Nick Karvounis

Top Things to Do in San Diego – March 4-9, 2014

Mardis Gras in the Gaslamp

The rain storms have passed and San Diego is back to its fabulous winter weather – sunny with a chance of perfect!  Check out some great things to do this week:

Fat Tuesday: San Diego Mardi Gras Parade & Celebration

Mardis Gras in the Gaslamp

It’s a carnival atmosphere in the Gaslamp during Mardi Gras

Those who think only NOLA knows how to celebrate Fat Tuesday have clearly never been to San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter for Mardi Gras. The biggest block party of the year features 22 city blocks with 3 main stages and 3 satellite stages, a DJ appearance by Snoopadelic, and a parade for more than 30,000 revelers.

Where: Market Street & 5th Avenue, San Diego 92101
When: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Cost: $35-75
>Find out more about the San Diego Mardi Gras Parade & Celebration

A Side-Splitting Night of Comedy with TJ Miller

He’s been named one of Variety’s “Top 10 comics to watch”, and that’s for a good reason.  His unique delivery of jokes and perspective on current affairs will leave you rolling in the aisles. Aside from a genuinely funny persona, his comedy is smart and on-the-edge.  You may recognize him from various TV and film appearances including Seeking a Friend for the End of the World with Steve Carrell, and Rock of Ages opposite Tom Cruise!  Watch him in the Moto X “Lazy Phone” commercial above for a quick laugh!

Where: The American Comedy Company, 818 B 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Thursday, March 6 – Saturday March 8, 2014
Cost: $24
>Read more about TJ Miller and American Comedy Company

Run with the Best: 3rd Annual San Diego Half-Marathon

san diego half marathon

Have you been training? It’s half-marathon time!

Grab your runnin’ shoes and enjoy the scenic beauty of San Diego along this 13.1 mile course though the city. This fantastic course begins at Petco Park under the Omni San Diego Hotel Sky Brige and winds throughout America’s Finest City. Enjoy spectacular views of San Diego Bay, Liberty Station, neighborhoods including Mission Hills and Hillcrest, and a final downhill stretch along Balboa Park. And what better way to finish than a block party at the historic Gaslamp Quarter! You can also participate in less rigorous events including the 2-person relay (you and a partner complete the race together) and a 5k for all ages.

Where: Varies – Runners, see your final registration instructions for meeting points.
When: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Cost: 5k – $45; Relay – $80; Half Marathon – $109
>Find out more about the San Diego Half Marathon

9th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Full Bloom

japanese friendship garden cherry blossom

Enjoy the sights and smells of cherry blossoms this weekend.

Winter may not officially end until March 19th, but in San Diego, the colors of spring bloom earlier than most parts of the country. Be part of the Japanese tradition of hanami, which means “enjoying the beauty of the Cherry Blossoms.”  For the eighth year, the Japanese Friendship Garden invites guests to stroll along the picturesque paths featuring more than 150 cherry trees. Cultural performances, samples from the Sapporo Beer Garden, authentic Japanese street food, and activities for the entire family round out a memorable day in Balboa Park.

Where: Balboa Park, 2215 Pan American Way E, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Cost: $6 adults; $5 Seniors, Military, Students; Kids under 6 free
>Find out more about the 9th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

San Diego Opera Presents a Masked Ball

San Diego Opera 2014

Get some culture: the San Diego Opera puts on a terrific show.

If you don’t speak Italian, that’s just fine.  Supertitles are projected in English above the stage for a complete translation during the show. Plus, the music alone is worth the price of admission. Giuseppe Verdi’s A Masked Ball is the story of friendship, love, jealousy and cold-blooded murder – all told through spectacular sets, award-winning music, and of course, legendary operatic ballads. With an all-star cast of world-renowned opera singers, the San Diego Opera production is sure to leave you cheering Bravo!

Where: San Diego Civic Theater, 1100 3rd Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: March 8-16, 2014
Cost: $35 – $225
>Read more about the San Diego Opera’s production of A Masked Ball

La Jolla Music Society Presents SIRO-A, an Interactive Hi-Tech Performance

Siro-A San Diego

You’ll have to see SIRO-A to understand…

It’s hard to compare this unique act to anything else on the planet. To say that they are Japan’s answer to the out-of-this-world vaudeville troupe, Blue Man Group, might be a close start. Fusing visual effects, mime, dance, puppetry, and a rockin’ electro soundtrack, SIRO-A is a collaborative show from six talented performers who interact with technology like you’ve never seen before.  Lasers, animation, and video projection are just some of the enhancements you’ll see when the lights go down this Sunday!

Where: La Jolla Music Society, 868 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Cost: $27 – $67
>Read more about the innovative group SIRO-A

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Benjamin Eastman

San Diego Races You Don’t Want To Miss!

La Jolla Half Marathon

With our gorgeous year-round weather and variety of terrain throughout the region, it is no wonder that San Diegan’s are some of the most active people in the USA. And while many of us choose that activity to be surfing, biking, jogging, swimming or some other leisurely pursuit, some San Diegan’s like to push their competitive limits by participating in one (or many) of the numerous races that are held throughout San Diego each year.

As an avid mud runner myself, I’m excited to be taking on my 3rd Super Spartan Race at the end of the month. Nothing quite gets my blood pumping like crawling through mud under barbed wire, pushing my way through a gauntlet of defenders or perfecting my javelin throwing skills. Here’s more information on the Spartan Race and several other upcoming San Diego races that are guaranteed to get you dirty, wet and beaming from ear to ear!

Spartan Race

8+ mile Mud Run course through the Temecula hills. 20+ obstacles including climbing over walls or through tunnels, balance challenges and jumping over fire.

Where: Vail Lake Resort – 38000 Temecula Pkwy, Temecula, CA 92592
When: January 25-26, 2014
Cost: $95-$140 (depending on when you register)
> Find out more about the Spartan Race

Super Gladiator

Super Gladiator Race

Are you tough enough to make it through the Super Gladiator race?

This 5-mile, 25 obstacle mud run course is the biggest, baddest, muddiest Gladiator event yet!  They claim to have more obstacles per mile than any other race in the planet – and I’m looking forward to seeing if that is true!  Climb sheer walls, slither across muddy fields and rocket down a 150 foot water slide into a pool of mud – who wouldn’t like to do that?!

Where: Barona Indian Reservation – 1800 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside, CA 92040
When: Saturday, April 26, 2014 – Changed to August 2, 2014
Cost: $75-120 (depending on when you register)
> Find out more about Super Gladiator

Ridiculous Obstacle Course (ROC) Race

A 5k “Fun Run” with 12 larger than life, game show inspired obstacles including the Wrecking Ball, World’s Largest Inflatable Water Slide and Jumping Balls. Many participants dress up in costume and this is meant to be a fun time with your friends. I’ve done this race 3 times and highly recommend it – a San Diego race that everyone can have fun doing!

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
When: Saturday, May 10, 2014
Cost: $55-80 (depending on when you register)
> Find out more about the Ridiculous Obstacle Course (ROC) Race

For those who like to run but could do without the mud, here are a few upcoming San Diego races that might pique your interest:

San Dieguito Half Marathon

San Dieguito Half Marathon - Races in San Diego

This scenic half marathon course winds its way through some of the most beautiful areas of Rancho Santa Fe. One of America’s oldest half marathons, the San Dieguito is celebrating 46 years this year!

Where: San Dieguito County Park in Rancho Santa Fe
When: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Cost: $50-70 (depending on when you register)
> Find out more about the San Dieguito Half Marathon

La Jolla Half Marathon

La Jolla Half Marathon

Are you prepared to take on the Torrey Pines “Mountain” climb?

Race #2 of the Half Marathon Triple Crown, the La Jolla Half Marathon features a gorgeous run along the La Jolla coast, a challenging incline up to the summit of Torrey Pines State Park and then through picturesque La Jolla Shores where it finishes at the La Jolla Cove.

Starting Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014
When: April 27, 2014
Cost: $80
> Find out more about the La Jolla Half Marathon

Safari Park Half Marathon & 10K Run

San Diego Safari Park Half Marathon

Run with the animals at the San Diego Safari Park Half Marathon

Starting at the Westfield North County Mall, this half marathon ends inside the Safari Park. Runners will not only experience the fun of running past vineyards, horse farms and golf resorts, but they’ll also run through some of the Safari Park’s behind-the-scenes areas. Not only will they see animals along their run, but participants will also  get to stay to explore the park after the race is over!

Where: San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido
Date: May 4, 2014
Cost: $75-120 (depending on when you register)
> Find out more about the Safari Park Half Marathon & 10K Run

> Find more San Diego Races and Runs

So whether you’re a racer looking for a new location to run, a visitor looking for a unique San Diego experience, or a local who’s out to spice things up a little, I encourage you to get out and enjoy some San Diego races.  Your body will thank you!

Benjamin Eastman

Obstacle Races in San Diego – Are You Tough Enough?!

Having just recently completed the Southern California Spartan Race Temecula, my interest in obstacle races has piqued. Who else out there enjoys torturing themselves by running miles and miles while climbing over/under walls, jumping fire, dodging gladiators and in general just beating your body to a pulp? I certainly didn’t think I was going to be “that guy,” but I challenged myself to do the Spartan this year as a motivator to improve my fitness and health in 2012 – and ended up enjoying it (did I just write that?!).

So for those who are already into these types of races, or those that would like to challenge themselves, here are a few other San Diego obstacle races that are happening in the not too distant future: Continue reading


Experience the Thrill of America’s Cup Racing in San Diego

Maren at the helm

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I’ll jibe starboard and leave the boom grinder to the men.” If you understood that, you’re a sailor. If you didn’t, read on. It turns out the list of sailing nomenclature is as extensive as it is useful, if you’re a top-notch sailor about to descend on San Diego Harbor for the third stop of the inaugural America’s Cup World Series. From November 12-20, 2011, be ready to witness a state-of-the-art AC45 wing-sailed catamarans FLY across the water at around 30 knots (read: FAST).

Luckily for those of us who are not world-class sailors, there are numerous vantage points around San Diego Bay, from Harbor Island to Coronado. The heart of the action and festivities will be at America’s Cup Village, dedicated to dry-land fun for the masses, located on Harbor Drive adjacent to the San Diego International Visitor’s Information Center. Bay front hotels are offering deals that equal their spectacular harbor views. And if you enjoy delicious seafood as much as I do, waterfront dining at Anthony’s Fish Grotto is the place to be. I also recommend putting on your Dennis Cooper cap with Next Level Sailing, as I did in this video. A trip around San Diego Bay in the competition-tested America’s Cup yacht, the Stars and Stripes is the perfect place to jibe and grind for yourself!


And They’re Off…

where the turf meets the surf

The Del Mar horse racing season has begun, the races are in full-swing and there are some exciting events in store this summer. 

Be sure to check the Events Calendar for information on the events taking place all season long. 

Highlights include:

Fridays & Select Saturdays: The Del Mar Summer Concert Series.  Featuring “4 O’Clock Fridays,” (free concerts every Friday and select Saturdays after the last race). This year’s lineup includes Weezer, ZZ Top, The B52s and more.

Saturdays & Sundays: Daybreak at Del Mar.  From 7:30 – 9:30 a.m., fans can get the inside scoop on racing, catch the morning workouts with commentary and a Q&A from trackside announcer and former jockey Jeff Bloom and enjoy breakfast at the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant for less than $10.

Sundays: Family Day. Kids can enjoy an Infield of entertainment including pony rides, playground, rides, inflatable games and more.  Special Family Fun Days take place July 25 and September 6.

July 30: Cougar Day. Miss Cougar Del Mar will be selected to reign again this year. Finalists will be announced on July 28 and the winner will be crowned during the races on July 30.

August 28: Pacific Classic Day, Craft Microbrew Festival and Local Music Showcase. The $1 Million Pacific Classic is Del Mar’s richest race of the season, makeing way for the best horses, the best jockeys and a grandstand full of serious racing fans.  Meanwhile on the Infield, 150 specialty microbrews will be on tap while local bands perform throughout the day.

September 6: Wiener Dog National San Diego Finals. Labor Day brings some of the season’s most festive crowds and this year, fans can watch horse and dog races as local pups race to be the fastest Wiener dog in San Diego. 

Money Saving Tips:

Every Racing Day: Become a member of the Diamond Club.  It’s free and simple to sign up onsite and membership grants half-off admission any day of the season. 

Wednesdays: Free and Easy Wednesdays. Diamond Club members receive free grandstand admission, a complimentary reserved seat, a free program and half-priced beer, soda and hot dogs in Stretch Run concessions.

July 22 and September 2: Senior Day. All seniors 62 and over receive free Stretch Run admission, a free official program and a free reserved seat when they present their I.D. at designated Stretch Run Admission Gates.

The Del Mar horse races happen Wednesday through Sunday, now until September 8.  Post time for the first race on most days at 2 p.m.