Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – February 19-24, 2013

It may not seem like it now, but Friday is just around the corner. To help you plan, here are our top things to do in San Diego this weekend.

Whale Watching

Whale Watching in San Diego - Top Things to Do

Whale Watching in San Diego is definitely one of the top things to do in San Diego during the winter season.

Winter is peak season for catching the magnificent sight of gray whales breaching the water during its annual migration. Whale watchers might even be lucky enough to see something else amazing…like last week’s sighting of thousands of dolphins swimming together to form a super-pod!


> Find out more about Whale Watching in San Diego

Kuumbafest San Diego


KuumbaFest is San Diego’s longest running and premier celebration of African-American expression, culture and heritage. The three day festival will include traditional African art and pageantry, drama, educational workshops, community leadership awards, an African marketplace, a health fair, Hip Hop Showcase, tribute to the famed Apollo Theatre “Live at the Lyceum,” a Gospel Concert, and powerful guest speakers and artists.

Where: San Diego Rep – 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)
When: February 22-24, 2013
Cost: varies
> Find out more about Kuumbafest San Diego

San Diego Museum Month

San Diego Museum Month Logo 2013

This is the last weekend to take advantage of San Diego Museum Month. Pick up a coupon from a local Macy’s and bring it to 42 museums throughout the county to receive 50% off general admission. This is a great opportunity to check out these new exhibitions in Balboa Park.

Dates: Through February 28, 2013
> Find out more about San Diego Museum Month

Samson and Delilah by Camile Saint-Saens


The Biblical story of Samson and Delilah returns to the San Diego Opera’s stage in a production described by the North County Times as …one of the most memorable San Diego Opera productions of the past decade (with) stunning and gargantuan sets, vivid lighting, gorgeous costumes, an erotic ballet and a seeming cast of thousands…” Samson and Delilah will be sung in French with English translations above the stage.

Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Avenue, San Diego CA 92101 (Gaslamp Quarter)
When: February 19, 22 and 24, 2013
– Tuesday and Friday: 7:00 PM
– Sunday: 2:00 PM
Cost: $35-$275
> Find out more about Samson and Delilah

Hawk Watch – East San Diego

Harri Hawk -  one of the raptors you may spot at HawkWatch!

Harri Hawk – one of the raptors you may spot at HawkWatch!

Bring your binoculars and cameras to the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona to spot magnificent wintering and resident raptors, including Golden Eagles, Ferruginous Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons and Red-shouldered Hawks, to name a few. While you’re there, say hello to the herd of bison that call this “raptor hotspot” home!

Where: Wildlife Research Institute – 18030 Highland Valley Road, Romona, CA 92065 (East County)
When: February 23, 2013
Time: 9:00 to 11:00 AM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Hawk Watch – East San Diego

> 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.


5 to try in San Diego in 2013

Happy New Year! Have you made your resolution yet? I resolve to learn Spanish, make time for travel, and enjoy the variety of activities San Diego has to offer. Maybe this year you’ll resolve to take a trip to San Diego’s 70 miles of beach, near perfect weather, and laid-back vibe. If so, here are 5 great things you should resolve to experience on your next trip to San Diego:

Enjoy a family ride along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Photo courtesy Brett Shoaf Artistic Visuals

Enjoy a family ride along the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Photo courtesy Brett Shoaf Artistic Visuals

Bike the Boardwalk: Biking, skating, or strolling the 3 ½ mile boardwalk running from North Pacific Beach to South Mission Beach is a quintessential San Diego activity, and a great way to enjoy the ubiquitous New Year’s “I will exercise more!” resolution. At the north end, the boardwalk runs along a 75-foot bluff until Crystal Pier/Palisades Park.  The park supplies a natural resting point, looking out over the ocean, with great places to brunch and shops to explore. Continuing south from Crystal Pier, the boardwalk becomes level with the beach as it moves by charming beach rentals, Hamel’s Surf Shop, and Belmont Park, featuring the historic Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the Wave House. From Belmont Park to the end of South Mission Beach, the boardwalk becomes more peaceful and subdued, eventually ending in a park with some excellent beach volleyball courts.

Make Stone Brewery and Bistro one of the stops on your San Diego Craft Brew Tour. Photo courtesy

Make Stone Brewery and Bistro one of the stops on your San Diego Craft Brew Tour. Photo courtesy

Take a Craft Beer Tour: With over 60 breweries in the area and having recently been cited as a “sunny heaven for suds lovers” by the New York Times, San Diego is quickly gaining recognition as one of the hottest craft beer destinations. It looks like 2013 is the perfect year to see what all of the fuss is about by joining one of the brewery tours offered by companies such as Brew Hop, Brewery Tours of San Diego and San Diego Beer and Wine Tours. Best part of joining a tour? They provide the designated driver, insuring a safe and fun time for everyone.

Enjoy the fresh air and clear skies sailing Coronado Bay.

Enjoy the fresh air and clear skies sailing Coronado Bay.

Enjoy a Sailing Excursion: From winter whale watching to America’s Cup race simulations, companies such as Next Level Sailing, Sail San Diego, America’s Cup Sailing San Diego, and San Diego Sailing Tours provide the perfect sailing experience for everyone, from the novice to those with the most stable sea legs.

See the very first Mariachi Opera with the renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.

See the very first Mariachi Opera with the renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan. Photo courtesy of San Diego Opera.

Mariachi Opera: Never heard of a Mariachi Opera? You aren’t the only one! The renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, known as the World’s Best Mariachi, take the Civic Theatre stage on March 16, 2013 for the first mariachi opera, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon). This bi-lingual work follows three generations of a single family, spanning countries, cultures and customs, presented by San Diego Opera.

Rubio's is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of San Diego's famous fish taco.

Rubio’s is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of San Diego’s famous fish taco.

The Best Fish Taco: Although it originally hails from Mexico, the fish taco has found a happy home in San Diego as a Taco Tuesday mascot and everyday local favorite. Ralph Rubio helped make it an institution when he opened his chain, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill, in 1983, but the San Diego fish taco has more reinventions than Madonna. From taco truck to fine dining, everyone has their prefrence and finding your favorite  is more about savoring the journey (so many tacos!) than arriving at the destination. To start you on your journey, here are some key jumping off points: South Beach Bar and Grille in Ocean Beach, El Zarape in University Heights, Brigantine Seafood in Coronado, Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill in Mission Hills, Tin Fish in Downtown.

Do you resolve to visit San Diego in 2013? We hope so! In the comments below, tell us what you’ll be doing once you’re here.


29 Reasons to Listen Live in San Diego

Take a musical leap! Famed Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini, born February 29, 1792, turns 55-leap-years-young today! And if Google is celebrating a musical leap day, who are we to argue? In no particular order, here are 29 reasons to listen live in San Diego.

  1. The Belly Up Tavern– voted “San Diego’s Best Live Music Venue” even before it was made famous by a visit from Prince Harry of Wales
  2. Celebrating singer-songwriter Jim Croce with great food, wine and nightly live music at Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar. Here, here!
  3. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at 4th and B on March 30, 2012
  4. All-you-can-eat Southern inspired buffet and gospel performances at the House of Blue’s World Famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. Hallelujah!
  5. Donning a fedora and pretending you are a part of the Rat Pack at Anthology supper club.
  6. Emerging art and pop culture collide at The Loft: UCSD, with Jenny Owen Youngs on March 2, 2012.
  7. The Casbah’s guaranteed cool factor- whatever you decide to see.
  8. DJ Scooter “playing all the coolest s*%t you’ve never heard of” at Analog Bar every Tuesday at 9 pm.
  9. A place that takes jazz seriously, Dizzy’s: where music matters most.
  10. MIXTAPE– the Greatest Hits of the 80s, at the Horton Grand Theatre, extended through April 29, 2012.
  11. Seeing a concert at Humphrey’s by the Bay, whether you buy a ticket, or pull up a boat. 😉
  12. San Diego Symphony’s annual outdoor Summer Pops concert series performed on San Diego Bay.
  13. Flamenco fever at Café Sevilla with rumba guitarist Joef of the Gypsy kings family.
  14. Listening FREE to music ranging from folk to rockabilly at Adam’s Avenue Unplugged, April 21-22, 2012.
  15. Music worth seeing at San Diego Opera with Don Pasquale, March 10-18, 2012.
  16. Catching home grown talent with the potential for national greatness:  The Silent Comedy, Cuckoo Chaos, Hyena perform regularly around town.
  17. Treating club music as an art and a DJ as a god, at Voyeur, voted #68 of the Top 100 Clubs in the WORLD by DJ Magazine in 2011.
  18. Listening to the San Diego Symphony in the original Fox Theatre, opened in 1929.
  19. Van Halen at the Viejas Arena June 14, 2012.
  20. Celebrating the Saxophone with SAXibit at the Museum of Making Music, May 19-November 30, 2012.
  21. The VIP experience of Taylor Guitars Private Dining Room at Anthology, named after the locally based, world renowned guitar manufacturer and Anthology sponsor, Taylor Guitars.
  22. Free shows in the hippest of hoods, Bar Pink in North Park.
  23. Elvis Costello or Rufus Wainwright at Humphrey’s by the Bay. How to choose?
  24. The balance of intelligence and entertainment at ArtPower UC San Diego.
  25. Close proximity to a slew of buzz-worthy bands at Soda Bar.
  26. The highly entertaining, audience request-driven duel of two talented piano players at The Shout House.
  27. The recently renovated and restored 83 year old Balboa Theatre, hosting a diverse line up of performances.
  28. Street fairs! Whatever the fair, live music is there! Try OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-off Festival, Cinco de Mayo in Old Town, Pride Festival, holiday block parties in the Gaslamp Quarter or ArtWalk in Little Italy.
  29. And last but certainly not least, San Diego Opera celebrates birthday boy Rossini’s “55th” with The Barber of Seville, April 21-29, 2012.

What are your reasons for listening?

Brent Bernasconi

Theatre Thursday: Live and Upcoming in San Diego

West Coast Premiere of Moby Dick

You can always count on San Diego for good weather and spectacular beaches. But if you’re looking for something a little different, the San Diego theatre scene does not disappoint. With blockbuster Broadway shows, Operas, and award-winning performance incubators, theaters from downtown San Diego to La Jolla are pushing the boundaries of live and interactive productions.

Below are a highlights of new theater performances coming to San Diego in the next few months. You can find even more live theater and performing arts in the Arts section of

West Coast Premiere of Moby Dick

West Coast Premiere of Moby Dick. Photos Courtesy of Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera.

Moby Dick

San Diego’s rich maritime history makes it the perfect place for the west coast premiere of Moby Dick by Jake Heggie at the San Diego Opera. The actions of this large and emotionally irresistible work are played out against a multimedia-enriched staging that ranges from striking to near miraculous. This is one opera you don’t want to miss.

Guys and Dolls at the Lamb's Player Theatre

Guys and Dolls at the Lamb's Player Theatre. Photos courtesy of J.T. MacMillan.

Guys & Dolls

Walking through downtown Coronado is like going back to a simpler time. Coronado’s Lamb’s Player Theatre presentation of the American classic, Guys & Dolls, will transport you back to the glory days of New York in the 1950s, when fedoras were a must and traveling to Havana was a possibility.

Next Falls at Diversionary Theatre

Next Falls at Diversionary Theatre

Next Fall

Diversionary Theatre’s Next Fall, is a gripping tale told of two men and the complex issues of faith, sexuality and family. In 2010, Next Fall received Tony Award nominations for Best Play and Best Director and won the Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award for “Best New American Play.”

The Car Plays: San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse

The Car Plays: San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse. Photos Courtesy of JayPG Photography

The Car Plays: San Diego

La Jolla Playhouse is known for their bold and progressive performances. In The Car Plays: San Diego the audience explores five different stories, revealed in a one hour production. Once seated, the car door is closed and the first story begins, unveiling a drama or comedy. Ten minutes later, audiences move on to a next car for a whole new story. This is a great way to experience live theater in a whole new way.

A Room with a View

Join the Old Globe Theatre and Lucy Honeychurch in the violet-covered hills of Tuscany as she battles with the decision between two men. Will she yield to Edwardian conventions? Or will she give up everything she knows to be with the free-thinking George Emerson. A Room with a View is a timeless story presented in the perfect setting of historic Balboa Park.

Disney’s Peter Pan

Another premiere in San Diego! San Diego Junior Theater’s young actors will bring the epic battle between the evil Captain Hook and the forever youthful Peter Pan and his Lost Boys to life in this pilot of Disney’s newest production, Peter Pan.

Guest Blogger

3 Nights, 3 Different Delights

I live for the perfect night out. But for me, perfection has nothing to do with price, place, style or energy required, but rather the synergism responsible for turning an outing into an evening. Below are my picks for three diverse, adventurous evenings – just add good company and enjoy!

South Bay Drive-in and Ye Olde Plank Inn.

South Bay Drive-In

Imperial Beach is home to the South Bay Drive-In Theater, which would be completely retro, except drive-ins of my nostalgia never feature amazingly delicious, cheap carne asada street tacos and churros. Choose among three huge screens, each playing a double feature, for only $7 admission. To round out the evening, swing by Ye Olde Plank Inn – a kitchy dive bar at its best, full of locals and cash only. The whole night can be done with a twenty dollar bill. I know, shocking!

House of Blues and Suite and Tender

House of Blues in the Gaslamp Quarter

Completely deserving of its fame is the legendary House of Blues, located in the Gaslamp. It is one of my favorite San Diego venues due to its ability to envelop you in light and sound like a huge stadium concert while remaining as intimate and personal as a private party. I like to make it a night and stop next door at Suite and Tender in the Se San Diego Hotel for dinner or drinks beforehand. The vibe is chic but relaxed, plus you can enjoy a signature cocktail and a little socializing before the awesome brain-thumping you are about to receive. Just make sure to stop by the restroom before you leave – it’s quite a conversation piece. 

San Diego Opera and the Grant Grill

Madame Butterfly at San Diego Civic Theater

In 2006 the U.S. Grant Hotel, located in the heart of downtown San Diego, completed a $56 million renovation with STUNNING results. The hotel’s Grant Grill is high ceilinged and low lit, becoming a perfect match for a dry martini and formal duds before your 8 o’clock curtain. Thankfully, the San Diego Civic Theater is only 1.5 blocks away. And for those like me with champagne taste on a beer budget, there are ways to enjoy opulence without going for broke. Happy hour at the Grant is fantastic – $6 martinis and half price small plates! Tickets for the opera run $35-$195, but some shows have $50 “rush” tickets, which are sold 2 hours prior to curtain at the theater and consist of unsold, more expensive seats. They are definitely worth it. A last piece of advice for the neophyte, familiarize yourself with the plot of the opera before going, and maybe a few “hit” arias. Then you’ll be ready when an orchestra of 60+ people, a chorus sometimes upward of 100 and fabled prima donna start their beautiful cacophony without any electronic amplification. Now THAT is hard core.

Maren Severtson is San Diego raised and New York City educated. She is a trained classical singer who loves everything from Tuvan throat singing to Lady Gaga. Mix in her love of food, art, travel, conversations with strangers and adventure and you’ve got a bon vivant that well exceeds her age, social status and alas, income.