Due to the recent development at the La Jolla Cove, there will be no firework show there tonight leaving many locals scambling to find a new spot to watch. Luckily, we did our homework this time and got you covered with our top 5 spots that aren’t our beloved La Jolla Cove….
Short Drives North & South
1) MISSION BAY SeaWorld fireworks: SeaWorld San Diego start their firework show at 9:30 tonight. If you’re close enough or in the park, you will be able to hear a patriotic soundtrack to go along with the blasts. Prime viewing of this show can be found away from Seaworld anywhere you can see the bay such as…
2) Del Mar Del Mar Fairgrounds fireworks: The Del Mar Fair’s annual grand finale is the fireworks on 4th of July. They start popping tonight at 9pm. All can purchase tickets to see them from the fairground themselves but other free viewing points include….
Glorietta Bay fireworks: From Coronado most should be able to see the Big Bay Boom, but at 9pm there is an independent show from Glorietta Bay, south of the bridge and near the backside of The Del. Most viewers will need to be on the Island to get an upclose and personal show but they should be visible from….
From our beautiful white-sand beaches to our friendly and welcoming community, there are so many wonderful things about our little corner of the world here in sunny San Diego, California. However, our turquoise waters and close-knit atmosphere only begin to touch on what it has to offer to both guests and locals alike. Many people don’t realize that we’re also the home to some of the most historical — and dare we even say, spooky — sites in the entire state, as well. In fact, we’d even argue that we’re one of the most haunted places in California.
While not everyone knows about the many haunted attractions in San Diego that we have hidden here, we’re more than happy to share them with you. If you’re a fan of old Victorian mansions, we’ve got ‘em. More into World War II history and the eerie lore that surrounds it? You can find it right here. The bottom line is, there is no shortage of haunted places in San Diego, and they’re just begging for you to explore them further.
The Top Most Haunted Attractions in San Diego
We are proud to be the go-to spot for thrill-seekers and history buffs alike, and there’s plenty of that to be found here. If you’re looking for the best haunted places in San Diego, then look no further. We’ve rounded up ten of the most spooky places to go in San Diego just for you, which means only one thing: you better grab onto your britches, because there’s seriously nothing holding you back from tapping into your own spirit of adventure by checking out these ten hair-raising haunted places in San Diego!
The Whaley House
The Whaley House (2476 San Diego Ave. in Old Town) has been many things throughout the years (including a courthouse, general store, and public theater), but even its humble origins are admittedly disturbing. Thomas Whaley, one of San Diego’s earliest settlers, built the famed Whaley House on top of an old execution site. Little did he know it would become a bonafide San Diego haunted house after tragedy repeatedly struck the poor family. Not long after they moved in, Thomas Junior succumbed to scarlet fever. Then Violet, one of their daughters, took her own life after being betrayed by her husband.
With its dark past, there’s little doubt that the Whaley House is one of the most haunted places in San Diego. Many other members of the Whaley family also perished within its walls, lending to its spooky aura. If you listen carefully while there, you might be able to hear baby Thomas’s little footsteps pattering around, or catch a glimpse of Violet’s heartbroken spirit lingering upstairs.
William Heath Davis House
As the oldest surviving structure in San Diego, the William Heath Davis House (410 Island Ave. in the Gaslamp) has its own share of paranormal history. Since San Diego didn’t have enough lumber to build a house, a “salt-box” house was shipped in from Maine. Davis’s home is unquestionably one of the more haunted places in San Diego thanks to the sheer number of people who once lived — and died — there.
There was significant pushback from locals about the salt-box houses, and it took the work of one Anna Scheper to get the community to come around. She determined that San Diego was long overdue for a hospital, and the William Heath Davis House was the prime location for it. She was paid a dollar per patient she saw per day, no small sum for the era. These days, you can possibly see the ghost of a German WWII spy roaming around the property, or the apparition of one of the many patients who died there.
Berkeley Steam Ferry Boat
When many people think of famous haunted ships, they often tend to think of the Titanic. However, don’t let the Steam Ferry Berkeley slip under your radar; this ferryboat saw some incredible things during its tenure… but it also has its own supernatural backstory, too. Launched in 1898, it was the largest passenger ferryboat at the time, capable of carrying up to 1,700 passengers.
It came in handy after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, where the Berkeley was responsible for shuttling the survivors of the devastating earthquake to safety. While it never actually sank during its active years, it did see its own shares of death aboard. In turn, you’d be wise to be on the lookout for the Fedora Man, an ominous being who loiters aboard the vessel. It’s rumored to be the ghost of John O. Norbom, who died aboard the Berkley when he dropped a bottle of nitroglycerin, blowing himself up and injuring five others. The ferryboat is now an exhibit at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Horton Grand Hotel
Usually when you think of haunted places in San Diego, what probably comes to mind are abandoned places in San Diego. The Horton Grand Hotel (311 Island Ave.) is anything but. A flourishing and gorgeous historic building in the Gaslamp District, it still sees plenty of activity. However, it also has its own sordid past, too. And if you decide to stay there? While this is definitely one of the places to see in San Diego if you’re a fan of haunted locales, you just may want to avoid room #309.
According to legends, a debt-stricken gambler by the name of Roger Whitaker spent his last fateful night in that room back in the 1800s. After cheating at a card game, he retreated to his room, but his pursuers still found him and shot him to death as he hid inside his wardrobe. To this day, he still continues to raise a ruckus at guests who are brave enough to stay in #309.
Hotel del Coronado
Unlike the rambunctious Roger Whitaker who lodged at the Horton Grand Hotel, the spirit who resides at the Hotel del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave. in Coronado) is said to be a kind and gentle ghost by the name of Kate Morgan. Her tragic tale begins back in 1892, when the young woman checked into her room on Thanksgiving Day. According to other guests, she waited five whole days for a gentleman to join her. When he never showed, she took her own life.
Since she never checked back out, her ghost still remains at the Hotel del Coronado. According to paranormal experts, there’s ample evidence of her presence. Guests have reported seeing lights flicker, felt a cool breeze rush past them, and saw televisions turn off and on. Others have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to see her transparent shape with their own eyes. There’s just something about San Diego haunted hotels that keep us on edge, and the Hotel del Coronado is no different.
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
When it was first built, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse had the distinct honor of being the highest elevated lighthouse in the country, towering over the world at an impressive 462 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, this was actually a disadvantage, and fog made it hard for passing ships to make it out in inclement weather. Because of this, the presiding lighthouse keeper oftentimes had to fire off a shotgun to warn vessels to stay away.
The numerous keepers of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse took their duties very seriously, and these days, it’s reported that they’ve returned back to their outpost. Visitors have noted that they can hear heavy footsteps in the spiral staircase, securing its position as one of the more haunted places in San Diego. Without a doubt, this spot is one of the top places to see in San Diego for a chance at a ghost sighting. To visit the lighthouse, you’ll have to go to the Cabrillo National Monument.
The USS Midway (910 N. Harbor Dr. downown), a decommissioned United States Navy aircraft carrier, has never been a stranger to supernatural activity. Even when it was still in service, crewmembers would discuss in hushed tones the existing resident ghosts aboard the vessel. One such entity allegedly made the ship’s cold storage his home, and many people stated that they could smell the stale, copper odor of blood from time to time.
Paranormal experts have been quick to point out that the ghosts that haunt the USS Midway are not to be feared, though. The haunted crew aboard the Midway aren’t those who perished on the boat and roam the vessel like lost souls, but instead, they came back to serve on it after they left the mortal realm. Their sense of camaraderie and love for the ship, as well as their crewmates, makes them a welcome guest aboard it.
Star of India
The oldest working sailing ship, the Star of India (formerly known as the Euterpe) is no stranger to its share of supernatural phenomena. Named after the Greek goddess of singing and dancing, the Euterpe was seemingly doomed from the start. Its first voyage to India was met with a collision and a mutiny. Its second? It was so stressful, the captain perished not long after it limped into its port of call.
Sadly, many sailors who worked aboard the Euterpe passed away, as being a deckhand was no easy job. Drownings were quite commonplace, as were serious illnesses and diseases. One of the ship’s youngest ghosts was a stowaway by the name of John Campbell. Not long after he was discovered, he fell from one of the masts and died three days later from his injuries. It’s purported that if you stand close to the mast from which he fell, you can sometimes feel his cold hand grasping your arm. The Star of India, like the Steam Ferry Berkeley, is part of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Julian Pioneer Cemetery
The story of the Julian Pioneer Cemetery (Julian, CA) is a heartbreaking one, but it’s also one that lends to quite a few supernatural sightings on its grounds. Back when the gold rush was in full swing, pioneers came from across the country to see if they could stake their claim of the treasure. Sadly, the reality of the situation was far worse than the fantasy lives they dreamed of, and many of them perished from disease, alcoholism, and even during childbirth.
These days, the old mining cemetery is very old and somber, and it carries the weight of all of the lives lost during the gold rush period. Visitors to it often report that they have spied a ghostly apparition weaving through the tombstones, further reinforcing the notion that this is one of the most haunted places in San Diego. And according to first-hand accounts, one of these entities is none other than the town’s founder, Drury Bailey.
Villa Montezuma Museum
The Villa Montezuma Museum (1925 K St. in Sherman Heights) is arguably the most haunted location in the entire city, making it one of the best places to go in San Diego for a ghost sighting. Crafted in the distinct style of Queen Anne architecture, it was built in 1887 for an English Renaissance man by the name of Jesse Shepard. Surprisingly, he abandoned the mansion only one year later. Evidently, after finding himself living in a haunted house, San Diego was no longer his preferred city.
As it turned out, he was responsible for the events that drove him away from his home. One of his hobbies included holding séances, and passersby noted that they could hear full orchestras playing in his house — even when he was all alone! One of the ghosts that loiter at the Villa Montezuma Museum today is allegedly a man who had bought the house after Shepard moved out. Soon after, he hanged himself from the second-floor observatory.
A Haunting and Enchanted City
There’s no shortage of mysterious happenings here in San Diego, and its vast and rich history only contributes to its intrigue. The sheer amount of spooky evidence makes it difficult for even staunchest cynics to refute the presence of specters, ghosts, and supernatural beings within our city limits. However, despite all of the eerie phenomena found here, we can all agree that there’s no place in the world like San Diego — and the true spirit of the city can easily be found in the heart of each and every one of the wonderful people who call it home.
About the author: When Karyl Trejo isn’t writing articles about health and fitness, you can find her hanging out with her husband and two cats on the beautiful Central Coast of California, chipping away at her next science fiction novel. If you want to hit her up for her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or swap running tips with her, you can find herLinkedIn here.
The city of San Diego is a lively, busy city where people come to from all over the country to enjoy the many attractions the city has to offer. The city can get a bit too busy sometimes so if you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful, relaxing vacation it is best to choose an ocean view vacation rental in a serene surrounding where you will not be disturbed by the big city’s hassle.
Where To Stay for Relaxing in San Diego
There are plenty of charming small, beach towns for places to relax in San Diego, each with its own personality and perks. According to your preferences, you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Here are the top 4 cities we recommend you to check out when planning your trip:
Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a world-class surfing destination known to have almost perfect weather, located in a serene natural environment, it’s almost like a peaceful oasis, perfect for a relaxing getaway.
The area in and around Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a very spiritually rich area where you can find various hidden gems such as beautiful natural sceneries, soothing meditation spots, stunning sunset-watching spots, and others.
The best thing is that even though it is located in such a beautiful natural environment, you can also easily reach the city of San Diego (just 20 minutes) if you want to check out some of its attractions too.
The city of Encinitas is the parent city of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. It was founded in 1986 and brought together the communities of New Encinitas, Old Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain, and Leucadia to create a single city rich in history and steeped in tradition.
Spreading across six miles of Pacific coastline, the city of Encinitas represents a unique blend of old-world charm and sophistication and new-world culture. Its beaches are coveted by locals as hidden gems.
The city is alternately known as the “Flower Capital of the World,” because of its extensive collection of unique nurseries and gardens, most extensive of which is the San Diego Botanic Garden.
Located along the north coast of San Diego, Solana Beach is a quiet refuge with family-friendly beaches that has a mellow, small-town feel, making it one of the best places to relax in San Diego. The charming, seaside community is approximately a 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego.
Besides gorgeous bluffs overlooking the ocean and a serene shoreline, Solana Beach boasts one of San Diego’s top shopping districts, locally as “The Avenue with Everything.” If shopping is your way of relaxing then this is something you should definitely check out.
La Jolla is a seaside community best known for its beaches, rugged coastline, and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The moment you arrive here is the moment you’ll realize that you’ve made a great choice for your vacation destination.
There are many reasons why La Jolla is one of the best places to relax in San Diego, including the fact that there are a variety of outdoor activities that will put your mind at ease.
For example, imagine the peace that comes with laying on the beach as the sun sets (or rises) in the distance.
As you plan your vacation, start by making a comprehensive list of places to stay in La Jolla. With no shortage of options—ranging from hotels to vacation rentals—you’re sure to find something that suits your wants, needs, and budget.
While there’s no limit on the number of outdoors activities in La Jolla, don’t stop there. You’ll also fall in love with the world-class dining, museums, and variety of local shops.
No matter how you define a relaxing vacation, La Jolla has you covered.
Tips for Relaxing Things To Do in San Diego
Go on a morning walk by the ocean and admire the sunset in the evening
Every trip to San Diego should have some time spent on a morning walk by the ocean, being a great way to set up your mood for the day. Watching the sunrise above the ocean’s waves is a truly spectacular view and the fresh morning ocean air is very good for your body. When you return to your housing, you are bound to be in a more relaxed state and ready to start your day.
Enjoying the sunset from a beautiful ocean view setting will help you relax and unwind after a busy day of fun activities. Let go of any worries and just be in the present and let the beauty of nature inspire you and bring you to a place of stillness.
Meditate in a charming natural setting
If you are aware of the benefits of meditation then you know it can be a very powerful tool to reach a state of complete relaxation. Meditation quiets your mind, relaxes your body and brings your mind, body and soul into alignment. Besides, when you add the soothing power of nature’s beauty you are bound to have a profoundly relaxing experience.
Treat yourself with a day at the Spa
A little pampering is something we all need, every once in a while, and when is the perfect time to do this if not when going on vacation? A day at the Spa is one of the perfect relaxing things to do in San Diego to let go of any stress or negative feelings for a state of deep relaxation. A spa experience can have many beneficial effects:
improves sleep quality
relieves muscle and joint pain
improves circulation and helps prevent varicose veins
From a morning walk on a local beach to a day at the spa, you don’t have to look far for things to do on your next San Diego vacation. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can find a place to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
When you combine all the activities above with enjoyable weather year round, you’ll find it difficult to leave “America’s Finest City” at the end of your trip.
And should that be the case, it may be time to look into moving to San Diego. There are single family homes, condos, and townhouses for sale in and around the city. By making a purchase, you’ll be able to enjoy the area day after day—and that should put a smile on your face.
Hopefully, this brief guide will come in handy when looking for places to relax in San Diego for having that peaceful getaway.
Relax Like A Local
Check out some of our best local stories on ways to kick back and enjoy La Jolla for all its perks.
Listed price for the Mediterranean style home is $23,000,000
Designed to have ocean view from every single room in the home
San Diego Outdoor Activities
San Diego is known as one of the most active, fit, and outdoor living communities in the whole country. When the weather is this nice all the time, who wants to stay stuck inside? Over the year's LaJolla.com has had the privilege of covering some of the best outdoor activities in all of San Diego. Take a look at our favorite articles and let us know in the comments what your favorite activity is or which ones we're missing!
When it comes time to plan a vacation, especially one to Southern California or La Jolla, there’s always the preemptive San Diego Air BNB search, without a max budget set, looking for a sneak peek into the vacation options of the rich and famous – those traveling without a budget. If you spend any time exploring the greater region thinking, what Air BNB should I stay in San Diego, you’re sure to find some incredible homes by the beach in just a few clicks.
We’ve rounded up some of the best luxury Air BNBs in all of San Diego, not just La Jolla. We only set one rule, nothing can cost less than $15,000 per week!
Sunset Pointe in the Birdrock neighborhood is known best for its 100+ feet of private coastline with uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean from nearly every room in the home. A one week stay at the Sunset Pointe San Diego Air BNB is about $15,000
If crowds near the beach aren’t your thing, head East to the famous Rancho Sante Fe and book this estate. Located around the corner from Bill Gates’ horse ranch … that he bought from Jenny Craig. To call names like that your neighbors, you’ll need to shell out around $25,000 for one week living the high life at this Rancho Sante Fe Air BNB.
When the La Jolla rec center is busy with basketball instead of pickleball just skip down the coast to this mansion and get your own private rooftop court. This Air BNB estate in La Jolla has a rooftop count, an oceanfront view, and 8 bedrooms. To set up your own rooftop Wimbledon and have a room for each contestant you’ll be forking over $17,000 for a week on the cliffs.
Being able to hit the surf moments after finishing your morning espresso has never been so easy at this Oceanfront Luxury Estate in La Jolla. Staying right on the surf in your San Diego Air BNB can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially with the $24,000 per week price tag at this place.
Encinitas, in North County San Diego, hosts this incredible Encinitas Retreat with endless ocean views day and night. Come catch some rays, waves, and vibes of the relaxing north county for a cool $15,000 per week for this North Country Air BNB.
Relaxation, tranquility, and silence run rampant at this gorgeous Rancho Sante Fe Private Family Resort. Situated on a 2-acre property you can fill the seven bedrooms with friends and family to enjoy peace by the pool. The price for a week among the elites of Rancho Sante Fe at this home costs around $15,000.
Located in Carmel Valley near the Golden Triangle, this mansion has nine bedrooms a massive kitchen and incredible sunset views across the valley towards the Pacific Ocean. Upon checkout, your bill for a week’s stay at this San Diego Air BNB is about $20,000.
The Grand Del Mar, one of the finest hotels in the world, also has private standalone villas so you can stay on the grounds of the hotel but feel like you have your own house. If want to stay a short walk from where superstar athletes like Lebron James and San Diego native Reggie Bush got married make sure you can afford the $23,000 per week price tag.
This Five Acre Private Estate in Rancho Sante Fe boasts your own private tennis court and pool with waterslide for about $25,000 per week. Stroll the grounds day and night for sunset views over the lush acreage in one of the most relaxing hidden estates in all of Southern California.
Getting close to the action in Pacific Beach while living enjoying the high life won’t come cheap. Check out the Windsor Villa Pacific Beach Air BNB this summer for about $15,000 per week. This mansion offers multiple levels with expansive ocean views and a pool.
Sea Glass in La Jolla costs about $18,000 per week and includes your own fire-lit outdoor tv room and panoramic ocean views from your cliffside patio. La Jolla Air BNB’s this nice don’t come available often thanks to the views and access to downtown La Jolla in just a few minutes drive.
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:
Jon Rahm 7-1
Rory McIlroy 8-1
Xander Schauffele 14-1
Tony Finau 20-1
Patrick Reed 25-1
Harris English 25-1
Viktor Hovland 28-1
Sungjae Im 28-1
Hideki Matsuyama 28-1
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.
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.
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.
A “Michelin-plate” designated restaurant, Nine Ten offers a rotating menu of California Coastal Cuisine. Check the website for updates on their reopening plans.
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.
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.
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.”
Where to Go
Don’t forget to take some time to explore everything else that La Jolla has to offer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
After fighting only once last year, UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor faces lightweight contender Dustin Poirier this Saturday night in a much-anticipated match. Which begs the question: Where to watch UFC 257 in San Diego?
UFC 257 is, after all, the first UFC fight of the year. And after a rough COVID holiday season, it’s something many are looking forward to.
Where to Watch the UFC Fight in San Diego
Due to COVID, there are far fewer bars showing UFC in San Diego. Both the State of California and the County of San Diego issued stay-at-home orders in early December.
You could say that San Diego has pretty much been on lockdown ever since, and most people will be watching the Conor McGregor fight from the safety and comfort of their couch. Luckily we’re in the craft beer capital of the world, so you’ll still be able to drink good beer as you watch the McGregor fight.
Before COVID, there were plenty of San Diego sports bars to watch UFC fights. In fact, bar owners knew that if they wanted a packed house on a UFC fight night, they’d better be showing it on their TVs.
But we called around several bars in San Diego on Wednesday, and found that most of the places we talked to aren’t going to be showing it. Bullpen Bar and Grill in Clairemont said that they’ll be open but probably won’t be showing the fight. The Gaslamp Tavern downtown was the only one we spoke to that said they were planning to show it.
It’s unfortunate that there won’t be more bars in San Diego where you can watch the fight because the Pay Per View price tag can be prohibitively expensive if you’re under-employed.
How to Watch UFC 257 in San Diego (at Home)
Here’s what you can do to watch the Conor McGregor fight on Saturday, January 23.
First, make sure you will have access to watch the fight before Saturday rolls around. The McGregor fight is a Pay Per View event, so you’ll need to purchase it to watch the main event. Your out-of-pocket costs to watch the event will vary depending on whether you’re already an ESPN+ subscriber.
Then, look up your favorite brewery and your favorite restaurant and order food and beer to go for the fight night. Order from the restaurant or brewery itself (instead of third-party services, which often charge the already-struggling restaurants a fee), and get settled in to watch the fight.
Bonus points if you plan a Zoom UFC fight night watching party with your friends.
More Details About the Conor McGregor Fight
Conor McGregor is the first UFC fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. At 32 years of age, the Irish MMA fighter is currently ranked #13 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings and #4 in the lightweight rankings. Dustin Poirier, also 32 years old, is ranked #7 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings and #2 in the lightweight rankings.
There will be a press conference before the McGregor fight at 9 a.m. PST on Thursday, January 21, which you can watch live on the UFC’s YouTube channel.
What about watching UFC 257 itself? The early prelims start Saturday, January 23, at 3:30 p.m. San Diego time, followed by prelims at 5 p.m. and the main card at 7 p.m.
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.
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 Cardfor 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Theodor Geisel, affectionately known as Dr. Seuss remains one of the most renowned children’s book authors of our time. Theodor and his wife, Audrey Geisel, moved to La Jolla in 1948. They bought an observation tower high atop Mount Soledad which Dr. Seuss would use as his office.
Dr. Seuss at work in his office overlooking the La Jolla coastline.
Overlooking the picturesque view of the La Jolla coastline and the famous Monterey Cypress trees in Ellen Browning Scripps Park, Dr. Seuss would find the inspiration for many of the his most beloved and popular stories. It was during his time in La Jolla that he would write 48 books including “Horton Hears a Who!,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Sign for Ellen Browning Scripps Park – home of famous ‘The Lorax Tree’.
Dr. Seuss famously said that his favorite of all of his books was The Lorax. Calling it straight propaganda, he was notoriously upset about the billboards, homes and condos that threatened his tranquil community of La Jolla. Written at the age of 67 and published in 1971, The Lorax is the story of the ambitious Once-ler who builds a huge, thriving business at the expense of Truffula trees and the creatures who depend on them.
The ‘Truffula Tree’ a.k.a The ‘Lorax Tree’ overlooking the La Jolla Cove hotel prior to it’s collapse in June of 2019.
The real-life inspiration for the fictional Truffula species in the book is called the Monterey Cypress. Formed by the wind and unique to the California coast, one tree in particular is said to have inspired this environmental story about letting the trees grow.
The ‘Truffula Tree’ a.k.a The ‘Lorax Tree’ overlooking the coves of La Jolla prior to it’s collapse in June of 2019.
Estimated at 80-100 years old, the famous tree known simply as ‘The Lorax Tree’ fell in June of 2019. While city officials knew the tree had a termite problem, its collapse at it roots was unexpected and upsetting for those that knew it well. The exact cause of the fall is under investigation and there are talks of replacement. For now the tree has been removed and parts of the tree may even be repurposed.
Location where the Lorax Tree stood after it’s removal
Though much of the scenery in La Jolla is reminiscent of Seussian-style illustration, the trees in The Lorax are particularly notable. With a view of the ocean atop one of the many beautiful overlooks in La Jolla ,The Lorax Tree inspired Dr. Seuss to write a story that will be beloved by children for generations. Adapted into a cartoon in 1972 and a feature length movie in 2012, the famous words of the Lorax himself will outlive the famous Monterey Cypress in Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
I speak for the trees -The Lorax
One of the many picturesque views of the La Jolla coastline.
Dr. Seuss’ painting, aptly titled “I Dreamed I was a Doorman at the Hotel del Coronado,” is a colorful rendering of the 1888 Victorian hotel. It features a beachside setting with sharp angles, whimsical colors,and an eclectic feel. The doorman is just a tiny speck in the middle of whirlwind of activity and color.
The Del’s bright, red-shingled roofs and storybook style make it something of a fairytale castle, something that surely inspired Geisel; he was fond of all things whimsical (in fact, the word ‘Seussian’ is actually in the dictionary!). He could also see the hotel directly from his Tower perch atop Mt. Soledad.
One Fish, Two Fish…
“The Cat in the Hat,” published in 1957, features a rather odd-looking, high-stress personality, disgruntled orange fish. Referred to as Mr. Krinklebein in the TV show, but simply as “The Fish” in all of the books, he was constantly trying to restore order in his home.
As arguably his most famous book, Dr. Seuss only needed to look out into the bay to see his inspiration for this one – the State of California’s colorful and precocious Garibaldi fish. Though found frequently in La Jolla, the bright orange fish is rarely seen in places away from the southern California coast. And interestingly enough, they are usually aggressive defenders of their natural territory – much like its textual counterpart!
“The Fish” character appears in other stories and almost every other Seuss book, and they always play a similar role: an overly nagging, moralistic creature that admonishes any type of wrongdoing. Geisel actually once referred to his book’s fish character as “my version of Cotton Mather,” the Puritan moralist who advised the prosecutors during the Salem witch trials.
The La Jolla Birdwomen
In the 1960s, Dr. Seuss drew a series of illustrations titled “La Jolla Birdwomen.” They were gently but decidedly satirical, comparing the many birds of La Jolla with the upper-class socialites in La Jolla – a vehicle for another bit of Geisel’s spicy social commentary.
As one of the few men in town who worked from home, Geisel lightheartedly considered himself a “bird watcher on the social scene, always looking to create gentle spoofs of his chic female friends taken up in their whirl of luncheons, parties, and charity balls.”
The Birdwomen series consisted of eleven paintings with comical titles and equally captivating captions: My Petunia Can Lick Your Geranium, Not Speaking, Martini Bird,Gosh! Do I Look as Old as All That!, and View from a Window of a Rented Beach Cottage to name a few.
One of the more direct titles simply exclaims “Oh, I’d love to go to the party, but I’m absolutely dead.” The subtle social jabs became characteristic of Geisel even in the later years, though other than “The Lorax,” many of them remained less popular than his other, more lighthearted works.
Honoring Dr. Seuss
Today, the most notable memorial to Geisel is UC San Diego’s Geisel Library, in La Jolla California. Just outside the entrance visitors will find a life sized bronze Dr. Seuss statue sitting with one of his most beloved characters, a 7’5” tall bronze Cat in the Hat.
The Library was renamed in 1995 (four years after his death) in he and Audrey Geisel’s honor for the generous contributions that they made to the library and their devotion to children’s literature and improving literacy around the world.
Dr. Seuss and La Jolla
Dr. Seuss called La Jolla home for more than 40 years until his death in 1991. His children’s literature, and all of the creatures within his children’s books, are indelibly etched in millions of children’s imaginations around the world. From “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and “The Cat in the Hat” to “The Lorax” and “Yertle the Turtle,” Seuss has truly captured the whimsical, fantastical world of a child’s imagination.
Dr. Seuss won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1984, a testament to his enduring legacy. His children’s books would be incomplete without his works of art, and his ties to San Diego and La Jolla California are indisputable. Dr. Seuss birthday is celebrated on March 2nd every year, a great time of year to visit La Jolla and explore the inspirations of Dr. Seuss. From the quote on the Coast Walk Trail to his very own art exhibit at the Legends Gallery, you might say Dr. Seuss and La Jolla go together like…
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.
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!
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 .
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.
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.
Southern California has some of the most diverse landscape in the United States. From sweeping mountain ranges and sprawling cities to gorgeous sandy beaches and the mostly placid ocean on Earth, Southern California is a vacation destination for plenty of tourists.
Once you’re home after that much-needed Golden State sabbatical, you find yourself scrolling through the photos on your phone. Your photos of Southern California are gorgeous! Beautiful sunsets over the ocean, the neon-lit nightlife of the cities you visited, that jaunt you took to learn to ski in the mountains; all of these photos just sitting on your phone, waiting to be used! So, what exactly should you do with them?
There are a few different ways to display your breathtaking photos:
Commission a Painting
The world is drowning in photographs thanks to smartphones. This means your amazing photo of La Jolla Cove at sunset is, despite its brilliance, one of many very similar looking images. One way to make your gorgeous photo stand out from the crowd is to have it painted. Artists are able to turn a photo into a painting for you to hang up in your house or give to someone as a gift. It’s a simple yet effective way to take an amazing photo from your trip to California and make it even more interesting.
Assuming you lack the artistic skills to paint a photo, you could always commission a local artist to recreate your photo for you. If time is not on your side or there isn’t anyone available nearby, consider using services that turn photo into painting fast and affordable. These services offer quick turnaround time without sacrificing on quality.
Glassy is Classy
Another way to display your fantastic snapshots is to have them turned into a glass photo. There are so many different styles to choose from! Use a curved glass print to display those gorgeous panoramic ocean views, or a tri-print on glass to showcase up to three different pictures. They can be displayed on your end-tables or even framed and hung up. With a glass print, you don’t have to worry about your picture getting stuck against the glass in a frame, it’s already the glass!
They also bring a touch of classy elegance to modern and chic rooms. You can have your glass photo in a base instead of a frame to give that overall smooth modern feel.
Print, Frame, Hang
A tried and true option is to print out your photos and create a gallery wall. Choose your display area wisely, making sure it has enough space to accommodate frames of different shapes and sizes. Pick your prints with a theme, whether it be color, landscape type, or cherished memories. Utilize both landscape and portrait style pictures to add a bit of uniqueness to your gallery wall.
Once you’ve cleared your area, and chosen your photos, just head on down to the local photo print booth and print your pictures out. Choose your frames by the size of the photos you printed, but don’t be afraid to throw in a couple of frames that have a splash of color or pattern. Lastly, hang your photos up proudly!
However you choose to display your photos of your picture-perfect picnic in La Jolla or other wonderful moments in Southern California, remember that a picture says a thousand words and holds even more memories. Your aesthetic and taste are as important as the photos you want to display. You’ll delight your family and friends with your photographer’s eye.
We’re officially in the throes of the holiday season, and New Year’s Eve in San Diego is right around the corner!
If you’re looking to get out and about for NYE this year, there are plenty of fun events, parties, and happenings going on around San Diego County – from epic hotel parties in the Gaslamp Quarter and downtown to casual craft beer dinners and everything in between.
Here’s our roundup of the best New Year’s Eve events in San Diego this year!
Big Night San Diego NYE
Where: Hilton Bayfront
Ring in 2020 at one of the biggest parties in San Diego!
The 16th annual Big Night NYE is back with an all-inclusive extravaganza, including unlimited drinks all night, a buffet, and live entertainment at ten different party zones (with eight dance floors) throughout the hotel. Guests are free to roam – beverage in hand – from party room to party room, from the Retro Zone to the Club Zone and the silent disco. About a dozen popular bands and DJs will be playing throughout the gala’s many party areas all evening.
At midnight, celebrate with exclusive party favors and a big countdown.
New Years Eve at Tower 23
Where: Tower 23 Hotel; 723 Felspar Street, San Diego
Tower 23 in Pacific Beach is a fun lifestyle hotel situated right on the beach.
This year, make your way there to pop, sparkle, fizz, toast, and sip as you ring in the new year!
Dine before you dance with dinner at JRDN (there are two seatings, at 5:30pm and 8:30pm), then enjoy live music and sets from local DJs starting at 10pm.
Stay overnight with an exclusive discount hotel package, and enjoy a special New Year’s Day brunch the next morning until 3:30pm!
New Years Eve Hornblower Cruise
Where: Pier 1 Hornblower Landing, 1800 North Harbor Drive
This NYE, head to an Old Hollywood-themed Hornblower cruise!
This special night will include a fun four-hour cruise around the San Diego Harbor, and feature plenty of free-flowing champagne, a five-course gourmet seated dinner, a live jazz band, New Years Eve party favors, and of course, incredible views of the San Diego coastline!
The High Spirits, built in 1929, is a beautifully restored classic motor yacht that’s going to be decorated in the spirit of Old Hollywood this New Years Eve. The upper deck offers a bar and dining room with breathtaking views, making the High Spirits perfect for a themed celebration.
Be sure to wear your best black and white ensemble as you step back in time and are swept away by the glitz and glamour of yesterday and a night of fun on the water.
New Years Eve Gala
Where: Hotel Del Coronado; 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado
Ring in the New Year at The World’s Greatest Legend, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration with dazzling star attractions and awe-inspiring performances at the Hotel Del Coronado.
The oceanfront Ballroom will transform into a lavish big top, complete with black tie-clad aristocrats, a delectable five-course feast, open bar, and dancing to the sounds of the Mighty Untouchables. Kick the evening off with Cocktail Hour in the Crown Room from 7pm-8pm, then head to the Ballroom at 8pm for an extravagant dinner, live performances and music, and dancing until 1am.
For an extra special experience, be sure to book a room at this world-famous hotel and cap off your evening in style!
NYE Beach Party
Where: Catamaran Resort; 3999 Mission Blvd.
Ring in 2020 at the beach this year!
Head to the Catamaran Resort for an all-inclusive evening packed with unlimited drinks and cocktails, festive hors d’oeuvres, four rooms of top-tier entertainment featuring San Diego’s hottest DJs, themed photo booths to create lasting memories, and an epic LED screen midnight countdown and balloon drop.
For a five-star evening, upgrade to the VIP Party Boat and cruise around Mission Bay on the William D. Evans. Aboard you’ll find multiple decks of music, two open bars, a dance floor, and casino games, all in addition to the fun inside the Catamaran.
Craft Beer New Year
Where: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station; 2816 Historic Decatur Rd.
Go all-out on the last night of the year with an extravagant affair at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station!
Your $99 ticket includes three drink tickets, light bites throughout the night, a celebratory toast pour at midnight (with souvenir tasting glass), two dance floors and live music from DJ Tropixx, a cigar lounge in the movie courtyard, speakeasy room, interactive photo booth, and a midnight countdown and ball drop. Group packages and discounts are available for parties of nine or more.
Black & Gold New Year’s Eve
Where: Maritime Museum of San Diego; 1492 North Harbor Drive
Celebrate the new year in style at the Maritime Museum!
Located directly on the San Diego Bay, guests can spend a gorgeous and exciting night in one of the most unique venues in town. The event center located on the historic 1898 Steam Ferry Berkeley will be transformed into a classy lounge, complete with live music and dancing from the era, a 30’ candy and dessert bar, photo booth, party hats and favors, appetizers all night, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
Be sure to reserve your tickets early.
NYE at Hard Rock Hotel
Where: Hard Rock Hotel; 207 Fifth Avenue
The biggest New Year’s Eve bash in the Gaslamp Quarter returns this year with Kid Ink and live DJ Pauly D at the Hard Rock Hotel.
This year, experience a festive journey to the world’s most epic party cities, including Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, Giza, and Mykonos to ring in 2020.
Don your holiday finest and celebrate until long after midnight on three hotel levels and five totally decked-out party rooms.
A limited number of Hotel Room Packages are available this year, and include two party tickets and a one-night hotel stay.
VIP Bottle Service Packages are also available.
Ball on Broadway
Where: Parq Restaurant & Nightclub; 615 Broadway
Head to Parq Restaurant and Nightclub this New Year’s Eve to dance the night away and bring in 2020 in style!
Toast to the new year in an expansive venue featuring 35,000 square feet and two nightclubs as part of a five-room opulent experience. Wander through each room, listening to multiple DJs and enjoying five distinct musical experiences to ring in the New Year.
Parq Restaurant and Nightclub is located in downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter.
From the lobby to Altitude Sky Lounge, enjoy free-flowing champagne, unlimited well drinks, domestic beers, and two of San Diego premier DJs plus an exceptional selection of gourmet food stations, including a raw seafood and sushi bar, street taco stand, chocolate fountain, carving station, and more.
Your top-to-bottom evening will include unlimited drinks and food all night, party favors, a New Years Eve countdown, and live music from various DJs in the lobby and on the 22nd floor. Guests can roam between the San Diego skyline lounge and the lobby all evening long at this epic downtown San Diego hotel party!
Have kids in tow? Check out our kid-friendly New Year’s Eve events in San Diego!
If there was ever a perfect destination to plan an event, San Diego would be it. The city has plenty of beautiful beaches, luxury hotels, cultured restaurants, and popular bar scenes to choose from. Whether you’re planning a business event, birthday party, bridal shower, or gender reveal party, there are several options available to you. With so many venues, however, you’ll need to iron out a few details to determine which is best for you.
Though you know you’re going to have your event in the San Diego area, you have to consider the location of the venue based on attendee convenience. If it’s a local event, it is ideal to have it somewhere neutral to those you’re inviting so they don’t have to travel far. If you’re expecting mostly out-of-towners, then you might opt for a venue closer to an airport.
Number of Attendees
How many people will be attending your event? This will be important for several reasons. First, you’ll need to find a venue that can host that many people. You’ll also need to make sure there is enough parking. Lastly, you’ll need to know how many are in attendance for seating, food, and beverage preparations.
Services and Amenities
As you think about the type of event you’re planning, what type of services will you need? If you were planning a corporate event, for instance, you might need a conference room, technical equipment, and lunch catering. If you were planning a wedding you might prefer a venue with a caterer, baker, and wait staff. You’ll also want to ask about things like tables, chairs, tents, and whatever else you might need to host your event.
The decor is often a big part of event planning. However, not all venues allow all types of decor and devices onto their premises. If you were throwing a gender reveal party, for example, you might want gender reveal smoke bombs and gender reveal confetti cannons to share the sex of the baby. What makes a lot of gender reveal celebration products great is they are safe for indoor and outdoor use! You can pop gender reveal confetti and make a moment to remember. You may want to check with the venue if you are planning to use gender reveal smoke though. This might be fine at a venue that has an outdoor area, but for a secluded place like a small restaurant or bar, these things may not be allowed. However, you can also decide to just use gender reveal confetti cannons.
San Diego is a really popular place to host events, so you’ll want to find out about availability right away. Try to choose several dates that your event could take place, just in case the date you want isn’t available. Find out about what options are available if there’s inclement weather or another unforeseen reason you need to postpone your date.
The layout of a venue will need to be considered for your event. You need to consider the number of people you’re inviting, the type of event it is, and activities that will be taking place. You’ll need to have enough space to accommodate your guests, food, and anything else you plan on having at your event. Going to see venue layouts in advance is recommended to ensure it flows with your vision.
Holiday parties, weddings, business conferences, gender reveals, birthday parties, they can all be great when you host them in a city like San Diego. As you browse the town for the perfect venue, be sure to keep all these factors in mind. In doing so, you’ll ensure that your event goes off without a hitch.
Planning a wedding under the stars? There’s something magical about getting married at night in a destination as beautiful as California. The crisp evening breeze, starry skies, and beautiful landscapes really set the tone for a romantic affair. The only thing that can make the day even better (outside of the attendance of your loved ones) are the right decorations. Wedding decor helps to tie in the theme and send the event over the top. Here are some ideas that are sure to make your nighttime wedding shine!
Strings of Lights
Adding illumination to your wedding is a great way to brighten up the evening. Strings of lights, such as those you’d use around the holidays are perfect for an outdoor wedding. They come in various colors and styles to tie in with your theme. You can hang them from trees, shrubbery, or overhead in your wedding tent.
Lanterns are another nice touch to consider for your outdoor wedding. They can be placed throughout the venue to help light up the night skies. Adding a lantern at the end of each row of chairs for the wedding ceremony can serve as a great touch for the aisles. It gives a romantic vibe as the bridal party walks down.
If you really want to light up the skies at your wedding ceremony, you might also consider floating lanterns. You and your guests can light the lanterns, make a wish for the bride and groom, and cast them into the air. The view is really amazing and the symbolism quite special.
You can’t have too much light and sparkle with an outdoor evening wedding. Create a little shine and shimmer with wedding sparklers. You can buy individual sparklers for attendees to hold as the bride and groom exit the ceremony as husband and wife. There are other sparklers for weddings that can add to your outdoor wedding decor like bottle sparklers. You can add them to the champagne bottles and hand them out to tables right before it’s time for the toasts. Wedding sparklers are quickly becoming one of the hottest wedding trends. You can either choose to use 36 inch or 20 inch sparklers for weddings. Either choice is a no brainer and sparklers are very affordable and help take amazing pictures. Wedding Sparklers will end your wedding night in style!
If there’s one decor item that screams love and romance it’s candles. Candles are commonly included in the wedding theme and add a nice personal touch. A great way to use them would be to incorporate them with your reception table centerpieces. You could use the candle as the base and surround it with flowers, or get creative with floating candles.
Getting married during cooler seasons? Fire pits are a great wedding decor item and they can help to keep the chill off you and your guests. You can invest in one large pit or purchase a few smaller ones to place around the venue.
If your outdoor wedding happens to be near a pool, light it up with beautiful floating lights. They come in an array of sizes, shapes, and colors and can easily be accompanied by floating flowers. They help to add more light to the evening and also look awesome as they reflect on the water.
Outdoor weddings really are amazing. With nature as the backdrop, brides are able to design truly romantic ceremonies. Of all the things to add to your wedding planning checklist, don’t forget lighting. Lighting is a very important element to the design and it helps to illuminate the rest of the decor. If you’re planning a night time wedding, these decor items are easy to incorporate into any theme making your special day shine just as bright as your future.
The winter season is upon us, and nothing says ‘the holidays’ like a fun party at one of San Diego’s best venues! Toast to your colleagues, friends, or family at one of these unique San Diego party venues fit for a day or night of merriment this holiday season. From casual craft breweries and romantic, urban-chic eateries to rooftop bars and skyline-view museums, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best San Diego venues made for the perfect 2018 holiday gathering!
1. Clara (Carlsbad)
Having just opened this summer, Clara is the newest addition to the ever-growing downtown Carlsbad Village scene. The space here is serene, casual, and comfortable; making this spot pretty ideal for a dinner feast with your friends or colleagues. The neutral interiors and menu offerings work well for vegetarians and carnivores alike – from the chili braised cauliflower tacos to skirt steak skewers, there is a little something for everyone here. The craft cocktail menu is expansive and innovative, and many of the drinks are infused with locally grown produce.
2. Madison on Park (University Heights)
Located in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, Madison on Park serves upscale Mediterranean and Southern California inspired cuisine in a modern, gorgeous atmosphere. Madison features a full bar and an upscale menu offered in the main dining room, which is a dramatic 3,000 square-foot space built by industrial design firm ARCHISECTS that features sky-high vaulted ceiling made of wood and cedar walls in colorful geometric patterns. The whole space has a fresh, eclectic indoor-outdoor vibe, which makes it a great choice for your holiday party in San Diego.
The open-air rooftop of this Little Italy restaurant is a huge draw for locals – and one of the best rooftops in the city – with the only private cabañas and ocean views in the neighborhood. The cabañas are definitely the main attraction here; each one is totally private, complete with a variety of wines, craft cocktails, and self-serve tap beers. Standing parties of up to 400 can celebrate with innovative cocktails and sophisticated bites – think suckling pig larb, hamachi ceviche, foie gras French toast, and grilled quail char sui – but if you’re hosting a smaller group, consider the hidden, more private Chef’s Table for a special five-course dining experience.
4. BRICK (Point Loma)
From the simple elegance to the stunning ambiance, BRICK just oozes charm, character, and originality. This beautiful, historic Point Loma space can hold up to 450 guests, and there are no curfews or noise ordinances. The best part? The space is yours for a full 24 hours! The aesthetic is modern-industrial, and features market lights, exposed beams, and plenty of (of course) natural brick walls.
5. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa (Rancho Santa Fe)
This expansive, luxurious oasis covers 45 beautiful acres in the hills of Rancho Santa Fe, providing eight garden-filled options for celebration spaces. Each space – from the popular Croquet Lawn to the turquoise fireplace of the Sunrise Room – has its own vibe and aesthetic, and can work for a low-key day party or formal nighttime affair. Each room has a different capacity and rules, so be sure to inquire ahead of time to plan your special event.
Housed within a historic 1928 Carnation Dairy Factory, Luce Loft boasts cathedral ceilings, exposed brick, and romantic market lights to create the perfect urban party backdrop. One of the best aspects of hosting an event here is that you can customize essentially everything – including booze, as it’s one of the only venues in San Diego that boasts a BYOB policy. Pick from one of 10 catering vendors from nearby restaurants and food trucks, and get the party started with a DJ and photo booth.
7. Darlington House (La Jolla)
Throw an elegant holiday garden party in the heart of La Jolla Village at the Mediterranean-style Darlington House. This historic home is an architectural gem, and echoes the days of vintage La Jolla and a lifestyle of elegant dinner parties and delightful musical concerts (it’s also a popular wedding venue). There are different rooms to explore around every corner; consider The Library, which features dark wooden bookcases, a Moroccan fireplace, and a gorgeous Moorish-inspired staircase and is perfect for smaller, more intimate events, or the Andalusian Patio, which was modeled after the style of Southern Spain and features stunning Roman arches.
8. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (Rancho Santa Fe)
Sitting on 21 lush acres in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe Village, this quaint, luxury inn boasts seven dreamy indoor-outdoor event spaces. The Azalea room is perfect for more intimate parties, while the Croquet Cottage & Lawn features a larger space complete with vaulted wood ceilings, a stone fireplace, and an accompanying outdoor patio for indoor and outdoor seating.
In an endless-summer city, it’s not always easy to create a festive wintery ambiance but at this craftsman-style resort, that’s a different story. The Lodge features a great variety of indoor-outdoor venue options (with capacity for up to 400 people), and boasts panoramic Pacific Ocean views, cozy fireplaces, a golf course, and of course, the rare Torrey Pine trees make it a location that pretty much guarantees to put everyone in the holiday mood.
10. Farmer and the Seahorse (La Jolla)
The playful details of the Farmer and the Seahorse in La Jolla (near Torrey Pines) give it a naturally festive vibe — from the vintage Airstream to the telephone booth to the inviting corn hole games on the lawn. Combining the best produce from the restaurant’s gardens and local farms with the freshest catch from the Pacific, the menu from celebrity chef Brian Malarkey is all kinds of delicious.
11. Juniper & Ivy (Downtown)
Treat friends, family, or coworkers to a magical holiday dinner at chef Richard Blais’ high-end restaurant in Little Italy, where he seriously pushes the limits of fine dining. What’s great about this spot is the variety of private dining areas to choose from; including a second-floor overlook or an al fresco patio experience. Take your experience a step further and reserve the exclusive and highly coveted Chef’s Table, which can seat between 14 and 65 and puts you right at the heart of Juniper & Ivy’s main dining room with a clear view into the action in the kitchen.
This Gaslamp District speakeasy is truly a one-of-a-kind San Diego gem. The quirky, understated décor has been compared to Alice in Wonderland — picture oversized, cushy booths and botanical chandeliers — and the entertainment options go way beyond a live cover band. Reserve a burlesque show, a tarot card reading, or an illusionist, and your friends and family won’t forget your epic Holiday Party of 2018!
For more fun holiday events, tips, and happenings, check out our other Holiday blogs!
What better way to ring in the holidays than with a San Diego holiday party? There is no shortage of fun happenings this year – from a New Year’s Eve yacht party on the Bay to fancy hotel festivities to round out the holiday season. Here’s our roundup of some of this year’s best San Diego holiday parties!
Drink, Play, Create: A Holiday Party
When: December 7, 2018; 8pm Where: The New Children’s Museum
Head to The New Children’s Museum this December for a free drink, lots of dancing, and a fun party inspired by art, play and the holidays. This year’s party will feature music from local DJs Rob and Dimitri of Booty Bassment, a cash bar, food trucks, a giveaway, photo booth, games, art activities, and open access to galleries and studios. Plus, the first 300 guests to arrive get a free Passion Planner! Tickets are $20 in advance, or $30 at the door.
Parade of Lights Holiday Party
When: December 9, 2018 Where: Chere Amie Yacht; 1901 N. Harbor Drive
Celebrate holiday cheer aboard a 90-ft yacht, enjoying the cool crisp winter air and dazzling lights parade – all while sipping on a chilled glass of Champagne! The 2nd Annual Parade of Lights Holiday Party is sure to be the perfect activity to kick off the winter season. Guests will get to cruise the San Diego Bay during the action of the Parade, and get up close and personal with the decorated lit up boats. On top of having an unbeatable view of the parade, there will be holiday-themed cocktails, seasonal music, Christmas decorations, complimentary champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and more! The yacht comes complete with a full bar, open-view dance floor, and plenty of lounge areas that provide a fun and festive atmosphere perfect for mingling and partying with friends. Tickets start at $35.
When: December 22, 2018; 7pm Where: Taste & Thirst; 715 Fourth Avenue, San Diego
It’s that time of year! Grab your friends and your Santa hats and get ready to spread some yuletide fun and holiday cheer through the streets of Gaslamp Quarter during this year’s Bad Santa Pub Crawl. Your ticket includes exclusive drink specials at each venue throughout the pub crawl, complimentary VIP entry to all venues, a private host to guide you from venue to venue, and an awesome after-party where you’ll be able to dance the night away. This event sells out every year, so be sure to get your tickets early!
Ugly Sweater Holiday Cocktail Cruise
When: December 22, 2018; 7pm Where: Hornblower Cruises; 970 N. Harbor Dr.
Come aboard the only floating holiday happy hour in San Diego! Join hosts Tati and Frankie plus DJ Gigi from JAM’N 95.7, and special appearances from STAR 94.1 and Channel 93.3 for the ultimate ugly sweater party on the water. The cruise includes a complimentary boarding holiday cocktail and a cash bar with plenty of drinks on the menu including specials on beer, wine, and specialty Hornblower cocktails along with light appetizers. This is the perfect excursion on the San Diego Bay, or a great way to kick off a night downtown.
New Year’s Eve Gala at the Hotel Del Coronado
When: December 31, 2018; 7pm Where: Hotel Del Coronado
Ring in the New Year at The World’s Greatest Legend, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration with dazzling star attractions and awe-inspiring performances. The oceanfront Ballroom at the Hotel Del Coronado will transform into a lavish big top with black-tie clad aristocrats, a delectable five-course feast, open bar, and dancing to the sounds of the Mighty Untouchables. Attendees must be 21+.
Have little ones at home? Bring them too! This is a kid-friendly event, and fun for the whole family! Kids and teens can ring in the New Year at their own party from 7pm-12:30am. The night includes dinner, ice skating (ages 8+), special shows, games, a s’mores roast, and a midnight toast with sparkling cider. Teens ages 13-17 can also hang out in their own teen lounge and watch movies as they mingle. Cost is $125 for the first child; $100 for each additional child.
New Year’s Eve Yacht Party
When: December 31, 2018; 9pm Where: Spirit of San Diego Yacht; 990 N. Harbor Drive
Spend New Year’s Eve aboard San Diego’s most elegant oversized luxury yacht, The Spirit of San Diego! At 146 Feet Long, with three levels, outdoor decks, lounges, and two huge dance floors, this 500-person capacity luxury yacht is guaranteed to make for a memorable NYE. This event has sold out 15 years in a row, so be sure to get your tickets early! Tickets include three levels of entertainment with live music and DJs, a premium open bar all night long, appetizers, and a boat-wide New Year’s Eve countdown.
New Year’s Eve Beachfront Bash
When: December 31, 2018 Where: South Draft Mission; 3105 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego
Kick off 2019 at San Diego’s newest New Year’s Eve party overlooking the ocean in Mission Beach! Guests will experience three totally different atmospheres at three different venues throughout the evening – from an upscale rooftop vibe at Cannonball to a laid-back groove at Draft and a beachfront party at Beach House to cap the night. Drink specials will be making their rounds all night, and the final beachfront venue will be heated with fire pits and fabulous market lights for guests to enjoy.
Big Night San Diego NYE
When: December 31, 2018 Where: Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Ring in 2018 at the 16th annual Big Night San Diego New Year’s Eve celebration! Big Night San Diego is the perfect, all-inclusive night out; each ticket includes unlimited drinks, access to the fully-stocked buffet, and a variety of live entertainment and DJs throughout the ten different party zones. The hotel will be transformed into “Countdown City” and the perfect location to celebrate the New Year! Guests will be free to roam, beverage in hand, from party room to party room; get your groove on in the Retro Zone or in one of the several Club Zones, or check out the silent disco. All the while, about a dozen popular bands and deejays will be playing throughout the gala’s many party areas.
Bottoms Up at ALTITUDE Sky Lounge
When: December 31, 2018 Where: ALTITUDE Sky Lounge (at the Marriott San Diego Gaslamp Quarter); 660 K St, San Diego 92101.
Ring in the New Year at the epic rooftop ALTITUDE Sky Lounge, atop the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. Your free-flowing celebration will include unlimited well drinks, domestic beers, and free-flowing champagne all night for only $189/person, plus unlimited food at gourmet dining stations, a New Year’s Eve countdown, party favors, and live music from local DJs. The dining stations will consist of an array of California cuisine with a carving station, raw seafood bar, a chocolate fountain, and more.
There’s really no better holiday or winter tradition or way to get into the holiday spirit than going around to see Christmas light displays in San Diego! With so many unique neighborhoods in the area – each with their own vibe – there are countless light displays throughout the County. It can get a bit overwhelming to try and track them all down, so we’ve gone ahead and picked out some of the very best! Here’s your guide to the best Christmas lights in San Diego and San Diego County. (Updated 2018).
Sights & Sounds of Christmas: San Diego Temple
The Mormon Temple off I-5 near La Jolla is an awesome feat of architecture, and definitely worth a visit even during the daytime (although only members of the church are allowed inside). This holiday season, it turns into a winter wonderland–walk the Temple grounds and enjoy more than 130,000 lights and nativity scenes. Admission is free.
December 1st – January 1st; 5pm-11pm. 7474 Charmant Dr., UTC.
San Diego Bay Parade of Lights: The Bay
Now in its 46th year, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is truly a sight to behold. Presented by the Port of San Diego, the boat parade of more than 80 lavishly decorated vessels has become an iconic Christmas light installation in the area. This year’s theme is “Arrgh! A Pirate’s Christmas,” so you’ll be sure to see plenty of pirate-themed boats and decorations! The parade starts at Shelter Island, travels through the harbor and ends at the Ferry Landing in Coronado.
December 10th & 17th; 5pm.
Forward House: Banker’s Hill/Downtown
This famous historic house was built in 1905 for then-San Diego Mayor John Forward Sr, and has been adorned with an array of holiday lights every season since 1998. It’s a beautiful, two-story house, and essentially every inch is covered in lights – this is a must-see.
Through December 31st; 5pm-10pm. 108 Ivy Street (1st & Ivy), San Diego.
Luminaria: South Park
It’s South Park’s very own season of lights! Every tree, lamp post, roof, and courtyard is decorated with lights and ribbons. Stroll through the neighborhood and stop along the way at one of the coffee shops or restaurants in the area.
November 17th – January 1st; starts at dusk. Along 30th St. and Fern St. from Juniper to Grape and Beech Streets.
The Belardo Lights display has a beautiful story behind it. Started by the father of two boys, both diagnosed with autism, who wanted to create a special Christmas tradition that they could look forward to and work on together each year. Every year since 2006, he and his sons have worked to create the display entirely from scratch, and this year they’ve upped the ante even further with new light displays. For an extra bonus, this year’s display is synchronized to festive music played on 106.1 FM.
Through December 27th; 6pm-10pm. 5306 Belardo Drive, San Diego.
Christmas Park: Clairemont
More than 30 homes are lit up with holiday lights in an area of Clairemont that’s been dubbed “Christmas Park.” The circular street’s colorful display has been going strong since 1977 and continues to delight both locals and out-of-towners alike.
December 1st – December 25th. Lana Drive & Jamar Drive (off Mt. Abernathy), San Diego.
Jingle Bell Hill: El Cajon
Tucked away in El Cajon, you’ll find nearly 80 homes lit up with all kinds of festive holiday themes (some get super creative here, as well). We’ve seen Nightmare Before Christmas references, among others! The display has grown significantly in recent years, lending it its nickname; it used to be called simply the “Pepper Drive Lights.”
December 7th – December 26th; Mon-Thurs 6pm-9pm, Fri-Sun 6pm-10pm. Solomon Ave & Pegeen Place/Pepper Drive plus surrounding areas.
1838 El Pico Drive: El Cajon
This Christmas light installation is a seriously longstanding local tradition – it’s now going on its 53rd year decorating the 20-foot star that stands 100 feet above El Cajon valley. Visitors will also see a 55-foot long automated train and extensive automated yard decorations.
December 15 – 31st; dusk-10pm. 1838 El Pico Drive, off Hacienda Drive, El Cajon.
Merry-tage Court: Scripps Ranch
This display is definitely pop culture oriented, with nods to Star Wars, Minions, Cars, and more. The entire street gets creative and lights up, so don’t miss this one if you’re in the area!
December 1st – December 31st; 5:30pm-9:30pm. Stonebridge Pkwy. & Merritage Court, San Diego.
This is one of the liveliest light displays in the County. Each year, residents decorate their yards with plywood greetings depicting cartoon characters or Christmas themes. The display was actually started in 1982 by Rancho Peñasquito resident Alana Hastings as a way to share the holiday spirit of the tight-knit community with others in the city. Originally, only about 15 families participated; now, there are more than 200 – and several have even been known to hand out some hot chocolate!
Nightly from dusk-10pm. Ellingham, Oviedo, and Renato streets off Black Mountain Road.
Knob Hill: San Marcos
This display, located at 1639 Knob Hill Rd. in San Marcos, has been lighting up the North County neighborhood since 1988. Over the decades, it has grown to more than 85,000 lights, powered up nightly through Dec. 30. Visitors will also see 100 plastic holiday figures, 80 snowmen and 100 candy canes, to name a few of the bells and whistles. Santa Claus visits Knob Hill each year and, this season, he’ll be there from Dec. 14 through Dec. 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., listening to Christmas wishes and spreading cheer.
Through December 30th from 5pm-9pm. 1639 Knob Hill Road, San Marcos.
Candy Cane Lane: Poway
Entire cul-de-sacs are lit up in Poway, with more than 100 homes decorating for the holiday season. Parking can be tricky here, so it’s usually best to park a few blocks away and walk through the displays on your own little Christmas light tour.
December 10 – 24; 6pm-9pm. Stoutwood Street, near Brookstone Drive; Poway.
Fairway Village: Carmel Mountain Ranch
Each year, Carmel Mountain Ranch also spreads holiday magic of its own via Fairway Village, a neighborhood located on the east and west sides of Stoney Gate Place. There, around 80 homes are decked out in Christmas lights through New Year’s Day. Visitors will sometimes find residents playing holiday movies outside, carolers and dancers. On the Saturday evening before Christmas, this neighborhood typically holds a block party featuring hot chocolate, cider, music, lights, cookies, snacks and more. Santa has also been known to make an appearance — depending on the workload at the North Pole, of course.
Through January 1st; 5:30pm-10:30pm. East and west sides of Stoney Gate Place, 92128.
In Santee, this massive lights display known as “Starlight Circle” draws crowds year after year. Located on East and West Glendon circles off Magnolia Avenue, visitors can see elaborate, handmade Christmas displays spanning dozens of homes. Many of the displays follow a theme – from “Star Wars” and superheroes to “Toy Story” and “Sesame Street.” Sometimes, the residents will sell hot cocoa, kettle corn, cookies and other holiday treats, for visitors to enjoy as they stroll the neighborhood. The lights are usually on from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly.
Nightly from 5:30pm – 10pm. Along Tomel Court, off Magnolia St. in Santee.
Also in Santee is “DB Christmas,” a dazzling display created by Michael Balazs each year at his home. The lights – in honor of Balazs’ late father, who died from cancer in 2009 – include thousands of multi-colored strings, spiraling Christmas trees, lawn displays that read “HOPE” and “CURE,” and even holograms of Santa Claus projected on the windows of the home. Balazs’ display is synced to holiday music played on 98.5FM; he collects donations from spectators to support charities such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on behalf of his father. Balazs said he gets his holiday cheer from his dad, who loved Christmas.
Nightly from 5 pm to 10pm. 9773 Roe Drive, Santee.
Tinsel Town: Lakeside
Each year, more than 20 houses are lit up in Lakeside with festive lights and front-yard decorations. This neighborhood definitely goes all out for the Christmas season!
Nightly from 5pm-10pm. 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr., Lakeside.
Other Light Displays
If you’re looking for Christmas lights that aren’t in residential neighborhoods, here are a few places around the County to go:
Jungle Bells: San Diego Zoo. Enjoy the Zoo in holiday mode until January 1st, 9am-8pm every day, complete with a holiday light display, animal experiences, costumed characters, and live music. Head over to Balboa Park after for more holiday cheer! Read our guide for more information about how to purchase San Diego Zoo tickets this holiday season.
Christmas Celebration at SeaWorld San Diego.This year, SeaWorld is totally decked out with more than a million lights plus a 40-foot Christmas tree with an animated light show. Don’t forget to check out Rudolph’s Christmastown and the new O Wondrous Night, a living nativity performed every night. Through January 6th. For more information about how to purchase Seaworld San Diego tickets this holiday season, check out our guide.
Everyone knows that hosting the holidays can take your stress level from 0 to 60 in no time; but, not to worry, with careful planning and our top San Diego expert event planning tips, this year will be the holiday entertaining season that you actually enjoy as much as your guests! Here’s how to get some holiday event planning in San Diego done this season.
Make a list!
The ultimate way to create a stress-free holiday is to live by a list: plan ahead, and don’t be afraid to delegate. Know what you’re capable of and comfortable doing, and give other people things to do so you aren’t stuck doing everything. Asking guests to help with tasks when planning an event makes them feel more involved and more times than not they are happy to help, so never be afraid to ask!
Stock up on supplies
You’ll never run out of supplies if you shop with an aim to entertain! Stock your pantry with a selection of small bites and appetizers to nibble on as they chat. A well-placed charcuterie, fresh veggies and dip, or even nuts and cracker assortments can all go a long way, and a signature cocktail that you can have prepared ahead-of-time in large batches will make day-of preparations much easier. Include fun holiday treats such as candy canes or sugar cookies for guests with a sweet tooth.
Pick an awesome venue
If you’re hosting this year, make sure your home is set up to encourage conversation and comfort. A vibrant and cheery atmosphere that guest will want to stay and enjoy is always key! Having open spaces where guests can feel free to chat and socialize with others is a great idea, as well as having seating options so your guests can get comfortable and enjoy the party.
If you’re planning to host a party at an outside venue (such as a restaurant or bar), be sure to book the site well in advance. Having a solid headcount ahead of time is essential to ensuring the venue can accommodate you and your guests. The more you get done ahead of time, the less stress you’ll have during the weeks and days leading up to the event, which is already packed with stress as it is! However, one of the great things about San Diego is its plethora of awesome venues – from restaurants and bars to fun event halls, there is no shortage of great spots to host your holiday event right here in San Diego especially in areas such as La Jolla or Downtown San Diego.
Some of our favorite event venues in San Diego include The Darlington House (a great space to throw a holiday garden party in the heart of La Jolla – there are rooms to explore around every corner at this beautiful home!) and the gorgeous La Valencia, which does a great job of hosting grandiose private events all year long for any celebration.
Save time with catering
If you want to host the event but don’t feel up to the challenge of feeding all of those people yourself, holiday catering is the way to go. Whether you’re looking for a full-service menu here are a few spots in San Diego and La Jolla that cater to all sorts of events and parties year-round, including:
The French Gourmet
Giuseppe Restaurants & Catering
Water’s Fine Foods and Catering
However if you are on a tight budget, preparing the food yourself can be a huge money saver. Maybe invite some friends over the night before to help prepare the food in advanced so the tasks isn’t solely placed on you.
There are tons of great ways to shake things up at your next holiday event. Planning interactive activities or games is a fantastic way to get people out of their comfort zones and chip away at lingering discomfort. Making sure you have a variety of activities for guests is also an easy way to make things go smoothly. Here are some other fun ideas for a different spin:
Charades may feel cheesy, but getting people to laugh at themselves is a great icebreaker
Run a food or clothing drive to collect items to donate to a local nonprofit
Plan a Secret Santa (or even better, White Elephant) gift exchange
Another fun option is to rent a photo booth with some funny and festive props. Guests can capture their special moments and take their group pictures home to remember the occasion.
If you have a flexible budget consider hiring a band for some live music.
Or, you may want to hire a professional photographer to capture all those fun candid moments. You could also choose a little more of a low-key experience like a wine tasting station, where everyone can sample various wines and learn about some different varieties.
Create a fun signature cocktail
If you’re hosting, creating a special cocktail for the night is a fun way to celebrate the holiday and make your event unique – and it can keep the cost of multiple drink options down. It’s also the perfect opportunity to come up with a fun name that gets attendees in the spirit of the festivities. Don’t feel intimidated; most of us aren’t natural mixologists!
To get started, get some inspiration from well-known recipes, or copy a recipe and simply make a play on the name. You can also follow these tips for creating your own cocktails. Whatever you choose, make sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives in addition to a few standard wine and beer options for those who aren’t fans of mixed drinks.
The annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival returns to the Village Sunday December 2nd, 2018 from 10:30am to 5pm. The parade will begin at 1:30pm at Girard Ave and Kline Street, and end at the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla (700 Prospect Street). The holiday festival will start at 10:30am and go until 1:00pm, and will include photos with Santa and live stage entertainment. A tradition that’s been going strong for nearly six decades, the parade and festival are one of La Jolla’s most treasured holiday activities!
This year, the Holiday Festival will begin at 10:30 am and end at 1pm, with live stage entertainment in front of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. There will also be some arts and crafts and the opportunity to take photos with Santa! The theme changes every year; this year’s being “The Sounds of Christmas.”
The parade will begin at 1:30pm at Girard Ave. and Kline Street. It will head down Girard and make a left onto Prospect, where it will finish in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla.
Santa’s highly anticipated visit to the Christmas Parade is provided by Sunrise Rotary. He will be driven in the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s Old Black Goose, a classic 1915 Black Packard Convertible; making it a truly classic La Jolla Christmas!
There will more participants than ever before this year from local businesses – the La Jolla Historical Society, the Rotary Club, the Gillispie School, and Birch Aquarium. More than a dozen floats, equestrians, beauty queens and princesses, marching bands, and of course, fire engines, will make up the rest of the Parade. Car lovers will be excited about the lineup of rare and vintage vehicles this year; keep your eye out for some of the rarer cars, like this year’s Antique 1988 560SL Mercedes.
A Few Tips
Parking will be extremely limited the day-of, and many streets will become tow-away zones starting at 9:30am. This includes most of Girard Avenue (between Torrey Pines and Kline), most of Kline (between Ivanhoe and Fay), and Herschel (between Torrey Pines and Silverado).
Most of Girard Avenue and Prospect Street will be closed, as this is the parade route. Vehicles that are parked in zones cordoned off for the parade or festival will be towed! Make sure you’re aware of all signs and that you park in a designated area.
You’ll find all the Holiday Festival activities on the grounds of the La Jolla Rec Center, where the parade will end at 3pm. It’s an easy walk from the parade’s starting location, so it might be easier to just keep your car parked in one spot for the day.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year for anyone, but especially so for the little ones in your life! Each holiday season, San Diego comes to life with dazzling lights, live shows, outdoor markets, and sweet treats. Experience the best of this year’s holiday magic with the whole family at these kid-friendly holiday events and activities in San Diego – from nighttime fun at the San Diego Zoo to a LEGO themed holiday wonderland! Whether you’re a San Diego expert looking for fresh ideas, or simply coming into town for the holidays we’ve got you covered!
La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival
Spread some holiday cheer at one of La Jolla’s most beloved traditions: the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival! Complete with marching bands, floats, vintage automobiles, and of course, Santa Claus, this is a family-friendly event that shouldn’t be missed.
You’ll see floats, marching bands, community groups, drill teams, vintage vehicles, horses, and more. There will also be a Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony, featuring children’s arts and crafts, live entertainment, educational exhibits, and photos with Santa, all steps away from one of the most magnificent ocean views San Diego has to offer. Stay tuned for the lighting of La Jolla’s official Christmas Tree at the La Jolla Rec Center!
SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration
Starts November 17 SeaWorld San Diego’s Christmas Celebration is a great way to spend the day with kids; complete with seasonal shopping, festive food and drinks, and fun live shows. Holiday music will fill the air and guests will walk through a sea of lighted trees sparkles, transforming the park into a wintery, watery wonderland. Visit Santa’s Christmas Village to see Santa himself, meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends, and savor holiday flavors as you shop for unique gifts and decorations. Don’t forget to check out the massive 40-foot Christmas tree!
Balboa Park December Nights
December 7 & 8
Balboa Park December Nights is the largest free community festival in San Diego. This event is one of the most popular kid-friendly holidays in San Diego and is entering its 40th year with festive fun, food and attractions throughout the park. This event includes complimentary admission to Balboa Park museums from 5-9 p.m. Be sure to arrive early because December Nights draws thousands of visitors. Consider parking off-site and taking advantage of one of the complimentary shuttles.
Holiday Festival at Hotel Del Coronado
Join the Hotel Del Coronado for its Annual Holiday Festival! The evening will feature the season kickoff of Skating by the Sea, professional ice skating demonstrations, and spectacular fireworks displays. Children will delight at Santa’s Village, which will be filled with games, prizes, and photos with St. Nick. Best of all, families and friends will be front row at a holiday performance by Coronado’s schools. Afterwards, don’t miss out on the carnival games and the chance to make magical holiday memories with roasting s’mores on the beach! Tickets are available to purchase online.
Holidays at LEGOLAND
Through December 31st
Enjoy holly jolly fun throughout LEGOLAND with festive shows and décor all month long. The whole family will feel the holiday spirit when they see the 30-foot LEGO Christmas tree trimmed with awesome LEGO ornaments as it sparkles each night with music and light. This year, there will be new shows and live entertainment including a new holiday light show; LEGO Holiday character meet-and-greets at the new Holiday Village; special holiday treats and food offerings, including peppermint shakes, Nutella and peppermint crepes, and more; and a Fun Town Holiday Market on select days with limited time food offerings, such as grilled sausages, giant Bavarian pretzels, and spiced wine. LEGOLAND Hotel is also a great place to stay with kids, as it’s possibly the most kid-friendly hotel in all of the hotels in San Diego. The LEGO themed hotel fully adopts the LEGO theme throughout the guest rooms to the outdoor swimming pool.
Tree Lighting at La Valencia Hotel
Join La V’s annual family-friendly holiday tradition in La Sala Lounge at La Valencia Hotel (1132 Prospect Street), complete with warm holiday beverages, homemade cookies, classic carols, and children’s arts and crafts. The La Jolla Country Day School Madrigal Singers will begin caroling at 5pm, and the official Tree Lighting will be held at 6pm. Live entertainment from Roman Palacios will follow to complete the evening.
North Park Toyland Parade
Unwrap some magic this holiday season and partake in festive fun at the 55th Annual North Park Toyland Parade & Festival! Gliding down University Ave. between Utah and Iowa Streets, this cheerful Parade will feel like a Winter Wonderland, as marching bands, upbeat dance groups, cool vintage cars, beauty queens, city officials and more, warm your spirits. Santa Claus will be riding atop his merry red fire engine, and kids will delight in the colorful, festive floats and live music. All-day parking will be available for $1 at the North Park Parking Garage. The parade will be from 10am-1pm.
Seas ‘n’ Greetings at Birch Aquarium
Through December 31st
The magic of the holidays meets the magic of the underwater world at Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla during Seas ‘n’ Greetings, a month-long holiday celebration featuring SEAsonal activities for the whole family! Birch Aquarium will be transformed into a holiday wonderland all month long. Deck the Hall (of Fishes) and get into the holiday spirit every day from 9am to 5pm and check the schedule for special appearances by Scuba Santa, as well as themed animal encounters, a scavenger hunt, and fun photo opportunities. All Seas ‘n’ Greetings activities are included with admission ($19.50 for adults, $15 for children ages 3-17).
Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo
December 8 – January 1
This holiday season, the San Diego Zoo will be transformed into a wild wonderland of twinkling lights, merry-making performances, and festive foods. Santa will be on hand before Christmas to visit with the little ones, and some of his elves keep things hopping with an energetic trampoline performance, the Toy Shop Hop. For more Santa-themed adventures, there will be two special 4-D experiences: a train ride to the North Pole through the magic of The Polar Express and Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas, where guests join Manny, Sid, and Diego on a fun adventure.
From Dr. Zoolittle’s animal-themed version of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to the Northern Frontier Holiday Forest aglow with stunning, specially decorated and lit trees, Jungle Bells is a fun event for the whole family! Sounds of the season will fill the air with an interactive jingly, jazzy carol session and a strolling musician engages guests in songs of the season. Don’t miss the two “dancing light” experiences set to holiday music.
Garden of Lights at San Diego Botanic Garden
December 1-23 & 26-30
Each December, the San Diego Botanic Garden is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 125,000 sparkling lights for a magical holiday experience. Festive holiday activities for the whole family include sledding, holiday arts and crafts, a Nutcracker display, marshmallow roasting, food trucks, hot mulled wine, beer and refreshments, as well as visits with Santa (Dec. 1 – 23) and horse-drawn wagon rides. Enjoy great live entertainment, including local blues and jazz bands, every night from 6pm-8pm, as well as delicious treats and food from Isaac’s Catering and local food trucks.
Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Balloon Parade
If your little ones love all things balloons, this is the holiday event for you! This New Year’s Eve, the scenic, bayside streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade. As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons – more than any other parade in the western United States!
More than 100,000 street-side spectators will enjoy the parade this year, along with a nationwide television audience, to celebrate the big Holiday Bowl game with the parade. Street side viewing of the parade is totally free, so bring the whole family! The parade starts at 10am, but we recommend arriving early as parking downtown can be even more difficult during big events.
Frosty Farm at Helen Woodward Animal Center
December 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 15 & 16
This festive event in San Diego combines hands-on animal encounters with family-friendly activities, which makes it the perfect place to create new memories! In addition to fun activities that you can do at your own pace, families will also get a one-hour excursion led by a member of their crew; this includes season’s greetings with a variety of animals, and a holiday craft that is yours to keep. “Santa’s helpers” will be at Frosty Farm from 9am-1pm each day, so you can arrive before your excursion starts or stick around after to enjoy several activities, including a personal meet-and-greet with Santa, photo ops with animals, a petting zoo, a variety of arts and crafts, an elf obstacle course, cookie decorating and hot cocoa, holiday music, face painting, and outdoor games.
For more San Diego holiday ideas, visit our events page!
It’s that time of year again – Halloween is just around the corner, you’re beginning to see Fall colors in San Diego, and the spooky celebrations are already getting started! Leave the trick-or-treating to the kids and throw on your best costume to roam the streets and clubs of downtown San Diego and beyond – from epic outdoor parties to all-night bar crawls, there’s definitely something for everyone happening this Halloween.
Halloween Pacific Beach Pub Crawl
When: October 27, 2018
Come in costume and hit the streets of Pacific Beach for a Halloween pub crawl night out! Tickets to this year’s Pacific Beach Halloween pub crawl will get you drink discounts and free welcome shots and entry at over 10 different Halloween parties. Featuring some of the best bars with amazing drink and entertainment specials, there’s no shortage of fun entertainment at this year’s Pacific Beach Pub Crawl. Meet new friends and visit new places on one of the most popular nights of the year, and prepare to dress yourself up in one of your favorite costumes!
San Diego Pre-Halloween Pub Crawl
When: October 26, 27, 31
Put on your best costume for this massive Halloween Pub Crawl over three Spook-tacular nights with a half dozen bars! During select hours on the 26th, 27th, and 31st. Show your wristband at over 10 different bars and nightclubs for free entry and exclusive drink specials including free welcome shots at select venues. The best part? There’s no schedule – so you and friends roam the streets at your own pace and party non-stop all night. This year’s pre-Halloween Pub Crawl will happen on three separate nights at the end of October.
San Diego Zombie Crawl Gaslamp Takeover
When: October 26, 27, 31
If you love Halloween, dining and the nightlife, you won’t want to miss San Diego’s #1 Halloween Celebration! Your San Diego Zombie Crawl ticket includes three nights of access to more than 25 premier club destinations, welcome shots, and food and beverage specials in the Gaslamp Quarter and downtown San Diego. Closing parties will be held at different clubs each night: Parq Restaurant/Nightclub, Bassmnt, and Omnia, three of the most popular spots in San Diego. This is the ultimate way to experience the nightlife and Halloween festivities the Gaslamp Quarter is famous for!
Sinners & Saints: Night at the Haunted Museum
When: October 26, 2018
Head to the San Diego Museum of Man for a spooktacular extravaganza as they raise money for a great cause: Urban Street Angels and the mission to end youth homelessness in San Diego and beyond. 100% of proceeds from the event go directly to aiding homeless youth in the local community.
Sinners & Saints promises to be a frightfully fantastic evening with delectable appetizers, stocked bars, costume contests, live entertainment from DJ Aaron K, and amazing raffle and silent auction items. The Museum will have all of their exhibits open for your enjoyment, including Ancient Egypt, Monsters, and Beerology, so it’s a great time to explore everything Balboa Park has to offer!
When: October 27, 2018
Monster Bash is now WCKD Village! After 19 years of thrilling festivals, Monster Bash is getting WCKD: prepare to enter into a realm of electrifying adventures as San Diego’s favorite Halloween festival returns, bringing you all the exhilaration of previous years, with a new WCKD twist. Six blocks in the East Village will transform right before your eyes as the WCKD Village comes to life.
Life-size interactive games, four stages of live music and entertainment, extravagant thrills, a creepy costume contest, and haunting experiences (including The Demented Circus and The Village Crypt) converge to become one of San Diego’s biggest Halloween parties of the year!
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Nightmare on Normal Street
When: October 27, 2018
Hillcrest’s epic haunted dance party and Halloween costume competition is back! Nightmare on Normal will take over the Pride Flag Plaza at Normal and University on Saturday, October 2 from 6pm-11pm! This year’s event benefits the San Diego LGBT Community Center and Fabulous Hillcrest.
With late night live entertainment, costume contest (including a special pet contest for your furry, fuzzy, and feathery companions), outdoor bars, and the best people watching in all of San Diego, this is an event you won’t want to miss!
Hard Rock Hotel’s “A Halloween Odyssey”
When: October 27, 2018
Hard Rock Hotel is famous for throwing massive Halloween parties each year, and this year is no different! The theme for 2018 is “A Halloween Odyssey,” and guests will get to experience a chilling reenactment of Stanley Kubrick’s most infamous films on October 27th at one of the biggest parties of the evening.
More than 4,000 costumed party-goers will drink and dance in five rooms over three decked-out floors, each room with a different music format accompanied by a notorious Kubrick-inspired theme. Over 15 DJ’s and two headliners will keep the downtown odyssey going all night long. This year’s headliners include Oliver Heldens and several more TBA.
Hallo-wine and Spirits Party
When: October 27, 2018
Celebrate Halloween at San Diego’s famous haunted hotel on Saturday, October 27! Wear your best costume and head to the 9th annual, adults-only Hallo-wine & Spirits Party full of spooky surroundings, great eats, drinks, and dancing. This year’s theme is Legendary Screams from the Silver Screen. Don’t forget to use #DelHallowine to post your photos and videos of the event!
The evening begins at 9 pm with a reception on the Garden Patio featuring culinary delights and wine tasting. Afterward, the party starts to head into the Crown Room for dessert, drinks, dancing, and the crowning of the year’s best Halloween costume. Make reservations early for this one, as tickets often sell out in advance. The event goes from 7pm-12am.
Halloween Yacht Party
When: October 27, 2018
If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate Halloween this year, try a harbor cruise! Guests will board the Spirit of San Diego from San Diego Harbor for a three-hour cruise with hundreds of fellow costumed party guests. The luxury party yacht will feature all kinds of treats and appetizers, a full bar, DJs and dancing on multiple levels, and costume parties (including a chance to win a $500 cash prize for best costume!). The event is 21+ and the cruise starts at 9 pm.
For more Halloween festivities, fun, events, and Fall activities, visit our Events Page to stay up-to-date on the city’s latest happenings!
The 2018 La Jolla Art & Wine Festival returns to downtown La Jolla on October 6th and 7th! Now in its tenth year, this two-day festival is packed full of great art from more than 120 juried artists, a beer and wine garden featuring local brews and wine from California’s best wineries, a kids’ activity zone, and plenty of food and local craft vendors. Along with a gourmet marketplace, a two-day silent auction, 15 pet adoption stations, and an all-star line-up of live entertainment and music, there is something for everyone at this local festival!
Wine & Beer Garden
Festival visitors who are 21 and older can enjoy regional and international wines as well as local San Diego craft beers at the Wine & Beer Garden. Stop by and sample delectable wines from Valle De Guadalupe, California, France, and of course, a wide variety of internationally renowned brews by several local San Diego craft breweries.
This year, the festival will be highlighting two great restaurants in the Wine and Beer Garden! Sample bites from the Melting Pot on Saturday and Farmer & the Seahorse on Sunday.
Single wine or beer tasting: $5 Five tastes: $20
Live Music & Stage Entertainment
On both days, there will be live entertainment on two different stages starting at 12pm, and ending at 7pm. Artist highlights this year include Whitney Shay, the La Jolla High Marching Band, and Stone Horse.
Some highlights of this year’s live entertainment include a variety of different talks and discussions from local businesses. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the stilt walkers! They’ll be wandering around the festival (and make for some great photo ops) all day.
Geppetto’s Family Art Center & Lab
The Geppetto’s Family Art Center and Lab is an extensive family area that will not only feature fun crafts and art projects, but will also include science experiments and other participatory activities for kids of all ages.
The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival encourages kids to roll up their sleeves and express themselves, all day long. Kids will be able to paint on a car, enjoy multiple hands-on activities, learn all about how 3-D printing works, and contribute to a public space art project. The inspiration is endless and the fun is abundant in this free activity center that continues to grow every year.
Art is definitely the highlight of the festival! Featuring the works of over 150 established artists from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Baja and beyond, the LJAWF features something for everyone. The carefully curated, handpicked and juried collection of artists truly showcases the incredible talent of today’s top creators in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, jewelry design, fine glass, ceramics, woodwork, mixed media, and photography. You’ll be able to purchase most artwork that you see, and the artists will be around to answer any questions or discuss their work.
Stay tuned for more detailed information on which artists will be there this year!
There will be several auction items this year for trips, spa resorts (including Rancho la Puerta), La Jolla’s finest restaurants, jewelry, and clothes from our best boutiques, gift certificates for local hair and spa services – and much more.
There will be two separate auctions, one on Saturday and a separate one on Sunday. Last year the silent auction raised more than $26,000 to support the underfunded programs in the elementary and middle schools in La Jolla! All of the profits go towards a fantastic cause.
Food, Food, and More Food!
The food never disappoints at the LJAWF! From Greek food to crepes to Maine lobster and everything in between – this is more than your typical festival food so be prepared to indulge in something delicious at this year’s food court. Here’s a list of this year’s vendors!
Bread & Cheese Catering
Hunter’s Steak House
Cousins Maine Lobster
Bullseye Kettle Corn & Shaved Ice
Rebound Nutraceuticals / Magic Bullet
Tacos El Rorro
Isola Pizza Bar
Sicilian Breeze Gelato
Desert Valley Concessions
Hawaiian Honey Cones
Lick it Lolly Pops
La Jolla Art & Wine Festival Hours & Location
Saturday, October 6th: 10am-6pm
Sunday, October 7th: 10am-6pm
The festival will take place all along Girard Avenue, between Torrey Pines Road and Prospect Street.
For more information and an up-to-date activity and event schedule, visit the LJAWF website.
Spending time outdoors is pretty much a given if you live in San Diego, and dining al fresco is no exception! There are few better ways to spend a lazy weekend afternoon than hanging out on a rooftop, cocktail in hand, enjoying the sunshine. From panoramic views of the downtown skyline to chic rooftops along the coast, there are a ton of fantastic rooftop bars in San Diego perfect for doing just that. Here’s a rundown of our seven must-see favorites!
660 K Street San Diego, 92101
Standing at 22 stories, Altitude Sky Lounge is the highest open-air rooftop bar in the area, which means you’ll have better views of the city here than anywhere else. In addition to the bird’s eye view of downtown, Coronado Island, Coronado Bridge, and Point Loma, ALTITUDE’s location next to Petco Park also means you can catch a free ball game during baseball season!
Their weekday Happy Hour is definitely a must-try. On Mondays-Fridays from 5 pm to 7 pm, well drinks are $7, domestic draft beers are $5, and artisan flatbreads are all half off. It’s the perfect spot for a little after-work cocktail action!
550 J St San Diego, CA 92101
Head to the Pendry Hotel Downtown for the city’s newest rooftop lounge. During the day the third-floor space is reserved for hotel guests, but from 5pm-9pm the general public is invited to the hotel’s daily rooftop social, with specials on drinks, light bites, and bottle service. We love the $1 oysters, available during the 5pm-6pm Happy Hour.
On Sundays, The Poolhouse turns into a daytime party venue featuring a ton of gourmet food options and a signature bar and cocktail experience; including bottle service, champagne, specialty cocktails, fresh juices, and frozen libations. The luxe urban oasis boasts private cabanas and lavish daybeds to lounge on, and a live DJ provides background tunes. It’s a fun way to end your week in style!
453 6th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101
An extravagant 14-story jewel in the Gaslamp Quarter, The Nolen features both a patio and a rooftop lounge. Its beautiful setting – which features a communal fire pit – underlies an immersive spirit-forward cocktail menu. Come for the drinks, but stay for the food at their Sunset Hour which features $6 select sips and snacks.
Consistently ranked among the hottest bars in San Diego, The Nolen also recently began serving Sunday brunch with a build-your-own mimosa setup and specialty cocktails. The cocktail menu highlights local small-batch distilleries and one-of-a-kind blends aged in American oak barrels; you’ll find classic drinks, like Sidecars, as well as new-age handcrafted spirits, like “Christmas in Nicaragua.” You can’t go wrong with anything on the list!
535 Fifth Ave. San Diego, 92101
Located in a prime spot in the Gaslamp Quarter, Rustic Root is a local favorite for its fresh, contemporary cuisine and yummy cocktails – and ideal for when you want a bit of a reprieve from insane lines and fighting for elbow room at the bar. The super-relaxed atmosphere pairs really well with the panoramic views for people watching along Sixth Avenue!
The rooftop bar menu here highlights rustic American cuisine, where dishes are packed with modern flavors. Their signature cocktails revolve around timeless and iconic classics, with the addition of more creative options like their craft cocktail shots – fun sip-sized versions of the classics finished with yummy garnishes.
7863 Girard Ave. La Jolla, 92037
This recent addition to Whisknladle Hospitality Group (open since 2015) is right here in La Jolla and boasts amazing sweeping views of La Jolla Village from the top of the Moroccan-themed La Plaza shopping center. With a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, the latter is a hands-down winner, allowing guests to enjoy lazy afternoon lunches, small plates, and leisurely dinners while taking in the sights from above.
Named after the coastal Italian city in Sicily, the restaurant focuses on authentic food from the area while highlighting seasonal ingredients. Their cocktails are all handcrafted with an Italian spin, and many feature a splash of Prosecco. Pro-tip: visit Catania on Mondays for their “Meatball Madness” special and a rotating assortment of traditional Italian dishes like chicken Marsala, eggplant Parmesan and, of course, spaghetti and meatballs. Stay through dusk for unparalleled sunset views!
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2001 Kettner Blvd. San Diego, 92101
One of Little Italy’s biggest hotspots, Kettner Exchange boasts a luxurious, stylish rooftop patio bar complete with private, curtained cabanas that come with their own flat-screen TV and wet bar. This particular patio is ideal for private parties, but if you’re looking to mingle, head to the dedicated bar and grab a seat by the counter or at one of the many tables.
The restaurant’s rooftop menu includes light bites and small plates; one of our favorites is the Bigeye Tuna Pizza, topped with red onions, ponzu, shiso, and truffle oil. Their cocktail menu is impressive and expansive and features everything from light and refreshing mixtures to high-end sipping whiskey. There is definitely something for everyone here!
435 6th Avenue San Diego, 92101
This fourth-floor rooftop in East Village, previously known as JSix Lounge and located at the Kimpton Solamar Hotel, has been completely revamped with a new layout and transformed into a luxurious, modern oasis. Cocktails and menu offerings were also updated with refreshing creations by executive chef Anthony Sinsay. Aside from the name change, it still offers sweeping views of Petco Park and surrounding buildings. You can enjoy outdoor games, fire pits, and private cabañas while you sip on a cocktail, or simply lounge poolside.
Some cocktail menu favorites include the East Fizz, a delicious combo of Grey Goose, grapefruit liqueur, and sparkling wine; and the Frosé, complete with dry rosé wine, Bacardi tangerine rum, and topped with fresh fruit. Fun pro-tip: On Mondays, the bar hosts “Veuve Around the Clock,” featuring a chilled glass of Veuve Clicquot for $5 at 5 pm, $6 at 6 pm, $7 at 7 pm, and $8 at 8 pm.
There you have it, 7 San Diego Rooftop Bars to visit this weekend. Looking for something a little closer to La Jolla? Check out our favorite spots in the Village for Happy Hour!
On August 17th, Flemings La Jolla will host their second Orin Swift Wine Dinner of the summer! The event will feature an incredible four-course meal prepared by Flemings exclusively for the event, paired with a series of wines from Orin Swift – and we are giving away two tickets!
In addition to a pre-dinner Reception with appetizers and a specialty wine feature, the main dinner at Flemings will include four courses.
The first course will feature a Peach Panzanella Salad with Mannequin from Orin Swift. The second course will feature Wild Mushrooms and Grit Toast, paired with Palermo from Orin Swift. Third will be a Filet Mignon topped with Crab and Shrimp, paired with Papillon; and fourth will feature a Key Lime Tart served with coffee and tea.
During the event, there will be multiple opportunities to win prizes, including raffles and giveaways. The prizes include bottles of wine, gift cards, rare skateboard desks crafted and painted exclusively for Orin Swift, and more.
We are giving away two tickets to this exclusive Wine Tasting & Dinner Pairing! Tickets are valued at $110 per person. Entries must be submitted by August 15th, 2018. To enter, visit our Giveaway Page. If you win, you’ll receive an email with instructions and details on the event!
Fleming’s La Jolla is located at 8970 University Center Lane, San Diego 92122. Flemings’ menu is filled with your fresh favorites and a local chef’s table that changes with the season. The bar manager has curated a wide selection of locally selected wines, hand-crafted cocktails, and spirits.
About Orin Swift Wines
The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and traveled to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying.”
A year later, he founded Orin Swift Cellars. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the brand to what it is today. Their eclectic varieties of wine combine bold, intense flavors with balance and focused sleekness. The creative individuality of the labels is also a key part of the brand; the evocative packaging features classic art, dramatic photography, abstract image collages, and more.
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