’s Diner, where you can enjoy a cold drink and a killer burger over the water. There’s also a very good bait and tackle shop. The pier is 1,942 feet long and offers a wide range of fish, from the inshore species like corbina, perch and croaker to the more pelagic species like bonito, mackerel, barracuda and even an occasional white seabass or yellowtail. Halibut also show here, so be ready.

Amenities: Restaurant: Ruby’s Diner, Bait and Tackle Shop
To reach the pier take I-5 to Mission Boulevard, go west to Pacific and turn left. Follow it to the pier.
Hours: 24/7

Tell us in the comments below, which pier is your favorite fishing pier?


Fresh Food Daily at San Diego Farmers Markets

San Diego Farmers Markets

San Diego may be a laid-back town, but we take our food very seriously. With a diverse landscape and mild temperatures, San Diego County boasts ideal conditions for farming, so it’s no surprise that the county is home to more than 6,000 small and family owned farms. These farmers provide chefs from local restaurants with access to the freshest possible ingredients, but you don’t have to pull up a seat at a restaurant to enjoy some of San Diego’s local bounty.

San Diego Farmers Markets

Whether you are packing supplies for a picnic in Balboa Park, picking up fresh fruit to snack on in your hotel room, or even enjoying an impromptu lunch streetside, there are a number of California Certified Farmers Markets that take place every day in San Diego all over the county.  These colorful and festive farmers markets offer fresh picked fruits, crisp heirloom vegetables, regional cheeses, locally baked breads and desserts and a unique window on life in this sun-kissed Southern California paradise.

Uni served at Little Italy Farmers Market in San Diego

How about some uni served fresh from the sea at the Little Italy Mercato?

On Sunday mornings, an offbeat crowd of neighborhood musicians, artists and residents gather at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, where they enjoy fresh finds from around the county along with a unique collection of handcrafted art and housewares.

On Wednesday afternoons, visitors step back into the 1960s at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market; in this eclectic beachfront setting, fresh produce mixes with a laid-back surfer vibe and dash of the bizarre—llama rides are optional.

On Saturday mornings, the Little Italy Mercato brings the streets of this colorful downtown neighborhood to life as farm fresh produce rubs elbows with prepared foods from some of the region’s best kitchens.

Fresh meats available at San Diego Farmers Markets

It’s not just for fruits and veggies: you’ll find locally raised meats at many San Diego Farmers Markets.

Markets are held across San Diego County 7 days a week, so no matter where your travels take you, your sure to find something fresh nearby. Check out the San Diego County Farm Bureau for a complete list of markets.

Which Farmers Market in San Diego is your favorite?


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Summer is officially here and what better way to celebrate than to get outside and enjoy one of these outdoor activities this weekend in San Diego!

> Find Even More Great Events on SanDiego.org

1. La Jolla Festival of the Arts

La Jolla Festival of the Arts

The festival takes place June 23rd & 24th on the campus of UC San Diego at Warren Field. The “La Jolla” is one of the most prestigious juried art shows in the country and will once again feature over 190-award winning artists, along with live chalk art creations, art performances, delicious and healthy cuisines, adult beverage libations and live entertainment throughout the weekend.

2. 33rd Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cookoff

OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-off

Thousands flock to Newport Ave. and surrounding areas each year on the 4th Saturday in June. They come for the live music and entertainment, unique vendors, talented artists, thrilling rides, refreshing beer garden, and so much more! It’s a free festival, with fun for the entire family!

3. San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo

San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo

Come to the Zoo when the animals come alive. The extended hours of Nighttime Zoo – from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm – give guests more time to visit the more than 4,500 rare and endangered animals at the Zoo.

4. San Diego Padres vs. Seattle Mariners

Padres at PETCO Park

Catch the Padres take on the Mariners at PETCO Park

The Padres take on the Mariners at PETCO Park June 22-24. Friday night’s game features fireworks and the Ultimate Cookout. Bring the kids on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases and US Army Appreciation.

> Full Padres Home Schedule

5. Summer Concert Series at Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing Concert

Bayside concerts at Coronado Ferry Landing.

Pack a blanket and head over the bridge to Coronado for the Coronado Ferry Landing’s free concert series. Catch Dixie Jazz Katz on Saturday from 2:00 – 5:00 pm or Velvet Cafe on Sunday.

> Listen to a Summer Full of Free Summer Concerts

What do you have planned for the weekend in San Diego?


Discover Antique Finds In San Diego’s Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach Antique Collage

Ocean Beach Antique Collage

If a shopping adventure just blocks away from the Pacific Ocean is in your plans, then don’t miss the Ocean Beach Antique District!

For over 20 years Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach has been the hot spot to shop for antiques and furniture with the locals, tourists, interior designers and collectors. Even as a personal wardrobe stylist I am always on the look-out for unique jewelry and accessories for myself and clients. I love experiencing the antique shopping in Ocean Beach!

Ocean Beach Antique Collage

The Ocean Beach Antique District is a concentrated area of antique stores featuring many different items. I love strolling through each one finding true one-of-a-kind treasures at great values.

  • At 18,000 square feet, Newport Avenue Antique Center is one of the largest locations and features over 100 different vendors within their space. The customization of each space makes it easy to find the items that you may be looking for. I just picked up a gorgeous gold modern 1970’s necklace there at a fab price!
  • Vignettes is absolutely chic-amazing! I love the antique jewelry and purses that they carry. They even have a special case filled with vintage Chanel jewelry!
  • I’m in love with the items for both your home and garden at The Corner Store. The shopping here is very warm and inviting. They carry everything from antiques to shabby chic furniture.
  • Vintage Revivals has a unique approach with the antique items that they carry. The owner re-works antique pieces and furniture making them current for today. Their warehouse is right next door so it makes it easy to see where they do their magic while customizing each piece.
  • The goal at Newport Avenue Antiques is to carry collections and pieces that have a distinctive flair, is rare, or unusual. Their motto is “Trend Setting Affordability”. I also find great furniture pieces and vintage toys here.
  • Ocean Beach Antique Mall is the oldest antique mall in Ocean Beach. They have over 30 years experience in offering unique antiques and collectibles. You won’t want to miss their collection of vintage and estate gold, silver, and costume jewelry.

> Find More Great Shopping Areas like Ocean Beach at SanDiego.org

Tell us in the comments below, what is your favorite antiquing area in San Diego?


Exploring Tide Pools in San Diego

Creatures in a Tide Pool

One of my favorite activities to do with the kids is exploring San Diego’s many tide pools. They love seeing what might be hiding between the rocks. The best time to see these little creatures are from late fall through early spring as low daytime tides reveal wider beaches and pools teeming with native marine life such as hermit crabs, sea hares and sea anemones. Check the surf report to make sure the tide is low, a 1.0 foot tide or lower is Ok, but you will have a better chance of seeing more marine plants and animals when the tide is minus. Below is a list of my top spots for tide pools in San Diego.

1. Cabrillo National Monument: The rocky shore at the park has a lot to offer and the hermit crabs are abundant. In the mid-interidal zone you can also see very large Great Owl Limpets. There is a small entrance fee, however the rangers are helpful and will explain marine life and help visitors observe the animals.

2. Ocean Beach: There is a small tide pool area at the foot of Newport Avenue under the Ocean Beach pier. Visitors can find shore crabs, hermit crabs and sea anemones, and lots of small chitons in depressions in the sandstone rocks.

3. Shell Beach, La Jolla: This little beach has a good tide pool area at low tide. It is at the south end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla at the bottom of the small cement stairway. The big attraction here is Seal Rock Preserve, a big rock offshore where seals and sea lions come to rest and sun themselves.

4. Swami’s: North on Pacific Coast Highway from Cardiff State Beach is Swami’s. There you can find 45 million year old fossil shells in the hard sedimentary rock, oysters being the most common here. During a good low tide, the tide pools reveal an extensive flat area, and you have a good chance of seeing sea hares, brittle stars and octopi.

5. Dike Rock: This is a rocky area just to the north of Scripps Pier in La Jolla. To reach this area, you do have a bit of a walk, but it’s worth the time. Here you have a good chance of spotting a star fish or an octopus on a good minus tide.
Let us know if you have other favorites around town!

Another great way to see tide pools is to join the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Starting November 11 and running through February, you can explore along with aquarium naturalists the many tide pools around San Diego. On November 11, they will be exploring Dike Park. Birch will also be going to False Point and Hospital Point. You can also check out their permanent tide pool outside on the patio. Be sure to bring your camera!


5 to Try This Weekend

1. Little Italy FESTA: Head down to Little Italy on Sunday, October 9 for the 17th Annual Little Italy FESTA. This colorful Italian celebration features music, fine food and “Gesso Italiano,” a traditional Italian street-painting festival.

2. Taste of North Park: On Saturday, October 8 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. North Park will be the place to be as it welcomes local dining enthusiasts to partake in one of the best assortments of cuisine experiences in the city. This is a wonderful opportunity to taste original culinary specialties along North Park’s aptly named “Restaurant Row.”  Tickets to this event are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

3. Ocean Beach Oktoberfest: OB will be rockin’ October 7th and 8th to the sounds of OB Oktoberfest. The Ocean Beach Oktoberfest – the uniquely Southern California salute to the celebration of German culture and fun – is back this year, with a second day added. In addition to the food and craft vendors and an all-ages stage on the grassy area at the foot of Newport Avenue, Saturday’s Oktoberfest will include performances by the Electric Waste Band, Tommy Cubs, The Heavy Guilt, the Naked Funk, Bateke Beat, Tribal Theory and the Bavarian Beer Garden Band.

4. 5th Avenue Auto Showcase: The historic Gaslamp Quarter invites car enthusiasts to stroll Fifth Avenue from K Street to E Street on Sunday, October 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This free to view event will be open to the public and showcase high-performance automobiles ranging from the traditional classics to the lavish luxury modern vehicles of today.

5. LEGOLAND Brick or Treat Celebration: LEGOLAND California joins in the Halloween fun every Saturday in October with its annual Brick-or-Treat celebration, featuring a one-of-a-kind, 4-ft. tall LEGO jack-o-lantern. Children ages 12 and under can participate in fun-filled costume contests and trick-or-treat with a souvenir goodie bag along the park’s Brick-or-Treat Trail, a kid-sized cul-de-sac of spooky LEGO homes featuring fun and creepy creatures.