Brent Bernasconi

Haunted Houses, Trails and Hotels in San Diego – 2016

Haunted Trail of Balboa Park

As the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, our dearly (and not-so-dearly) departed rise again for their unwelcome annual visit. If you’re brave or foolish enough to greet them in person, head out to one of these haunted houses and trails throughout San Diego county.

“They’re heeeeere!” – Carol Ann

The Scream Zone

The Scream Zone

The 2016 Scream Zone is assembled from a collection of body parts and roughly stitched together into four terrifying haunts and other monstrous attractions. The year-to-year favorites are back – the horrifying House of Horror, along with our KarnEvil freakshow, and the Haunted Hayride, each casting its evil spell on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. New this year is our fourth attraction, Zombie Bootcamp. Try your skills at outrunnig the gruesome undead creatures that await around every dimly lit corner.

Note: The Scream Zone is designed for a teen and older audience.

Where: Del Mar Fair Grounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: September 30 – October 31, 2016
Cost: $19-$53
> Find out more about The Scream Zone

The Haunted Hotel

The Haunted Hotel

Courtesy of the Haunted Hotel

Named one of the top 13 haunted houses in America by Haunt World magazine, The Haunted Hotel is one of San Diego’s longest running haunted houses. This year, see where the Hellevator takes you, try to stay in one piece through the Slaughter house and the Dissector’s Autopsy Morgue, visit the ALL NEW Doll Island, twice as big, twice as scary…and don’t forget to brace yourself as you ride with our demented clowns on the moving subway.

Note: No pregnant women, infants, or children being carried will be allowed entry. Not recommended for children under 10.

Where: 424 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: September 23 – October 31, 2016
Cost: $19-$29
> Find out more about The Haunted Hotel

The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park


Enter the mile long Trail through the twisted grove of pines and gnarled oaks. Visitors watch your back, you’ll never know which way the terror will hit you. This year, watch your back while creeping down New Orleans famous Bourbon Street as vampires lurk in the shadows. Squeeze through the crowd of creepy clowns on the Haunted Ghoul Bus, experience an Alien Autopsy and run screaming through the gauntlet of Horror Icons. Oh yes, and don’t think we forgot about the saws. Ready yourself for the terror of the chainsaw wielding voodoo masters.

Note: No pregnant women, infants, or children being carried will be allowed entry. Not recommended for children under 10.

Where: 6th & Juniper at Marston Point, San Diego, CA 92103
When: September 30 – October 31, 2015
Cost: $25-$40
> Find out more about The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park

Savage House

As an unknown infection sweeps the nation, one company pushes forward in an attempt to find an answer, to contain and stop the spread, and to try and find a cure. S.P. Industries is a government funded laboratory and research facility. It is a fully self-contained installation that includes a surgical unit, laboratory, pharmacy, an observation room, containment facilities for the infected, and a decontamination chamber to insure the safety of the public sector. In an effort to bring awareness to their efforts, as well as gain the public’s support, S.P. Industries has agreed to open its doors and conduct tours of their facility. However, due to a technical glitch, the buildings safety grid has become unstable and some systems are beginning to fail, so visitors should be forewarned, they are touring the facility at their own risk.

Note: Attraction not recommended for anyone under the age of 12 years old.

Where: Westfield Mission Valley – 1640 Camino Del Rio North, San Diego, CA 92108
When: September 30 – October 31, 2016
Cost: $5-$18
> Find out more about the Savage House

The Whaley House

The Whaley House - The OG of Haunted Houses

Step into one of America’s Most Haunted Houses and immediately feel a chill! See something out of the corner of your eye that you can’t explain? Hear the sound of a ball bouncing off the wall but don”t see it? Throughout October, the Whaley House will be offering special tours, extended hours and the chance for you to have an actual paranormal encounter.

Where: 2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110
When: October 5-31, 2016
Cost: Prices vary by event
> Find out more about Halloween at the Whaley House

> Find more Scares and Halloween Happenings in San Diego

Guest Blogger

Why Film Lovers Should Attend the San Diego International Film Festival

San Diego International Film Festival
San Diego International Film Festival

Courtesy of San Diego International Film Festival.

Why should you forgo the traditional film-going experience and go a film festival instead?

1. Festivals showcase a wide variety of films you wont see at your local theater

Do you love films but don’t like the selection at your local theaters? Film Festivals often have hundreds of choices for your all your film-going desires. At the 2016 San Diego International Film Festival (SDiFF), there were more than 2000 films from 65 countries submitted and the programmers have culled it down to just over 100 films – documentaries to psychological thrillers, to coming-of-age tales, to historical dramas. It’s all here!

2. You’ll be able to see films before they are released to the general public

You’ll get a first look at independent and studio films before they are released! Even better, you’ll be able to get a first look at major awards contenders long before awards season arrives. In the past, the San Diego International Film Festival has shown critically acclaimed films such as Room, He Named Me Malala, 12 Years a Slave, Whiplash, Wild and many more! This year, SDiFF will be featuring some exclusive World and US premieres. Care to see what may be hot next awards season? Festivals are always the best places to be in the know.

3. You’ll be supporting independent artists

Film festivals primarily showcase independent filmmakers, writers, and new talent. Through the patrons of the San Diego Film Foundation, we are able to support the best in cinematic storytelling from around the world. Film has the power to inspire, educate, entertain and engage when passionate filmmakers share their stories.

4. Festivals are a haven to meet other film lovers

You never know who you’re going to meet at a film festival! There’s always something to discuss. What are you going to see? or What was your favorite movie? are always great conversation starters. At a festival you may even make some new friends, or meet future collaborators.

5. Festivals are great avenues for industry education

From panels to workshops, there’s a whole lot to learn. You’ll be able to gain exclusive opportunities to hear first-hand from industry insiders. Take your education outside of the classroom, take a seat and hear from our speakers at the Social Justice Panel, or Film Critics Panel, or enjoy the Actor’s Panel or any number of films with Q&A sessions.

6. You’ll be a part of the scene!

It’s not all movies at the festival! You’ll be part of the scene and enjoy parties with live music, food and drinks. You’ll have the opportunity to wind down and enjoy yourself at Wednesday’s Opening Night Film and After Party, the Thursday Indie Night and the Friday Night Party. Saturday Night is the Filmmakers Awards Party and Sunday is Culinary Cinema! SDiFF also has The Hub at Horton Plaza Park where all festival-goers can hang out and enjoy beverages, food, games, and entertainment Friday through Sunday. There’s plenty of fun for everyone!

7. Embrace Your Community or Discover Somewhere New

Film festivals have the unique ability to unite communities. They are a source of community pride where people can come together. Local artists, businesses, and volunteers all participate and make a film festival great. Also, film festivals allow for the discovery of a new place. Luckily for SDiFF, San Diego is a great place for locals and visitors alike with its beaches, attractions, and amazing weather. When you come to San Diego, there are plenty of places to stay and play and five glorious days of binge watching and movie indulgence with 100+ independent and studio films, red carpet events, industry panels and parties.

San Diego International Film Festival Details

When: September 28 – October 2, 2016
Cost: $15-$595
> Find out more about the San Diego International Film Festival

Guest Blogger

Runway Show Breakdown | Fashion Week San Diego 2016

Fashion Week San Diego 2016

Fashion Week San Diego ® is a traditional fashion week with 7 nights of events, 4 of which are open to the general public! Each night of #FWSD16 is completely unique, and has its own customized Events, Designers, and Themes.

Fashion Week San Diego Schedule

Below is the breakdown of the Fashion Week San Diego 2016 Runway Shows:

FWSD16 | Art & Beauty Behind Fashion

Rather than clothing – Hair, Makeup & Art will be the focal point of this evening!

  • Guests will enjoy a special presentation from Artist Shane Bowden and for the first time ever, an exclusive one of a kind FWSD original piece of art by Shane Bowden himself will be for sale! Partial proceeds will go back to FAB Authority.
  • Did you miss the FWSD16 Spring Showcase? Here is your chance to see it in 3D! Passage Productions will premier their Virtual Reality video from Spring Showcase at Harrah’s Resort Southern California along with a presentation about VR and this as a new art from.
  • Detour SalonThe lines are blurred between art, fashion, and beauty. Inspired by artist Shane Bowden and against the backdrop of his energetic art, Detour’s award winning and street savvy stylists use their familiar medium of hair to deconstruct, reform shapes and challenge standards of beauty. Detour’s work will feature French underwear and clothing brand Pullin – renowned for its quality and whimsical prints, as well as Kevin Murphy hair care. Their partnership with Kevin Murphy is a natural fit as it was literally born on set and on the catwalks around the world. Kevin Murphy creates the products that creates the styles the public craves.
  • Live DJ from Sleeping Giant Music to set the mood
  • Fabulous cocktails with partial proceeds going back to FAB Authority & Rancho Coastal Humane Society
  • MC & Red Carpet Host, Jeff Krapf.

Where: Shane Bowden The Gallery – 7655 Girard Ave. La Jolla, CA 92038
When: Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Time: 6:00 to 9:30 PM

FWSD16 | Runway Shows Night 1

Runway Shows featuring 13 of the 26 Fashion Week San Diego 2016 Designers. Featured Designers include (in alphabetical order): B.JASH.I, Chavon ShreeDeAnnah Rae, Fuseik, GFASH Now, Killem with Chic, Laced with B, Luis Rivas, Margaret the Maker, Odd Bird Designs, P. Sangeeta, RACA Designs, Valleau Apparel.

Hosted by NBC 7 San Diego‘s Jodi Kodesh & Jeff Krapf.

This night will also include our annual Haute Dog Fashion Show where adoptable dogs from Rancho Coastal Humane Society wag their tales down the FWSD Runway in hopes of finding their forever homes!

Where: Hotel La Jolla – 7955 La Jolla Shores, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: Friday, September 30th
Time: 6:00 to 9:30 PM

FWSD16 | Runway Shows Night 2

Runway Shows featuring 13 of the 26 Fashion Week San Diego 2016 Designers. Featured Designers include (in alphabetical order): Albert Ray Collection, As Much Again, Bryan VaughnBerry, Circa Suzy Vintage Couture, Gloria Guerrero, Jaded Marie, LK Fashion, Pashn by Survi, Territa Torres, The Stylish Bisou, Theo Doro Fairyland, Timmitheay-u-l-i-y-a

Hosted by NBC 7 San Diego‘s Jodi Kodesh & Jeff Krapf.

Where: Hotel La Jolla – 7955 La Jolla Shores, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: Saturday, October 1st, 2016
Time: 6:00 to 9:30 PM

FWSD16 | Trunk Show

View and shop all the labels and FWSD16 Designer fashions that just debuted on the runway, including other FWSD Vendors & Partners. Annual Fashion Awards at 1:00 PM.

Where: La Valencia Hotel – 1132 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
When: Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Time: 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

PASSES ARE ALMOST SOLD OUT- Get yours HERE before its too late!

Guest Blogger

KAABOO DEL MAR – 6 Reasons It’s The Ultimate Mixperience

Kaaboo Del Mar


If you’ve heard of KAABOO, then you know what makes this the ultimate “Mixperience” and why you should make plans to join in the fun! If you haven’t discovered the KAABOO experience yet, here are a few reasons that you’ll want to reserve September 16-18 for a Vacation/Staycation and join us at KAABOO Del Mar!

1. The Music

KAABOO has curated the lineup to be a musical journey from legendary classic rockers to some of the latest, most buzz-worthy chart-toppers. Creating a bill that is even more diverse and deep than the inaugural year, KAABOO has established a mix of bands where guests can see their favorites and discover new favorites all in the same weekend.

If you’re still waiting to check a live Aerosmith show off your bucket list, this is your chance. Also catch Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, Jack Johnson, Fall Out Boy, Lenny Kravitz, Daryl Hall & John Oates, The Avett Brothers, The Chainsmokers, plus dozens more noteworthy acts. Check out the full lineup at

2. The Comedy

Chill out in our air-conditioned comedy club, Humor Me, with nationally recognized comedians. Take a seat as you laugh with Sarah Silverman, Dana Carvey, Cheech and Chong, Darrell Hammond, Vanessa Bayer, and even Del Mar native Taylor Williamson…just to name a few.

3. The Food and Libations

Even if you’re coming for the music, you’ll enjoy the food! Palate is a foodies delight with tastes from 25 local restaurants and over 50 craft beer, wine and spirits. Looking for grub on the go? KAABOO has you covered with gourmet grab-n-go options ranging from an acai bowl from Sambazon to a delicious California-style burger from Caliburger. Looking for a sugar fix – stop into the Dylan’s Candy Bar Pop-Up Shop for a sweet treat. Eat your way through the weekend with the full culinary. Eat and drink your way through the weekend with the full culinary lineup at

4. The Art

Take a leisurely stroll through our inspiring contemporary art gallery, featuring curated installations, paintings, sculptures, photography and jewelry from this year’s impressive lineup coming to us from across the country and around the world. Experience large murals and installations, with some created right in front of your eyes. KAABOO’s public art and indoor exhibition transform the venue into an evolving journey of surprise, delight and discovery.

5. Personal Indulgences

A 3-day live music event doesn’t have to leave you worn down! With KAABOO Del Mar’s Indulgences Lounge presented by Meet Me at the Spa, you can take a break from the action to rejuvenate and refresh. Offering express treatments and full 50-minute spa treatments, you can make an appointment for a manicure, massage or just get a reset on your makeup! And best of all, there are plenty of services for the guys, too!

6. Hospitality and Comfort

KAABOO is an elevated “mix-perience” and we’re giving you the creature comforts that we, as adults, enjoy! It’s more than your typical festival…KAABOO has all of the makings of a comfortable event. We have plenty of shade and seating, all restrooms are clean with flushable toilets (no portapotties). And there is no dirt, dust or mud to fight through just to have a good time.

Amplify your experience with HANG FIVE program. Enjoy dedicated viewing areas, lounges and access to the Thursday Night AMPLIFY event to get your KAABOO Del Mar weekend started sooner!

> Get Your KAABOO Del Mar Tickets Now

Guest Blogger

Fleet Week San Diego Schedule of Events to Honor Local Military

Fleet Week San Diego is so much more than a week! Running September 2 – October 1, 2016, it’s really a whole month. That’s because in San Diego we have 100,000+ active duty military stationed here year-round, and a week to honor and thank them just isn’t enough!

The men and women that defend the land of the free and the home of the brave are honored each year by Fleet Week San Diego’s military tribute. This year’s roster of events includes festivities exclusively for the military, as well as some spectacular events open to the public that members of the community will not want to miss.

Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade

The Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade is soaring back into San Diego with great fanfare as we prepare to experience the best of the U.S. military on display and in action on September 10, 2016. The parade will run the length of San Diego Bay, beginning at Shelter Island with viewing areas all along the bayfront, from noon until 2:00 pm.

For the first time since 2008, amphibious ships, destroyers, Marine counter measure ships, submarines and ships from the Coast Guard as well as the Canadian Navy will participate. In addition there will be amphibious landing craft and demonstrations of SEAL capabilities, Coast Guard Search and Rescue, and fly-overs of Navy aircraft and the rarely seen Marine F-35 fighter jet.

Many more activities are scheduled to accompany the Sea & Air Parade. On September 10 and 11, the Broadway and B Street Piers will host a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Fair, ship tours, live music, food, static displays and kids zone from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Ship tours will be open from September 10-14, also from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 PM on Broadway and B Street Piers.

Party at the Pier

To kick it all off, Fleet Week is hosting a Party at the Pier on Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM featuring live music, food trucks and a beer garden at B Street Pier.

Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival

Fleet Week San Diego Coronado Speed Festival

The Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival, a.k.a “The Race at the Base,” promises a full weekend of high-octane activities and family fun, September 17-18. Grand Marshal Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band will perform in concert Saturday at noon – Free with admission. All are invited as NASNI throws its gates open wide – an unprecedented opportunity to visit a working U.S. Navy base. Coronado Speed Festival features roaring auto races on a live U.S. Navy runway, flyovers, military displays and family fun for all ages. Military admission and children ages 12 and under are Free.

Fleet Week San Diego Schedule

As always, these events are hosted at little or no cost to the military families they honor, thanks to the financial support of the Foundation’s corporate sponsors and the commitment of our many dedicated volunteers. Members of the U.S. military are the primary honorees of these events but the local community is welcome and invited to enjoy many of these activities.

  • Fleet Week San Diego Overboard Concert
    When: Friday, September 2, Doors Open 7:00 PM
    Where: House of Blues
  • Military Family Tailgate
    When: Saturday, September 3, 3:00 to 4:30 PM
    Where: Qualcomm Stadium
  • Fleet Week San Diego Golf Tournament
    When: Friday, September 9, 11:00 AM
    Where: Admiral Baker Golf Course
  • Party on the Pier
    When: Friday, September 9, 4:30 PM
    Where: B Street Pier
    Open to the Public
  • Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade
    When: Saturday, September 10, 12:00 to 2:00 PM
    Where: San Diego Bay
    Open to the Public
  • Ship Tours
    When: September 10-14, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    Where: Broadway Pier
    Open to the Public
  • STEM Fair
    When: Saturday-Sunday, September 10-11, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
    Where: Broadway Pier
    Open to the Public
  • Fleet Week San Diego Football Classic
    When: Saturday, September 10, 7:30 PM
    Where: Qualcomm Stadium
    Open to the Public
  • Fleet Week Foundation/SDMAC Breakfast
    When: Wednesday, September 14
    Where: Admiral Kidd Conference Center
  • Enlisted Recognition Luncheon
    When: Thursday, September 15, 11:45 AM to 1:30 PM
    Where: Sea World San Diego
  • Coronado Speed Festival Car Procession
    When: Thursday, September 15, 4:30 PM
    Where: Rotary Park, Coronado
    Open to the Public
  • Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival
    When: Saturday & Sunday, September 17-18
    Where: Naval Air Station North Island
    Open to the Public
  • MCAS Miramar Air Show
    When: Friday-Sunday, September 23-25, Gates open 8:00 AM daily
    Where: MCAS Miramar
    Open to the Public
  • MCRD Boot Camp Challenge
    When: Saturday, October 1, 9:00 AM
    Where: MCRD San Diego
    Open to the Public
  • Cabrillo Festival
    When: Saturday, October 1, 11:00 AM to 4:00PM
    Where: Navy Base Pt. Loma
    Open to the Public
Brent Bernasconi

Top 10 Things to Do this Summer in San Diego

Nothing beats summer in San Diego. With friendly locals, 70 miles of beautiful coastline, world-class attractions and a laid-back vibe all its own, California’s Beach City is perfect for the young and young at heart.

Below are ten events, things to do and attractions you need to check out this summer in San Diego.

FYI – Beaches and Comic-Con have been excluded because they are a given.

1. 2016 MLB All-Star Week

2016 MLB All-Star Week

Take yourself out to San Diego for the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Week, July 8-12, featuring the All-Star Fanfest, All-Star Concerts, All-Star Sunday, Yoga, Color Run 5K, Home Run Derby, All-Star Game and More!

When: July 8-12, 2016
> Find out more about the 2016 MLB All-Star Week

2. Centennial Nighttime Zoo

Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo

This summer, the San Diego Zoo is celebrating its centennial year in a big way, with live music and fun activities during Nighttime Zoo presented by Cymer. Evenings at the Zoo will be filled with plenty of toe-tapping, body-moving music, special shows, and tons of fun!

Where: 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
When: June 19 – September 5, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Cost: Included with Admission

Site: casino bonus
> Find out more about the Centennial Nighttime Zoo

3. Big Bay Boom & 4th of July Fireworks

Big Bay Boom - San Diego's Largest 4th of July Fireworks Display

Photo courtesy of Big Bay Boom

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, especially the impressive Big Bay Boom fireworks show!

> Browse San Diego’s 4th of July Fireworks and Celebrations

4. Balboa Park After Dark

Balboa Park After Dark

This Summer Balboa Park Comes Alive After 5! On Fridays from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend enjoy extended evening hours at nine museums, as well as food trucks and entertainment throughout the Park on select dates.

When: Thru September 2, 2016
>  Find out more about Balboa Park After Dark

5. La Jolla Zip Zoom Line

La Jolla Zip Zoom

Photo courtesy of La Jolla Zip Zoom

55 MPH – 2,500 Feet Long – Parallel Lines – Spectacular Views – That’s La Jolla Zip Zoom! Located in San Diego’s North Inland on the La Jolla Indian Campground, La Jolla Zip Zoom invites you to cool off this summer by flying through the air at amazing speeds along the longest zipline course in California.

Where: 22000 Highway 76, Pauma Valley, CA USA 92061
> Find out more about La Jolla Zip Zoom

6. San Diego Pride Parade and Music Festival

San Diego Pride Parade

Photo Courtesy of San Diego LGBT Pride

The annual San Diego LGBT Pride Parade is the 4th largest in the United States attracting over 100,000 cheering spectators and significant media participation. Following the Pride Parade honoring diversity and #OrlandoStrong, head on over to Balboa Park for the Pride Music Festival featuring musicians, bands, comedy and dance performers, an Art exhibit, cultural presentations, great food, and more! Did we mention that KESHA will be headlining this year?

When: July 16-27, 2016
Cost: Parade – Free. Music Festival – $15-$150
> Find out more about the San Diego Pride Parade
> Find out more about the San Diego Pride Music Festival

7. Beers, Wines and Dines Festivals

Summer Food & Drink Festivals

Photo courtesy of San Diego Brewers Guild

Sip and savor your way through a San Diego Summer. All summer long, festivals and taste-ofs offer you the chance to experience award-winning craft beer, enticing plates from local celebrity chefs, regional wines and more…all while wearing shorts and flip-flops!


> Browse San Diego’s Summer Food & Drink Festivals

8. Bike the Bay

Bike The Bay

Photo courtesy of Charlie Sears

Ride the bridge, Bike the Bay! Not only will the scenic 25-mile route travel through five of diverse communities but it will also allow riders their only opportunity of the year to ride over the beautiful Coronado Bay Bridge. All riders will return to San Diego for a post-ride festival with food, beverage, beer garden and entertainment.

When: August 28, 2016
Cost: $55-$60
> Find out more about Bike the Bay

9. Labor Day Weekend

US Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition

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.

> Find out more about Labor Day Weekend in San Diego

10. Kaaboo Festival

The KAABOO Festival will include performances by more than 100 musical acts on seven stages with internationally known headliners, established favorites and emerging artists. To unearth your inner foodie, KAABOO will feature celebrity, as well as local chefs from high quality restaurants, wine selections from vineyards throughout California, craft breweries from top markets including San Diego, craft distillers in various categories, mixologists and more. There will also be a dedicated comedy stage with comfortable seating and a unique after hours dance party highlighting additional performances and award-winning DJs.

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: September 16-18, 2016
Cost: $449-$2499
> Find out more about the Kaaboo Festival

Want More Summer Fun in

San Diego?

Then make sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer in San Diego.

Jeff Terich

4 Must See 2016 Summer Concerts in San Diego

There’s a lot of competition for live music in San Diego, and the competition doesn’t always come from other live shows. Beaches, parks, museums, galleries – there’s no shortage of options for fun summer activities, but if you’re starting to figure out your summer plans, I’d like to suggest marking a few select dates on your calendar for some great concerts coming to town between June and September. I’ve assembled some great options for those seeking out a great live music experience this summer, from old-schoolers to newcomers, be it rock, pop or R&B. Start planning now – you don’t want to miss ’em.

Brian Wilson

The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds celebrates a milestone 50-year anniversary this year, and founding member and singer/songwriter Brian Wilson is playing the album in its entirety on tour. One of the stops is at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and the concert is free to ticketholders at the San Diego County Fair, which is a major plus. God only knows there aren’t many opportunities to hear one of the great artists of our time perform the entirety of one of the best albums ever released, especially without paying a steep ticket price, so wouldn’t it be nice to be there when it happens?

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
When: June 30, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: Free to fair goers. Reserved Seating – $16-$118
> Find out more about Brian Wilson at the San Diego County Fair


Three of the best shows I’ve seen in the last year and a half were all played by Savages. The London-based outfit has a dynamic stage presence, intense but big-hearted, loud yet overflowing with charm. It doesn’t hurt that their two albums, Silence Yourself and Adore Life are two of the best indie rock/post-punk records of the past five years, and in a live settings they grow into something even more powerful. This one’s at the top of my list, and should definitely be up there on yours as well.

Where: Observatory North Park – 2891 University Ave, San Diego, CA, 92104, USA
When: July 29, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $25
> Get Tickets to Savages at Observatory North Park

Duran Duran/Chic

Individually, I’d be pretty enthusiastic about recommending a show that featured either Duran Duran or Chic, but both bands? That’s definitely a must see. New wave icons Duran Duran have been on tour with disco/funk legends Chic since earlier this spring, but their double-headlining old-school dance party makes their way to Sleep Train’s outdoor stage right in the middle of summer, making for a perfect night of vintage jams in an open-air setting. Freak out!

Where: Sleep Train Amphitheatre – 2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911
When: August 2, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Cost: $36-$152
> Get Tickets to Duran Duran: The Paper Gods Tour with CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers

Anderson .Paak

California’s Anderson .Paak (the period is intentional) has been making funky, just slightly psychedelic R&B for a few years now, but his new album Malibu has made him an early MVP for 2016. His style is a mix of ’70s-era soul a la Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye, filtered through contemporary electronic and hip-hop sounds, with more than his fair share of unique quirks. His music is pure joy, and nothing but good times are guaranteed when he hits the stage.

Where: House of Blues San Diego – 1055 5th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
When: August 3, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Cost: $20-$45
> Get Tickets to Anderson .Paak at House of Blues San Diego

> Explore more of San Diego’s Concerts and Music Scene

Susan Myrland

Arts Worth Traveling For: 3 Creative Festivals Not to Miss

Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival

If you need an excuse to stay a little longer in San Diego, we have one word for you: festivals. From Shakespearean folios to interactive film fests, you can immerse yourself for a day or a week, enjoying the unique combination of cultural enrichment and pure escapism at these fun fests.

Discover Shakespeare’s First Folios

First Folio! San Diego 2016

Title page with Droeshout engraving of Shakespeare. Credit: Shakespeare First Folio, 1623. Folger Shakespeare Library.

Fans of the Bard are in for a treat, as San Diego is the only California stop for “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare,” a traveling exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death. The folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623 by two of his fellow actors. Without their foresight, treasures such as “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar” and “Twelfth Night” might have been lost. The rare volume will be on display from June 4 to July 7 at the San Diego Central Library’s Art Gallery, complemented by props and costumes from The Old Globe Theatre. Admission is free but reserving tickets in advance is highly recommended.

In addition, the Old Globe, San Diego Public Library and several partners are hosting Shakespearean-themed performances, panel discussions, film screenings, family workshops and tours – even an alternate reality game – throughout May, June and July. Many of the events are free; some require reservations.

When: June 4 – July 7, 2016
> Find out more about First Folio San Diego 2016

Graffiti Art Meets Poetry Slam

Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival - San Diego Festivals

At the Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Plaza Amphitheater, you’ll find a year-round calendar of culture from jazz to culinary fusion. On June 25 from noon to 5:00 PM, the Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival presents award-winning poet/playwright Gill Sotu along with Writerz Blok graffiti artists Jose Venegas and Sergio Gonzalez. This free event includes a poetry slam, live mural painting, music, storytelling, hands-on workshops and some of the hottest all-style dance from The Junkyard Dance Crew.

When: June 25, 2016
Time: 12:00 to 5:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the Poets and Painters Spoken Word and Graffiti Art Festival

Immersed in Mozart

Mainly Mozart Festival

The Mainly Mozart Festival is a long-running local tradition, expanding over the years to include a range of composers from the 18th and 19th centuries. Performances are held in cathedrals, the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the exquisitely restored Balboa Theatre, a 1924 jewel box that CNN Travel listed in the top ten of “World’s Most Spectacular Theatres.” This year’s edition of Mainly Mozart is more than music – there’s also a one-woman play, “The Other Mozart,” and a three-day symposium, “Mozart & the Mind: an Exploration of Prodigy,” with renowned speakers from science, medicine and the arts.

When: June 2-18, 2016
> Find out more about the Mainly Mozart Festival

> Discover More Festivals in San Diego

Brent Bernasconi

Top Gun 30th Anniversary Celebrations in San Diego

Top Gun at Kansas City BBQ

On May 12, 1986, the City of San Diego established Tom Cruise’s career for the top one percent of actors. Its purpose was to showcase the lost art of volleyball montage scenes and to insure that the handful of exterior scenes that graduated to the final cut were the best images of 1986 San Diego in the world.

They succeeded.

Today, the city calls it “San Diego Feels the Need for Speed.” The movie lovers call it: Top Gun!

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the classic film Top Gun and the star of the movie, San Diego, is ready to celebrate!

Top Gun Parties

Kansas City Barbecue Celebrates Its Role

Kansas City Barbecue Celebrates Its Role

To celebrate the anniversary, the restaurant will feature food and drink specials May 9 – 19, have the movie showing onscreen, and will be selling 30th Anniversary commemorative T-shirts and challenge coins.

Where: 600 W Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
When: Through May 19, 2016
> Find out more about Kansas City Barbecue Celebrates Its Role

Top Gun Party at The Lafayette Hotel

Top Gun Party at The Lafayette Hotel

Come relive your favorite movie memories right here where history was made…The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows – a wingman you can count on. In addition to screening the movie, there will be a pool party, karaoke contest and specialty cocktails based on the movie.

Where: 2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104
When: May 13, 2016
Time: 2:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Varies
> Find out more abou the Top Gun Party at The Lafayette Hotel

Top Gun Day at The Del

The Hotel Del Coronado will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie “Top Gun” with a fun tribute day in honor of our naval aviation neighbors. The day will consist of celebrated elements across the property with a charitable component, with the showing of the movie in the evening.

Where: 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118
When: May 13, 2016
Time: 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM
Cost: Varies
> Find out more about Top Gun Day at The Del

Top Gun Filming Sites You Can Visit

Feel the need for speed at these filming locations according to IMDB:

Charlie’s House

Even though it’s surrounded by a fence, Charlie’s House in Oceanside is a most stop for any true Top Gun nut!

Where: 102 Pacific Street, Oceanside, California, USA

Kansas City Barbeque

final stop: goose was here. #sandiego #vscocam

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Relive the famous bar scene by sitting at Goose’s piano! Also, they do serve great barbecue and beer as well.

Where: 600 W Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101

Mississippi Room

You’ve won’t lose that loving feeling at The Lafayette Hotel’s Mississippi Room

Naval Training Center (NTC)

Liberty Station in Point Loma

30 years ago, NTC trained future sailors. Today, NTC has transformed into Liberty Station – a popular destination for dining, shopping, arts and culture and more.

Where: 2640 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106

Mission Beach Plunge

While ongoing repairs may prevent you from visiting the locker room, you can still visit the building located in the heart of Mission Bay’s Belmont Park.

Where: 3115 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego, CA 92109

Viper’s House

The ultimate beach house. Part II. #airsd

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Viper must have been moonlighting as a lighthouse keeper since his house is an actual lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument.

Where: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106

North Island Naval Air Station

Visiting North Island can be a bit difficult since it’s an active Navy base, so I would suggest exploring the base during the annual Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival.

Where: North Island Naval Air Station (Halsey Field), San Diego, CA 92135

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

See the former Fightertown USA in its loud, flying glory during the Fall’s MCAS Miramar Air Show.

Where: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, CA 92145

See the Real Top Guns

USS Midway Museum

USS Midway Museum at Night

Imagine living aboard a floating city at sea with Maverick, Goose, Iceman and 4,500 shipmates, by exploring galleys, officer’s country, sleeping quarters and the 4 acre flight deck. Admission includes a self-guided audio tour to over 60 locations from the engine room to control tower, narrated by Midway sailors who lived or worked in each.

Where: 910 Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the USS Midway Museum

San Diego Air & Space Museum

San Diego Air & Space Museum Exterior

Take a walk through aviation history with a visit to the San Diego Air & Space Museum.  The Museum houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a flyable replica of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world.

Where: 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about the San Diego Air & Space Museum

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

What sets this museum apart from all others is the fact that it is the only museum in the world dedicated to preserving the incredible contributions made by Marine Corps aviators and their ground support personnel.

Where: 4203 Anderson Avenue MCAS Miramar, San Diego, CA 92145
> Find out more about the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

> Explore more of San Diego’s Military Museums, Memorials & More

Brent Bernasconi

Celebrate the San Diego Zoo’s Centennial

San Diego Zoo Centennial

San Diego Zoo Centennial

In 1916, Dr. Harry Wegeforth, a local physician, exclaimed “Wouldn’t it be splendid if San Diego had a zoo! You know…I think I’ll start one.” With a rag-tag collection consisting of a row of cages along what is now Park Boulevard, with wolves, coyotes, bears, monkeys, lions, and a few other small species, plus groups of bison, elk, and deer in Balboa Park, Dr. Wegeforth and others established what would become the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

A century later, the San Diego Zoo is known for its two world-class facilitates in San Diego County, cutting-edge conservation efforts that span the globe, its pioneering concept of cage-less animals, panda and California Condor re-population programs, kids outreach and education programs, and more.

In 2016, the San Diego Zoo invites everyone to share their memories and celebrate 100 years of conservation, research, and most importantly, inspiring generation after generation to care for the world and the animals around us.

San Diego Zoo Centennial Celebration

The San Diego Zoo is turning 100, and we’re ready to celebrate. This is the Zoo’s way to say “thank you” to the community for a century of support! Join us for a spectacular evening filled with excitement and fun, including:

  • Family-fun crafts, food, face painting, hands-on activities…and an opportunity to set a Guinness World Record
  • Live bands, dancers, and Dr. Zoolittle
  • Animal presentations by Zookeeper Rick
  • Free entrance to several Balboa Park museums, including the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Photographic Art
  • And featuring a magical, musical extravaganza featuring a live orchestra, and Tony and Grammy award-winner Heather Headley at Spreckels Organ Pavilion at 8:00 PM.

Participating Food Trucks:

  • New Orleans Food Truck: New Orleans Cuisine
  • Seoul Man Food Truck: Korean
  • Smoothie Rider: Fruit Smoothies
  • Salt + Lime: Mexican
  • Totally Tasty: Sliders & Burgers
  • Bella Vita Pizza: Pizza
  • Sun & Sea: Mexican Seafood
  • Wishbone Wings: Chicken
  • Slider House: Sliders & Burgers
  • Back to Foods: Spanish Sandos
  • Sushi Uno: Sushi

Where: Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park
When: May 14, 2016
Time: 6:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free

More Centennial Highlights and Events

Wegeforth Bowl

During 2016, the history of the San Diego Zoo is part of the daily Centennial Show at Wegeforth Bowl. It opens with a film sharing 10 reasons to celebrate the San Diego Zoo’s 100th birthday – including the amazing animal collection and world-class Safari Park – leading into an exciting new animal show that incorporates special video clips and features some of the Zoo’s most beloved animal ambassadors.

Where: San Diego Zoo
When: All Year

Centennial Plaza and San Diego Zoo History Mural

After the show at Wegeforth Bowl, a new costumed character experience designed especially for children features performances on a gigantic birthday cake stage in Centennial Plaza. Characters include Dr. Harry Lion, Bamboo Panda, Churchill P. Bear, Matilda Koala, and Sydney Koala. Kids join in a rousing chorus of “You Belong in the Zoo” and have the chance to dance with the characters. Then take a stroll down memory lane with the San Diego Zoo History Mural: a 75-foot-long graphic art installation located next to the birthday cake stage, which features historical photos from the San Diego Zoo archives with descriptive captions of 10 extraordinary decades.

Where: San Diego Zoo
When: All Year

Centennial Theater and Guided Bus Tour

For their 100th birthday, the San Diego Zoo has opened the Centennial Theater at the bus depot. Before boarding a double-decker tour bus, groups of guests enter a standing theater and are treated to a beautiful short film about one of San Diego Zoo Global’s many conservation field projects. The 40-minute guided bus tour then shares details about the Zoo’s history, and efforts underway to end extinction by saving one species at a time. The Guided Bus Tour is included in the 1-Day Pass admission price. A Spanish version of the bus tour is offered Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 PM.

Where: San Diego Zoo
When: All Year

Nighttime Zoo

The summer nighttime activities for 2016 will carry the theme from the community event throughout the summer. Nighttime Zoo will include special presentations and a fun procession to add centennial dazzle, plus a special centennial-themed show from zany Dr. Zoolittle and lively musical entertainment.

Where: San Diego Zoo
When: June 19 – September 5, 2016
> Find out more about Nighttime Zoo

The Lore Behind the Roar

In collaboration with the San Diego Zoo, this celebration of the Zoo’s centennial explores its evolution to the World-Famous San Diego Zoo. Lore explores the Zoo’s contributions to popular culture, to San Diego and to the animal world, from the pioneering concept of cage-less animals to the high-tech Frozen Zoo.

Where: San Diego History Center – 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
When: Through January 1, 2016
Cost: Included with Admission
> Find out more about The Lore Behind the Roar

> Find out more about the San Diego Zoo Centennial