Robert Arends

Family Fun for Free in San Diego’s Coronado!

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach

Family fun in the sun in Coronado! Courtesy Joanne DiBona, SanDiego.org

The Kidvasion has begun! Kids Free in San Diego month is in full swing. As you and your family are in town enjoying the numerous (100+) free deals, be sure to visit sun-kissed Coronado, a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

Kids are sure to get a kick out of these free activities around the island:

The Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America - Coronado Beach

Build a Sandcastle at the #1 Beach in America – Coronado Beach

Make sandcastles at Coronado Beach – the #1 beach in America – with its expansive stretch of soft white sands. To the north, check out the tail-wagging fun at Dog Beach where friendly fidos splash in the surf and play fetch. Along Ocean Blvd., can you spot the giant sand dunes that spell C-O-R-O-N-A-D-O? Pretty neat!

Coronado Museum of History & Art

US Navy's aircraft carriers at NAS North Island

Mighty aircraft carriers and high-flying jets at NAS North Island

Fly by the Coronado Museum of History & Art (kids under 12 are free with 1 adult paid admission) to check out their new 100+ Years of Yachting exhibition, plus cool U.S. Navy display. To see the real thing, head to Shoreline Park (First St. & I Ave.) for a peek at the Navy’s mighty aircraft carriers. A free air show of sorts can be seen almost daily at Coronado Beach, with Navy jets and helicopters flying overhead on their way to NAS North Island.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz Glass Panels - Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz scenes at the Coronado Public Library

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Coronado Public Library to gander at massive glass panels depicting scenes from the Wizard of Oz. Oz author L. Frank Baum lived in Coronado! Join Coronado Touring on a walk back in time through the Hotel del Coronado (Baum’s inspiration for the Emerald City) and past the yellow cottage where Baum wrote a few of his fantastical children’s books. Tour is free for kids under three ($12 each for mom and dad).

Secret Art of Dr. Seuss

The whimsical "Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" at Stephen Clayton Galleries

The whimsical “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” at Stephen Clayton Galleries

Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat greets kids at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat greets guests at Stephen Clayton Gallery

Another famous children’s author who lived in San Diego was Dr. Seuss. Discover the “Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” – including sculptures of magical creatures and other-worldly paintings – at the Stephen Clayton Galleries at the Coronado Ferry Landing.

And don’t forget Coronado’s Kids Free month participants and special deals, including:

Coronado’s fun and free playground of activities awaits! 🙂

Robert Arends

Ready, Set, Eat! Coronado Restaurant Picks for San Diego Restaurant Week

Peohe's spectacular bayside views.

The anticipation is palpable; you can feel it, almost taste it… OK, I exaggerate a bit. But, it is only the biggest dining event of the year: San Diego Restaurant Week! And it all kicks off this Sunday, Jan. 15, continuing through the 20th.

Have you made a reservation yet? With over 180 restaurants – from intimate bistros and casual eateries to elegant fine dines – there’s a lot to choose from. If I had to narrow it down, some of my top picks would be on Coronado Island, just a bridge away from downtown San Diego.

(photo credit: www.CorporateHelicopters.com)

Coronado is a diner’s delight with spectacular San Diego Bay and seaside views that accent the delectable dishes, from seafood that’s as fresh as it gets to the finest French, Italian and coastal/Pacific Rim cuisine. Following are my Top 6 picks:

Magnificent Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Dinner – $40
The magnificent Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort is a must-dine with its floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of San Diego Bay and the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge – an idyllic backdrop for modern French delicacies prepared by chefs Marc Erhler and Patrick Ponsaty.

A sheer delight! Sheerwater at The Del.

Sheerwater

Lunch – $20
The tables are set at the Hotel del Coronado’s two signature restaurants. The refined yet casual, oceanfront Sheerwater features a ”Fish by the Sea” menu of classic bistro-style cuisine with a focus on fresh sustainable seafood. Next door…

1500 Ocean at The Del.

1500 Ocean

Dinner – $40
1500 Ocean boasts a warm modern flare with Pacific views and menu by new Chef de Cuisine Aaron Martinez that uses fresh local ingredients, including The Del’s onsite herb garden, to create mouthwatering coastal-inspired dishes.

The classic Coronado Boathouse 1887.

Coronado Boathouse 1887

Dinner – $40
Coronado Boathouse 1887, located on Glorietta Bay across the street from The Del, serves gourmet steaks and seafood. This “diminutive Del” is a favorite with locals and visitors alike!

Tropical seafood at Peohe's.

Peohe’s

Dinner – $30
Situated on San Diego Bay (at Coronado Ferry Landing) with spectacular views of the downtown San Diego skyline, Peohe’s specializes in fresh tropical seafood and Pacific Rim dishes including innovative sushi. Al fresco dining is available on the patio or in a charming dockside courtyard.

Vigilucci’s Ristorante Coronado

Lunch – $15
Dinner – $40
Vigilucci’s Ristorante Coronado serves Italian classics, prime steaks and seafood in a romantic setting enhanced by live music daily from its martini lounge and piano bar.

Bon Appetit from Coronado! 🙂

Robert Arends

San Diego Restaurant Week: Fine Dines in Coronado and East County

Two of my favorite areas of San Diego are Coronado – our postcard-perfect slice of paradise just across the bridge from downtown – and East County which constantly surprises me with its cool backcountry finds.

Narrowing down my favorite restaurants in each region wasn’t easy, as there’s a plethora of mouth-watering options, from French, Italian and some of the finest Mexican food in the County to farm-to-fork and coastal cuisine.

Blessed with a spectacular bay and seaside setting and easygoing island vibe, Coronado is a diner’s delight! My top three choices in the “Crown City” for San Diego Restaurant Week are:

  1. Sheerwater at the Hotel del Coronado is a refined, yet casual oceanfront restaurant featuring a “Fish by the Sea” menu of classic bistro-style cuisine with a focus on fresh sustainable seafood. Just steps away, the beach beckons couples for romantic strolls.

    Mistral's panoramic views of San Diego Bay.

  2. With floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of San Diego Bay and the iconic San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Mistral at Loews Coronado Bay Resort offers an idyllic backdrop for modern French delicacies prepared by chefs Marc Erhler and Patrick Ponsaty.

    Coronado Boathouse 1887 on Glorietta Bay.

  3. Coronado Boathouse 1887, located on Glorietta Bay across the street from the Hotel del Coronado, serves gourmet steaks and seafood. This “diminutive Del” is celebrating 40 years in the restaurant business and is a favorite with locals and visitors alike!

My top three East County picks are:

  1. Terra American Bistro, located in the East College District, brings farm to table dining to East County. Chef Jeff Rossman’s New American cuisine focuses on the local bounty of sustainable, organic ingredients and preparation styles from North, South and Central America.  (Bring Terra home with the chef’s new cookbook, From Terra’s Table.)

    Enjoy farm to fork cuisine at Chef Rossman's Terra Restaurant.

  2. Every day is a fiesta at Casa de Pico in La Mesa, known for its award-winning “Best Mexican” cuisine, festive atmosphere and famous birdbath margaritas [just one, please 😉 ]. Enjoy dining on the patio with its colorful umbrellas, splashing fountain and strolling Mariachis – ole!

    Festive patio dining at Casa de Pico!

  3. A favorite with locals and critics alike, the Grove Steakhouse at Viejas Casino in Alpine serves a fabulous selection of steaks, seafood, chops and delectable desserts in a luxurious setting. Go a bit early to explore the casino and outlet shops. Viejas, by the way, is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

    The Grove Steakhouse at Viejas.