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.
San Diego Beer Week combines some of the best SD has to offer: sunshine, local food and amazing craft beer!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I am not talking about December (though I do like that as well). I am talking about the ten amazing days that make up San Diego Beer Week (SDBW). From rare beer tap takeovers at your favorite restaurant to a massive bottle share along 30th, there is something for every beer lover during SDBW.
Here are a few picks from the long list of San Diego Beer Week events:
Brewers Guild Festival
Now split over two days, the Brewers Guild Festival is the official kickoff event for San Diego Beer Week. The VIP Brewer Takeover on Friday night will showcase San Diego’s finest, rare and specialty beers, including beers brewed just for the event. Saturday Festival is the big event with more than 55 breweries pouring unlimited samples into your commemorative tasting glass while live music plays in the background and the smell of delicious smells emanate from local food trucks.
Now this is my kind of event! Green Flash Brewing Company has teamed up with Regal Beagle & Cal Coast Bicycles, and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association for an epic ride through Balboa Park and Florida Canyon. Beers and brats will be served at the after-ride-party.
The World’s Biggest Bottle Share on 30th Street will give you and your friends the chance to make history and enjoy sharing great craft beer in the process. From Polite Provisions in Normal Heights to Hamiltons in South Park, join in an awesome chain of craft beer lovers and help San Diego earn the Guinness Book Record for the World’s Biggest Bottle Share.
Have Monday off? Join some of San Diego’s best brewers for a day of fishing off the Shelter Island Pier. Don’t have a fishing pole? Don’t worry! Everything will be provided including a 6ft fishing pole you get to keep, hooks and weights, breakfast burrito bar, lunch, tshirt, and plenty of beer!
Wrap up San Diego Beer Week at the Beer Garden on the beautiful Arroyo Terrace overlooking Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean. Beer Garden brings together the best of San Diego’s breweries and chefs to celebrate the thriving craft beer movement in America’s Finest City.
Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma – the Plymouth Rock of the West
In 1542, Cabrillo sailed the ocean blue and not only discovered San Diego Bay for Spain, but California and the U.S. West Coast as well. Yep, that’s right…San Diego is the Plymouth Rock of the West!
Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into the harbor on September 28 – almost exactly 472 years ago! – aboard the San Salvador, a magnificent Spanish galleon ship. He landed on Point Loma, home of Cabrillo National Monument (San Diego’s only national park, BTW).
Historic reenactment of Cabrillo’s landing on Point Loma, San Diego Bay
This Sunday, September 28, 2014, the big 51st annual Cabrillo Festival at Ballast Point on Naval Base Point Loma (located on the south end of Rosecrans Street) celebrates Europe’s first steps onto our shores. Admission is Free! There will be music, dancing, children’s activities and authentic foods of Native Americans, Mexico, Portugal and Spain (yum!). There will also be Native American Kumeyaay basket making, knot tying and a 16th century Spanish soldiers living history encampment.
Folkloric dancers bring history alive
The photo-worthy festival highlight is the re-enactment of Cabrillo’s landing on the shores of San Diego Bay. The captain, his soldiers and a priest will sail into the bay on The Californian (a stand-in for the San Salvador) and once again claim the land for Spain (don’t worry, Spain will quickly give San Diego back to us 😉
The re-enactment begins at 1:00 PM, but arrive a little early to get the best views.
Cabrillo National Monument
Impressive statue of Cabrillo at Cabrillo National Monument
Just up the street, stop by Cabrillo National Monument to check out a commanding statue of Cabrillo on the cliffs of Point Loma overlooking San Diego, a cool video dramatization about his discovery and birds eye views of the bustling harbor, downtown skyline and the U.S. Navy in action on Coronado Island.
San Salvador Village
Replica of the San Salvador. Photo courtesy of Jerry Soto
I also recommend visiting the build site of a full-size, historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s flagship San Salvador at San Salvador Village at Spanish Landing (near Harbor Island). The ship is incredibly cool, like how I imagined the Mayflower looked! It’ll be completed in the next few months – with her maiden voyage scheduled for January 2015 – and will become part of the permanent fleet of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
San Salvador Village is open daily, featuring costumed docents, shipbuilding demonstrations, sail making and Native American Kumeyaay demos such as tulle boats, baskets and pottery making. This is as historically real as it gets! 😉
Spend the first weekend of Fall in San Diego enjoying the warm weather, autumn activities and these top things to do:
San Diego Restaurant Week
Leave the cooking to someone else and join over 140,000 diners in the celebration of Restaurant Week and indulge in discounted prix fixe menus including two-course lunches priced at $10, $15, and $20 and three-course dinners are $25, $35, or $45. No tickets necessary for this event, just make reservations for any of the participating locations, show up, choose from their prix-fixe menu and let your taste buds enjoy!
Kinky Boots is the exhilarating Broadway musical that will lift your spirits to new high-heeled heights! Winner of six Tony Awards® including Best Musical, this inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible…proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
[Tweet “Wow, there are a ton of great things to do in #SanDiego this weekend! Check it out:”]
San Diego Film Festival 2014
This is the region”s premier showcase for award-winning independent films, studio premieres and director interviews – all against the backdrop of America”s Finest City. For film lovers and enthusiasts, it just doesn”t get any better. See it here first! 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County and Silver Linings Playbook were all screened here at the San Diego Film Festival.
Lederhosen, Beer, Bratwurst and Family Fun at the Authentic Oktoberfest in El Cajon
Come and enjoy authentic German food, such as bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, potato salad, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, red cabbage and a variety of German pastries. The El Cajon Oktoberfest offers a great selection of German beers and liquors, and soft drinks and water, to enjoy with your friends and family! Enjoy traditional folk dancing performances, compete in our numerous games and contests, check out vendor and craft booths, and treat your kids to their own Kids” Zone.
Dance like nobody is watching at SoCal”s largest free two-day music festival, the Adams Avenue Street Fair
The Adams Avenue Street Fair features more than 90 musical acts performing on seven stages on Adams Avenue. In addition to the exciting musical lineup, there will be beer gardens, a beer tasting area, giant carnival rides, and more than 300 food, arts and craft vendors selling their specialties throughout the street fair venue.
Where: 34th and Adams, San Diego, CA 92116 When: September 27-28, 2014 Cost: Free best online casino Street Fair” href=”http://www.sandiego.org/events/festivals-and-street-fairs/adams-avenue-street-fair.aspx” target=”_blank”>> Find out more about the 2014 Adams Avenue Street Fair
Western Fun at the Poway Rodeo
Professional rodeo cowboys from around the country compete during the 41st Annual Poway Rodeo. Guests can watch contestants compete in events such as Bareback and Saddle Bronc Riding, Barrel Racing, Tie Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping and Bull Riding. There”s even a “Mutton Bustin” event where kids under 50lbs. ride sheep. They try to hold on for 8 seconds, just like the cowboys.
Think you can build a better boat during Oceanside Harbor Days” Nail “n” Sail competition?
Two event filled days of sun, sand, and surf provide an outstanding opportunity for residents and neighbors to experience fun activities including the new Sandcastle competition, Entertainment Stage, Arts, Crafts and Food booth areas, Nail “n” Sail Competition, Military, Public Safety displays, and more.
Discover Unconventional Dance Spaces during the 2012 Trolley Dances. Photo by Yvonne M. Portra.
Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater returns with their annual celebration of dance that takes place within the community. This year, for the 16th Annual Trolley Dances, dancers will take to the streets and campuses of downtown and southeastern San Diego is this very urban version of the much loved event. Patrons then travel under the direction of trained tour guides to Market Creek Plaza and enjoy original dance created by some of San Diego”s best choreographers.
Where: 14th and C Streets, San Diego, CA 92101 When: September 27-28 and October 4-5, 2014 Cost: $15-$35 > Find out more about
The Mission Beach Centennial Festival is the last and largest event of the year-long Centennial Celebration and it is taking over the parking lots of Belmont Park with a large beer garden, live local music, decades bathing suit show, a chili cook-off, children”s area, more than 100 diverse vendors and much more! Fun, Family & celebrate 100 years of Mission Beach.
Learn about the history and cultures of San Diego at the Cabrillo Festival
The Cabrillo Festival is a fun event for the entire family, with educational activities, cultural demonstrations and exciting folkloric performances. Brightly colored clothing and dramatic music and dancing bring to life the traditions of the Native American, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish cultures that are part of the Age of Exploration. The Cabrillo Festival features food booths with delicious traditional Mexican, Native American, Portuguese and Spanish food. Vendors will showcase their various artistic goods.
Sample the best Tequilas at the Spirits of Mexico Tasting Festival
Sample some of the top Mexican spirits on the market including: Tequilas, Mezcals, Sotols, Bacanoras and Raicillas among others. Meet The Masters gives you the chance to speak with the pioneers and heroes of the industry, the master distillers & blenders themselves, while tasting the Extra-Añejos, some of the most lovingly-crafted and finest spirits in the world!
Liberty Station in Point Loma offers everything from sports to arts to food to just hanging out. Photo courtesy of Liberty Station
San Diego’s Liberty Station, on the site of Point Loma’s former Naval Training Center, is a thriving, continually reviving, slice of San Diego history – and one of the best ways to explore the neighborhood it is by attending Friday Night Liberty, beginning at 5:00 PM on the first Friday of each month.
It’s an opportunity to visit galleries and performance venues for free and meet artists at work in studios that have replaced barracks and classrooms where the U.S. Navy once practiced the art of turning boys into men.
What Is Liberty Station?
Liberty Station’s roots go back to 1923, when San Diego’s Naval Training Center was dedicated. Over the years, the base produced nearly 2 million sailors – making San Diego the home base for the Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
When the Navy closed the base in 1997, a master developer went to work transforming the 361-acre site into a massive mixed-use neighborhood. While the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it remains a work in progress.
More than 50 of NTC’s original Spanish Colonial Revival buildings have been restored and transformed into performance spaces, artists’ studios, galleries, fitness salons, shops, grocery stores and restaurants. Today, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens serves locally crafted brews and gourmet eats in the space that once was the NTC mess hall.
Liberty Station also includes a residential district, office space, schools, churches, two hotels and nearly 50 acres of park/open space along a boat channel that leads to San Diego Bay. The community’s parks have become a popular venue for special events and ethnic festivals. Seasonal kayak and paddleboard rentals are offered.
Put Friday Night Liberty at Liberty Station on your calendar.
Free Audio Tour of Liberty Station
Another great way to experience the neighborhood is with a free audio tour. Stop by the visitor center (the former Command Center) to pick up a map. Then call 619.342.8021 on your cell phone, enter a number from the map and hit the # key.
There’s plenty of free parking throughout the area.
Cap off the perfect summer by spending Labor Day weekend in San Diego enjoying the warm weather, cool beaches and everything the city has to offer including tall ship cannon battles, amazing sandcastles, 1812 Overture with fireworks and more.
US Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Exposition
Watch silica be turned into works of art the Labor Day weekend at the US Sand Sculpting Challenge & 3D Art Exposition
Hundreds of thousands have come each year to see master-class sculptors build beautiful 3-dimensional works of art. Now many of the world”s finest artists will come to create the most amazing sculptures ever. And they”ll do it on a unique site with our beautiful bay on the West and downtown”s sandcastles in the sky on the East. Just 2 blocks North lie the world”s tall ships in all their majesty, and out on the bay, the ships sail with full regalia and recreate cannon battles of yore. It”s a 4-day extravaganza for the whole family.
Hear the roar of canons and more at the Festival of Sail on San Diego”s Embarcadero
Festival of Sail is the largest Tall Ship festival on the west coast, transforming the North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park for 4 adventure filled days. Daily Activities during Festival of Sail include visiting ships and crew, kids petting zoo, kids craft activities, face painting, Tall ship cannon battles, a special 30 minute Festival of Sail bay cruise, beer garden, on stage entertainment, Naval reenactors, photo ops with Captain Sunny and Pirates, and 100″s of arts and craft vendors, plus a multitude of food options, and so much more!
[Tweet “This #LaborDay weekend in #SanDiego will have tall ship cannon battles, sandcastles and more!”]
Summer Pops – 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular
San Diego Symphony Summer Pops pairs music with the beautiful downtown skyline.
Celebrate your casino online Labor Day Weekend with family, friends and the San Diego Symphony! It”s our spectacular, crowd-pleasing finale: Tchaikovsky”s thunderous 1812 Overture! The entire Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 (as performed by upcoming young Texan Adam Golka) will be featured on this soaring evening complete with booming cannons and fireworks over San Diego Bay.
This Labor Day Weekend, join fellow bacon lovers for a festival all about…well…bacon!
Join fellow bacon lovers on International Bacon Day (yes, it”s a real day) for another day in the sun eating the best thing to ever happen to man. Bacon. Costumes are encouraged. A ticket grants you unlimited samples of delicious bacon concoctions and adult beverages. Where: NTC Park at Liberty Station – 2600 Cushing Road, San Diego CA 92106 When: August 30, 2014 Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM Cost: $60-$100 > Find out more about the Hormel Black Label Bacon Fest
Live Summer Music
Enjoy live music and warm evenings during one of San Diego”s free summer concerts. Photo courtesy of the Spreckels Organ Society
The nights are still warm and the stages are still hot as both local and international bands play amazing live music at venues throughout San Diego.
Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards® including best musical, Once is an unforgettable story about going for your dreams…not living in fear…and the power of music to connect all of us.
Where: San Diego Civic Theatre – 1100 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 When: August 12-17, 2014 Cost: $45-$115.25 > Find out more about Once
Tiki Oasis 2014
Tiki Oasis is not only an event but an experience! Experience a full weekend of live Exotica and classic Surf tunes, burlesque, attend educational symposiums, peruse art, purchase the latest creations from local vendors and imbibe tropical cocktails poolside while Disc Jockeys from across the country provide a seamless soundtrack from spinning vintage vinyl.
Celebrate the end of World War II and honor those who served at Spiritfest San Diego
August 14, 2014, the 69th anniversary of the end of WWII. Join us for Spiritfest 2014 at Tuna Harbor Park next to the kiss statue for a full day of reviving the memory of the end of WWII when the entire country danced in the streets. This year’s wreath laying ceremony honors Jerry Coleman, World War II hero, legendary MLB star, former voice of the San Diego Padres, and a spokesman for Spirit of ’45. Jerry Yellin, the P-51 pilot who flew the last active mission in World War II, will also be joining the celebration in San Diego.
The USA Men’s Volleyball Team will take on the up-and-comers Iran
Iran is a major new power that recently defeated Team USA! At #12, Iran is looking to crack the world’s top ten. The U.S. wants to avenge an Iranian upset in last years Grand Champions Cup. They are in the same pool in the FIVB World Championships this fall and want to gain the upper hand for 2016 qualifying. It promises to be a battle royale.
38th Annual World Bodysurfing Championships in Oceanside
Are You the Next Body Surfing Champion?
Approximately 350-400 bodysurfers from around the world will compete in their respective age divisions for trophies and prizes. The Men and Women’s Grand Champions will be announced Sunday afternoon on the final day.
Take a walk through NTC @ Liberty Station and browse amazing local art
Experience art “alfresco.” ArtWalk NTC brings fine art outside under San Diego’s sunny skies to create the perfect viewing art under natural light and purchase artwork directly from the finest artists in the region. Attendees get to meet with artists and hear what inspires them about their work. Whether you are a seasoned collector, a family on vacation or are simply ready to be inspired, come to ArtWalk NTC to discover the art that has been waiting for you.
Explore tallships and more at the Chula Vista Harbor Fest
This year’s annual HarborFest will have everything you could possibly want at a free, family friendly celebration including some of San Diego’s historic vessels, unique boats, exotic automobiles, bands at one of three entertainment stages, Baja wine samples, craft beer garden, waterfront SeafoodFest, and an interactive Youth Zone and Stage.
Catch fireworks shows throughout the county including the Big Bay Boom. Photo courtesy of Port of San Diego/Dale Frost
Whether you”re traveling with friends or family, San Diego is everyone”s first choice for 4th of July celebrations. Even locals can”t think of anything better than relaxing with loved ones on a long stretch of sand and watching an extraordinary show of lights in the sky. Click the link below for a list of spectacular fireworks shows, parades and festivals in San Diego including the Big Bay Boom.
Discover the unexpected at the San Diego Fringe Festival. Photo courtesy of Culture Shock Dance.
The Second Annual San Diego International Festival (#sdff14) brings the beautiful, the bizarre and the unexpected to America’s Finest City by hosting over 35 World Premieres, 7 United States Premieres, 21 local premieres (ranging from seasoned international artists to young, aspiring new artists). This year is expanding the award-winning venture by introducing Visual Fringe and Family Fringe!
Dash & Dine Gaslamp 5K takes runners through the lively <a title=”San Diego”s Historic Gaslamp Quarter” href=”http://www.sandiego.org/discover/gaslamp-quarter.aspx” target=”_blank”>Gaslamp Quarter and Downtown San Diego. The grand finale of this unique 3.1-mile course is the exhilarating finish down Fifth Avenue to the iconic Gaslamp Quarter Archway. Following the 5K, runners that flash their race bib to participating Gaslamp Quarter restaurants will enjoy special deals on post-race refreshments.
Watch the Padres take on their rivals at the beautiful Petco Park
Over the 4th of July Weekend, catch America”s Pastime at Petco Park as the Padres take on the San Francisco Giants. On Saturday, arrive early for the free Padres Beach bags and bring the kids on Sunday for Kids Fest.
The Big Bite Bacon Fest brings all of the best bacon foods to one location in celebration of the world”s most beloved protein! This fun-filled tasting event features creative bacon dishes from the best chefs and competitive cooks in San Diego and beyond. Indulge in unlimited bacon-y deliciousness ranging from appetizers to desserts and everything in between, and wash down that bacon goodness with samples of San Diego”s top craft beer!
Bring out the whole family for this special holiday event featuring open artist studios, galleries, shopping and entertainment throughout NTC at Liberty Station”s Arts & Culture District in Point Loma. Throughout the evening you can enjoy 20 Galleries, museums and artists studios, Barracks 19 5th Anniversary (cake!), live music performances and 4 food trucks.
Many travelers think of the East Coast as the home of U.S. history, but there’s plenty for history buffs to discover in San Diego, too! If you’re traveling with an eye to the past, try this three-day itinerary for stepping back in time to explore San Diego’s vibrant heritage.
Day 1: California’s Birthplace
Did you know that the first European explorer to discover California touched down in San Diego? The Cabrillo National Monument marks the site where explorer Juan Rodrguez Cabrillo first set foot in the state. A visit to the site is rewarded with panoramic views of the city, ocean and mountains.
A trip to the Cabrillo National Monument is worth it for the views alone.
From California’s birthplace, head to the first permanent settlement on the West Coast, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. This historic site is often referred to as San Diego’s first “downtown.” The park’s past comes alive every Wednesday and Saturday with Living History activities, including blacksmith demonstrations, quilting, soap making and other period-specific crafts.
Other Can’t-Miss Old Town experiences:
Stop by the historic Cosmopolitan Hotel and enjoy a drink at the bar that once belonged to Wyatt Earp.
Explore San Diego’s early days by heading to the historic Gaslamp Quarter, featuring 16 blocks of Victorian-era buildings. Make a stop at the William Heath Davis Historic House Museum, the Gaslamp Quarter’s oldest surviving structure. Built in 1850, the house is now home to the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation, where you can learn all about the district’s past.
The William Heath Davis House welcomes guests, both normal and paranormal (legend says it’s haunted!).
Being a city on the bay, the military and maritime industries have played a big role in San Diego’s history. Begin your exploration of maritime life at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, one of the world’s finest collections of historic ships, including the famous Star of India – the world’s oldest active tall ship.
The Star of India is one of the ships featured at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
After seeing the tall ships, head next door and step aboard the USS Midway, the longest-serving aircraft carrier in U.S. Navy history, is now home to a floating museum. See how hundreds of men lived below the decks, jump in a flight simulator or get up close to military aircraft aboard the ship’s flight deck.
The USS Midway is an aircraft carrier turned museum.
Close out your day of maritime exploration with a trip to NTC at Liberty Station, a former Naval Training Center that is now a flagship civic, arts, and culture district. The “The Life of a Naval Training Center Recruit” and Point Loma Legacy exhibits offer one last learning opportunity before you relax with a beer at the nearby Stone Brewing Co. World Bistro & Gardens.
With so much history to explore in San Diego, you may need more than 3 days! But no matter what you choose to see while in town, there’s something for everyone to love in San Diego.
Head to the San Diego International Boat Show for yachts, family cruisers, and dive into the exciting world of paddle sports
Whether you’ve been yearning for a yacht, coveting a family cruiser, or anxious to dive into the exciting and healthy world of paddle sports, now is the time to make that dream a reality with nearly 150 boats for sale in addition to dozens of booths showcasing the newest nautical gear, gadgets and accessories. Not in the market to buy a boat? The boat show is the perfect place to get your feet wet by trying kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and more.
Sample the best beers from almost 200 breweries at the San Diego International Beer Festival
With nearly 200 breweries represented from around the world, beer aficionados will enjoy hard-to-find specialty craft brews alongside favorites from our local brewing scene. Specialty vendors will be selling a variety of accessories and gifts for the beer lover – from festive beer games to brewed beer bones! With a stage featuring everything from home brewing advice to educational demonstrations with Stone’s Bill Sysak and Alesmith’s Peter Zien to food pairings presented by Pubcakes and Venissimo Cheese – these are demonstrations you won’t want to miss!
The La Jolla Festival of the Arts is among the west’s top-rated juried shows with 200 award-winning local and national artists displaying watercolor, oil, sculpture, serigraph, fine jewelry, photography and more. There is also live entertainment, a restaurant row including fine adult beverages, and a children’s area with interactive booths, hands-on games and activities. Proceeds benefit children and adults with disabilities in San Diego.
Summer Safari is an extravaganza of dance, music, gymnastics and more. From the moment guests enter the Safari Park they are immersed in Asian-themed festivities and up-close encounters with amazing animals.
Spend a warm summer evening enjoying music in the seaside village of Carlsbad
Adventurous music invades the seaside Village of Carlsbad – 27 artists play 59 sets in 6 hours! The Village Walk features 40+ performances of adventurous music of all kinds drawing thousands of people to indoor and outdoor venues throughout the seaside village of Carlsbad.