Financial Tips for La Jolla Homeowners

As people get older, their financial assets become increasingly important. This can be especially true as people begin to build for their retirement. For homeowners in La Jolla, one of their most significant assets for retirement is their home. That is why learning some essential financial tips as a homeowner is one of the best ways to secure a home as an investment.

When it comes to securing home value, making sure to care for it properly is key to protecting it as a financial asset. Through continuous diligence with repairs and maintenance, homeowners in La Jolla can protect property values for themselves and their neighbors.

Understanding Home Care Basics

While interior décor and landscaping can help a home be aesthetically beautiful, the critical areas of a home should always be maintained first. This includes prioritizing the proper care of the structure and mechanical systems of the house.

Home Structure Maintenance

Structural maintenance usually involves the roof, siding, windows, and the frame. Checking the home for any problems in these areas and promptly repairing them will protect the house from structural degradation. Roofs usually have a minimum 25-year lifespan if they are properly maintained on a regular basis. However, if the roof system is not properly maintained, water damage and sub-roof wood rot can become problematic and costly. 

Additionally, it is vitally important to protect residential property against the threat posed by insects and rodents. Proper pest control in La Jolla keeps infestations from taking over a property. While there are a number of things homeowners can do to prevent pests from gaining a foothold, calling the Joshua’s Pest Control – San Diego office might be necessary for infestations already underway. Unattended infestations can cause thousands of dollars in damage in a home in just a few years. If left untreated, the cost for repairs can reach significantly higher levels. 

Home Mechanical System Maintenance

Home mechanical systems are best-taken care of when the first symptoms arise. Two of the major mechanical problems for homes in La Jolla include electrical power surges and lack of proper electrical capacity. When a power surge occurs, certain electrical outlets in the home may begin to malfunction. If this occurs, it should be addressed quickly by a licensed electrician.  

Additionally, homes that have frequent problems with reduced electrical system capacity, prioritizing a system upgrade is essential. If either of these problems is not tended to properly, there is an increased risk for electrical system overloads, which can lead to house fires.  

Property Upgrades

Keeping up with proper upgrades such as kitchen and bathroom remodeling when necessary, is vital to protect the home’s value. Since these rooms are the most widely used, the care of the plumbing, upgrading fixtures as needed, and changing flooring in these rooms should be a priority. 

Proper Insurance Coverage- Lack of adequate home insurance can be a nightmare. Since homes in the La Jolla region are at a heightened risk for earthquakes, high winds and wildfires, having proper insurance is a necessity.  One of the biggest risk areas for loss for Southern California homeowners is not having proper home insurance coverage. Home insurance values and plans should be revisited for adequate coverage every five to ten years. If the home has had any upgrades, the policy should be reflective of the increase of home value.

Home Improvements and Aesthetics

Long term upgrades to the exterior and interior of a home, including aesthetics, are valuable. Upgrades that improve square footage, as well as the function, are always beneficial. These can include improvements to landscaping, flooring, wall coverings, and appliances. When hiring a contractor, it is critical to ensure they are a reliable, licensed, and bonded contractor. Hiring an inexpensive contractor that does half the job or a poor job can be costly to repair. Usually, with a little research, you can find a reliable contractor at a reasonable price.

4th of July Fireworks & Celebrations in San Diego

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

Annual Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show

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

Where to watch:

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

SeaWorld San Diego 4th of July Fireworks & Celebration

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

Ocean Beach July 4th Celebration

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

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

Old Town San Diego 4th of July

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

4th of July Celebration in Coronado

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

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

San Diego County Fair 4th of July Celebrations

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

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

Red, White, and Boom!

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

fireworks san diego la jolla

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

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

Poway 4th of July Fireworks

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

Oceanside Fireworks

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

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

Exploring Balboa Park: Museums, Gardens, & Dining

Balboa Park

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

Museums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Balboa Park Gardens

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

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

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

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

All of the gardens at Balboa Park:

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

San Diego Zoo

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

The Old Globe Theatre

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

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

Events

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

International Cottages Sunday:

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

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

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

December Nights:

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

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

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

In Conclusion

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

Uncovering the Roots of the Chumash People of Southern California

Long before there was the Hotel del Coronado, Hollywood, or Disneyland, Southern California was home to an indigenous population of people known as the Chumash. Researchers have uncovered many clues about the lifestyle of the people that lived along the southern coast. One thing scientists have not fully uncovered, however, is where those indigenous people came from. The original assumption was that thousands of years ago, they migrated from Asia via the glacier ice cap before it melted.

An obvious approach to unveiling the history of a state is to look at what the settlers named the state. When Spanish explorers first came to the coast, they named the place after a Black Amazon woman named Queen Calafia. She was the queen of an island called California, in a fictional novel that was popular in those days. This fact gives some insight as to how the natives looked. Finding clues as to where they came from, however, is a much more complicated assignment.

One might wonder how it is possible to link a modern group of people to a tribe from hundreds or thousands of years ago. This has been a challenging task for researchers for some time now. Fortunately, new technological advances have enabled scientists to gain more insight into the migration of native Californians. The most powerful advance in science is DNA testing. Testing the DNA on a fossil is difficult, but not impossible. Once the DNA of a fossil is abstracted, it can be compared to the DNA of a living person. Once a match is found, then the living person has an idea of where their ancestors came from.

One group of native Californians is the Chumash tribe. Although there are no longer any full-blood Chumash people left, modern DNA testing – much of which is being done with home kits like those reviewed at YourDNA – links the remaining descendants to earlier natives in the Americas. Recent studies have shocked the Chumash culture by showing that the migration of these people came from the Alaska area instead of Asia. The DNA tests showed strong matches between a fossilized jaw bone found near Alaska and Chumash people living today in California.

The remaining people of the Chumash tribe were surprised to learn that their roots are now being traced back to somewhere that is thousands of miles away from where they have been for multiple generations. These groundbreaking studies challenge everything scientists have thought about the origin of Native Americans who once lived in Southern California. Not to mention, the Chumash tribe, through DNA tests, have now learned that their ancestors and current relatives could very well be all along the coast of this continent. This discovery would not have been possible without DNA tests.

Learning this new information about where the Chumash culture started gives researchers a new area to look into in regards to human migration worldwide. While this newfound evidence does go against the theory of an eastward migration, it does support the theory of mankind having a common ancestor. None of this evidence is 100 percent proof of anything, but it does point scientists in the right direction. Also, it gives us a better understanding of cultural origins and why they have so many similarities. As more of these tests are done we can expect to have more light on who came from where.

legoland california

10 Reasons to Visit LEGOLAND California This Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. The whole family will love MiniLand USA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quintessential Festival 2019: Celebrate All Things San Diego!

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

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

Food, Beer, & Fun

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

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

A Few of This Year’s Participating Breweries

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

Food Vendors

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

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

About the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club

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

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

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

go san diego card

The GoCity San Diego Pass: Everything You Need to Know

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

What Is the Go San Diego Card?

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

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

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

How to Use the Go San Diego Card

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

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

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

Where to Purchase the Go San Diego Card

You can purchase one directly through us!

What to Know Before You Buy the Go San Diego Card

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Included Attractions in the Go San Diego Card

There are more than 40 attractions to choose from!

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

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

Exploring the New Children’s Museum in San Diego

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

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

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

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

About the Museum

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

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

Immersive Art Installations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art Studios & Activities

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

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

Other Activities

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

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

San Diego Attractions for Kids: Explore Balboa Park

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

Free Activities in Balboa Park

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

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

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

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

Balboa Park Playgrounds

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

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

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

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

balboa park

Fun Activities for Kids at Balboa Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

Balboa Park Gardens

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

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

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

Where to Eat at Balboa Park

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

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

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

QUIZ: Which San Diego Neighborhood Are You?

Anyone who’s spent some time in San Diego knows how eclectic, fun, and downright awesome America’s Finest City is! From enjoying our near-perfect year-round weather to indulging in some of the best craft beer in the country, there is no shortage of great ways to spend your time in our coastal city. But where to begin?! With dozens of different (and completely unique) neighborhoods and communities, it’s a tad overwhelming for visitors (or brand-new locals) to figure out which one is which – and more importantly, where they want to live! 

Are you a fun-loving extrovert who loves the hustle and bustle of urban downtown, or are you happier with a glass of wine and Netflix in a quiet suburb? Do you live for the beach, or are you the type to hit the trails every morning? Take our fun quiz to find out which San Diego neighborhood suits your personality! 

  • North Park
  • La Jolla
  • Ocean Beach
  • Little Italy
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • Pacific Beach
  • Mission Beach

GIVEAWAY!

That’s not all! One lucky winner will be chosen to receive a $50 gift card to Whisknladle La Jolla! All you have to do is complete the quiz to be eligible to win. 

The Best Views in San Diego

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

Torrey Pines Gliderport

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

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

Mt. Soledad

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

Sunset Cliffs

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

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

Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens

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

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

Stonewall Peak

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

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

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Traci Stark-Barnett (@tracistark) on

Powerhouse Park

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

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

Coronado Ferry Landing

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

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

La Jolla Cove

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

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

Top Fitness Studios in San Diego

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

Spark Cycle (Cycling)

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

Core Power (Yoga)

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

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

Trilogy Sanctuary (Yoga)

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

Studio Barre (Barre)

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

Club Pilates (Pilates)

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

Orangetheory Fitness (Cardio)

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

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

F45 Training (Circuit Training)

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

Bodyrok (Pilates)

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

Barry’s Bootcamp (Bootcamp)

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

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

Comparing San Diego and San Francisco Travel Experiences

The state of California is not simply a popular destination for vacationers within the United States. Millions of tourists from around the world come here every year for business and pleasure. There are many factors that play a role in this popularity. The fact that there are so many terrific cities to explore does have something to do with it. San Diego and San Francisco are definitely two of the cities that make this list of attractions. There are great reasons to choose either of these cities and also things to watch out for.

It doesn’t matter whether you are visiting San Diego for work or for vacation. You will discover attractions that are central to this city. Some of these include outdoor activities, restaurants, and shopping experiences. The same can be said about those going up north. Whether you’re sightseeing or overseeing condominium kitchen remodeling in San Francisco, the City by the Bay is sure to impress.

What San Diego Offers Travelers

Warm weather and sandy beaches are a part of the appeal for San Diego. There are many other attractions and excursions available here. A day trip to Tijuana, the San Diego Zoo, and the Mission San Diego de Alcala are just three of the popular things to do in the city. Those with kids may want to consider driving north to Carlsbad and visiting LEGOLAND California, since it’s only a 40-minute drive. Scheduling sightseeing tours will help you explore further.

Along with the terrific things in San Diego tourists need to be aware of things that could negatively impact their trips. Traffic is an example in this category to consider for those renting vehicles. Trolleys and public transportation provide shortcuts to getting around the city. If you are considering your budget when finding accommodations, the city hotel tax may be of interest to you. Not every travel guide will show you hidden treasures, so plan to get out and explore on your own for things to do.

What San Francisco Offers Travelers

If you are planning on visiting San Francisco you are like more than 26 million other travelers this year according to San Francisco Travel. This number is actually up 2.6% from last year’s visitors to the city. The city offers vacationers and tourists a lot to see and to do. It doesn’t matter whether you explore the wharf area or visit Alcatraz Island. You will discover things that are central to the area like tasty sourdough bowls of chowder or soup. The rolling hills of roadways and the most crooked street are attractions that vacationers love.

Traffic and smog are among the top things that may affect your experience while in the city. These don’t, however, have a big impact on most travelers. It is important to plan ahead when it comes to visiting popular locations and attractions. Since so many people come here some of these will be quite crowded. This is the case no matter what time of year you plan to travel. Homelessness is another issue that can be seen in many portions of the city. This doesn’t prevent vacationers from coming each year.

If you’re traveling to both San Diego and San Francisco, there is a way to fit in all of your top attractions. You may opt to fly into one city over the other on your trip. Depending on the length of your trip this may be a way to see the differences between Southern California vs. Northern California. This is an 8+ hour drive that is filled with scenic beauty and sights only seen in this amazing state. You will be able to embrace what makes it unique and interesting to tourists.

Why are Property Values So High in California?

Many people dream about living in California. The state is beautiful, the weather is nice, and the cities are iconic, to say the least. However, the property values in California are also known as being some of the highest in the country. This makes it difficult for many people to afford to own a home in the Golden State.

Let’s take a look at why that is.

Not Enough Housing

One of the reasons that housing costs are so high in San Francisco and other cities across California is because there is not enough housing to go around. The result is a disparity between supply and demand. According to the state housing department, the state needs to build 180,000 new houses every year in order to keep up with demand. However, California has only managed to build half of that over the past 10 years.

While many factors contribute to the failure to keep up with high demand for housing, one of the biggest obstacles is a lack of available land. While California is an enormous state – the third largest in the U.S. by size – the vast majority of its acres are hills and mountains spread across harsh desert. Nearly every nook and cranny of suitable land has been used up, and this is certainly the case the closer you get to the coast.

When new communities are developed, they’re designed to maximize the use of available space. While aspiring homeowners in California are happy to secure small plots of land to plant wildfire-resistant naturesseed.com blends and build the cozy little home of their dreams, attempts to squeeze the most out of available space can only go so far.

Growing Demand for Housing in Urban Areas

Not only is there not enough housing to go around but many Californians are trying to cram into urban areas. The Bay Area – which encompasses San Francisco, Oakland, and surrounding suburbs, is one of the fastest-growing areas in California. While the Bay Area only made up four percent of California’s growth between 2000 and 2007, this figure jumped to 20 percent from 2010 to 2017. 

Proposition 13

Proposition 13 was passed in 1978. The purpose of Proposition 13 was to reduce the amount of property tax that the government could collect. While it was designed to prevent Californians from paying sky-high property tax, it has had a lot of other negative consequences.

This has forced the local governments to use other sources for revenue. That is why the government would rather build retail a store on vacant land instead of a set of apartments.

Developers Face Changes

If a lack of housing is one of the things that has led to the housing crisis, then it would seem as though the simple solution would be to build more housing. However, it is difficult and time-consuming to do this. That is why developers are hesitant to build new housing.

The high cost of materials and labors has also made it difficult for developers to build new housing. It is more expensive to build housing in California than other places in the country. There are strict building codes that developers have to abide by. Furthermore, there has been a push to make the building designs more environmentally friendly. That is also making it harder for developers.

It is difficult to find an affordable real estate in San Diego and other major cities in California, but it’s not impossible. Californians simply have challenges that many other states do not have. On the other hand, the Golden State also has weather, culture, and an economy which is the envy of the world. People who want to live in that environment have to be prepared to pay a premium.

Things to Do in Southern California

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

Beaches

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

San Diego Zoo

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

The Strand Bike Path

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

Pacific Coast Highway

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

Griffith Observatory

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

Venice Beach

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

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

Where to Buy The Best Christmas Trees in San Diego

Ready to fill your home with the scent of fresh-cut pine? Look no further! We’ve rounded up some of the best Christmas Tree farms in San Diego, from u-pick ranches where you can cut your own to family-owned farms with incredible selections of pre-cut trees. These fantastic, family-owned San Diego tree farms are just a short drive away, so bring the whole family and ring in the holiday season the right way!

Mr. Jingle’s Christmas Trees

6710 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla 92037
Open 7 days a week, 11am-9pm
Mr. Jingles in La Jolla is a second generation family-owned Christmas Tree business that operates several locations throughout the country. Their trees are all freshly cut, loaded onto trucks, and shipped to each of our locations from the beautiful Cascade Mountains in Oregon each season. The one in La Jolla is a fun one-stop shop for all things Christmas: along with five different tree types, they also carry fresh garland, wreaths, and other decorations. And don’t forget to pick up a free Christmas bow and candy cane on your way in!

Once you select your tree, they’ll help you with a custom fit water bowl so your tree stays healthy and fresh throughout the season. If you have your own stand, make sure to bring it and they’ll put it on for you! They’ll help you secure the tree to your vehicle and ensure a safe, smooth ride home. You can also choose one of their delivery options and packages, which might be an easier way to go if you’re driving from San Diego.

Family Christmas Tree Farm (U-pick)

300 Pepper Drive, El Cajon
Open 9am-8:30pm, 7 days a week
This ten-acre, family-owned farm in El Cajon kicks off the season the day after Thanksgiving, and you can pick from a huge selection of native California Monterey Pine trees –– they provide the saw for cutting and the twine to secure the tree to your car. In addition to the u-chop experience, there’s an abundance of pre-cut tree varieties (Douglas Fir, Grand Fir) as well as potted trees, mistletoe, cinnamon brooms, and wreaths to choose from. Your freshly cut tree is flocked and picked up after it has had time to dry, which shouldn’t be a problem since the hay wagon rides, farm animals. and straw-bale playpen most definitely merit a second visit!

This family farm’s first Christmas tree season was in 1972, and generation after generation come to cut their tree here each year. It’s a wonderful place to partake in this holiday tradition, given the Farm’s friendly, small town community vibe that can’t be beat –– and you’re supporting local agriculture by picking your perfect holiday tree here.

Pine Tree Acres (U-pick option)

620 Haverford Road, Ramona 92065
Open weekdays 12pm-5pm; weekends 9am-5pm
Pine Tree Acres is a full-service Christmas tree farm that’s been in business for more than 25 years in the Ramona area. Choose from a variety of Noble Fir, Grand Fir, Fraser Fir and Nordman trees to take home this Christmas season; or cut your very own Monterey Pine for a fun family activity. This is definitely a fun spot to bring the family on weekends, as there are a bunch of activities happening through December 18th. Kids will love the inflatable party jump, or enjoy ornament and cookie decorating, outdoor games, a small holiday pop-up shop with ornaments and crafts, pony rides, a small petting zoo, and special Santa visits on certain weekends through December 11th.

Highland Valley Christmas Tree Farm (U-pick)

18425 Highland Valley Rd., Ramona
Open Thurs & Fri 12pm-4pm.; Sat. & Sun 9am-4pm
Tree cutting and wine is a winning combination at the Highland Valley Tree Farm! Take a road trip up to Ramona, where you’ll find this farm nestled next to a whimsical winery, the Principe di Tricase Winery. Families can come and stroll through the groves to choose and cut the perfect tree to cut and take home.

Be on the lookout for the Farm’s special Italian wishing tree while you’re there! This old tradition will delight your holiday guests (and definitely the younger ones): the tree’s piney limbs are filled with written wishes, from guests and the family who own the farm. Choose your tree and they’ll come cut, shake, net and even drill a hole in the trunk for your stand at no additional cost. The kids will love the hot cider, the little present they’ll receive, and on occasion, Santa Claus even stops by for a visit. There’s also an an aviary for watching the birds, a special price wine tasting, and tables and chairs at the Winery if you’d like to have a picnic and sip some wine before you head home. Prices start at $15/ft.

View this post on Instagram

May your days be merry and bright ✨

A post shared by Claire Coll (@claire.coll) on

Mountain Valley Ranch

842 Highway 78, Ramona 92065
Open 7 days a week, 10am-7pm
Mountain Valley Ranch is a family-owned ranch located a short drive away in Ramona. This is a great spot for families, as there are usually several animals on-site for the kids to pet (including goats and horses). The Ranch is a local favorite (which is also open for u-pick pumpkins each fall) and a great place to experience ‘ a little Christmas celebration in the country’ and pick out your perfect tree for the holidays!

Though they aren’t u-pick, they carry a variety of trees including Noble Firs, Douglas Fir, and Grand Firs. Sometimes the Ranch’s holiday hours vary, so be sure to give them a call before you head up there.

Pinery Christmas Trees

14550 1/2 El Camino Real, Del Mar 92014 (Del Mar Horsepark)
Open 7 days a week, 10am-9pm
Pinery Trees is the largest independent retailer of Christmas Trees in Southern California, and they definitely deliver each holiday season. You can either bring the family to one of their San Diego locations, or order online and let them deliver directly to your home. They carry a wide variety of trees, including Douglas Firs, Grand Firs, Noble Firs, and Nordman Firs. Pinery has six locations in San Diego: Bonita, Del Mar, Mission Valley, Rancho Bernardo, Murrieta, and Vista.

Once you have your perfect tree, check out our favorite spots to see Christmas lights in San Diego!

Holiday Party Venues in San Diego

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.

3. Kettner Exchange (Little Italy)

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.

6. Luce Loft  (Downtown)

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.

9. The Lodge at Torrey Pines (La Jolla)

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.

12. Vin de Syrah (Gaslamp)

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!

5 Unforgettable Places to Stay During a Trip to San Diego

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

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

Cozy by the beach

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

Home on-the-go

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

Luxury by the sea

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

Luxury downtown

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

Opulence downtown

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

Out in the woods

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

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

15 Fun Things to Do in North County

Most people visiting San Diego tend to stay in the actual city of San Diego and neglect its suburbs, but you won’t want to miss everything North County has to offer! You’ll find fabulous restaurants, beautiful beaches, trendy cocktail bars, and historic movie theaters, which are just a few of the things that this city is known for. In recent years, places like Del Mar, Encinitas, and Oceanside have become something of a mecca for foodies, art aficionados, and event lovers alike! Here are 15 fun things to do in North County.

1. San Diego Zoo Safari Park

White rhinos, Sumatran tigers, and California condors are among the 3,500 residents at the renowned San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a 1,800-acre extension of the famous San Diego Zoo. Most of the animals live in free-range enclosures, enabling them to interact as they would in the wild.

In addition to exhibits like the Lion Camp, this expansive park also has a petting corral and a walk-through aviary where visitors can feed lorikeets by hand. Special activities range from tram rides and zipline tours to animal shows like the Cheetah Run, which provides an up-close view of a cheetah sprinting at full speed – something the little ones will definitely love!

2. LEGOLAND California

For the lego lovers in your life, LEGOLAND California is the place to be. A celebration of the famous childhood toy, LEGOLAND California was the first amusement park of its kind to open and the first in the United States. The park, geared toward younger children between the ages of two and twelve, features over 60 rides, shows, and attractions, including a LEGO factory tour!

3. Visit Del Mar Plaza

The revitalized oceanfront Plaza in Del Mar offers 50 upscale restaurants and boutique shops to explore, including the Frustrated Cowboy for western gear and Ooh La La for crystal-embellished blouses, lace-and-ruffle tops, and wildly striped sundresses. Several great restaurants, including Il Fornaio Del Mar, Rendezvous, and Pacifica Del Mar, all make for a lovely evening meal after a long day of shopping! Check out other fun activities to do in Del Mar here!

4. Check out the California Surf Museum

Where else can you find an entire museum dedicated to the history of surfing?! Only at the Carlsbad Surf Museum in Oceanside, California. You’ll see wooden surfboards from the 1900s to today’s foam and fiberglass boards. The permanent exhibit includes the surfboard and swimsuit pro surfer Bethany Hamilton was riding and wearing when she was attacked by a shark and lost her left arm. The California Surf Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Thursday. Kids under 12 get in free; adults pay $5. Admission is free on Tuesday.

5. Visit Queen Califia’s Magical Circle

Imagine a sculpture garden of mythical creature totem poles covered in thousands of pieces of hand-cut colored and mirrored glass and ceramic and stone mosaic tiles encircling a queen standing on top of a giant eagle. That’s what you’ll get at Queen Califia’s Magical Circle! Like wandering through a surrealist dream, the entrance of the sculpture garden is guarded by a wall topped with two mosaic serpents. Before you can reach the center of the garden you must navigate a 3-foot maze made from black and white tiles. Having reached the center, your quest is rewarded with the discovery of Queen Califia’s Magic Circle.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden created by French artist Niki De Saint Phalle. You’ll find this unique place in the Iris Sankey Arboretum in Kit Carson Park, Escondido, California. Escondido gets hot and the tiles conduct heat, so take care when visiting on a hot day. Admission is free, but check their website before you go as they are only open during certain weekends of the month.

6. Spend time at Swami’s Beach Tide Pools

Ask around, and you’ll discover that Encinitas has some of SoCal’s finest beaches. Each beach has its own personality, but we love Swami’s Tide Pools. Here you can catch sea-life in an up close and personal way in the fall. Now’s the perfect time to plan a trip to Swami’s Tide Pools. If you walk the rocky area at low tide you may see Hermit crabs, sea hares, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, brittle sea stars and maybe even an octopus or two!

7. Cardiff Seaside Market

Head over to Cardiff Seaside Market for some early morning goodies – and to stock up on fresh produce and the famous Cardiff Crack (which is slang for a yummy seasoned USDA Choice tri-tip that is trimmed, marinated, and infused with their specialty Burgundy Pepper Marinade). It’s called the ‘Cardiff Crack’ because customers find it addictive!

Not to worry, you don’t have to stick to beef: the scallops and seafood here are restaurant quality, as well as the dozens of spots to pick up some fresh produce and vegetables. The best way to experience the Seaside Market? Enjoy a leisurely stroll and take your time exploring by the water!

8. Visit the Self-Realization Fellowship Gardens

If you’re looking for a place to relax body, mind, and soul, you’ve come to the right place. Walk the gardens built and maintained by the Self-Realization Fellowship and achieve peace of mind (for an hour anyway). The beautifully landscaped gardens boast views of the Pacific Ocean and are dotted with benches and other sitting places for quiet reflection or simply a place to relax.

9. Take a hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve

Perched atop sandstone bluffs overlooking the ocean, Torrey Pines State Reserve offers sweeping views of the Pacific and another stunning natural landscape. The striking Torrey Pines trees and winding hiking trails combine to make this spot one of the most tranquil in the area.

Pick a hiking trail, and meander through the wind-sculpted trees, twisting canyons, knobby cliffs, and bird-filled estuaries. Steps carved into the hillside take you down to the beach should you wish or you can commune with the birds and enjoy your 360-degree ocean view. This is a gorgeous place filled to the brim with serenity.

10. Explore Oceanside Pier

At 1,942 feet, the historical Oceanside Pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast and a fantastic tourist attraction! Take a leisurely stroll out over the Pacific Ocean, watch the surfers ride a wave, fishermen catch a fish, or grab a bite to eat at the famous Ruby’s Diner located at the end of the pier. At the entrance of the Pier is the Amphitheater, which hosts many musical and cultural performances.

The pier is the backdrop for some great Oceanside events, which include concerts, surf competitions, Iron Man, Fishing Derby, Classic Car Shows, and it’s within easy walking distance to the Farmer’s Market and Sunset Market. Don’t forget to look for some wildlife! The Pier is a great place to spot seagulls, pelicans, dolphins, seals, stingrays, fish, and much more.

11. Stroll through the Carlsbad Windmill Food Hall

The first food hall in North County is definitely a sight worth seeing. Housed in the iconic former Pea Soup Andersen building just off the I-5, the 12,000-square-foot space, with a design inspired by the 1930s and 1940s, features plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar, and interactive games. You’ll find something to eat for the whole family, with dozens of eateries including Bing Haus, Bread and Cheese, Lobster West, Thai-Style Kitchen, and more.

The food hall is brand new as of fall 2018, and is a fun place to walk around for the day. Don’t forget to visit their 60-seat Chicago-style speakeasy bar, which occupies the entire second floor!

12. Enjoy fine dining at a North County restaurant

North County arguably has some of the best restaurants in San Diego, with a full range of cuisines and fare ranging from casual to ultra-chic. Some beloved local spots have been there for years – Solace & The Moonlight Lounge, Wrench & Rodent, and Flying Pub Pub + Kitchen – and some are brand new, including the second outpost of The Crack Shack, Campfire, and Park 101. You’re sure to find something everyone will love! North County dining hotspots include Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, and Oceanside.

13. Visit the Carlsbad Lagoon

The Carlsbad Lagoon is a great place to spend the day, especially during the warmer months. Filled with many water sports options, the lagoon has something for everyone. Motorized rentals include Yamaha WaveRunners, boat rentals, and Wakeboarding and Waterskiing (includes a boat with driver). If you want a little slower speed the lagoon rents kayaks, stand up paddle boards, canoes, paddle boats, and aqua cycles. The Lagoon has its own private beach and rents out private party areas for large groups.

14. Go camping

While it may seem counterintuitive, there are actually several great spots for beachside camping in North County! San Elijo State Beach is one of the most popular campgrounds in Southern California. The campgrounds are hard to reserve during the summer months, but if you’re a local, there is plenty of space in the off-season. Camping is a great way to sleep by the beach, and walk to the waves for an early morning surf. Just up the road, South Carlsbad State Beach features RV sites with hookups, a dump station, camp store, restrooms, and showers. Inland sites are $35/night and premium campsites are $50/night.

15. Check out some live music at The Belly Up

The Belly Up is a fun live music venue in the Cedros Design District (Solana Beach). The venue promotes all different genres of music including hip-hop, rock, alternative, reggae, R&B, and more. The venue even has cover bands and a weekly Friday Happy Hour to get the weekend started! Belly Up is 21+, and has a full bar and menu to order from. If you’re in the area early, check out Culture Brewing Company a few doors down; it’s one of North County’s best breweries and a fun spot to grab a quick beer with friends before a night on the town.

Whatever your plans may be, North County, San Diego is a fun spot to spend the day with friends and family. Visit our blogs for more fun things to do in Encinitas and Del Mar!

Top 10 Breweries in North County

We all know that the city of San Diego is a beer lover’s paradise. With over 150 craft, nano, and micro breweries and counting, San Diego County has seen an explosion of breweries and tasting rooms, especially along North County’s “Hops Highway.” But others are cropping up throughout San Diego’s 4,500 square mile region, even as far as the small, mountainside town of Alpine. You can spend all year hopping around, tasting new varieties, and never get bored. Here are the top 10 breweries in North County, San Diego!

Viewpoint Brewing

2201 San Dieguito Dr, Del Mar 92014
The relatively new Viewpoint Brewing location in Del Mar doesn’t yet have the accolades many of the more established breweries on this list have. What it does have, however, is an unbeatable view/atmosphere; overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon, there might be no brewery with a better view within San Diego, and its outdoor patio is always playing live music. Plus, there’s some truly decadent food on the menu (like beef tartare and bone marrow), as well as a constantly rotating tap list that indulges head brewer Moe Katomski’s experimental side.

Culture Brewing Company

111 S. Cedros Ave, Suite 200, Solana Beach 92075
Culture Brewing aims high with all their beers, focusing on keeping things simple. Classic styles done beautifully is what Culture is all about. Give their Ginger Snap Red Ale, Tart Cherry Wit, and Milk Stout a try. Non-alcoholic drink options include root beers and La Croix. They also feature local artists with live music every month. The tasting room has a trendy vibe with modern-rustic flair. The Solana Beach tasting room serves up some craft beers on tap and offers patio seating for beer lovers alike.

Pizza Port

135 N. Highway 101, Solana Beach 92075
One of the earliest North County breweries, Pizza Port was previously a struggling pizza place that opened in Solana Beach which siblings, Gina and Vince Marsaglia bought in 1987. Vince started dabbling with home brewing in the storage area, and the rest is history. Pizza Port has three North County locations, so you’re never too far from a pint of beer and some Pizza Buddies!

The Lost Abbey – The Confessional

2007 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff 92007
Lost Abbey’s Cardiff tasting room, cheekily named The Confessional, serves beers from its namesake, as well as from Port Brewing and The Hop Concept. One fan raved about the fact that visitors can grab food from the pizza place next door or from Seaside Market for the perfect beer accompaniments.

Burgeon Beer Company

6350 Yarrow Dr., Suite C, Carlsbad 92011
Burgeon’s another relatively new brewery that, much like Viewpoint, is building a budding reputation and features stunning scenery. Burgeon is helping to pioneer Carlsbad’s emerging brewing scene, and there’s hardly a day that goes by when it won’t be filled with professionals lounging in the tasting room adorned with lush flora. Their Noble Miner, which won gold for session beers at the 2017 California State Fair, is as perfect of a session ale as you will ever have.

Bagby Beer Company

601 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside 92054
Bagby Beer Company is a sprawling indoor/outdoor playground for beer buffs that is kid- and dog-friendly. This popular hangout in a converted car dealership has an open-air bar on the ground floor as well as a tasting room, courtyard, patio with another bar, and ample room in which to hang out. This is a great spot for groups, and the self-contained upstairs area has a deck, a bar, and an indoor restaurant serving an eclectic menu featuring items like brie pizza, pork belly poutine, and short rib tacos.

An added bonus: the mixed drinks are strong, and the wine tasting on tap is surprisingly good – so even if you don’t like the selection of beers, you’ll find something here!

Belching Beaver

302 E Broadway, Vista 92084
Although there are various brewing locations throughout the city of San Diego, Belching Beaver decided to put its Tavern Grill in the heart of North County’s brewing hub in Vista. The tavern is a rustic indoor/outdoor patio with fire pits and two spacious hangout areas, both of which your furry friend is welcome to join you in. The tavern offers lunch Wednesday through Sunday, and dinner Monday through Friday, with a weekday Happy Hour. There are over 60 types of beer on tap to choose from, plus wine tasting for beer lovers bringing along a non-beer drinking buddy.

Mother Earth Brewing

206 Main Street, Vista 92084
Founded and opened in 2008 by three passionate home brewers based in a humble garage, Mother Earth Brew Co. had one goal: to create distinguished, hand-crafted beers that stimulate sensory conversation and a desire for the next sip. Today, they brew in a 2000 plus sq. foot facility with two available tasting rooms in Vista. If you’re hungry, there are plenty of local places to grab a bite on Main St. But if you wait a minute, someone will show up with menus and will do the ordering and pick up for you. It’s totally legit. Just make sure to pay after you get your food.

New English Brewing

11545 Sorrento Valley Rd Ste 305, San Diego 92121
Sorrento Valley’s New English Brewing focuses on producing English-style ales, West Coast IPAs, barrel-aged brews, light beer styles, and coffee stouts. Enjoy from a selection of 16 to 20 beers on tap, including one nitro tap and one cask-conditioned tap, as well as local food trucks on Thursdays. Customer favorites include the Pure and Simple IPA, Zumbar Imperial Stout, Whole Lotta Hazy IPA, and Blueberry Blonde. Mega fans will appreciate their Growler Club.

Mason Ale Works

2002 South Coast Hwy., Oceanside 92054
Mason Ale Works is the in-house brewery of Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank, a full-service venue offering cocktails, wine, a selection of whiskeys and a large selection of beers, including nine Mason offerings. This busy spot has an upbeat, festive vibe in a large rustic room; the bar area can feel like a sports bar. Food first: We enjoyed crispy Brussels sprouts with bacon, smoked dates and candied nuts; blue cheese sliders; and a beef short rib burger with fries.

Start with the tasting menu, $2 to $3 a pour. The Imperial Coffee Stout tasted like a smooth strong cup of java. Two fruit-flavored concoctions, the Mahalo Nui Loa (Hawaiian pineapple juice) and the Gose Be Trippin’ (mango), had strong aftertastes.

Bonus: Stone Brewing Company

1999 N. Citracado Parkway, Escondido
We would be remiss to write about North County breweries without mentioning Stone Brewing! The 800-pound gorilla of San Diego indie brewers just celebrated its 20th anniversary in production, and is still going as strong as ever with their recent brewery opening in Berlin, Germany. Their original North County location, its main production facility, offers brewery tours, a gift shop and growler outlet, and lovely grounds that encompass the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, a fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant stands on its own as a destination, and the bars have dozens of beers from Stone and “guest” brewers.

With the copious amounts of beer on tap, local favorites are the Stone Vanilla Bean Porter, a creamy dark brew, and the 20th Anniversary Encore Series: Vertical Epic Ale, a resurrection of a fan favorite 2002 Belgian-style brew with a nice touch of orange and spice.

For more information on local breweries, check out our complete Guide to San Diego Breweries!

Top Encinitas Festivals to Check Out This Fall

Encinitas, California is our favorite coastal beach town in North County, San Diego; from historic downtown Encinitas and its walkable neighborhoods to its plethora of great restaurants, bars, shops, and boutiques, there’s no shortage of things to do or activities to try here. One of the things this area is most well known for, however, is its community feel: the town hosts several neighborhood- oriented events throughout the year, including several festivals and outdoor markets. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Encinitas festivals to check out this year!

Cardiff Greek Festival

When: September 8 & 9, 2018; 10am-9pm
Where: 3459 Manchester Ave., Encinitas

The Cardiff Greek Festival has been an Encinitas institution for more than 40 years, and every year locals and visitors alike get together to celebrate all things Greek! The event features Greek food from several local restaurants and eateries, award-winning Greek folk dance performances, cooking demonstrations, wine and beer presentations, a specialty Greek Wine Bar, children’s games and activities, a culinary specialty market, and more. Live music performances happen on four different stages throughout the day, and there are several raffles held on both days of the festival (including a popular car drawing). This is a free family-friendly event. Parking is usually available on the street.

Encinitas Oktoberfest

When: September 30, 2018; 10am-6pm
Where: Mountain Vista Dr. & El Camino Real

Now in its 23rd year, the annual Encinitas Oktoberfest is a popular local event. Authentic German music, the Gemütlichkeit Alpine Dancers, carnival rides, and a street craft faire featuring 200 vendors are all a part of the annual Encinitas Oktoberfest celebration! Every year, the event kicks off at 10am and includes a ceremonial parade at 12pm. This year, there is a “Keepin’ it Local” Craft Beer Garden, serving authentic German food and German beers – and, of course, several local San Diego craft breweries including Ballast Point Brewery, Burgeon Beer Co., The Lost Abbey, and Modern Times Beer.

This fall event is a local favorite, especially among families; although it’s technically an Oktoberfest, there are plenty of children’s activities, rides, and games to make it a family-friendly fall festival.

Moonlight Beach Bash

When: September 29, 2018; 2pm-5pm
Where: Moonlight Beach; 200 B Street, Encinitas

Art, music, dance, food, and fun come together at the yearly Moonlight Beach Bash! Every year, locals and visitors gather to celebrate with toes in the sand and plenty of activities and fun for all, including local food trucks, High Tide Society headlining the main stage, artist displays and hands-on arts projects, and more talent and arts. The Beach Bash brings together all things Encinitas: the visual and performing arts, beach culture, and a pop-up arts district.

Formally, the Beach Bash celebrates the founding of the city of Encinitas in October of 1986. From sand castle competitions and live art to sidewalk chalk demonstrations and local food truck cuisine, it really doesn’t get more ‘Encinitas’ than the Moonlight Beach Bash! For more information, visit www.encinitasca.gov.

Art Rhythm & Wine Festival

When: October 20 & 21, 2018; 11am-7pm
Where: The Forum Carlsbad; 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad

While it isn’t technically Encinitas, the Art Rhythm & Wine Festival in Carlsbad is a huge local event that brings people from all over North County each year. Every third weekend in October, the Forum Carlsbad hosts this two-day open air festival featuring fine art, music, and wine! Celebrating the dynamic art culture in Carlsbad, Encinitas, and surrounding North San Diego County communities such as Del Mar, the festival features hundreds of artists showing their work in mediums such as painting, classical and contemporary sculpture, glass, drawing, photography, metal, mixed media, digital art, printmaking, wood, and fiber. Browse the work of more than 50 artists while you enjoy live entertainment while strolling through The Forum!

Encinitas Dia de los Muertos

When: October 27, 2018; 12pm-4pm
Where: Encinitas Community Center; 1140 Oakcrest Park Dr., Encinitas

This annual celebration brings together local and regional talents to celebrate and appreciate an important cultural celebration in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos and offers free family-friendly fun to North County residents and unites people of all backgrounds. Visitors can experience a variety of art-making workshops, artist demonstrations, student exhibitions, and live Mariachi and other musical performances throughout the festival.

For more information, visit their website at https://encinitasarts.org/.

Encinitas Holiday Street Fair

When: November 18, 2018; 9am-4pm
Where: Along Highway 101 from D to J Streets (from the 7/11 to Hansen’s Surf Shop)
(760) 943-1950

The Holiday Street Fair is located down the center of six blocks of scenic South Coast Highway 101, two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Formerly known as “The Fall Festival,” the Holiday Street Fair has happened every year since 1989, and remains a family-favorite among locals to this day.

This one-day street fest features several children’s rides, two stages of live entertainment, and food and drink from several local restaurants and eateries. The emphasis is on art, handmade crafts, antiques, and ethnic imports, and all of the vendors are local.

Encinitas Holiday Parade

When: December 1, 2018; 5:30pm-7:30pm
Where: S. Coast Hwy 101

Now in its 61st year, Encinitas’ favorite holiday tradition returns each December with more than 100 floats and family fun for everyone. Thousands of people cruise on floats, on foot, in cars, and marching in bands while tens of thousands cheer them along the Parade route along Coast Highway 101. Spectators can claim a good spot to watch the parade as soon as Coast Highway closes at 4pm on the 1st. Followed by a countdown and ceremonial tree lighting, Santa himself will make a brief appearance to kick things off at 5pm at the Lumberyard shops courtyard.

The 2018 parade theme is “Botanical Oasis”. Encinitas has a deep history of flower growing, a terrific climate for growing a wide variety of beautiful and interesting plants, and is home to the world-famous San Diego Botanic Garden. In fact, this year’s Parade Grand Marshal is Julian Duval, who has been President and CEO of the SD Botanic Garden for nearly 30 years! Anyone can participate by registering a float in the parade, and several awards are handed out each year to participants.

Encinitas Events & Things to Do

Encinitas is a fun beach town in North County, San Diego that’s known for its surf culture, boutiques, great restaurants, and tight-knit community. At just a 30-minute drive from La Jolla and 45 minutes from downtown San Diego, Encinitas is easy to get to and makes for a great place for a day trip from anywhere in the County – and there’s always something to do! From the weekly Farmers Market to the Taste of Encinitas each summer, this funky coastal town is an exciting place to visit any time of year. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular events and things to do in Encinitas!

Annual Events

Spring Street Fair

Every April, you can enjoy over 450 unique food, arts and crafts vendors plus four entertainment stages, children’s activities, Bike Valets, and a Beer Garden! Take advantage of free family fun, entertainment, a National Award Winning MainStreet and a traditional Southern California beach town.

Savor craft beers and soak up the sun while listening to the best bands in San Diego rock out at the Beer Garden Stage. You can even bring your kids and your dogs! Take a break from the hustle and bustle by listening to the eclectic music at The Lumberyard Courtyard Stage. See the stars of tomorrow perform at the Hansen’s Community Stage! Great news for cyclists, our two Bike Valet stations are open both days to store your bicycles while you peruse the Street Fair!

Encinitas Cruise Nights

On the third Thursday of each summer month from May through September each year, the streets of Encinitas turn into Encinitas Cruise Nights! Old-school hot rods, foreign automobiles, classic cars, and woodies line S. Coast Hwy 101 all the way from D Street to K Street. Classic cars are also parked along the Hwy 101 and on side streets, and oftentimes there is live music being played in various spots along Hwy 101.

The event is open and free to the public. Every car in attendance is eligible for awards and there is no cost for displaying or viewing the cars. Encinitas Classic Car Nights is a great reason to spend a summer night out in historic downtown Encinitas with great restaurants and unique shops.

Taste of Encinitas

Every August, the annual Taste of Encinitas event comes to the streets of historic downtown. This is a great way to experience some of the best Encinitas restaurants and shops, while you slowly stroll through town and listen to the sounds of live music. Treat your taste buds to food samples from more than 30 restaurants and enjoy local wine and craft beer served at 19 “Sip Stops” hosted by shops and salons. Don’t forget to pause along the way to enjoy live music at eight different venues. Tickets cost $45 per person and include all food and 10 drink samples; they can be purchased the day of the event at Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association’s office (818 S. Coast Highway 101).

LeucadiART Walk

Each August, the streets of Leucadia and Encinitas come alive for the LeucadiART Walk, which takes place along two miles of scenic Hwy 101 at various locations in downtown Leucadia. You’ll find local juried artists showing off their art at various booths along the 101, and a few places host live music from local bands. There are also live dance and art demonstrations throughout. This past year, there was a live surfboard art demonstration!

Leucadia ArtWalk doesn’t forget about the kiddos either – the event features a Children’s Art Pavilion complete with children’s activities, wearable art fashion show, art demonstrations, and a raffle for prizes.

For thirsty art-lovers, there is a Beer & Wine Garden (21+) featuring local breweries and distilleries, including Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, and Boochcraft. A free shuttle bus runs during the event, as well as two trolleys, which make several stops throughout downtown.

Summer Series at the Lumberyard

The Lumberyard is an expansive shopping and courtyard area in the middle of downtown Encinitas, and is home to nearly 50 stores and restaurants. The Lumberyard puts on several events throughout the year, and one of the most loved by locals is the Summer Concert Series, which happens August-September on weekend nights. Live music from local bands happens from 5pm-9pm; bring your friends and family to enjoy dinner, shopping, and live music on a warm summer night!

Halloween Safe Trick-or-Treat

Every Halloween, The Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association presents its Annual Safe Trick-or-Treat event. Historic Highway 101(from Encinitas Blvd to K Street) will turn into “Pumpkin Lane” as local businesses stay open late to welcome trick-or-treaters. The public is also invited to see the amazing pumpkins carved by the Self-Realization Fellowship monks each year.

Along the 101 there are several places to stop and enjoy Halloween-themed activities. You’ll find live music and games In the Lumberyard courtyard, and in the SRF parking lot (next to their K Street Store) check out the Queens Court! This event is free and families are welcome to join in the fun!

Annual Holiday Street Fair

Every December, get ready for the holidays with more than 450 food, arts, and crafts vendors and live entertainment on four different stages, as well as children’s rides, a Beer Garden, and bike valets! This is a great way to get started on your shopping for the holidays and support local artisans and makers.
There’s plenty to eat and drink, too! Savor craft beers and soak up some winter sun while listening to the best bands in San Diego rock out at the Beer Garden Stage, or take a break from the hustle and bustle by listening to the eclectic music at The Lumberyard Courtyard Stage. The schedule of events and the bands that play varies with each year, so be sure to check the website for details and real-time updates.

Garden of Lights at the Botanic Garden

Each December, the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 125,000 sparkling lights. Festive holiday activities abound, including sledding and horse-drawn wagon rides, holiday crafts, marshmallow roasting, Nutcracker displays, visits with Santa, food trucks, hot mulled wine, nightly live music and live entertainment, and catered refreshments from local eateries.

Kids are welcome — there are numerous family-friendly activities held throughout the festivities!

Seaside Bazaar (weekly)

Every Saturday and Sunday, The Seaside Bazaar opens in the heart of Encinitas on Highway 101. The Bazaar is an offbeat European style open-air flea market, and is one of the best outdoor shopping experiences in North County! More than 50 vendors sell such crafts as artisan jewelry, wind chimes, weather vanes, photography and art, collectibles, inexpensive antiques, leather goods, clothing, and more. The seaside bazaar is also within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and the La Paloma Theater in historic downtown Encinitas.

Encinitas Seaside Bazaar is held on a dirt lot in tent exhibits, just south of Encinitas Blvd and north of the La Paloma Theatre. Free parking is available on the lot next to the bazaar, as well as along nearby streets.

Leucadia Farmers Market (weekly)

For another local shopping experience, head to the weekly Leucadia Farmers Market every Sunday from 10am-2pm. The market features more than 75 vendors selling fresh flowers, plants, produce, and vegetables, including a large Certified Organic Section. You’ll also find specialty foods, including fresh breads, beef, seafood, marinades, pastas, and sauces. Come hungry, as there is a huge food court that serves breakfast and lunch!

In addition to all the great vendors on-site, the market also features a children’s playground, covered picnic area, live music, balloon twisting, and face painting. The Farmers Market is held at Paul Ecke Central School (185 Union Street, Encinitas 92024).

10 Bars in Encinitas to Add to Your List

Looking to bar hop during your time in Encinitas? We’ve got you covered! This funky coastal beach town is home to dozens of bars, wine bars, and restaurants; and there is no shortage of great beer, wine, and food. We’ve rounded up 10 great bars in Encinitas to add to your list next time you’re going out in North County; from cozy cocktail bars by the beach to laid-back pubs along South Coast Highway! Tip: most of these Encinitas bars are easily walkable, and it doesn’t take too long to walk from one end of downtown to the other.

SHELTER

540 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
SHELTER is a trendy cocktail lounge and bar with an eclectic, funky vibe. The spot boasts a retractable ceiling that allows the night sky to illuminate the interior, which includes booths and a patio area featuring a large fire pit. If you’re looking for cocktails, this is the place to go – SHELTER offers a wide array of specialty cocktails with everything from Mules in copper mugs to VIP Bottle Service in a private booth. DJs play most weekend nights, and there is plenty of standing room if you’re in a larger group.

View this post on Instagram

. . . . @saloon_encinitas 3/24

A post shared by The Saloon (@saloon_encinitas) on

The Saloon

546 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas


As the area’s beloved local dive bar (it’s been open since 1934!), The Saloon is a great introduction to the bar scene in Encinitas. Dirty Monday’s deep house and dubstep paired with great drink prices mix well for free-spirited dance moves. Friday and Saturday nights, DJs spin popular hip-hop that flows into faster dance jams, perfect for making an impenetrable dance circle with friends. Young and old alike sip and mingle in this intimate bar that easily transforms into a place to boogie. No cover and casual dress code make it a perfect place to have fun, sport a mustache, and have a more casual night out dancing to hip music.

The Bier Garden

641 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
For craft beer lovers, The Bier Garden in Encinitas is the perfect place to start out a pub crawl! Located in a former steakhouse from the 1940’s, the Bier Garden Encinitas maintains the integrity of the beautiful and historic building while creating a place for all to relax and unwind! It features 32 tap handles from Southern California, a retro cocktail menu, California coastal, local, and beer-infused cuisine to be enjoyed for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. They also have a great Happy Hour, if you’re starting early!

Union Kitchen + Tap

1108 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
As one of the earliest trendsetters to open in Encinitas, we had to mention Union Kitchen + Tap for its great beer and cocktail selection! Union offers three separate dining areas, a lively main bar, and a chic, yet relaxed vibe with reclaimed wood accents and modern furnishings. The menu here features traditional American fare made from fresh, local ingredients, an extensive tap list, craft cocktails, and vintage wines. This is a great spot for groups – there are plenty of large tables and seats, and on weekends, the vibe is lively and fun.

D Street Bar & Grill

485 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
D Street is a comfortable neighborhood pub that offers classic bar food (think onion rings, nachos, and burgers), plus plenty of beer on tap and a fun cocktail menu that features a solid mix of classic and creative. After 10pm most nights, the entire bar turns into a dance venue – DJs and live music play late into the evening, and the seats and chairs are taken away to create a full-bar dance floor. Come here for the drinks, and stay for the dancing!

View this post on Instagram

Come kwak it up with us!!! #fortheloveofkwak

A post shared by Encinitas Ale House (@encinitasalehousefamous) on

Encinitas Ale House

1044 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
Another locally-loved spot, Encinitas Ale House is a small, cozy, and friendly little pub located on a quieter street corner. Besides their large beer selection, the Ale House is known for its incredible variety of “Locally World Famous” Angus and Kobe Wagyu burgers. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask your server about their wild game burgers – we’ve heard they often have everything from lamb to wild boar!

32 rotating taps of Belgian, German, and local San Diego beers, as well as an extensive bottled beer list (many of which are rare vintages or special limited-releases) make this a must-try for any sort of beer lover.

Lumberyard Tavern

967 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
Another historic spot, the Lumberyard Tavern offers a variety of yummy comfort food favorites (including the area’s famous “Cardiff Crack” specialty), as well as an extensive liquor selection: more than fifty different bourbons, Tennessee whiskeys, scotch-whiskey blends, and single malts are all on the menu here.

Lumberyard Tavern has plenty of TVs, a pet-friendly patio, and a large family-friendly dining area. If you’re looking for a laid-back pub that feels like a comfortable place to spend an hour or two after work, this is your place!

1st Street Bar

656 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas
1st Street Bar was recently renovated, but has been a longtime local watering hole for years; complete with a retro vibe, full bar, live music, plenty of large TVs, and billiards, this is a great spot for watching sports on a sunny weekend afternoon. 1st Street has great weekly drink specials, including Happy Hour seven days of the week until 7pm ($2 off drafts, $4 well drinks, and pitcher specials); $4 and $6 specials on certain drinks from 9pm-close on Monday through Thursday; ½ price pitchers on Friday and Saturday from 7pm-9pm; and industry drink specials plus Karaoke on Sundays starting at 9pm.

It may not be the trendiest spot in town, but come here for the drink specials, the billiards, and the big screen TVs!

Mr. Peabody’s Bar & Grill

136 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas
Mr. Peabody’s has been in the same Encinitas location since the early 2000s, located next to I-5 in the newly remodeled Lazy Acres shopping center. The spot offers live music and dancing several nights a week, and also offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are plenty of TVs, a jukebox, and Karaoke is offered a couple of times a week. Mr. Peabody’s has a great Happy Hour lineup, most notably because each night of the week is something different: Sundays feature $5 Jameson; Mondays it’s $2.75 well drinks and domestic drafts; Tuesday it’s $10 Budweiser pitchers from 8pm-close, etc.

The music scene here is pretty lively, and you’re guaranteed to happen upon an open mic night or a local band any night of the week. Check their website for the event lineup and full Happy Hour specials.

Beachside Bar & Grill

806 S. Coast Hwy, Encinitas
Beachside Bar/Grill is a fun, friendly neighborhood spot in Encinitas. Beachside features plenty of outdoor seating, 24 different beers on tap, an extensive food menu, and great drink specials. Some kind of event or activity happens most nights of the week: including a weekly Trivia Night, Industry Night, a Wing Night, and a Tacos & Tequila Special on – you guessed it – Tuesdays.

Locals come here for the casual vibe and big tables; perfect for larger groups or big families. They are kid-friendly, too, so this is a good spot to grab dinner and enjoy the football game.

Read more about things to do in Encinitas here, or check out our Encinitas date night tips!

Kids are FREE for October Only: Sea World, Belmont Park, and 100+ More San Diego Attractions

During the month-long Kids Free October celebration, your little ones will be treated to free admission at attractions, meals on the house, and tons of other great perks throughout the city. Enjoy more than 100 partner offers —as well as warm fall weather without the summer crowds! There’s big fun waiting for kids, with savings that parents will love. Explore below and plan your perfect trip to San Diego this October.

Kids Free Admission

Note: exact ages included in the promotion may vary for each attraction; check website for details before you go.

  • La Jolla Historical Society
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Belmont Park (play and ride for free)
  • Empress Hotel (free Kids’ Welcome Gift, $25 value)
  • Bike & Kayak Tours of La Jolla (ride for free)
  • Balboa Park Museums:
    • San Diego Automotive Museum
    • San Diego Air & Space Museum
    • Museum of Photographic Arts
    • San Diego History Center
    • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
    • San Diego Museum of Man
    • Timken Museum
    • Mingei International Museum
    • Fleet Science Center (Galleries only)
    • Japanese Friendship Garden
    • Marston House Museum & Gardens
    • San Diego Natural History Museum (Nat)
    • The San Diego Museum of Art
    • Veterans Museum
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • San Diego SEAL Tours (ride free)
  • San Diego Fly Rides (ride free)
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER!

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT LA JOLLA EVENTS, STORE & RESTAURANT OPENINGS, & MORE!

Kids Eat Free:

  • The Shores Restaurant (La Jolla Shores Hotel)
  • Sheraton La Jolla
  • Embassy Suites San Diego/La Jolla
  • Torreyana Grille (Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines)
  • Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

SeaWorld Specials

  • Free single-day admission kids ages 3-9
  • Free Aquatica San Diego admission kids ages 3-9
  • Eat for free at Breakfast with the Orcas and Dine With Killer Whales
  • Free Dolphin interaction programs

San Diego Zoo Specials

  • Children ages 11 and younger free admission (when accompanied by an adult with a valid form of entry).
  • There are special activities happening both on weekdays and weekends throughout the month, as well!
  • The Kids Free Special includes the Skyfari Aerial Tram
  • For $5 extra, kids can also ride the Guided Bus Tour and the Kangaroo Bus.

HalGLOWeen on October 26, 27, and 28

From October 26-28, head to The Zoo for a colorfully creepy celebration from 5 to 8pm! The Zoo will be aglow with activities and entertainment: a DJ spinning spooktacular tunes for everyone to dance to among bursts of bubbles, acrobats, jugglers, a cupcake walk, and more. Kids are free for this event, and may wear costumes according to the guidelines posted on the HalGLOWeen website. Dr. Zoolittle has a special “creepy” show, and there is plenty of other festive family fun in store. For more information head to their website.

There are tons of other spots throughout San Diego that are offering special deals and activities in October, so be sure to keep checking the website for updated information!

Where to See Fall Colors in San Diego

Believe it or not, you don’t have to travel to the East Coast to experience fall colors, you can stay right here in southern California! There are a bunch of places in and nearby San Diego County to see the leaves changing colors, many of which are state parks. Every October and fall, the leaves of the black oak make a transition from green to vivid golds and oranges.

Wondering where to see fall colors in San Diego? Look no further! Here are five great spots to scope out the colors of fall in San Diego. Soon, you’ll be a San Diego Expert.

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

Drive about an hour and fifteen minutes east of San Diego and you’ll find one of San Diego’s most beautiful state parks, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. It features over 100 miles of hiking opportunities, a plethora of campsites, and 24,700 acres of oak and conifer forests. At an elevation of 5,000 feet, the seasons come and go similar to Northern California. There is a distinct difference in scenery between fall, summer, winter, and spring. 

Just about every hiking trail here will have something to offer in terms of cool autumn hues on the surrounding trees. There are also plenty of hiking options ranging in length and difficulty, making this a great option for kids. We recommend hiking around Lake Cuyamaca, which provides a nice backdrop for those fall colors.

Looking for more great trails in San Diego? Check out our guide to the best hikes in San Diego.

Palomar Mountain State Park

Some weekends it’s nice to leave behind our hectic lives and hit the road to enjoy some nature. Palomar Mountain is the ideal destination for just that! Palomar Mountain State Park features over 11 miles of trails through oak forests, chaparral, expansive meadows, and staggering fir and cedar woodlands. 

Aside from all its scenic glory, Palomar Mountain is also worthy of the hour and a half drive to simply see fall foliage. Thanks to its dense woodlands, high elevation, and remoteness, it’s the dream location to watch the leaves change colors. Bring the family or simply a friend to walk one of the park’s many trails. Varying in both length and difficulty, there’s a trail for everyone to enjoy. We recommend the French Valley to Weir Trail, a relatively flat 3.8-mile trail that showcases the best of Palomar Mountain’s woodlands and is a prime destination for fall foliage!

Julian

This little mountain town is the epitome of Southern California autumn charm! Once a prominent gold mining town, Julian is now known for its famous annual apple harvest, apple pie, and as one of the best places to go apple picking in San Diego. It’s also known for having four distinct seasons: in winter snow is known to dust the countryside landscape, in spring wildflowers bloom, and in autumn there is no shortage of burnt leaves falling to the ground!

If you want a true fall experience, Julian is the place to go. Spend a day checking out the historic downtown, visiting an old gold mine, or hiking the nearby trails. Julian is located about an hour and fifteen minutes east of San Diego. To really get the fall foliage experience, we recommend hiking the 1.65-mile Canyon Oak Trail within William Heise County Park for views of the great oaks towering above.­­

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Hike San Diego (@hike.sandiego) on

Mount Laguna

At just an hour drive east of San Diego, Mt. Laguna offers one of the best San Diego hikes and undoubtedly one of the most popular places to see fall foliage in the area. It lies on the eastern edge of the Cleveland National Forest at close to 6,000 feet above sea level in a towering forest of Jeffrey pines. The main area features a general store, a restaurant/bar, campgrounds, and plenty of hiking opportunities. Among the several hiking trails, we recommend the 3.25-mile Sunset Trail. The trail hikes hikers through a dense pine forest and features stunning panoramic views of the area below. During the fall, this trail is spotted with yellows, oranges, and reds galore.

View this post on Instagram

Fall #mountainbike #idyllwild

A post shared by Dutchman.San Diego.Idyllwild (@strava_) on

Idyllwild

Idyllwild is a small, artsy mountain town located about two hours northeast of San Diego. This area, as well as nearby Lake Hemet, boast incredible fall foliage each year with cottonwoods that turn bright yellow as the summer season comes to an end. Stop by in late November for the town’s annual Harvest Festival, or travel there throughout the months of October or early November to see the leaves changing colors.

We recommend Deer Springs Trail, which is one of the most popular on Mount San Jacinto, above Palm Springs, and it’s accessible any time of year. Deer Springs Trail begins a mile north of Idyllwild on Highway 243, just north of the Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse.

Big Bear Lake

While it is technically a bit beyond La Jolla, its proximity to the city and incredible fall colors makes it worth it! Big Bear Lake is nestled about two hours north among the trees in the San Bernardino Mountains. In the fall, the changing colors contrast dramatically against the many evergreens in the area.

While you can see fall colors almost immediately as you climb the ascent to the lake, we recommend 1.5-mile Woodland Trail. It’s a family-friendly loop that starts at the Big Bear Discovery Center and is a great place to see fall foliage and the lake below. The prime time to see the changing leaves are Mid-October through early November, and the best views are from the hiking trails north of the lake. Big Bear is a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego depending on traffic. 

Lake Arrowhead

On the way to Big Bear Lake, you’ll pass by the small town area of Lake Arrowhead. The area features some of the prettiest colors of the year, and at about a two hour drive from San Diego, you’ll be able to see fall colors as soon as you head into the San Bernardino National Forest.

We recommend the North Shore National Recreational Trail. It features gorgeous mountain vistas and makes for a great day trip to escape the city. You’ll be greeted with incredible fall colors among the pine, cedar, and dogwood trees before you pass by the scenic Little Bear Creek. The trail is about 1.9 miles long and begins just behind the North Shore Campground on Hospital Road off of Hwy. 173. 

On your way home, stop by Lake Gregory in Crestline for more foliage views. You’ll be greeted by black oak and pockets of aspen providing orange, buff, gold and yellow splashes of color among deep green pines. It makes for a lovely walk, and a great pit stop on the way back to San Diego.

For more autumn fun, visit our list of fall activities in San Diego, or check out our guide on the best San Diego pumpkin patches!

san diego brewery guide

Your Guide to San Diego Breweries

It’s no secret that the craft beer scene in America’s Finest City has exploded over the past several years. With 155 local breweries throughout the County – and counting – figuring out where to go and what to taste can be a bit daunting, to say the least! That’s why we’ve created a complete guide to San Diego’s breweries, from North Park and the heart of downtown all the way to Carlsbad and Oceanside.

Downtown

Bolt Brewery (Little Italy)
1971 India St
Bolt Brewery is the only craft brewery in Little Italy, and its prime location has made it a local hotspot most weekends. Bolt offers a variety of brews from 25 rotating taps at the taste room, as well as full gourmet lunch and dinner menu (they also serve brunch on the weekends). All well done and flavorful, Bolt’s beers are simple but impeccably balanced and easy to drink.

Half Door Brewing Co.
903 Island Ave
The tasting room setting at Half Door downtown San Diego offers a cozy inside bar or a more spacious outdoor patio. Over the years, the head brewer has developed an ambitious, interesting, and well-executed lineup of beers. Come here for the great beer, and stay for the cozy atmosphere!

Latchkey Brewing
2120 W Washington St.
The Latchkey team has simplified the space that previously housed the Acoustic Ales tasting room, providing more of an open, airy feeling that highlights the cozy bar area. The tap lineup at Latchkey doesn’t stray too far from the hoppier style ales and IPAs, but all the beers here are a great combination of nicely balanced, clean, and all around easy to drink.

Resident Brewing Company
411 C St.
Resident Brewery boasts a large, open space with plenty of seating, tables for large groups, and a full menu of pub-centric eats. This particular brewery in San Diego does a great job with wide range of beer styles; but you can’t go wrong with any of their IPAs or Pale Ales, which they’re known for!

North Park

Belching Beaver
4223 30th St
Opened in 2012, Belching Beaver was part of several breweries that popped up in north San Diego County around that time. Now, with six different tasting room locations spread throughout the city, Belching Beaver is more a local favorite than ever. Their North Park location is cozy and fun, and hosts regular trivia nights and other events. The beer menu is versatile and large, and includes easy-drinking Blondes, Triple IPAs, Milk Stouts, Imperials Stouts as well as sours and barrel-aged beers. The original fan favorite is their Peanut Butter Milk Stout, which put them on the map when they first brewed it in 2012 — it’s great for those just getting introduced to the beer scene!

Eppig Brewing
3052 El Cajon Blvd.
A relative newcomer to the scene, Eppig opened in 2016 and has quickly become a fan favorite. Their head brewers are Ballast Point alumni and make a talented duo in the brewhouse! The Glitz & Glam Berliner Weiss and the 10:45 to Denver IPA are both great standouts.

Fall Brewing Company
4542 30th St
Fall Brewing sits in a small but comfortable space in the heart of North Park. The tasting room is open to the brew house and fermentation tanks, so you can watch beer being brewed as you sip. Fall boasts a varied lineup of interesting and highly flavorful beers, including the well known 2am Bike Ride (a Dark Horse coffee bean and vanilla stout), the Magical & Delicious Pale Ale, and A Beer Named Sue, a fun California Common style brew.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER!

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT LA JOLLA EVENTS, STORE & RESTAURANT OPENINGS, & MORE!

Mike Hess Brewing
3812 Grim Ave
Mike Hess is a large (we’re talking 13,000 square feet!), fun brewery in North Park. This is a great spot for big groups on the weekends, as there is plenty of seating room. They offer a bunch of board games for free, and occasionally host group art shows. Hess’ beer menu features a tasty lineup that includes a nice selection of malty and hoppy creations, along with a few beers (like the Grazias Vienna cream ale and Deceptio black IPA) that are unique to San Diego.

North Park Beer Co.
3038 University Ave.
North Park Beer Co. recently renovated a large space on University Ave. in the very heart of the North Park scene. The new digs are pretty incredible: a beautifully designed Craftsman-inspired room with tons of light, high ceilings, and a spacious balcony up top.

The brewery boasts a pretty classic lineup of beers that include a few things hoppy and a few things malty. The Hop Fu IPA is always a favorite, and the Parktoberfest is a fun, German style Festbeir that boasts a rich malty flavor.

Pariah Brewing Company
3052 El Cajon Blvd
Pariah is one of three side-by-side breweries in this space on El Cajon in North Park. Their beer list is a versatile mix, and it’s a great spot to brewery hop as you can hit Pariah, Eppig, and San Diego Beer Co. all in the same building.

Rip Current Brewing Co.
4101 30th St
This North Park hotspot is renowned for its IPAs and Pale Ales, and was actually one of the first breweries on the scene here in San Diego. Their lineup concentrates on variations of classic American styles, all well done and easy to drink. The tasting room space is pretty large and good for groups, and offers a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the busier North Park areas nearby.

Thorn St. Brewery
3176 Thorn St
Opened at the end of 2012, this small brewery fits right into its cozy neighborhood surroundings. Most of the Thorn St. brews are malt-forward and inspired by North American and British styles along with some Belgian-style offerings. They also recently opened up a brand new tasting room in Barrio Logan; it’s large and great for groups!

North County

Culture Brewing (Solana Beach)
111 S. Cedros Ave.
Opened in February 2013, Culture staked out its own unique piece of the Solana Beach brew scene. Located on the now-trendy South Cedros Avenue, just down the street from the Solana Beach train station and just up the street from the legendary Belly Up Tavern, the brewery offers shoppers, beach-goers, and music fans another quality local beer-sipping option.

Classic American beer styles make up the core of the Culture lineup, and with plenty of beers that are easy to drink and refreshing on the palate, this particular brewery has become a beach neighborhood favorite.

Viewpoint Brewing (Del Mar)
2201 San Dieguito Drive
As Del Mar’s first brewery, Viewpoint Brewing is definitely a welcome addition to the local beer scene. The spot opened its doors on a scenic plot overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon, making the area much more of a destination for beer lovers than previously. The new spot is spacious, modern, and open-air, and is a place to come and hang out for a few hours on the weekends. There’s a full food menu available, plus a long list of great beer: right out of the gate, Viewpoint opened with 6 house-brewed beers, in addition to an admirable selection of other smaller San Diego producers on tap.

Bagby Beer Company (Oceanside)
601 South Coast Highway
Bagby opened a spacious, comfortable warehouse-style brewery on Oceanside’s main drag. The location packs in several indoor bar spaces, outdoor porches, outdoor garden spaces, and rooftop patio spaces, making it a fun spot for larger groups (though it can get crowded on weekends, it never feels overcrowded due to its space). From English style ales to hoppy West Coast styles and Belgian-inspired ales, Bagby’s beer lineup is full-flavored and well made.

Vista

Barrel Harbor Brewing
2575 Pioneer Ave
Barrel Harbor’s tasting room is roomy and simple, with whimsical, nautical-themed elements adorning the space. The brewery boasts an impressive lineup, and offers something for nearly every taste: from light Pilsners to reds to IPAs, Belgians, and stouts.

Booze Brothers Brewery
2545 Progress St
Comfortable, light, and airy, this plain space has been transformed into a quirky but endearing tasting room. It’s dog-friendly, and there is a large outdoor area that houses another bar and a live music space.  The lineup is fresh and fun, and includes light, straightforward beers (blondes and lagers) alongside a double IPA, a braggot (honey wine style), and a rum-barrel-aged brown ale.

Iron Fist Brewing Company
1305 Hot Spring Way
Belgian-inspired ales are the backbone of the Iron Fist lineup, but the brewery also produces a delicious Saison, an imperial IPA, and stout, as well as some fantastic specialty beers. The recently expanded brewery and tasting room, opened in July 2012, offers a fun venue set among the rows of fermentation tanks and tall racks of barrels. This spot has a fun, casual vibe and a homey feel.

Mother Earth Tap Room (Main St. Vista)
206 Main St.
This large, mostly open indoor space features a big bar, a selection of big tables and stools, and a small outdoor patio. There is a wide range of styles offered here, from the bourbon-barrel-aged peanut butter stout to more aromatic, hoppy ales. If you’re just getting started in the beer scene, try their beloved Cali Creamin’ — a vanilla cream ale that quickly became one of the brewery’s biggest sellers!

Inland San Diego

Kilowatt Brewing (Clairemont Mesa)
7576 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
The beer lineup at Kilowatt is unique, versatile, and always changing. Local favorites include the Hazezoose Hazy IPA and a Cinnamon Hazelnut Brown, an American Brown Ale that’s rich and flavorful. Both tasting rooms (their second location is in Ocean Beach) have a fun, relaxed vibe that make them great hangout spots on a sunny weekend.

Societé Brewing Co. (Kearny Mesa)
8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
Since they opened their doors in 2012, Societé Brewing Company has been brewing an epic lineup of beers categorized into four distinct subcultures: Out West, Old World, Stygian, and Feral.

The Out West series is an exploration of the flavor of the hop, particularly the established hop-forward styles that have made San Diego and the entire West Coast famous. Old World is more of an homage to the classic beer styles and the traditional brewing history of Old World Europe, but they imbued a distinct San Diego perspective into the category. The Stygian series is a tribute to the river Styx: dark, deep, impactful and flavorful; and the Feral series (coming soon!) will be a distinct, barrel-aged lineup straight from their barrel room.

Green Flash Brewing Co. (Mira Mesa)
6550 Mira Mesa Blvd.
Inside its more than 45,000 square feet, you’ll find a spacious tasting room with extensive bar space and a large selection of great beers. Green Flash covers all kinds of styles, and does them well; though they are beloved by hop-heads for their bold IPAs, they have recently come out with a few more session hoppy beers.

Ballast Point Brewing Co. (Scripps Ranch)
0051 Old Grove Rd
Although they are arguably most famous for their award-winning Sculpin IPA, this large brewery is one of the San Diego originals and does everything well. In addition to their more typical styles, they also offer chile beers, coffee beers, and sours and Saisons, all flavored with local ingredients. This is a great place to try something a little more offbeat than your usual IPA or Pale Ale.

Stone Brewing Co (Escondido)
1999 Citracado Pkwy
If you’ve heard of San Diego craft beer, you’ve heard of Stone! As Southern California’s most famous brewing success story (thus far), Stone has cultivated vast legions of loyal, dedicated, die-hard fans all over the world. Stone’s main facility in Escondido is big — and getting bigger! The brewery shares the building with the company’s restaurant, Stone World Bistro & Gardens. Stone Brewing Company boasts an extensive lineup of of brews, including barley wines, stouts, porters, Belgians, and of course, a full roster of west coast IPA and Pale Ales.

Coronado Brewing Company (Bay Park)
1205 Knoxville Street
Coronado Brewing opened the door do its beach town brewpub on Coronado Island in 1996, and has only become more of a local favorite as it’s grown. Now, with a tasting room in Bay Park and a restaurant in Imperial Beach, Coronado has firmly cemented itself as one of San Diego’s top breweries. Their tap list boasts a variety of beers, from a series of standard core beers to seasonal releases and even a Coronado Collection featuring limited release barrel-aged liquid treasures. They also do several collaborations throughout the year with other breweries and establishments, so keep an eye out for those!

View this post on Instagram

We have limited quantities of these 330ml (11.2oz) barrel-aged beauties available for purchase at the @AleSmithTastingRoom Gift Shop in packs of two! Pick up the new Cinnamon Vanilla Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout or the Barrel-Aged Old Numbskull in these smaller format bottles, perfectly portioned for regular consumption. No need to wait for a special occasion to pop open one of these full-bodied beers. These bottles are packaged in our lovely “Barrel-Aged Release” gift boxes, ideal for storing, or gifting to only your most worthy friends and family. Copy this URL into your browser for info on all of our current limited time offerings: http://alesmith.com/specialtyreleases/ #beerrelease #barrelagedbeer #sdbeer #craftbeer #speedwaystout #oldnumbskull #alesmith

A post shared by AleSmith Brewing Company (@alesmithbrewing) on

Miramar

AleSmith Brewing Company
9990 AleSmith Ct
The first AleSmith beer was poured in 1995, and their reputation grew incredibly quickly. Their huge new brewery, opened in 2015, comprises more than 100,000 square feet and includes one of San Diego’s largest tasting rooms.

AleSmith focuses primarily on beer styles from Belgium, England, and the United States. You can find a range of brews that go from a lightly hopped extra pale ale, to a double IPA, to amber, malty, caramel beers, on up to dark, rich, and robustly flavored ones. Seasonal beers are often on tap, as is a regular cask selection.

Duck Foot Brewing Company
8920 Kenamar Dr #210
Duck Foot is San Diego’s first (and so far the only) gluten-free brewery. Their charming tasting room has plenty of space, and you’ll always find at least a few board games on deck. Despite their lack of gluten, most of Duck Foot’s beers manage to deliver nice levels of flavor with balance and appropriate body for the lighter styles.

Mikkeller Brewing San Diego
9368 Cabot Drive
Opened in partnership between AleSmith owner Peter Zien and his brewer friend from Copenhagen, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, this brewery features a large, open air tasting room colored by cartoon inspired murals. When they first opened their doors in April 2016, Mikkeller was already offering an epic lineup of more than 20 beers on tap. Today, their beer styles run a wide variety; from IPAs to Belgians to Stouts to Sours and were created by a brewing team that includes influences from both the New World and the Old World.

Saint Archer Brewing Company
9550 Distribution Avenue
Saint Archer was one of the first San Diego breweries on the scene when they opened their doors in 2013. Just a few years later, the company was purchased by MillerCoors for $87 million; but despite their lack of independence, their beer lineup continues to be consistently clean and well-made. You can’t go wring with any of their IPAs or Pale Ales.

For other tips and San Diego guides, visit our guide section or check out our Restaurant Directory!

Top 10 Things to Do in Del Mar

Located in southern California, just north of La Jolla and 100 miles south of Los Angeles is Del Mar. Like La Jolla, it’s situated along the coast and offers gorgeous ocean views from much of the downtown. Often referred to as “the place where the surf meets turf,” Del Mar is famous for its beautiful beaches, world-renowned racetrack, wonderful weather, and upscale living. It’s a place where you can spend the day on the beach doing nothing, or you can fill your time with nonstop action! Here are the best 10 things to do in Del Mar while you’re there.

1. Visit the beach

There are about two miles of fine sandy and beautiful beaches in Del Mar, making it perfect for sunbathing, walking, or having a relaxing picnic. Del Mar City Beach is the most popular, and its northern part between the River Mouth and 15th Street is considered the best in the entire San Diego area, with moderate surf and great swimming.

Bluffs line the southern side of the beach, and there are several trails leading down to the beach. Across from the racetrack is a popular dog-friendly beach, naturally called Dog Beach. It is located where San Dieguito River empties into the sea, creating a broad expanse of sand perfect for volleyball. It is not the best for swimming because of strong currents and shallow sandbars. However, it is protected from the wind and is a great place for making sand castles.

2. Head to the Del Mar Racetrack

The Del Mar Racetrack, where the “turf meets the surf,” is a Del Mar Thoroughbred Club horse racing track. It’s one of the biggest horse racing venues in the States and can hold nearly 50,000 spectators. The racing season is between July and September, and the races have become major social events in the country ever since the venue opened its doors in 1937. The racetrack also hosts Friday concerts on the Seaside Stage, and tickets are free with admission to the racetrack. Kids under 17 can enjoy a variety of free rides, games, and activities while their parents are having fun at the racetrack.

3. Take a hot air balloon ride

Del Mar visitors will likely see several hot air balloons above the area once dusk rolls around, and there is no doubt that it’s a fantastic way to see the city from above. Magical Adventure Balloon Rides offers year-round balloon tours of Del Mar, and they invite guests to enjoy a romantic ocean sunset balloon flight over the elegant homes and golf courses of the region.

Included in the price are a one-hour or 4-mile balloon ride, a champagne, juice, or mimosa toast, a commemorative flight certificate, and a souvenir picture.

4. Play golf

The famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, perched on the beautiful coastal cliffs overlooking the beach, is only minutes away from Del Mar, CA. The host of the annual Farmers Insurance Open, ‘the greats’ have often played here; including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Not only is this a gorgeous spot to spend the afternoon, but you’re also close to several delicious restaurants to reward your stomach after a long day: The Lodge at Torrey Pines’ A.R. Valentien is world-renowned for an expansive fine dining menu.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Del Mar Farmers Market (@delmar_farmersmarket) on

5. Stroll through the Del Mar Farmer’s Market

The Del Mar Farmers Market is a small but robust farmers market located at the south end of Del Mar Village. The DMFM offers most of the traditional farmer’s market fare you would expect, including honey, fruits, vegetables, and flowers; but unlike many other markets, this one is also known for its international cuisine, meats, and seafood. The cheeses and antipasti offerings are also noteworthy for being a little something different. Pro-tip: stop here to buy some goodies for a picnic basket before you head down to the beach for a tasty lunch with a view! The market happens each Saturday from 1pm-4pm at 1050 Camino Del Mar.

6. Take a hike

Hiking through Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve offers a spectacular ocean view and a rich landscape with diverse wildlife. The 1,750-acre Reserve is located on the rough cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, and it was established decades ago to preserve the native Torrey Pine tree (America’s rarest pine tree) in its natural environment. The reserve also protects one of the last Southern California salt marshes and waterfowl refuges.

About eight miles of challenging hiking trails will take you through this magnificent coastal wilderness of pine trees and sandstone canyons. We recommend the Beach Trail for visitors, as it offers the best views and leads down to the beach once you’re finished.

7. Enjoy fine dining

There is a multitude of fantastic restaurants in the heart of Del Mar Village: Café Secret, Poseidon, Rendezvous, Jake’s Del Mar, Pacifica Del Mar, and The Brigantine; just to name a few! Most of these spots boast panoramic ocean views, and the Village is a lovely place for a leisurely post-dinner evening stroll. Be sure to make reservations in advance for dinner, especially on weekends; this area is known to fill up quickly.

8. Visit Fletcher Cove

Nested above a plateau overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Fletcher Cove Beach Park is an expansive coastal park that features a spectacular viewing deck, wide open grassy spaces, picnic tables, a basketball court, and a children’s playground. This is a great place to spend the day picnicking, enjoying the water, or spending a wonderful time relaxing by the ocean with family and friends. Another great park in Del Mar is nearby Powerhouse Park, which boasts a playground and swing set as well as a large picnic area.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Cinépolis USA (@cinepolisusa) on

9. Take in a movie

Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas is a brand-new spin on modern entertainment, and if you’re looking for luxury, you won’t be disappointed! Cinépolis takes your movie experience a full step further – you can actually order from a wide offered variety of foods and beverages while you watch the movie without leaving the comfort of your seat. You can purchase tickets in advance on their website, as well, so you can choose the perfect seat before you arrive.

10. Visit Free Flight

For a family-friendly adventure that’s educational and enjoyable, consider a stop at the Free Flight Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary’s mission is to re-socialize and re-home exotic parrots, while also educating the public. Visitors can walk among the birds and talk with them, and even assist with feeding them. Staff members are available to help with handling and answering any questions. The sanctuary is located at 2132 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar.

For more tips and things to do in North County, San Diego, visit our favorite things to do in Encinitas blog or check out our date night tips!

Where to Find the Best Pumpkin Patches in San Diego

It’s that time of year again – apples, pumpkins, and… pumpkin spice lattes?

If you’re in the mood to pick your own pumpkins for Jack O’Lantern carvings this year, look no further!

We’ve rounded up all of our favorite pumpkin patches in San Diego – from local favorites to family farms in Julian and Ramona. Pack a sandwich, take a road trip and get ready to make some memories with the entire family!

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch

Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch
Where: 6710 La Jolla Blvd. La Jolla, CA

Open: Starts October 5th

www.mrjackolanternspumpkins.com

La Jolla finally has its own pumpkin patch!

Mr. Jack O’Lantern’s offers premium pumpkins, games, activities, and attractions. Swing by on a weekend and you might catch live music or a food truck.

Items such as spider webs, halloween decorations, pumpkin carving sets, novelties, and more are also available to make it a one-stop-shop for all things Halloween.

Activities include a giant bounce house, haunted maze, corn hole, slides, bowling, ring toss, and tons more. 

Bates Nut Farm

Bates Nut Farm
Where: 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center

Open: September 22 – October 31

Operating Hours: Open Monday through Friday 9am-5:30pm; Weekends from 8:30am-6pm

www.batesnutfarm.biz

The Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch has been open for nearly 50 years and is a serious San Diego favorite! Along with a pumpkin-picking patch, visitors can enjoy tractor hayrides, a straw maze, petting corral, and Snows Pony Rides.

Grab a wheelbarrow and pick from variety of pumpkins: Big Macs, Ghost, Cinderella, Jack O’ Lantern, minis, squash, gourds and other fall décor.

In addition, Saturdays and Sundays at Bates include live entertainment from 12pm-3pm, BBQ, kettle corn, food trucks, rock climb, bounce, slide and other family friendly events.

Julian Mining Company

Julian Mining Company
Where: 4444 Hwy. 78, Wynola/Julian

Open: Starts September 22

www.julianminingcompany.com

Along with apples and pie, Julian is also known for its fall pumpkin patches!

The pick-your-own pumpkin patch at Julian Mining Co. is open every Saturday and Sunday starting September 29. Prices are approximately $.50/lbs.

If you’re looking to spend more time here, they also have gem sluicing, gold panning, a petting zoo, and tomahawk throwing.

Mountain Valley Ranch

Mountain Valley Ranch
Where: 842 CA-78, Ramona

Open: September 22 – October 31

Operating Hours: Open seven days a week from 9am-6pm

www.mountainvalleyranch.com

Free admission!

The whole family can enjoy an assortment of pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn. There is also a corn maze, a corn cannon, petting zoo, hay rides (weekends only), and pony rides.

Snacks and refreshments will be available on the weekends, as well.

Farm Stand West & Fran’s Original Farm Stand

Farm Stand West & Fran’s Original Farm Stand
Where: 2115 Miller Ave., Escondido;
and 1980 Summit Dr., Escondido

Open: Starts October 1st

Operating Hours: Open weekends from 10am-6 pm

www.thefarmstandwest.com

All throughout the month of October they’ll be hosting a you-pick Pumpkin Patch. Head over to the Farm Stand West or the Original Farm Stand and pick your own bunch of pumpkins for the season.

Lavender Hill Pumpkins

Lavender Hill Pumpkins
Where: 1509 East Mission Rd., Fallbrook

Open: Starts September 29

Operating Hours: Fridays 2-5 pm; Sat. & Sun. 10am-5 pm

www.lavenderhillpumpkins.com

Lavender Hill Pumpkins is a super popular spot in Fallbrook; their u-pick pumpkin patch is located on a beautiful family-owned farm on a hillside.

They take pride in growing a selection of varieties that produce unusually large or unique pumpkins; this year’s crop includes about 10,000 pumpkins in three dozen varieties, ranging from the very large to the very small, from the mildly eccentric to the shamelessly grotesque.

Pumpkin Station

Pumpkin Station
Where: Multiple Locations:
Del Mar, Rancho Bernardo, Mission Valley, National City & Bonita

www.pumpkinstation.com

Pumpkin Stations are in multiple locations throughout San Diego: Del Mar, Rancho Bernardo, Mission Valley, National City & Bonita.

Each spot also offers kiddie rides, giant slides, corn maze, inflatable play centers, petting zoos, game zones, and even school tours and party packages. All locations have free parking and admission. Pumpkins are priced individually on size.

Summers Past Farms

Summers Past Farms
Where: 15602 Olde Highway 80, Flinn Springs 92021

Open: Starts October 1st

Operating Hours: Open Wednesday-Saturday 9am-5pm, and Sundays 10am-5pm

www.summerspastfarms.com

Summers Past has been a country favorite since they opened in 1987.

Besides a large farm, the property also features an herbal soap shop, where they make their own in-house soap products. Wander through the pumpkin patch at Summers Past Farms throughout the month of October and pick your own pumpkin to take home.

Other activities include a bounce house, crafts, and snacks for everyone like popcorn, coffee, and smoothies.

Where to Go Apple Picking in San Diego

Fall is just around the corner – and what better way to celebrate its arrival than apple picking in Julian?

Apple picking season has been a big-hitting family favorite for years in San Diego; especially in and around Julian and nearby mountain towns.

This year, we were lucky enough to have plenty of rain early on; meaning that all of these apple picking farms are officially open for a long season! Here are the best spots for apple picking in Julian and San Diego.

Apple Starr Orchard

1020 Julian Orchard Drive, Julian, CA 92036.
Open every weekend from 10am-5pm.

The original orchard at Apple Starr was planted by the Farmer family after whom “Farmers Road,”  the road to the town, is named. Parts of the land were earlier used as a milk dairy, and the old barn was constructed in the early 1900s.

The orchard is home to roughly 1000 apple and pear trees. The trees range in age from 20 to 70 years and the majority have low branches that children can access. They only use certified organic products and are inspected annually to maintain their certification.

Pear varieties include Bartletts, Comice, Anjous, Bosc; and apple varieties include Jonagold, Granny, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious.

No reservations are necessary for u-pick!

Volcan Valley Apple Farm

1284 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian CA 92036.
Open Friday-Monday from 9:30am-4:30pm.

Julian’s largest orchard, Volcan Valley Apple Farm, attracts big crowds every year with 7,000 trellis-grown apple trees of red and green apples ready to pick.

Choose between seven different varietals of apples, including Gravenstein, Empires (a cross between a Red Delicious and a Macintosh), Jonathans, Golden Delicious, and Pippins. Pick up a bag for $12 and then head into the fields to fill it up yourself! They will also have cold water, fresh cider and applewoods for your smoker.

Also on-site: Granny’s Pies! Grab a sweet treat after you’ve filled up your bag for the day.

Apples & Art Orchard

1052 Julian Orchards Drive, Julian CA 92036.
Open daily at 1pm and 3pm by appointment only.

For groups of 20 or more, this u-pick apple orchard offers tours and picking sessions by reservation.

For $12 per person, groups will get the chance to pick a “half peck of apples” (which is about 5 pounds) and spend a relaxing afternoon checking out the Apples & Art Orchard.

The adventure includes an apple fact lecture, apple picking, group cider making, and a tasting. This season’s apple varieties include: Red Delicious, Arkansas Black, Fuji, heirloom apples, and more.

Their harvest is always pesticide-free and all natural, so you can be sure it’s healthy too!

They book tours at 1pm and 3pm daily for groups only (no individuals), and you must book a tour online ahead of time. Be sure to book your reservation soon – they fill up fast and are only open until the apples are gone.

This is a great idea for Boy/Girl Scout troops, homeschoolers, and camps!

Julian Farm & Orchard

4444 State Hwy 78, Julian CA 92036

On Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm, you can go apple picking at Julian Mining Company, or pick raspberries and blackberries at Julian Farm & Orchard.

Julian Farm is owned and operated by the same owners as Julian Mining Company, and for the first time this year are opening their new farm for u-pick, tractor-drawn hayrides, the Farmer’s Wife store, and barnyard visits. Be sure to check their website before you go for the most updated information on their apple picking.

Calico Ranch

4200 Highway 78, Julian CA 92036
Please call(858) 586- 0392 ahead of time for information about opening times.

Calico Ranch is a family-run apple and pear orchard located just outside of Julian. The farm has remained in production since it was first planted in the early 1930s, and is one of the oldest remaining farms in Julian today.

The Young family has owned the 30 acre orchard for more than twenty years. Calico Ranch offers u-pick experiences on the weekends, Saturday and Sunday, and usually open at 9am.

Tips for Visiting Julian

  • Make a day of it! Downtown Julian has to much to offer and explore, especially for families – from restaurants to antique stores and, of course, apple pie.
  • Don’t expect cold weather – September is historically very warm in Juilan (usually in the 70s and 80s), so be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and dress for warm weather.
  • Plan your trip ahead of time – and call the orchard you plan on visiting to be sure they are open.

Other Spots to Check Out

  • Oasis Camel DairyThis is a great place to visit after you’ve finished your apple picking! Check out their hand-crafted camel milk soap, lotions, and camel milk chocolate. They offer daily tours, camel rides, and special events throughout the year.
  • Julian Cider Mill: The Cider Mill has been in operation since 1975, making and producing their own apple cider along with homemade fudge, classic preserves, and candies. They also have many varieties of apples, pears, preserves, raw honey, French prunes, Italian plums, dried fruits, nuts, candy, caramel apples and other gifts.
  • Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures: Fort Cross is a family owned and operated hands-on spot that focuses on historical education, outdoor adventuring, agritourism, music, art, and family fun. Activities include Archery, Tomahawk Throwing, Slingshot Paintball Range, Petting Zoo, Candle Dipping, Gold Rush Station, Hayrides, Hoedowns, Guided Overnight Camping, and more.

Labor Day 2018 Activities in San Diego & La Jolla

Labor Day weekend in San Diego is always a little bittersweet – it’s technically the end of summer; the kids go back to school; and those long evenings of daylight are coming to a close. However, there is some consolation! We’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful city that has sunshine pretty much year-round, and Labor Day is one of the most event-filled weekends of the year! Here are a few activities for Labor Day in San Diego and La Jolla 2018.

Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Exposition

August 31 – September 3, 2018
Broadway Pier & Landing

Thousands of people come every year to see master-class sculptors build beautiful three-dimensional works of art. Not only that, but they actually build a beach above the water to do it – by bringing in 300 tons of sand to the Broadway Pier! There will be eleven official master sculptors carving for all four days, from countries all over the world here to challenge the US on our own soil.

Throughout the festival, there will also be live entertainment (big bands and singers), a sand box and rides for kids, a dozen gourmet food trucks, a great view of the bay, and tall ships and cannon battles.

Bayside Summer Nights

August 21 – September 2, 2018
Embarcadero Marina Park South

San Diego’s glorious summer is winding down, but not before the cannons and fireworks light up San Diego Bay to Tchaikovsky’s awesome ‘1812 Overture’. Join the San Diego Symphony as they celebrate summer’s end in spectacular style!

Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy

September 1st & 3rd; 8am-5pm

What better way to spend Labor Day weekend in San Diego than outdoors enjoying the sunshine?

The Labor Day Stickball Tournament, presented by the Little Italy Association, takes over the streets of Little Italy on Saturday and Sunday and allows players to revisit some of those old school childhood memories. The activity is all about honoring long-standing traditions, paying tribute to this East Coast sporting pastime, and of course; having fun!

Come out and see these teams grab a broom stick, table leg, or any other kind of bat-like stick that will send a rubber Wilson ball flying!

Spend the Day at the Beach

There’s no better weekend to hit the beach and soak in some sun! La Jolla Shores is a great spot for a beach side picnic, barbecue, or soccer game. There’s plenty of grass, a playground for the kids, and restrooms/showers directly nearby. The parking lot does fill up quickly, so try to arrive early; if not, there is also plenty of street parking in the adjacent neighborhoods.

Why not extend the evening and have a bonfire? Bring the s’mores and grab a bonfire pit located along the beach at La Jolla Shores! Visit our guide for making the most out of your bonfire experience.

Hit the Trails

Weather permitting, Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to get out there and hit the trails! San Diego and La Jolla are home to hundreds of hiking, biking, and walking trails; many of which supply gorgeous views and a terrific workout. If you’re looking to be active and still get a great view, Torrey Pines State Reserve has several trails for people of all abilities.

If you’re looking for something a bit more laid back, the Coast Walk Trail right here in La Jolla is breathtaking, and not too long of a hike. There are also a few other great trails in and around downtown La Jolla.