Robert Arends

Holiday Cheer and Lights on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights
San Diego Big Bay Holiday of Lights

From boats decorated with lights to a Big Balloon Parade, there plenty of Holiday Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay. Photo courtesy of Cook & Schmidt

For those of you making holiday plans to visit San Diego, following are a few fun and festive ways to make some merry on San Diego’s sparkling Big Bay.

43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

View more than 80 decorated boats at the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights!

What’s better than a cool holiday boat parade? Two holiday boat parades! Yep, the 43rd Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights takes place on two Sundays next month. More than 80 boats lavishly decorated from bow to keel with colorful twinkling lights and decorations will glide the waters of San Diego Bay.

It’s quite a spectacle and best part, it’s free! This year’s theme is “Children’s Stories” which is sure to be a hit with the kids. Check out the route map here. The procession starts at 5:30 PM, but head to the Bay early for prime viewing spots including the Embarcadero and Embarcadero Park (North & South), Seaport Village, Coronado Ferry Landing, Harbor Island and Shelter Island.

When: December 14 & 21, 2014
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Giant inflatable characters at Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Check out the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade, “America’s Largest Balloon Parade” floating down Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero. And who knows, you might be on TV! The parade is televised nationally and on local Channel 4. You’ll see world-class marching bands, colorful floats, drill teams and of course, a procession of enormous balloons of familiar cartoon and pop culture characters. Over 100,000 spectators are expected!

The parade is part of our big annual National University Holiday Bowl festivities when the eyes of the nation are on San Diego for exciting gridiron action between two Pac-10 and Big 12 Conference teams.

Where: San Diego Embarcadero – W Cedar Street, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 26, 2014
Time: Parade starts at 3:00 PM
Cost: Free. Grandstand Seats – $20
> Find out more about the Port of San Diego’s Big Bay Balloon Parade

Whale Watching

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

California gray whale breaching off the San Diego coast

December is the launch of San Diego’s exciting whale watching season, when hundreds of majestic California gray whales are spotted of the coast making their annual migration from the Arctic to the warm lagoons of Baja California. These “peaceful giants of the sea” can be seen swimming our local waters through April. Hop aboard the HornblowerFlagship Cruises or one of the many other whale watching cruises departing daily from the Embarcadero on San Diego. The whales can also be seen from high atop Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma – bring your binoculars, though! 🙂

> Find out more about Whale Watching in San Diego

> Discover More Holiday Happenings in San Diego

Make some waves on San Diego Bay this holiday season!

Robert Arends

5 to Try for Big Fun on San Diego’s Big Bay!

San Diego's Big Bay
San Diego's Big Bay

Pick your adventure on San Diego’s Big Bay

Spring is here and there’s no better time to make a splash on San Diego Bay – also called the “Big Bay” –  with its treasure trove of attractions, tours, events and cool points of interest.

Following are my top 5 to Try:

1. The Port of San Diego’s Annual Day at the Docks

Kids fishing at the docks

Spend a day with the kids fishing.

The Port of San Diego’s Day at the Docks celebration in April is the West Coast’s largest public sportfishing celebration – and the official start of Southern California’s popular spring saltwater fishing season. Festivities at American’s Cup Harbor include over 200 maritime exhibits, live entertainment, a casting competition, captains’ dunk tank, free fishing and kids art areas. It’s fun and free!

2. The San Salvador

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Rendering of how the San Salvador ship will look when completed.

Did you know: in 1542 European explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed aboard his ship, the San Salvador, and reached “a very good enclosed port” naming it “San Miguel.” Today we call it San Diego Bay and visitors can step back in time to check out the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s building of a full-sized, fully functional, historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s flagship, the San Salvador. The framing is nearly complete and it’s easy to imagine the ship that she will become. Ahoy!

3. The Living Coast Discovery Center

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

See sea turtles up close at Living Coast Discovery Center.

The South Bay city of Chula Vista is home to one of my favorite attractions for up-close animal encounters: the Living Coast Discovery Center. You can see endangered green sea turtles (tip: go during feeding time!), leopard sharks, friendly stingrays (minus the stingers so you can pet them!) and magnificent birds like falcons and burrowing owls. The observation tower and hiking trails afford picturesque views of the surrounding wetlands and bay.

4. Seeing the Big Bay…While on the Big Bay

Flagship Patriot Jet Boat Tour

Speed across San Diego’s Big Bay aboard a jet powered boat like Flagship’s Patriot

Water activities abound on the bay, from the affordable Coronado Ferry ride, to narrated harbor tours (on Flagship and Hornblower), SEAL Tours, whale watching excursions, kayak tours (including San Diego’s only urban kayak adventure), Jetpack America rides (you too can fly like a superhero!) and two new thrilling, turbo-charged boat rides (the Sea Rocket and Flagship Patriot). Let’s make some waves!

5. Headquarters at Seaport District

The Headquarters at Seaport District. on San Diego's Big Bay

The stylish new Headquarters at Seaport District

Foodies and shoppers are in for a treat at the new Headquarters at Seaport District, located in San Diego’s former Spanish-style police headquarters (pose for pix in an actual jail cell). Nosh on gourmet tacos at Puesto or grab a slice at Pizzeria Mozza, Chef Mario Batali’s first foray into San Diego’s dining scene. Shop-portunties include local surf photographer Aaron Chang’s Ocean Art Gallery and Kitson, a celebrity hot spot and go-to fashion boutique dedicated to pop culture.

Pick your own adventure and discover the many wonders of San Diego’s Big Bay this spring! 🙂

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego – December 18-22, 2013

San Diego Botanic Gardens' Garden of Lights

Don”t worry! You”re almost there…so why not spend the time between now and the holiday break enjoying these top things to do in San Diego this weekend:

Holiday Pops – An American Christmas

San Diego Symphony Holiday Pops - Top Things to Do

The San Diego Symphony Celebrates the Holidays with an American Christmas

This year”s Holiday Pops will sparkle with something for the whole family to enjoy. It will be a celebration to remember featuring San Diego native and Grammy® Award-winning guitar and banjo player, Alison Brown. She will steal the spotlight performing festive holiday hits with a bluegrass twist. And, of course, the evening would not be complete without our famous traditional yuletide hits guaranteed to lift your spirits!

Where: 1245 Seventh Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
When: December 20-22, 2013
Cost: $20-$85
> Find out more about Holiday Pops – An American Christmas

San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders


Watch as Quarterback Philip Rivers drives the Chargers to a victory!

#BoltUp and cheer on the Chargers as they take on rival Oakland Raiders. A win means the Wild Card dream is still alive (as long as all this happens as well).

Where: 9449 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108
When: December 22, 2013
Kick Off: 1:25 PM
Cost: Starting at $52
> Find out more about the San Diego Chargers VS. Oakland Raiders

San Diego Botanic Garden”s Garden of Lights

San Diego Botanic Gardens

Lights, Santa, hot chocolate, snow and more at the San Diego Botanic Gardens” Garden of Lights

The San Diego Botanic Garden brings your favorite elements of the winter season all to one location. Leave the hustle and bustle of the malls behind and enjoy a relaxing evening strolling through the lighted garden. The San best online casino Diego Botanic Garden is a dazzling winter wonderland filled with over 100,000 sparkling lights illuminating the garden for a magical holiday experience.

Where: 230 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA 92024
When: Through December 30, 2013
Time: 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Cost: $6-$14
> Find out more about the San Diego Botanic Garden”s Garden of Lights

The Humbug Holiday Spectacular

The Humbug Holiday Spectacular at North Coast Reparatory Theatre

Join this Humbug on his quest to create a holiday spectacular!

A comedic, colorful, and crazy spoof full of witty songs, vibrant dance numbers, and a little bit of everything sure enough to please even the grouchiest of holiday humbug-ers. Follow Horatio the Humbug on a hilarious fun-filled adventure to create the perfect Musical Holiday Spectacular in order to appease the malcontent Spirit of Christmas.

Where: North Coast Repertory Theatre – 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Suite D, Solana Beach, CA 92075
When: Through December 28, 2013
Cost: $25-$30
> Find out more about The Humbug Holiday Spectacular

More Top Things to Do in San Diego

> Browse the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of some other top things to do this weekend in San Diego? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Sarah Weinberg

Spout Time – Whale Watching Season Starts Again in San Diego

One of the benefits of living in San Diego is the easy access to viewing marine life. A short trip to the beach can result in dolphin-spotting on any given day. The Children’s Pool in La Jolla has the seals lounging on the beach and playing in the waves, and there are ample opportunities, ranging from free to fancy, to view the sea’s gentle giants: whales.

If you're lucky, you can spot a whale breaching the surface along the San Diego coastline.

If you’re lucky, you can spot a whale breaching the surface along the San Diego coastline.

Visitors to San Diego are fortunate enough to spot whales from land and sea. Whale watching season traditionally occurs from December through April when California gray whales journey from the chilly Alaskan seas to the warm water lagoons of Baja California. It’s a majestic sight to see the world’s largest mammals cutting through the water and making their way south, but there are also other species of whales and dolphins that are equally as stunning that can be seen year round in San Diego. Several whale watching companies have expanded their range of sea outings, and visitors now have the unique opportunity to glimpse all types of marine life year-round on cruises out of San Diego’s harbors.

In the fall and summer months, whale watching excursions also tout the opportunity to see humpback, fin and minke whales, along with frequent year-round sightings of bottlenose, pacific white-sided and common dolphins.

Depending on how much time you have, how sturdy your sea legs and how flush your budget, there’s a San Diego whale watching experience for everyone.

Take a ride with Flagship Harbor Excursions and sail the ocean blue in search of whales.

Take a ride with Flagship Harbor Excursions and sail the ocean blue in search of whales.

Land Lubbers can spot whales with binoculars (or great eyesight) from coastal high points like Cabrillo National Monument, located on the panoramic Point Loma peninsula, Torrey Pines State Reserve or from the Birch Aquarium at Scripps‘ outdoor tide-pool plaza, overlooking La Jolla’s shoreline and offering an excellent vantage point for viewing the gray whale’s epic journey.

If you want to set sail to try to get up close and personal with whales, there are a variety of options from regularly scheduled public cruises to private yachts and sailboat charters, to an authentic 25-ft. Navy SEAL Rigid Inflatable Boat for a group of 6 to a single-seat kayak tour.

Daily Whale Watching Excursions (December – April)

Hornblower Cruises and Events has new tour for blue whale watching in July and August.

Hornblower Cruises and Events has new tour for blue whale watching in July and August.

  • Next Level Sailing and the Maritime Museum of San Diego are offering a unique whale watching experience aboard the yacht America, a historic replica of the world’s first America’s Cup winner.
  • The Birch Aquarium at Scripps partner with Flagship Cruises & Events to venture out on twice-daily public cruises from San Diego Bay to locate gray whales.
  • Hornblower Cruises and Events offers 3.5-hour deluxe whale watching adventure cruises in partnership with the San Diego Natural History Museum. Hornblower just added a Blue Whale Watching tour on weekends in July and August.
  • Throughout the year, H&M Landing offers several whale-watching and marine-adventure excursions.
  • San Diego Whale Watch offers year-round whale watching excursions boarding from Seaforth Landing aboard The Privateer, a unique boat built specifically for whale watching.
  • Sail San Diego offers daily whale watching excursions aboard three sleek 40-ft. Catalina boats.
  • Captain Rod Jones’s Fun Cat Sailing Catamaran Adventures offers small group catamaran tours exploring San Diego’s beautiful ocean and bay in search of whales and other marine life.
  • San Diego Sailing Tours offer daily public whale watching tours as well as private charters from San Diego Bay to the open sea.

Set Sail Like Thurston Howel the 3rd

L&L City San Diego Sailing Tours courtesy Adam Feuerman Creative Cont

San Diego Sailing Tours offers two classic sailing yachts, the vintage 1967 Lei Lani and the Lora Lei, built-in California in 1991.

  • San Diego Boat Tours offers several private charter boats for you to reserve and design your own tour experience.
  • Seven Seas Adventures offers a large fleet of catamarans and monohulls for private charter from 3-hour cruises to overnight adventures at sea.
  • Adventuress Luxury Catamaran is a 60-foot yacht that can accommodate up to 48 guests, has a 75 bottle wine locker and is available exclusively for private charter.

Going Ahab Style

The six-passenger Rigid Inflatable Boat--RIB Ride--tour can get extremely close to marine life and are easily maneuverable around the whales.

The six-passenger Rigid Inflatable Boat – RIB Ride – tour can get extremely close to marine life and are easily maneuverable around the whales.

For the truly adventurous seeker of whales, take a RIB ride or try paddling out on a tour with one of La Jolla Shores kayak rental companies and get close enough to see if the giants are really that gentle up close.

  • Everyday California (formerly OEX Dive & Kayak La Jolla) offers a 2-hour whale watching kayak tour that allows guests to paddle within 40 feet of gray whales, seals and sea lions.
  • Experience a thrilling whale and dolphin watching excursion year-round aboard an authentic 25-ft. Navy SEAL Rigid Inflatable Boat (R.I.B.) with Adventure RIB Rides.
  • La Jolla Kayak provides close encounters with gray whales and other marine life including sea lions, garibaldi and leopard sharks.
  • Hike Bike Kayak offers three-hour whale watching tours through the La Jolla Ecological Reserve near La Jolla Shores.

What’s your favorite place in San Diego to spot a spout?


Top Things to do in San Diego: August 23-26

From the King of Pop to a Wine and Food festival, there’s a lot to keep you busy this weekend. What will you be doing?

1. 10th Annual Chula Vista Rotary Wine & Food Festival

Get your fill on some of the best restaurants, breweries, wineries and spirits at the 10th Annual Chula Vista Wine and Food Festival. The event will take place at the Otay Ranch Town Center on Saturday, August 25 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. With over 40 participants this year, there will surely be something for everyone. Tickets are $50 per person.

2. San Diego Symphony: The Music of Michael Jackson

Head over to the Embarcadero for the San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops series. On Thursday, August 23, the Symphony will be highlighting the King of Pop’s 40 years of hits. From ABC to the Man in the Mirror as well as I’ll Be There, Beat It and the Way You Make Me Feel. It’ll be a Thriller!

3. San Diego Spirits Festival

It’s all about Cocktails, Culinary and Culture on Saturday and Sunday, August 25-26 at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. The Spirits Festival will highlight the cocktail and culinary community and the talented bartenders who are shaking up San Diego’s vibrant scene.

4. Wholistic Expo

The Convention Center will be surrounded by a virtual aura of peace and tranquility created by the Wholistic Expo, the wellness, health and knowledge event, August 24-26. With the purpose of providing a “whole holistic” experience, the Wholistic Expo is designed to promoted mind, body, emotional and spiritual balance.

5. Summer Whale Watching Cruise

For the past few years, giant blue whales have been making an appearance off the coast of California. Catch a ride on one of the many boats leaving San Diego Harbor everyday for your chance to see the largest animal ever to lived.


Ishmael’s Got Nothin’ on Us: Whale Watching on Yacht America

On a brisk 64-degree Sunday morning in February, we climbed aboard the historic sailing yacht, America, for a 4-hour whale watching excursion with Next Level Sailing. Filled with anticipation and excitement, dressed in plenty of layers and loaded up with Dramamine, we were ready to set sail for an adventure day on the high seas.

Upon arrival in front of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the staff at Next Level instructed the group (about 40 of us) on safety protocols, what we can expect to see, and where the whales have been. This year has been the best season on record for whale watching, they told us, with the largest whale sightings to date.

Whale watching season in San Diego begins around mid-December, where majestic gray whales make their yearly migration from the coast of Alaska down to Baja California, to feed and breed, then make their way up the coast again by April. In the weeks leading up to our excursion, I kept track of Next Level’s trip statistics, and was certain we were guaranteed sightings of whales, but also dolphins and sea lions. If only Ishmael and Captain Ahab had the folks at Next Level on their side, the hunt for Moby Dick may not have been so treacherous.

Once we set sail, the very capable and courteous Captain and crew of America made us feel right at home. As we made our way out of San Diego Bay, we enjoyed breathtaking views of the downtown skyline behind us and Point Cabrillo ahead.

As we hit the open water, we were greeted by hundreds of dolphins who frolicked around us, popping up and showing off their speed as they kept up with the ship.

There She Blows! The first of many whale sightings on our voyage.

About two hours in, we saw and heard the first blow of a finback whale, the second longest of the whale species and the sixth largest living animal on the planet. During our 2 hours or so out in the open water, we saw a dozen or so fins, but no grays.

Our time was up and we had to head back to shore before seeing any gray whales. The winds were strong so the crew hoisted the front sails, turned off the engine and we enjoyed a peaceful trip back towards the bay.

Just as we started to see land again, the Captain heard of a gray whale sighting over the radio,  just south of where we were. The crew steered the ship to meet the coordinates as we peeled our eyes towards the southern horizon. After a few minutes, we saw a spray in the distance. Approaching closer, we caught another spray and a glimpse of the gray’s tail and fin. Our voyage was complete.

Whale watching may be coming to a close, but there are plenty of sailing excursions you can enjoy throughout the year in San Diego. Tell us about your San Diego sailing experience below.


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

From whale watching to black holes, visitors can find the best events and things to do this weekend!

1. Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists: Starting February 4th and running through April 29, 2012, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s exhibit will allow visitors to learn about the great mystery of Black Holes. The exhibit is designed like a space mission. Visitors are briefed, issued a Black Holes Explorer ID Card, and then sent on a journey to the edge of these strange phenomena to discover how the latest research is turning science fiction into fact, challenging our notions of space and time in the process.

2. Museum Month: During the month of February, visitors can receive 1/2 off their admission to 40 of San Diego’s finest museums. Passes can be picked up at any Macy’s in San Diego County. With a pass, up to four visitors can gain admission to any of the 40 participating museums for half-price. Plus, you can use the pass all month-long!

3. Whale Watching..Kayak Style: Kayak out from La Jolla Shores and see Grey Whales up close during this three-hour kayaking tour. Grey Whales migrate January through April traveling from Alaska south to Baja to breed in the warm, shallow lagoons along the Mexican coast. Trained naturalist guides will accompany you and tell you all about the surrounding area of La Jolla Shores and Cove.

4. Woodies! Woodies!: Head over to the San Diego Automotive Museum starting February 3rd to see some of the finest examples of woodies through the years. From their beginnings as estate cars for the resort owners and transport vehicles, these cars have made a revival and are now once again popular with the surfing crowd. This exhibit features classic designs as well as a few surprises.

5. Tidepooling Adventures: For the kids out there that love to get their hands dirty, head over to The Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla on February 4th. Aquarium naturalists carefully guide participants into fragile tide-pool communities and highlight the inhabitants.


25 Free Things to Do This Winter in San Diego

Balboa Park December Nights in San Diego

From traditional holiday parades and festivals to the migration of California gray whales along the Pacific coast, a visit to San Diego during the winter offers a wealth of free, fun and festive experiences.

Balboa Park December Nights in San Diego

Balboa Park December Nights

  1. Join the festivities during Balboa Park December Nights, a two-day holiday celebration of food, entertainment and fun on December 2-3. The numerous museums and cultural institutions in Balboa Park open their doors free of charge, and festivities include carolers, live music, holiday light displays, theater and dance performances.

  2. Whale Watch from the shores and cliffs of Point Loma, as California gray whales migrate south to the warm water breeding grounds off the coast of Baja, California. Spectators can catch a spectacular show during December through April when these majestic mammals pass through the waters off San Diego”s coastline.

  3. Be part of a grand Holiday Celebration on December 2 in Coronado with a festive parade along Orange Avenue, the lighting of a 75-foot Christmas tree, holiday music and a firework show over Glorietta Bay.

  4. Enjoy free organ concerts at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park beginning at 2:00 pm each Sunday. The Organ Pavilion features the world”s largest outdoor pipe organ, where organists resound holiday favorites.

  5. See Old Town State Historic Park decked out for the holidays during Holiday in the Park on December 10 and enjoy holiday treats, activities and extended shopping hours, along with strolling carolers.

  6. Head over to Seaport Village for the festive <a title=”Surfin” Santa Arrival at Seaport Village” href=”″ target=”_blank”>Surfing Santa at Seaport Village event on November 26. Hang-ten with Santa and enjoy a lively parade along the Seaport Village boardwalk, music, stilt walkers, and kids” crafts.

  7. Spread some holiday cheer at the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival on December 4 in downtown La Jolla. The event includes marching bands, floats, equestrian units, vintage automobiles and an appearance by Santa Claus.

  8. Drive to the mountain town of Julian for a warm mug of hot apple cider and a delicious slice of Julian”s legendary homemade apple pie. On Saturdays, stroll through the quaint neighborhood streets and enjoy the sounds of wandering Christmas carolers and best online casino a living nativity scene.

  9. Take a walk around Balboa Park and discover its beautiful architecture. Take advantage of the park”s variety of free offerings, including touring its spectacular gardens.

  10. Take a walk along one of San Diego”s 70 miles of beaches, all free and open to the public, and enjoy the beautiful sunsets.

  11. Visit the village of La Mesa on December 9 and 10 for Christmas in the Village. Enjoy street performers, carolers, carriage rides, entertainment for the whole family and more.

  12. Bring the family to the SoNo Park Holiday Fest on December 4 and celebrate with the restaurants and residents of South Park and North Park in a chili cook-off. Visitors can taste chili in hand-spun ceramic bowls, shop for holiday gifts from local artisans and enjoy live music, kid”s activities, gourmet food trucks, a beer garden featuring local and craft beer and more.

  13. Explore the tide pools in Point Loma, Ocean Beach and La Jolla when the tide is low to see some of the magnificent creatures of the sea.

  14. Enjoy the Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade on December 11 in downtown San Diego”s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Owners and their dressed-up pets march down the decorated streets of the neighborhood and end at a Pet Expo featuring an awards ceremony for best-dressed pups.

  15. Take a drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla for a panoramic view of the city all spruced up in holiday decoration. Along the way, enjoy the beautifully decorated homes in this exclusive neighborhood.

  16. Drive to the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego”s East County to marvel at wildlife and a kaleidoscope of colorful flowers amidst the desert warmth.

  17. Gaze up at the massive balloons during the Big Bay Balloon Parade, the country”s largest balloon parade, on December 28.

  18. Enjoy the twinkling waters of San Diego Bay and more than 100 private boats decorated with holiday lights for the 40th Annual Port of San Diego Parade of Lights on December 11 and December 18.

  19. Get in the holiday spirit during Chula Vista”s 50th Annual Starlight Parade on December 3, featuring carolers, holiday cheer, floats, drill teams, marching bands, classic cars, a children”s event and visit from Santa.

  20. Experience a white Christmas in San Diego after making the scenic, one-hour drive to the top of Mount Laguna in San Diego”s rustic East County.

  21. Delight in the festive gatherings of the Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on December 10. Over 100 brightly illuminated powerboats and sailboats parade along Mission Bay; the parade ends with a fantastic fireworks show at 9:00 pm above SeaWorld San Diego.

  22. Experience a magical evening of holiday celebrations December 3 at the California Center for the Arts Escondido during the annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland. Enjoy seasonal music and Victorian carolers, a visit from Santa, free art activities and treats, a spectacular light show and real snow!

  23. Celebrate holiday cheer during Poway Winterfest on December 10. The event features a tree lighting ceremony, visits from Santa, train rides, live music, theatre performances, food, treats, crafts and more.

  24. Join the community of Carlsbad for their annual Tree Lighting Festivities, December 4 at the Village Faire Shopping Center. Enjoy children”s crafts, cookies and cider, entertainment and pictures with Santa.

  25. Rock out at the Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March on December 19. Held two days prior to the annual Poinsettia Bowl, bands representing the two Bowl football teams line up at opposite ends of Fifth Avenue in downtown”s Gaslamp Quarter and face-off in an old fashion battle of the bands.


It’s a Whale of a Time

Every year from December through March, visitors to San Diego have an opportunity to watch the gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja. One of the most unique ways to see these magnificent creatures is by kayak. Kayak you ask? Yes! OEX Dive & Kayak in La Jolla offers whale watching kayak tours from La Jolla’s Ecological Preserve, a marine sanctuary and home to the seven seas caves, Leopard Shark City and the La Jolla Sea Lion and Harbor Seal colonies. Whale watching from a kayak allows participants the opportunity to be one with the ocean and enjoy an incredible up-close view of the whales as well as provides a nice little workout. I should note: you aren’t always guaranteed a glimpse of the whales (they don’t always get the memo that we’ve just paddled out to see them), however according toMike at OEX, no one has ever been disappointed. Seals, dolphins and other marine life are almost always swimming around and are happy to oblige the kayakers.

Of course this isn’t the only way to get out and see the whales. From land to sea, check here for a complete round-up on whale watching in San Diego.

Interested in giving the kayak tour a try? Comment below on our blog and one lucky winner will win a pass for two to OEX Dive & Kayak’s whale watching tour. Must comment by Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 10:00 a.m.

OEX Dive & Kayak Center offers kayaking, scuba, stand-up paddleboard and snorkel tours and rentals from several locations throughout San Diego County. Check out their website to learn more!


5 to Try This Weekend

Wow it’s going to be a great weekend in San Diego! With the weather forecasted to be in the 70’s, get outside and head to the beach, or do something a little different. From a multi-cultural festival to a Whale Watching Festival, San Diego has no shortage of fun things to do! Which one sounds fun to you?

Stephen Strasburg 5k Walk with Tony Gwynn: Come join Stephen Strasburg and Tony Gwynn in a 5k walk and fun run benefiting the Aztec Baseball program. This is a family-friendly event that will include games, live music and fun for everyone.

13th Annual San Diego Multi-Cultural Festival: Cultures come together in celebration at this free, family-friendly fun festival with cultural entertainers, food, vendors, global villages and an education fair. The fair will take place Saturday, January 15 from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. along Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade downtown.

24th Annual Whale Watch and Intertidal Life Festival: Cabrillo’s annual Whale Watch Weekend kicks off tomorrow and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and features presentations, exhibits and films. Rangers will be on hand all weekend to help visitor’s spot whales in the ocean and explore the park’s magnificent tide pools.

San Diego Restaurant Week: Restaurant Week kicks off Sunday, January 16th! Diners can choose from over 160 of San Diego’s best restaurants and enjoy a fixed price, three-course dinner for $20, $30 or $40 per person. Whether you crave seafood, organic, American or ethnic, there is something for everyone during San Diego Restaurant Week! Be sure to check out our foodie blogger Kate as she highlights some great spots to check out during Restaurant Week.

Underwater Parks Day at SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium: On January 15th, young ocean enthusiasts at SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium will learn about Marine Protected Areas or “Underwater Parks” during the Aquarium’s 3rd Annual Underwater Parks Day. Underwater Parks Day is an effort by Southern California aquariums to explain the need for Marine Protected Areas that replenish fish populations and restore the health of coastal waters.