4th of July Fireworks & Celebrations in San Diego

4th of July in San Diego is just one big celebration! Fireworks displays, parades, street fairs, and festivals are all part of the fun on the big day. Sadly, there will be no 4th of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove this year due to funding issues; but there are plenty of other places and ways to celebrate 4th of July in San Diego! Here’s the roundup, from San Diego Bay to Rancho Santa Fe.

Annual Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show

Where: Multiple Locations along San Diego Bay
When: 9:00pm
Take in the largest fireworks display in the county! With fireworks launched from four barges placed around North San Diego Bay, they can be seen from multiple locations along the San Diego coastline.  Just find a place along the bay, set up a blanket and some hot chocolate, and get ready for the display! We recommend arriving early to reserve a spot.

Where to watch:

  • Shelter Island
  • Harbor Island
  • North Embarcadero
  • Marina District
  • CoronadoFerry Landing
  • Boating/On The Water

SeaWorld San Diego 4th of July Fireworks & Celebration

Where: SeaWorld San Diego – 500 SeaWorld Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
When: 10:00am to 10:00pm
SeaWorld San Diego will celebrate Independence Day with a 15-minute display of fireworks set to a musical soundtrack, starting at 9:40pm on July 4th. Entrance is required, and there are plenty of spots throughout the park to watch the display. You can reserve seats ahead of time via seaworld.com.

Ocean Beach July 4th Celebration

Where: Ocean Beach Pier (end of Newport Avenue)
When: 9:00pm
Spend Independence day picnicking, swimming in the ocean, walking and playing in the sand, and shopping along Newport Ave. Then bundle up as the sun sets and pull up a blanket for a really spectacular fireworks show launched from Ocean Beach Pier! Free parking will be available at the Main Beach Parking Lot as well as at the Pier Parking Lot. We do recommend arriving early to reserve a spot – head to obsandiego.com for more information.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

Old Town San Diego 4th of July

Where: Old Town State Historic Park
When: 11:00am to 4:00pm
Although Old Town won’t be putting on a fireworks display, there will be a parade, crafts, and activities all throughout the day on July 4th. The activities will recreate an old-fashioned Independence Day just as it was celebrated on the frontier. You’ll also be able to compete in several contests, including cherry pit spitting or an egg toss, for handmade ribbons.

4th of July Celebration in Coronado

Where: Various Locations on Coronado
When: 7:00am to 9:00pm; Fireworks at 9pm
Celebrate the 4th of July in the Crown City! Independence Day activities will include a parade down Orange Avenue at 10:00am, a concert in Spreckels Park at 4:00pm, and fireworks over Glorietta Bay at 9:00pm. The fireworks display can be easily viewed from anywhere along the bay on Coronado Island.

Earlier that day, the Crown City Classic 4th of July Race will take place between 7am and 10am. This historic run through Coronado will feature a 12k and a 5k, and kicks off at Coronado Tidelands Park.

San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebrations

Where: Del Mar Fairgrounds (2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014)
When: Starts at 10:00am, Fireworks at 9:00pm
Independence Day is one of the best days to come to the San Diego County Fair, because they pull out all the stops with food, fireworks at 9:00 PM, entertainment, and more! Fireworks are launched from the west end of the racetrack and are choreographed to a soundtrack played through the Corona Grandstand Stage sound system. The fireworks are visible from many areas of the Fairgrounds, with favorite viewing areas including reserved Terrace seating and 2nd and 4th levels of the Grandstand, Family Funville, and the Fun Zone.

SEE ALSO: Explore La Jolla Cove This July 4th!

Red, White, and Boom!

Where: LEGOLAND California (One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008)
When: 1:00pm to 9:00pm, Fireworks at 8:30pm
Take the whole family and spend the day enjoying over 60 rides, shows, and attractions at LEGOLAND along with some all-American picnic games like burlap races and water-balloon tosses. Then cozy up with a blanket and a picnic that evening, and watch the awe-inspiring fireworks display set to patriotic music!

fireworks san diego la jolla

Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic

Where: 16948 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92091
When: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Pack a few blankets and chairs for Rancho Santa Fe’s Annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic! The parade kicks off at 12:15pm, and will include floats, vintage cars, and equestrians. The picnic and concert will begin at 1:30pm, complete with a barbecue and live music by The Harmony Grove Band.

Poway 4th of July Fireworks

Where: Poway High School
When: 6pm – 10pm; fireworks at 9pm
The fireworks in Poway start at 9 p.m. at Poway High School (15500 Espola Rd.). The gates will open at 6 p.m. and the event will include games and a DJ spinning tunes; it costs $5 per person to get in and kids 11 and under get in free. Meanwhile, during the day, the Old-Fashion Fourth of July Celebration goes down from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Poway Park (14134 Midland Rd.), a patriotic party, “turn-of-the-20th-century-style.” That event includes western-style reenactments, free crafts, train displays and old-timey games. Free shuttles to the daytime fest will run from two locations: the Poway City Hall parking lot on Civic Center Drive, and the Poway Adult School parking lot on Twin Peaks Road.

Oceanside Fireworks

Where: Oceanside Blvd & Rancho del Oro Road, Oceanside, CA
When: July 3, 2018
Time: 6:00 to 10:00pm, Fireworks at 9pm
You’re invited to the City of Oceanside annual Fireworks Show! Spectators are encouraged to arrive anytime after 6:00 pm, park in the business park nearby, bring a beach chair, and walk to the viewing area on Rancho Del Oro road. There will be live music as well as food trucks offering a wide variety of foods. The firework show will begin at 9pm.

Then, on Wednesday, July 4th at 10am, head to Oceanside Beach and Pier for more festivities! Main Street Oceanside will be hosting a variety of booths and activities in the plazas, parks, and parking lots from the Oceanside Pier to Tyson Street Park. The day will include kids’ crafts and activities in the Pier Amphitheater, with a wide range of food vendors. There will also be retail vendors of all kinds in both the Pier Plaza and in the parking lot south of the Pier Amphitheater.

Best Beach Activities for Families Visiting La Jolla

In the San Diego area, one of the best beaches to visit and bring your family to is La Jolla. There are a ton of activities that the area provides. No matter how old your kids might be, there is an adventure to be discovered at La Jolla. This article will discuss five beach activities that you can do at La Jolla with your family.

1. Beach Volleyball

For families who like a little bit of competition to go along with their fun, beach volleyball is an excellent activity to try. While bringing your own ball is a no-brainer, it’s also a good idea to bring your own net just in case. Packing a couple of Cobra volleyball nets means getting to play no matter what. Many of the beaches in and around La Jolla have designated areas for volleyball that include two permanent poles for stringing up a net, but sometimes the net isn’t there.

2. Building Sandcastles

There are actually quite a few sandcastle competitions in San Diego. Your family can start honing your skills early by building sandcastles at La Jolla. Even the humble castle should be considered a great achievement. It’s no easy thing making sand stand up on its own and hold its shape. Your family can experience a great team-building exercise as you hurry to and from the water to keep your sand moldable. It’s also a great way to encourage your child’s creativity.

3. Scuba Diving

One thing that La Jolla offers is scuba diving lessons. These you typically have to sign up for, so it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time to find out when the best time to sign up is. Once you’re in the program, however, you and your family can suit up and learn how to use the oxygen tanks and other equipment. Once you’ve been trained, you’re able to do a bit of scuba diving in La Jolla and look at some of the sea life of the Pacific Ocean. Children will likely love seeing the colorful fish in their natural habitat, but note the minimum age is 10 years old.

4. Sea Lion Watching

La Jolla has a lot of sea lions and seals on the beach at certain parts of the day. While you should never encourage your children to touch them–no matter how furry they might look–you can enjoy watching their antics. Usually, they like to just sleep around. However, once they’re active, sea lions can be quite fun to watch. They play, fight, and try to outswim one another. Your children will love watching sea lions on the beach.

5. The Children’s Pool

One part of La Jolla is an area where the tide is quite low and becomes shallow. This is a perfect area for children to swim and enjoy and has since been called The Children’s Pool. This area is almost considered family-friendly except that it does have some potentially dangerous wildlife. Sea lions and seals have been known to make the area their hangout spot. If the area is clear, however, The Children’s Pool is an excellent place for families to swim and look at sea life with their smaller children.

La Jolla is an incredible beachfront community offering an abundance of activities for families. Whether you like to swim and be active or just relax and watch the local wildlife, this beach is for you.

Snorkeling in La Jolla: 5 Things to Know Before You Go

There’s a reason (okay, maybe several) that the La Jolla Ecological Reserve and Underwater Park is one of the top ten places in the world for snorkeling. Together, the Park and Reserve span 6,000 acres of ocean bottom and tidelands, from Scripps Park across La Jolla Shores all the way to Torrey Pines. From the seven sea caves to the variety of brightly-colored sea creatures, the Underwater Park and nearby La Jolla Cove have become destinations for snorkelers and scuba divers from around the world. Here are just a few reasons why snorkeling La Jolla Cove and the Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve should beat the top of your bucket list!

1. You never know what you might see.

La Jolla is home to an incredible variety of sea creatures and provides a rare opportunity to see marine life up close and personal. The warmer-than-usual water and protected cove attracts fish and mammals from all along the coast; snorkelers and divers have reported seeing Garibaldi, octopus, urchins, dolphins, sea turtles, leopard sharks, sea stars, shovel nose guitar fish, schools of fish big and small; and of course, playful seals and sea lions.

2. You can snorkel through some pretty magical sea caves.

Where else in San Diego can you actually swim through an entire sea cave? La Jolla Cove is home to seven caves, the biggest of which is Clam Cave (just offshore from Goldfish Point Cafe); when the tide allows, visitors can delight in snorkeling or kayaking through it to the other side. The other six are viewable from the water, and there is usually a plethora of marine life clustered near the caves at any time; which makes for some great snorkeling!

3. Leopard sharks: thousands of them!

Between the months of June and December, snorkelers can experience swimming among the largest annual gathering of leopard sharks along the coast of California. Each year, thousands of pregnant female sharks migrate to the beaches near La Jolla Cove, where the warmer, calm water helps their young develop faster. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that you can’t find anywhere else in California – it’s an absolute must-do if you enjoy snorkeling!

4. You can explore one of the region’s only underwater canyons.

Within the Ecological Reserve, the bottom takes a sudden and drastic 500-foot- plunge into the La Jolla Underwater Canyon (which reaches depths of up to 600 feet!). It’s exactly these unique features that make snorkeling in La Jolla such an incredible experience! Fun fact: a giant concrete map of the underwater park was completed in 2008 at La Jolla Shores; you can find it near the boardwalk between the restrooms and the children’s play area at the south end of Kellogg Park.

About La Jolla Underwater Park: it was created by the City of San Diego in 1970, and both the Ecological Reserve and the Marine Life Refuge lie within it. The Reserve is federally protected, and fishing or collecting of any kind is outlawed; because of this, marine life has flourished over the years – which makes for some fantastic snorkeling!

5. And there’s a secret underwater graveyard!

Two underwater canyons, two artificial reefs, and a kelp forest all span 6,000 acres underwater, making the Park and Reserve visually beautiful and geographically fascinating. There is one feature of the underwater canyon, however, that is especially unique: a secret underwater graveyard! Just beyond the coastline, about 100 yards out from the La Jolla Cove Bridge Club and 35 feet underwater, lies an eerie underwater memorial is unofficially known as “Tombstones.”

There are no bodies as the name implies, only several markers that are dedicated to fallen spear fishermen and members of the “Bottom Scratchers,” the first documented diving and spearfishing club in North America. Over time, markers have been placed for other fallen free divers and locals. The tradition began all the way back in the 1940s and has continued up to present day.

Snorkeling La Jolla Tour Information

So the next time you’re in La Jolla, we definitely recommend snorkeling around La Jolla Cove and the La Jolla Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve! You can venture out on your own if you feel comfortable doing so (rentals are available from shops at La Jolla Shores), or you can take a guided tour with experienced professionals. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try a combination kayak/snorkeling tour – it’s the best of both worlds!

Interested in more water activities while you’re here? Scuba diving and kayaking are also great ways to explore the underwater world of La Jolla!

things to do in la jolla

The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List

We won’t lie – summer in La Jolla is a beautiful thing! Endless hours of sunshine, warm weather, and seven miles of gorgeous, sandy beaches make our little village by the sea one of the best places to spend the summer in all of San Diego.

With so many things to do in La Jolla (not to mention the world-class dining options), you’ll definitely want to take advantage of absolutely everything while you’re here. So, we’ve put together the ultimate activities guide for things to do in La Jolla this summer; start ticking things off the list and get out there!

Take a kayak tour of the La Jolla caves

If nothing else, this is the one activity you absolutely cannot miss during a visit to La Jolla. The seven sea caves that line the shore are millions of years old and carved from sandstone; they’re beautiful to look at, and even better, incredible to kayak through.

Guided kayak tours (you can choose from several local tour companies down at La Jolla Shores, where the tours start) will allow you to experience the whole enchilada, from paddling out and braving the waves to exploring Clam Cave, the biggest and one of the easiest ones to kayak through. On lower tide days, you’ll also get the chance to kayak into one or two of the smaller caves, but that may be an activity reserved for the braver members of your group!

la jolla things to do

Snorkel around La Jolla Cove

There’s nothing quite like getting up-close-and-personal with the marine life at La Jolla Cove. During the summer months, leopard sharks number in the thousands when they come here to hatch their young. The sharks are harmless, and the Birch Aquarium even hosts guided snorkel tours that take groups out to the most populated spots.

Other creatures you may see while exploring include Garibaldi, shovelnose guitarfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, crabs, stingrays, and all types of other fish.

Have a beach bonfire at La Jolla Shores

Need we say more? Beach bonfires down at the Shores are pretty much the epitome of an awesome summer night in La Jolla. There are several bonfire pits located on the sand along the shores at this beach, but fair warning: they do fill up very early on weekends. To secure a pit, you’ll probably need to get down there and stake one out around 11am. But hey, it’s totally worth it once you’re staying warm next to a roaring fire right on the beach.

For more information on how to have a bonfire, head here.

things to do in la jolla

Learn how to scuba dive

Interested in going one step further than snorkeling in La Jolla? Try your hand at scuba diving! There are a couple of different companies (such as SD Expeditions) that offer scuba diving certification and classes throughout the year. From beginner open water certification to advanced rescue diver classes, you’ll be able to customize your own experience and really get a feel for how it all works. Plus, the amount of marine life you’ll be able to see is incredible!

Venture into Sunny Jim Cave

Sunny Jim Cave is the only sea cave accessible from land in California; which is a pretty cool thing in and of itself when it comes to things to do in La Jolla. Adventurers can access the cave via The Cave Store, which has been there since 1903, and pay the $5 to head down 145 stone steps to one of the most unique views that you’ll see in all of La Jolla. There are six other sea caves, but most of them are inaccessible except for by kayak during low tide and calm waters.

 

Learn More About the Seven Sea Caves Here!

 

There has been much speculation regarding the origin of the cave’s name; though the most common theory is that it was named by Frank L. Baum for a British cartoon character!

Take one of La Jolla’s coastal hikes

There’s nothing better on a clear, sunny day than going on a great hike! There are a ton of great hikes in San Diego alone, but there are a few hidden gems right here in La Jolla. The Coast Walk Trail, which begins at the Cave Store, travels along the bluffs for a super scenic, easy walk.

The Scripps Coastal Reserve is a bit more of a rugged hike, but offers terrific views of the Torrey Pines Gliderport and beyond. Finally, there’s the Coastal Meander Trail, which starts at La Jolla Shores Dr. and heads down to a bluff overlooking Scripps Pier for sweeping ocean views.

Whichever hike you choose, you’re definitely going to be greeted with scenic panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and all of San Diego.

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Walk the sea wall at Children’s Pool

Walking along the sea wall down at The Children’s Pool is one of our favorite pastimes. If you walk all the way to the end, you’ll get a great perspective of looking back at La Jolla from the water; which is hard to do unless you’re out in a boat or kayak. Fair warning here: you most likely will get wet by doing this! But that’s really all part of the fun, right?

Hang out in an epic La Jolla hotel pool


There’s no better way to cool off during a hot summer day in La Jolla than spending it in a pool – much less a beachside pool! There are a ton of great hotel pools in La Jolla, from La Valencia to the Grande Colonial and La Jolla Shores Hotel & Restaurant.

Enjoy dinner with a view

La Jolla is home to a number of incredible fine dining restaurants along the coast, boasting great views. Prospect Street is your best bet for dining with an ocean view – George’s at the Cove, Eddie V’s, Crabcatcher, Duke’s La Jolla are all incredible fine dining restaurants and will make for an experience you won’t soon forget!

Paraglide at the Torrey Pines Gliderport

Adrenaline seekers, here’s an activity for you! Hang gliding or paragliding from the Torrey Pines Gliderport is an awesome experience that’s totally unique to La Jolla. You can take a tandem flight with an instructor (which is recommended for those who have never flown before) or learn how to fly one yourself. For the experienced flyers, there are even advanced clinics that take place every few weeks.

Bonus: Falconry classes are offered at the Gliderport during certain months of the year! This is seriously a must-do bucket list item if you happen to be in La Jolla when they’re happening. Check their page for the class schedule.

Experience a High Tide Dinner at The Marine Room

Each spring and summer, The Marine Room offers a series of High Tide Dinners, where guests can experience the magic of giant waves crashing up against the floor-to-mirror windows while they dine. This is truly one of the best restaurants in San Diego, and is definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been. Their website lists the exact time at which the highest tide will be, so you can plan your reservation accordingly. Do reserve in advance, as these fill up way ahead of time!

things to do in la jolla

Check out the views from Mt. Soledad

If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy view, Mount Soledad should definitely be on your list. The mountaintop offers 360-degree panoramas of La Jolla, downtown San Diego, and even Mexico (on super clear days), and it’s totally free to go and park. Pro-tip: go just before sunset for an even more gorgeous view!

If you’re in the mood for some walking, take the 5-minute drive over to La Jolla Heights Open Space Park. It’s a short walk that will give you even more great views, plus a cute little bench to sit down on and take in the scenery. It’s worth checking out!

things to do in la jolla

Watch the seals at La Jolla Cove

We would be remiss if our list didn’t include a visit to the seals at La Jolla Cove. Though a bit odiferous, it’s great to see these creatures up close. You can usually find them sunning on the rocks just offshore from the Cove, or on the sandy beach and rocks at the Children’s Pool nearby. You can easily walk from the Cove to the Children’s Pool; stop to have a picnic or a drink of water at Ellen Browning Scripps Park to break the walk up a bit. Read up on how best to see these animals without endangering their safety before you go.

Take in the art galleries and museums downtown

La Jolla is a great place to experience a little arts and culture. Museums in downtown La Jolla include the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (which is closed for renovations until 2019, but you can still check out the Edwards Sculpture Garden in the back), the Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla, Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, and the La Jolla Historical Society.

There are also several incredible art galleries here, including Madison Gallery, Thumbprint Gallery, and the Legends Gallery which is home to a huge collection of Dr. Seuss’ art.

These spots are pretty gorgeous parts of San Diego, and as you can see from the list, there is definitely no shortage of awesome things to do in La Jolla!

Outdoor Movies in San Diego & La Jolla: Your Summer Nights Just Got Way Better

What better way to enjoy a balmy summer evening in San Diego than with some popcorn, a blanket, your friends, and a movie under the stars?! We can’t think of one, to be honest. Some of our favorite venues throughout the city are showcasing some pretty excellent films this season, and the ‘theaters’ range from sandy beaches to cozy, lantern-lit patios.

We’ve done the hard work and put together a big list of the best spots to watch outdoor movies in San Diego and La Jolla this summer; so sit back, relax, and start planning your epic summer nights.

Flicks on the Bricks

Where: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall Street, La Jolla 92037).
When: 7:30pm, Thursdays in August

One of La Jolla’s most beloved traditions returns this August at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Get ready to enjoy classic films, complimentary wine, and tasty bites on the outdoor patio! This year’s program is focusing on La Jollans of Noir: Vintage Crime Thrillers Starring Actors with a La Jolla connection. With so many great films noir to choose from, this series focuses on films with La Jolla stars!

August 15 | Underworld U.S.A. (1961)

August 22 | Mirage (1965)

August 29 | Sudden Fear (1952)

Movies on the Beach

Where: Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave., Coronado 92118
When: Saturdays at 8:00pm

Experience a movie under the stars at the Hotel Del Coronado! Guests can snuggle up on one of the comfy Del Beach sand chairs, or, for the ultimate VIP movie experience, get cozy around a private beach bonfire with s’mores and a daybed. General admission tickets start at $20. Doors open at 7:00pm and the movie starts promptly at 8:00pm. We do suggest reserving your tickets in advance to guarantee seating.

The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

June 28 | Hook (1985)

July 6 | Top Gun (1986)

July 13 Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

July 20 | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

July 27 The Goonies (1985)

August 3 The Incredibles 2 (2018)

August 10 Back to the Future (1985)

August 31 The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Screen on the Green

Where: Museum of Art (Botanical Lawn) at Balboa Park
When: 8pm, Thursdays in August

Take a trip into the art world as you sit under the stars on the Botanical Lawn (east of the Museum) in beautiful Balboa Park. Grab a picnic, a blanket, and a few friends and enjoy a selection of films whose themes take inspiration from the Museum’s summer collection. Admission to the film series is free.

Note: alcoholic beverages are allowed in Balboa Park until 8:00p.m. Pets are allowed on the lawn, so feel free to bring Fido!

2019 Schedule TBA.

Summer Movies in the Park

Where: Various venues throughout San Diego
When: Dusk (approximately 15 mins after sunset); May 25-October

Summer Movies in the Park is one of San Diego’s longest-running outdoor movie series. It began in 2007 as a ‘take back our parks’ initiative, giving local residents a reason to visit their local county and city parks for a free and fun evening event. This year, the venues are all across San Diego County – from here in La Jolla all the way to Oceanside.

Summer Moves in the Park: La Jolla Venues:

2019 Schedule TBA. Check back later for details! For a complete venue lineup and film schedule, visit the Movies in the Park website.

Liberty Station Outdoor Movies

Where: North Promenade Lawn; Liberty Station
When: 8pm; 2nd Saturday of each month, May-October

Arts District Liberty Station presents its free outdoor film series once again this summer! These six curated films reflect the diverse arts and culture offerings at the growing ARTS DISTRICT at Liberty Station and appeal to film lovers of all ages. Evenings feature surprise pop-up performances or activities along with curated shorts preceding the feature film. So, bring your lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for a fabulous evening of great cinema! Space is limited, so plan to arrive early to set up your spot on the lawn.

2019 Schedule TBA.

Movie Nights at Stone Brewing Liberty Station

Where: Stone Brewing at Liberty Station (2816 Historic Decatur Road)
When: 7:30pm; Tuesdays from June-Aug

Craft beer lovers, this is the film series for you! Every Tuesday this summer (June through August), bring your lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for a fabulous evening of great beer and even better cinema. Space is limited, so plan to arrive as early as 5pm to set up your spot on the lawn and have dinner in their garden before the show. For more information, see their website.

2019 Schedule TBA.  

 

Where to Have the Perfect Spa Day in La Jolla

Sometimes, we all just need a day off – to relax, recuperate, and escape the hassle and stress of everyday life. What better way to de-stress than with a massage, facial, or a manicure/pedicure? La Jolla offers plenty of ways to relax, from luxurious day spas to world-class hotel salons and spas. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite spots to have the perfect spa day in La Jolla, whether it’s with your girlfriends, Mom, a special someone, or a solo day out.

The Spa at Estancia La Jolla

The award–winning spa at Estancia La Jolla, which was recently enhanced, is meticulously decorated and designed for ultimate relaxation. The spa’s spacious lounge area has a luxurious, Moroccan décor with French doors that swing open to reveal a beautiful outdoor space, complete with a beautiful fireplace and a Zen garden for meditation. An added bonus: you won’t be smelling nail polish when you walk into the spa. The stand–alone canvassed “Nail Bungalow” funnels the noxious fumes away from visitors in an open–air environment, so you can fully sink into your experience.

The women’s side of the spa offers a salt-water whirlpool with an outside rain shower and an indoor Eucalyptus steam room. The menu of facials, massage therapies, and body treatments is extensive and offers a little something for everyone.

What to try: The Ginger Renewal body treatment is a blissful 80 minute-treatment; let ginger’s healing and warming properties invigorate and nourish in this pampering head-to-toe experience with a head, back, neck and shoulder massage.

The Spa at Torrey Pines

Taking advantage of its seaside location, almost all of the treatments at the Spa at Torrey Pines (located in the Lodge) utilize marine and botanical-based products; particularly sage. Sage is known for its purifying and detoxifying properties and is the main ingredient in The Spa’s signature Coastal Sage Scrub, performed in the Vichy shower. Torrey Pines State Reserve, located just a few minutes’ walk from the resort, is actually home to seventeen different types of sage! All spa treatments and rituals were designed to focus on wellness and are performed to meet the needs of each individual.

In addition to 14 separate treatment rooms, the Spa features a relaxation lounge with a fireplace, dry saunas, herbal infused steam rooms, and aromatherapy inhalation rooms. A cardio/strength room features state-of-the-art treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary cycles, and weight-training equipment. Yoga classes and guided nature walks through the Reserve are also offered. An outdoor pool and whirlpool take advantage of the year round temperate weather and beautiful views.

What to try: The Coastal Sage Scrub is definitely at the top of the list — a three-step experience that begins with a natural loofah cleanse and finishes with a luxurious application of their Lemongrass and Sage Lotion.

Cove Wellness

If you’re looking for something more than a traditional day spa/salon, look no further! Cove Wellness offers various purifying therapies that focus on the entire body, a synergistic approach to wellness and healthy aging by supporting the body as it strives to maintain its natural alkalinity and ideal weight. The Spa provides a wide range of unique services, including oxygen facials, specialty therapeutic massages, cleanses and whole body detoxes, cellulite reduction, lymphatic therapy, Reflexology, Hydrotherapy, and much more.

What to try: The Lymphatic Oxygen Facial coupled with the 4-step Signature La Jolla Detox makes for an incredible afternoon of rejuvenation.

La Jolla Cove Salon & Spa

La Jolla Cove Salon and Spa is situated in the heart of beautiful La Jolla Cove overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The salon and spa energy and creativity is determined to ensure every client that walks out of the front door has had the ultimate La Jolla Cove experience! They offer a wide array of hair services in addition to manicures, pedicures and gel nail polishes as well as spa services that includes facial and body massages.

What to try: For the best of both worlds, try the Cove Ultimate Package. It includes a manicure, pedicure, Signature Facial, and a 15-minute hand and feet massage.

Turn your relaxing day into a staycation! Spend the night at one of the many luxurious hotels in La Jolla and escape the hustle and bustle of the ‘real world’ for a little while. Where are your favorite places to unwind?

How to Explore Scripps Pier by Moonlight This Summer

Imagine – walking above the Pacific Ocean on a warm summer night, using only the moon’s glow as your guide while you explore one of La Jolla’s most fascinating landmarks. You can do just that during one of the Birch Aquarium’s Full Moon Scripps Pier Walks, which are held all summer long!

A working research pier still used by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the beautiful Scripps Pier is usually closed to the public. Every summer, however, visitors are invited to explore all 1,090 feet of this La Jolla treasure by moonlight. Attendees have full access to the pier and the chance to ask guides (naturalists from the aquarium and staff members from the Institute) all about the pier and how it’s used. A warm night lit by a full moon is the perfect time to explore one of La Jolla’s most prominent landmarks!

scripps pier full moon walks

How it Works

Your Pier Walk evening kicks off with a video about the history of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As you head out on your walk from the Auditorium, you’ll learn about the 100-year history of data collection at Scripps. Once you arrive at the pier, you’re welcome to soak up the striking scenery by the moonlight, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, there are hands-on activity tables – where the staff may or may not ask if you’d like to dissect a squid or help dig through clumps of mussels.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

Otherwise, the Birch Aquarium naturalists will be around to give you the 411 on subjects like shark teeth, the latest in plankton studies, and for the serious nature lovers, the unique donut-shaped brain of a squid.

An added bonus, especially for those with a penchant for photography: the event is timed perfectly so that you walk out of the Sumner Auditorium, down the campus hill, and right into the sunset ducking down beyond the pier. This is a rare – not to mention gorgeous – photo opportunity in La Jolla, so come camera ready!

Pier Walks 101

The pier walks are held twice a month from June through October. Tickets are $35 for adults ($30 if you’re a Birch Aquarium member), and can be purchased ahead of time on the Birch Aquarium website. The walks are from 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

Children must be at least 9 years old to participate, and attendees under 13 must be accompanied by a paid adult.

This year’s Pier Walk schedule:

June

  • Sunday, June 16th

Dates TBA!

The original Scripps Pier was built in La Jolla between 1915 and 1916 as a 1,000 foot long facility for acquiring clean seawater for campus labs and Birch Aquarium. Ellen Browning Scripps provided all of the funds necessary for its construction. Extensive repairs were made to the pier in the 20s and 40s, though major concerns about its structural soundness led to the pier’s complete rebuilding later on.

The Bottom Line

Today, the pier is a remarkable and beautiful structure that is rarely available to be explored. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seen-it-all local, a Full Moon Pier Walk is the rare VIP event that’s both exclusive and completely unique; you’ll be hard-pressed to find another working research pier to explore under the moon’s glow!

For a similarly unique adventure, head down the 145 steps at The Cave Store to explore Sunny Jim Cave. For the slightly less adventurous, walk over to La Jolla Cove to watch the sunbathing seals, grab a bite to eat, and take in the stunning views.

For more information on the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla or other things to explore while you’re there, head to the aquarium’s website.

Exploring Balboa Park: Museums, Gardens, & Dining

Balboa Park

This historic San Diego park is a must see, no doubt about it. Built in 1986 and majorly re-vamped in 1915, Balboa Park holds over 100 years of Southern California life and culture. It’s home to seventeen award-winning museums, more than fifteen green promoting gardens, the famous San Diego Zoo and (if you can believe it) much more! Here’s the basic layout of what you’ll find, events to look out for and information to help you plan the ultimate trip.

Museums

Whether you’re a lover of science or art, trains or sports…there’s a museum for everyone, even the typical non-museum goers. Some of the most applauded favorites include:

San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego Air & Space Museum
San Diego Museum of Man
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Mingei International Museum
Museum of Photographic Arts
Timken Museum of Art
San Diego Automotive Museum
San Diego History Center

As for prices and packages, there are multiple options. If you’re a resident, did you know you can go for free? On each Tuesday of each month, Balboa Park hosts “Residents Free Days,” where different museums offer free admission to San Diego residents (you’ll need ID confirming your residency) each week.  Find out which museums are free on which Tuesdays here.

If you’re not a resident or you’re interested in going on a day other than a Tuesday, you can :

• Pay for admission at each museum individually (prices vary)

• Purchase a Go San Diego Card for discounted admission to more than 40 San Diego attractions – including Balboa Park!

• Purchase an Annual Balboa Park Explorer Pass: This pass gives you entry into all 17 museums for an entire year. And this isn’t Disneyland; there are no blackout days.

**It’s important to note that with any of these options, special exhibits aren’t included, such as the Natural History Museum’s King Tut or Museum of Man’s Torture Exhibit.**

Balboa Park Gardens

If you enjoy botany or simply looking at beautiful flowers, there’s plenty to see here. Walk through the Botanical Building to transport yourself across the world. Not only is the inside captivating, but the outer design is very striking and in many classic Balboa Park photographs.

Just outside its main doors are plants known for housing caterpillars. They blend in well, but look carefully amongst the green leaves and you’ll find them; you may be surprised at just how darling a yellow caterpillar can be! One of the best parts about this spot though? It’s free.

As far as larger gardens go, the other two main ones are the Rose Garden across the road from the Natural History Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Friendship Garden is lovely, especially the coy fish it features in its shaded pond. It’s good to note that it’s the only garden that charges a fee.

The other smaller gardens you’ll find sprinkled amongst the park; we recommend walking and exploring to let yourself surprisingly stumble upon them. Go far enough? You’ll find trails around the park’s edges, the most intricate and steep going along Florida Street to Morley Field.

All of the gardens at Balboa Park:

    • Old Cactus Garden
    • Alcazar Garden
    • Botanical Building & Lily Pond
    • Native Plant Garden
    • Casa del Rey Moro Garden
    • Desert Garden
    • Children’s Peace Garden
    • Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve
    • Memorial Rose Garden
    • Japanese Friendship Garden
    • Marston House Garden
  • Palm Canyon
  • Trees for Health Garden
  • Veterans Memorial Garden
  • Zoro Garden

San Diego Zoo

The world famous San Diego Zoo is famous for many reasons, some of the top being the pandas and Australian koalas, of course. There’s so many wonderful things here that we gave it its own page. Learn more about this zoo and what it has to offer at our San Diego Zoo page.

The Old Globe Theatre

You were transported to Asia in the Japanese Friendship Garden. You experienced Australia taking in the zoo’s koalas. Now, let’s take you over to Europe by putting you in the recreation of England’s Old Globe Theatre. We think Shakespeare would be proud the Old Globe created right here in San Diego, still performing his plays to this day.

You’ll find more than just Shakespeare, though. Famous Broadway and locally written plays are performed here, as well. Watching a play here is a brilliant way to experience theatre the way it was back in Shakespeare’s time, a great way to transcend time.

Events

There’s a constantly updated calendar for Balboa Park. Between all the museums, the theatre and zoo, there’s always something going on. We want to highlight two particular noteworthy events, one that’s weekly and one yearly.

International Cottages Sunday:

Every Sunday from noon to 4 pm, head to the international cottages located on the lovely stretch between the Organ Pavillion and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Each of the cottages represents a different country and is filled with cultural decor, educational information and folks (usually from and) very knowledgeable about the country.

On these Sunday afternoons, they have samples of treats from that nation. For example, head to House of England for tea and samples of tea cakes, House of Spain for Spanish cookies and House of Iran for a savory treat so magical….you just have to eat it to believe it.

There’s also a lawn program included. Every Sunday, one of the nations’ cottages puts on an afternoon of cultural performances and entertainment. It rotates throughout the year, so you’ll enjoy Filipino dancing one week and witness Ukrainian performances the next!

December Nights:

Each year at Christmas time, usually the first weekend of the month, Balboa Park features December Nights. To say this event wows is an understatement. Attendance is at over 350,000 folks a year, and that’s just across 2 days.

These high numbers are drawn by the museums offering free admissions (certain ones at certain times), endless food booths (not free), cultural cuisine hosted by the International Cottages (also not free), no-cost performances in the Organ Pavillion, stages hosting performances around the entire park and so much more.

We find that it’s good to go in with some knowledge, but, when it comes down to it…you’re going to discover things you had never heard about simply arriving in-person. Show up and let the event sweep you off your feet.

In Conclusion

Balboa Park truly does have something for everyone. As with anywhere, the earlier you come for parking the better and the weekdays are less busy than weekends. However, because it is such a vast space and there are so many lots as well as street parking along the sides, even if there’s some hunting, you’ll be able to find a spot! Learn more about San Diego and it’s nearby downtown at our Downtown San Diego & Gaslamp Page.

Where to Go Whale Watching in San Diego

Where to Go Whale Watching in San Diego

We are in the throes of the perfect time to go whale watching in San Diego! Every winter, more than 20,000 Pacific gray whales travel 10,000 miles round-trip (the longest migration of any mammal on earth) from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California. That makes San Diego, with its 78 miles of coastline directly in the migration path, the perfect place to watch.

The best time to watch for gray whales is from December through mid- to late April, depending on the year. To see a blue whale, wait until the spring and summer seasons. That’s when several hundred Blue whales migrate into southern California waters to feed on huge quantities of krill. Dolphins, Finback whales, Humpback whale, Minke whales, and other whales may also be viewed then.

There are plenty of boat tours that will take you out on the water for a close-up glimpse, but if you’re looking to stay dry and just take it easy, here are some great ways to go whale watching in San Diego and in and around La Jolla.

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Western Overlooks at Cabrillo National Monument

The gray whales have been known to pass right by the western overlooks of Cabrillo National Monument – the heights and incredible panoramas from the park’s Whale Overlook and Old Point Loma Lighthouse offer the best viewing of the San Diego coastline. Bring binoculars if you have them: they can make things much easier! If you don’t have any, a limited number of binoculars are available at the Visitor Center during whale season. Just ask for them at the information desk.

Luckily, it’s possible to see the whales anytime during daylight hours – they swim 24 hours a day.

Where to Look

Look west from the park overlooks, toward the ocean and San Diego Bay. The whales are migrating south towards mainland Mexico, so they will be moving from the north (right) to the south (left) as you look from the park. Expect them to be moving at a steady clip of about five miles per hour, and although some whales swim close to shore, most swim in an area that extends from the kelp beds (about three-quarters of a mile out) to the horizon.

Later in the spring, the gray whales will migrate north again, but they are generally too far out in the ocean to see from the park.

 

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, the State Reserve is comprised of 1,750 miles of hiking trails, Torrey Pine trees, and indigenous wildlife. Its beautiful coastal wilderness coupled with easy, family-friendly paths and hiking trails, makes for a perfect place to whale or dolphin watch in La Jolla.

The Beach Trail (3/4 of a mile) or the Razor Point Trail (1.4 miles) are probably your best bet for some action. Much of the Beach Trail, as the name implies, does indeed hug the beach. Razor Point is a longer loop and gives you more time on the trail, and never strays far from views of the water. Much of the path also overlooks the beautiful, jagged cliffs the area is known for.

Take a Kayak Tour

This is a popular one – many people have reported whale sightings during their La Jolla kayak tours. This is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the whales, and it’s safe to say there’s no better way to experience the migration.

There are several companies at La Jolla Shores that offer specific Whale Watching kayak tours on a daily basis (weather permitting). Depending on the tour, you may also get to explore the seven sea caves along the shoreline.

According to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, gray whales generally travel alone or in pods of two or three but more may be seen traveling together during peak migration season (Mid-January), so keep an eye out for large pods. Fun fact: adult gray whales can be up to 45 feet long and weigh up to 33 tons!

Book a Boat Excursion

If you want to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures, a whale watching San Diego tour around San Diego harbor is your best bet. Book a tour through any number of whale watching companies in the area; most are located near Point Loma or San Diego Bay.

Book a discounted tour with the Go San Diego Card here:

San Diego Whale Watch is one of the more popular ones, but any one of them will get you out on the water. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins (particularly the common dolphin, the most prevalent) – they have been seen during blue whale and gray whale season, as well as sea lions! Additionally, Hornblower Cruises offer San Diego Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours starting December 9.

The tours are 3.5 hours and each ride features informational narrative by an onboard naturalist about the marine life you’ll see. Each yacht has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, plus a snack bar featuring food and a full bar. Cruise-goers often spot whales, sea lions, dolphins and other types of marine life!

What to Look For…

The Birch Aquarium has some great guidelines for what to expect to see when you’re grey whale watching:

The Blow or Spout

When warm, moist air exhaled from the whales’ lungs meets the cool air at the ocean surface, it creates what we call a blow or spout. A gray whale’s blow can spray up to 15 feet high, and each blow is visible for about five seconds. Anticipate that the whale will dive for three to six minutes, then surface for three to five blows in row, 30 to 50 seconds apart, before diving deep for three to six minutes again.

The Flukes (Tail)

Before making a deep dive, a gray whale often displays its 12-foot wide fan-shaped flukes or tail. The weight of the tail above the whale’s body helps it to dive deep, so you’ll see it surface just before they go under. Fun fact: a whale’s fluke has no bones; it only connects to the body and tail muscles by banks of tendons.

Knuckled Back and Footprint

If the lighting is right, and if the whale is close enough, it’s possible to see the back of a gray whale during and after the blow. It’s generally shiny and black or gray, with a knuckled ridge along the spine. After the whale submerges you may note an elongated, smooth oval of calm water, known as a footprint, where the whale has been.

Breach and Splash

Gray whales occasionally hurl themselves out of the water and plunge back in with a tremendous splash. This is called breaching. Scientists don’t know exactly why they do this, but it’s incredible to watch. Sometimes other whales in the area will copy the behavior, so keep your eyes open!

If You Do Spot a Whale…

Remember that they are migrating south – so once you’ve spotted a whale, you can expect that it will surface again to the south. After watching an individual gray whale for a while, you will be able to anticipate its unique rhythm of breaths and dives and where it will surface next.

Itinerary for a Perfect Day at La Jolla Cove

La Jolla, California is famous for its mouthwatering brunches, gorgeous views, the Birch Aquarium, and, of course, its beautiful beaches. And one of the most recognizable is definitely La Jolla Cove! It’s beautiful, safe for children, great for snorkeling, and one of the few places you can truly see the local sea lions in action. Instead of coming for just an hour or two, why not make a day out of it? We’ve put together an itinerary for a fun, carefree way to do just that.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast – with a view.

To fuel up for an exciting day, we recommend grabbing a great meal and cup of coffee at Harry’s Coffee Shop. This is a beloved local gem that’s been a family-owned business for more than fifty years, since its founding in 1960. Soak in the friendly, local atmosphere as you tuck into waffles (our favorite), eggs, or fluffy French Toast. You can even grab a cheeseburger, if that’s what you crave at 7am; they’re served all day!

Head to La Jolla Cove to watch the sea lions.

From the sidewalk above the cliffs at La Jolla Cove, you have a great vantage point of the sunbathing seals and sea lions. If you want a bit more up-close-and-personal view, head down onto the sandy beach via the staircase to the left. Look for a series of small sea caves, which make for great photo ops!

Take in the view from Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

Head up the steps and onto the green of one of La Jolla’s best parks, the Ellen Browning Scripps Park. It’s a lovely place to play frisbee, fly a kite, and shake the sand from your toes; or just to throw down a blanket and check out the gorgeous panoramas (including the seals and sea lions down below).

From here, it’s an easy stroll to your next destinations within the downtown Village!

Take a break for lunch.

Downtown La Jolla Village offers some great restaurant options. Take in your midday meal at a casual spot like the Coffee Cup or The Cottage (both beloved by locals for their fabulous brunch and lunch options), or head to an upscale venue with a patio for people-watching like NINE-TEN Restaurant inside the Grande Colonial Hotel.

Take a stroll along the Historic Coast Walk.

In our opinion, no visit to La Jolla is complete without a stroll along the beautiful Historic Coast Walk Trail! The trail begins at The Cave Store (where you can venture down to Sunny Jim Cave before you walk), and takes you along the bluffs over to La Jolla Shores.

While you’re at The Shores, you can rent equipment from a local spot and go kayaking, standup paddle boarding, or snorkeling.

Enjoy Happy Hour by the sea.

Coming back after your exhilarating stroll, a refreshing drink may sound like the very best thing! There are some amazing happy hours to choose from in La Jolla; whether you’re in the mood for drinks with a view (we love Catania) or you want something a little cozier and more quiet.

Locals’ tip: For something a bit more tucked-away, try the We Olive & Wine Bar! They have a terrific patio in back with an ocean view; it’s rarely crowded, and makes for a relaxing spot to enjoy a glass of wine while you watch the sun set.

Stroll the art galleries or tour the eclectic Murals of La Jolla.

After sipping a glass of wine or a martini, enjoy the downtown Village art scene as the sun goes down. La Jolla is an art lover’s paradise! Walk the numerous art galleries along Girard Avenue or Prospect Street, or take a walk and discover all the hidden murals throughout La Jolla. There are now about two dozen of them scattered throughout the Village; many of which are tucked away in small corners and on the sides of buildings. On certain days of the month, The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library offers free guided tours – be sure to check it out!

If you’re looking for more public outdoor art, check out The Stuart Collection at MCSASD La Jolla. Although the museum is temporarily closed for a new exhibit installation, the gardens are open and free to the public – and make for a great sunset-watching spot!

Grab some dinner.

The beauty of dining here is the variety! You can enjoy fine seafood spots like The Hake and Crabcatcher, or brewery-inspired restaurants like Karl Strauss and Public House La Jolla. To dine with a view, check out Duke’s La Jolla and George’s at the Cove. Both of them are waterfront and have gorgeous views of the coast! Spice things up with a yummy cocktail (the Hake just redid their cocktail menu) and catch some live music later at The Manhattan.

Check out our complete Restaurant Guide for more ideas!

End the day with some comedy.

The Comedy Store, which has been hosting well-known comedians since its opening in 1977, is a great place to sit, relax and let yourself be entertained after a long day. We recommend checking it out and booking tickets ahead of time. It’s a wonderful way to end a great day, and some pretty famous comedians have come through here over the years – including Jim Carey, Bill Hicks, Whitney Cummings, and countless others.

Spend the night in a luxurious hotel.

If you’re staying the night, try one of La Jolla’s five-star hotels (we love La Valencia and the Grande Colonial), or check out one of the cozier and more quaint B&B’s (The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, Redwood Hollow Cottages, and Scripps Inn are our favorites).

legoland california

10 Reasons to Visit LEGOLAND California This Year

LEGOLAND California is one of San Diego’s most popular theme parks, and provides families the unique opportunity to experience all things LEGO – in one place! Located in Carlsbad, California the entire park is themed around the colorful LEGO bricks. Each section of the park (there are 9 different areas) comes with its own theme – from Ninjago World to MiniLand USA, which features LEGO-sized reproductions of certain areas of the US, in addition to a waterpark, aquarium, and its very own LEGOLAND Hotel. Here are ten reasons to visit LEGOLAND California this year!

1. It’s more than your typical amusement park.

LEGOLAND California has more to explore than its rides – including a Waterpark, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the official LEGOLAND Hotel.

The Waterpark: The LEGOLAND Waterpark is impressive, especially with the recent addition of the Chima section which includes more slides and the Lion Temple Wave Pool. Head to the park to experience Riptide Racers, the Wipeout Lagoon, Build-a-Raft River, Duplo Splash Safari, Joker Soaker, Pirate Reef, Orange Rush, Soak n Sail, and the Splash Zoo; each one offers a different set of rides, splash zones, and epic water adventures for you and the little ones!

You can upgrade your LEGOLAND ticket to include the Waterpark for $30.

Sea Life Aquarium: The aquarium at LEGOLAND is an interactive guide to the life of the sea, combining active hands-on learning with fascinating educational talks and up-close encounters with sea creatures, including sharks, octopi and rays. The newest exhibit, Sea at Night, allows you to stroll in a gentle surf under a starry sky – during the day! Walk, jump and splash in a simulated bioluminescent tide with the little ones. Any LEGOLAND ticket can be upgraded to include SEA LIFE Aquarium admission for $25.

2. You can get discounted tickets any time of year.

The Go San Diego Card, is a multi-attraction pass that gets you big discounts at the top attractions in San Diego. With the all-inclusive pass, you’ll have access to more than 40 spots in San Diego – and that includes LEGOLAND – at discounted prices! 1-Day admission tickets to LEGOLAND California start at $89.99.

3. The LEGOLAND Hotel (and Castle) is truly magical.

The LEGOLAND Hotel recently expanded to include a brand-new LEGOLAND Castle, which offers a totally different (and awesome) overnight experience. The original hotel boasts themed rooms, each one completely unique – choose from Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, LEGO Ninjago, or LEGO Friends. There is nightly children’s entertainment, and a free breakfast buffet every morning of your stay. The Hotel is located right at the entrance to LEGOLAND, so when you wake up the park is quite literally at your front door.

The LEGOLAND Castle Hotel is a new castle-themed wonderland. The hotel features 250 LEGO Castle themed rooms with your choice of Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess, or Magic Wizard, plus a new themed restaurant called Dragon’s Den for all your dining needs. There is a special kid’s area that features LEGO building tables and scavenger hunts daily. There is also a pool area, entertainment courtyard, and playful surprises around every corner; every part of the hotel is interactive, and your little ones will get a kick out of exploring every nook and cranny!

4. Kids go for free all year long in 2019.

You heard that right! This year, LEGOLAND California turns 20 years old, and in honor of such an epic occasion, kids 12 and under can enter the park completely for free. If you have little ones, we can’t possibly think of a better reason to check the park out this year!

5. Kids can bring minifigures to trade at the park.

Have your kids bring their old LEGO minifigures to the park (including all the parts and accessories), and they can trade them for new ones right at the Park! Every LEGOLAND employee – they’re called Model Citizens – has a name badge with minifigures fixed onto it. If your little one wants one of the Model Citizen’s minifigures, he or she will gladly trade with them. You’ll also find trading posts throughout the park that offer tons of of mini-men to trade for, and if your child doesn’t have a minifigure for trading, there are plenty of shops throughout the Park where you can pick one up.

6. The park is fun for all ages – even younger kids.

Unlike many theme parks in California, there are a ton of rides and attractions with no height or age restrictions. Fairy Tale Brook and Coast Cruise are great for babies to enjoy, and there are baby-friendly splash pad areas in Pirate Shores and Heartlake City. Toddlers will love the Coastersaurus, Duplo Play Town, and Mia’s Riding Camp, which is a cute carousel.

Preschoolers will get a kick out of the Royal Joust, which takes little ones on a LEGO horse ride through the “countryside.” Junior Driving School is a can’t-miss attraction for kids 3-5, too. Bonus: there are plenty of areas in line for your younger ones to stay entertained and play with LEGO blocks while you stand in line – just scoop up the kiddos before you get on the ride!

7. The whole family will love MiniLand USA.

You’ve likely seen photos of it online, but MiniLand USA is one of LEGOLAND’s most fun attractions. Built with a whopping 32,496,352 LEGO bricks, the area features real-life attractions and famous spots throughout the U.S. See the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the capital building in Washington D.C., Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Grand Central Station in New York, and the strip in Las Vegas all in one day!

8. LEGO fanatics will really get a kick out of the LEGO factory tour.

If you’ve ever wondered how a LEGO brick is made, this self-guided tour will show you from start to finish. The tour features different displays of machines that are used to make LEGO bricks, and you even have an option to get a special item engraved by someone at the end. This is a fun stop that offers a bit of a break in between the other rides and attractions.

9. The park makes it easy to skip long wait lines.

LEGOLAND offers a Reserve-n-Ride system, which allows you to hold a spot in line for their most popular rides without physically having to be in the actual line. To set up a Reserve-n-Ride, visit their website or head to the kiosk just inside the gates. When you purchase the pass, you’ll get to choose between reducing wait times by 25%, 50%, or 95% for $35, $55, and $100 per person, respectively. When you pick up your pass you’ll receive a device that allows you to make a reservation for one ride at a time, from anywhere in the park. When it’s your time ride the device beeps to let you know, and you’re on your way!

10. The LEGOLAND app is a great way to streamline your experience.

Download the LEGOLAND app before you arrive for access to an interactive map, up-to-date ride wait times, height restrictions for rides, directions, and even a car finder to help you keep track of where you’ve parked. It’s a great way to important information right at your fingertips, which can come in handy for a long day of exploring.

It’s Grunion Run Season! 5 Things to Know Before You Go

They flop around, surf the waves, and make sweet love under the moonlight: the season of the grunion run has begun! On beaches all throughout Southern California, you’ll get the chance to experience these strange little creatures up close; and La Jolla has some of the best seats in the house. Just grab your flashlights, a few beach chairs and, if you don’t mind staying up late, get ready to watch them run!

So, What Is a Grunion Run?

Each spring, from April to May or June, thousands of these little silvery fish wash ashore to partake in a strange mating ritual under the moonlight. While on the beach, female grunion bury themselves half-way in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves around the females to fertilize their eggs. The females will lay anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. Then, as the next round of waves wash in, the fish simply float back to sea. Some may call them the original bodysurfers!

1. Grunions runs are unique to Southern California.

That’s right – because grunions are only found off the coast of Southern California, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, and in Northern Baja, Mexico (just north of Punta Abreojos), we Californians are the sole witnesses of this incredible event every year.

2. They usually ‘run’ on wide, sandy beaches.

Ergo, La Jolla is the perfect grunion run destination! La Jolla Shores, to be exact. If you’re a newbie and you want the full experience, we recommend going with the expert naturalists at the Birch Aquarium during, or just after, a full moon. They host guided visits of grunion spawning areas at La Jolla Shores throughout April-June, which includes a full rundown on these mysterious creatures as well as a demonstration of hatchlings emerging from their eggs in a vial of seawater.

Birch Aquarium Grunion Run 2018 schedule:

Wednesday, May 2: 11:00pm – 1:00 am
Thursday, May 31: 10:30pm – 12:30am
Friday, June 1: 11:00pm – 1:00am

3. You can even catch the grunions – but only during specific periods.

If you’re in the market for some fresh seafood, you may want to check out a grunion run this year! While April and May are off-limits to fishing or catching the fish while they’re onshore (this is their prime mating period and are therefore protected), you are allowed to do so in March and June – and only with your hands. No nets, buckets or other gear is allowed, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Additionally, people over 16 need a fishing license to participate, and while there is no official bag limit, it is illegal to waste them. Digging holes in the sand as traps is also forbidden.

4. For the best runs, look for the fish after new or full moons.

These silvery little fish are most likely to surface after the highest tides during a full moon, and the largest numbers of grunions usually wash up about an hour after the ‘run’ begins. Try to avoid using flashlights, as the illumination can scare away the fish, and if you do, limit their use to times after the waves have receded. Do remember to tread carefully; you never know what you may be stepping on, and the vibrations of your feet will often scare the little guys away.

5. Though unlikely, be prepared for a no-show.

As with any creatures, there is an element of luck to our ability to witness them; and while grunion can hit the beach by the thousands, they can also decide not to show up at all. It’s disappointing, but not altogether unusual. And, at the very least, you’ll be enjoying a peaceful moonlit walk along the beach – what could possibly be more Southern Californian than that?

A few grunion run tips and things to remember:

  • Do not touch or or interfere with spawning during closed fishing season (April and May).
  • Walk quietly and don’t shine a flashlight directly on the water
  • Leave your furry friends at home
  • Wear waterproof shoes, or at least shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Same goes for clothing, as well.
  • What to bring: a flashlight, a beach chair, a bucket to put your grunion in, and a fishing license if you are planning to take them.

Above all, have fun – and happy grunion running!

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in La Jolla

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate no matter where you are, but there are plenty of ways to make it special right here in La Jolla – and it even falls on a Saturday this year! Get in the green spirit by dining on some corned beef and cabbage, drinking green beer, or sham-rocking the night away this Saturday, March 17th at one of our favorite spots in La Jolla.

Hennessey’s Tavern

Hennessey’s Tavern in La Jolla will be offering food and drink specials all day on March 17, from 8am to close. Dine on Irish treats like Sheppard’s Pie and Irish Bread Pudding. Guinness, Coors, and Blue Moon will be available on tap, and shots of Irish whiskey including Jameson will be $5. 7811 Herschel Ave., La Jolla.

Cusp Dining & Drinks

Head to the 11th floor of Hotel La Jolla, where Cusp Dining will be offering Bubbly Around the Clock! Glasses of bubbly with a hint of Irish spirit will start at 4pm for just $4, and go up $1 every hour. 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla.

Nautilus Tavern

Enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day-themed menu that includes a grilled pastrami sandwich and corned beef with cabbage and potatoes, plus green beer and great specials on Jameson, Guinness, and other cocktails throughout the day. 6830 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes will get into the Emerald Isle spirit by serving up their festive Shamrock Cupcakes from March 4th – March 17th. The decadent Belgian dark chocolate cake is studded with mint dark chocolate M&Ms and a rich green mint frosting, and topped with a bright green shamrock. 8855 Villa La Jolla Drive, La Jolla.

Pacifica Del Mar

Pacifica’s bustling Ocean Bar will be celebrating by pouring their specialty Pineapple-Chipotle Margarita and Green Flash Cocktail, both naturally green in hue and totally delicious! 1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar. 

St. Paddy’s Day Swim

What better way to celebrate St. Paddy’s than with an early morning swim? Each year, the La Jolla Cove Swim Club hosts its annual St. Paddy’s Day Swim beginning at La Jolla Cove. Head down there on March 17 from 9am – 11am for a fun free swim. The club will provide coffee and muffins for participants afterwards. 1100 Coast Blvd., La Jolla.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival

Experience the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade west of the Mississippi this year! Join the Irish Congress of Southern California for the 39th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival on Saturday March 16, 2019 starting at 10:30am at Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street. Join more than 30,000 attendees in the annual celebration and parade, followed by an Irish Festival in Balboa Park (Sixth and Maple). The festival will feature live entertainment on three stages, plus Irish Step Dancers and a full afternoon line-up with Irish Folk singers and bands. There will also be craft booths, a Celtic Food Village, other food booths, a Beer Garden, and a kids zone.

Quintessential Festival 2019: Celebrate All Things San Diego!

The La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club presents the 6th annual Quintessential Festival this April 27th, from 1pm – 5pm. Celebrate the true ‘quintessence’ of San Diego with craft beers from local breweries, wineries, and distilleries, along with fantastic food, music, and – most importantly – the amazing people that make San Diego America’s Finest City!

The inspiration for this community event stems from the Rotary Club’s desire to build a collaborative event that brings people together from throughout San Diego and raise awareness and funds for the great projects Rotary is doing locally and globally. Last year’s event drew approximately 750 attendees, and this year they intend to drive attendance in excess of 1,000!

Food, Beer, & Fun

This year’s festival will be held at the Nobel Park and Recreation Fields (8810 Judicial Dr, San Diego 92122). Proceeds from this event benefit over 45 local charities and non-profit groups supported annually by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club.

Attendees will get exclusive access and unlimited samples from more than 30 of San Diego’s finest craft brewers, distilleries, and wine and spirit companies. There will also be plenty of live music, complimentary bites from local vendors, and a few dog-friendly events for your four-legged friends.

A Few of This Year’s Participating Breweries

  • Abnormal Beer Co.
  • Alesmith Brewing Company
  • Alpine Beer Company
  • Ballast Point
  • Coronado Brewing Company
  • Green Flash Brewing Co
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company
  • Mikkeller Brewing
  • Modern Tims Beer
  • Pizza Port Brewing Company
  • Saint Archer Brewing Company

Food Vendors

  • Aloha Poke Company
  • Bread & Cheese Catering
  • Doggos Gus
  • Nibble Chocolate
  • Simply Cheddar

For a complete list of participating craft breweries, visit their website! Tickets are $30 and can be purchased ahead of time online.

About the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club

Chartered in 1986 during the formative years of the La Jolla Golden Triangle region (San Diego County), the Rotary Club associated with the growth and dynamics of this renowned area has become one of Rotary International’s most highly accomplished clubs.

The La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club is an organization of approximately 100 enthusiastic men and woman united in fellowship providing a broad range of humanitarian service and building lasting goodwill locally and globally.

Unabashedly self-proclaimed as the “most dynamic Rotary Club in the world” La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary is consistently one of the top-performing clubs not only in the San Diego/Imperial Counties District, but indeed in the world. The club consistently develops projects to improve health, well-being and self-sufficiency in our surrounding communities and beyond.

The La Jolla Concours d’Elegance: A World-Class Car Show at the Cove

Beauty, elegance, and vintage cars intersect for the annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, which happens each spring at La Jolla Cove. This spectacular show features one-of-a-kind automobile gems from all over the world, and every year avid car enthusiasts head to the coast for a display of classic, unique, and timeless automobiles – a showcase that’s been going strong for over a decade.

This year, three main events will be held April 12-14, 2019 at Ellen Browning Scripps Park and The LOT La Jolla. From specialty craft cocktails to the more than 150 specialty restored automobiles, we can’t think of any reason not to attend this fantastic car show.

A little history of the event

With origins in the late 17th century, the early Concours was a leisurely social affair where lighthearted competitions were rewarded with rosettes, wine, and champagne. As coaches and carriages segued into automobiles in the late 19th century, the competitions became more defined. By the mid 1920s, no society season on the French Riviera was complete without a variety of organized Concours events.

After World War II, a trio of visionaries – Jules Huemann, Reverend Paul Woudenberg and Loren Tryon – created what was to become the grandfather of all post-war Concours — Pebble Beach. What was a European staple for centuries has now become a true international tradition that pays homage to its French roots, and is a world-class event that La Jolla is proud to host each year.

Bring the entire family

General tickets for Concours d’Elegance range from $55 to $70, but children under 10 are free – which makes it a great opportunity to bring your children and create some great family memories. With more than 150 classic cars ranging from vintage Rolls Royces to modern sports cars, it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The main car show event will take place from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday, April 14th.

Enjoy craft cocktails & delicious hors d’oeuvres

This year’s Sunday car show will feature live music, spectacular views, and a complimentary French 75 Cocktail and honey tasting from Southern California (in the La Jolla Concours Champagne and Honey Tasting Garden). For a VIP experience, you can spend a little extra and enjoy fabulous bites from 15 of San Diego’s finest restaurants, a hosted bar in the VIP Sponsor Lounge, and more.

View vintage and classic automobiles

Have you ever seen a 1937 Puegot Cabriolet by Poutrout? It’s okay if you haven’t seen or heard of it, because most people haven’t — but this burgundy and silver car was the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance Best Show Winner in 2015. It’s a rare gem that has withstood the test of time, and remains a testimony to the caliber of cars that the Concours showcases.

The oldest car at the 2016 show was the 1934 Bugatti T-57 Four Door Pillarless which typically retails for about $130,000 and comes standard with an eight cylinder engine. Bugatti is known for creating some of the fastest cars in the world, and it’s no surprise that the 1934 model remains a classic gem. The cars for 2018 have not yet been announced, but they’re guaranteed to be more incredible classics!

Bonus: Aston Martin & Fraser Present A Night of Steampunk

Gears will turn as you enter the Night of Steampunk on the field of the La Jolla Concours adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. The night’s clock will take you back in time while you enjoy delicious tastes from 20 of San Diego’s finest restaurants, taste creative cocktails from the William Grant Portfolio, bid on Silent and Live Auction items, and enjoy a hosted bar while dancing through time!

And don’t miss the Friday night event: this year, the can’t-miss Friday night kick off party for the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance with the Pacific Sotheby’s Concours Social Club presented by The Lot La Jolla and Ferrari of San Diego. The evening will be divided into overlapping rooms of whimsy, color, and print where you can enjoy a full hosted vibrant bar and whimsical treats for the palate. This is your chance to get a sneak peek of the weekend ahead!

All proceeds this year will benefit the La Jolla Historical Society, which has been a champion for the preservation of La Jolla’s heritage since 1964 through discovery and tireless documentation. More than 100 historical monuments, annual art exhibits, and community events and tours are just a few of the ways the Society continues to promote awareness of our seaside town’s incredibly rich background.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, visit their website.

go san diego card

The Go San Diego Card: Everything You Need to Know

The Go San Diego Card is a great way to save money on more than 45 different attractions throughout San Diego County. It’s perfect for both tourists and San Diego residents, and you could potentially save up to 55% off regular admission prices at these attractions!  Whether you want to sail out for a whale-watching cruise, take the whole family to SeaWorld or LEGOLAND, or visit the the San Diego Zoo, this convenient card lets you plan your own itinerary and pack in as many attractions as you can each day.

What Is the Go San Diego Card?

The Go San Diego Card is a type of Go City Card, which is a multi-attraction pass available in major cities around the globe – including nearby spots like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

There are four different options when purchasing your Go San Diego Card:

  • 1) All-Inclusive
    • A multi-attraction pass that gets you into 40 San Diego attractions plus one premium attraction for one low price.
    • Available in 1 day, 2 day, 3 day, 5 day, or 7 day options.
    • Needs to be used on consecutive calendar days.
  • 2) Build Your Own 
    • Choose from 42 attractions and build your own pass to San Diego.
    • If you choose 2 or more, you’ll save 20%. The pass is valid for 30 days.
    • Good choice for San Diego residents.
  • Package Deals
    • 3) San Diego 4 Choice Flex Pass: choose 4 San Diego attractions and activities from 8 great options. Save up to 39% compared to paying at the gate!
    • 4) Top 3 Attractions Pass: Discounted access to three attractions: LEGOLAND® California, San Diego Zoo, and SeaWorld San Diego.

How to Use the Go San Diego Card

Your Go San Diego Card grants you admission to as many included attractions as you want to visit for the number of days you bought the card for. Once you purchase the card, you can either 1) use your pass directly from your phone with the free Go City Card app or 2) print out your pass and guidebook at home. You don’t need to buy other tickets – the city card acts as your ticket to all attractions.

After it’s used the first time, the card is good for the number of days you chose, but those must be consecutive days – for instance, if you use the card first on a Monday morning, that counts as your first day. Even if you visit your first attraction late in the day, it still counts; so we recommend starting as early as possible!

If you skip one day because you’re tired, you don’t get a refund or an extension. Except for the rare multi-day pass, you can visit each attraction only once.

Where to Purchase the Go San Diego Card

You can purchase one directly through us!

What to Know Before You Buy the Go San Diego Card

• Be realistic about how much you can do! The big attractions will each take a full day, and some are far apart. For other attractions that take less time, there may be significant travel time to get from one to another. Plan to visit 1-3 attractions per day, and choose ones that are closer together.

• You get to skip the line. If you use the Go City Card app, you can skip the line at select attractions and go directly to the entrance turnstiles, where they will scan a QR code on your phone. If you print out the pass at home, you may have to wait in line to collect your paper pass.

• The app is free, and keeps everything in one place. Once you download the app, guidebooks to each attraction, your actual Go San Diego Card, and directions are all right on your phone. It’s a great (and easy) way to make sure you don’t miss anything!

• Only longer-duration cards include Sea World: if you purchase a 3, 5 or 7-Day card, you can visit SeaWorld on as many days as your card is valid. SeaWorld is not included on 1 and 2 day cards. You can skip the ticket line when you choose digital delivery.

• Child cards are for children ages 3-12. Most attractions do not charge for children under 3 years old. However, there are some exceptions (especially children’s museums and attractions geared toward very young travelers). If you have a child under 3 years old, please check with the attraction directly in advance.

• You have one year to use your Go San Diego Card once you purchase it. After one year, it will expire.

• Refund policy: their Risk Free Guarantee gives you 30 days from your purchase date to return any non-activated passes for a full refund.

Included Attractions in the Go San Diego Card

There are more than 40 attractions to choose from!

  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • 2-Day Hop-on Hop-off Old Town Trolley Tour Ticket
  • Speed Boat Adventures
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • LEGOLAND
  • Whale & Dolphin Watching by Hornblower Cruises
  • 1-hour San Diego Harbor Tour by Flagship Cruises
  • Belmont Park All-Access Combo Pass
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Birch Aquarium
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center with IMAX movie
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • Model Railroad Museum
  • Tandem kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals at Bike & Kayak Tours Coronado
  • Bike, snorkel, kayak, and stand-up paddle board rentals at Bike & Kayak Tours La Jolla
  • Whale Watch by Flagship Cruises & Events
  • Miramar Speed Circuit
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • 30-minute GoCar San Diego Tour
  • The New Children’s Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Whaley House

Ready to start exploring San Diego? Purchase your multi-day pass or a Build Your Own Pass right here!

Exploring the New Children’s Museum in San Diego

Address/Location: 200 W. Island Ave., San Diego 92101
Phone: (619) 233-8792
Hours: M, W, Th, Fr, S: 9:30am-4pm. Sunday 11am-4pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Admission: $14 for adults & children 1+

The New Children’s Museum is part of the attractions included with the Go San Diego Card! This is a great option if you’re interested in discounted tickets and seeing other attractions in and around San Diego County.

The New Children’s Museum in San Diego is a fun, interactive museum that’s all about helping kids think, play, and create through hands-on exhibitions, engaging art-making activities, artistic performances, and educational programs.

The New Children’s Museum is filled with exciting finds, intriguing and interactive exhibits, and meaningful activities for all ages. Each year, leading artists create specifically designed and commissioned pieces of contemporary art with tactile features that appeal to kids, rather than recreate existing art to suit a younger generation. Throughout the museum, hands-on art and exhibits hold the attention of children of all ages, ranging from toddlers and teens.

About the Museum

This San Diego museum was founded on the principle “think, play, create” and serves as a place for children to come and learn creativity, confidence, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and optimism.

The original Museum opened in 1983 in La Jolla as the Children’s Museum, and moved to its current location at a downtown San Diego warehouse in 1993. In 2008, the Museum reopened as The New Children’s Museum – with the word “new” signifying their focus on commissioning contemporary artists to create full scale art installations for children to engage with and explore. The Museum is housed in a dynamic space designed by visionary and award-winning architect Rob Wellington Quigley and is one of the first green museums in California. In 2018, the Museum celebrated 35 years in San Diego, and 10 years as The New Children’s Museum.

Immersive Art Installations

The art installations at the New Children’s Museum are by far the most popular exhibits. Kids and adults alike will love the eclectic mix of interactive art and fun installations!

Smile: Strokes of color draw visitors across the Museum bridge in artist Panca’s 48-foot-long mural SMILE. Playful eyes and hearts are scattered through these lines of color, creating the impression of deconstructed, curious faces.

The Wonder Sound: Drawing influence from tree houses, empowered neighborhoods, canyons at night, sacred plants, silhouetted mountain ranges in the distance, animals that have never been seen, original stories, forgotten histories, whispered languages, ancient footpaths, imaginary places and the human condition, The Wonder Sound is an entirely new and complex culture that blends fact and fiction, the tangible and the ephemeral. It’s a work of art that you physically enter into and discover; the installation will take you to strange yet recognizable places as you explore its many rooms and passageways, going from the real to the unreal and venturing from the wild to the familiar.

No Rules…Except: One of the most talked about installations over the past 10 years, “No Rules…Except” was created by artist Brian Dick. The installation is an ode to childhood, and celebrates the simple childish joy of jumping on the bed. The immersive, interactive room is filled with 40+ mattresses and over 160 “pillow” tires for children (and grown ups!) to play, crawl, jump, and bounce around in.

Sketch Aquarium: Sketch Aquarium uses 21st century technology to create a beautiful, engaging art and science experience for all ages. Design a fanciful sea creature, and then watch it come to life and swim with all the other sea creatures in a wall-sized, moving aquarium projection. Children can observe the power of their creative imagination through Sketch Aquarium. Paper and art making materials offer opportunities to design and color a sea creature. Once completed, the piece of paper is scanned, and the image is projected onto a giant virtual aquarium. Children may also touch the fish to see them swim away, or touch the virtual food bag to feed the fish.

Wobbleland: Wobbleland is a fun, interactive area that resembles a giant kitchen sink and is filled with oversized soft food sculptures. Infants and toddlers 4 and under have exclusive reign in Wobbleland, where they can make creative discoveries: explore an avocado teeter totter, play with slices of a giant tomato, crawl through a cheese wedge, and more. Each sculpture presents challenges such as stacking, spinning, sorting and rocking and invites its young audience to explore.

Desert Derby: At first glance, the twisting tracks in Desert Derby look like freeways. Take a closer look, and you’ll see a series of interconnecting waterways and reservoirs. Desert Derby traces not only California’s roads, but also one of the most important other factors to shape our region: the feat of engineering that is the California aqueduct. We know where and how California’s system of freeways connects, but what if Californians were just as aware of our water system? Would it change our relationship with water?

Art Studios & Activities

The Community Gallery: The Community Gallery is a space where you can see and learn more about art made by local artists, schools, and participants from programs offered at the Museum. You’ll find their artistic contributions throughout the space – displayed on the floor, walls, and sometimes even the ceiling. Visitors are encouraged to take part in the collaborative art experience – the art that you help create will grow over time and become a part of the work on view and the wider Museum world.

Innovators LAB: The Innovators LAB is the Museum’s collaborative makerspace, where locals can come together for drop-in art workshops hosted by local experts, artists, architects, and others. These resident professionals develop design challenges alongside the Creative Team to provide open-ended, skill-building projects that explore real world issues. The Innovators LAB targets families with children ages 6-13 and provides opportunities to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, and hands-on techniques.

Other Activities

Along with art exhibits and interactive installations, the New Children’s Museum offers various family classes and programs (including Friday Toddler Time and the Little Learners Club), Day Camps and Summer Camps, and several events throughout the year.

Do note that the art exhibits and installations change, and they are always bringing in new artists for visitors to enjoy! Be sure to stay up-to-date with the Museum’s schedule and installations when you are thinking of visiting. Want to see more? Check out our other top San Diego museums!

Safety Tips for Planning a Family Trip to San Diego

San Diego features enough adventure, sunshine, and nature to keep you and your family entertained. When planning a family trip to San Diego, it is essential to ensure that everyone is safe before and after the vacation. San Diego is a worth visit and travel destination if you are planning to bring along your family.

The city features budget-friendly dining activities and hotels as well as resorts that provides unique programs for children of all ages. From the puzzles, crafts and games for kids and sports lessons and air hockey for teenagers, your entire family can be entertained from morning to evening. Here the tips to keeping the family safe on vacation in San Diego.

Keeping an Eye on Your Kids and Pool Supervision

It’s essential to keep an eye on your kids, especially if you have several of them. Kids are prone to wandering off and getting distracted, which combined with large crowds, has the potential for trouble. One way to improve your ability to keep the flock together at all times is to order a batch of matching Anvil wholesale t-shirts for everyone to wear. While some of the kids might cringe at the thought of matching, an eye-catching color can help to spot members of your party who are in the process of getting lost in the crowd.

If your hotel or restaurant has a pool, you should not assume that there is the lifeguard on duty. You should go with your children to the pool since it is the only way to ensure they are safe. Even if you are planning not to swim, you can relax on the side with your favorite book or take several photos of your children while playing.

Do Your Research

The first thing you should do before planning a family trip to San Diego is study the map, particularly if you’re driving. The freeway exits can be misleading and confusing. Also, the city is bigger than most people might think of and features many suburbs. When traveling on the freeways, you need to understand the lane you are going to use for you to get the right exit.

You should keep in mind that the city is a home to one of the most magnificent border crossings in the country which means that you need to be careful when driving your car to keep your family safe on vacation. Also, traffic can be heavy at times, which means you should allow enough time when traveling anywhere near the border.

Beach Safety

While vacationing in San Diego, you definitely want to make time for one of the beautiful and family-friendly beaches in the area. Not only is the Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coastline a sight to behold, but it’s also fun to swim in as well. With that said, it’s important for your family members to be aware of basic beach safety. While lifeguards ought to be on duty, not every beach will have one monitoring for danger.

If any of your family members are caught in a riptide, they should not fight it. It is advisable to go with the current and try as much as possible to relax. While doing so, the current will reduce, and you will be in the position to swim towards the shoe.

Going on vacation in San Diego does not have to be challenging and stressful. By having an excellent plan and communicating about where each of your family members will be, you can ensure that all your loved ones will stay safe and have fun.

San Diego Attractions for Kids: Explore Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of the best places for families to visit in San Diego. There is a plethora of beautiful gardens, museums, cultural spots, theaters, playgrounds, and walking trails within the 1200-acre park. What really sets Balboa Park is all of the activities that are free and family-friendly – the park is a great place to spend the day, the afternoon, or even a couple of days exploring if you have the time! Here’s our list of some of the best family-friendly activities in Balboa Park for a fun family outing.

Free Activities in Balboa Park

If you’re looking for free things to do in San Diego, Balboa Park has enough activities and events to keep you and your family busy for several days! All of the gardens, playgrounds, and walking trails are open to visitors every day, and some attractions are also free.

On each Tuesday of the month, museums and attractions rotate to offer free admission to San Diego residents for “Residents Free Tuesdays.” The deal includes:

  • The Museum of Man
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Model Railroad Museum

Some of the museums also offer free admission to active duty military and their family or local college students (with ID). The Veterans Museum and Memorial offers free admission every day for active duty military. Each October during the Kids Free in San Diego event, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Reuben H. Fleet and other Park museums offer free admission to children as well.

Balboa Park Playgrounds

There are five different playgrounds within Balboa Park, which are a fun and free way for families to relax and get some exercise. Some of the playgrounds are better suited for kids under age 5, while others are intended for ages 5-12. Here are some of the most popular Balboa Park playgrounds:

Pepper Grove Playground: suitable for kids of all ages. It is separated into two main areas. The side designed for children younger than five has a giant sandbox, cushioned floors, slides and swings. The other side, designed for kids five and older, offers a large jungle gym, faux zip line and fun things to spin on.

Sixth Avenue Playground: this is a large play area that kids of all ages can enjoy. It is separated into two main areas. The side designed for kids aged 5 and up is fun and futuristic with loads of obstacles and things to climb on. The other side, recommended for children under 5, has a fire engine-themed jungle gym with ropes, slides and climbing bars.

Morley Field Playground: this medium-sized playground is perfect for kids aged 5-12, families with dogs and those who love playing sports. There are slides, monkey bars, swings and a rock-climbing wall to enjoy. It is surrounded by fun places like the a swimming pool, dog park and tennis courts.

balboa park

Fun Activities for Kids at Balboa Park

Balboa Park Carousel: The historic carousel is closer the entrance of the San Diego Zoo, and is truly an awesome place to visit for families. The carousel dates back to 1910 and is a fun menagerie of animals, and all but two pairs are original with hand-carved European craftsmanship. The carousel is one of the few in the world still offering the brass ring game for everyone taking the 5-minute ride!

A little history of the carousel: the Herschell-Spillman menagerie carousel was made in New York, and shipped to Los Angeles, California. In 1915, it was displayed at the summer resort called Tent City, in Coronado, and then moved up Balboa Park around 1922. It originally was placed at the east of Balboa Park, near the San Diego Natural History Museum, but moved to its current location in 1968 to make way for the Fleet Science Center.

In 2017, the Friends of Balboa Park purchased the historic carousel. As its new owner and operator, they will ensure that it remains an historic park landmark for many more years to come.

Miniature Railroad: The miniature railroad is next to the carousel, and families with young children will likely enjoy both rides. The train pulls out of the station for 3-minute rides around a portion of Balboa Park.

The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater is always a hit with the little ones. Founded in 1948, the Puppet Theater is the longest continuous running puppet theater in the United States! Puppet performances are presented throughout the year by a variety of troupes; the theater presents approximately 45 shows a year, with different shows each week (12 shows a week during the winter and 15 shows a week during the summer). The theater boasts 6 rotating resident puppeteers and 2 associate puppeteers, plus occasional guest artists from around the United States. The theater seats 200, and many of productions are “full-stage” using life-size puppets.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is the world’s largest operating model railroad museum. This unique museum contains four enormous scale and model layouts, built by separate clubs, whose exhibits depict railroads all over the Southwest. The Museum also features a Toy Train Gallery, complete with an interactive Lionel layout for children and state-of-the-art theater lighting. Your little train-lovers will absolutely love this railroad museum!

Balboa Park Gardens

The dozens of gardens located throughout Balboa Park are lovely places for a picnic or simply to just relax and enjoy the sunshine. Kids can play on the grass, and most of them offer plenty of shade and picnic tables. The Botanical Building is one of the most photographed buildings in Balboa Park and nestled among several of the most popular natural history museums.

The EthnoBotany Children’s Peace Garden is a unique organic herb, fruit, and vegetable garden that honors the memory of George Washington Carver. The space is dedicated to teaching young people about the role of plants in society. Gardening classes are available to schools, youth programs, individuals and families by appointment or on Sundays at 11:30am, and the garden also serves the nearly 6,000 students in the 5th Grade Balboa Park Integration Program.

The Rose Garden, Japanese Friendship Garden, and Zoro Garden are also good options for families. Some gardens are free and some cost money to get in, so be sure to double check on admission before you go.

Where to Eat at Balboa Park

After a long day of fun, the little ones in the group will definitely have worked up an appetite! There are several great places for families to dine at Balboa Park, including casual spots for outdoor activities and quick-and-easy snack carts.

Nosh down on hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft serve ice cream at the Village Grill behind the Natural History Museum. Over by the Fleet Science Center, you can sit outside and enjoy the fountain when you eat at Craveology. They have salads and panini sandwiches, and it’s a fun little spot that’s slightly off the beaten path for a quieter experience. The Alaska Airlines Flight Path Grill is a good go-to spot over by the Air & Space Museum: from chili cheese dogs to grilled cheese sandwiches, there’s yummy comfort food for all palates! You can sit out on the observation deck and watch the colorful planes land at the airport, too. There are also several coffee, snack, and water spots sprinkled throughout the park that you can walk to for a quick pick-me-up.

For more Balboa Park tips and how-tos, visit our explore Balboa Park page!

The Farmers Insurance Open Returns to La Jolla January 24th

The Farmers Insurance Open Returns to La Jolla January 24th

The upcoming Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego is the golf event of the year! It has been held at Torrey Pines every year since 1968. Tiger Woods has confirmed he’ll be playing this year; Woods, who recently turned 42, won eight of his PGA Tour victories at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, including the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods is a clear favorite, especially among locals: keep an eye out for him and you just may score an autograph!

Overview

Opening Day is on Thursday, January 24, and each day through Sunday, January 27 holds a Championship round in the morning. Here’s the schedule breakdown for the week:

  • Thursday, January 24
    • Opening Round, North and South Courses
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Friday, January 25
    • Second Round, North and South Courses
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Saturday, January 26
    • Third Round, South Course
    • Post Party presented by Harrah’s Resort SoCal at The Fringe
  • Sunday, January 27
    • Final Round, South Course

In addition to Tiger Woods, players this year include defending champion Jon Rahm (who won in 2017), Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Before you go, purchase tickets online at the Farmers Insurance Open website. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the parking options available and the detailed Spectator Guidelines. Specific tee times will be updated the night before each event.

History of the Farmers Insurance Open

The tournament (originally called the San Diego Open) was first played in Chula Vista, then moved in 1954 to Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, which had hosted the Crosby Pro-Am prior to World War II. The event was played at Mission Valley Country Club in San Diego in 1955 for one year, then moved to El Cajon in 1956.

In 1968, the event began its present relationship with Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, a 36-hole public facility owned by the City of San Diego. In the current tournament set-up, players split the first 36 holes between the North and South Courses, then play the final 36 holes on the South Course. In 2008, the South Course hosted the U.S. Open, won by Tiger Woods in a playoff. Today, the Farmers Insurance Open is a PGA Championship tournament known as the “West Coast Swing,” and is organized by The Century Club of San Diego .

Itinerary

6:00 am – Get breakfast! Nearby restaurants include Caroline’s Seaside Cafe open at 8 am, and Farmer & The Seahorse open at 7 am weekdays. The Grill at Torrey Pines also opens at 6 am, situated at The Lodge at Torrey Pines hotel right next to the golf course for a closer breakfast.

7:00 am – Gates Open. If you’re an early bird, now is a great time to get yourself situated and set up your chairs or look for autograph opportunities (Tiger Woods if you get lucky!).

9:00 am – The round opens. You can bring pop-up stools and chairs without their carrying bags, but no lawn chairs or step stools. Times for each of the holes are on the schedule, and the player list is here. Then grab lunch at the event zones found at multiple locations throughout the event. See below for a full list of concession areas and food spots!

3:30 pm – Typically, the day’s round lasts until about 3:30 pm. The Post Party hosted by Harrah’s kicks off after the end of the rounds (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). Enjoy drinks and live music while mingling with other tournament attendees.

Attractions

SERVPRO Fan Village:

  • The Michelob ULTRA Zone: Open to the public, the 30,000-square foot Michelob ULTRA Zone features premium food and drink offerings.
  • Champions for Youth Tent in the Fan Village: Buy an official Farmers Insurance Open “Keep Calm & Torrey On” quiet paddle. All proceeds benefit at-risk youth charitable organizations!
  • Official Merchandise Tent: Shop all Official Tournament gear.
  • Fan-Friendly Expo: Try the latest golf equipment, learn more about special offers from Tournament partners, and engage in interactive displays.
  • The Fringe: Located on the 15th green. Upgrades on site are available at The Fringe entrance so check out what has become our most popular venue with artisan menu choices for purchase and a premium cash bar.
  • The Post Party: When play ends, keep the party going with live music from local DJs and Happy Hour drink specials.

The Swell Coffee Co. Grove (located between the 7th and 18th Fairways):

  • Grey Goose 19th Hole and Flight Deck: The expanded Grey Goose 19th Hole and Flight Deck will feature an all-new elevated viewing deck with panoramic views of the course, a Pétanque course and specialty drinks including the 2018 signature cocktail, the Torrey Breeze.
  • Concessions and picnic benches

Vantage Point (located near the 1st tee and 18th hole of the South Course).

  • Grey Goose La Cantine: Get the morning started with signature Grey Goose Boody Mary
  • Practice Putting Green: Watch the Pros as they prepare to play.
  • Autograph Area: Snag an autograph from your favorite player after the round.
  • Torrey Pines Golf Shop: Buy Official Tournament merchandise and accessories.

 

The PGA Championship Tour continues after the Farmers Insurance Open with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, the Genesis Open in Pacific Palisades, and the Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Florida in March. Open tickets and tickets for each upcoming event can be purchased at pgatour.com, along with a complete schedule and list of players. Tee times will be announced as each event approaches. The highly anticipated World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational will be held in August of this year in Akron, Ohio; the current American favorite player for that one is Zach Johnson.

Where to See Snow in San Diego County

One of the best things about San Diego County is the fact that you can be at the beach, in the mountains, or in the desert pretty much within an hour’s drive from downtown. And once the rainy season rolls around, there’s nothing that locals want to do more than head to the slopes and hit the mountains! We’ve rounded up the best areas near San Diego County to enjoy some snowfall.

 

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Mount Laguna (1 hour)

At just over 6,000 feet above sea level and 55 miles east of downtown San Diego (about a 1-hour drive), this is one of the most popular places to see winter snow! Mt. Laguna is a great spot for adventure-seekers, and you can cross-country ski, sled, or toboggan in several spots throughout the area. The most popular location is close to Mt. Laguna Lodge, where you can also book reasonably priced accommodations for the night if you feel like getting in a bit more snow time. You can also purchase an Adventure Pass here and check out their Visitor Center for more information on current conditions.

If there is already snow on the mountain, you might need to outfit your vehicle with chains. Highway Patrol often sets up check points to ensure everyone’s car is outfitted properly, and you may not be allowed to drive up the mountain if they catch you without them.

 

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Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (1 hour)

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park turns into a winter wonderland most winters, especially years when we receive a lot of rain. The most popular area is in and around the Paso Picacho campground, although both campgrounds offer several hiking trails to nearby notable peaks (Stonewall Peak, Cuyamaca Peak, and others). Additionally, there are several free turnouts that are perfect for letting the little ones stop and play in the snow (snow angels, anyone?!).

If you aren’t looking into snow camping, try nearby Blue Jay Lodge for affordable accommodations. On your way home, be sure to stop in Julian for some hot coffee and warm apple pie!

Palomar Mountain (1 hour, 45 minutes)

A windy 1 hour, 45-minute drive up Palomar Mountain will transport you into a winder pine wonderland! Cedar, pine, and fir wood forests abound up here, and the rugged terrain is precisely what makes this part of town so special – you definitely feel like you’ve left San Diego County! While Palomar Mountain is farther than other snow destinations in San Diego it’s one of the best in terms of snow hikes and solitude. Double check which hikes require an Adventure Pass before you go; certain longer hikes require them while other, shorter ones do not. If you’re looking to stay the night, there are plenty of camping options nearby as well. Popular hikes include the French Valley Trail and the Weir Trail. Head to the nearby Palomar Observatory to take in the scenic views and check out the snow-covered observatory while you’re there.

Julian (1 hour, 15 minutes)

Many flock to Julian for the little country town’s famous apple pies and scenic hiking trails, but coming here during the winter is an entirely different experience! At just an hour and fifteen minute drive from San Diego, Julian is one of our favorite places to head on a weekend adventure. Build a snowman, hike along a snowy trail, or simply take in the panoramic views from one of the many lookouts nearby. You’ll find parking at William Heise Park or at Julian Memorial Park, or directly in the downtown area where there are plenty of parking spots. Don’t forget to indulge in some apple pie before you leave!

 

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Idyllwild (2 hours)

Idyllwild is a beautiful, cozy mountain town that’s just under two hours away from San Diego. Located above the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County, the town is known for its quaint downtown lined with cute boutiques, yummy restaurants, and art galleries. The best time to come here for the snow is typically December-February, though it depends on how wet the winter is. Idyllwild is a terrific spot for a winter hike, sledding, or cozying up in a local Airbnb to watch the snow fall from the comfort of the indoors.

Tips Before You Go

  • Make sure to check weather and traffic conditions before heading up to the mountains.
  • Bring chains in case they are required on certain roads.
  • Bring a fully-charged cell phone and plenty of snacks for the road, just in case you’re not the only one with the grand idea!
  • Always pack your trash out, and practice the “leave no trace” philosophy; most of these lands are within National Forests and are protected by law.

Where is your favorite place to see the snow in San Diego County?

The Best Views in San Diego

If you’re born and raised in San Diego, you already know that it’s truly one of most beautiful places on the planet  – people come here from all over the world to lay on our beaches and enjoy the perfect weather all year round. Whether your thing is hiking to waterfalls or sitting on the beach watching the sunset, San Diego is paradise. Here are some of the best views in San Diego, from coastal viewpoints to seaside meditation gardens! Plus, visit our San Diego guides section to explore more fun things to do in each neighborhood.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Where else can you sit back and watch people fly over the ocean? The Torrey Pines Gliderport sits above Black’s Beach (a clothing optional La Jolla beach) and next to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, a coastal state park and community known for its world-class golf course (it hosted the 2008 U.S. Open) and picturesque San Diego hiking trails. While both the golf course and trails have views well worth writing home about, just a little south is the Torrey Pines Gliderport, a city-owned aviation site where paragliders and hang-gliders can launch off the cliffs to the beaches below. It’s a magical spot to take in the scenery and watch San Diego’s finest soar through the sky.

There’s a massive parking lot in front of the glider port that’s free all day, so parking is almost always easy to find.

Mt. Soledad

Mount Soledad is one of La Jolla’s secret spots. It’s a small mountain with a veterans memorial and giant cross at its peak; the memorial itself offers an expansive, panoramic view of San Diego and the coast below, and it’s easily accessible by car. It’s an iconic San Diego spot, partially due to the massive controversy over the constitutionality of the cross — it went to the Supreme Court twice! Parking is easy, although the road from Pacific Beach to Mount Soledad is a popular cycling path if that’s your thing.

Sunset Cliffs

With sheer cliffs bordering the ocean, several decent surf spots, and coastal trails along the bluffs, Sunset Cliffs is one of San Diego’s most picturesque – and iconically Southern California –  areas. As the name suggests, it’s a popular spot if you’re wondering where to catch the sunset, although the beaches below are also a great place to hang out if you’re looking for something a little more secluded than some of our busier beaches.

Local tip: The cliffs are mostly unfenced, so watch your step as you explore the area. There are also a few spots where locals and visitors alike jump off the cliffs into the ocean, but be careful if you join: it’s technically illegal and there are lots of sharp rocks hiding in the water.

Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens

Incredible views and inner peace await within one of San Diego’s most picturesque gardens. Perched atop the cliffs in Encinitas, a coastal city in North County, the Meditation Gardens are part of the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple grounds. It’s the perfect spot for a thoughtful stroll through lush greenery, and has plenty of benches facing the ocean view. This is an amazing place to take in the sunset, or simply spend a few hours admiring the garden and the views during the day.

If you’re there around lunchtime, head across the street to Swami’s Cafe! It’s a local gem that is well known for its breakfast and acai bowls, making it a perfect place to stop by before or after your garden stroll.

Stonewall Peak

Stonewall Peak is a favorite among San Diego hikers, and for great reason! Julian is a small city in the outermost part of San Diego County, known for its small-town country feel and freshly baked pies. But just a few miles from the sleepy town is the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, home to several hiking trails with some awesome vistas. We recommend Stonewall Peak, which has a trail that leads up a small mountain via a series of moderate switchbacks. After a 30 minute hike, you’ll arrive at a staircase leading you to the very top, where a breathtaking coastline view awaits.

Go as early as you can manage to see this great view — the view during sunrise is spectacular, plus you’ll avoid the midday heat and the crowds. Parking is at the campground just next to the trailhead and costs $10.

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It was a great weekend for the beach! This is Del Mar City beach 🏖 First time here and it was such a great day to get out and enjoy it. Each of California’s beaches are so unique. They all have a personality. This one included green lawns, and a Amtrak that zipped by every once in a while. The sand was like powdered sugar, and felt so cool on my bare feet. Del Mar is where the Torrey Pines golf course is, which is where they hold the US Open. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are just north of San Diego. I absolutely love discovering new places like this pretty seaside town. Happy Thursday everybody!#nofilterneeded #beach #beaches #beachday #delmarbeach #delmar #citybeach #greenlawns #amtrak #whitesand #feelsgood #unique #personality #beachlove #travel #travels #travelinsta #travelgram #travelinstagram #travelphotography #socal #california #californiaadventure #palmtree #pacificocean

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Powerhouse Park

One of our favorite places to relax in North County is Powerhouse Park, located in the quaint beach town of Del Mar. Both Powerhouse Park and adjacent Seagrove Park comprise Del Mar’s crown jewel, and after you take in the view there, you’ll see why!

The sprawling grassy knolls overlook the beach, making it a popular place to sunbathe or dine al fresco at one of the many picnic tables. To see the full scope of this area, begin at the outer rim of Seagrove Park and work your way down to Powerhouse Park, stopping along the routes to gaze at the sea and surfers below. If you walk past the “Tot Lot” play area at Powerhouse Park, you’ll find a small gateway that leads to a dirt path. Follow that trail to a cluster of benches where you can sit and bask in the sun. Seagrove Park is located off Coast Blvd. in Del Mar.

Coronado Ferry Landing

If you’ve ever searched Google Images for “downtown San Diego”, then you’ve seen the view of the San Diego cityscape lit up, standing tall and bright in front of the water. Those photos were taken from Coronado, a small city on a peninsula in the San Diego Bay, just west of downtown. The peninsula’s ferry landing leads into a waterfront park with restaurants, shops, a beach, and the same incredible view of the city that photographers love, making it an ideal place to spend the day. The view is especially impressive in the evening, when the city turns on its colorful lights and they dance off the water.

The best way to get to the ferry landing is the ferry! The ride is about 15 minutes, and it costs $4.75 each way. It operates regularly from downtown to Coronado from early morning until just before 10:00 pm.

La Jolla Cove

We wouldn’t be able to mention views without mentioning La Jolla Cove! Beautiful La Jolla Cove is a small beach area surrounded by cliffs which boast a beautiful view of the neighboring cliffs and hosts a colony of California sea lions – they make for a fun spectacle to watch as you wait for the sunset. 

La Jolla gets pretty busy in the summertime, especially on the weekends. Our recommendation is to explore the area in the evening on a weekday, or stop by during winter or fall (typically regarded as “offseason” here).

Top Fitness Studios in San Diego

It’s no secret that America’s Finest City is a pretty healthy community; from yoga, barre, and Pilates to boot camp classes and aerobics, there is no shortage of fun ways to work out or hike in San Diego! We’ve rounded up some of the best fitness studios in the County – and what classes they’re known for – so you don’t have to. Here are the best fitness studios in San Diego!

Spark Cycle (Cycling)

Take a seat on a stationary bike, diligently listen to directional advice from your upbeat instructor, and pedal as fast as you can for this indoor cycling, or “spin” class. After taking a class at SparkCycle in La Jolla, it is estimated that riders lose up to 600-900 calories even though the class is only 45 minutes long. SparkCycle offers top-of-the-line Schwinn bikes, QSC audio system, LED lighting, stadium risers for a perfect view, showers for after your workout, free validated garage parking, and passionate instructors. If you don’t want to commit to the all included membership, you can try your first class out for $10.

Core Power (Yoga)

At Core Power, members believe that this workout class not only transforms your body, but also transforms your everyday life mindset. Inside the studio, yogis are pushed outside of their comfort zone and consequently, leave the yoga studio more secure in themselves than when they walked in.

Core Power offers a free week at the multiple locations scattered around San Diego if you’re interested in testing out the waters before buying a membership. Note, there are many types of classes – Core Power 1, Core Power 2, and Sculpt are a few – that differ in levels. If you haven’t tried out yoga before, it is recommended you try C1 before a C2 or Sculpt class. Core Power 1 is a class for beginner yogis and Core Power 2 is a more advanced challenge. Sculpt, on the other hand, is a high-intensity weight training workout where muscle meets yoga and metabolism boosts.

Trilogy Sanctuary (Yoga)

Trilogy Sanctuary holds up to its name — it’s a triple-threat of aerial yoga, an infrared-heated indoor studio space, and an organic, vegan cafe. The stunning La Jolla location boasts a rooftop space with daily aerial yoga classes overlooking the ocean as well as plenty of comfy nooks to enjoy your raw, organic, vegan snacks (that’s a mouthful, literally). And on the rare rainy San Diego day, you can take your indoors, where the temp is cranked up to almost 100 degrees!

Studio Barre (Barre)

Located in Bird Rock, Carmel Valley, Mission Hills, and Encinitas, Studio Barre is all over San Diego and gains popularity each day due to its killer workout and positive effects. Barre is an experience focused on building core strength, improving posture and developing long and lean muscles. Former professional dancer, barre enthusiast, and fitness expert Shannon Higgins founded Studio Barre in 2012. At Studio Barre, there is a new client special which includes one month of unlimited classes for $99.00.

Club Pilates (Pilates)

Club Pilates‘ mantra commends pilates is the path to a fuller, richer, healthier and more satisfying life. Focusing on the functionality of flexibility and strength, Club Pilates classes prepare members to transcend motivation in class out into everyday life. Classes entail “Cardio Sculpt,” “Barre/Reformer Fusion,” “Bootcamp,” and “Stretch.” Moreover, there is a class called, “CP Teen,” which is specifically directed at athletic teenagers seeking to enhance their skills in their competitive sport. Schedule your first free intro class today at one of the many locations, such as Mission Valley, and feel your body transformation first hand.

Orangetheory Fitness (Cardio)

Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) is not a traditional workout center. The vibrantly colored gym offers class-based workouts with varying class sizes – anywhere from 10 to 20 people – and each class incorporates cardio, indoor rowers, weight training blocks, and floor exercises designed to give you fast results. What makes OTF unique is the motivating technology they use to optimize your workout. Each participant wears a heart rate monitor that glows a different color depending on his or her heart rate. Cardiac output is measured with green, orange, and red. Green is the “easy zone”, with orange being ideal, and red nearing danger.

“Work for 1 hour. Burn for 36” is the Orange Theory Fitness slogan. They believe measured success is important. It explains their heart-based interval training workout. They claim that their heart rate training stimulates metabolism and increases energy. According to OTF, their members burn an average of 500 to 1000 calories per 1-hour workout!

F45 Training (Circuit Training)

Every day at F45 is different. From Athletica to Hollywood, the team here has developed 27 different high-intensity circuit workouts that’ll keep you moving and sweating. With two to three trainers per class and exercise demos on TV screens around the studio, it’s easy to follow along. With eight locations in San Diego and La Jolla – and more to come – there are plenty of opportunities to fit in a 45-minute class. What should you expect at your first group fitness workout? A big hug and a “hello mate” from your newest Aussie friends (the company is based in Australia!).

Bodyrok (Pilates)

Bodyrok isn’t your traditional Pilates class, but trust us, you won’t mind! Inspired by the Reformer, the Bodyrok’s signature machine is a remodeled and redesigned version of the original Pilates equipment, so you can get the most out of your workout in the least amount of time. And get ready to pour sweat — Bodyrok’s 40-minute strength-training classes in Del Mar and Encinitas are challenging and will work your whole body as you squeeze, pike, and jump your way to the end.

Barry’s Bootcamp (Bootcamp)

Dubbed “the best workout in the world,” Barry’s Bootcamp classes are a one-hour sweat-fest complete with strength training and cardio intervals. With hill climbs, sprints, and dynamic mode (self-propelled treadmill), running on a treadmill has never been so tough. The floor work focuses on a different muscle group each day, allowing you to develop a well-rounded physique — or at least, avoid leg day (Tuesday). This is a fun one to try if you’re looking for a more regular, intensive workout than yoga or pilates; rest assured, the alternating cardio and bursts of intense anaerobic exercise will keep your heart rate elevated and the sweat coming!

For more San Diego guides, tips, and workout ideas, visit our other blogs or our San Diego guides section!

The Best Concert Venues in San Diego

San Diego has had a great music scene for decades now; and in recent years, it’s only grown! New venues, including the Observatory North Park, have opened up all around the County, and the burgeoning “alt” scene has taken over.

From live jazz and alt-indie rock to hip-hop and funk, America’s Finest City is ripe with live music of all shapes and sizes! Here are the top concert venues in San Diego County spanning from downtown all the way to fun venues and things to do in North County.

Casbah San Diego

2501 Kettner Blvd., San Diego
The Casbah, arguably San Diego’s most authentic rock club, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. This is a great place to catch big names on their way up the totem pole – legends such as Nirvana, The Arcade Fire, and Rocket from the Crypt have all graced the Casbah stage before hitting it big. The intimate venue (200 person capacity) includes an enclosed smoking patio; a back room with pool tables, pinball and the classic video game Galaga; and a full bar.

The Observatory North Park

2891 University Ave., San Diego
The original home of the North Park Theatre, The Observatory North Park offers a cool, vintage vibe and top acts. Located just behind West Coast Tavern, concertgoers can first enjoy the gentrified North Park neighborhood before rocking to a show. The theatre was built in 1928 and has now been fully renovated to include a new tiered and open floor with room for 1,100 concertgoers.

Belly Up Tavern

143 S. Cedros, Solana Beach
The Belly Up Tavern is a dynamic all-genres club that’s been around for decades, and is a beloved local staple in Solana Beach: one night may be rocking in tribute to Johnny Cash while the next is mellowed out with the singer-songwriter sounds of Donavon Frankenreiter, and it’s definitely the best place to see non-mainstream music acts. Sight lines can be a bit difficult with the odd building layout, but the place definitely has the cool factor down. It also has the flexibility to be the setting for rocking out or providing a more intimate atmosphere depending on who’s performing. Seats aren’t guaranteed at this intimate North County venue, so arriving early is your best bet for a good standing view.

House of Blues

1055 Fifth Avenue, San Diego
A staple in the music scene in most major cities, the House of Blues San Diego is no different.  The House of Blues boasts one of the coolest stages in town, and a restaurant that actually has great food. While it has the reputation for booking some of the biggest acts to come through Southern California (and the best sound system), parking downtown can be a challenge; we recommend arriving with plenty of time to find a spot. There is paid parking available, if needed. The standing-room-only venue can get pretty packed, but you can usually skip the line to get in if you dine at the attached restaurant.

CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego
Located on the San Diego State University (SDSU) campus, this 4,600-seat amphitheater offers great sight lines and good sound in an open-air outdoor space. It is steeply raked, so be careful walking the aisles. Emerging acts on summer tours are often booked here, and is known for hosting many up-and-coming bands that later turn pro. One thing to note: the cheap seats at the top are concrete and not exactly comfortable, so choose your seats wisely! If you hang outside early enough, you’ll be able to listen to the band do sound checks, which is always a fun bonus.

Humphreys by the Bay

2241 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island
With only 1,400 seats, Humphreys by the Bay hosts fun outdoor performances from May through October, when the weather is ideal for its bayfront location. A San Diego staple since 1982, Humphreys Concerts cover the entire spectrum, from rock and jazz to blues, folk, and even comedy. A few things to note before you go: aisles and seats are tightly packed, and there isn’t much room to move. Bar noise can also be aggravating. We recommend arriving early to secure your seat before the crowds get there. Pro-tip: If you have a boat, you can watch concerts for free from the marina!

Sleep Train Ampitheatre

2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista
This giant amphitheater, recently renamed (formerly Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre and Coors Amphitheatre before that) and located in Chula Vista, was a much-needed concert platform for San Diego, enabling a wide variety of mega acts to come to the cit instead of passing up San Diego for bigger concert arenas up north. This 19,492-seat outdoor venue offers ample lawn seating, and the parking lot is ripe for tailgating; the regular seats boast plenty of legroom, too. While traffic access isn’t the best (and the lot can quickly devolve into a total nightmare once the concert is over), it’s a great place to watch your favorite band on a big stage. Large video screens help your viewing if you happen to be sitting behind a tall person.

Copley Symphony Hall

750 B Street, San Diego
Originally opened in 1929 as the Fox Theatre, Copley Symphony Hall (inside the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Music Center) was recently refurbished and is equipped with state-of-the-art digital sound and lighting technology as well as a full-sized Robert Morton pneumatic pipe organ, making it the perfect home for the San Diego Symphony. More than 39 front row seats are available, with another 2200 to accommodate classical audiences of all sizes. It’s definitely San Diego’s classiest music venue, though its downtown setting means that parking can be quite tricky; especially on the weekends. We recommend taking an Uber, or arriving early and splurging for a paid lot.

Viejas Arena

5500 Canyon Crest Dr., San Diego (SDSU)
Also located on the SDSU campus, the 12,000-seat Viejas Arena (formerly Cox Arena) is home to the SDSU Aztec Basketball team and also hosts some excellent events: recent musical acts of note include The Foo Fighters, Green Day, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. With the stage usually erected at the rear end of the arena, nearly every seat in the house has a prime view, and the steep seat angles offer good sight lines. Although the facility feels more utilitarian than luxurious (it is a stadium, after all), it’s still a fun place for a large group to check out a show on the weekends. Be careful parking anywhere besides the assigned lot – nearby neighborhoods are known for giving out plenty of tickets.

Pechanga Arena

3500 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego
After more than 8 years as Valley View Casino Center, the venue changed its name to Pechanga Arena in December of 2018 after a partnership deal with Pechanga Casino in Temecula. With several seating areas, including lower level seating, a Players Lounge, and new entrances, this is a massive arena that hosts big musical acts pretty regularly: Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift have both recently sold out shows.

Music Box

1337 India Street, San Diego
The building once occupied by Anthology has finally been revived into a three-level, state-of-the-art concert venue. The roomy general admission area holds around 800 (compared to the 300 people they could cram in there way back during the Anthology days), opera booths with bottle service, two outdoor patios, bars on two levels, and a private VIP room overlooking the stage. Rest assured, this is not your typical dark, dingy, sticky-floored music venue! From the second floor mural of iconic musicians’ mug shots by a local artist to the massive organ pipes hanging over the downstairs bar, this concert hall is designed to look as good as it sounds.

new years eve san diego

New Years Eve Events in San Diego

We’re officially in the throes of the holiday season, and New Year’s Eve in San Diego is right around the corner! If you’re looking to get out and about for NYE this year, there are plenty of fun events, parties, and happenings going on around San Diego County – from epic hotel parties in the Gaslamp Quarter and downtown to casual craft beer dinners and everything in between. Here’s our roundup of the best New Year’s Eve events in San Diego this year!

Big Night San Diego NYE

Where: Hilton Bayfront

Ring in 2019 at one of the biggest parties in San Diego! The 16th annual Big Night NYE is back with an all-inclusive extravaganza, including unlimited drinks all night, a buffet, and live entertainment at ten different party zones (with eight dance floors) throughout the hotel. Guests are free to roam – beverage in hand – from party room to party room, from the Retro Zone to the Club Zone and the silent disco. About a dozen popular bands and DJs will be playing throughout the gala’s many party areas all evening. At midnight, celebrate with exclusive party favors and a big countdown.

New Years Eve at Tower 23

Where: Tower 23 Hotel; 723 Felspar Street, San Diego
Tower 23 in Pacific Beach is a fun lifestyle hotel situated right on the beach. This year, make your way there to pop, sparkle, fizz, toast, and sip as you ring in the new year! Dine before you dance with dinner at JRDN (there are two seatings, at 5:30pm and 8:30pm), then enjoy live music and sets from local DJs starting at 10pm. Stay overnight with an exclusive discount hotel package, and enjoy a special New Year’s Day brunch the next morning until 3:30pm!

New Years Eve Hornblower Cruise

Where: Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 North Harbor Drive
This NYE, head to an Old Hollywood-themed Hornblower cruise! This special night will include a fun four-hour cruise around the San Diego Harbor, and feature plenty of free-flowing champagne, a five-course gourmet seated dinner, a live jazz band, New Years Eve party favors, and of course, incredible views of the San Diego coastline! The High Spirits, built in 1929, is a beautifully restored classic motor yacht that’s going to be decorated in the spirit of Old Hollywood this New Years Eve. The upper deck offers a bar and dining room with breathtaking views, making the High Spirits perfect for a themed celebration. Be sure to wear your best black and white ensemble as you step back in time and are swept away by the glitz and glamour of yesterday and a night of fun on the water.

New Years Eve Gala

Where: Hotel Del Coronado; 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado
Ring in the New Year at The World’s Greatest Legend, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration with dazzling star attractions and awe-inspiring performances at the Hotel Del Coronado. The oceanfront Ballroom will transform into a lavish big top, complete with black tie-clad aristocrats, a delectable five-course feast, open bar, and dancing to the sounds of the Mighty Untouchables. Kick the evening off with Cocktail Hour in the Crown Room from 7pm-8pm, then head to the Ballroom at 8pm for an extravagant dinner, live performances and music, and dancing until 1am. For an extra special experience, be sure to book a room at this world-famous hotel and cap off your evening in style!

NYE Beach Party

Where: Catamaran Resort; 3999 Mission Blvd.
Ring in 2019 at the beach this year! Head to the Catamaran Resort for an all-inclusive evening packed with unlimited drinks and cocktails, festive hors d’oeuvres, four rooms of top-tier entertainment featuring San Diego’s hottest DJs, themed photo booths to create lasting memories, and an epic LED screen midnight countdown and balloon drop. For a five-star evening, upgrade to the VIP Party Boat and cruise around Mission Bay on the William D. Evans. Aboard you’ll find multiple decks of music, two open bars, a dance floor, and casino games, all in addition to the fun inside the Catamaran.

Craft Beer New Year

Where: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station; 2816 Historic Decatur Rd.
Go all-out on the last night of the year with an extravagant affair at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station! Your $99 ticket includes three drink tickets, light bites throughout the night, a celebratory toast pour at midnight (with souvenir tasting glass), two dance floors and live music from DJ Tropixx, a cigar lounge in the movie courtyard, speakeasy room, interactive photo booth, and a midnight countdown and ball drop. Group packages and discounts are available for parties of nine or more.

Black & Gold New Year’s Eve

Where: Maritime Museum of San Diego; 1492 North Harbor Drive
Celebrate the new year in style at the Maritime Museum! Located directly on the San Diego Bay, guests can spend a gorgeous and exciting night in one of the most unique venues in town. The event center located on the historic 1898 Steam Ferry Berkeley will be transformed into a classy lounge, complete with live music and dancing from the era, a 30’ candy and dessert bar, photo booth, party hats and favors, appetizers all night, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Be sure to reserve your tickets early.

NYE at Hard Rock Hotel

Where: Hard Rock Hotel; 207 Fifth Avenue
The biggest New Year’s Eve bash in the Gaslamp Quarter returns this year with Kid Ink and live DJ Pauly D at the Hard Rock Hotel. This year, experience a festive journey to the world’s most epic party cities, including Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, Giza, and Mykonos to ring in 2019. Don your holiday finest and celebrate until long after midnight on three hotel levels and five totally decked-out party rooms. A limited number of Hotel Room Packages are available this year, and include two party tickets and a one-night hotel stay. VIP Bottle Service Packages are also available.

Ball on Broadway

Where: Parq Restaurant & Nightclub; 615 Broadway
Head to Parq Restaurant and Nightclub this New Year’s Eve to dance the night away and bring in 2019 in style! Toast to the new year in an expansive venue featuring 35,000 square feet and two nightclubs as part of a five-room opulent experience. Wander through each room, listening to multiple DJs and enjoying five distinct musical experiences to ring in the New Year. Parq Restaurant and Nightclub is located in downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter.

2019 Bottoms Up NYE

Where: ALTITUDE Sky Lounge (Marriott Gaslamp Quarter)
Level up your New Year’s Eve! From the lobby to Altitude Sky Lounge, enjoy free-flowing champagne, unlimited well drinks, domestic beers, and two of San Diego premier DJs plus an exceptional selection of gourmet food stations, including a raw seafood and sushi bar, street taco stand, chocolate fountain, carving station, and more. Your top-to-bottom evening will include unlimited drinks and food all night, party favors, a New Years Eve countdown, and live music from various DJs in the lobby and on the 22nd floor. Guests can roam between the San Diego skyline lounge and the lobby all evening long at this epic downtown San Diego hotel party!

Have kids in tow? Check out our kid-friendly New Year’s Eve events in San Diego!

Things to Do in Southern California

Southern California is a great place for vacations regardless of the time of year. There’s gorgeous weather, beaches that are amazing, and all sorts of waterfront attractions that make it rank high on my list of recreation and fun. It offers a plethora of scenic, fun, and most of the time, free things that make visiting Southern California something that needs to be one everyone’s bucket list.

Beaches

With the coast of Southern Cali being so long, you know there are plenty of beaches to explore. You might decide to have a bonfire on the beach in La Jolla, ride the roller coaster at the Santa Monica Pier, or just soak up some rays at any number of other gorgeous beaches.

San Diego Zoo

The landscaping of the San Diego Zoo is amazing, and it features a diverse collection of animals as well as other unique attractions. It’s set on a full 100 acres in Balboa Park and takes about 5 hours to walk through, so plan for a great workout.

The Strand Bike Path

This is great fun for anyone who lives in California or just visiting with their family. It’s a stretch of 22 miles of bike trails along the gorgeous coastline of Southern California, and it’s actually paved! On this route, you will ride past quite a few beach towns and they each have their own attractions and unique look.

Pacific Coast Highway

The gorgeous PCH begins in San Diego and ends in Mendocino County in Northern California. One fantastic route is the drive from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. On this route, you’ll see scenery that is stunning, while also passing through a variety of sites of interest and quaint little beach towns. It also makes for a restorative getaway after a stressful week or maybe if you or a loved one has just come home from one of the Santa Barbara sober living facilities. Taking a break can be a big help as a time to decompress before getting back to the real world.

Griffith Observatory

If you are looking for a good hike, try the trails at this attraction. There are a few miles of steep, short trails that will take you close to the famed Hollywood sign. Aside from a great view of that iconic piece of scenery, there are great views of the surrounding hills and skyline. When you finish the hike, you will be able to take in the night skies at the observatory. This is one of the best spots for getting great night views of LA.

Venice Beach

This beach is definitely a once in a lifetime sort of experience. There are street performers everywhere and the sights can and do differ from one day to the next. You can also pay a visit to iconic Muscle Beach, a prime spot for those bodybuilders in your group.

There are way too many things to list here that you can do and see in Southern California, but the ones discussed here today are a good place to start.

Kid-Friendly New Years Eve Events In San Diego

Looking for New Years Eve events in San Diego that are great for the whole family? We’ve got you covered! There’s plenty for the little ones to do around San Diego County this New Years Eve, from a pajama party at the Children’s Museum to an extravagant ice skating and dinner party at the Hotel Del Coronado. Bring the whole family and make NYE 2019 a night to remember at these kid friendly New Years Eve events and festivities in San Diego! 

NYE Gala at Hotel Del Coronado

Where: Hotel Del Coronado; 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado

Adults can ring in the New Year at The World’s Greatest Legend, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration with dazzling star attractions and awe-inspiring performances at the Hotel Del Coronado. The Del’s oceanfront Ballroom will transform into a lavish big top with black tie-clad aristocrats, a delectable five-course feast, open bar, and dancing.

Meanwhile, the kids and teens get a party of their own from 7:00pm until 12:30am! The night includes dinner, ice skating (ages 8+), special shows, games, s’mores roast, and a midnight toast with sparkling cider. Teens ages 13-17 can also hang out in their own teen lounge and watch movies as they mingle.

NYE at LEGOLAND California

Where: LEGOLAND California; 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad

The countdown to 2019 starts early at the grand finale of Holidays at LEGOLAND California Resort during the Park’s annual Kids’ New Year’s Eve celebration party! The night kicks off with special musical performances on the Fun Town Stage and Heartlake City Stage. Then, starting at 6pm, the party moves to San Francisco in Miniland USA, where young lego lovers can ring in the New Year and watch a re-creation of the famous Times Square ball drop, complete with a giant LEGO brick falling 22 feet in the air. Families can enjoy a spectacular fireworks display as the brick drops, lighting up the night sky. All activities are included with regular park admission.

Pajama Jam

Where: New Children’s Museum; 200 West Island Ave., San Diego

Pajama Jam at The New Children’s Museum is back for another year! Bring the entire family and get cozy in your jammies. The night includes New Year’s-themed art activities, games, a dance jam, photo booth, catered dinner, and a fun countdown balloon drop. The parents get a free drink ticket. Pajama Jam provides an opportunity for families to experience the Museum at night with catered dinner, drinks, music and special activities/programs, and also helps raise some much-needed funds to keep the Museum running. The evening kicks off at 5:30p and goes until 8:30. Tickets start at $25.

Rockin’ New Years Eve

Where: Corvette Diner; 2965 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego

Toast the New Year at the classic 1950s-themed Corvette Diner in Point Loma, San Diego! Enjoy burgers, classic milkshakes, and fries as you listen to live music and a local DJ, play arcade games, and watch a balloon artist work his magic. The party starts early to end with a bang at the Big Apple ball drop and toast at 9:00pm.

Speakeasy Roaring 20s Bash at the Westin

Where: The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa; 5480 Grand Pacific Dr., Carlsbad

Dance away the last few hours of 2018 and raise a glass to the New Year at The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa’s family-friendly “Speakeasy” 2018 New Year’s Eve Bash! Costumes are encouraged – come dressed to impress in your finest 1920s attire and get ready for a fabulous night that the whole family will enjoy, complete with live entertainment, costume contests, and prizes for Best Dressed Family and Best Dressed Couple. The party kicks off at 6:30pm with a buffet dinner, champagne and sparkling wine, and a decadent dessert bar.

While adults shake it on the dance floor to spins from a live DJ, the little ones can keep the fun going with face painting, ping-pong, foosball, billiards, and an exclusive Gamer Room at the dedicated Kids Party Zone. Guests can also expect the clock to strike midnight twice at this bash – kids ring in the New Year with an exciting balloon drop for the East Coast at 9pm, while adults celebrate with a complimentary champagne toast and main drop at midnight here on the West Coast.

New Years Eve Family Party

Where: Living Coast Discovery Center; 1000 Gunpowder Point Dr., Chula Vista

Join the Living Coast Family to watch the ball drop together under the stars! Bundle up for wild animal encounters, night hikes, and tons more. This is sure to be a New Year’s party your family will never forget! Your event ticket includes: two drink tickets (champagne, beer, or wine for adults with proper I.D.), wildlife animal encounters, DJ music and dancing, trivia and other family-friendly games, interactive photo booth, crafts for all ages including their famous recycled-dog toy, hot chocolate bar, and cookie decorating. Plus, enjoy live coverage of the Times Square Celebration at midnight (9pm PST/12am EST). Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance, as they won’t be available at the door day of.

The NYE Grape Drop

Where: Temecula Town Square Park; 41000 Main Street, Temecula

Though not technically in San Diego, Temecula is about an hour’s drive northeast and a fun way to get out of town for New Year’s Eve! Party like it’s 1999 (or 2019!) and watch the Temecula grape drop at Town Square Park twice: once with the East Coast at 9pm, and once with the West Coast at midnight. There will be plenty of free activities for kids, food vendors, and live music by Danielle Arribe from 6:00-6:45pm, the Frienz Band from 7-8 pm, City Beat Band 8:30-10pm, and Midnight Ride from 10:30pm-12:15am. Radio host Mama Mia from 101.3 will emcee the evening as adults and kids alike ring in the new year at the park.

Skating by the Sea

Where: Hotel Del Coronado; 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado

Glide into year 2019 bundles up and ice skating by the sea with the entire family. Make a day of it by eating dinner at the outdoor patio and gazing at the lights and holiday decorations that adorn the gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. Skate to holiday music, and afterward, little revelers can sip on hot cocoa and take in the lights. Tickets are $30 per person for skating; be sure to purchase tickets in advance on the Hotel Del’s website.

Looking for more adult-friendly happenings this NYE? Check out our roundup of the best New Year’s Eve parties in San Diego!

The Best San Diego Holiday Parties 2018

What better way to ring in the holidays than with a San Diego holiday party? There is no shortage of fun happenings this year – from a New Year’s Eve yacht party on the Bay to fancy hotel festivities to round out the holiday season. Here’s our roundup of some of this year’s best San Diego holiday parties!

Drink, Play, Create: A Holiday Party

When: December 7, 2018; 8pm
Where: The New Children’s Museum

Head to The New Children’s Museum this December for a free drink, lots of dancing, and a fun party inspired by art, play and the holidays. This year’s party will feature music from local DJs Rob and Dimitri of Booty Bassment, a cash bar, food trucks, a giveaway, photo booth, games, art activities, and open access to galleries and studios. Plus, the first 300 guests to arrive get a free Passion Planner! Tickets are $20 in advance, or $30 at the door.

Parade of Lights Holiday Party

When: December 9, 2018
Where: Chere Amie Yacht; 1901 N. Harbor Drive

Celebrate holiday cheer aboard a 90-ft yacht, enjoying the cool crisp winter air and dazzling lights parade – all while sipping on a chilled glass of Champagne! The 2nd Annual Parade of Lights Holiday Party is sure to be the perfect activity to kick off the winter season. Guests will get to cruise the San Diego Bay during the action of the Parade, and get up close and personal with the decorated lit up boats. On top of having an unbeatable view of the parade, there will be holiday-themed cocktails, seasonal music, Christmas decorations, complimentary champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and more! The yacht comes complete with a full bar, open-view dance floor, and plenty of lounge areas that provide a fun and festive atmosphere perfect for mingling and partying with friends. Tickets start at $35.

12 Things to Do During the Holidays in San Diego

Bad Santa Pub Crawl

When: December 22, 2018; 7pm
Where: Taste & Thirst; 715 Fourth Avenue, San Diego

It’s that time of year! Grab your friends and your Santa hats and get ready to spread some yuletide fun and holiday cheer through the streets of Gaslamp Quarter during this year’s Bad Santa Pub Crawl. Your ticket includes exclusive drink specials at each venue throughout the pub crawl, complimentary VIP entry to all venues, a private host to guide you from venue to venue, and an awesome after-party where you’ll be able to dance the night away. This event sells out every year, so be sure to get your tickets early!

Ugly Sweater Holiday Cocktail Cruise

When: December 22, 2018; 7pm
Where: Hornblower Cruises; 970 N. Harbor Dr.

Come aboard the only floating holiday happy hour in San Diego! Join hosts Tati and Frankie plus DJ Gigi from JAM’N 95.7, and special appearances from STAR 94.1 and Channel 93.3 for the ultimate ugly sweater party on the water. The cruise includes a complimentary boarding holiday cocktail and a cash bar with plenty of drinks on the menu including specials on beer, wine, and specialty Hornblower cocktails along with light appetizers. This is the perfect excursion on the San Diego Bay, or a great way to kick off a night downtown.

New Year’s Eve Gala at the Hotel Del Coronado

When: December 31, 2018; 7pm
Where: Hotel Del Coronado

Ring in the New Year at The World’s Greatest Legend, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration with dazzling star attractions and awe-inspiring performances. The oceanfront Ballroom at the Hotel Del Coronado will transform into a lavish big top with black-tie clad aristocrats, a delectable five-course feast, open bar, and dancing to the sounds of the Mighty Untouchables. Attendees must be 21+.

Have little ones at home? Bring them too! This is a kid-friendly event, and fun for the whole family! Kids and teens can ring in the New Year at their own party from 7pm-12:30am. The night includes dinner, ice skating (ages 8+), special shows, games, a s’mores roast, and a midnight toast with sparkling cider. Teens ages 13-17 can also hang out in their own teen lounge and watch movies as they mingle. Cost is $125 for the first child; $100 for each additional child.

New Year’s Eve Yacht Party

When: December 31, 2018; 9pm
Where: Spirit of San Diego Yacht; 990 N. Harbor Drive

Spend New Year’s Eve aboard San Diego’s most elegant oversized luxury yacht, The Spirit of San Diego! At 146 Feet Long, with three levels, outdoor decks, lounges, and two huge dance floors, this 500-person capacity luxury yacht is guaranteed to make for a memorable NYE. This event has sold out 15 years in a row, so be sure to get your tickets early! Tickets include three levels of entertainment with live music and DJs, a premium open bar all night long, appetizers, and a boat-wide New Year’s Eve countdown.

New Year’s Eve Beachfront Bash

When: December 31, 2018
Where: South Draft Mission; 3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego

Kick off 2019 at San Diego’s newest New Year’s Eve party overlooking the ocean in Mission Beach! Guests will experience three totally different atmospheres at three different venues throughout the evening – from an upscale rooftop vibe at Cannonball to a laid-back groove at Draft and a beachfront party at Beach House to cap the night. Drink specials will be making their rounds all night, and the final beachfront venue will be heated with fire pits and fabulous market lights for guests to enjoy.

Big Night San Diego NYE

When: December 31, 2018
Where: Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Ring in 2018 at the 16th annual Big Night San Diego New Year’s Eve celebration! ​Big Night San Diego is the perfect, all-inclusive night out; each ticket includes unlimited drinks, access to the fully-stocked buffet, and a variety of live entertainment and DJs throughout the ten different party zones. The hotel will be transformed into “Countdown City” and the perfect location to celebrate the New Year! ​Guests will be free to roam, beverage in hand, from party room to party room; get your groove on in the Retro Zone or in one of the several Club Zones, or check out the silent disco. All the while, about a dozen popular bands and deejays will be playing throughout the gala’s many party areas.

Bottoms Up at ALTITUDE Sky Lounge

When: December 31, 2018
Where: ALTITUDE Sky Lounge (at the Marriott San Diego Gaslamp Quarter); 660 K St, San Diego 92101.

Ring in the New Year at the epic rooftop ALTITUDE Sky Lounge, atop the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. Your free-flowing celebration will include unlimited well drinks, domestic beers, and free-flowing champagne all night for only $189/person, plus unlimited food at gourmet dining stations, a New Year’s Eve countdown, party favors, and live music from local DJs. The dining stations will consist of an array of California cuisine with a carving station, raw seafood bar, a chocolate fountain, and more.

For more fun holiday events and happenings, check out our other holiday blogs!

5 Unforgettable Places to Stay During a Trip to San Diego

San Diego and its surrounding areas have endless lodging options for guests. With so many to choose from, it can be easy to choose based on budget, especially for families looking for a larger rental space. While there’s nothing wrong with having a strictly utilitarian approach to deciding where to stay, there’s something to be said for the unforgettable experience of high-end resorts and unique rentals throughout the southern California area. What’s great about the varied options for your San Diego stay is that they all offer great access to the local communities and attractions. The county’s varied areas and neighborhoods give you more than enough reason to be out and about regardless of where you are staying.

Ranging from affordable to extravagant, here is a short list of truly one-of-a-kind places to stay while visiting America’s Finest City:

Cozy by the beach

While La Jolla is home to some of the most valued real estate in the United States, the cozy little seaside community is not beyond the reach of those wishing to visit the San Diego area on a budget. Better yet, many of the affordable hotels in La Jolla are within walking distance of the beach and other popular sights. Given the budget-friendly nature of their rates, rooms at these hotels go fast, so remember to book in advance. Whether your walking on the beach, watching the seals, or going for a hike in Torrey Pines your time in La Jolla won’t disappoint.

Home on-the-go

Most RV owners are used to pulling into dusty campgrounds off the beaten path with little more than a front desk and a vending machine. Those visiting San Diego have the option to upgrade to something a little better. It’s easy to find a San Diego RV park complete with in ground pool, spa, indoor lounge area, fitness center, and pet-friendly atmosphere all within close proximity to trolley service linked to the best parts of the city. It’s a far cry from the typical accommodations found at most motorhome parks.

Luxury by the sea

The Hotel del Coronado is perhaps the most iconic resort in the San Diego area. Located across the bay from downtown San Diego, “the Del” as its popularly known remains one of the largest wooden structures ever built. Name your dignitary – king, queen, president – one or more has stayed at this palace on the water at some time or another. If the open ocean isn’t the view for you, look into bay front accommodations in other areas of downtown San Diego or Mission Bay where the water is full of activities like jet skiing, paddle boarding, and sailing.

Luxury downtown

The Horton Grand – billed as San Diego’s oldest hotel – was originally two different hotels when built in 1887. The site was slated for demolition in the 1970s but city officials decided to buy it instead for the purpose of historical preservation. Though quaint and old, the Horton Grand has all the trappings of a luxury hotel condensed into cozy accommodations centrally located in downtown San Diego.

Opulence downtown

If you were to merge the Hotel del Coronado with the Horton Grand, you might end up with something like the U.S. Grant Hotel. Also located downtown, the U.S. Grant is a masterpiece of Classical Revival architecture. For those wondering about the name association, the hotel was built by Ulysses S. Grant Jr., son of President Ulysses S. Grant and named to honor his father.

Out in the woods

One famous saying about southern California is that you can ski and surf in the same day! Nearby the sprawling metropolis of San Diego are far out regions for campers and hikers alike. About 50 miles from downtown San Diego, camp and hike inside Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. If you’re up for the world famous Joshua Tree National Park, you can drive, but it will be three times as far. No matter the level of adventure you can always find camping or cabin living near San Diego.

The City of San Diego and the surrounding regions offer a plethora of lodging options for travelers coming from near and far. With so many to choose from, tourists are able to research and customize their vacation based on what attracted them to the area the most. Where will you stay?

Where to Go Ice Skating in San Diego

As the holidays approach and the weather gets colder (well, as ‘cold’ as it gets in America’s Finest City), some of our favorite seasonal activities are already underway. Ice skating in San Diego – especially at an outdoor ice rink – is a great family-friendly activity and the perfect way to get into the holiday season.

There are more festive rinks, such as on Coronado Island, and more toned-down spots, like UTC right here in La Jolla. Some are even open on Christmas day! Here’s a quick list to get you started.

Skating by the Sea – Coronado

Returning for its 15th year starting on November 22nd through January 1st, Hotel Del Coronado is the only place you’ll find beachfront ice skating in San Diego. Head to the Windsor Lawn for spectacular vistas of Coronado beach and the Pacific Ocean, and listen to holiday music while you enjoy some hot chocolate and other goodies to warm up. The Hotel Del’s iconic Victorian Building, adorned with sparkling white lights, provides an awesome backdrop – not to mention a great photo op!

Skating by the Sea is open certain hours each day of the week. Skating is $30 per person and ice skates rentals are included.

Thanksgiving Holidays
Thanksgiving (Nov. 22): 11am – 8pm
Days After Thanksgiving (Nov 23 & 24): 10am – 10pm

Nov 26– Dec 23
Weekdays: 4pm – 10pm
Saturdays: 10am – 10pm
Sundays: 11am – 8pm

Christmas Holiday
Christmas Eve & Day: 10am – 8pm

Dec 26 – 30
Wednesday – Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 11am – 8pm

New Year’s Holiday
New Year’s Eve: 10am – 8pm
New Year’s Day: 10am – 10pm

Rady Children’s Ice Rink – Liberty Station

November 17, 2018 – January 6

Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary presents another holiday season of outdoor ice skating with support from SENTRE Inc., NBC 7 San Diego, ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station and many friends of Rady Children’s. Raise money for a great cause while you skate outdoors at Liberty Station! Formerly held in Horton Plaza, the ice rink is now located directly behind NTC Liberty Station Command Center.  All proceeds from this event benefit psychosocial services at the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s.

This ice-skating rink is open daily from 10am-10pm, seven days a week (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days).

Tips for skaters: bring an extra pair of socks (the ice can get a little wet during the day), and do dress warmly and bring a pair of gloves or mittens – it can get cold out there! Admission for adults is $15; kids are $13.

UTC Ice Arena – University City

This rink is open year-round, but it’s especially fun during the winter season. This arena is pretty unique, as it’s located inside the UTC Westfield Shopping Center. Those who don’t want to skate can stay warm in the upstairs, glass-enclosed Dining Terrace and enjoy dishes from one of the many brand new restaurants in the center.

All are welcome, from first-timers to the seasoned figure skater. If you’re a beginner and want to get a feel for the ice before heading to one of the outdoor rinks, try a free intro ice skating lesson held every Saturday morning. They last for about 30 minutes and will teach you all the basics; the next time you skate, you’ll be a pro! There are also year-round lessons and clinics for anyone interested in trying hockey for the first time.

Admissions are $15 for adults and $12 for children under 5. Skates rentals are available for $5.

Public skating hours vary daily, so check their website for a full schedule. Most free-skate sessions last for several hours, and they’re also open Christmas Day for those who want to mix things up a little.

Holiday by the Bay – Hilton Bayfront

November 21, 2018 – January 5

The newly re-imagined Holiday by the Bay tradition features Reindeer Run, an exhilarating two-story 100 ft. ice tubing slide and an hourly interactive dynamic light show. Plus stocking trimming at Santa’s Workshop, cookie decorating at Claus Kitchen, festive craft cocktail flights at Yule Lodge, sweet and savory treats from Elven Eatery and Kringle Bakery, cocoa and s’mores at a private Fireside Lounge and much more.

The rink will be open from 5pm-11pm. General admission for adults is $20 Check website for schedule details.

Viejas Casino & Resort (San Diego’s Largest Ice Rink)

November 2, 2018 – January 28

The Viejas Resort has once again transformed into a winter wonderland – and Southern California’s biggest outdoor ice skating rink! Every year, they provide a stunning backdrop for a great winter tradition. When you feel like taking a break, there will be a variety of seasonal snacks and warm hot chocolate available; you can also hit the outlets and take care of all your holiday shopping. It’s also a great place to have a birthday party; low prices make planning for big groups a breeze.

Admission is $14 for kids (12 and under) and $16 for adults and teens; entry is good for a 90-minute skate session and skate rentals.

Hours vary, so visit the Viejas website for complete details.

Snow Day – South Bay

December 15, 2018 – December 30

Snow Day in Bonita is not your average San Diego holiday experience. Besides skating in the festive rink, you can hop on the Penguin Polar Express for a ride on a miniature train and take pictures in an enormous snow globe.

More adventurous visitors should try winter tubing – speeding along the hills of a winter wonderland complete with decorative lights, pine trees, and snow, you’ll forget you’re in southern California and not the North Pole.

Children will love the 12-foot-tall gingerbread house, where there will be free treats and a special surprise. You can even take a moment to share the holiday spirit at Operation Gratitude by writing letters to those on active duty overseas.

Located in Rohr Park, this event is only 15 minutes from Downtown San Diego and perfect for families. It’s only open from December 15-30, from 6:30 pm-10:30 pm, so make sure you don’t miss out!

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

November 30, 2018 – January 1

Start off the holiday season with a good Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration! Every year, the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe opens its outdoor ice rink during one of the most festive events in North County. Beginning at 5:00 pm on November 30, you’ll get to watch the actual ribbon cutting of the ice rink. Later, you can roast s’mores, warm up with soup tastings and hot chocolate, and of course, meet and take photos with Santa. There will also be a lighting ceremony for the 20-foot Christmas Tree.

Sessions at the ice-skating rink are up to 3 hours. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for children under 11, and $10 for groups of 10 or more.

  • Monday – Fridays: 3:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Saturday – Sunday: 10:00am – 9:00pm

San Diego Ice Arena – Mira Mesa

There’s a reason why this ice center has been in business for more than three decades. The San Diego Ice Arena has something for everyone, whatever level of skill. While some time slots are dedicated to freestyle sessions for more serious figure skaters, there are public sessions all week long, with lots of different themes.

If you have young children, you can visit during Family Party sessions; if you want a more grown-up experience, round up your friends and head over to Adult Night where you can skate to nostalgic tunes from the 80s and 90s.

Admissions are $14 for adults and $12 for kids, including skates rentals. Groups can get a discounted price of $10 per person, although larger parties will need to make a reservation.

Public skating is available 7 days a week, but hours vary, so make sure to check their website for accurate times.

IcePlex Escondido

This indoor skating centre is a mecca for ice sports. Equipped with not one but two Olympic-sized rinks, they have everything from skating lessons to pick-up hockey to live band nights. It’s a great place to celebrate your little ones, too, as they have birthday rooms that a perfect for parties.

On the ice, they offer hockey, figure skating, broomball, and curling. Off the ice, they have all the makings of an upscale hotel: a pool, a full-fledged workout complex, meeting rooms, video games, and more.

Admission for skating is $10 for adults and $9 for children 10 and under. Skates rentals are $3. IcePlex is open year-round. It’s a good idea to check out the schedule, as public session times vary.