Meet Aaron Chang – A San Diego Guide to the Good Stuff


For artist and surfer Aaron Chang, San Diego is perfect fit. With access to incredible waves all year-round, a vibrant and engaging art scene, and great family activities, as Aaron would say, “I would defy you to be bored in San Diego!”

Both a photographer and gallery owner, Aaron has enjoyed watching the art scene in San Diego evolve and grow and sees a bright future for the arts in San Diego. But that’s not the only reason why he loves San Diego. Check out Aaron’s picks for what makes San Diego paradise for art and surf lovers alike!

Aaron Chang Guides to the Good Stuff

Aaron Chang behind the scenes filming San Diego’s Guides to the Good Stuff

Aaron Chang’s Favorite Artsy Endeavors

  • Mission Federal ArtWalk: the largest art event in San Diego showcases fine art in many mediums alongside live musical performances, food and beverage booths and activities for kids and families.
  • Cedros Design District: running the length of Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, this district is home to a bevy of luxury home décor and design boutiques as well as great art galleries and a live music venue.
  • Museum of Photographic Arts: dedicated to all forms of photography and film, this small but innovative museum has been bringing world-class photography to San Diego for more than 30 years.
  • The Headquarters at Seaport District: this former police station turned retail center offers tremendous restaurants and unique, shops. Plus, it’s home to one of Aaron’s gallery locations!

Aaron Chang’s Perfect Day

How would Aaron spend a perfect day in San Diego? Try a few of his favorite San Diego activities:

Check out more of Aaron’s tips for art lovers, from the best galleries to his favorite spots to snap photos in San Diego, at


Clothing for Men – Find Him the Perfect Outfit in San Diego

Mister B - Clothing for Men

Men and shopping? You bet! And San Diego is just the place to find that perfect ensemble to fit any occasion. As a personal wardrobe stylist I feel that clothing for men is less complicated than for women. San Diego’s local boutiques have embraced this concept making it easy to find anything from Casual-Chic to unique Work-Wear to Date-Night styles for men.

Find Great Clothing for Men at these Stores

Chillers Showroom

Chillers Showroom - Shopping Guide for Men

Chillers Showroom

Some of my recommended boutiques for Casual-Chic for men are Chillers Showroom. This spacious Pacific Beach boutique has some great options for casual button-down shirts, jeans and thermal hoodies. I also love that you can create your own custom t-shirt screen-printed right on site utilizing some of their fantastic Chillers artwork!

Location: 4667 Cass Street, San Diego, CA 92109 (map)




Fowlers, located in Solana Beach, is the perfect place to locate laid-back looks. Shop for the perfect Beach-Chic shorts or jeans, a stylish watch or maybe an awesome pair of sunglasses!

Location: 731 South Highway 101, Suite 1A3, Solana Beach, CA 92075 (map)


HIS - Clothing for Men

HIS – Clothing for Men

HIS is in the Design District called Cedros. I love their relaxed yet cool inventory of everyday styles for men. They carry unique brands and have a talent for offering just a step up from an everyday surfer-style look.

Location: 143 South Cedros Avenue, Suite K, Solana Beach, CA 92075 (map)

Mister B

Mister B - Clothing for Men

Mister B – Clothing for Men

When it comes to work-wear options or dinner-date looks, I recommend shopping at Mister B. This store offers fine men’s clothing with great European brands. Their suits, sport coats and shoes are to die for. If you’re looking for sophistication, this is the perfect place to shop.

Location: 162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas, CA 92024 (map)

Matti D

Matti D

Matti D

A great place to shop for date-night looks is the fab store called, Matti D. Whether you are searching for the latest pair of jeans or some unique outerwear this boutique carries it all. I love their selection of scarves and cashmere sweaters too.

Location: 2689 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014 (map)


Mint Shoes

Mint Shoes

When it comes to completing men’s style, cool shoes are a must! I love the shoe boutique called Mint. This boutique carries hard to find retro brands and the latest urban-chic styles for casual shoes and boots.

Location: 525 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103 (map)

Stile Italiano

Stile Italiano

Stile Italiano

If Italian quality and “dolce vita” style is for you then Stile Italiano is the place! This boutique is reasonably priced with imported unique fashions for men. The owner comes from Italy and has a long family history in fashion and design. I love their wallets, jackets and one-of-a-kind shoes. They even carry some great artwork to purchase!

Location: 142 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103 (map)

> Browse more Shopping Ideas in San Diego

Know of any other great clothing for men stores in San Diego? Let us and others know in the comments below.


A San Diego Summer Day: Photo Essay

Claire’s on Cedros: Start the day off right…sustainable, homemade, delicious. Fletcher’s Cove: A favorite for surfers and families alike.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps: Gorgeous views, both outside and inside.

OEX La Jolla Dive and Kayak Center: Good for the body and the soul.

SeaWorld San Diego: Brand new Manta Coaster! So fun!

Botanical Garden and Lily Pond at Balboa Park: So beautiful, and totally free!

Altitude Sky Lounge at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter: To great weather, great views, and great people…Cheers!


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

Stempunk Buggy by David Farish - San Diego Automotive Museum

I don’t know what sounds like more fun for the kids…Steampunk – The Exhibit or Grossology: The Impolite Science of the Human Body. Maybe we will just have to check them both out. Which of these 5 to Try sounds like fun? Or leave a recommendation of your own!

Stempunk Buggy by David Farish - San Diego Automotive Museum

See David Farish's Steampunk Buggy at the San Diego Automotive Museum

1. Steampunk – The Exhibit

The San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park opens its latest exhibit, Steampunk – The Exhibit on Friday, June 1. For the first time ever, the museum is incorporating clothing, gadgets, and gizmos that are not directly related to the automobile. The focus of the exhibit is innovation, and non-traditional vehicles will be presented with classic examples of early automotive engineering and design. Anyone wearing Steampunk clothing and accessories will be admitted for just $5 during the entire run of the exhibit.

Fiesta del Sol - Solana Beach

Concerts and More at the Fiesta del Sol in Solana Beach. Photo courtesy of Daniel Knighton

2. 33rd Annual Fiesta del Sol

Head up north to Solana Beach on Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3 for an annual family and community event featuring stellar live music, an arts & crafts fair, children’s activities, an international food court, and a beer & wine garden. Be sure to visit the Fiesta del Sol Kid’s area with rides, games and hands-on activities. Favorite destinations include the hair salon and the face painter. Entrance into the festival is free.

Where the Wild Things Are Food & Wine Classic - Living Coast Discovery Center

3. Where the Wild Things Are: Food and Wine Classic

This four-hour event on Saturday, June 2 from 3:00 – 7:00 pm will feature fine culinary delights and wines to sample, live cooking demonstrations, music, and animal encounters in the gorgeous surroundings of the Nature Center and Wildlife Refuge. This event will benefit the Nature Center’s animals, exhibits, and programs, including the development of a new Outdoor Living Classroom and Discovery Park on the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Guests will also be able to participate in a unique silent auction featuring amazing dinner packages, collector’s wines, and vacation experiences!

Rock and Roll Marathon

4. San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon 2012

Rock out at the annual Rock N Roll Marathon. The 15th annual Rock n’ Roll marathon sprints into San Diego on June 2nd. This 26.2 mile marathon features live music lining the streets, cheer squads, and a huge post-marathon concert to end the race with a bang. The race route will span more than 9 miles along San Diego’s scenic waterfront, including a stretch through PETCO Park. With more than 20,000 runners and 100,000 enthusiastic spectators, this popular event is not to be missed!

Art Around Adams 2012 Banner

5. Art Around Adams

This free, family friendly event on Saturday, June 2nd, will showcase an array of local artists, musicians, outrageous street performers, and interactive installations. More than 75 businesses will transform themselves into art galleries and performance arenas for the day. Free “Comedy Trolleys” will shuttle guests up and down Adams Avenue, while entertaining them with the best comedians San Diego has to offer.

Wings Over Gillespie Air Show Banner 2012

5+1. Wings over Gillespie

The 17th Annual Wings Over Gillespie Air Show, June 2-3, will feature the awesome howl of airplane engines such as WWII bombers, F4F Wildcat, the TBF Avenger, the A6M Zero, the SBD Dauntless, and many more “Flying Museums” including the only remaining of their type, the Northrop N9M Flying Wing and the F3F Flying Barrel. The Air Show will also have a KidsZone area with amusements, rides, entertainers, games and prizes, face painters, education displays, and a great variety of food and beverages. There will also be a Beer Festival to add to the festivities of a great summer weekend for all.


Southern California Beaches Present: The Bioluminescent Red Tide!

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Video Filmed by Franz Krachtus, Sept. 2011

Here in San Diego, Ca., we are often reminded that the most spectacular and awe-inspiring entertainment comes from Mother Earth herself. For a limited time – doing her best Vegas impression on Southern California beaches from Point Loma to Huntington Beach – the luminous, the electric, the dazzling…  Lingulodinium polyedrum!

During the day we simply call her “The Red Tide” however, by either moniker she is a show-stopping happening not to be missed. Every so often these tiny, miniscule algae “bloom” by the billions, giving the ocean a red sheen by day – hence the name “red tide”.

At night, the bioluminescent magic show (technically science show, however I’m sticking with the Vegas metaphor) begins as each cell gives off a flash of neon-blue light when jostled about. This means every wave, every outline of a fish, and every footstep on the sand glows like an unbelievable scene from ‘Avatar.’ A red tide is, literally, phenomenal.

Red Tide Bioluminescence. Photo courtesy of Kevin Baird.

For more info (but far fewer Vegas metaphors) on the current red tide occurring on San Diego and Orange County beaches, here is a great FAQ on the red tide from Scripps Professor Dr. Peter Franks that is chock full of fun suggestions too. (I think he enjoys his job.)

Please email if you have taken any pictures or video and would like us to post them!


Dining in North County Coastal San Diego

Discover San Diego’s neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on North County Coastal.

From pizza and brew to San Diego’s only 5-star restaurant, there is something for everyone in North County. Here’s our top 5 spots in the North County Coastal.

1. Pizza Port: A true pizza joint located a few blocks from the beach is Pizza Port. Visitors will find homemade pizza and home-brewed ale. With two locations in North County, Solana Beach and Carlsbad, it’s the perfect place to take the kids after a long day hanging on the beach.

2. Wine Steals-Cardiff: With over 40 rotating by-the-glass wines and more than 250 bottles, this is a great place to sip some wine and enjoy the ocean breeze. The stone and wine barrel bar is the centerpiece while stone arches and dark weathered wood add the old world charm reminiscent of Tuscany. There are ample leather couches and coffee tables to add to the comfort and with $5 tastings on Wednesdays, you can comfortably enjoy your wine into the night.

3. Addison: Inside the Grand Del Mar, you will find San Diego’s only 5-star restaurant. The Grand Del Mar’s signature restaurant features Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley’s artisanal approach to cooking, combining local ingredients with contemporary French influences. A seasonal menu offers an inspired evening of culinary expertise.

4. Fidels Little Mexico: With some of the best chips and salsa in San Diego, this is a great spot to try authentic Mexican food. The restaurant and cocktail lounge features a taco bar, strolling Mariachis (Thurs-Sunday only) and two heated outdoor patios.

5. Solace and the Moonlight Lounge: Okay, so this hasn’t opened yet, but will be shortly. If you’ve been to Urban Solace in North Park, then you’ll understand why it’s already on the list. The original location features new american comfort food and a fantastic selection of West Coast wines and handcrafted beer.

Discover North County Coastal for yourself with our “Enjoy the Grand Life in San Diego’s North County” sweepstakes. Unwind during a two-night stay at The Grand Del Mar, one of San Diego’s most exclusive luxury resorts. Discover the dramatic North County coastline by air on “The Unforgettable” scenic helicopter ride for two from Corporate Helicopters of San Diego.


Neighborhood Spotlight: North County Coastal

Discover San Diego’s Neighborhoods with our Summer Sweepstakes. Join us every week as we showcase the best in what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in some of San Diego’s unique neighborhoods. Be sure to check back for exciting insider tips, giveaways, and more! This week’s spotlight is on North County Coastal.

North County Coastal is made up of some of San Diego County’s most unique beach communities including Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas. With a little bit of everything, visitors can spend the day surfing at some of the best spots in San Diego County, play 18 holes at Torrey Pines, home to the 2008 U.S. Open, and dine at San Diego’s only 5 star restaurant, Addison.

Del Mar

Del Mar: “Where the Surf Meets the Turf.” Just as Del Mar has its two faces—town and country; surf and turf – it also has two seasons – summer and the rest of the year. Summer is a lively, fast-paced, crowded time with the fair running from June through the beginning of July and then the Del Mar Race Season. Races run every day except Tuesdays with concerts on Saturdays and Sundays.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach: Known for its rocky cliffs, Solana Beach is a shoppers heaven. For original art, handmade furniture and other one-of-a-kind items, visit the South Cedros shopping district. After a day of shopping Cedros, be sure to hang around and check out the Belly Up Tavern, also on South Cedros Avenue, one of San Diego’s best live music venues.


Encinitas: The coolest thing about Encinitas isn’t the beach itself, but the pervasive beach culture. A child of the ’60s that grew up to become a real estate gold mine, Encinitas offers the best of both worlds: the refined tastes and civic responsibility that come with prosperity and the energy and vitality that come from free-spirited ideals and attitudes.

Discover North County Coastal for yourself with our “Enjoy the Grand Life in San Diego’s North County” sweepstakes. Unwind during a two-night stay at The Grand Del Mar, one of San Diego’s most exclusive luxury resorts. Discover the dramatic North County coastline by air on “The Unforgettable” scenic helicopter ride for two from Corporate Helicopters of San Diego.


Hot/Haute Boutiques in San Diego

San Diego has an array of unique boutiques located throughout the different neighborhoods of the city. In most cases Haute would define the upper class but in this case it purely defines the effortless chic fashions of San Diego and just a glimmer of what the city has to offer.

Goga Boutique, Downtown San Diego

Downtown has Goga Boutique located at 401 Market Street, showcasing Gordana Gehlhausen’s clothing and jewelry designs. Gordana was featured on the 6th season of the reality show “Project Runway.” Not only does she create one-of-a-kind pieces (check out her gowns!) but she also carries other lines that have an edgy-elegant look to them.

Le Bel Age Boutique, Mission Hills

Just north of downtown in Mission Hills is Le Bel Age Boutique at 1607 W. Lewis Street. This exclusive boutique offers an abundance of must-have fashions, from exquisite statement jewelry to hard-to-find clothing brands and glamorous accessories.  It truly is a one-stop-shop!

Capricorn Boutique, La Jolla

Continuing north to La Jolla is Capricorn Boutique at 5544 LaJolla Blvd. Capricorn offers ultra-fresh laid-back SoCal style. Carrying a variety of unique delicate jewelry, beach-chic clothing, yummy candles and hip urban-style’s for men!

Camellia Boutique, Solana Beach

A little further north brings us to Solana Beach and Camellia Boutique at 301 N. Highway 101. The openness of this boutique truly represents a relaxed ambiance with plenty of choices for casual pieces or date-night ensembles. Their stylish jewelry selection features many unique local designers.

Be sure to check them all out!


A Bevy of Easter Brunches

Hunt for Easter eggs in the gardens of Stone World Bistro!

Spring’s most decadent dining holiday is just around the corner and maybe you’re wondering where to get your eat on this Easter. Never fear my hungry little bunnies, this Easter Sunday San Diego restaurants are turning out egg-cellent brunches to tempt your taste buds. Hippity hop around town for these Easter day deals:


  • Champagne buffet brunch in the Oceanfront Ballroom and Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. $78.50 for adults, $34 for kids ages 6-10 and kids 5 and under eat free.

Del Mar

  • Buffet brunch with complimentary champagne at Arterra Restaurant in the Del Mar Marriott from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. $49 for adults, $15 for kids age 12 and under, kids 5 and under eat free.
  • A la carte brunch with bottomless mimosas at Pacifica Del Mar served until 2:00 pm. Entrees priced from $10.50 to $21.
  • Buffet brunch on the Ocean and Sunset Terraces or à la carte brunch in Kitchen 1540 at L’Auberge Del Mar from 10 :00 am to 2:30 pm.


  • Prix fixe brunch with bottomless champagne at Urban Bar & Grill from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. $30 for adults, $12 for kids.
  • Prix fixe brunch at Chianti from 11:00 am. $30 for adults, $12 for kids.
  • Prix fixe brunch at Bertrand’s at Mister A’s from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. $35 per person.
  • Champagne buffet brunch with appearances by the Easter Bunny at Buster’s Beach House from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. $23.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids ages 3 to 11 and kids two and under eat free.
  • A la carte brunch with live music and a free glass of champagne or dessert with each entree purchase at Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. Entrees priced from $9 to $17.
  • Buffet brunch with live gospel singers at the House of Blues from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. $40 for adults, $18.50 for kids ages 6 to 12 and kids 5 and under eat free.


  • Buffet brunch and Easter Egg Hunt in the Stone World Bistro Beer Gardens at Stone Brewing Company from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 pm. $34 for adults and $12 for kids 10 and under.

La Jolla

  • Buffet brunch at The Marine Room from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. $55 per person.
  • Buffet brunch at The Shores from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. $42 for adults, $20.50 for kids ages 6-12 and $3 per year of their age for kids 5 and under.

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5 To Try New Restaurants

bandiniFrontMediumHungry?  Just a little?

Here’s five new eateries to whet your appetite:

  • Claire’s on Cedros, an eco-friendly bakery and café, opened in Solana Beach earlier this month as the first freestanding restaurant in the U.S. to receive Platinum LEED certification. The laid back, dog-friendly restaurant offers organic eats (natch) for breakfast and lunch. 
  • Also in August, The Red Door opened in Mission Hills with affordable New American comfort food for dinner daily, lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends. Priced below $20, dinner entrees include cornmeal-crusted Cajun catfish with sweet potato-crab hash and a surf & “cheeky” turf with sea scallops, braised pork cheek, roasted garlic jus and crispy polenta.  Um, hello?  Yum. 
  • Here’s a double – Barona Resort & Casinoin San Diego’s East County opened two restaurants in July and both are great values (and good for those of us playing the penny slots).  Italian Cucina serves classic Italian dishes, pizzas, calzone and pasta all priced under $20 while Seafood Plaza offers grilled items, priced from $6.95 to $12.95, oysters at the raw bar and signature rolls at the sushi bar. 
  • In June, Cucina Urbana opened in Banker’s Hill adjacent to Balboa Park serving affordable Italian regional cuisine with a local farm-to-table ethos (no menu item tops $20). Crazy good starters include seasonal pickled vegetables, pate and other spreads served in mini mason jars and antipasti like amazing fried squash blossoms with ricotta, purple basil pesto and lemon aioli.  Innovative pastas and modern spins on classic Italian entrees round out the menu.  The restaurant is open daily for dinner. 
  • Also in June, a long-time San Diego favorite returned with the opening of Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad.  For more than 25 years, the restaurant was a fixture in Old Town and, once again, diners can enjoy the ambiance of Old Mexico with strolling mariachis, brightly colored umbrellas on a sunny outdoor patio, authentic regional cuisine and giant, frosty margaritas. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Okay, I can’t stop at just five.  Just one more because, in San Diego you can never have too many great new restaurants.  Especially when they’re serving up frosty margaritas.

  • Casa de Reyes in Old Town State Historic Park reopened in May with a new chef, menu and bright cheerful design. The restaurant has always been popular for outdoor dining so they doubled the size of the patio and added a new shade arbor and dramatic fire pits.  Salsas are made fresh daily; each burrito is served with a specially prepared sauce, and chili rellenos are made the old fashioned way with a creamy, homemade cheese sauce. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and – yes! – margaritas.