San Diego Museums to Add to Your List

San Diego County is home to more than 90 different museums and galleries, each offering visitors a completely unique and memorable experience. From model railroads and the history of art to military aircraft and music-making, it’s no wonder USA Today has called San Diego one of America’s most creative cities! Whether you want to take in the serene beauty of Balboa Park or you want to head downtown to explore San Diego’s urban center, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best San Diego museums to add to your list!

*If you’re planning to visit a San Diego museum anytime in February, remember that it’s San Diego Museum Month! You can get half-priced admission to over 40 museums in the County. Head here for details!

Balboa Park Museums

Balboa Park is the largest urban park in the entire United States, and represents San Diego’s cultural core with a whopping 17 museums dedicated to all kinds of topics; including anthropology, art, aviation, natural science, and technology. The museums and exhibitions are spread throughout the pristine gardens and historic Spanish Colonial architecture in Balboa Park:

  • Centro Cultural de la Raza
  • Fleet Science Center
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Marston House
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Art Institute
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • The San Diego Museum of Art
  • Timken Museum of Art (free)
  • Veterans Museum
  • WorldBeat Center

Pro-tip: if you’re in town for several days, the Balboa Park Explorer Pass is the way to go. There are one-day, multi-day, and annual Explorer Pass options that allow you to experience everything Balboa Park has to offer at a discount. You’ll see savings of more than 50%, in addition to the convenience of it being a one-time purchase. The Multi-Day Explorer/Zoo Combo includes the Balboa Park Multi-Day Explorer Pass plus a one-day admission ticket to the San Diego Zoo. Visit their website for more details!

SEE ALSO: Balboa Park Dining Guide

While you’re at Balboa Park, make it a point to stop and stroll through at least one or two of their 19 gardens. The Botanical Building is one of the most photographed buildings in Balboa Park, and The Rose Garden, Zoro Garden, and the Children’s Ethnobotany Garden are also very popular spots especially during the spring and summer. Don’t forget your camera!

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Museums

Considered the birthplace of California, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park offers visitors a unique glimpse into San Diego’s colonial period from 1821-1872. Many of the historical sites and museums in this neighborhood have free admission, and along the way you’re able to stop at over a hundred shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

At the center of Old Town is the Whaley House Museum Complex, which consists of five historic buildings – the most famous of which is the Whaley House, the most haunted house in the country according to the Travel Channel’s “America’s Most Haunted!”

For a more mellow exhibit, visit the original stagecoach at the Wells Fargo Museum, see a scale model of 19th century Old Town at the reconstructed Robinson-Rose House, and tour the Black Hawk Livery & Blacksmith, the first public schoolhouse in San Diego. Casa de Estudillo is considered one of the finest adobe haciendas in the state. Up the hill you’ll discover Heritage Park, a 7.8 acre county park where seven Victorian homes have been relocated and now house shops, bed-and-breakfasts, and the Serra Museum, site of California’s first mission and fort. Here is the complete listing of museums in the Old Town area:

  • Black Hawk Livery & Blacksmith
  • Casa de Carrillo
  • Casa de Estudillo
  • Casa de Machado y Silva
  • Casa de Pedrorena
  • Casa del Rey Moro African Museum
  • Heritage Park
  • Mason Street School
  • San Diego Sheriff’s Museum & Educational Center
  • San Diego Union Building
  • Seeley Stables
  • Serra Museum



Coastal Museums

The USS Midway Museum offers a unique opportunity to visit America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier. Complete with 35 exhibits and tours exploring its rich 47-year history, this is a fun way to spend an afternoon learning about San Diego’s naval history. Many of the story-telling docents are veterans who served aboard the carrier.

The floating Maritime Museum of San Diego features one of the finest collections of historic ships in the world, including the Star of India, the oldest active sailing ship.

Other San Diego Museums

There are plenty more museums throughout San Diego County; almost too many to name! Here are a few other popular spots:

Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House
Living Coast Discovery Center
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
New Children’s Museum
Women’s Museum of California

San Diego, California has a world of cultural exhibitions to explore and discover while you’re visiting, whether you’re here for a few days, weeks, or a permanent resident! Because there are so many great activities, we recommend making a list of your must-sees and tackle those first.

For more information on events and things to do in San Diego, visit our handy guides section or check out our favorite museums in La Jolla.  

Planning a Date Night in Encinitas

As a fun coastal beach town with a laid-back vibe, Encinitas, California is a great location to have a date night with your significant other! Because the gorgeous coastline stretches across this gorgeous San Diego neighborhood, you’ll get to incorporate the water into your evening plans while enjoying the best Encinitas bars, restaurants, and more. Here are ten great date night ideas in the city of Encinitas!


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Have a bonfire at Moonlight Beach.

Pack up a cuddling blanket and your favorite stuff to barbecue and head to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas for a romantic evening! Keep it simple by simply making s’mores and bring a bottle of wine. Be sure to get there early to stake out one of the eight fire pits for your sunset grilling session. You can also bring your own grill to South Carlsbad State Beach or use one of the fire rings at Oceanside Beach and make your own party of two.

Cozy up with some live music and dinner.

One of Encinitas’ best restaurants is Solace and the Moonlight Lounge. Known for its cozy atmosphere and unique take on elevated comfort food, this is a great place for a date night. Every Sunday Night, you’ll be treated to live music in the Moonlight Lounge from 7 to 9pm; an added bonus to impress that special someone! Menu food specials for Sunday evenings include Oyster Specials and Buttermilk Fried Jidori Chicken.

Do some wine tasting at Solterra.

You don’t have to drive all the way to Temecula to do some wine tasting in San Diego! Encinitas has its very own beachside winery and tasting room: Solterra Winery + Kitchen. Located right on Highway 101, this Encinitas restaurant offers everything from wine tastings and bottles to-go, to an all-you-can-eat Mediterranean tapas buffet. Sit at the bar for wine-tasting and sample six of their wines at a time, or stick to a single selection by the glass, bottle, or get an entire growler of wine on tap.

Solterra winery also hosts live music most Friday and Saturday nights, so be sure to double check their event calendar before you go!

Catch a movie at the historic La Paloma Theater.

The magic of going to a movie theater on a date may have been lost when the gigantic multiplexes took the reins from the quaint, hometown theaters; but it’s different at the La Paloma Theater! Take a stroll back through time by visiting this historic spot along the 101 for an evening. The venue opened in 1928, and still maintains much of its charm. You may not find the latest blockbuster here, but you will always find a weekly midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other select indie films.


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Have a picnic at Oakcrest Park.

Oakcrest Park is a big grassy area on a hillside with shade trees, picnic tables, and BBQs, which makes it a perfect place to post up with a blanket and some sandwiches with your partner. If you’re in the mood for games, you’ll find a sporting area with a children’s playground, two half basketball courts, a Bocce ball area, and horseshoe pits right next to the park. Two trailheads lead from the west end of the park into the hills, offering a fun way to stretch your legs once you’ve finished picnicking.



Get competitive at a local Trivia Night.

Impress your date with your vast knowledge! Trivia Nights have become incredibly popular in San Diego the past few years, and there are great bars and pubs all over the county that host them weekly. There are several in Encinitas alone! Regal Seagull hosts one every Tuesday, D Street Bar & Grill holds them on Thursdays, and Schooner Station Pizzeria hosts them on Tuesdays as well.

Have cocktails by the sea.

The city of Encinitas boasts a great bar scene, and a wide variety of pubs, saloons, and romantic cocktail bars. If you’re just looking to have a few drinks and chat with your date, try Union Kitchen & Tap or the Bier Garden of Encinitas for a slightly livelier atmosphere. 3rd Corner Wine Shop & Bistro has a cozier, restaurant-style vibe, but they have a great daily Happy Hour and is a must-try for wine lovers! You can even pick up your own bottle at their wine shop and take it to-go for a picnic by the sea.

Encinitas, California is a great place for your next San Diego date night! With a wide variety of incredible restaurants, bars, pubs, outdoor activities, and other things to do, we can guarantee you and your partner won’t have to worry about what to do next. For even more things to do, check out our 10 must-dos in Encinitas or browse surrounding neighborhoods such as Del Mar.

Balboa Park Dining

Balboa Park is a true San Diego gem, and with dozens of museums, gardens, cultural activities, and outdoor adventures, there are many ways to spend your day here. But after all that exploring, you’re bound to need some sustenance! Several new cafes have popped up in the park in recent years, and there is certainly no shortage of delicious restaurants to enjoy a great meal after a day of adventuring. Here’s your insider’s guide to Balboa Park dining, from casual to elevated cuisine.

The Prado

The park’s only fine dining spot is located in the historic House of Hospitality and is another offshoot run by the Cohn Restaurant Group. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, except Mondays when it’s closed for dinner. The historic building only adds to its quaint, unique charm, and it’s a great spot to enjoy a date night in San Diego or an evening with friends.

Prime dinner reservations are hard to come by on weekend nights, but if you put your name in at the hostess stand 10 minutes before dinner service begins at 5, you might get lucky with a scenic patio table. Another best-kept secret here is their Happy Hour menu, with $4-$5 wines and $5-$8 appetizers; it runs from 4pm-6pm/8pm-10 on Tuesdays-Fridays and 8pm-11pm Fridays and Saturdays. Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego.

Specials at The Prado

  • MOPA Thursday Night Dinner Package: The Museum of Photographic Art and The Prado have teamed up to bring you culture and cuisine in Balboa Park. Visit The Prado on Thursday Nights through September 2nd and enjoy their MOPA Thursday Night Dinner Package. The package includes a 3-course dinner with a bottle of wine, and two tickets to the Museum of Photographic Arts Exhibitions. The package is priced at $79.95 per couple.
  • Wine Down Wednesdays: Enjoy 50% off all bottles of wine under $75 every Wednesday. You can also bring your own bottle of wine and enjoy no corkage fees.

Panama 66

This tucked-away spot in the San Diego Museum of Art’s outdoor sculpture garden pours a rotating tap of 20-plus San Diego brews along with locally sourced salads and sandwiches. The open dining room, tucked inside a sculpture garden, hosts live music every Wednesday nights well as a popular weekend brunch.

Panama 66 has brought some much-needed night life to the park center, but do call first to check availability as it gets quite busy, especially on weekends. Evening hours can be spotty due to special bookings like weddings. Address: 1450 El Prado, San Diego.

Cafe Mingei

Need a coffee break? This speedy café serves hot and iced espresso drinks made with coffee from local roaster West Bean, plus a selection of vibrant teas, gourmet hot chocolate, and other refreshing beverages. Fresh, daily pastry selections are provided by a variety of local bakeries including Cardamom and The Cravory (cookies). Located on the Plaza de Panama. Address: 2402 Pan American Rd E, San Diego.

The Tea Pavilion

If coffee isn’t your thing, just a few dozen yards away is the recently renovated outdoor cafe at the Japanese Friendship Garden, offering dozens of hot and iced green, white, oolong, herbal, and black teas, as well as sushi made fresh daily, Japanese noodles, rice, miso soup, salads, and tempura appetizers. Enjoy the magnificent views from inside the Tea Pavilion or from the outdoor courtyard and deck. There are also unique imported food, beverages, bulk teas, and gifts available for purchase. Address: 2215 Pan American Rd E, San Diego.

Lady Carolyn’s Pub

The Old Globe Theater’s outdoor food and beverage pavilion offers hearty soups in sourdough bread tureens, crisp salads, and assorted desserts and beverages (local favorites include their Italian sodas, cappuccinos, and steaming Irish Coffee). This is a great pit stop before or after you watch a show at the Theater. Address: 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego.

Home Plate Sports Café

Located in the Federal Building, (formerly the San Diego Hall of Champions), the Home Plate Sports Café offers a wide variety of choices; including deli sandwiches, freshly grilled burgers, grilled panini, salads, and wraps. Beer, wine, and specialty coffee drinks are available to sip while you watch the latest game on one of their big screen TVs. Be sure to finish off your meal with a bowl of their gelato, a local favorite! Address: 2131 Pan American Plaza, San Diego.


Craveology is the perfect location to grab a quick lunch. It’s casual and family-friendly, and offers a great selection of items; including salads, sandwiches, wraps, flatbread pizzas and panini. For those hot days, they also offer smoothies, frappes, or specialty iced coffees. There is outdoor patio seating, located right in front of the iconic Balboa Park Bea Evenson Fountain.

Admission to the Fleet Museum is not required for a visit to Craveology, so stop by, feed your craving and enjoy the view! Address: 1875 El Prado, San Diego.

Explore More of Balboa Park!

Cafe in the Park

A wide variety of options make Cafe in the Park a perfect place to grab a bite. From salads to sandwiches, soup, paninis, baked goods, specialty coffees, and even breakfast options, this cute little cafe has something for everyone. Café in the Park is located in the Casa del Balboa building, between the San Diego History Center, and the Museum of Photographic Art.

Flight Path Grill

This is a fun, casual outdoor restaurant featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, salad and more outside the San Diego Air & Space Museum (admission is required). The grill is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 4pm. However, during the summer, they are open for those hours daily. Enjoy your meal at a picnic table or covered cabana on the patio – there are great views here of the rest of the park. Address: 2001 Pan American Plaza, San Diego.



Food Trucks

If you’re looking for something super-casual, try the local food truck located near Spanish Village Arts Center. The food trucks will vary by week, but one will be there every day; hours are 11:00am – 3:00pm Monday through Friday, and 11:00am – 4:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Special Dining Events

Food Truck Fridays
Every Friday evening in the summer, more than a dozen food trucks make for a pop-up food court on the Plaza de Panama and El Prado walkway. The trucks serve up everything from wood-fired pizza to boba tea and street tacos. Every Friday, there will also be different musical performers or DJs spinning live music; the Plaza’s “living room” setup will be rolled out, including a big artificial lawn for children to play on and giant family game sets.

Various Balboa Park museums will also have booths set up with hands-on activities and crafts for kids. Bonus: Admission to the San Diego Museum of Art is only $5 after 5:00pm on Friday nights! This is a great way to really experience everything Balboa Park has to offer; feel free to bring lawn chairs or a blanket to sit in the lawn area in front of the Botanical Building, or enjoy craft beers, wine, and cocktails inside nearby Panama 66 and the Prado.

Lawn Programs at the International Cottages
On Sunday afternoons, stroll the lawn and gardens among the little houses at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages during their weekly lawn programs. From 2pm-3pm, you’ll be treated to live music, traditional dance and costumes, arts, crafts, and a wide variety of ethnic foods.

If you feel like having your own picnic, the Park is a great place to do so. There are large grassy areas and shady locations under the trees to lay down a blanket, eat a picnic lunch, and take in the sights and sounds of one of San Diego’s most iconic landmarks.

Whether you’re with the family and in the mood for something casual or out with friends, there’s definitely a dining option for everyone at Balboa Park! Take time to explore the park’s multitude of gardens, major San Diego museums, and cultural activities once you’ve enjoyed lunch or dinner; from the beloved San Diego Museum of Man to the Botanical Garden and the San Diego Natural History Museum, there are many ways to spend the day at this one-of-a-kind park.

Year Round Temperatures: San Diego

It’s no secret that San Diego, California is known for having one of the best year-round climates in the country. With mild average temperatures every season and hot, warm, and dry summers, San Diego is a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the globe.

Average Monthly Temperatures in San Diego

Average monthly temperatures range from 57 degrees in January to 75 degrees in August. On average, 344 days a year are hotter than 60 degrees Fahrenheit!

Late summer and early autumn are typically the hottest times of the year with an average high of 78 degrees in August and 77 degrees in September. Snow and ice are rare in the wintertime, and typically occur only in the mountainous areas with higher elevations and much more inland from the coast.

San Diego receives its fair share of marine layer clouds, most often between May and August, which cause cool temperatures, cloudy weather, and dense fog in the morning. Marine layer conditions linger until the heat of the sun becomes strong enough to evaporate the cloud cover. The local sayings “May gray” and “June gloom” ring true here, and refer to the way the area has trouble shaking off those early morning clouds! The cool, cloudy conditions often last into the afternoon or sometimes even all day.

Temperatures soar to very high readings only on rare occasions, when the easterly “Santa Ana winds” bring hot, dry air from the inland deserts. Although confusing to tourists, newcomers, and out-of-the-region visitors, this makes October the fire season for the San Diego area and the rest of Southern California due to low precipitation and sporadic heat waves that the average monthly temperatures do not immediately show. For example, the months with the highest record temperatures are September at 111 degrees, and October at 107 degrees.

Did You Know?

  • The most monthly precipitation in San Diego occurs in December with 2.2 inches.
  • The air quality index in San Diego is 22% worse than the national average.
  • The pollution index in San Diego is 804% worse than the national average.
  • The all-time record high temperature in San Diego of 111 degrees was on September 26, 1963
  • The all-time record low temperature was 25 degrees Fahrenheit on January 7, 1913.

Best Time to Visit San Diego

March-May Weather in San Diego

Spring is one of the best times to visit America’s Finest City. The weather is mild (temperatures average in the mid-60s) and there are fewer visitors to share the streets and roads with compared to the summer; however, don’t expect to see sunshine every morning if you’re here in the spring.

If you’re a fan of flowers though, this is the perfect time to visit. While San Diego isn’t known as being a destination for flowers, the Coronado Island Flower Show (the largest tented flower show in the United States) is held during this time and the Carlsbad Flower Fields are in peak bloom. Balboa Park (shown above) is also a beautiful place to check out multiple gardens – the Rose Garden in particular!



June-August Weather in San Diego

This is everyone’s favorite time to visit San Diego thanks to warm weather (average high temperatures hover in the mid- to high 70s), warm water, and plenty of festivals. But vacationing this time of year could be problematic. “June Gloom” occurs yearly for San Diego’s weather forecast, so if you’re wanting nothing but sun, it’s best to schedule your visit during the later part of summer. Come July, room rates are likely to spike, especially around Comic-Con International.

Comic-Con is so big, hotel rooms tend to be sold out months in advance, both downtown (where the event is held) and in the neighboring areas. August doesn’t see as many visitors as July, but keep in mind it is still technically peak travel season in San Diego which will yield higher travel rates than other times of the year.

September-November Weather in San Diego

Autumn is a sweet spot in San Diego tourism. Although tourists tend to linger well into September to soak up the last of the summer weather (average highs remain in the upper 70s), October and November see a drop in crowds as well as hotel rates. Foodies will want to visit during this time for the multiple culinary events held, including Restaurant Week in September.

December-January Weather in San Diego

Winter is the city’s coolest season, but don’t expect a traditional winter in San Diego. Average temperatures rest in the 60s and the lows occasionally drop into the high 40s, but that’s only very late at night or in the early morning. If you’re after a beach vacation, don’t come during these months!

While the temperatures don’t reflect that of a real winter, rain showers can still be somewhat frequent. The ocean water temperature also gets quite chilly around this time, and most locals don’t bother braving the shores at all (especially without a wetsuit). On the other hand, hotel rates generally tend to be lower in the winter.

San Diego, California is a great place to visit any time of the year; it just depends on your preferences! For more information on weather in La Jolla and other parts of San Diego County, visit our handy guides section.

Need more inspo? These photos of La Jolla weather should do the trick.

10 Things to Do in Encinitas

It’s no surprise that the city of Encinitas was recently named as one of the best surf towns in the world! Encinitas, California takes the beach seriously; and with six miles of Pacific Ocean coastline to its name, the small community is a beautiful reminder of the historic Highway 101 beach culture that has thrived there since the mid-1900s. Here are ten fun activities to do in Encinitas the next time you visit!

things to do in encinitas

1. Stroll through the downtown shopping district.

The quaint downtown Encinitas shopping district is more than 100 years old. Today, the historic corridor along Highway 101 is home to little sidewalk cafés, cute boutiques and shops, and great restaurants. Though it was once a main thoroughfare from San Diego to Los Angeles, today it boasts a bit slower pace of life. Keep an eye out for the artwork! Visitors will see a variety of wall murals, eclectic street art, and colorful banners on the streetlight poles that were donated by the thriving artists colony there.

Other amenities of the downtown Encinitas shopping district include wide sidewalks, benches, and a huge Encinitas sign stretching from one side of the highway to the other (hint: it makes for a great photo op!). Old Encinitas is also incredibly pedestrian-friendly, and it’s only two blocks from the ocean and not too far from the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course.

On your excursion downtown, make it a point to stroll through the outdoor Seaside Bazaar, which takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Additionally, between F and I streets on S. Coast Highway 101, you’ll find a local favorite called the Lumberyard Shopping Center. It’s home to more delightful shops and lots of wonderful places to eat. Recommendations include 3rd Corner, which is a wine shop and bistro serving lunch and dinner; St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro, serving authentic French cuisine, baked goods and delicious desserts; and the Lumberyard Tavern & Grill, which is a great place to stop for lunch.

2. Take in a show at the La Paloma Theater.

Opened in 1928, the La Paloma was one of the first theaters to show “Talkies” and has hosted many a Hollywood celebrity (Mary Pickford attended the opening gala) in its time, as well as performers from Jerry Garcia, Eddie Vedder and Timothy Leary to Jay Leno. The venue has also premiered a number of surf films, and today, its claim to fame is a nightly midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

3. Have a bonfire Moonlight Beach.

Moonlight Beach starts where Encinitas Boulevard turns into B Street, and is one of the most popular beaches in Encinitas with both locals and tourists. It’s sandy and wide, great for kids and adults, and perfect for picnics, playing volleyballs, making sand castles, and summer evening bonfires. Moonlight Beach is an excellent swimming, snorkeling, and surfing beach, band it’s popular for surf fishing.

The area boasts tennis courts and kids’ playgrounds, a space to rent beach gear, and a nice snack bar. The beach used to be very popular with locals for midnight picnics in the 1900s, which is how it became known as Moonlight Beach. Even today, you can still see people lighting bonfires and having late parties in the moonlight!

4. Visit the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Packed with four miles of trails, the San Diego Botanic Garden off of Quail Gardens Drive is home to an incredible diversity of plant life and native flora and fauna – you’ll see everything from arid deserts to a tropical jungle and bamboo groves. The plants thrive, and you will enjoy different vistas, numerous flowering trees, majestic palms, and the largest bamboo collection in the country. The San Diego Botanic Garden is one of the best things to do in Encinitas, California!

5. Swim or surf at Swami’s Beach.

Swami’s Surf Beach is one of the most well known local surfing haunts in the area. During the winter when the swells are particularly good, surfers often put on quite a show at Swami’s – the best spot to watch them is from the park on the cliff above the beach. This lovely park is the main entrance point for Swami’s Beach and has many benches in the shade, several picnic tables, and a well-tended shady lawn.

From the park, a long and steep wooden staircase leads down to the beach, which has a lifeguard station. If the tide isn’t too high, you’ll be able to walk along the beach all the way to San Elijo State Beach. If you are wondering what to do in Encinitas with kids, this is a great place to visit!

6. Visit the Self-Realization Fellowship Gardens.

Whether you want to visit beautiful gardens on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, spend a few days at the Retreat, or simply browse at the Books & Gifts store, Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage, Retreat & Meditation Gardens is an interesting place to visit.

You can also take a walk to the SRF Temple in Encinitas, located just a few short blocks away from the Hermitage & Retreat Center. The temple is part of Self-Realization Fellowship, a non-profit spiritual organization founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda (author of Autobiography of a Yogi) to disseminate his teachings of Kriya Yoga, an ancient Indian spiritual science.

7. Check out the Leucadia Farmers Market.

The Leucadia Farmers Market is a great place to spend the day, and they are open every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. There are over 75 vendors at this certified market, which offers everything from fresh flowers and plants to meats and baked goods. Visitors will find specialty foods like beef, seafood, marinades, pastas, and sauces; to name a few. The Encinitas Farmers Market is held at 185 Union St, Encinitas, CA 92024.

8. Take surf lessons.

Reviewed as the “ultimate California experience,” the Leucadia Surf School does just what you’d imagine! Whether you’re looking for private lessons or group lessons, there’s definitely something for everyone. Open seven days a week, the school provides visitors with a soft board and a wetsuit, and offers basic instructions before students ride the waves.

An experienced instructor is with you and the group at all times. Already know how to surf? No problem, because Leucadia also does just rentals – they’ll give you some tips on where to catch the best waves and surf right alongside you.

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Blue as the water, white as the foam, this building is a proper historical monument to a town that has always resided so close to the ocean. Constructed in 1883, the Encinitas Schoolhouse is this town's oldest building. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Back when Encinitas was a town of less than 30 people, this building was constructed to accommodate one teacher and eight students. It was designed with shiplap siding in a frontier architecture Classic Revival style. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Becoming outdated with time, as the building fell into disuse it was relocated in 1928 to serve as a private residence. Slated for demolition in the 1980s, it was saved—and moved back to its original location—by the newly formed local historical society, who now use it as their main office. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Still in its original condition for the most part, the structure's only major difference today is that it faces south instead of east. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For more info on the schoolhouse, check out this local news article: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #encinitas #carlsbad #oceanside #backtoschool #foreverlearning #discovering #wanderlust #exploring #sightseeing #adventuring #admiring #history #historylover #architecture #frontier #oldstuff #playinghooky #socal #westcoast #pacific #happybirthday #happymelonday #MelonAndMe #lifeisgood

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9. Tour the Encinitas Historical Society.

Visitors to the Encinitas Historical Society are in for a treat, as the organization is located in an 1883-era one-room schoolhouse built for the eight children who lived in the town at that time. Walk across the original wood floors to discover the history of this unique city through photographs, exhibits, research papers, and docents eager to share their story.

We can guarantee you’ll fall in love with this quaint beachside community during one of the many tours led by the Encinitas Historical Society! These tours showcase landmarks and festivals, and give visitors an opportunity to get to know the friendly locals.

10. Have dinner and drinks by the beach.

Encinitas is home to several great beaches, restaurants, bars, and pubs. A few local favorites include the Bier Garden of Encinitas, the Encinitas Ale House, and Union Kitchen + Tap. For more ideas, see our list of the top 10 Encinitas bars

The Bier Garden is a great place to hang out with friends after work or after a day on the beach. You can perch on a vivid green stool in front of 32 tap handles offering some of the best craft beer from Southern California. The menu is designed to work well with beer, and whether you go for a full dinner or choose a bunch of small plates (such as skewers with chicken thighs marinated in peanut sauce, or short rib corn nachos with mango salsa and tomato soaked in Bier cheese sauce). You also might want to sample something from their unique Bloody Mary menu – they come with beer chasers!

Only 25 miles north of San Diego, Encinitas has a distinct, quirky personality, attracting not only surfers that flock there for the city’s six miles of Pacific coast, but also visitors exploring the city’s great attractions, restaurants, live music, and shops.

date night ideas in san diego

21 Date Night Ideas in San Diego

With so many awesome things to do in San Diego year-round, you never have to resort to a boring date night at the movies!

From harbor cruises and epic outdoor adventures to romantic beach walks and magic shows, we’ve put together what we think is a pretty complete list of fantastic date night ideas in San Diego.

Whether you’re a long-term couple looking to spice things up, browsing first date ideas, or just looking for something new, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to discover our ultimate list of 21 date night ideas in San Diego.

Make sure to read all the way to #21 for a Bonus Tip that includes 10 additional fun dates for couples.

1) Explore La Jolla Cove

Spend the late afternoon taking a kayak tour around gorgeous La Jolla Cove, where you’ll get the chance to see seals and sea lions, plus the La Jolla sea caves up close.

Afterwards, freshen up for a gourmet dinner at one of the local fine dining restaurants; there are tons to choose from!

As the night comes to a close,  grab a blanket and cozy up on the grass at Ellen Browning Scripps Park or hunt for your own secluded piece of paradise on the beach.

2)Check out a local winery

If you feel a bit ‘been there, done that’ with the local craft brewery scene, why not mix things up a little and check out a local winery?

Most people visit Temecula for the winery scene, but there are plenty closer to home – from right here in downtown San Diego all the way to north county.

Bernardo Winery, which is San Diego’s oldest winery, is home to a wine tasting room, several adorable shops with hand-crafted items and often hosts special events. This family-owned winery is a great place for couples to enjoy the perfect date night.

Salerno Winery in Ramona is another great destination; complete with a sculpture garden and a large outdoor space with sweeping views of the vineyards, this is a romantic and lovely spot to spend the evening.

3) Go apple picking in Julian

apple picking in Julian
Just a little over an hour from La Jolla, Julian and its surrounding mountain towns are great places to explore and experience a unique opportunity to pick apples at one of its many local apple orchards.

Starting in September each year and lasting until the apples run out, what better way to welcome in Fall than to take a day trip and collect your own apples from the thousands of trees in this picturesque region.

A great trip for two, a double date, group of friends or even the entire family, fill a bag of the many varietals including Empires, Fuji, Golden Delicious and more.

Many orchards offer fresh apple cider, apple preserves and apple pie to satisfy your sweet tooth!

We’ve got you covered with locations and details of a few of our favorites.

4) Catch a full moon dinner cruise

What could be more romantic than gazing at San Diego’s vibrant skyline from the water, beneath a glowing full moon?

Hop aboard Hornblower Cruises’ signature full moon dinner cruise and enjoy a glass of bubbly champagne, a three-course dinner, and plenty of time to dance under the stars and enjoy the sparkling sights around San Diego Bay. Tickets start at $85 per person.

5) Take a cruise during the day or at sunset

If getting on the water is what you are after but you’d prefer something during the day, without the dinner or perhaps a little more low key, San Diego has lots of great options for your date.

Many of San Diego’s best sights can be seen from the comfort of a cruise ship. Wheather a day cruise around the bay, an evening sunset cruise that’s a bit more romantic or a cruise with some booze, San Diego is a perfect spot for a few hours on the water!

Consider some of our favorites below.

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6) Get competitive at a local trivia night

Trivia nights are a great way to mix up your typical night out at a bar – and you’ve got options for basically every night of the week.  

True North in North Park pairs trivia with $4 Bacardi or Jameson shots on Mondays, Park & Rec in University Heights is a popular spot on Tuesday nights, The Regal Beagle in Mission Hills has Wednesdays covered and the East Village’s Knotty Barrel Gastropub combines trivia with half-price bottles of wine every Thursday night.

7) Spend the night at a local La Jolla hotel

A night away from home can be just what the doctor ordered for some rest and relaxation. Pamper yourself and your significant other for the night or a weekend and let someone else do the laundry this time.

For an experience above and beyond dinner and a movie, consider splurging and staying in one of San Diego’s amzing hotels. With so many to choose from, we narrowed down the list to 5 or our favorites below.

8) Catch a drive-in movie

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Friday’s with The King 🙌🏼

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Every Wednesday night, the iconic Pearl Hotel hosts a free dive-in theater event poolside. Get there early to grab a bite at the newly revamped Charles and Dinorah restaurant (named for the couple who owned the hotel originally).

After dinner, grab a cocktail from the bar and a pool chair, or simply hop into the pool to watch the show!

Classics such as Jaws, The Parent Trap, and Wet Hot American Summer have all made an appearance.

If you’d rather stay dry, there are plenty of outdoor movie venues throughout San Diego County as well. Check out our complete guide to outdoor movies to get the scoop!

9) Adventure through Balboa Park

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#NoFilter needed for this beautiful #sunset.

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With twelve museums, multiple parks, beautiful gardens, and fabulous restaurants, Balboa Park really does have something for everyone.  Whether you’re in the mood for an artsy date at a museum or an outdoor outing to admire the beautiful gardens and century-old architecture, you can find everything you need for a romantic time here.

Pro-tip: pack a picnic to enjoy in a secluded section of the park (there are even a few spots where drinking alcohol is allowed), or catch a play that night at the Old Globe Theatre.

10) Take a sunset hike

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When all the colors come out to play 🎨

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Few things are more romantic than watching the sunset together on a warm evening; and what better place to do it than along the coast?

Torrey Pines State Reserve, just 20 minutes north of La Jolla, offers several picturesque coastal hikes. Get there around 6 or 7pm to start your hike, and finish it off at one of the benches with a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego coastline.

Afterwards, grab some dinner in nearby upscale Del Mar or back in La Jolla.

Stay the Night in Torrey Pines
For the ultimate experience, consider staying the night at one of our favorite hotels, The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines.
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11) Watch some live music under the stars

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Amazing concert venue! #SNC #Allaboutthebase

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Outdoor concerts at places like Humphrey’s by the Bay happen a few times a week, every week. Fridays and Saturdays are the most popular, and you can purchase tickets for just the show or a package deal with dinner.

They also offer package deals that come with a hotel room for the night – a romantic bonus for those willing to spend a bit more cash! The setting is serene; arrive early to watch the sunset on the bay and have a few drinks.

12) Take a romantic ride in hot air balloon

For a big first impression, treat your date to an evening in the clouds!

Local hot air balloon companies like Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures offers daily sunset champagne adventures leaving from Del Mar that offer gorgeous views of the coastline and surrounding areas.

It’s a bit pricier than our other date night options, but it’s hard to beat the romance factor! Afterwards, have some dinner in downtown Del Mar and walk over to Powerhouse Park on the water.

If you’re willing to venture a bit farther, Temecula (about an hour north of San Diego) is home to a multitude of hot air balloon vendors; there are several options that range in price and timing.

13) Enjoy some comedy or improv

San Diego is home to a surprising amount of comedy clubs and improv show venues. From our very own Comedy Store La Jolla (which boasts an incredible history that dates back to the ’80s) to Finest City Improv in downtown San Diego, there are plenty of places to take a significant other who’s always up for a good laugh.

Stop by the Gaslamp District during the weekend. There are usually shows every Friday and Saturday, and occasionally there will be one or two during the week.

Check the venue’s website for details before you go.

14) Experience a secret speakeasy

Secret bars are all the rage in San Diego right now!

Noble Experiment, False Idol (a secret tiki bar), Bar Three Piece (behind Seven Grand), and Prohibition are all in central downtown San Diego; the Charles Kenneth Speakeasy is up north in Carlsbad; and Raised By Wolves is at Westfield UTC La Jolla.

Grab some dinner and then pick your poison! Note that several of these spots require reservations, so do check in advance to ensure you have a spot for the evening you wish.

15) Play some old-school arcade games

Coin Haus in La Mesa is one of the newer additions to the Cohn Restaurant Group, and is a self-proclaimed “beercade” that features 50 self-serve taps: including 43 craft beers, four keg wines, hard kombucha, and cold pressed coffee.

Once you’ve poured yourself a cold one, play one of their 29 retro arcade games – including Games of Thrones and Ghostbusters pinball. It’s the perfect place for all you adults who are kids at heart! 

Afterwards, grab a bite to eat with your boo at BO-beau kitchen + garden.

If you’re looking for something more central, Coin Op has locations both in North Park and the Gaslamp Quarter; it’s a similar vibe as Coin Haus, but a bit smaller. The games are still great though!

16) See a magic show


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Enjoy a night of enchanting stories, sleight-of-hand, and humor in Old Town at San Diego’s only venue dedicated to the art of magic.

The Red Spade Theater, often called Old Town’s best-kept-secret, was opened by Sebastian Figueroa nearly seven years ago. It accommodates only 28 guests, which creates an intimate and cozy setting for an old-school magic show. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area!

After dinner, treat you and your significant other to some of Old Town’s famous Mexican Food.

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17) Explore Liberty Station at night

Stroll through the trendy Liberty Station Arts District on the first Friday of every month from 5pm to 9pm and you’ll get to meet working artists, enjoy dance, theater, and music performances, and visit museums and galleries.

Wander through the latest exhibits at the Visions Art Museum and the San Diego Comic Art Gallery, then hit up Comickaze Comics for an eccentric selection of mainstream and independent comics, graphic novels, statues, and action figures.

Cap off an excellent evening with dinner at one of Liberty Public Market’s dozens of food venues.

18) Wander through Seaport Village – and learn how to Salsa!

Try your salsa moves in the beautiful outdoor courtyard at the Headquarters at Seaport Village!

On the third Friday of every month (through September), local musician Manny Cepeda and his orchestra will be playing their repertoire of classic salsa, merengue, cumbia, bachata, and Cuban music from 6pm to 9pm.

New to salsa? No worries, as there’s no experience necessary for this free event.

19) Take an evening stroll along Oceanside Pier

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Midsummer colors 🌴✨🎨

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At 1,942 feet, the historical Oceanside Pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast.

Take a leisurely stroll out over the Pacific Ocean, watch the surfers ride a wave, fishermen catch a fish, and cap off your stroll with a chocolate milkshake for two at Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier.

Afterwards, take some time to explore historic downtown Oceanside; grab a bite to eat at Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, or have a beer at Bagby Beer Company.

20) Enjoy a rooftop cocktail under the stars

Few things are more beautiful than the San Diego coastline under a blanket of stars.

Head downtown to the rooftop at The Nolen for incredible panoramas of downtown and delicious handcrafted cocktails; or stop by Altitude Sky Lounge, a swanky outdoor club high atop the Gaslamp Marriott with impressive views of Petco Park, DJs, and fire pits.

If you’re in the mood for some grub, head over to Catania’s rooftop dining area in La Jolla for some decadent Italian food and a Happy Hour cocktail.

21) Drink wine and paint a masterpiece together

Anyone can be an artist at Pinot’s Palette in the beautiful Liberty Station Arts District!

Each two- or three-hour session takes you through the creation of your own colorful painting, no experience required. Grab a glass of vino to get your creative juices flowing, then relax and follow the instructor-led, step-by-step directions.

Bonus Tip for Date Night in La Jolla

Running a bit tight on budget? We understand! Great dates can be had in La Jolla for all budgets.

With amazing weather, great beaches and views at every turn, La Jolla has lots of amazing opportunities to go on a date without spending a fortune.

Check out our list of 10 fun date ideas for couples, mostly completely free!

Explore on your own

When all is said and done, there are so many activities to choose from in San Diego that it can be hard to decide!

Whether you and your date prefer spending time adventuring outdoors or you’re looking for a cozy night inside together, there is something for every type of date night idea in San Diego.

14 Ways to Experience Comic-Con International 2018 Without a Badge

One of San Diego’s biggest events of the year is almost upon us – San Diego Comic-Con International! Thousands of people flock to America’s Finest City every year to experience activities, exhibits, movies, and more; but unfortunately, not everyone was able to purchase a badge. The good news? You don’t need a San Diego Comic-Con badge to get your nerd on with the thousands of guests attending the annual convention this year!

During SDCC, the Gaslamp Quarter becomes a superhero’s playground filled with immersive experiences, events and photo-ops themed to match the convention — and many don’t require a badge. Here are 14 ways to experience the Comic-Con hype without a ticket.

Family Con

When: Wednesday Jul 18th, 4pm – 7 pm
Where: Liberty Station.
Small but mighty superheroes are being called to this party at Point Loma’s Liberty Station as the annual pop-culture convention gets underway. Youngsters are invited to dress up in their superhero best for Family Con, which features a costume parade, a petting zoo, a scavenger hunt and more. This free event starts at 4 p.m.

Esports Arena Drive

When: Thursday Jul 19th, 9am – 9pm
Where: Petco Park in the Park.
Test your gaming skills at this mobile gaming arena stopping by Petco Park’s community ballpark, Park in the Park, during SDCC. The arena is made of an 18-wheel semi-truck that will unfold to create a stage and VIP lounge perfect for gaming. Guests will be able to test an array of gaming products from HyperX and have the chance to win prizes.

Super Pup Yappy Hour

When: Thursday Jul 19th, 4pm-7pm
Where: Hotel Republic
Your pups want to get in on the Comic-Con action, too. Head to Hotel Republic’s Yappy Hour for a chance to find the perfect costume for your furry friend while sipping on Comic-Con themed cocktails and mingling with other pet owners. There will also be a pet costume contest and a chance to win prizes.

Her Universe Fashion Show

When: Thursday Jul 19th, 6 pm
Where: Manchester Grand Hyatt
Enjoy a geeky fashion show featuring couture stylings from both professional and amateur designers. The show’s finalists, chosen from hundreds of submissions, showcase original sci-fi and pop-culture inspired designs for a chance to join Her Universe founder, Ashley Eckstein, in creating a new collection for Hot Topic. Fashion and pop-culture fans line up for hours for this free fashion show that may even include a celebrity sighting or two. Seating is first come, first served and the line opens at 1 p.m.

SEE ALSO: 10 Other Things to do in La Jolla This Summer

DC Universe Experience

When: Thursday Jul 19th – Sunday 21st, 9:30am – 7pm (5 pm on Sunday)
Where: Hilton San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
In what will likely prove to be one of the more popular experiences outside San Diego Comic-Con, DC Universe is bringing dozens of interactives to their activation at the Hilton. For example, fans will get the chance to search for clues to find Dick Grayson, they’ll create mayhem with Harley Quinn in her chaos room, traverse the sewers with Batman and view rare DC memorabilia. Guests can register in advance but it will not guarantee admission or speed up the process. Get there early, because the lines for this one will be long.

Hop Con: The w00tstout Festival

When: Thursday Jul 19th, 7 pm – 11pm
Where: Stone World Bistro & Gardens (Liberty Station)
Pop-culture enthusiasts and beer aficionados alike will love this suds-tasting event presented by San Diego staple Stone Brewing. For the sixth year during Comic-Con, Stone founder Greg Kock, creator Drew Curtis and actor Wil Wheaton will debut a special batch of brew — this year, it’s w00tstout 6.0. The brew is described as a complex-flavored imperial stout made in a pecan, rye and bourbon-soaked barrel. A $75 ticket to this year’s event gets attendees 15 three-ounce tastes of w00tstout 6.0 and other Stone creations, unlimited tastings of gourmet bites — like mac and cheese croquettes, lamb meatball melts and Vietnamese spring rolls — plus access to lawn games, music and “a few extra surprises.”

Comic-Con at the Library

When: Thursday Jul 19th – Sunday Jul 21st, times vary
Where: San Diego Central Library
Even without a badge, you don’t have to miss out on SDCC panels this year. Comic-Con is teaming up with the San Diego Central Library at 11th Avenue and K Street for a series of educational panels. Some highlights include a creator panel called “When I See Myself in Comics,” a chance to meet the makers behind comic books and a panel on how to comics can make a social impact, just to name a few. To attend without a badge, register online in advance before July 17.

MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition

When: Friday Jul 20 – Sunday Jul 22nd, 10am – 6pm
Where: Fleet Science Center
Can you pull a tablecloth off a table without disturbing the dishes on top? Do you stay drier running or walking in the rain? Get the answer to some of your burning questions at the new exhibit based on the popular TV show, “Mythbusters.” Just like the show, this hands-on exhibit will allow guests to use the scientific method to test some commonly-held theories. Access to the exhibit at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park, can be added to a general admission ticket for $5.

Dead Quarters

When: Thursday Jul 19th – Sunday Jul 22nd, 11am-6pm
Where: Outside Hilton Gaslamp
Outrun the undead at “The Walking Dead’s” off-site SDCC activation. Creators boast an immersive walk-through that will take visitors through the series’ settings, including a 22-foot Zombie slide like the one seen in “Fear the Walking Dead.”

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Gallery

When: Thursday Jul 19th – Sunday Jul 22nd, 11am – close
Where: Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery
The Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts Gallery (363 Fifth Avenue) in the Gaslamp will be transformed into an immersive Mirror Universe Experience during Comic-Con 2018. The exhibit will feature a photo opportunity with Emperor Georgiou’s throne and will showcase props and costumes from the series. There will also be “Star Trek” Comic-Con exclusives for sale.


When: Thursday Jul 19th – Sunday Jul 22nd, times vary
Where: Outside San Diego Hilton Bayfront
On the lawn outside the San Diego Hilton Bayfront, FX will present several interactive exhibits featuring some of their most popular television shows, including “Legion,” “American Horror Story,” “Mayans M.C.” and “Archer.” Guests can register in advance at The FXHibition is open to the public from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Adult Swim State Park

When: Thursday Jul 19th – Sunday Jul 22nd, 4pm-2am
Where: Behind the San Diego Convention Center
Archery, canoes and a mechanical bull hot dog — it must be Adult Swim. The tv network is bringing nature to the con with a variety of games (open until 8 p.m.), a merchandise store and more to guest 18 and up. Adult Swim State Park will be located at Convention Way and 5th Avenue Pier.

Oddities: Hidden Heroes of the Scripps Collections

When: Thursday Jul 19 – Sunday Jul 22, 9am – 5pm
Where: Birch Aquarium at Scripps
A new comic book-inspired interactive exhibit has opened at the Birch Aquarium to highlight the “superpowers” of some of the ocean’s most awe-inspiring creatures. From supervision to an electricity zap — marine life make amazing adaptations to survive in their environment and the team of scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego want to share what they’ve learned with you. The exhibit, open just in time for Comic-Con, is available to guests who purchase a ticket to the museum ($18.50 for adults and $14 for children 3 to 17).

SyFy Fan Party

When: Friday Jul 20 and Saturday Jul 21, 9pm
Where: New Children’s Museum
The lines were around the block for SyFy’s fan parties at San Diego Comic-Con last year and they hope to make this year’s even bigger. With a DJ spinning until 1 a.m. and giveaways galore, this event is a great place to be after other offsite activations and the convention center floor closes. An RSVP is required. Keep an eye on @SyFy on Twitter for details.

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Bird Rock: La Jolla’s Neighborhood Gem

bird rock
Tucked away along the San Diego coast, just south of downtown La Jolla, is Bird Rock: a quirky but laid-back neighborhood known for beautiful ocean views, cozy restaurants, and independent boutiques. While perhaps slightly lesser known than La Jolla, the community has a fascinating history and is one of the most unique and interesting areas of San Diego!

1. Local lore maintains the neighborhood was named after a rock, that – you guessed it – was shaped like a bird.

The offshore rock can be spotted at the end of Bird Rock Avenue, and was thought to once resemble the shape of a bird (the rock once had an arch with an opening under it, but the arch was eroded by wave action and finally collapsed a few years ago).

2. The first war-time sinking of a U.S. submarine occurred off the coast near Bird Rock.

Two F-series submarines collided in the fog on a training mission in 1917, sinking one of them within 10 seconds and killing all 19 aboard. The submarine is reportedly still there to this day.

3. The neighborhood was subdivided by pioneer developer Michael F. Hall in 1906, who officially named it “Bird Rock – City by the Sea.”

Bird Rock’s path to becoming an official community started in the early 1900s, when the M. Hall Company bought large tracts of land in southern La Jolla for a subdivision the company dubbed “Bird Rock, City by the Sea.” The new neighborhood stayed small until the 1930s, when the arrival of World War II factory workers set off a housing boom. The building continued after the war, and Bird Rock Elementary opened in 1951 to accommodate the influx of new families.

4. During World War II, the area was home to the Bird Rock Coastal Defense and Anti-Aircraft Training Center.

Bird Rock was a major military hub during WWII, when the Training Center was built as part of the Coast Artillery unit. Around the same time, Camp Matthews was also being set up on what is now the UC San Diego campus; it’s reported than more than a million Marine recruits received their marksmanship training at this military base.

5. The 26th season of MTV’s The Real World was filmed in Bird Rock in 2011.

The show set up camp in Bird Rock back in 2011, much to the chagrin of local residents. The 6,800-square-foot house, located on Chelsea Drive and Crystal Street, boasted a huge a pool, and news footage showed a rooftop tennis court had been covered with a life-sized chess set. It was estimated to be worth $3.5 million in 2011! Real World’s tenure was the source of multiple noise complaints and safety concerns from its neighbors.

Resentment festered for weeks until the production company increased security and agreed to turn off roof lights at 10pm and pay for off-duty police officers to discourage night visits.

6. Aviator Charles Lindbergh ate at the Bird Rock Inn before taking his historic flight.

Lindbergh, whose name graces the San Diego Airport, is recognized for completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He is reported to have eaten his last meal at the favorite seafood restaurant, Bird Rock Inn, before leaving San Diego for Paris on May 20, 1927. The inn hotel, located at Bird Rock Avenue, was said to have been built with stones from the nearby beach.

Neighborhood Guide

Today, Bird Rock in La Jolla is a fun, easy place to explore. Head north on La Jolla Hermosa Avenue to find the Bird Rock Bike Path, which usually doesn’t get too crowded and makes for a nice stroll.

Afterward, head over to the Street of Dreams, (aka Camino de la Costa), a stretch of oceanfront mansions with gorgeous panoramic views of the water. From there, head to Calumet Park, where you’ll find benches, picnic tables, and expansive ocean views (we also love La Jolla Hermosa Park, a bit north of here). Finish off your day by visiting one of Bird Rock’s boutique shops and restaurants, including:

  • Bird Rock Coffee Roasters for an award-winning cup of coffee
  • Wheat & Water for pizza and brews
  • Bird Rock Surf Shop to pick up new surfing gear
  • Bahia Don Bravo for casual Mexican fare
  • Beaumont’s for dinner with a view and live music
  • Farm to Fork Juice for a healthy smoothie
  • Mimi & Red to shop casual, beach-chic fashion
  • Studio Barre for a quick workout

San Diego Beer Week at Torrey Pines Lodge

There is no seriously no better location for the closing event of San Diego Beer Week than the Arroyo Terrace of the Lodge at Torrey Pines right here in La Jolla! The Beer Garden will bring together the best of San Diego’s breweries and local chefs to celebrate the craft beer movement. With 28 different breweries paired with 14 chefs, the Beer Garden is a uniquely San Diego food and beer pairing event. The Beer Garden will take place on Sunday, November 12th from 12pm-3pm. Each admission includes unlimited tasters of beer and food. General admission tickets are $85.

San Diego Beer Week, which is hosted annually, is a ten-day countywide festival that puts on numerous events throughout San Diego at various venues. This year, it will be held from November 3-12, and will kick off with 17 different tastings/events on November 3rd alone! Check out the rest of the calendar and event schedule here.

Now the important part – here are all of the participating breweries and chefs at this year’s Beer Garden! Each restaurant will feature a chef plus two brewery pairings.

Carnitas’ Snack Shack (Hanis Cavin)
Societe Brewing
Killowatt Brewing

Tom Hams Lighthouse (Kyle Kovar)
Karl Strauss Brewing
Duck Foot Brewing Co.

Urban Solace (Matt Gordon)
Monkey Paw Brewing
Black Plague Brewing

Stone World Bistro & Gardens (Tom Connolly)
Stone Brewing
Novo Brazil Brewing

Grand Restaurant Group (Amy Dibiase)
Societe Brewing
Killowatt Brewing


Trust (Brad Wise)
Coronado Brewing
Thunderhawk Alements

Nine-Ten (Jason Knibb)
Pizza Port Brewing
Bear Roots Brewing

Grill at Torrey Pines (Kyle Wiegand)
AleSmith Brewing Co.
Bagby Beer Co.

CH Projects (Phillip Esteban)
North Park Beer Co.
Amplified Ale Works

Pamplemousse (Jeffrey Strauss)
Rip Current Brewing

Golden Door (Greg Frey)
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Home Brewing Co.

Terra American Bistro (Jeff Rossman)
Burning Beard Brewing Co.
San Diego Brewing Co.

University Club (Lance Repp)
Mikkeller Brewing
Resident Brewing

Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge (Ronnie Schwandt)
Alpine Beer Co.
Benchmark Brewing

This is definitely going to be a great event, especially if you’re a fan of beer and good food! Don’t miss out on this or all the other San Diego Beer Week festivities happening in November.


“Hot Stuff”! The Donna Summer Musical Comes to the La Jolla Playhouse This November


A biopic about the life and times of America’s favorite Disco Queen, Donna Summer, is making its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse this fall. From November 7th through December 17th, “SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical” will be at the Playhouse, charting Summer’s rise to international fame from her early, modest beginnings in Boston.

The musical is directed by Des McAnuff, of “Jersey Boys” fame, and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo. Here’s a look at the Playhouse’s newest musical masterpiece.

The Donna Summer Musical

Told through the dramatic lens of her final concert, “SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical” showcases the complexities and conflicts the iconic singer/songwriter struggled within her meteoric rise to fame and eventual descent. Featuring a score with more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits, the musical is a moving tribute to the voice of a generation and the undisputed “Queen of Disco.”

La Jolla Playhouse Director Emeritus Des McAnuff is known for creating performances about popular music icons, such as “The Who’s Tommy” and “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.” Now, with this production, Des is joined by his “Jersey Boys” choreographer Sergio Trujillo to combine the heartfelt story of Summers’ life with the kinetic music and dance that characterized her musical career.

[From left to right: LaChanze, Storm Lever, Ariana DeBose]

A Metamorphosis

What is especially unique about the musical, however, is that three different actresses will be playing the titular role of Donna Summers. LaChanze (who won the prestigious Tony Award for her performance in 2006’s “The Color Purple”), Ariana DeBose (whose credits include “Hamilton” and “A Bronx Tale”), and Storm Lever (who recently performed in the Playhouse’s “Freaky Friday) will each play Summers at different times in her life, to really show what a metamorphosis the singer experienced through childhood, superstardom, and then as a fading pop icon.

LaChanze will play “Diva Donna”; DeBose will be “Disco Donna,” which will shine a light on the pop star’s rise to Disco fame (and what gave way to her eventual Queen of Disco nickname); and Lever will portray “Duckling Donna,” in her early childhood years.

[Summer in a recording studio, September 1977. Wikipedia]

What to Expect

The musical is a straightforward biography, focusing solely on Summer’s journey through life. The singer was born and raised in Boston to working-class parents; she landed a role in a European production of “Hair” and began to make a name for herself working in Germany. She spent several years living, acting, and singing throughout Europe, where she met music producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. Her meteoric rise to fame happened during disco’s heyday, then drifted into limbo-land when Studio 54 and that era came to an end.

Summer became a born-again Christian in her later years, and became something of a Tragically, she died of lung cancer in 2012 at the age of 63. In her obituary in The Times, she was described as the “undisputed queen of the Seventies disco boom” who reached the status of “one of the world’s leading female singers.”

Of course, all of Summer’s biggest hits will make an appearance in the show – “Love To Love You Baby,” “Heaven Knows,” “Bad Girls” — toot, toot, yeah, toot, toot! — “Dim All the Lights,” “No More Tears,” “On the Radio” and, of course, “MacArthur Park.”

The musical premieres November 7 at La Jolla Playhouse. Tickets start at $58. For more information, visit


Fashion Week San Diego: Your Complete Guide to the Fall Runway Shows

Fashion Week San Diego (FWSD) is quickly becoming Southern California’s largest fashion event of the year. Launched by San Diego fashion entrepreneur Allison Andrews in the fall of 2012, FSWD is packed full of runway shows, VIP parties, and of course, cutting-edge couture and runway fashion. The festivities begin in August and last until the finale in October, and in between will feature events like a Fashion Film Screening, runway shows, a unique culinary experience, and more.

This year, FWSD is celebrating its 10-year anniversary – and there are festivities to prove it! From the Hotel La Jolla to The LOT and even nearby Hotel Del Coronado, there are a ton of great things happening around the city in the days leading up to FWSD (the dates of the fashion and runway shows are October 4 – 10). Here is the lineup and complete schedule for FWSD 2017.

Culinary Couture

Where: CUSP at Hotel La Jolla, (7955 La Jolla Shores Dr, La Jolla, 92037)
When: Tuesday, Aug 22nd; 6pm-10pm

Take your tastebuds on the trip of their lifetime! Experience trending fashion capitals of the world through Cuisine & Cocktails at Fashion Week San Diego’s Culinary Couture this year. Guests will enjoy a 4-course menu (each with a cocktail pairing) to explore the international fashion capitals: Mexico, Los Angeles, Korea, and France.

And, it’s going to a good cause – partial proceeds of all Culinary Couture tickets will go back to the FAB Authority, a nonprofit organization that supports emerging fashion, art, and creative business entrepreneurs. For reservations call (619) 994-1129.

San Diego Spirits Festival & FWSD Runway Show

Where:Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier (1000 N Harbor Dr, San Diego 92101)
When:Saturday, Aug 26th; 7pm

On the first night of the San Diego Spirits Festival, FWSD will be showing a preview of each of the #FWSD17 Designers at the VIP After -Party. It’s your chance to see one look from all 21 designers before the fall runway shows happen in October – think of it as a sneak peek! San Diego Spirits Festival is a culinary and cultural event where you’ll get to sip and savor various premium distilled spirits, including whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, cordials, and handcrafted cocktails. Head here for tickets.

FAB Workshop | Meet the Maker ft. Melin Brand

Where: FIDM San Diego (350 Tenth Ave #300, San Diego 92101)
When: Thursday, Sept 14th; 6pm

Join FAB Authority for a brand new workshop this September: “Meet the Maker” featuring Melin Brand Founder Brian McDonell. Founded by two longtime friends in 2013, Melin Brand is a Southern California lifestyle headwear brand that focuses on raising the status quo through new materials, unique design, and relentless innovation. Melin hats are intended for young minded, modern day individuals from diverse influential backgrounds who appreciate refined, quality product. BONUS: This is a free event (just RSVP first).

Designers at the Del | Fashion Show & Brunch

Where: Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118)
When: Sunday, Sept 17th; 11am-1pm

Join Fashion Week San Diego at the fabulous Hotel del Coronado for their brand new fashion series, Designers at the Del! Guests will enjoy informal modeling from FWSD17 Designers A’doreus, B.JASH.I, RHCreation, & Territa Torres, and brunch at the iconic Hotel Del Coronado.

Located in the Crown Room, brunch features a chilled seafood bar, regionally inspired dishes, international cuisine, and carving stations. Guests also enjoy a gourmet Bloody Mary bar, made-to-order mimosas, and a spectacular candy and dessert bar – complete with a design-your-own donut station! Cost is $96 per adult. Call (619) 522-8490 for reservations.

fashion week san diego

FWSD Kickoff VIP Party

Where: The LOT La Jolla (7611 Fay Avenue, La Jolla)
When: Wednesday, Oct 4th; 6pm

Kick off Fashion Week San Diego 2017 with a VIP reception: enjoy drinks, appetizers, and a Fashion Film Screening of Red Pearl at The LOT in La Jolla. The event is free for FWSD Pass Holders.

Red Pearl synopsis: Scarlet Kennedy, “fresh out of fashion school in fabulous Columbus,” is excited to start her first design job out west.  What she doesn’t anticipate is how difficult making new friends and starting over can be.   This coming-of-age ‘dramedy’ explores how our experiences, good and bad, mold us into the people we become. Free for FWSD Pass Holders. 

FWSD Art & Beauty Behind Fashion

Where: Andaz San Diego (600 F Street, San Diego 92101)
When: Thursday, Oct 5; 6pm-10pm

This is FWSD’s signature kickoff event: “The Art and Beauty Behind Fashion.” This evening is all about the visuals! Hair and makeup will be the focal point of the runway, featuring a show with hair by Detour Salon. Several talented artists will also be on display including: Shane Bowden, Stefanie Bales, Tyson King, Robert Glick, Homebird Upholstery and Christine Finkelson. Later in the evening will feature a special men’s runway show by MACEOO and artistic performances by circus tumblers. Requires a FWSD Pass.

fashion week san diego

Fashion Week 2017: Runway Shows & Night 1 After-Party

Where: Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier (1000 North Harbor Drive)
When: Friday, Oct 6th; 6pm

This is officially night one of the FWSD Designer Runway Shows, featuring 10 out of the 21 designers including: A’doreus, Alber Rezko Jewelry Design, BJASHI, Haus of K2, Hola Swim, Iamsublime, Jamie Wooning, Kheir Sannai, RACA Designs, & The Stylish Bisou.
This night will also feature the annual Haute Dog Runway show with adoptable dogs from Rancho Coastal Humane Society.
Following the runway shows, FWSD pass holders can enjoy an exclusive after party at Florent (5th Avenue), featuring Trendz by Upright Citizen, live entertainment, and the VIP treatment for FWSD guests.

Runway Shows Night 2

Where: Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier
When: Saturday, Oct 7th; 6pm-10pm

Finale Night of FWSD17 Designer Runway Shows features 11 out of 21 designers, including: Baza Hautecouture, Hulabelle Swimwear, Isabel Vianey, rhcreation, Saul lizacri, Studio by Oseas, Taylor Whipp, They & Them, Territa Torres Designs, VaughnBerry, & Wafabywafa. Following the runway shows, join us for an afterparty in the main venue featuring a DJ from Sleeping Giant Music.

Designer Trunk Show & Fashion Awards

Where: Hotel Del Coronado
When: Sunday, Oct 8th; 1oam-2pm

View and shop all the labels and Fashion Week San Diego Designer fashions that debuted on the runway, including other FWSD vendors and partners. Following will be the Annual Fashion Awards at 1pm, to close off the week of festivities.

You can purchase passes for Fashion Week San Diego on their website.

The Lazy Adult’s Guide to San Diego Comic-Con International Offsite Events & Parties 2017

Photo courtesy of Nathan Rupert


Eileen Blancas, sub-culture and pop culture enthusiast, guest blogs today with an insightful and easy San Diego Comic Con 2017 off-site events guide. No badge required.
If you’ve been following my San Diego Comic Con guides throughout the years, you know my guides follow a central theme: survival and laziness. I, like you, enjoy a good time. But also like you, I don’t enjoy going through the countless event guides with terrible layouts, Facebook invites that inevitably get lost in the FB black hole, and press release after press release about some toy you’ve never heard of (#sorrynotsorry). And yet, it brings me such joy to wade through it all to provide you with the most interesting events!All events in this guide do not require a Comic Con badge, but some do have a cover. At the time of writing this, events have not yet “sold-out.” No, I cannot get you into any of the Conan events.

If you’re visiting San Diego for the first time or if you will be staying all week be sure to visit La Jolla and take in some sun and explore the Village. Not sure where to start? Check out our handy guides here.

All-Weekend Offsite Events

Petco Park Interactive Zone 100 Park Blvd.
When: Th-Sat Open-6pm, Sun Open-5pm
What: After a bit of hiatus, Petco Park Interactive Zone is back. It is the best place to go if you are badgeless and low on funds. Expect to see photo booths, VR and arcade demos from the Razer Experience Tour, food provided by Netflix’s “The Rise of Voltron,” and much more!

Netflix Experience Hilton Gaslamp, 4th Ave. and L St.
When: Th-Sat 11-8PM, Sun 11-3PM
What: With several original hit shows under their belt, and now a hit movie, “Okja,” Netflix is going in strong this year at Comic Con. Since you’re badgeless and have no hope of getting into Hall H, the Netflix Experience is your next best bet. Catch sneak peeks of upcoming originals, exclusive giveaways, and more. You will also be able to immerse yourselves into the worlds of “Stranger Things,” “Bright,” and the streets of New York with Marvel’s “The Defenders.”

FXHibition Hilton San Diego Bayfront Lawn, 1 Park Blvd.
When: Th-Sat 12–6pm, Sun 10–2pm
What: Fri Screening: 7pm–9pm, doors 6:30pm
Much like the Petco Park Interactive Zone, the Bayfront Lawn is another place to find the most bang for your $0. Immerse yourself in a mixed reality experience with FX shows like “Legion,” “American Horror Story,” “Archer,” “Atlanta” and more. Find out more on their SDCC site, FXSDCC.

Nintendo Gaming Lounge – Marriott Marquis & Marina
When: Thursday, July 20 – Sunday, July 23 (10AM-7PM on Thursday-Saturday, and 10AM-5PM on Sunday).
What: Play some of their most popular games like: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildMario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, Pokémon Tournament DX, Pokémon Moon, Super Mario Maker, and more. For more info click here.

Adult Swim On the Green Convention Way & 5th Ave Pier, Behind Convention Center
When: Th-Sun 1-6pm; 18+
What: The first of adults-only events, this is a TOP NOTCH offsite that everyone makes the effort to attend. Wacky carnival games, free swag, and the Meatwad Dome experience – said to be upgraded this year w/motion seats. Get a tarot card reading, befriend a motorized animal, and wait in a gigantic line! Just kidding, skip the line and register at the Adult Swim event site. Also check the site out for a schedule of signings with “Rick & Morty,” “Robot Chicken,” and “The Jellies.”

TBS “Wrecked” Marina behind Convention Center
When: Th-Sun 12-5pm; 21+
What: This is probably the most legit new event to pop up on the offsite circuit. This “floating island” will include an island bar, coconut skeeball, minigolf, palm tree climbing, and a mechanical boar – all on a barge in the SD bay! They’re even advertising that you can pee in an airplane cabin, but that’s up to you!

VICELAND Party Bus w/James Van der Beek 530 Island Avenue
When: Th–Sat 9-6PM
What: Official Party w/Diplo at Fluxx, RSVP only
I know what you’re thinking – what the hell is this flyer and what does Dawson have to do with Comic Con? Well, it looks like the VICELAND Party Bus is parking itself at SDCC to celebrate the launch of their new show starring James Van Der Beek, “What Would Diplo Do?” Yeah, I have no idea either – but it sounds a trip! The bus is fully loaded with a lounge area, snacks, drinks, music, wi-fi, swag, and even a rooftop deck. There will also be special guests stopping by throughout the week. Probably Diplo. Ask him if you can get into the exclusive party, just don’t catch any STDs.

Mr.Robot 327 4th Ave btwn J and Island
When: Th-Sat 11-7pm, Sun 11-4pm
What: While many people seem to be bummed that Mr.Robot doesn’t have a ferris wheel or panel this year, there is something better! A free meal! Alright, so I am biased. I can’t say I know much of Mr.Robot, but I can say I am a fan of free food. Head to the “E Corp’s Bank of E” for an E Corp Card. That card will give allow you to make purchases (I assume), but best of all, if you go to the “Red Wheelbarrow BBQ” next door, they will give you a free bbq meal. You’re welcome.

For more offsite events visit SDCC’s official list. Now onto the parties!

Thursday Parties

Thursday is THE day for parties. I am listing them in the order of importance, most important to backup plan.

IGN x Sony x MRC Studios: The Dark Tower Fan Party Tipsy Crow
When: 8-2am; Free; 21+
What: They list baby ribs and drinks, I don’t know if that means it is free eats and drinks, but with sponsorships like that – you best show up and find out! They’ve also got live performances as well, should be a great time! Register now on eventbrite.

Syfy x The Nerd Machine Fan Dance Party The New Children’s Museum
When: 9-12pm; Free
What: If you’re one of the many who were disappointed in the lack of a physical Nerd HQ, have no fear! There are not just one, but two fan dance parties by Syfy and Nerd HQ! Show up in your cosplay and dance with all your best friends. This is the party to just let loose at!

Rave of Thrones Omnia
When: 9:30-2am; $20; 21+
What: Kristian Nairn is back with the Rave of Thrones! If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or dance music, this is not an event to be missed! It is, however $20 pre-sale and probably an arm and a leg the day of. Buy tickets at the Omnia website.

Bangarang Heroes and Rebels Bassmnt
When: 9-1am; $15; 21+
What: Famed for his roles as Rufio in “HOOK,” and Prince Zuko in “AVATAR: The Last Airbender,” Dante Basco is hosting a dance party at the nightclub Bassmnt. Cosplay is encouraged, egos are not – check it at the door. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased here.

Modern Times Beer Dinner w/Star Wars Spelling Bee BIGA
When: 7-11pm, $35 online $45 at the door, 21+
What: This event is probably going to be pretty dope as who doesn’t love a three course dinner, local beer pairings, and a super geeky spelling bee? Do you know how to spell Tatooine? I’ll give you a hint: I just wrote it. Buy tickets here.

Friday Parties

Ghostbusters Mass Hysteria Werewolf
When: 8am-2am; Free; all ages until 9pm
What: A beloved event by all, Ghostbusters Mass Hysteria is an all day event with panels and prizes, followed by a party for the adults! It is first come, first serve – and tons of fun. For schedule and more info, follow their FB invite page.

When: Friday, July 21  9:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.  Held at San Diego’s OMNIA Nightclub located in the legendary Gaslamp Quarter.
What: Tyler Posey (“Teen Wolf”), Danai Gurira (“Black Panther”), Jamie Chung (“Big Hero 6: The Series”), Warren G (Hip-hop artist), Brody Jenner (DJ), Jamie Iovine (DJ),  Aimee Garcia (“Lucifer”), Bree Turner (“Grimm”), Bryan Greenberg (“The Mindy Project”), Cassie Scerbo (“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming”), Fabio Lanzoni (Model), Ian Ziering (“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming), Katheryn Winnick (“Vikings”), Lana Parrilla (“Once Upon a Time”), Marie Avgeropoulos (“The 100”), Paul Johansson (“Van Helsing”), Robert Buckley (“iZombie”), Shohreh Aghdashloo (“The Expanse”), Tara Reid (“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming”) and more to be announced.

Pirate Con Maritime Museum of San Diego
When: 8-12pm; $40; 21+
What: I’ve heard stories about this party. Depending on who you are, this could be either good or bad. You’ve been warned! Bonus! You get a Funko toy with the purchase of your ticket! Tickets may be purchased at the Maritime Museum of San Diego website here.

Japanese Pop Culture Party: Yokai Omatsuri Japanese Friendship Garden
When: 7:30-11:30pm; $25; 18+
What: If kawaii Japanese culture is more your thing, check out the Japanese Friendship Garden at Balboa Park for activities, food, and DJs. Tickets can be purchased here.

Das Bunker Galactic Dance Party at SDCC Spin Nightclub
When: 9pm- ???; $25; 21+
What: Los Angeles’ famed Industrial Dance Club treks over to San Diego for a night of galactic fun. Spin is known to go well into 4am, so if you’re looking for an all nighter, this is your party! Buy tickets here.

Saturday Parties

Syfy x The Nerd Machine Fan Dance Party Pt. 2 The New Children’s Museum
When: 9-12pm; Free
See Thursday’s description.

horror vs scifi san diego comic con 2017

SDCC Horror Cosplay Meetup • Club Sabbat Presents Horror vs Sci-Fi
MEETUP: Location TBA; 6:30-7:30pm; Free; All Ages
AFTER PARTY: Numb3rs Nightclub 9-2am; $7; 21+
The well beloved Zombie Walk is no longer, but lives in the spirit of an all new horror meetup! In zombie fashion, the location is TBA, follow the FB account herefor more info. Following the meetup is the after party presented by Club Sabbat, come in your horror gear or switch it up to galactic babe status. Watch the tentacles! The after party is 21+, sorry horror kids.

Comic-Con Club Crawl Analog Bar
I’m not a huge fan of crawls, but I admit they can be fun – and people seem to enjoy them. Use this discount from Goldstar. This crawl is also on Friday, but don’t pay more when you can pay less. Go Saturday. More info and tickets here.

Itinerary for a Day at Birch Aquarium: Things to Do Already Planned

San Diego is a mecca for aquatic wildlife and oceanic ecosystems; it’s one reason you must visit the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. This La Jolla aquarium has much to offer kids and adults, making it one of the top things to do in La Jolla for families.

Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Birch Aquarium is home to more than 3,000 fish and 60 habitats, providing a unique opportunity to become immersed in an underwater world of sharks, seahorses, living coral reefs and more! Contained within the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the aquarium offers an immersive experience of the ocean sciences, conservation and research.

Here’s a planned itinerary for a day at the Birch Aquarium, so you can focus on enjoying the day – not worrying about the details of planning.

Buy Birch Aquarium Tickets Online

To make planning a trip to Birch Aquarium easy, we recommend buying aquarium tickets in advance online. It saves you time and even money vs. buying them upon arrival.

Head to this page on the Birch Aquarium website for special deals and discounts.

Check the Event Calendar

Before you go, make sure to check the calendar of events at Birch Aquarium. Each day, there are things to do at different times such as the Kelp Tank Dive Show. Check out the daily schedule for an updated list of everything happening each week.

Fuel Up with Breakfast in La Jolla

Eat before your trip to Birch Aquarium, so you and your posse can focus on the great exhibits – rather than stopping too often to snack.

We recommend local spots that open early, good no matter what time you & your family are hungry, and serve great food.

Caroline’s Seaside Cafe – This La Jolla cafe overlooks the Pacific Ocean, providing a great view and a variety of breakfast options including, but not limited to: pancakes, eggs (such as vegetable and Mediterranean egg scramble), greek yogurt parfaits and more.

The Daily Bagel – A local San Diego bagel shop known for great fare and a welcoming family atmosphere.

Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe – This oceanside cafe in La Jolla has a breathtaking view and a large parking lot. Nestled near the world famous Salk Institute, it has both indoor and outdoor seating. Breakfast includes options like decadent bagels, omelettes served with rosemary potatoes, acai bowls, black truffle quiche and more.

How to Get to Birch Aquarium (Details for Driving, Parking & Public Transport)

Address: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Directions: You can drive yourself to the aquarium or – if you are visiting without an automobile or don’t want to worry about finding parking – here are options for public transport to Birch Aquarium.

  • MTS Bus Route 30 – Stops at La Jolla Shores Drive & Discovery Way. From there, walk 100 feet east to Expedition Way. Walk downhill .3 miles to the entrance
  • North County Transit District Bus Route 101 – Stops at Expedition Way. Walk down Expedition Way to the aquarium (15 minutes)

Parking: Free parking is available for three hours in the designated aquarium lot. After three hours, parking is $8 per every 24 hours. Handicapped parking is located in the traffic circle at the front of the aquarium.

What to Expect & Explore at Birch Aquarium

Whether you’re exploring one of the interactive exhibits, checking out the tide pools or participating in one of the numerous aquarium events, there are many things to do at Birch Aquarium.

Here are some of the top attractions at this La Jolla aquarium.

  • Elasmo Beach: Discover sharks and rays that are native to La Jolla’s waters in a 13,000-gallon tank.
  • Living Tide Pools:Take the opportunity to get close-up views of sea stars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters and more.
  • Virtual Experience of Mexican Seas: A virtual and visual photographic experience of four biodiversity hot spots found in Mexican waters.
  • There’s Something about Seahorses: An up-close encounter with more than a dozen seahorse species.
  • Boundless Energy: Experience first-hand how we can use renewable energy from wind, sun and sea.
  • Giant Kelp Tank:  Arguably one of the most popular attractions at the Aquarium, this 70,000 gallon, two-story tank is an awesome display of an underwater forest ecosystem. You’ll see tons of leopard sharks, Moray eels, an endangered Giant Black Sea Bass, and more. Be sure to check out one of the Kelp Tank Dive Shows, too; divers actually feed the tank creatures and will answer any questions.
  • Animal Feedings:Ever wondered what it would be like to dine with fish, sharks and lobsters? Consider this your official invitation to dinner! Each day, aquarists feed the different animals within their live displays, giving you a front row seat to the action. For a schedule of feedings, visit this handy itinerary.
  • Infinity Cube **NEW**:  The Infinity Cube is now open! It’s a huge, immersive installation that explores bioluminescence in the marine environment. It surrounds guests in projected and reflected larger-than-life images of bioluminescence accompanied by soundscape. Definitely worth a stop!

Where to Have Lunch at Birch Aquarium

Pack a Picnic Lunch – After your day at Birch Aquarium or, as a break, bring a picnic lunch. Pack a cooler beforehand so whenever you and your family are hungry, it’s right at hand.


Enjoy Lunch at Birch Aquarium’s Splash! Cafe – This La Jolla aquarium has a gourmet cafe with food by The French Gourmet, where you’ll enjoy sandwiches, salads and side dishes here.

Get an Amazing Oceanview Picture

Birch Aquarium is nestled above La Jolla Shores, providing an incredible view year-round. Make sure to head outside near the tide pool area to get picture of you and the family in front of the Pacific.

Hit the Beach After

After learning about the ocean and the ecosystems it holds, why not go explore it for yourself? It’s easy. Simply hop down to the beach below.

We recommend heading down to La Jolla Shores Beach – only 4 minutes away by car or 10 – 15 minutes using public transport to La Jolla Shores. This beach has equipment rentals, playgrounds and bathrooms – making it perfect for a kids day in La Jolla. It’s also great for a sunset walk on the beach.

Dinner at La Jolla Shores

The La Jolla Shores area offers a variety of great cuisine. Grab dinner at La Jolla restaurant spots such as:

The Shores Restaurant : Nestled on the 1st floor of the La Jolla Shores Hotel, this restaurant is a hidden gem in La Jolla. After a busy day of touring Birch Aquarium and visiting the beach, this elegant, beachside restaurant is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a glass of wine. Make reservations at The Shores Restaurant here.

(If you can make in time for happy hour, you should. Learn about the amazing Shores Restaurant happy hour here.

5 Things We Learned About La Jolla Seals From “This American Life” Podcast

Normally popularity is a good thing.

For La Jolla seals they became too popular for their own good.

The seals, found at La Jolla’s Children Pool, became a tourist attraction in 2010 and on March 11, 2016 This American Life published a podcast about them.

The podcast episode entitled, “When the Beasts Come Marching In” breaks down how marine activists and La Jolla residents engaged in a bitter struggle to see who gets access to the seals.

Activists felt like the residents harassed the seals. Residents felt like they had a right to play with the seals. Both sides became heated quickly.

Despite both sides eventually calming down, the podcast taught us a lot of useful information about La Jolla seals and sea lions.

Here’s 5 important things we learned from the This American Life Podcast.

1. Young seals are called pups.

Adult males are called bulls and adult females are called cows.

It is not exactly clear when a pup is no longer a pup but most scientists agree that adulthood starts when they are 3-4 weeks old.

2. Pupping Season Happens in Spring

During spring harbor seals nurse and raise their pups. Adults, generally females, go hunting and find food. Seals are carnivorous and feed on a variety of squid and other marine animals. Mothers only nurse their pups for about 3-4 weeks then let them fend for themselves.

For now, the harbor seal beach is closed off to the public from December 15th to May 15th. Because of the constant bickering between residents and marine activists, nobody can have access to the beach during pupping season.

Since the rule was made, there have been several attempts to override that decision, however it still stands. The bickering has also died down significantly.

3. Seal breeding grounds are called a rookery

The seals migrated to La Jolla around 2010. Since arriving they made the Children’s Pool their permanent rookery. It serves as a nice location for a breeding ground because there is plenty of food to hunt for their pups.

The rookery is about 150 wide and during 2010 became quite crowded as the seal population grew.

Tourists have easy access to the beach. This poses a big problem for marine activists because residents were often reported as harassing the seals.

The podcast mentions that angry residents called the breeding a “crookery”.

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4. La Jolla seals are NOT in danger of extinction

Despite people arguing over the seals, the podcast clarifies that the seals are not even close to extinction.

Despite mammal activists trying to defend seals, researchers discovered that the harbor seal is an animal of “least concern”. That means the seal is in the same danger of becoming endangered as a house rat or pigeon.

Even though this fact became known, it did not stop the angry fighting between residents and activists.

5. It is illegal to “flush” seals

“Flushing” a seal means scaring it back into the water. When seals are flushed (and they often are) they wiggle and stampede toward the water to escape danger. As the seals grew in popularity, they were flushed more frequently.

Local residents were constantly interacting with the seals. Activists soon became aware that the seals attracted too much attention. Brian Pease, one of the main seal activist explains in the podcast explains, “If you flush them, it’s interfering with their biological [process]… it’s just disruptive.” If residents are caught flushing the seals, there’s also a $500 fine from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

It is a violation of the Marine Mammal protection act, a law from 1972 that protects all marine mammals. Activists often video recorded residents who flushed seals and reported them.


The struggle for residents and activists still continues. After the decision to close the rookery to the public the seals are flushed less frequently. Residents can still look at the seals, but from a distance.

Although not a perfect solution, the fighting between two sides has dramatically decreased. The seals still call The Children Pool their rookery. The continue to raise their pups in peace.

Perhaps the episode title, “When The Beasts Come Marching In” describes the humans more accurately than the La Jolla seals.

5 Incredible Homes in La Jolla That You Didn’t Know Existed

Image from Zillow

La Jolla is obviously a prime vacation destination, and who wouldn’t want to be on vacation all year long? Those who can afford it, do, in elaborate beachside luxury and most importantly, with an incredible number of bathrooms. We can’t all live that life, but fantasize about having 10 or more bathrooms in your house (mansion) with our roundup.

6210 Camino de la Costa

$22.5 million
This 7 bedroom mansion (pictured at top) was built in 1939 by famous architect Richard S. Requa, the man who also designed Balboa’s Park’s Old Globe and original Torrey Pines Lodge. This is one of the incredibly rare homes of the area that not only directly overlooks the cliffs down to the beach, but has a pool you can do so in. At 3 stories and only minutes away from both the heart of The Village and downtown Bird Rock, it’s definitely a gem. You’ll be glad to know it has 10 bathrooms.

Image from Zillow

7400 Vista del Mar

$26.5 million
Towering columns and gleaming white arches will dazzle you as you stare up at this 8,328 sq ft house. Designed by Don Edson, the Mediterranean-inspired house backs up to Marine Street beach. This 3-floor beauty has 7 bedrooms, an indoor movie theatre, a rooftop spa (don’t ask us how that happens) and of course, 10 bathrooms. Watch out if you’re on the beach at sunset, as all those windows are sure to reflect the light.

Image from Zillow

7007 Country Club Drive

$25.5 million
This French-styled estate, nestled in the Country Club neighborhood of La Jolla, was built in 1959. From the library and formal dining room to the 8 bedrooms, greenhouse and 12 car garages, it’s no wonder the home has stayed within the family until this time. It was owned by the former publisher of the Union-Tribute, Helen Copley, and then passed down to her son until his passing. It has hosted guests like Richard Nixon, and has a beautiful 14 bathrooms. Honestly, that’s a different bathroom for every month of the year.

Image from Zillow

2861 Idle Hour Rd

$22.9 million
This 2.87-acre property is like a gorgeously landscaped fairy tale country house. Why? It has a 14,000-square-foot residence with 7 bedrooms, for starters. Then there’s also a lake and an island on the property for a heavy dose of romance. If you want to get active, this home also boasts a skateboard park, disco, and seven-car garage alongside the more traditional tennis court and swimming pool. Best of all, this house has 14 bathrooms. Incredible.

If you’d like to pursue any of these houses, check out our guide to La Jolla real estate!

9650 La Jolla Farms Rd

$22.6 million
The grocery-store investor billionaire Ron Burkle owns this 5.5 acre property perched above Black’s Beach. Visitors to the beach may be able to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous gardens in the front of the house! The 22k sq feet house that has 12 bedrooms and 17.5 bathrooms, the most we’ve found yet. We don’t know how many people live in that home, but it could probably house a football team.

5 Weirdest Sea Creatures You’ll See at the Birch Aquarium

Image: Facebook

No need to travel to the bottom of the ocean: In just a few minutes’ drive, you can have a close encounter with some of the weirdest sea creatures at La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium. From killer shrimp (totally real!) to walking “fish” these unique underwater creatures will mesmerize young and old. Bonus: this trip makes for a great family-friendly activity.

Giant Pacific Octopus: Enteroctopus dofleini

Giant Pacific octopuses (top image) is a great contender for the largest octopus species weighing up to 157 pounds and measuring 11 feet long! These intimidating creatures are a deep ruby color, as you can tell from the Birch Aquarium’s female Giant Pacific octopus. Many of the suckers on her tentacles are actually lined with small hooks or hairs to help grip. We’re told that “[when she’s] moving around, it’s a sight to see to say the least.” Giant Pacific octopuses can be found around the Pacific Rim (western coast of North America and eastern coast of Asia) down to Japan.

There are three other types of giant octopuses, found around the southwestern tip of Africa, the southeastern tip of South America, and New Zealand.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Leafy Seadragon: Phycodurus Eques

The mysterious Leafy Seadragon was named after its leaf-like shape and resemblance to the mythical Chinese dragon. A close relative to Sea Horses, Sea Dragons are much larger with leaf-like appendages and when fully grown they can measure up to 18 inches. Their leaf-like appearance enables them to camouflage quite well into floating seaweed. These sea creatures are fascinating to watch as their body hardly moves.  Their movement comes from translucent fins found on the sides of their heads and dorsal fins. It’s almost as though an invisible force is helping them move, causing them to glide in slow and grace-like patterns.  [source:]

Image: Roy L. Caldwell 

Mantis Shrimp (AKA “Killer Shrimp”): Dikerogammarus Villosus

In the case of the mantis shrimp, truth is stranger than fiction! This fascinating marine crustacean is a serious predator, and sports powerful claws that are used to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismembering.

The mantis shrimp is commonly separated into two distinct categories: spearers and smashers. Spearers skewer their prey with jagged spear-like claws and eat them. Smashers punch prey with club-like claws, but this isn’t just any punch — smasher punches are so fast that vacuums of air are actually formed in the water as the punch travels to the prey. These vacuums then collapse, creating a shock that is so intense that it actually produces light and heat! Mantis shrimp are very colorful and have a shimmering psychedelic appearance that is made even weirder by their two eyes that have three pupils each.


Loggerhead Sea Turtle: Caretta caretta

Loggerhead sea turtles are the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world and have been spotted off the shores of La Jolla! Sadly, loggerhead turtles (pictured above) are becoming more and more rare. These turtles are an endangered species due to worldwide loss of nesting habitats and commercial fishing practices that accidentally trap and kill turtles. The Aquarium’s loggerhead turtle was rescued and resides here permanently after it was declared unable to safely return to the ocean. Loggerheads’ backs are host to over 100 animal species and 37 algae species, making this gal a home to many.

It’s not clear if these species affect their host turtles, but their presence does hide shell colors and may improve camouflaging ability. You can find a video of the Birch Aquarium’s loggerhead here and see her gorgeous yellow, gold and brown shell for yourself!


Flamboyant Cuttlefish: Metasepia pfefferi

The flamboyant cuttlefish, named for its bright pink, red, and yellow colors, is a poisonous variety of cuttlefish. Their toxic nature is not only conveyed through their bright colors, but a certain wiggly walk they perform across the ocean floor. The flamboyant cuttlefish is the only type of cuttlefish that can walk. Confusingly, cuttlefish are actually mollusks, not fish, and belong to the same family as octopuses and squid. The eyes of cuttlefish have a “W”-shaped pupil instead of the round one seen in humans! When cuttlefish look and focus their eyes, the lens inside the eye moves relative to the retina instead of staying in place and reshaping as it does in humans.

5 Reasons to Check out the La Jolla Tide Pools This Year

La Jolla has tons of opportunities to get out and explore nature, but one you may not have tried is visiting any of the La Jolla tide pools! Whether you hit up Shell Beach at the end of Scripps Park or head to Dike Rock north of Scripps Pier, you won’t regret the trip for these 5 reasons.

1. Natural beauty

This pretty much says it all. Tide pools are gorgeous, from shimmering colors of rocks and algae to striped and spotted fish, crabs, and other aquatic creatures. Make sure to go at low tide for the best view. Note: please do not touch anything, as you can hurt delicate organisms or disrupt the pH level and kill algae they require to live.

2. Not your everyday beach activity

If you’re bored with regular beach activities or the weather’s a bit too cold for a swimsuit, the many tide pools near The Cove are a great alternative. They’re also not too much of a time or energy commitment, so they make for a great lunch break or after-work refresher! No need to go in above your knees, especially since you’ll want to avoid stepping on any wildlife. You may want to keep an eye out for surprise waves, however.

3. Incredible biodiversity

Tide pools are home to very adaptable species, as the shifting cycles of tides means that they must survive both under and above water, in sun and wind, as well as in strong and mild currents! Seaweed, lichen, crabs, mussels, anemone, abalone and many more species of plants and animals live there. See the tide pools now because oceanic conditions are always changing, especially with the atypical weather we’ve had the last few years. What’s here now may not be here in two years!

4. Learn something new

While you definitely don’t need to be well-read to enjoy the tide pools, it can be fun to know what you’re looking at! Facts are more interesting and memorable when you have something really cool to attach it to. Did you know the starburst sea anemone stings other anemones to fight over territory? We found this helpful guide from Scripps that points out things to look for and what they are. Skip to the fifth page for a good illustration of where to find what.

5. Meditative and restorative

La Jolla tide pools with their intricate visual details and gently flowing water are great to use for mindfulness. Looking at a complex thing for a while is a good way to step out of the hassles of everyday life and revive your spirits. For a double dose of focus and peace, try closing your eyes and listening to ocean noises.

A few tips before you go: Make sure to wear shoes that will protect your feet from sharp rocks and prevent you from slipping! Nobody wants to fall in and get wet, and you might damage the tide pools if you do. Bring a camera, as tide pools make for great photo opportunities (though you might want to consider waterproofing options). Early morning in the summer and late afternoon in the fall and winter will probably get you the best tide pool visibility.

Photo credits to Roger Wagner and Kenneth Hagemeyer from

8 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting the La Jolla Cove Seals

A trip to see the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions in San Diego is a fantastic way to get out and about and see nature! Whether you’re shooting for a family beach trip or peaceful lunch break, you’ll get the most out of the experience if you know a few things going in.

Here’s what you need to know before visiting the La Jolla Cove Seals. To learn more about this incredible location including what to do, where to stay, the best La Jolla Cove restaurants, monthly events and happenings and more, visit our Ultimate Guide to the La Jolla Cove.

1. Plan your trip

Firstly, try to find out what parts of the beach are open. While La Jolla Cove is open year-round, the Children’s Pool (Casa Beach) is closed from December 15 to May 15 to protect the newly-born seal pups.

You can still watch from a distance along the sea wall and might even see a birth! If you don’t see any seals directly on the sandy beach at the Cove, direct your gaze towards the rock straight ahead; affectionately known by locals as “Seal Rock,” this is another favorite seal hangout.

We typically see them on the rock closer to sundown, after they have gone out in search of food. Another option is to take a kayak tour, which goes right by many of the seals’ hangout spots.

When it’s open, the Children’s Pool is another great place to watch Pacific Ocean wildlife. Its waters are protected as an underwater park and Ecological Reserve, which means restrictions are put in place to protect all marine mammals and marine life. It’s a ten-minute walk south from the Cove, and makes for a great second stop to continue your seal-watching.

The sea wall (built in 1931 thanks to Ellen Browning Scripps) protects the small swimming cove and provides a calm area for swimming and snorkeling – and for seal sunbathing!

After you’ve checked out the seals, many people opt to have an outdoors picnic at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, or dine at one of the many restaurants that line the coast.

If you’re more in the mood for staying outdoors, there are plenty of options including snorkeling, kayak tours, scuba diving, surfing, or stand up paddle boarding available at La Jolla Shores. The nearby sea caves provide plenty of opportunity for exploration, including the La Jolla tide pools.

2. Respect, respect, respect

Both locals and tourists have a tendency to take the Cove for granted and forget its natural residents when going swimming or visiting the beach. Don’t leave trash on the La Jolla Cove or Children’s Pool beach or try to feed the seals and sea lions, as both of these activities can harm the animals.

If you’re swimming in an area where seals may be present, keep an eye out so you’re not surprised if one shows up, and stay some distance away. Remember, you are a visitor in their environment, not the other way around.

Why Snorkeling in La Jolla Should Be on Your Bucket List

3. Keep your distance

Whether in the water or on the shore, don’t get too close or take photos with the animals, wave selfie sticks in their faces, or yell at them. Sea lions and seals deserve their space.

Additionally, the group at the La Jolla Cove is better socialized than most groups of seals and sea lions, but they will still bite if they feel threatened. If you have small children, keep an eye on them to prevent them from interacting with the seals.

The term “flushing” was coined to describe the act of scaring a seal or sea lion back into the water. Doing so will cost a hefty $500 fine and can seriously jeopardize both the health and safety of the animal.

4. Expect a smell from (very important!) poop

La Jolla Cove may naturally be a little stinky from seal and sea lion poop, but visitors adjust to the smell very quickly. However unappealing it might be to human noses, poop actually serves a vital role in the ocean ecosystem!

When seals poop, the nutrients and nitrogen from their deep ocean diet are made available to feed planktons and algae that other animals eat. Without seals, these plants would not get enough nutrients and would die, along with many other species, including the La Jolla leopard sharks. Keep an eye out for these cool creatures during the summer.

5. Seals or sea lions?

La Jolla Cove has both seal and sea lions — but how do you tell the difference between them?

Firstly, you’re way more likely to see seals at the Children’s Pool, whereas the sea lions live next door near the cliffs at the Cove. Seals are much more quiet than the vocal sea lions and only move on land by wiggling on their bellies, whereas sea lions are able to “walk” using their flippers.

6. Don’t say goodbye

The presence of the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions is being threatened by local litigation that sees the seal odor as hurting nearby commercial interests. If you enjoy getting to witness nature outside of a zoo, consider donating to the Seal Conservatory at or contributing your voice to this ongoing political issue.

7. Parking at La Jolla Cove

Park early in the day, or park a little further away from the Cove on Girard or Prospect and walk. La Jolla Boulevard fills up very quickly.

There should be handicap parking and reliable sidewalks along La Jolla Boulevard. Depending on your disability, going all the way down to the Children’s Beach, etc. may not be possible because of sandy walkways.

There is street parking (usually with a 2-hour time limit until 6pm on weekdays) along Prospect and Coast Blvd. If it’s too busy to find something on the street, there are a few parking garages in the Village that charge an hourly rate.

Check out our Guide to Free Parking in La Jolla for more information.

Explore More of La Jolla Cove

8. Just in case

While the beach promises fun in the sun, once in a blue moon a problem may arise. If you see a sick or injured seal or sea lion, call the Sea World Mammal Rescue at (800) 541-7325. This group is much more capable of helping than Animal Control.

Likewise, if you see an animal being abused, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Enforcement hotline at (800) 853-1964.

3 additional tips about visiting the La Jolla Cove seals

  • Wear close-toed shoes if you plan on walking out on the beach or any rocky areas. It can get slippery very quickly out there, especially coming down the stairs to get to La Jolla Cove.
  • Wearing pants that you don’t mind getting wet.
  • Don’t forget your camera! The seals and sea lions make for a great (and very cute) photo op.

Visiting the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions is one of the best things to do in La Jolla, and a big part of what makes our coastal community so special.

Go Urban Exploring with the Murals of La Jolla

One of La Jolla’s best features is its role as a patron of the arts! Besides MCASD La Jolla and numerous art galleries, La Jolla also features its own series of outdoor murals maintained by the Athenaeum. Here’s our guide to planning your own Murals of La Jolla tour!

Currently, La Jolla hosts 16 mural locations maintained by private donations to the Athenaeum. You can view former murals in the online archive at the Murals of La Jolla Website, as 8 of the 16 have been updated with new murals since the start of the series in 2010. Each art piece stays up a minimum of two years. 2016 saw several additions, with 3 new murals and 2 new locations.

Planning Your Tour

If you want to take it easy, guided tours covering a majority of the murals are given by Athenaeum staff on the last Wednesday of each month at 4:30 pm. However, it’s usually more convenient to draw up your own tour. You can even customize it for accessibility, walking distance, and snack stops.

Firstly, you’ll need to know where the murals are, which you can easily find with this printable map. If you only have a short bit of time or are looking for the most wheelchair-friendly route, we recommend going from Prospect St, to Herschel Ave, to Girard Ave for the most murals (and best sidewalks) in the shortest distance.

Special Murals of La Jolla

Oldest mural – Favorite Color by Roy McMakin at 7596 Eads Ave (2010)
Newest mural – Landing by Heather Gwen Martin at 7724 Girard Ave (2016)
Cutest Mural – Opening by William Wegman at 1162 Prospect St (2014)
Most Instagrammable mural – One Pointed Attention by Kelsey Brookes at 7835 Ivanhoe Ave (2014) (cover image)
Most out of the way mural – Walking in the Cityprojects by Julian Opie at 5535 La Jolla Blvd (2013) (side image)
* This one is a real trek but is just a few steps away from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, which is arguably the best coffee in La Jolla. If you’re up for it, it’s a nice one to catch.

About the Murals

The Murals of La Jolla project began in 2010. Over the past few years, large-scale artworks have appeared in a variety of locations throughout the village of La Jolla; many are tucked away in more discreet locations, which makes them even more fun to find.

The project was founded by the La Jolla Community Foundation and continues to demonstrate that commissioning artists to create works for public spaces brings energy and vitality to a community. Here’s the list of artists whose murals are on display right now:

  • Kota Ezawa
  • Steven Hull
  • Heather Gwen Martin
  • Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia
  • Byron Kim/Victoria Fu
  • Terry Allen
  • Marcos Ramirez ERRE
  • Mel Bochner
  • Jean Lowe
  • William Wegman
  • Kelsey Brookes
  • Fred Tomaselli
  • Mark Bradford
  • Julian Opie
  • Roy McMakin
  • John Baldessari

Overall, 24 murals have been commissioned since 2010, and the Foundation plans on continuing to commission local and international artists.

Favorite Restaurants Along the Way

If you want to eat on the go, you can get tacos from Puesto or burgers from Burger Lounge and look at both the Hamilton and Blochner murals across the street in the parking lot.

If you’re in the mood for a treat, grab some Haagen Daz and eat it while gazing up at Wegman’s Opening.

If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, Brain/Cloud can be seen from the outdoor patio of George’s, and Sexy Cash can be seen from the patio of La Jolla Brewing Company.

Happy touring, and let us know in the comments which your favorites were!

One Pointed Attention and Walking in the City images from

Mount Soledad in La Jolla: 100 Years of History and Controversy

Mount Soledad in La Jolla is known as one of the best spots to catch the sunset or even stargaze once night falls, and its sweeping panoramas of the Pacific Ocean, downtown, and North County have long been a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The mountain is known to many for more than just its views, however — the tall white cross that sits in the center of Mt. Soledad Park dates back more than 100 years and has been the subject of longstanding controversy. In fact, it was once the focus of one of the most famous lawsuits   involving the separation of church and state in California.

100 Years of History (& Controversy)

Three different crosses have actually been constructed on the hill since the early 1900s. The original cross was made of pure California redwood and erected by locals in 1913 who were living in La Jolla and Pacific Beach. Just 10 years later, in 1923, the cross was destroyed and stolen by vandals.

The second cross was erected in 1934 by a private group of Protestant Christians from the surrounding areas. This sturdier, stucco-over-wood frame cross stood tall for several years until, as luck would have it, a windstorm tore it from its base in 1952. It wasn’t until two years later in 1954 that the La Jolla community put up the 42-foot landmark cross that towers there today. It was initially called the “Mount Soledad Easter Cross,” but the word “Easter” was dropped in the 1980s.

Part of its controversy was due to its religious exclusion – the cross dominated La Jolla’s highest point and identified the Village as a strictly Christian neighborhood. In fact, for many years, Jews were denied opportunity to purchase a home in La Jolla, a law that was enforced by “The La Jolla Covenant” among locals. For a while, “For Sale” signs weren’t even allowed in La Jolla – making it impossible for anyone to know which houses were available to buy. The establishment of the University of California San Diego in the early 1960s (and Roger Revelle) helped to gradually put an end to this residential prejudice. La Jolla now has one of the largest Jewish communities in all of San Diego.

The War Memorial

The war memorial was constructed at the foot of the cross much later. The memorial itself is composed of six concentric walls that hold more than 3,500 black granite plaques, all of which were purchased by donors and engraved with the names and photos of Korean War veterans. Today, there are more than 1,700 in place, and the site holds several events annually to commemorate America’s war heroes.

Veteran’s Day ceremonies are held atop Mt. Soledad every year. The Memorial is open from 10am to 7pm daily, and families of veterans can request special Honor Ceremonies for their loved ones memorialized on the plaques.

There are also Memorial Day ceremonies held each May. It’s a good idea to visit their website for up-to-date information regarding ceremony times.

Stunning Panoramic Views

There is no question that the panoramas atop Mt. Soledad are one-of-a-kind. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see an incredible expanse of the Pacific Coastline – try and figure out which areas are which! This is also a perfect spot to catch the 4th of July fireworks at the Cove.

For the adventurers, there’s another spectacular viewing point nearby from the La Jolla Heights Natural Park off of Brodiaea Way. Walk far enough and you’ll find a bench perched just at the edge of the cliffs with a clear view down the coastline.

Directions to Mount Soledad

The Mount Soledad cross and war memorial are located at 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive S., La Jolla 92037. The area is open daily from dawn until dusk.

Directions from the north: If you are coming from Del Mar, Solana Beach, or another area north of La Jolla, take I-5 South and exit La Jolla Village Dr. Turn right onto La Jolla Village Drive, then take a left onto Torrey Pines Road. Continue straight onto Hidden Valley Road. Turn right onto Via Capri, then make a left onto Soledad Park Rd.

Directions from the east: If you are coming from La Mesa, Santee, or another area east of La Jolla, take CA-52 West. Use the left two lanes to exit La Jolla Parkway. Make a left onto Hidden Valley Rd., then turn right onto Via Capri. Turn left on Soledad Park Rd., the memorial will be straight ahead.

Directions from the south: If you are coming from Chula Vista or another area south of La Jolla, take I-5 North and exit La Jolla Parkway. Turn left onto Hidden Valley Road, then turn right onto Via Capri. Make a left onto Soledad Park Rd., and the memorial will be straight ahead.

The memorial and cross are free to visit, and there is ample parking in the visitor lot.

Dolphin Sightings in La Jolla

Dolphin Pods off the San Diego Coast

The beaches of Southern California are full of awe-inducing aquatic wildlife. From smaller creatures like Garibaldi fish you’d see at Birch Aquarium to much larger ones…like dolphins!

Burnz Eye View captured this beautiful pod of dolphins near La Jolla, off the San Diego Coast using their high-tech quadcopter. We thank them for filming this and sharing it with the virtual world.

Want to Meet Dolphins Yourself?

Dolphins are incredible creatures, and many folks would probably like a closer look. Head out on the water and find yourselves eye-to-eye with them by going kayaking or snorkeling. If you’re new to these activities, you may be unsure if you’re heading to the right spots. La Jolla is home to multiple guides who are very experienced in leading people through kayaking and other tours. Tours truly are a great way to see the sea with ease and confidence. (Plus, they provide all the equipment, which is great for all of us who don’t regularly purchase scuba diving gear!)

See them up close…On Dry Land

If you prefer to stay on dry land, no problem. You can see these beautiful creatures up close at nearby the Sea World Aquatic Park. Simply head into the main entrance, turn left and walk until you hear their squeaking laughter! At Dolphin Encounter, they don’t simply look pretty either. They are trained to swim up close to guests and let you pet their playful heads.

Not Enough?

If you’re love the coast and are interested in other ocean activities, check out our Ocean Page to learn more. Keep calm and swim on!



Arts & Culture

La Jolla is a community passionate about art and all that the term encompasses. This can be seen through its variety of art museums, art galleries, theaters and music-based events. For an overview of all there is to experience in La Jolla’s art scene, here are some of the top places and events for you:

Art Galleries

The La Jolla Village Art Walk is an area packed with stunning, locally-owned art galleries. Simply head to Prospect Street and Girard Avenue and begin strolling. (Make extra sure to stop by the Peter Lik Gallery; Peter is the man who sold the highest-priced photograph of all time in 2014! The price? $6.5 million.)


La Jolla is home to some truly noteworthy museums like the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego – La Jolla, which rests on bustling Prospect Street. It’s constantly rotating exhibits, including ones that often travel internationally. Once you’ve walked the interior galleries, head outside to experience the museum’s garden. Bring a sketchpad to work on your very own piece!

There’s also the La Jolla Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, which is worth visiting for the building’s architecture alone. The library was built in the Spanish Renaissance-style in 1921; the refurbished interior showcases this. Inside the venue, you’ll find books, magazines, records, CDs, DVDs and other materials on music, paintings, architecture and many other artistic genres.

The high caliber of this library is all the more exciting due to its free admission. In order to check out materials, however, you do need to be a member. Membership fees vary based on whether you are part of an individual or a family, but no matter what it tops out at $75 a year (before any late fees, not that you’d be incurring any, of course!).

Learn more at our Museums Page.

La Jolla Playhouse

This award-winning venue is known for premiering shows like Jersey Boys, just one of its 25 top notch shows that have gone on to Broadway. The La Jolla Playhouse has also earned 35 Tony Awards and its applauding crowds at the end of each show verify the reason why. Be on the lookout for what exciting, new shows are coming up this season…before they sell out!

La Jolla Music Society

The La Jolla Music Society, located on Ivanhoe Avenue, has been on a mission to enhance the arts scene and bring musical performances to this area since 1941. They work to create educational opportunities and host performance for both novice and long-term musical art lovers. Here are some of their top events:

  • Summerfest – An annual free outdoor concert
  • Winterfest Gala – A musical performance in which all proceeds go to educational and musical programs
  • Free Events – This society hosts many events that don’t require entrance fees, such as Summerfest, coaching workshops, open rehearsals and Encounters (lectures that delve deep into different musical topics).

Stay up-to-date on their upcoming events through our blog and calendar!

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

Crave live music? This non-profit, with roots in the 1950s, seeks to provide affordable concerts and live event opportunities. It hosts many of these year round, including events that partner with UCSD and others that invite young, up-and-coming artists to take part. Be on the lookout for upcoming events; tickets do sell out!

Concert in the Park at the Cove

Perhaps you like to enjoy your music outside in the fresh seaside air. On several Sunday afternoons during summer, June through September to be exact, the Ellen Browning Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove hosts family-friendly, live concerts. The type of music varies, ensuring that the concerts appeal to many different types of music lovers.

What time to show up? The concerts are usually held between 2 and 4 pm. This gives you enough time to enjoy the beach before…and plenty of time to pack up and get ready for dinner with the family after! We’ll keep you updated on these free performances through our blog and calendar.

Del Mar’s Gourmet Food Truck Festival: The Full Review

Del Mar’s Gourmet Food Truck Festival: The Full Review

I arrived at the Del Mar Racetrack and, quite literally, followed my nose to the Gourmet Food Truck Festival.

The 5th annual festival, held Saturday, August 15th, hosted over 40 gourmet food trucks from the surrounding San Diego and Los Angeles area. There were many food trucks I’d heard of before, but not yet had the chance to try.


When we think food trucks and fair food, images of deep fryers often come to mind. I love french fries as much as the next person, but I was pleasantly surprised to encounter trucks that also offered options that were cool, refreshing and (can you believe it?) healthy.

Fresh Fish at Sun & Seafood

My first stop was Sun & Seafood, where I got to try the shrimp taco and fish ceviche tostada. Both were delicious but, because it was so hot, the cold and refreshing ceviche was the item that really hit the spot.

The Currywurst Truck

My 2 fellow festival goers opted for German food at the Currywurst Truck. This food truck was especially perfect for my friend who is vegetarian because Currywurst serves a vegetarian-friendly “bratwurst” that can satisfy the cravings of any non-meat eater. (Proof of how good it was? It had vanished from her plate before we even sat down.) They, of course, have plenty of very real meat options, as well.

Juice Wave SD

Continuing my own theme of light and cold, we headed to Juice Wave. This juice truck offers several types of organic and healthy juices, smoothies and acai bowls. Overcome by options, I asked the girl taking orders for her opinion. She recommended “The Hangover” and couldn’t have picked better.

Coconut water. Carrot. Celery. Ginger. Green apple. I didn’t drink the night before, but that didn’t make me appreciate this nutrient-packed drink any less. Speaking of coconut water, Juice Wave even had full on coconuts packed with coconut water and meat. Island paradise, right here in Del Mar.

Juice Wave is definitely a spot I’ll be returning to, most likely at their newly opened Mission Beach location.




Prepare to Be Wow-ed: Opening Day Hat Contest 2015

The Del Mar Races’ Opening Day Hat Contest has been a grand tradition for a long time, the hats getting grander and more elaborate each year. Many of the entrants are recurring too, having competed in this glamorous battle for over 20 years.

Walking the plaza, taking in the variety of millinery, I simply can’t imagine how the judges were able to select one winner over another in this Opening Day Hat Contest 2015. Here are some photos to show you what I mean.

Below, this woman constructed a full recreation of the most iconic building in Balboa Park. How long did it take her? About 7 months. With all the admirers and people requesting photos, it was obviously time well spent.

This gentleman is a regular competitor; last year he got second place and was determined to nab the first position this time around. The effort he put into this recreation of a racetrack is definitely applause worthy.

The Opening Day Hat Contest is one of the main ways this race date is set apart from the rest of the season. The competitors all did such a fantastic job, and I tip my hat off to them!

Want to learn about the other festivities that day? Head to the Full Review of Del Mar Races Opening Day 2015.




Madison Gallery: Now Featuring Miya Ando’s Latest Work

The Madison Gallery is known for impressing visitors with its diverse and careful selection of work; they’ve done it again with Miya Ando’s latest artwork.

Miya has created a large-scale installation that will be on view until November 22, 2015. Titled “Emptiness the Sky”, Shou Sugi Ban, the name is ideal for the charred wood and metal painting piece.

Miya spent much time as a child in Okayama, Japan, where the charred wood was used in construction for her home, the surrounding houses and the Buddhist temple. She experienced a similar type of wood when she lived in Santa Cruz, California, where she played in a treehouse that had been struck by lightning. It looked much like the Shou Sugi Ban.

You can see the fusion of inspiration from these two childhood scenes. The installation is structured like a traditional Japanese tea room she would’ve gone to as a child in Japan, 84 x 84 x 84 inches. On another continent altogether, you’ll see the influence of her redwood treehouse, charred by lightning, here, as well.

It has been said that Shou Sugi Ban charred wood has low flammability, preventing fires that would happen with other woods. Enter Miya Ando’s installation to feel this coolness and to feel a sense of calm transformation.

Weekend Escape @ UTC: Why this Place isn’t Just a Mall

This past weekend, March 28th & 29th, Westfield UTC lived the La Jolla lifestyle to the fullest. People usually take a break from the day-to-day at this outdoor mall by walking the shops and dining at the restaurants. Saturday and Sunday, however, they did so by breaking into a sweat and experiencing new products in Weekend Escape.

From hip hop and yoga to sunset spin, this event was all about being an inspiration for living a good life. This community is proud to be conscious of health, fitness and wellness. It’s why you see many yoga studios throughout the village and so many runners on the beaches.

Culinary-wise, Pirch had its masterful chefs perform cooking demonstrations out front and Shake Smart gave out fantastic samples after the 24 Hour Fitness buns & thighs workout challenge. And to celebrate the end of the first successful day? A VIP Cocktail party packed with perfected shrimp, gourmet mac & cheese and an assortment of beers and wines. There’s just nothing like soft brie and candied walnuts after a day of hearty fitness.

People certainly earned their calories this weekend. Jen Burdis, an American Ninja Warrior bootcamp powerhouse, led people through series of workouts that would make the most trained of athletes proud. Music-wise, people caught their breath while listening to fantastic tunes performed by talented folks like Erick Macek.

The spin class at sunset was easily a top favorite. The instructor and her two assistants, all donning wicked cool leggings, had a large crew of men and women pumping to the beats of club-worthy electronic music. As the sun went down, their heart rates went up. Us spectators greatly applauded the athleticism!

Westfield UTC may offer amazing La Jolla shopping and restaurants, but it does so much else with events like this. After you cool down from this weekend, get excited for what else is coming up…like the Uncorked Wine Walk in May!

Interested in other festivities in La Jolla? Check out our Events Page.

Architecture Enthusiast’s Itinerary for La Jolla

Architecture Enthusiast’s Itinerary for La Jolla

Welcome to La Jolla, California, a city known for award-winning architectural firms and homes that make jaws drop. From world-famous science institutions to privately owned houses, there is a lot to see here that will have you camera clicking all day.



Here’s the itinerary for the ultimate architecture exploring trip, already planned for you.


See the world-famous Salk Institute.

Named Robert Redford’s favorite, most soul-searching place in the entire world, this ocean-side institute has been deemed one of the globe’s boldest structures since its creation in the 1960s.It started as a dream by Dr. Jonas Salk, the man who discovered the vaccine that essentially wiped out polio, and is now one of the planet’s top research facilities for biology. Nobel prize winners have made world-changing discoveries here, and each year more scientists researching at the Salk Institute are added to the potential Nobel Laureate candidate list.

You can sign up for fantastic, free tours to learn more about how the building was designed and the full history at the Salk Institute’s website.

Get schooled on the UCSD’s Geisel Library.

This library, which made its premier in 1970, was named in honor of Audrey and Theodor Geisel. Who are they? You may know Theodor Seuss Geisel better as Dr. Seuss, world-famous author and cartoonist.


This couple’s generous donations made this architectural feat, which is also one of America’s top public academic libraries. possible. Designed with an emphasis on geometrical forms, this brutalist architecture has a fascinating history that you can learn more about on one of the library’s tours. If you’re unable to make a guide-led tour, simply show up on campus and walk through yourself. There’s often art and exhibits on display that are fun to peruse, as well.

Walk the Street of Dreams.

Camino de la Costa is a quiet, unassuming street along the coast of the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla. It goes from unsuspecting to magnificent almost immediately, with mansions by inspiring architects like Wallace Cunningham rising into the blue sky. These many-million dollar homes are each unique, one very modern alongside a Spanish-inspired piece. Walk along in a fantasy-like state as the nickname, the Street of Dreams, implies.

Swing by the La Jolla Women’s Club.

A spot less well known for architecture than places like Salk, this establishment was commissioned by Ellen Browning Scripps (for whom the park above La Jolla Cove is named) to be designed by Irving Gill. Irving is thought to be the initial, most vital architect of the modernist era You can see his simple, but powerful, style here in this building on Draper Avenue at Silverado Street.

And hey, if you’re looking for a spot to host a wedding or corporate retreat, the La Jolla Women’s Club is a beautiful place for having events and celebrations.

Experience all La Plaza has to offer.

Head to the new shopper’s dream in the heart of the downtown La Jolla village, La Plaza. This Spanish and Moroccan-inspired boutique shopping center was designed by the highly-acclaimed P+R Architects’ Principal Mitra Esfandiari. The incredible attention to detail, such as the tile wall murals throughout, makes every nook and cranny exciting to explore. Plus… you can treat yourself to some fantastic food or light shopping while you’re here!

La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance: Got Your Tickets Yet?

La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance: Got Your Tickets Yet?

If you enjoy automobiles and live in the area, you’ve probably attended this wonderful event in La Jolla, California already. If you haven’t, this is the year to check out Concours d’Elegance.


Car enthusiasts from all over come out to take part in this weekend festival. Starting off with a Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Contemporary Classic Cocktail Party on Friday and going all the way through the events hosted at the fantastic La Jolla Cove and La Jolla restaurants on Sunday, it’s an event you don’t want to miss.

History & Background

Sponsors from all around join forces with the La Jolla Historical Society to host this event that has origins tracing back to the 17th century. During that time, the concours was a luxurious, leisurely event centered around coaches, couture and cocktails.


In many ways, little has changed since, though overtime the event adjusted and morphed into the post-World War II event Loren Tryon held in 1950 at Pebble Beach. This in turn inspired the car-loving, automotive-centered event La Jolla now hosts today.

What to Expect

There is far more to do than simply look at cars at La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance. From cocktail receptions to decadent lunches, there’s something different happening each day.



The event launches with a cocktail party hosted by CJ Charles Jewelers at La Valencia Hotel on Prospect Street. At the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Contemporary Classic Cocktail Party, ticket holders will enter this exclusive gathering and be greeted by supreme appetizers, cocktails, wine and, of course, entertainment. It’s the perfect way to begin this deluxe event.


The first full-day event begins just south of La Jolla at San Diego’s Balboa Park. You’ll be taken to this world-famous park’s San Diego Automotive Museum for an exclusive exhibit on the influence cars have had through history, seeing some of the finest of the museum’s automobiles.

From here, the ticket you purchase will have you driven up to Bill Evan’s Private Collection Garage where the vintage automobiles will have you reminiscing over old times and thinking of songs by Frank Sinatra.

Next? The Chuck Spielman’s Only Yesterday Museum. This private showroom includes a lot of war artifacts and history, as well as great cars. Last but not last, the vehicle transporting you will take you on over to the official La Jolla Tour d’Elegance. What type of vehicle? A double decker bus, of course! Get ready to feel like a local London-er.

Saturday Night

Not ready to turn in after all that? Keep the car talk coming at VIP reception Saturday evening. CJ Charles Jewelers is hosting another evening of culinary cuisine and drinks. Sip hand-crafted cocktails while discussing your favorite automobiles alongside the glorious ocean view.


Even if you are unable to attend one of the cocktail parties or exclusive VIP events, you’ll get to see a truly impeccable array of automobiles on Sunday at La Jolla’s Concours d’Elegance. Enjoy viewing hundreds of vehicles with wine tastings and visits to the beer garden in between. And hey, if you up your ticket to VIP status, the highest of quality cocktails, a mouth-watering lunch and poster are included in the ticket.

It’s also good to note that if you have children under age 14, there’s no need to worry about cost; they’re free!

Parking: Good to Know

Parking will get crazy for this ever-expanding event. If you live close enough, it may well be worth it to Uber in or even park in a nearby area of La Jolla, such as Bird Rock, and take a nice stroll in. It’ll save you the stress and madness of finding a spot for your car.


From out of the area or prefer to stay somewhere within walking distance? The most notable La Jolla hotels are all just a stroll away from the heart of this event. Learn more about these fantastic options at our blog: La Jolla’s Top 5 Hotels: Why to Book Now!

Art Lovers’ Itinerary: Explore Murals & Art in La Jolla

If you’re visiting La Jolla, California, you’ve likely heard of the Birch Aquarium and La Jolla Cove. As an art lover, you may already know about top spots like the Peter Lik gallery, but what about all the hidden murals throughout the area?

Here’s an easy-to-follow itinerary for those who love art and want to explore it in La Jolla.

1. Go on a mission to find the murals of La Jolla.

The last Wednesday of each month, the Athenaeum Music & Arts library hosts a free walking tour of the murals of La Jolla. Stroll through this wonderful murals hidden throughout the city on a tour led by a knowledgeable guide and enjoy a reception at the museum after.

Unable to attend or simply interested in going a different day? No problem. Follow this map to host your very own mural scavenger hunt around town. Choose your path and let the map lead you to the many murals of La Jolla. You’ll see Nina Katchadourian’s magnificent Whale and find yourself tilting your head upwards at Fred Tomaselli’s Expecting to Fly for the Zeros. Along the way, who knows what other sculptures or picturesque cafes you may see.

2. Set up a private tour just about any day of the year.

Whether by walking, Segway or other transportation, La Jolla Tours offers an easy way to see the city and its beautiful art. Simply call, let them know what it is you want to make sure to see and they’ll take care of the rest.

3. Walk the galleries of the village.

La Jolla, Ca manages to be a quaint town, yet have more to explore than places much larger. The downtown village has countless art galleries alone; walk along Girard and Prospect, popping into the ones that tickle your fancy.

Also, note that if it’s the first Friday of the month, the Peter Like Art Gallery will be hosting an evening serving wine and cheese for people to indulge in while taking in the work. Learn more about some of our top recommended galleries at 3 Must See Spots for Art Lovers in La Jolla.

4. Explore one of the highly-acclaimed museums.

La Jolla is proud to pay homage to art in sites like the Museum of Contemporary Art and Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Learn more about these spots and other nearby museums at our Museums Page.

5. Enjoy your art in theater form?

The La Jolla Playhouse has been winning Tonys and sending plays to Broadway since its founding in the 1970s. After a day of discovering murals and exploring art galleries, take in a play! You can see what’s showing and purchase tickets at:

All of this walking in the name of art is likely to work up a mean appetite. Check out some restaurants that you’d like to try for before, after or, hey, in between art activities at our Restaurants Page.

5 Ways: You Know You Live in La Jolla When…

La Jolla is a proud community that’s notably unique from its Southern California neighbors. It may border San Diego, but it has a very distinct personality that is not to mistaken for anywhere else. Here are some of the top ways that, if you nod with understanding, you know you’re an official La Jollan.

1. When someone says they’re going to George’s, they’re probably not talking about a friend’s house.

Though it’s possible someone is visiting a pal named George, it is far more likely they’re headed to George’s at the Cove, a fine dining restaurant that offers incredibly seafood, ocean views and service. It may well be your perfect go-to for celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries.

2. Brunch makes for a truly ultimate Saturday or Sunday.

La Jolla has many fantastic spots for a seaside brunch on the weekends, all of which are popping with guests excited to indulge in good food and (most likely) sip on mimosas. Check out what we think are 4 Must-Try Brunch Spots in La Jolla.

3. You hear “The Playhouse” and know it’s not a child’s play area.

If you live in La Jolla, you’ve probably attended at least one event or play at the La Jolla Playhouse. Having sent countless plays to Broadway and won more Tony’s than almost any other theater in America, you know it’s a great place to experience theater.

4. Everyday is a good beach day.

You click on the news to see people bundling up in the snow, witness tornadoes hitting and watch treacherous, far-off storms. Then, you grab your light cardigan and head to a local beach…whatever time of year it may be.

5. This city has 3 distinct pockets, each with its own vibe and one-of-a-kind venues.

Visitors come to see the Cove and try the famous Coast Toast. They’re great spots, of course, but you know the local gems – like where to get the ultimate coffee in Bird Rock (Bird Rock Coffee Roasters!) and that the unassuming Cheese Shop in La Jolla Shores is a prime spot for grabbing picnic sandwiches.

Even if you lived in La Jolla for many years, there may be local spots you haven’t tried or heard of. Test your La Jolla knowledge by reading our Top 5 Best-Kept Secrets in La Jolla.