Destination San Diego Episode 7: City Heights, History and Culture

In this episode of Destination San Diego, we’ll introduce you to City Heights – an urban neighborhood that is a true melting pot of different ethnic groups. Home to authentic ethnic restaurants and markets, hidden artworks and live music venues, City Heights is an undiscovered destination in San Diego. We’ll also check in at the beautifully restored Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town, and explore another historic building restoration that “electrified” the downtown skyline. World-renowned conductor of the San Diego Symphony, Jahja Ling, shares his most inspirational sites and favorite art and cultural experiences around town. And, we have your tickets to watch the many evolutions of Balboa Park’s Old Globe Theatre.

What’s In This Episode of Destination San Diego

> Watch all the Destination San Diego Episodes

Robert Arends

Top 5 San Diego Spots to Explore the Birthplace of California

The new San Salvador, the Mayflower of the West! Photo credit: Jerry Soto

The new San Salvador, the Mayflower of the West! Photo credit: Jerry Soto

Did you know, San Diego was discovered by Europeans 473 years ago? Yep, only 50 years after Columbus and more than 200 years before the Spanish missions were started.

Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed his galleon ship, the San Salvador into San Diego Bay on Sept. 28, 1542 – going down in history as San Diego’s “first tourist.” He didn’t stay long, though, as there was no San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND for the crew to explore. 😉

Today, tourists by the millions are drawn to our attractive sun-kissed shores in search of sun and fun, as well as the fascinating living history of San Diego.

Following are Top 5 places to step back in time and trace Cabrillo’s momentous discovery, and the founding of San Diego:

1. Maritime Museum of San Diego

San Salvador docked at the Maritime Museum. Photo credit: Jerry Soto

San Salvador docked at the Maritime Museum. Photo credit: Jerry Soto

Last month the Maritime Museum of San Diego launched a full-size, functioning replica of the San Salvador – the Mayflower of the West – much to the delight of landlubbers like me! The $6.2 million vessel took 5 years to construct (check out this cool time-lapse video of the ship’s construction) and can be seen docked at the museum’s pier on Harbor Drive. Plan is to have it open to the public (as in actually go onboard) later this year, hopefully by the holidays {fingers crossed}.

2. Cabrillo National Monument

Impressive statue of Cabrillo at Cabrillo National Monument

Impressive statue of Cabrillo at Cabrillo National Monument

Wonder what Cabrillo looked like or what he saw as he sailed into San Diego’s impressive natural harbor? Head to Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego’s only national park. There’s a 14-foot high statue of Cabrillo (originally envisioned as a 150-foot tall sculpture!) and incredible 360-degree, birds-eye views of the city. Also fun to explore are the Old Point Loma Lighthouse (one of eight original lighthouses on the West Coast), tide pools and bunkers from WWII.

3. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Folklorico dancers at Old Town State Historic Park

Folklorico dancers at Old Town State Historic Park

The Junipero Serra Museum on a hill overlooking Old Town, marks the spot where Spanish friars and soldiers established a presidio and the first Mission San Diego in 1769 (the original structures are no longer visible; the ruins are buried). Downhill, Old Town State Historic Park with its adobe buildings, old timey plaza and other sites, shows what life was like at San Diego’s first “downtown” in the 1800s. This is where the Wild West meets mariachis and our Hispanic heritage.

4. Mission San Diego de Alcala

Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcala in Mission Valley

In the aptly named Mission Valley near Old Town, is the second Mission San Diego de Alcala – which was moved here in 1774 to be closer to the San Diego River (makes sense). You can stroll through the mission and its beautiful gardens, chapel, church, a museum with original artifacts and an excavation site out back, believed to be the monastery.

5. Mission Trails Regional Park

Old Mission Dam in Mission Trails Regional Park. Photo credit: Ce Helton

Old Mission Dam in Mission Trails Regional Park. Photo credit: Ce Helton

Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the largest urban parks in the U.S., is just up the road from Mission San Diego. Highlights include the original Old Mission Dam, a state-of-the-art Visitor and Interpretive Center featuring exhibits dedicated to the Kumeyaay Indians who lived here 1,000 years ago and 60 miles of hiking trails including an awesome trek to the top of Cowles Mountain, the city of San Diego’s highest peak (1,593 feet).

See you in San Diego, and make your own history! 🙂


Destination San Diego Episode 4: Barrio Logan, Old Town and Mexican Culture

On this edition of Destination San Diego, we’ll show you one of San Diego’s best kept secrets – the vibrant Barrio Logan neighborhood. An epicenter of the city’s Mexican-American culture, this neighborhood is quickly becoming a hotspot for cutting-edge art and authentic local culture. The neighborhood is also home to Chicano Park, the largest collection of Chicano murals in the world. We’ll also tour the history of the iconic El Cortez and takes a look back at when Old Town was still considered new. Plus, celebrity chef Marcela Valladolid dishes on San Diego’s flavorful foodie scene and where to find the most delicious Mexican dishes.

What’s In This Episode of Destination San Diego

> Watch all the Destination San Diego Episodes


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


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

Sarah Weinberg

The Show Goes on Year-Round in San Diego Theaters

Theater choices in San Diego can range from Tony® Award-winning, Broadway-bound classic and contemporary plays to esoteric puppetry in the Pacific Ocean. Here are some of the goings-on in the dramatic world of San Diego theater.

The Old Globe

Time and the Conways at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park

Time and the Conways at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park

Old Globe is a Tony® Award winning theater complex located in Balboa Park featuring Shakespearean classics, contemporary plays and popular musicals. Upcoming shows include:

Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestley

This story opens in a gorgeous English country home in 1919 and later flash forwards to 1937 in the same house: the grown children have gathered to settle family accounts in a world not so bright as it was.

Run Dates: Now through May 4, 2014
> Find out more about Time and the Conways

Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes.

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This exciting new play from the playwright behind the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights follows Elliot Ortiz back in the States after serving in Iraq, reconnecting with family and starting a new life. At the same time, four strangers in an internet chat room seek support to face demons of their own, and soon the real world and the virtual one start to intersect in unexpected ways.

Run Dates: April 12 – May 11, 2014
> Find out more about Water by the Spoonful

Other upcoming shows include What You Will, Thinking Shakespeare Live, Vanya and Sonia and Masha an Spike, Dog and Pony, Othello, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Into the Woods, and Quartet.

La Jolla Playhouse

El Henry - San Diego Theater

Shakespeare goes vato in the La Jolla Playhouse’s WithOut Walls adaptation of Henry IV, Part 1 playing at the Makers Quarter in downtown’s East Village

La Jolla Playhouse, another of San Diego’s Tony® Award-winning theatre complexes, presents bold and innovative productions on the University of California, San Diego campus in La Jolla. Upcoming shows include:

Chasing the Song, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro.

The creators of the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis follow the evolving American music scene into the early 1960s in this rock ‘n’ roll-inspired new musical in which the female  lead, Ginny,  strives to earn her place in the male-dominated world of songwriting and American rock ‘n’ roll finds itself under siege from the incoming British Invasion.

Show Dates: May 13 – June 15, 2014
> Find out more about Chasing the Song

El Henry

Without Walls adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, part 1 by Herbert Siguenza. El Henry is performed in San Diego’s East Village performance space called Maker’s Quarter and set in the year 2045 in a huge, run-down metropolis called Aztlan City (formerly San Diego), where political apathy and corruption run the city while violent barrio families run the streets. Written in a unique poetic cadence called Calo, which mixes urban Spanish and English slang, this world- premiere adaptation of Shakespeare explores the universal themes of this classic through the lens of Mexican-American machismo.

Show Dates: June 14 – 29, 2014
> Find out more about El Henry

Other upcoming shows include The Orphan of Zao and Ether Dome.

Lamb’s Players Theatre

Lamb’s Players Theatre produces timeless classics and lesser-known theatre gems year-round on their resident stage in Coronado and in their downtown San Diego space at the Horton Grand Theatre. Upcoming shows include:


Funny, moving, and gorgeous to look at, this musical celebrates the extraordinary, everyday women who settled the American West.

Show Dates: Now through April 27, 2014
> Find out more about Quilters

Twelfth Night

We celebrate our 20th Year in Coronado with the Bard’s effervescent comedy of love, longing, impersonation and mistaken identity by setting it at the Hotel Del in the 1940s.

Show Dates: May 23 – June 29, 2014
> Find out more about Twelfth Night

The Foreigner

A wild production of Larry Shue’s comic romp has been extended now through May 18th. Please note: this production is at the Horton Grand Theatre in Downtown San Diego.

Show Dates: Now through May 18, 2014
> Find out more about The Foreigner

Other upcoming shows include Les Miserable.

The National Comedy Theatre

The National Comedy Theatre is San Diego’s nationally acclaimed improv comedy show.  Now in its 15th season, NCT is San Diego’s longest running show and is appropriate for all audiences and runs Thursdays through Sundays in downtown San Diego.

San Diego Repertory Theatre

San Diego Repertory Theatre presents six contemporary productions and four annual festivals in the Lyceum Theatre, located at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego. Upcoming shows include:

Red by John Logan

The story is set in 1958 at a critical point in the career of the superstar abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko.

Show Dates: Now through April 27, 2014
> Find out more about Red

Old Jews Telling Jokes created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent.

Watch an evening of one-liners, double-entendres and hysterical routines that pay tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present.

Show Dates: April 23 – May 25, 2014
> Find out more about Old Jews Telling Jokes

North Coast Repertory Theatre

North Coast Repertory Theatre features seven top-notch productions year-round in an intimate setting in Solana Beach. Upcoming shows include:

Mandate Memories by Lionel Goldstein

In this taut and witty drama filled with revelations of love affairs, dreams and the founding of Israel, layers are peeled away to reveal the deep hearts of two caring and compassionate human beings.

Show Dates: April 9 – May 4, 2014
> Find out more about Mandate Memories

Faded Glory by Timothy Burns

Meet Daniel Sickles, a 19th-century congressman, friend to presidents, Civil War general, lover of Queen Isabella of Spain, notorious philanderer, embezzler, murderer, and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Based on this real figure from American history, Faded Glory promises to be a rollicking comedic romp through this amazing life.

Show Dates: May 28 – June 22, 2014
> Find out more about Faded Glory

Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company

Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company partners with the San Diego Asian Film Festival for the San Diego Premiere of 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, a comedy with an Asian American flair.  The Warriors comic duo of Michael Chih Ming Hornbuckle and Greg Watanabe (and special guest stars Jully Lee and Albert Park) probe the Pacific Rim for the funniest topics.

 Show Dates: April 18-20, 2014
> Find out more about 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors

San Diego Civic Theater

The Civic Theater and historic Balboa Theater downtown play host to traveling Broadway shows and one-of-a-kind performances throughout the year. Upcoming shows include Mike Epps – After Dark Tour on June 21 and Sleeping Beauty at The Balboa Theatre May 17 – 18, 2014.

San Diego Junior Theater

San Diego Junior Theater has trained thousands of San Diego thespians over the years and entertained locals and visitors alike with their high-quality, family friendly shows at the Casa del Prado theater in Balboa Park. Upcoming shows include Shrek April 25-May 11, Snoopy, June 27- July 13.

More exciting San Diego Theater:

  • Cygnet Theatre, San Diego’s fastest growing theater company, produces critically acclaimed shows in their new resident stage in Old Town San Diego.
  • Diversionary Theatre, one of the oldest LGBT theaters in the country, produces edgy dramatic productions and playful musicals in University Heights.
  • Ion Theatre in Hillcrest produces bold and diverse new works from emerging artists.
  • Moxie Theatre expands the idea of what is feminine by using the intimate art of theatre to create more honest and diverse female images for our culture.
  • SDSU School of Theatre, Television & Film feature performances in the Don Powell Theater and are currently showing The Jungle Book, April 25 – May 4, 2014.
Brent Bernasconi

Where in San Diego to Watch the Broncos v. Seahawks Super Bowl

The Chargers are going to the Super Bowl…is what I wish I was saying. Though my Bolts are not going this year and will certainly play in the Big Game next year (fingers crossed), there is still plenty of Sunday fun to be had here, especially for the Seattle and Denver fans “stuck” in San Diego for the big game.

Seattle Seahawks – Thrusters Lounge

Thrusters Lounge - San Diego's Seahawks Home

About to be filled with a ton of navy blue and action green Seahawks jerseys

Congratulations, not only are your Seahawks going to the Super Bowl, but you get to watch them from sunny San Diego! To make sure you are high-fiving only those wearing navy blue and action green, fly on over to Thruster Lounge in Pacific Beach.

As of this posting, Thrusters Lounge has not posted any game day specials. However, I will update if they do post any.

Where: 4633 Mission Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Thrusters Lounge

Denver Broncos – Guava Beach Bar & Grill

Guava Beach Bar & Grill - Broncos Bar

A sea of Broncos Blue and Orange at Guava Beach Bar & Grill

I can’t believe it – there’s a Broncos bar in San Diego! I kid, I kid. Those looking to don their blue and orange while cheering on Manning can find a friendly crowd at this .01 mile-high arena of strong drinks and hearty bites.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Guava Beach will get the crowd pumped up with pre-game festivities, halftime specials including $4 you-call-its and a free raffle, along with even more drink and food specials all day.

Where: 3714 Mission Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Guava Beach Bar & Grill

Extra San Diego Super Bowl Viewing Options

  • Cafe Coyote – Head to Old Town to watch the big game, and the even bigger commercials, San Diego style…with a margarita in one hand, a taco in the other and flip-flops on your feet
  • East Village Tavern & Bowl – Cheer on either team in Downtown’s East Village with over 50 HD screens, drink specials and giveaways including a giant flat screen tv
  • W San Diego – Watch the game with the skyline as your backdrop at the W’s rooftop lounge. Depending on your affiliation, order either a AFC Punch of NFC Crush as you chow down on delicious appetizers
  • Amaya La Jolla – Take a walk on La Jolla’s beach and then stroll on over for some of Chef Cameron Woods’ game day favorites including sliders, fish tacos, spicy wings, and nachos starting at just $2

> Find more places to watch the Super Bowl in San Diego

While it may not be the Chargers, who are you rooting for in Sunday’s Big Game?

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego December 12-15, 2013

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights - Top Things to Do in San Diego

Oh the weather outside is amazing, and these events are delightful, so if you want some fun real soon, come to San Diego for these top things to do:

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Even the animals get into the holiday spirit during Jungle Bells

Starting this weekend, the San Diego Zoo is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with lighted animal displays, live animal shows and special presentations, festive music, holiday treats, storytelling, and, of course, Santa Claus.

Where: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 14, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Cost: Free with Admission
> Find out more about Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Old Town Holiday in the Park & Las Posadas

Las Posadas - Old Town State Historic Park

Take part in a traditional Las Posadas in Old Town State Historic Park

Holiday in the Park is a two-day celebration of the holidays. Museums, historic homes, stores and restaurants in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be open late and richly decorated in period holiday adornment. On Sunday, join in Las Posadas, the centuries-old tradition is a re-enactment of the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph through the town of Bethlehem.

Where: 4002 Wallace St., San Diego, CA, 92110
When: December 14-15, 2013
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Old Town Holiday in the Park & Las Posadas

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights - Top Things to Do in San Diego

80 boats will be decorated for the holiday season on San Diego’s Big Bay

Don’t miss your chance this Sunday to see over 80 holiday decorated boats sail by on San Diego’s Big Bay.

When: December 15, 2013
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village

La Mesa Christmas in the Village

It’s a winter wonderland at La Mesa Christmas in the Village

La Mesa Village is transformed into a Victorian Wonderland. Don’t miss the strolling minstrels, carolers and street entertainers, food and commercial vendors. Live music is featured in a number of stage areas and bonfires fill the Boulevard. The kids will love Santa, the carnival rides, ponies and the puppet shows.

Where: La Mesa Blvd & Spring Street, La Mesa, CA 91941
When: December 13-14, 2013
Time: 5:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

Boats of all sizes get decked out with holiday lights and circle Oceanside Harbor

This holiday boat parade in San Diego’s North County region features fishing boats, sail boats, yachts, kayaks and dingys all brightly decorated for the Christmas season. Get there early to get a prime spot for this event.

Where: Oceanside Harbor, Oceanside, CA 92054
When: December 14, 2013
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights

2013 Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Parade of Lights

Mission Bay Lights Up during the holiday season.

More than 100 vessels take to the waters of San Diego’s Mission Bay and brighten the night with their holiday lights. Best viewing is from Crown Point, the east side of Vacation Island or the west side of Fiesta Island.

Where: Mission Bay
When: December 14, 2013
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights

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.


Top Things to Do in San Diego: Oct. 30 – Nov. 3, 2013

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

Carlsbad Village Faire San Diego 2013

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.

Where: Grand Ave (between Carlsbad Blvd & Jefferson St) Carlsbad, CA 92008
When: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Time: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Cost: Free
>Find our more about the Carlsbad Fall Village Faire

Plancha Baja Med Halloween Pop-Up Dinner

plancha baja med chad white pop up halloween dinner at frauds and swindlers 2013 san diego

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


Teeny Tiny Orchestra Silent Horror Movies on Halloween UCSD Geisel Library San Diego 2013

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?).

Where: 9500 Gilman Dr. (Seuss Room at the Geisel Library, UCSD), La Jolla, CA 92093
When: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Time: 7:00 pm
Cost: Free
>Find out more about Horror on Halloween

Dia de Los Muertos at Fiesta de Reyes

Dia de los Muertos day of the dead Old Town San Diego 2013

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.

Where: 2754 Calhoun St  San Diego, CA 92110
When: Nov. 1 – 3, 2013
Time: 1:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Cost: Free
>Find out more about Dia de los Muertos in Old Town San Diego

Día de los Muertos – Honoring Mexico’s Singers & Composers

san diego symphony day of the dead 2013

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.

Where: 750 B Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Friday, November 1, 2013
Time: 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 – $85
>Find out more about Dia de los Muertos at the San Diego Symphony

Technomania Circus: Dia de los Zombies

Zombie show at Technomania Circus San Diego 2013

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.

Where: 2558 Imperial Ave, San Diego, CA 92102
When: Friday, November 1 & Saturday, November 2, 2013
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Cost: $10
>Find out more about the Dia de los Zombies

Need even more ideas for what to do in San Diego? Browse the San Diego Event Calendar


Top Things to Do in San Diego: Oct. 24-27, 2013

dia de los muertos mission san luis rey oceanside san diego

The weekend weather forecast calls for 70-degree days, but fall is in full swing in San Diego, thanks to these upcoming festivities.

6th Annual Fall Fest on Avenida de la Playa

La Jolla Shores Fall Festival 2013 San Diego

Join the fun at the Fall Fest along La Jolla Shores

Dubbed “Party on the Playa,” bring the kids and costumes for this super fun block party near La Jolla Shores, one of San Diego’s most iconic beaches. The fun festivities feature local restaurant tastings, a costume contest, bouncy house, live music from Hullabaloo, giveaways, and super spooktacular prizes from local merchants.

Where: 2160 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, 92037
When: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Time:  4 – 7 p.m.
Cost: $5 in advance, $10 day of event
For more information, call (619) 840-3482 or email

Halloween Dinner & Party Cruise

San Diego Flagship Cruises and Events Haunted Halloween Dinner Party Cruise 2013

Break out your costumes for Flagship Cruises & Events’ Halloween Cruise (Photo by David Veit for Flagship Cruises & Events)

It’s going to be a scary good time aboard Flagship Cruises & Events’ special Halloween dinner cruise. Dig up your most ghoulish friends and best Halloween costume, and come out for a night full of screams out on the water! Your ticket includes a 2.5 hour cruise around San Diego Bay, dining, dancing, musical entertainment, a complimentary boarding cocktail, and the chance to win a great costume contest prize.

Where: 990 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, 92101
When: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Time:  7 – 10 p.m.
Cost: $54.50 – $80.50
> Find out more about Flagship Cruises’ Halloween Dinner & Party Cruise

Family Fun at Old Town San Diego’s Fall Festival

Old Town Fall Festival San Diego 2013

History comes alive in Old Town San Diego

Hop on the San Diego Trolley’s Green Line to get to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park for its annual Fall Festival, which features tons of unique merchants and artisans peddling one-of-a-kind creations. Kids will get to experience craft making and activities like never before – organizers let their creative juices flow recreating old-fashioned activities that families enjoyed back in 1872. Be sure to check out the nearby Mormon Battalion site where kids can participate in an interactive tour that is educational, state-of-the-art and, most importantly, tons of fun.

Where: Old Town State Historic Park 4002 Wallace St, San Diego CA 92110
When: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Time: 12 – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Old Town Fall Festival

12th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival at Old Mission San Luis Rey

dia de los muertos mission san luis rey oceanside san diego

The culture and traditions of Mexico shine at Mission San Luis Rey’s Dia de los Muertos Festival

Dubbed the “King of the Missions,” Oceanside’s Mission San Luis Rey celebrates the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos. In addition to elaborate and beautiful altars and offerings to departed loved ones, the celebration includes 75 vendors, traditional food, a chalk cemetery, plus a carnival for the kids. The event even includes a creative car show, where classic car and lowriders become makeshift alters to the departed.

Where: 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, 92057
When: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Time:  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free ($5 parking fee)
> Find out more about Mission San Luis Rey’s Dia de los Muertos Festival

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

Browse the San Diego Event Calendar


Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – September 12-15, 2013

#SDRWTASTE2013 - San Diego Restaurant Week

Holy Smokes! This weekend is packed with so many great things to do including the sneak peek of San Diego Restaurant Week, #SDRWTASTE2013, and so much more. There”s no reason not to be in San Diego!


#SDRWTASTE2013 - San Diego Restaurant Week

Get a sneak peek of San Diego Restaurant Week at #SDRWTASTE2013

Along the waterfront, more than 40 of San Diego Restaurant Week”s best restaurants and chefs will be serving up samples of house specialties that will delight your taste buds! Local wineries and breweries will also serve tasters paired with the food samples to enhance the flavors.

Where: Broadway Pier, San Diego, CA 92101
When: September 12, 2013
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $60
> Find out more about #SDRWTASTE2013

San Diego Bayfair

San Diego Bayfair

Fueling up to reach speeds up to 225 miles an hour over Mission Bay at the San Diego Bayfair

More than 150 teams will race at speeds up to 225 miles an hour over the waters of Mission Bay. Those on land can marvel at the high-speed racing while also enjoying live entertainment, vendors, great food and beer gardens, fireworks, kid”s fun zone and other family activities.

Tip: Save yourself the hassle of trying to find parking near the festival and use one of the shuttle”s parking area.

Where: 1404 Vacation Rd‎, San Diego, CA 92109
When: September 13-15, 2013
Cost: $20-$250
> Find out more about San Diego Bayfair


Latin Food Fest - Top Things to Do in San Diego

¡LATIN FOOD FEST! is a culinary celebration with over 14 events. Don”t miss out on the grand tasting event at The Port Pavilion on Broadway where you will taste delicious tapa-size dishes and drink samples from the region”s top 60 restaurants, and purveyors of artisan food, beer, wine and spirits – all celebrating the cuisine of Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Where: Various locations
When: September 12-15, 2013
> Find out more about ¡LATIN FOOD FEST!

Fiestas Patrias Celebration

Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park

Enjoy the traditional Folklorico Dance in Old Town State Historic Park

The Fiestas Patrias commemorates Mexico”s independence from Spain and the beginning of the main period of significance for Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Activities will focus on the rich and diverse Mexican heritage that was vital in the development of San Diego and California. Enjoy music, dancing, games and activities for the entire family.

Where: 4002 Wallace St., San Diego, CA 92110
When: September 14, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 4:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Fiestas Patrias Celebration

San Diego Music Thing

San Diego Music Thing 2013 - Top Things to Do

In addition to being an amazing 2-day conference featuring speakers, interactive and roundtable sessions with nationally-known panelists from New York, Los Angeles and Austin online casino representing the best and most innovative aspects of the music business, the San Diego Music Thing will also include an evening Music Festival, with more than 150 local, regional and national bands performing at more than 12 venues around San Diego.

Where: Conference – Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego – 1433 Camino del Rio S, San Diego, CA 92108
Concerts – Various locations throughout San Diego
September 13-14, 2013
Cost: $25-$55
> Find out more about San Diego Music Thing

Coronado Art Walk

Coronado Art Walk Kid

Bring the whole family for an afternoon of art, sunshine and plenty of fun

Take a walk along San Diego”s Enchanted Island and browse amazing works by local artists featuring painting, hand-crafted jewelry, photography, ceramics and other mediums. Coronado Art Walk will also include art activities to delight both children and adults, including The Rad Hatter, face painting and weaving.

Where: Coronado Ferry Landing – 1100 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
When: September 14-15, 2013
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Coronado Art Walk

24th Annual Sycuan Pow-Wow

Sycuan PowWow

Immerse yourself in the dance of the Kumeyaay Nation at the Sycuan Pow-Wow

Join the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation for three days of cultural dance, music and food. While only registered contestants can participate in the dancing contests, everyone else can take part when an “intertribal” dance is announced, as everyone shares a place in the circle. There are no spectators at a Pow-Wow, everyone is a participant!

Where: 5459 Sycuan Road, El Cajon, CA 92019
When: September 13-15, 2013
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the 24th Annual Sycuan Pow-Wow

Santee Bluegrass Festival

Santee Bluegrass Festival -

Beautiful weather, delicious food and drink, and great music at the Santee Bluegrass Festival

Take part under the warm skies of East County with an evening of fine wines, a bevy of brews, tasty treats, bidding bazaar and live Bluegrass music played by Box Canyon and The Tail Draggers.

Where: 550 Park Center Drive, Santee, CA 92071
When: September 14, 2013
Time: 5:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $35-$45
> Find out more about the Santee Bluegrass Festival

More Top Things to Do this Weekend

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar for Even More Top Things to Do

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