One of the best places to take pictures in San Diego

The Best Places to Take Pictures in San Diego

It doesn’t matter if you live in San Diego or are simply visiting the area, there’s one thing that never changes: the beauty that surrounds America’s Finest City.

If you’re interested in taking pictures in San Diego, you’re in luck. No matter where you turn, photo opportunities are calling your name. All you have to do is listen! 

San Diego Instagram Spots To Know About

With approximately one billion monthly active users, Instagram is by far the best place to share photos online. And for that reason, a list of the best San Diego Instagram spots is sure to come in handy. Below, we break down the best places to take pictures in San Diego, along with information to help you decide where to spend your time. 

Tip: Don’t hesitate to share your photos on other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. 

Where Can I Take Pictures in San Diego?

The better question may be: where can’t I take pictures in San Diego?

You can get beautiful pictures of San Diego in almost every corner of the city. As long as you keep your eyes open, you’re sure to find a handful of opportunities at every stop.

Digging in a bit deeper, let’s examine some of the best general areas for photography:

  • Any beach or ocean
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Petco Park (maybe while you’re taking in a game)
  • Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego photographers—as well as amateurs—enjoy the unlimited opportunities and potential provided by these areas. 

Sunset Cliffs Ocean Beach

When you’re talking about the best places to take pictures in San Diego, you can’t overlook Sunset Cliffs, near Ocean Beach.

The name alone tells you everything you need to know about this popular destination. 

Sunset Cliffs has long been a top attraction in the area, thanks to its 18 acres of parkland located on the ocean bluffs. Add this to the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, and you have a winner.

If you’re seeking unique photoshoot locations in San Diego, this is a great place to start. Just make sure you leave plenty of time for all the shots that are available to you. 

View of Coronado in San Diego
Coronado. Photo by BommaritoArt.com.

Coronado

It doesn’t matter if you swing by the famous Hotel Del Coronado or take a walk to enjoy the picturesque beaches and water, you’ll find it difficult to put your camera down.

When visiting Coronado Island, it’s likely that you’ll find hundreds of photo spots. You could spend an entire day here and never see everything. 

Not only is Coronado one of the best San Diego photo spots, but it’s also one of the most well-known throughout the world. 

La Jolla

If you thought Coronado has a lot of photo spots, wait until you spend some time in La Jolla.

From its rugged coastline to its walking trails to its wildlife, photos are yours for the taking. 

Maybe you’re looking to snap some of the best La Jolla engagement photos you’ve ever seen. Or perhaps you want to take a few shots of your children or friends. 

It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish, there’s no denying that there are many La Jolla photography spots that will suit your needs. 

Balboa Park

Are you searching for the most Instagrammable places in San Diego? Well, look no further than Balboa Park.

Not only is it a 1,200-acre historic urban cultural park, but it’s also home to theaters, museums, and the San Diego Zoo. Everything you need is right here. 

There’s plenty of open space for photos, as well as gardens and walking paths to add some character and color to your shots.

The Botanical Garden, in particular, is a local favorite for engagement, wedding, and graduation photos. 

If you want a lot of everything—to ensure that you miss nothing—set up your next photoshoot at Balboa Park. You won’t be disappointed. 

Torrey Pines Golf Course
Torrey Pines Golf Course. Photo by BommaritoArt.com.

Torrey Pines

Are you a golf enthusiast (or maybe you just watch on TV)? If so, you’re probably familiar with the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.

However, there’s more to this coastal area than the golf course. It’s a well-known community set on more than 2,600 acres.

If you’re seeking San Diego scenic spots for your next photos, head straight for the Broken Hill.

Located within the Torrey Pines State Reserve, this is one of the best places in the city to watch the sunset over the ocean. And for that reason, photos can be magical.

There’s a reason why Torrey Pines is among San Diego’s most-Instagrammed places. But, you have to visit yourself to find out just how much the area has to offer photographers.

Old Town San Diego

Before you ask, yes, Old Town San Diego is every bit as cool as it sounds. There’s something about the ambiance that will keep you in this neighborhood for as long as time allows.

As for photo opportunities, there’s no shortage of places to visit in Old Town San Diego:

  • The entrance of Old Town
  • Old Town State Historical Park
  • Presidio Park 
  • Serra Museum in Presidio Park 
  • Las Casa de Estudillo Museum, Old Town

Along with the above, there’s plenty of unique architecture around the neighborhood, so keep your eyes open.

Flower Fields in Carlsbad

While you can only visit the Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields during the spring months—generally from March to May—it’s well worth it.

During these three months, its flowering fields are open for the public to enjoy. 

It’s become so popular that people from all over San Diego, as well as the rest of the state (and country), make it a point to visit at least once each spring. 

Between the months of March and May, the Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields opens up their lush ranunculus fields to the public. While these fields are only open for a short amount of time, this place is a fantastic attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Note: if you’re seeking cute places in San Diego to take pictures, you’ve found your location. For instance, spring wedding photos at Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields will knock your socks off! 

Seaport Village

Located in downtown San Diego, in close proximity to San Diego Bay, this waterfront shopping and dining complex is home to nearly 100 stores, eateries, and galleries. Add this to its location on the water and abundance of waterfront property, and it’s easy to see why so many people come here to take photos.

What’s better than taking photos while you shop and eat? 

North Park

If you’re a student or young professional in the local area, there’s a good chance you spend a lot of time in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. But there’s more to it than restaurants, pubs, live music, and a vibrant nightlife.

North Park is also one of the best places to take pictures in San Diego. 

Day or night, when you stop by this historic neighborhood, make sure you have your camera ready. 

Taking beautiful photos in San Diego.
San Diego is a beautiful place for scenic photography. All of the San Diego photos on this page are by BommaritoArt.com

Final Thoughts on Taking Photos in San Diego

Located on the Pacific coast of California, San Diego is the place to be for southern California pictures

With 325.88 square miles of land and 46.54 square miles of water—plus the Pacific Ocean—you can’t go wrong in this city when taking photos.

The photography trend is booming, and it only takes a few minutes in and around San Diego to see just how true this is. 

So, find your favorite spot (start with the list above), take some pictures, and upload them to social media for the world to see. You might as well share your enjoyment with everyone else!

About the author: Chris Bibey is a professional writer who loves creating travel, finance, and entertainment-related content. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Photos by BommaritoArt.com.

 

Checking out the waves is one of many things to do in San Diego

Things to Do in San Diego for Adults

Every year San Diego is visited by millions of people worldwide, making it a hotspot for things to see and do. From the perfect weather all year long and expansive beaches to Legoland and SeaWorld amusement parks, the Del Mar Racetrack, restaurants in the Historic Gaslamp section of downtown San Diego, as well as the World Famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, there are so many fun things to do in San Diego for adults and kids alike. 

And with proximity to Mexico to the south and Orange County to the north, with its attractions, theme parks, and beaches, San Diego is perfectly situated to be the destination for every vacation. 

Whether you’re on vacation visiting San Diego for the first time or a local looking for hidden gems and ideas for something to do, read on and see our selection of all the fun things to do in San Diego for adults and their families. 

The Best Daily San Diego Activities for Adults

From beaches, parks, museums, mountain biking and hiking trails, and top-rated restaurants… to some of the coolest dive bars in America, there are many things to do in San Diego. This list is designed as a resource for you to discover San Diego and have a great time along the way. 

We’ve separated our list into sections from boat cruises and tours, other attractions for adults, amusement parks for families, sightseeing tours, sporting events, outdoor activities, and the many casinos located around San Diego. 

Cruises & Boat Tours

Take a tour of the San Diego Bay with a cruise, boat tour, or rent a boat and take a spin around the bay. From Shelter Island to Coronado, the San Diego Bay allows you to see the incredible downtown skyline in a new way. Or leave the piloting to the professionals, hop on one of the Hornblower’s evening cruises to have dinner, drinks, and entertainment on the bay while you watch the sunset over Point Loma. 

San Diego Attractions for Adults

Home to the most craft breweries per capita globally, San Diego boasts award-winning breweries such as Ballast Point, Stone, Coronado Brewing Company, among others. Grab a rideshare, cab, or join a beer tour and check out some of San Diego’s many breweries. 

If beer is not your thing, San Diego is also home to small wineries in Fallbrook, Rancho Bernardo, Penasquitos, and Valley Center in North County and is a short drive to the incredible wineries in Temecula. 

If nightlife is what you’re after, San Diego has several hotspots to check out. 

Cruise out to any of the beach communities and sip on a cocktail next to the beach during sunset. 

The historic Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego offers a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs and is one of the top destinations for things to do in San Diego for adults after dark. 

If catching some live entertainment is more your “jam,” check out Winston’s in OB, the Comedy Club in La Jolla, the Starlight Theater, and the Old Globe in Balboa Park for live plays. 

If you’re looking for suggestions on what to do in San Diego for seniors, Lamb’s Players Theater in Coronado offers intimate small traditional plays nightly.

Amusement Parks in San Diego

Not as famous as Orange County for its amusement parks, San Diego has a few local secret spots for you to enjoy. 

One of the two major amusement parks in San Diego is SeaWorld. As an oceanarium, you can watch and see aquatic animals in their natural element either within their exhibits or live-action shows. Grab a beer and snacks, walk around the interactive park, or head over to the roller coaster and other rides, including the Bayside Skyride. 

Legoland is for the kid in all of us. Check out the exhibits, each made from thousands upon thousands of legos. Or get in a line and jump on one of the many roller coasters and other rides. Don’t worry, the passages and carriages aren’t made from legos, just the exhibits. 

The San Diego County Fair (formerly Del Mar Fair) is held annually in late June with vendors, attractions, and rides. 

 Built-in 1910, the Balboa Park Carousel adjacent to the San Diego Zoo is one of the oldest standing amusement park rides around. 

Not to be outdone, Seaport Village has the oldest carousel in all of the area. Built over 125 years ago in 1895, take a nostalgic trip to a time long ago as you go faster and faster on the Fair Park Looff Carousel. 

The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park opened for its maiden voyage in 1925. Known for long drops at speeds approximately 50 miles an hour, the Giant Dipper is the oldest remaining wooden roller coaster on the west coast. 

Sightseeing Tours

Old Town Trolley Tours the historic areas of San Diego, allowing riders to hop off, shop, dine, explore, and hop back onto the next trolley when ready to head back. 

San Diego SEAL Tours takes you from street to bay in their unsinkable Hydra-Terras. Take a guided tour of historic San Diego and a “bird-eye” view of the seals and sea lions while you float nearby.

San Diego Bay Cruises takes you from shelter island in comfort and style around the San Diego Bay and harbor. 

For the hop-head in you, one of the best San Diego activities for adults is to take one of the many brewery tours. With over 100 craft breweries to choose from, get unique insights, details, and most importantly, a designated driver while you sample a variety of San Diego’s famous breweries. 

Sport Events

There are several sporting events in San Diego throughout the year, so if you’re looking to catch a game or some of the world’s best golfers, we’ve got it on our list of the best things to do in San Diego for adults. 

  • The San Diego Padres: Play at Petco field, downtown San Diego in the East Village.
  • The San Diego Seals: Play professional lacrosse at the San Diego Sports Arena.
  • The Farmer’s Open at Torrey Pines: This seasonal event hosts some of PGA’s finest golfers.
  • The San Diego Gulls Hockey Team: Plays at the San Diego Sports Arena of the AHL.
  • San Diego State Aztecs, UCSD Tritons, and USD Toreros: Various college games hosted by local teams from the San Diego State Aztecs, the Tritons of UCSD, and Toreros of University of San Diego.
  • Del Mar Races: Held every summer beginning in mid-July, the Del Mar Race Track is renowned as a premier venue for horse racing
  • Red Bull Air Races: Held in the San Diego Bay, catch some of the most acrobatic single-engine planes worldwide

Outdoor Activities

San Diego is more than just beaches. In fact, within less than an hour’s drive, you can get to the desert, mountains, and valleys for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and even snowboarding during winter. 

San Diego Casinos

San Diego is home to numerous resort casinos, from Sycuan, Barona, Pechanga, and Viejas, among many others. To explore San Diego for adults, spend a day at one of the luxury resorts surrounding the casinos, lounge poolside, or jump into the action on many different popular casino table games and enjoy yourself. 

Things to Do in San Diego for Adults FAQs

From casino games, shopping, dining, amusement parks, and more, there are many things to do in San Diego. If you have questions about all the attractions and things to do in San Diego for adults, our frequently asked questions section below can guide you. 

Q: What Can Couples Do in San Diego?

If you and your loved one are looking for San Diego date ideas or need romantic things to do in San Diego, try a sunset boat cruise. Or perhaps romantic dinners overlooking the ocean in La Jolla is your thing. Maybe cocktails at the Hotel del Coronado or dinner overlooking the San Diego skyline at any of downtown’s rooftop bars and restaurants.

Q: What Is There to Do in San Diego at Night?

There’s never a dull moment in San Diego. For nightlife, check out the historic Gaslamp Quarter, a romantic dinner in downtown La Jolla, or drive up the coast to sleepy Solana Beach and catch a show and grab a beer at one of the many breweries and restaurants in the area. 

Q: How Can I Spend a Day in San Diego?

Outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and mountain biking are common in San Diego and are among the best things to do in San Diego alone. 

Q: What Can You Do for Free in San Diego?

When making a San Diego itinerary for adults, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention freebies like the first Tuesday of every month the museums in Balboa Park offer free admission. With so many trails around the county and beaches galore, just basking in nature at Torrey Pines State Beach, watch the seals at La Jolla Cove’s kiddie pool, browse the Ocean Beach Farmers Market, or hike Mission Trails are excellent ways to spend your time.

Closing Thoughts

With so many things to do in San Diego for adults, you just can’t get it all accomplished in a day, much less than a week. Remember to pack your sunscreen, drink some water, and prepare to have the time of your life. 

About the author: David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors.

San Diego is still beautiful during Covid, with lots of things to do

Things To Do in San Diego During Covid

The current pandemic situation has surely taken its toll on our lives, from how we learn to our traveling habits. Many counties were under lockdown for quite some time, including San Diego, until just recently when the regional stay home order was lifted and San Diego moved to Purple Tier. Because of this, you might ask yourself, “What to do in San Diego?” Well, businesses have been allowed to reopen with some restrictions.

The following restrictions are currently active in the state:

  • Restaurants are open for outdoor dining and take-outs.
  • No indoor use of libraries.
  • Movie theaters, family entertainment centers, and casinos are closed down unless they are outdoors.
  • Indoor hair salons and barbershops are closed.
  • All indoor recreational facilities are closed.
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums are closed. They are permitted to operate only outdoors.

Basically, indoor activities are still forbidden. Nonetheless, these restrictions should not keep you from having a fun-filled vacation. Going on vacation and finding things to do in San Diego during Covid is perfectly safe if you follow all the safety guidelines against covid-19 transmission. 

What To Do in San Diego During Covid?

Luckily, most of the fun things to be done in San Diego are outside, which is excellent against the spread of coronavirus. So, let’s move on and see what fun activities can be done in San Diego, even during the covid-19 pandemic. 

Enjoy a picnic on one of the many beautiful beaches in the area. Restaurants may be closed for indoor dining, but they are still open for take-out, so you can still enjoy your favorite meal in an even better setting than a restaurant.

There are plenty of alluring beaches in the area, so we’ve made a list of the most popular ones:

Hotel del Coronado. Photo By BommaritoArt.com.

Coronado Beach

Located on Coronado Island, this gorgeous beach is also close to the Hotel del Coronado. The hotel dates back to the 19th century and is a popular destination for royalty and celebrities. It contains four beach areas, including Coronado City Beach, Tidelands Park, Glorietta Bay Park, and Centennial Park. Tidelands Park and Glorietta Bay Park both have picnic areas, grassy fields, and play areas for children. All the beaches have glittery sand due to the presence of mica, which makes it sparkle under the sun, making it look like gold. You can easily reach this beach by public bus, car, private shuttle, or taxi via San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. 

La Jolla Cove Beach

This beach is located at the northeast end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla. From the grass park above, two stairs lead you down to the beach. For a little after-meal adventure, you can explore the tunnel at the south end of the cove that will lead you to some pretty cool tide pools. This if you are willing to hop around on large boulders.

Solana Beach

Solana Beach is a secluded spot in San Diego’s North County with many hidden coves (accessible by staircase on nearly every street corner). Solana is also a great place for antique and vintage shoppers, being home to the Cedros Design District.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach, most commonly known as “The Strand,” is a two-mile stretch of beach and one of the top destinations in San Diego, drawing crowds every season of the year. It has an abundance of shops and restaurants along its north end where you can grab a delicious bite to enjoy on the beach. 

Enjoy a North County Staycation

North County San Diego is the perfect place for a relaxing staycation. You are conveniently close to downtown San Diego where you can find whatever you may need, and there are plenty of beautiful places in nature where you can enjoy a breath of fresh air. Here you can find some great ocean view rentals for the best staycation experience.  So what activities can you still enjoy, even during the coronavirus pandemic, here in North County?

 
Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla
The PGA comes to La Jolla. Torrey Pines Golf Course. Photo By BommaritoArt.com.

Visit Torrey Pines Natural Reserve

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park is one of the most beautiful places to see in South California & one of the top things to do in San Diego during Covid. With desert landscapes, breathtaking coastal sights, pine forests, sandstone canyons, rugged cliffs, and hiking trails on the bluffs that offer gorgeous views of the ocean that will make your trip simply unforgettable. From the high viewpoints on the bluffs, especially the ones that stick out into the ocean, you can have a novel experience watching migrating gray whales from December to March.

Spend a Day at the Famous Swami’s Beach

Swami’s Beach is an internationally known surfing spot located in Encinitas that draws up surfers from around the world, especially during the fall-winter seasons when waves can surpass 10 feet. On days like that, surfers line up to catch their big wave, and people gather on the cliffs above to watch the surfers tackle the ocean’s waves. The beach also has a spiritually rich history. It gets its name from Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian monk, yogi, and guru that chose the grounds of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, built in 1937, to overlook this reef point.

Visit the Historical Oceanside Pier

Standing 1,942 feet long, the historical Oceanside Pier is one of the most iconic landmarks of Oceanside city. Its first piling was driven into the sand 125 years ago, and the remnants of that first pier are still there, occasionally making an appearance during low tides and low sand levels.

Go on a Wine Tasting Tour

San Diego North County offers plenty of choices when it comes to wine tasting. More than 60 grape varieties are grown commercially throughout the county, from Albariño to Zinfandel, with small, often family-owned wineries producing a wide range of whites, reds, and rosés, plus sparkling, port, and dessert-style wines.

Check Out the Local Surfing Spots

If you want to enjoy the ocean view and experience the waves, the San Diego area surfing scene is abundant and colorful, and you can surely find the most suitable waves for your surfing skills. Here are some of the best surfing spots in North County:

  • Swami’s Beach, Encinitas
  • Windansea, La Jolla
  • Silver Strand State Beach, Coronado
  • Imperial Beach Pier, Imperial Beach
  • Ocean Beach, San Diego
  • Cardiff Reef, Cardiff-by-the-Sea


We know it’s hard to plan for a vacation and find things to do in San Diego during Covid within these restrictive times we live in. Still, you deserve a relaxing, recharging break, and we hope that the information we provided in this article will help you make the right choice for a perfect vacation, even during the pandemic.

Photo Credit: Banner Photo by BommaritoArt.com

Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, home of Farmers Insurance Open

Reasons to Go to La Jolla During The 2021 Farmers Insurance Open

Farmers Insurance Open 2021
Photo By Bommaritoart.com

San Diego is abuzz with news that December’s stay-at-home order has been lifted in Southern California. We’re back in the COVID-19 “purple tier,” which means that restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms are allowed to offer modified outdoor dining. Breweries and bars without food service remain closed. And live sporting events can continue as long as fans aren’t in attendance.

This is just in time for local golf fans, because the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, a La Jolla-based PGA Tour event, runs from Jan. 28 – 31.

Background on the Farmers Insurance Open

One of the premier golf events is back at Torrey Pines. For over 50 years, the world famous Farmers Insurance Open has been hosted at the beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course under perfect skies and buffeted by beautiful coastlines in idyllic Torrey Pines north of La Jolla. 

Since 1968 this event has brought some of the world’s best to compete for the championship, which is no different this year. Local hero Phil Mickelson, legends Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player have all been champions at the crown jewel event in La Jolla. 

This year’s field is loaded with talent from favorites Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy versus the field, so who ya got? According to CBS Sportsline, the top ten finishers based on odds to win the tournament are:

  1. Jon Rahm 7-1
  2. Rory McIlroy 8-1
  3. Xander Schauffele 14-1
  4. Tony Finau 20-1
  5. Patrick Reed 25-1
  6. Harris English 25-1
  7. Viktor Hovland 28-1
  8. Sungjae Im 28-1
  9. Hideki Matsuyama 28-1
  10. Scottie Scheffler 33-1

The four-day event is sure to be remarkable. And with San Diego having the stay-at-home order lifted, that means you and the family can make an entire trip to the event and have time to explore what to do in La Jolla for a day to experience what makes it an extraordinary place. 

The current public health status is that San Diego is listed in the Purple Tier. This tier means that local eateries can serve food and beverages outdoors, shops can be open at a limited occupancy, and the parks and beaches will be available for all activities. 

If you’re considering checking out the action, keep reading for our list of things to do around Torrey Pines.

South-facing view of Torrey Pines in La Jolla

Why Stop By La Jolla?

Just south of the Torrey Pines Golf Course is the city of La Jolla, also known as the Jewel City. 

This pristine city has a small-town feel and offers a slew of places to shop, eat, swim, and enjoy the outdoors for the entire family. From restaurants, beaches, parks, hiking trails, and more, see all that La Jolla has to offer and why it’s called the Jewel City. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of kid friendly things to do in La Jolla

Where to Eat 

After a long day at the course, check out some of the best eateries in La Jolla. You can get food to go and picnic, or sit along the sidewalks and take in the ambiance of downtown La Jolla.

Taco Stand

One of the local’s secret spots, these handmade fresh tortillas, and authentic Tijuana style food-to-order is a sure-fire hit. Like all good things, these tacos take a little bit of time, so expect a slight wait as this is one happening taco joint.

Georges at the Cove

Voted best restaurant in San Diego, this upscale eatery is open for curbside pickup. Choose from the Chef’s 3-Course menu, a particular Saturday “Date-night” option, or Family-dinner on Sunday. Order ahead to schedule your pick-up time to get these tasty treats while watching the tournament play-out.

Nine-Ten

A “Michelin-plate” designated restaurant, Nine Ten offers a rotating menu of California Coastal Cuisine. Check the website for updates on their reopening plans.

Whisknladle

After 12 years, Whisknladle is permanently closed due to the COVID pandemic. However, check out its sister restaurant Catania for fine Italian cuisine made-to-order and curbside pickup between 4-8 pm.

Puesto

Known for their unique take on tacos and other savory Mexican dishes, Puesto is famous throughout La Jolla. Check for updates on their menu and hours of operation.

Parakeet Cafe

With a focus on organic, whole-foods, Parakeet Cafe believes in Hippocrates philosophy that we are what we eat and “let food be thy medicine.” 

Sunset at Torrey Pines in La Jolla

Where to Go

Don’t forget to take some time to explore everything else that La Jolla has to offer. 

If you need suggestions for things to do in La Jolla, we’ve included a list of the top La Jolla beaches and others nearby for you to stretch out and enjoy. 

La Jolla Cove

If you’ve never checked out La Jolla Cove, you’re missing out. The cove is one of the premier places to visit in La Jolla. You can watch the seals and sea lions that call the kiddie pool their resting place from the secured edges of the cliffs.

Del Mar

Just north of La Jolla is the city of Del Mar. With family-friendly beaches to swim, sunbathe, and explore, the shops and restaurants around Del Mar (almost) rival some of La Jolla’s. 

Carlsbad

North by about 15 miles is Carlsbad, a bustling city with outlet malls, beaches, and the lagoon to spend the day relaxing on a shoreline, shopping, or eating at many restaurants.

Pacific Beach

This beach town that the locals call “PB” is located just south of La Jolla and hosts the famous body-surfing spot at Marine Street, Crystal Pier, the start of the PB/MB boardwalk, and plenty of coastline for any activity.

Mission Beach

South of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach connects to its neighbor by way of the boardwalk that ends at Belmont Park, San Diego’s original rollercoaster!

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is known fondly as “OB” hosts many breweries, and has a weekly farmers market. Wander around Voltaire street and see some of the original beach town life.

Coronado

This family-friendly “small-town” is located just over the Bay Bridge in San Diego Harbor. Tour the mile-long Orange Avenue and visit local restaurants, parks, and the historic Hotel Del Coronado, home to more than a few movies over the years and rumored to be the inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Emerald City. 

Mountain biking trails in San Diego

Mountain Biking in San Diego

Everyone knows San Diego is fantastic. With Mexico to the south, Los Angeles to the north, and short drives to Las Vegas and Arizona, there’s no better location in the world.

There’s something for everyone to do, from the proximity to so many destinations in the region to the almost always perfect weather, being outside is one of San Diego’s highlights.

To take advantage of all that San Diego has to offer, you just need to step outside and explore the amazing parks to breathtaking beaches and go surfing. Drive out to the mountains for some snowboarding, or check out the desert for hiking and even mountain biking in San Diego. It’s a short drive for every outdoor type of adventure.  

 Mountain Bike Trails in San Diego

Living in San Diego means you’re probably adventurous, or at least outdoorsy. I mean, with the almost always perfect weather, how could you not be?  

If you’re curious about all the region has to offer, there are numerous hiking trails and mountain bike trails in San Diego. And if that’s the type of thing you’re into exploring, we highly recommend you refer to the San Diego Mountain Biking Association for tips on the kinds of rides you can take and etiquette for each trail. 

The San Diego Mountain Bike Association will provide you with a detailed list of the types of rides, terrain, and riding levels for each trail. 

Also, before any ride, make sure you have the right type of protective gear, from mountain biking (MTB) helmets, MTB goggles, gloves, shoes, a flat kit, and water. Whether you are experienced in MTB in San Diego or are a beginner, there is an opportunity to explore the outdoors for every rider type. 

Below is our list of the best MTB trails in San Diego for you and your family to consider. 

Balboa Park

Balboa Park has mountain biking trailsThroughout Balboa Park, there are ten miles of easy to intermediate trails to explore. You can even make a day of your bike ride and explore the history and beauty of San Diego. You can bike about, park, enjoy the parks, zoo, and museums, return home, and still have time left in your day. Pictured here are the Botanical Building and the Lily Pond; combined, they are some of the most iconic images of Balboa Park. 

Rose Canyon Trail

Located just east of La Jolla, the bike trail in Rose Canyon is a single trail that transverses the railroad tracks that run north and south with a couple of water crossings along the way. This ride is one of the best mountain bike trails in San Diego for beginners. 

It’s not a challenging ride, and even if you don’t own a bike, Rose Canyon Trail isn’t too far from La Jolla, where you can easily pick one up from any of the options for La Jolla bike rentals in the area. 

Cowles Mountain

One of the tougher rides in San Diego, this ride has a grade of 25-30% toward the top, making it a bit brutal of a climb but an excellent downhill ride. There are switchbacks and railroad ties, rocky terrain, and even a creaky bridge of the creek to enjoy along the way. 

Mission Trails Climbers Loop

Located close to Cowles Mountain, this moderate 1.8-mile loop is precisely how it sounds. It’s a loop on a moderate vertical incline. It’s accessible year-round and while dogs are allowed (on a leash), keep in mind that you may also encounter some wildlife along the way. 

Fortuna Mountain Trail

A part of the Mission Trails bike paths, Fortuna Mountain offers a steeper climb and more loose rocky terrain than some of the other Mission Trails routes that switchback over the San Diego River crossing making this a more moderate route for riders.

Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail

Located near the San Dieguito River Park, this moderate 8-mile trail can be heavily trafficked at the starting point. Hikers and bikers alike can enjoy this scenic trail that encircles the local Lake Hodges, so be prepared for a busy course if you head out here. 

Anderson Truck Trail

One of the more remote trails for mountain biking in San Diego, the Anderson Truck Trail is a little over 7 miles of private trails that ride quickly through some of the more rugged terrains of all the mountain bike trails in San Diego. If you’re looking for a beautiful, peaceful ride, then head out to Anderson. 

Meadowbrook Mountain Bike Trail

One of the more challenging rides of all the mountain bike trails in San Diego goes through some rugged terrain and overgrowth with steep climbs. The landscape is home to some filled in mines, and you can explore some of the terrain and see the cutouts from those years that the mines were open. Before you travel, make sure you’re prepared for all possibilities and pick up some gear or get your bike serviced quickly at nearby Black Mountain Bicycles

Iron Mountain Trail

A moderate 5 mile, heavily trafficked ride near Poway and the Meadowbrook trails. Much easier terrain will meet the rider with vistas of lush wildflowers with views as far as Mount Woodson and even the Catalina Islands on clear days. Just be aware that you’ll encounter hikers and bikers of all ages on this ride.

Happy’s Loop Trail

You can access these remote trails just past Ramona with the trailhead located just past the Ramona fire station. This trail is a fast ride through Oak Groves and along equestrian trails with lots of long climbs for the adventurous. 

San Elijo Harmony Grove

This single-track loop merges with the fire road is a comfortable ride even for beginners. It’s heavily used between intermediate riders and hikers as the trail has a mix of rough terrain and smoother fire roads that pass by electrical towers mixed with lush San Diego flora. 

Lake Poway

One of the more amazing San Diego mountain bike trails that is accessible for riders of all ages and skill levels. Just short of 3 miles, this ride takes you along the outskirts of Lake Poway, traveling to an active waterfall, and is (leashed) dog-friendly to boot. 

Snake Trail

This is the furthest south of San Diego mountain biking trails on our list. This bike path is located near Chula Vista, features in-bloom wildflowers with towering mountains in the backdrop, and is accessible for riders of all types and ages.  

The Best Trails, Shops & Community for Mountain Biking Are in San Diego

Whether you’re a more advanced mountain bike enthusiast or merely a weekend hobbyist, there are some incredible mountain bike trails in San Diego to explore. With so many bike paths to explore, there is a whole cottage industry of bike shops to get all your gear and services that we recommend, such as La Jolla bike rentals, Black Mountain Bikes, and California Bicycle.

Regardless of your destination, our list of mountain bike trails in San Diego would be incomplete without including the top 3 La Jolla Bike Path and Trails. The beauty of living and visiting San Diego is that there is always an opportunity to explore all the great outdoors. 

About the author: David Throop is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, health, fitness, and wellness with an eye toward his clients achieving their outcome objectives. When he is not being bitten on the ankles by precocious puppies and children he likes to spend his time outdoors.

 

Top Reasons to Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market

Whether you’re a La Jolla native, recently moved to the area, or a tourist simply spending a few days in this California beach town, you should definitely pay the local farmer’s market a visit. While the idea of visiting a place that appears to have nothing more than fruit and vegetable stands seems boring, just one visit will quickly open your eyes to the many benefits of visiting on a regular basis. Check out some of these beneficial reasons listed below! 

Better Nutrition

A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended for a number of reasons. It helps to keep the mind and body in optimal health while also reducing your risk of life-altering diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and more. While you could essentially purchase produce from your local grocery store, it’s nothing compared to the nutritional value of produce purchased from the La Jolla farmer’s market. 

What you may not have known is that produce loses its nutritional value over time. The fruits and veggies found in grocery stores, therefore, has fewer nutrients and minerals in it because it was picked, processed, and shipped long distance. Produce from the farmer’s market, however, is picked fresh and transported a short distance meaning you’re getting the fruits and vegetables at their freshest state. 

Support Local Businesses

From local farmers selling fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers, to small business owners with tents from www.instent.com selling health and wellness products like all-natural supplements, skincare products, soaps, and aromatherapy candles, you’ll find a ton of different local businesses who have set up shop at the La Jolla farmer’s market. For every dollar you spend while you’re there that’s a dollar that goes right back into the local economy. 

More than just helping local businesses to flourish, you’re essentially helping your community to thrive. Local businesses have a smaller carbon footprint than their competitors helping to preserve the environment. They are responsible for employing many members of the community essentially helping families to afford the cost of living. Local businesses are also more inclined to invest back into the community by donating to schools and non-profit organizations to benefit those who live in La Jolla.

Expand Your Palate

Fruit and vegetables aren’t the only things you’ll find at your local farmer’s market. At La Jolla’s farmer’s market, for instance, you can also shop for things like baked goods, eggs, fresh-baked bread, cheeses, jams, nuts, cooking oils, meat, fresh seafood, and more. If you have time for a bite to eat, you can check out the international food court where you can indulge in Mediterranean, Latin, Mexican, Chinese, German, and Italian cuisines. 

Socialize with Members of the Community

From vendors and farmers to La Jolla locals, you’ll have a great time meeting new people, connecting with those you know, and striking up friendly conversations. Learn about life in La Jolla, how local produce is grown, get tips on how to prepare certain dishes, find out what’s in season, and so much more. 

Explore Local Talent

Another fun way to spend the afternoon at the La Jolla farmer’s market is browsing the unique finds sold at many of the nearby boutiques. You’ll find tons of arts and crafts and other cool finds to purchase. You can buy some artwork for your home or office, handcrafted jewelry, trinkets, knick-knacks, or creatively designed hats, shirts, scarves, and other articles of clothing. 

Get Outdoors with Loved Ones

Between work, school, and other obligations, spending time outdoors happens less and less for the average family. Spending the afternoon at your local farmer’s market, however, creates the perfect opportunity for you to spend time in nature. The warmth of the sun, fresh crisp breeze, and the lax but exciting environment can really do the mind and body some good. Whether you make it a weekend date with you and a significant other or you grab the kids and make it a family affair, it’s an inexpensive yet fun way to explore La Jolla and spend quality time together. 

If you’re in the La Jolla area on vacation, a lunch break, or simply looking for something to do over the weekend, the farmer’s market is an ideal place to visit. From fresh fruits and veggies to crafty gifts and other neat treats, you’re sure to have a great time exploring all there is to offer.

Ideas For An Awesome Outdoor Getaway in San Diego

There are those travelers that enjoy things like shopping, attending events, visiting popular tourist attractions, and dining at the finest restaurants. Then, there are those who’d much prefer to explore the great outdoors. Though there’s no right or wrong way to spend your vacation, there’s simply something amazing about centering your trip around nature. 

Spending time outdoors is great for your health. The warmth of the sunlight, the angelic sounds of wildlife, and picturesque views, there’s really nothing like it. Whether you’re going for a rejuvenating yet relaxing outdoor excursion or you’re looking for some fun and adventure, you’ll find these outdoor activities in San Diego and surrounding areas to be worth giving a try. 

Go on a Whale-Watching Tour

If you’re a lover of the open water and ocean life, then you’ll enjoy going on a San Diego Whale Watching tour. This exciting tour is offered all year long and is great for families, couples, or solo travelers. For a few hours, you get a seat onboard a ship that takes you out into the ocean to gaze at some of the most gorgeous creatures in the ocean like humpback whales and dolphins. Don’t forget to register in advance and bring your camera as this is a view you’ll want to capture on film. 

Skydive Over the Ocean

If it’s a thrill you’re after then nothing compares to skydiving. Imagine jumping from 12,000 feet from a plane above the Pacific Ocean. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you’re dropping from the plane with a view of the ocean just beneath you. This is a great outdoor activity you don’t need any past experience to try. For beginners, you’ll have a trained and certified instructor strapped to you the entire time. For those who have gone skydiving before, you can easily get certified and take the dive alone. 

Take a Hike to Devil’s Punchbowl

Want to burn some calories, enjoy nature, and have fun while doing it? Why not go for a hike nearby San Diego? Instead of hitting a national park or similar destination, take a hike to Devil’s Punchbowl. The hike, though rigorous, is well worth the trek. When you reach the final destination, you’ll find a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. You can simply admire the view and take pictures, go for a quick dip, or enjoy a nice snack and a couple of brews with your friends.

Snorkeling at La Jolla Cove

For water lovers, this outdoor activity is sure to tickle your fancy. Head on over to La Jolla Cove for an experience of a lifetime. You’ll be privy to everything you need including waterproof cameras. As you get an underwater tour of the surf at La Jolla Cove you may come across some of the most awesome ocean creatures like the local leopard sharks (which are completely harmless to humans, by the way). 

ATVing in Ocotillo Desert

Another thrilling outdoor experience you can try while in San Diego or surrounding areas is riding ATVs or dirt bikes through the desert. You and your traveling companions get to take a tour through various types of desert terrain. Check out an abandoned WWII Russian tank or catch a glimpse of a breathtaking canyon called Painted Gorge made of purple, green, and red dirt. If you happen to be planning your trip between January and March, you may even see the Blue Angels practicing for an air show. 

Catch an Outdoor Movie

If you love the outdoors but are looking for something a bit more laid back, then you’ll love the chance to catch a movie outside. All you need is a comfy blanket and some snacks. There are several destinations where you can watch outdoor movies in San Diego. Whether you want to catch a flick under the stars beachside or you’d prefer to view the big screen sitting in the middle of a botanical lawn, there’s the perfect atmosphere waiting for you. 

This is only a small fraction of the outdoor activities you can enjoy while vacationing in San Diego, California. From bike tours and watersports to movies under the stars and relaxing by the shore, there is something for everyone, no matter what their idea of spending outdoors may be.

Fun Ways to Explore San Diego Harbor

If you’re vacationing in San Diego, your trip isn’t complete until you’ve visited the Harbor. There’s so much to see and do along this beautiful strip located near the Mexican border. Want to indulge in the nightlife scene? There are plenty of bars and lounges in the area that offer happy hours and late-night cocktails. Want to enjoy the bay waters? Then you’ll love sailing on a boat, or jet skiing across the waters. Sound exciting? Here are a few suggestions on fun ways to explore the San Diego Harbor. 

Shop, Dine, and More at Seaport Village

Located just along the shoreline of San Diego Bay, Seaport Village is the ideal destination for tourists and locals alike. The 14 acre stretch of land is packed with more than 50 shops for your retail pleasure. There are also more than 10 restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining to suit any palate. The action doesn’t stop there. You’ll find live entertainment at the Embarcadero boardwalk. Depending on the time of year you visit Seaport Village, there are also plenty of fun events to take part in. From Surfin’ Santa visiting in November to Landlubber’s Day in September, there’s always something going on in Seaport Village. 

Rent a Boat and Tour the Bay

Interested in seeing the city by water? Then why not rent a boat and bring your travel companions out for a ride? There are many places for boat rental in San Diego that are ideal to see this side of the city. You can check out the USS Midway aircraft museum from the water, or cruise the shorelines until you reach Coronado Island. It’s just you, your friends or loved ones, and the open water. The best part is, you don’t need a license and only need to be at least 18 years of age to drive. 

View the World’s Oldest Sailing Ship

If you happen to be in San Diego Harbor you have to visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego. There you’ll find one of the oldest active ships in the world referred to as the Star of India. Whether this is a family vacation, a couple’s getaway, or a friend’s trip you’ll find touring both the temporary and permanent exhibits of historic ships that tell amazing stories about US maritime history. It is just one of several historical museums and sites you can visit around town. 

Family Fun at Embarcadero Marina Park

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city head on down to Embarcadero Marina Park for some family fun. Both the north and south sides of the park have plenty of things for you to enjoy. Centered next to the water it’s a great place to take a walk, have a nice picnic, fly kites, watch artists create masterpieces, purchase trinkets and other items from nearby stands and shops, jam to outdoor concerts, and much more. 

Quick Tips for Planning Your Trip to San Diego Bay

With so many things to get involved in at the San Diego Bay, you’re probably anxious to pay this popular tourist attraction a visit. Below are a few quick pointers to ensuring you have the best time possible. 

Look for City Passes 

If you’re looking to visit San Diego on a budget you’ll want to invest in a city pass. These passes provide you with affordable admission into the area’s most popular attractions. You can check out museums, go on boat tours, and gain entrance to some of the most historical attractions in the area for one low price. 

Check for Events 

Though the San Diego Bay can be fun to visit any time of year it’s always the most lively when there are events going on. Check the city calendar to find out when activities ranging from street fairs and festivals to car shows and outdoor concerts are taking place so you can be in the midst of the fun. Going during popular holidays like the 4th of July is also ideal and very exciting as the firework displays burst into the beautiful night skies overlooking the water. 

The great city of San Diego, California has a lot to offer. From more than 70 miles of beaches to famed attractions like the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, and the USS Midway Museum, there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to have a great time. To make your trip complete, however, don’t forget to stop by the San Diego Bay to explore activities like those listed above.

Perfect Places to Host a Baby Shower in La Jolla

Expecting a bundle of joy in the next few months? If so, you’re probably thinking of planning a shower to celebrate. If you live in or near La Jolla, CA, then you’re in the perfect destination to throw a wonderful event. There are plenty of venue options to choose from no matter what your budget or personal preferences might be. Below, is a brief look at some ideas to consider:

Your Home or Backyard

For couples trying to stick to a budget, you can save a ton of money by having the baby shower at your home. Depending on the weather (which is usually pretty nice year-round in La Jolla), you can have the shower in your backyard. It’s a very intimate setting and with a bit of decor can really be nice. If you’re having it at your place and want to save even more money you can also make your own decorations, cocktails, and food for your guests. You can even be your own DJ and create a playlist to rock out to.

Beachside Restaurants

There are several beaches in La Jolla all with a different scene. Whether you prefer a laid back, quiet like the Marine Room, or a more uptempo popular one like George’s, you can find it here. While it might be a bit much to have your shower on the beach, however, you can always look at nearby restaurants or bars. Beachside restaurants are aesthetically appealing – especially when you have the shore as your backdrop. Beach themed showers are also pretty nice. If it’s a boy, you can have a Finding Nemo theme. However, if it’s a girl, the little Mermaid is the perfect beach theme to celebrate your princess’s arrival. 

Parks

If your yard isn’t large enough to host your shower then host it at a nearby park. La Jolla has no shortage of beautiful public parks for you to choose from, like Scripps park right in the village. It’s a great place for adults but also works if you planned on allowing children to attend.  A nature theme is best suited for the park. Consider going with zoo or jungle animals as they fit in well with the natural landscape. Chances are you’ll need a permit to host your event here so be sure to plan well in advance. You can have a cookout with burgers, hot dogs, and traditional sides to fit with the vibe. Who knows? Maybe you can even tie in the gender reveal and use confetti or smoke cannons to let everyone know what you’re having. 

Reception Halls

Last but not least, a more traditional route to take for your baby shower would be to host it at a wedding reception hall. These venues are large enough to hold several hundred people. They’re also very elegantly designed for those interested in throwing a more upscale baby shower. You can plan a grand event complete with beautifully decorated tables, a delectable menu, and live entertainment. You could have a royal theme with tiaras or crowns to celebrate your prince or princess’s arrival. Have your guests dress up and get ready for a good time. La Jolla venues are very popular, so you’ll want to make sure that you make your reservation before it’s too late. The best part is many of them offer a full wait staff, catering services, and a bar if you plan on serving drinks. 

The upcoming arrival of your newborn deserves to be celebrated. When you live in or near a city as amazing as La Jolla, finding the perfect venue won’t be very hard. Whether you decide to have it at your home, a beachside restaurant, a local park, or a wedding hall, you have several selections to choose from. Hopefully, this list of ideas has given you some inspiration on how to celebrate the newest member of your family coming into the world.   

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: 6 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 be at 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 this unique map near the boardwalk between the restrooms and the children’s play area at the south end of Kellogg Park.

5. The La Jolla Ecological Reserve and Underwater Park is federally protected and provides fantastic snorkeling.

The La Jolla Underwater Park 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. With this added protection, marine life has flourished over the years – which makes for some fantastic snorkeling!

6. 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 that 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

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 with a partner on your own if you feel comfortable doing so. Make sure to rent a mask and snorkel for a full day so you have plenty of time to explore. You can take a guided tour with experienced professionals if you prefer. 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.

A post shared by LaJolla.com (@lajollacom) on

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

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.

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, and surrounded by tons of family-friendly activities, 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 GoCity San Diego Pass: 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 worthy 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

Read about the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open.

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.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by San Diego Hikers (@sandiegohikers) on

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.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by HIKE FOR BEER™️ (@hikeforbeersd) on

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!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 𝕋𝕆𝔹𝕀ℕ 𝔸ℙℙ𝕃𝔼 (@peace_n_equality) on

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?