12 Reasons to Visit San Diego in 2012

San Diego Skyline

San Diego Skyline

As we celebrate the start of 2012, I’ve put together my list of 12 reasons you should visit San Diego in 2012. In no particular order…

1. The Best: In Travel + Leisure’s recent America’s Favorite Cities Reader Poll, San Diego was voted the #1 Destination for Best Weather and Best Spring Break. We also scored #2 for Best Summer Vacation, Family Vacation, 4th of July Destination and Most Attractive People.

2. Fabulous Food: A slew of restaurants are slated to open or have recently opened to offer visitors amazing culinary choices. Hot on the radar is UnderBelly which recently opened in Little Italy, Saltbox inside the Palomar San Diego hotel, and Brian Malarkey’s latest venture, Gingham.

3. A Whale of a Time: Majestic California gray whales make their annual migration from the Arctic waters to the warm lagoons in the Gulf of California for breeding. These “peaceful giants of the sea” come within miles of San Diego’s coastline.

4. Worth the Money: Budget Travel Magazine came out with it’s Top 10 Budget Travel Destinations for 2012, and named San Diego among them. Be sure to check out our 25 free things to do in San Diego. One of my favorites…Mission Bay Park.

5. Attraction Action: This year, SeaWorld will debut their latest new coaster with sting ray interactive touch pool and observation windows called Manta. Swooping over sea and sky, Manta will not only inspire riders with amazing underwater animal habitats, but then take them on an exhilarating ride on a launch coaster shaped like a giant manta ray!

6. Craft Brew: San Diego is home to the nation’s best brew pubs including Pizza Port which just recently won Small Brewpub of the Year at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.

7. The Beach…enough said: With over 70 miles of beaches, it’s no wonder that in June 2011, The Travel Channel’s famed “Dr. Beach” announced his annual picks for the Best Beaches in America and Coronado Beach was named No. 2.

8. San Diego Nightlife: San Diego’s nightlife scene has never been hotter. San Diego was among the top 10 hottest New Year’s Eve destinations according to a survey. Visitors can celebrate all year long in the Gaslamp Quarter with over 100 restaurants and clubs, it is the place to be any time of year.

9. Get Your Culture On: Be sure to visit Balboa Park and its 85 cultural and recreational organizations. My favorites are the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and The San Diego Museum of Art. Not to be missed this year is the new exhibit at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists.

10. Surf Culture: San Diego is widely known for its laid back vibe with some of the best surfing spots in Southern California. To top it off, we are also home to the world’s first Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University (not a bad way to spend your college years!)

11. Walking with Art: Spend the days outside under the sun browsing local art at numerous sidewalk art shows including San Diego Artwalk, Artwalk on the Bay and the monthly Ray at Night and Kettner Nights.

12. The Great Outdoors: San Diego’s temperate weather allows for outdoor activities all year round. Go hiking along the water in Torrey Pines State Reserve or mountain biking through the natural landscapes of Mission Trails Regional Park. Here are a few more ideas to get outdoors. There is no reason you should stay inside while in San Diego!

What do you have planned for San Diego in 2012?

Brent Bernasconi

San Diego’s Weather Ranked Number 1 by Travel+Leisure

San Diego's Weather - Perfect All Year Round!

In San Diego, all you need to do is walk outside on most days to notice our phenomenal weather. With over 280 days of pure sunshine, you can see why travelers ranked America’s Finest City number 1 for weather in Travel+Leisure’s America’s Favorite Cities 2011 survey. San Diego was also voted number 1 as the Spring Break destination and number 2 as Summer Family Vacation and 4th of July destinations! With great weather comes great opportunities for travel! Check out a Video San Diego’s Number 1 Weather Ranking from the Today Show


10 Reasons to Visit San Diego in 2011

10 to Try in 2011Ready or not, the New Year is upon us and so, I’ve put together my list of 10 reasons to visit San Diego in 2011.

In no particular order…

  1. A World Premiere: This February, the La Jolla Playhouse brings us the World Premiere of Little Miss Sunshine.  This new musical based on the Academy Award-winning film, is sure to be outrageously funny (if not Broadway bound?), as it follows the Hoover family on a cross-country trek to a children’s beauty pageant where they hope their bad luck will change as the youngest daughter, Olive, chases the coveted title of “Little Miss Sunshine.” 
  2. Fabulous Food: The Nation’s Restaurant News released their list of dining trends for 2011 and among the top was locally grown ingredients, locally sourced meat and seafood and sustainability. How did San Diego restaurants respond? Check, check and check!  Stop by The Linkery, Sea Rocket Bistro and A.R. Valentien to see what I mean.
  3. RC 44 San Diego Cup: The NASCAR of all boating events will speed into San Diego in March for the first time ever! The RC44San Diego Cup highlights the world’s best sailors as they compete in high-performance boat races along San Diego Bay. 
  4. New Attractions: This summer, SeaWorld will debut Sea Turtle Bay, a new attraction all about sea turtles. Highlights will include Turtle Reef, a 300,000-gallon aquarium with a massive, a ride where you spin in boats on a sea turtle rescue mission and much more.  Also, stay tuned for news about BIG changes to come at LEGOLAND
  5. New Flight: I dedicate this one to our friends in the UK – In June, British Airways will offer daily, nonstop flights between from London’s Heathrow Airport and San Diego.
  6. Five Diamond Properties: That’s right; we’ve got some top dogs here in San Diego that are waiting to wine and dine visitors. Three hotels and one restaurant were recently awarded 2011 AAA Five Diamond Awards, the highest rating possible from the American Automobile Association and the most coveted symbol of excellence in the hospitality industry. Congratulations to: The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, The Grand Del Mar and its signature restaurant, Addison.
  7. Weather or Not: In Travel + Leisure’s recent America’s Favorite Cities Reader Poll, San Diego was voted the #1 destination for Best Weather. We also scored #2 for Most Athletic/Active People; #2 for Most Attractive People; #3  destination for Best Time to Visit – Spring Break and #4 destination for Best Time to Visit –  Summer. Check us out! 
  8. Centennial of Naval Aviation: In February, Coronado’s North Island Naval Air Station and San Diego Bay will celebrate the 100th anniversary of naval aviation and the first-ever flight of a Navy aircraft. The special event will include Navy ship tours, aircraft exhibits, music, food vendors and a large flyover in the afternoon featuring over 200 vintage aircraft.
  9. Wildflowers That Wow: San Diego has had the rainiest winter that I’ve seen in years! While that disrupted my wintertime summer dress wearing, it does mean that our famous wildflower display will be bursting with blossoms this spring.  If you want to see a natural phenomenon, head over to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to see colorful wildflowers bejewel the desert landscape; make sure to double check the status of the wildflowers prior to your visit by calling the Park’s 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760-767-4684.
  10. Baby Animals Galore– Who doesn’t love to ooh and ahh at the sight of cute and cuddly little creatures? In 2010, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed a variety of calves, cubs and cutie pies, including newborn tigers, cheetah, rhino, zebra, giraffe and four elephants!  Come by the Safari Park to congratulate the new moms and watch these little guys grow.