SAN DIEGO ATTRACTIONS


San Diego attractions, events, concerts and entertainment

Your most complete guide to the top San Diego attractions


San Diego event calendar  Daily calendar of San Diego events
San Diego attractions  Guide to top San Diego attractions
San Diego activities  Fun and free things to do in San Diego
San Diego activities  Free San Diego Summer Concerts
 General  Music  Scenic Tours
 Beaches  Nature Parks  Science
 Dance  Opera  Skate Parks
 Gardens  Performing Centers  Specialty Shopping
 Historical  Professional Sports  Summer Concerts
 Museums  Runs &Triathlons  Theater
     Theme Parks
GENERAL
Balboa Park is America's largest urban cultural park. The 1,200-acre wonder is a cultural and horticultural oasis containing museums, gardens, clubs, theaters, sports facilities, restaurants, fountains, hundred-year-old trees and the San Diego Zoo. There are more than 85 cultural and recreational attractions including fifteen museums and various performing arts groups like the world-famous Old Globe Theatre. The museums along the Park's celebrated El Prado walkway are housed in magnificent Spanish Colonial buildings, originally built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. Balboa Park is a favorite San Diego attraction. - www.balboapark.org

Bates Nut Farm is a popular family attraction in Valley Center featuring delicious nuts, candies, dried fruits, chocolates, fudge and gourmet delights. Watch the peanut butter machine grind fresh peanuts; sample the homemade fudge; have a picnic in the beautiful tree filled park or hang around the old-fashioned candy counter. An October tradition is to search for the perfect pumpkin at Bates. It's also known for many special events held on the 100 acre ranch. And don't forget the 5000 square-foot gift shop. - batesnutfarm.biz

Del Mar Fairgrounds is a multi-use, public facility operated by the 22nd District Agricultural Association. It's home to many San Diego attractions each year. The emphasis is on agriculture, education, entertainment and recreation. It's the site of the Del Mar National Horse Show, the San Diego County Fair, the Scream Zone; the Enviro Fair and the Holiday of Lights. It's also the home of the Del Mar horse racing in July through September as well as approximately 350 smaller events each year. - www.sdfair.com

House of Pacific Relations is a community organization of 29 national groups, dedicated to improving cooperation and understanding between national groups. Members have small cottages in Balboa Park, which are open to the public on Sunday afternoons. They offer visitors a view into each country's culture, history and traditions. From March through October, the Houses hold special lawn programs featuring traditional costumes, music, arts, crafts and ethnic foods. - www.sdhpr.org

San Diego Polo Club was established in 1986 as the Rancho Santa Fe Polo Club. It has one of the longest playing polo seasons in the country - from May through October. Matches are presented most Sundays. They feature some of the world's finest players and horses in the sport of polo. Pre-game events including picnics, tailgating, polo demonstrations, children's activities and complete food and beverage service. Facilities include five world-class polo fields on 60 acres of land. A popular San Diego sports attraction. - www.sandiegopolo.com

Spanish Village Art Center is a collection of 37 individual artist-working studios, where artisans demonstrate their talent by making one of a kind pieces for display and for sale. These quaint Spanish-style cottages and courtyards were built in 1935 for the second California Pacific International Exposition to depict a charming old village in Spain. You can watch sculptors, painters, craftsmen, jewelers and photographers create their art in historic Balboa Park. - spanishvillageart.com

Sportfishing is a big San Diego attraction that will satisfy your taste for really fresh fish. Sign on for an exciting sport fishing trip in search of Albacore, Yellowtail, and Dorado, which are all available in abundance off San Diego's coast. Reservations are required to charter an individual boat or participate in a group trip. A California State Fishing License is required for anyone age 16 and older. - www.pointlomasportfishing.com or www.islandiasportfishing.com.

William D. Cannon Art Gallery is located in the Carlsbad Library near the corner of Dove Lane and El Camino Real. This 2,000 sq. ft. gallery features classic, contemporary art and sculpture exhibitions, as well as folk art, crafts and photography. The Gallery is dedicated to providing quality exhibitions and programs that promote education, imagination and vitality. - www.ci.carlsbad.ca.us


BEACHES
Carlsbad State Beach is a big, uncrowded, mostly local San Diego attraction with lots of sand. It has a seawall and a sidewalk, which makes it popular for walking, jogging, biking and people watching. Among the interesting features are two sets of rock jetties that divide the beach. Free parking is available on Carlsbad Boulevard and in the Tamarack parking lot at the southern tip of the seawall. Good public facilities and local bars and restaurants are on the north end near the village of Carlsbad. Lifeguards are on duty in season.

Coronado Beach is a wide open beach with plenty of sand. It runs along Ocean Boulevard with a back drop of fine homes and mansions. Restrooms and shower facilities are available at this beach that's popular with tourists. Lifeguards are on duty. Enjoy fishing in front of the Hotel del Coronado. Fire rings and dogs run at the north end. Free parking on Ocean Boulevard. Beach accessible wheelchairs are available to the public, free of charge at the Central Beach Lifeguard Tower.
Del Mar Beach The beach in Del Mar is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable in San Diego. The two plus miles of sandy beach offers a great place to relax, walk or run. Two coastal parks, Powerhouse and Seagrove Parks, are located just above the Fifteenth Street surf break; providing a great spot to picnic with friends and family. North Beach, affectionately called "Dog Beach" by dog owners, is located north of 29th Street and stretches nearly one half mile to Solana Beach. Limited parking and just a few seasonal lifeguard towers make this beach uncrowded except for weekends and holidays. Fine shopping and great restaurants are within blocks of this favorite San Diego attraction

Fletcher Cove Beach Park in Solana Beach lies below the sandstone bluffs that run the length of this San Diego beach community. It's a small beach with public parking, restrooms and seasonal lifeguards. The cove was constructed years ago by cutting out a portion of the bluffs with hydraulic water hoses and steam shovels. The City of Solana Beach sponsors many community events at this location.

La Jolla Shores is a favorite San Diego attraction with a wide sandy beach, gentle waves and a playground for kids. It's popular for scuba diving, ocean swimmers and kayakers. La Jolla Shores is an ideal place to learn how to surf and many surf camps take their students here before braving rougher waters. There's an underwater canyon off La Jolla Shores Beach, designated as an ecological preserve, making this beach rich with marine life. Bonfires at night in provided containers are popular. A permanent lifeguard station is located adjacent to the main 350-space parking lot. Limited on-street parking is also available. Public restrooms and showers are located 100 yards north and south of the main lifeguard tower.

Mission Beach is more of a locals' beach and a wild thing to do in San Diego. It's popular for tanning, volleyball, horseshoes, surfing and socializing. South Mission beach, marked by the historic roller coaster and the Plunge - an indoor swimming pool - has two famous beach bars: the Beachcomber and the Pennant, both Mission Beach institutions. A narrow cement boardwalk parallels the beach offering walking, biking and bicycling. Public parking is available on the north and south side of Belmont Park and at the foot of West Mission Bay Drive. There's also parking in two lots across the street adjacent to Bonita Cove, next to the Bahia Hotel. These lots fill very quickly on busy summer days and traffic can be heavy at times. Stores and services are available within walking distance of Mission Beach. A big San Diego attraction for visitors and young adults.

Moonlight State Beach is just a few blocks west of downtown Encinitas. This active beach is heavily monitored by lifeguards and is an excellent choice for visitors with children. Access for the handicapped is available. Fresh sand is poured on rocky portions of the beach each season. There are restrooms, showers, a snack bar, fire rings, volleyball courts and free parking. The City of Encinitas sponsors many community events at this location that is a highly visited San Diego attraction.

Oceanside Beach offers a wide stretch of sand, the longest pier on the West Coast, playground equipment, lifeguards, restrooms, showers and approximately 70 fire rings. It's perfect for swimming, sunbathing, surfing or simply romping in the blue Pacific Ocean. The adjacent streets are excellent for strolling, rollerblading, or bike riding. Volleyball courts are set up along the beach and an amphitheater offers concerts and other community events. There are many local events here and lots of things to do at this popular San Diego attraction. Restaurants and assorted services are available in nearby downtown Oceanside.

Pacific Beach, the most popular beach in San Diego, is considered our nearest equivalent to Venice Beach. It's a happening place with lots of sand and people and many things to do. Pacific Beach runs south of the Crystal Pier for about two miles becoming Mission Beach and then South Mission Beach. Being adjacent to the residential and commercial areas of the community of Pacific Beach, it draws large crowds in the summer. Parking and traffic can be very difficult - but this San Diego attraction is well worth it. A narrow boardwalk lines the beach and in the summer months is teeming with rollerbladers, runners and bike riders - not to mention the "beach bums" that hang out in the warm weather. Various shops, restaurants and beach rental shops can be found along the boardwalk. Lifeguards are on duty year round at the main lifeguard station at the foot of Grand Avenue and along the beach in seasonal towers in the summer. This beach has separate areas reserved for swimming and surfing. Public restrooms and showers are located at the foot of Grand Avenue in the median of Pacific Beach Drive. The boardwalk is accessible to wheelchairs and containers for beach fires are provided during the summer months.

Silver Strand State Beach is located 4.5 miles south of Coronado Village along the Silver Strand. It features extensive beaches on both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. The water in the bay area is usually warmer and calmer, perfect for swimming and sailing. Ramadas, tables, barbecue pits, and fire rings are available in the area. Restrooms and cold showers are available on each side of the park. South of the developed area, there are one and a half miles of ocean and natural preserve for strolling along the beach. Visitors may see moon snail shells, cockle shells, and an occasional sand dollar in the sand. Camping, swimming, surfing, boating, water-skiing, volleyball, and picnicking are popular activities. Anglers can fish for perch, corbina, grunion and yellow-fin croaker. Silver Strand State Beach offers fire rings, lifeguards and restrooms with showers. Park facilities include four large parking lots, which can accommodate up to 1,000 vehicles.

South Carlsbad State Beach, at the foot of Poinsettia off I-5, is relatively undeveloped, offering natural views of the ocean and lagoons. There are several parking lots and places to pull off the Coast Highway 101, where you can park, take a walk or snap a few photos. High dramatic cliffs line the northern portion while the terrain in the south is more level and accessible. Here you'll find a popular State of California campsite overlooking the beach. Lifeguard services are available in the summer.


DANCE
California Ballet Company has been active in re-staging the classics and in the creation of its own trail-blazing works since its inception in 1968. The California Ballet Company is a vision of its founder, Maxine Mahon. The fire which she transmitted to her collaborators has molded them into a shining institution which is the multi-faceted California Ballet Company of San Diego. - www.californiaballet.org

City Ballet of San Diego is a non-profit organization committed to furthering the ballet art form. As San Diego's world-class professional ballet company, City Ballet produces classic and contemporary ballet programs that critics cheer. Training programs for children and pre-professionals are offered at City Ballet School. Innovative education programs range from arts outreach to inner-city children to bringing the world's best ballet instructors to San Diego. - www.cityballet.org

San Diego Ballet was founded in 1991 with a mission to excite, enrich and entertain their diverse audience through the presentation of quality classical and contemporary dance. It enjoys critical acclaim with original and classical pieces. The San Diego Ballet collaborates with SD Chamber Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony. It's also a touring company that has performed with the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Camarada in the Mid-West and Southwest states. One of the San Diego attractions for dance fans. - www.sandiegoballet.org


GARDENS
Balboa Park Gardens are found throughout the lushly planted urban park. Balboa Park is a horticultural paradise offering a magnificent backdrop for the many cultural attractions. The stately rows of palms, forested lawns and ever-changing floral displays create a relaxing atmosphere that enhances a visit to the Balboa Park. Their web site describes the beautiful gardens in detail. San Diego's favorite garden attractions. - www.balboapark.org

San Diego Botanic Gardens has one of the most diverse and important plant collections anywhere. California native plants, exotic tropicals, palms, bamboo and other unusual plant collections thrive on 30 beautiful acres with scenic trails and a relaxing waterfall. Quail Botanical Gardens is dedicated to the conservation of rare and endangered plants from across the globe. Visitors enjoy tours, nature walks, lectures, landscape advice, instructional programs and fabulous summer concerts. 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas. - www.sdbgarden.org

San Diego Zoo Gardens are a world-class botanical wonder that add so much to the home of one of the finest animal collections in the world. The approximately 700,000 plants that grace the Zoo grounds create the peaceful landscape that it's known for. Nestled in the northeast corner of Balboa Park, the Zoo's 100 lushly planted acres have delighted and amazed visitors ever since its founding in 1916. A favorite San Diego attraction for gardeners. - www.sandiegozoo.org

The Flower Fields Of Carlsbad take you into one of nature's wondrous fields of dreams and color. A place where kids can run and adults can linger on 50 acres of extraordinary spring color in bloom on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the special nursery, garden and gift shop by Armstrong Garden Centers. There are festivals throughout the season. Just east of Interstate 5 off Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad. One of the popular San Diego attractions. - www.theflowerfields.com

Safari Park gardens are a wonder in their own right, in addition to the fascinating animals. From towering acacias and conifers swaying at lofty heights, to the prickly beauty of denizens of the desert, to the astonishing hues of blossoms vying for the attention of pollinators, the Wild Animal Park offers an array of plants for the curiosity and enjoyment of visitors. Whether you're a horticulturist, a gardening buff or a novice to things green and leafy, the Park displays plants that will intrigue and delight you. - www.sdzsafaripark.org


HISTORICAL
Cabrillo National Monument celebrates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's landing in San Diego Bay in 1542. The park offers a superb view of San Diego's harbor and skyline. At the highest point of the park stands the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which has been a San Diego icon since 1854. In the winter, migrating gray whales can be seen off the coast. Native coastal sage scrub habitat along the Bayside Trail offers a quiet place to reflect and relax. Don't miss seeing this San Diego attraction. - www.nps.gov/cabr

Junipero Serra Museum is a striking mission-style building constructed in 1929 to commemorate the site where Father Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar de Portola established the first mission and fortified settlement in present-day California. The museum showcases artifacts such as housewares, furniture, tools and a cannon from the Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and American periods through 1929. The Museum Store offers a complete selection of books on early San Diego and California history. In Presidio Park above Old Town State Historic Park. One of San Diego's most interesting attractions. - www.sandiegohistory.org

La Paloma Theatre opened in Encinitas in 1928 with the film "The Cohen's And Kelly's in Paris." It was one of the first theatres to show "Talkies." The transition from silent pictures didn't happen over night, so La Paloma was also equipped with a beautiful pipe organ, a standard piece of theatre equipment during the silent movie era. Films in the early days of motion pictures were usually preceded by a vaudeville stage act, and La Paloma was well suited for that. La Paloma Theatre hosts featured films and many community and city functions throughout the year. - www.lapalomatheatre.com

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park was once part of the original 2,538 acre working ranch and vacation retreat of actor Leo Carrillo. The City of Carlsbad has restored many of the buildings on the 27-acre parcel including the hacienda, reflecting pool, cantina, carriage house, tack room, stable, barn, foundry and equipment shed. Open Tuesday through Sunday with tours on weekends. - www.ci.carlsbad.ca.us

Marston House was built in 1905 for the prominent San Diego merchant, philanthropist and civic leader. Furnished in the style of the American Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century, the interior reflects the architect's commitment to function and simplicity of design. Five acres of landscaped grounds offer a picturesque blend of English Romantic themes with California influences. The Marston House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 3525 Seventh Avenue near Balboa Park. 619-297-9327 - sohosandiego.org/

Mission San Luis Rey is a jewel of early California history, set in a quiet river valley in Oceanside. Walk through the Sunken Gardens or along the arched colonnade imagining the everyday life of the Franciscan Friars and Indians who inhabited the Mission more than two centuries ago. Founded on June 13, 1798, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is the eighteenth in a line of twenty-one California Missions. Enjoy guided and self-guided tours, a museum, gift shop, Franciscan Retreat Center and an old cemetery. One of the historic San Diego attractions. 760-757-3651 - www.sanluisrey.org

Old Town San Diego is one of the most exciting and colorful San Diego attractions. Dating back to the time of the early Spaniards in California, Old Town reflects the rich, colorful history of early California. Daily shows, monthly festivals, dining, artisans and a wealth of beautiful shops give Old Town it's festive air. Don't miss it. Start your visit at the Old Town Visitor's Information Center. One of the most popular historic San Diego attractions. 909-693-5463 - www.oldtownsandiego.org

Spreckels Theatre was built for sugar heir John D. Spreckels, who wanted the best for his adopted city of San Diego. A relic of the great era of downtown theater-palaces, the Spreckels opened in 1912 as the first modern commercial playhouse west of the Mississippi. With it's baroque moldings, ceiling frescoes, ornate box seats and a stunning marble lobby, it was one of the most handsome theaters in America. Its stage was one of the largest: 82 feet by 58 feet. The 1,466-seat theater was converted for film use in 1922 and back to live shows in the 1970s, escaping the urban "renewal" that leveled so many smaller movie houses. Recent improvements provide crystal-clear acoustics and warm golden lighting, but the spirit of her founding era has been carefully maintained. Among the most historical San Diego attractions. - www.sandiegohistory.org

Thomas Whaley House is a two-story Greek Revival style brick residence completed in 1857. Acclaimed as the "finest new brick block in Southern California," it was home to Whaley family members for nearly a century until 1956, when the County of San Diego purchased the property and undertook a major renovation. In 2000, Save Our Heritage Organization assumed the stewardship of the property and restoration to it's original appearance is again in progress. The Whaley House is in Old Town at 2482 San Diego Avenue. A San Diego attraction worth seeing. 619-297-9327 - www.whaleyhouse.org

Villa Montezuma brings back the splendor and glory of San Diego's early boom years. Built in 1887 for author and musician Jesse Shepard, this Victorian house offers an exotic exterior, ornate interior and art glass windows. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Villa Montezuma hosts a variety of cultural and community activities. Weekend tours or private bookings can be arranged. 1925 K Street in the Sherman Heights neighborhood. 619-239-2211 - www.sandiegohistory.org


MUSEUMS
Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum brings back memories of rural lifestyles and family traditions. Located on 40 acres of rolling farm land in Vista, the equipment is in operating condition and used in Museum programs. The collection focuses on equipment from 1849 to 1950 covering agriculture, construction and early industrial trades. Exhibits include blacksmith and wheelwright shop, country kitchen and parlor, steam and gas industrial power units, gristmill and sawmill and farm equipment from horse drawn through modern row crop. Among the most unique San Diego attractions. 760-941-1791 - www.agsem.com

California Surf Museum features an outstanding collection of antique surfboards, photos and memorabilia of local surfing legends. An unusual San Diego museum attraction at 223 N. Coast Highway in Oceanside. 760-721-6876 - www.surfmuseum.org

Maritime Museum of San Diego is among the most interesting San Diego museum attractions. It has a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels. This museum-on-water is the focal point of San Diego's historic Embarcadero Promenade and has one of the world's finest collections of historic ships, including the world famous Star of India (1863), a stunning vision that graces the coastline as the world's oldest actively-sailed, square-rigged ship. Among the most historical San Diego attractions. 619-234-9153 - www.sdmaritime.com

Mingei International Museum was incorporated in 1974 as a nonprofit, public foundation dedicated to furthering the understanding of art of all cultures of the world. This art shares a direct simplicity and reflects a joy in making, by hand, useful objects that are satisfying to the human spirit. Mingei International established the Museum of World Folk Art in University Towne Centre in 1978. In 1996 it opened a new, architecturally designed, state-of-the-art museum in Balboa Park, San Diego. Changing exhibitions focus on traditional and contemporary folk art, craft and design. Through the universal language of line, form and color, Mingei speaks eloquently of the similarities and distinctions of individuals and cultures. 619-239-0003 - www.mingei.org

Museum of Making Music exhibits more than 450 vintage instruments and samples of the most memorable tunes spanning more than 100 years. Best of all, the museum helps you see the connection between history and music. 5790 Armada Drive in Carlsbad near Legoland. 877-551-9976 - www.museumofmakingmusic.org

Museum of Photographic Arts is one of the country's first and finest museums dedicated solely to photographic and film arts. It offers changing exhibitions by masters of the art form and critically acclaimed work by celebrated photographers. The museum presents lectures, workshops and a theater hosts on-site film series. The museum store has a collection of photography-related books, posters, note cards and unique gift items. A San diego museum attraction worth seeing. 619-238-7559 - www.mopa.org

San Diego Aerospace Museum recreates the history of aviation from the Wright Flyer to the space shuttle. See exhibits of more than 65 aircraft, 1,400 scale models, and 10,000 aviation-related items. The museum houses the International Aerospace Hall of Fame and an extensive aviation library and archives plus a remarkable aerospace museum store. One of the top museum attractions in San Diego. 619-234-8291 - www.aerospacemuseum.org

Oceanside Museum of Art is a cultural jewel located in a classic Irving Gill designed building in downtown Oceanside. OMA presents five provocative exhibits each year and art instruction at the OMA-School of Art. Also offered is chamber music in the museum galleries, bus tours to other art museums in Southern California, lectures, workshops and museum tours for school classes and community groups. Oceanside Museum of Art is a gathering place where friends meet to share and enjoy the rich cultural experiences available in the region. 760-721-2787 - www.oma-online.org

San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum is located aboard the historic USS Midway, docked right along the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego. No carrier has the history or the crew to match the Midway. Its 47-year odyssey spanned the end of WWII and Desert Storm and involved more than 225,000 Americans as crew members. The San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum features exhibits, an audio guide with admission, flight simulators and tours of the carrier. An adventuresome museum and one of the most popular San Diego attractions. 619-544-9600 - www.midway.org

San Diego Automotive Museum offers a fascinating stroll among more than 80 automobiles and motorcycles. From the Model T to the Maserati, it's a trip down Memory Lane. The Museum Store is stocked with exceptional car lover merchandise, and the research library is open to the public. Palisades area of Balboa Park. 619-231-2888 - www.sdautomuseum.org

San Diego Firehouse Museum gives a glimpse of San Diego's fire-fighting past and its future. Founded in 1962, the Firehouse Museum occupies the former home of San Diego Fire Station No. 6. The museum's brick-and-mortar building features various fire-fighting gear and pays tribute to fire marshals, chiefs, deputy chiefs, alarm dispatchers and battalions who have answered the call of duty. 1572 Columbia Street in the heart of Little Italy. Open Wednesday through Sunday. A little-known, but very interesting San Diego attraction. - thesdfirehousemuseum.org

San Diego Model Railroad Museum celebrates America's railroads with the largest permanent operating model railroad and toy train exhibit in the United States. The 24,000 square foot museum has four giant scale model railroads of the Southwest, including an "HO" 1/87 actual size replica of one of the largest timber trestles in North America. Children of all ages can enjoy being engineer on a special Lionel layout. One of the most interesting San Diego museum attractions. Downstairs in the Casa De Balboa Building in Balboa Park. 619-696-0199 - www.sdmodelrailroadm.com

San Diego Museum of Man is a museum of anthropology with some of the cities' greatest treasures. Each exhibit is another chapter in the fascinating story of mankind and displays part of the Museum's unique collection of artifacts, folklore and physical remains. Learn about ancient Egypt and native cultures of the Western Americas. Youngsters of all ages can explore the mysteries of ancient Egypt at the museum's innovative Children's Discovery Center. An fascinating San Diego museum attraction in beautiful Balboa Park. 619-239-2001 - www.museumofman.org

San Diego Museum of Art is a leading art institution and one of the outstanding San Diego attractions, with approximately 500,000 visitors annually. Its holdings include renowned collections of Italian Renaissance, Dutch and Spanish Old Masters, Asian art, south Asian paintings, as well as comprehensive examples of American art, nineteenth-century European paintings, twentieth-century paintings and sculpture, and the Frederick R. Weisman Gallery for Contemporary California Art. The Museum hosts major touring exhibitions and offers a year 'round schedule of performances, concerts, lectures, gallery talks and films. A famous San Diego attraction. 619-232-7931 - www.sdmart.com

San Diego Natural History Museum features its own giant-screen film Ocean Oasis, which takes visitors on an incredible journey through Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. In a 90,000 sq. ft. expansion, visitors also enjoy exciting traveling exhibitions and regional displays of its 7.5 million specimen scientific collection in the disciplines of paleontology, mineralogy, botany, entomology, marine invertebrates, herpetology, ornithology and mammalogy. Another popular San Diego museum attraction in beautiful Balboa Park. 619-232-3821 - www.sdnhm.org


MUSIC
The Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra is a professional San Diego ensemble that specializes in the literature of the baroque, rococo, and classical eras and sometimes more. They work with local artists to bring music par excellence to the public: to celebrate, educate and entertain. Performances are at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at 890 Balour Drive in Encinitas. 619-287-0821 - www.cco-sd.com

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus is a performance ensemble affiliated with the University of California, San Diego, which performs six concerts each year plus special performances at other venues in Southern California. The LJS&C is an independent, non-profit, corporation, comprised of volunteer musicians from all walks of life, including UCSD students, staff and faculty, as well as professional musicians. The mission of the LJS&C is to enrich the cultural life of San Diego through professional, financially accessible concerts of ground-breaking, traditional and contemporary classical music. Performances are in the Mandeville Auditorium on the UCSD campus in La Jolla. One of the top San Diego concerts. 858-534-4637 - www.lajollasymphony.com

La Jolla Music Society contributes to San Diego's cultural vitality through a rich variety of concerts, including classical, jazz and contemporary music, ballet and modern dance. The Society's signature event is the acclaimed SummerFest, a three-week chamber music festival of performances, live broadcasts, open rehearsals, educational encounters, pre-concert talks and social events. A top San Diego concert. 858-459-3728 - www.ljms.org

La Jolla Presbyterian Church Concert Series presents exceptional musical events free of charge. Attend the Sunday concerts and experience a truly uplifting musical presentation, in a welcoming and intimate concert setting. La Jolla Presbyterian Church at 7715 Draper Avenue in La Jolla. A fun and casual San Diego concert series. 858-454-0713 ext. 321 - www.ljpc.org

Nova Orchestra San Diego, founded in 1984, is the premiere professional chamber orchestra of San Diego County. Under Artistic Director and Conductor Jung-Ho Pak, the Orchestra performs at venues in downtown San Diego, La Jolla, and in the north county at Rancho Santa Fe. The Orchestra also performs for local organizations and corporations for special events. It has an annual holiday tradition of performing Handel's Messiah in beautiful churches and the California Center of the Performing Arts, Escondido. Formerly know as the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Nova Orchestra San Diego is a cultural leader and unique classical music experience for the San Diego community. 858-350-0290 - www.sdco.org

San Diego Folk Heritage presents concerts and storytelling by local artists, offer weekly Contra Dances, and sponsor concerts by touring musicians. They also present the Sam Hinton Folk Heritage Festival every May, the Sea Chantey Festival on board the Star of India, and the Train Song Festival in October. Concerts are in Encinitas and in Poway. 858-566-4040 - www.sdfolkheritage.org

San Diego Children's Choir was founded by Polly Campbell and incorporated as a non-profit public benefit corporation in 1990. The Choir is open to boys and girls, ages six to eighteen, from all racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. Rehearsals and performances of fine music literature form the foundation of instruction. The Choir currently has five branches to provide choral opportunities to youth in major areas of San Diego County. The Choir provides the youth of San Diego opportunities for artistic and personal growth through choral music performance at private and public events. 858-587-1087 - www.sdcchoir.org

San Diego Folk Heritage presents concerts and storytelling by local artists, offer weekly Contra Dances, and sponsor concerts by touring musicians. They also present the Sam Hinton Folk Heritage Festival every May, the Sea Chantey Festival on board the Star of India, and the Train Song Festival in October. Concerts are in Encinitas and in Poway. 858-566-4040 - www.sdfolkheritage.org

Spreckels Organ Pavilion houses one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs. This unique outdoor organ, with over 4,500 pipes, was donated to the City of San Diego by John and Adolph Spreckels in 1914. It's housed in an ornate vaulted structure with highly embellished gables and comfortable seating for 2,400. Free year around organ concerts are held on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. The annual free Summer International Organ Festival is presented from mid-June through August on Monday evenings. A relaxing way to spend the afternoon. 619-702-8138 - www.sosorgan.com

The San Diego Symphony has become one of the leading orchestras in the United States, since its inception in 1914. It performs over 100 concerts each season including: the Masterworks series offering traditional classical repertoire and featured guest classical artists; the Winter Pops series with guest pop artists; annual holiday programs; a Family Festival series; and the Light Bulb Series an interactive series of concerts that examine classical music from thought-provoking angles. The Symphony also presents an outdoor Summer Pops season mixing classical favorites and popular music in a festive, outdoor atmosphere on San Diego's waterfront. One of the favorite San Diego concerts. 619-235-0804 - www.sandiegosymphony.com


NATURE PARKS
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest desert state park in the contiguous United States, offering more than 600,000 acres. 500 miles of dirt roads, two huge wilderness areas and 110 miles of riding and hiking trails present visitors with the wonders of the Colorado Desert. Named after the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word "borrego," referring to bighorn sheep, the park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also see roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep as well as desert iguanas, chuckwallas and four species of rattlesnake. Depending on winter rainfall, the natural beauty of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is enhanced by the magical appearance of desert wildflowers in the spring. 760-767-4684 - www.anzaborrego.statepark.org

Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Trail is the best way to explore the spectacular Batiquitos Lagoon in south Carlsbad. The 2-mile long trail follows the waters edge through a serene Eucalyptus forest. It starts just east of Interstate 5 and goes most of the way to El Camino Real. Be prepared to see lots of birds and animals. Five public parking lots provide access to the trail, one by the Nature Center on Batiquitos Drive in Aviara. Take the Poinsettia Lane exit from I-5 and head east. The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation gives scheduled walks and talks most weekends. 760-931-0800 - www.batiquitosfoundation.org

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is a vast and beautiful natural open space located between the I-5 and I-15 freeways. It's made up of two large coastal canyons covering more than 4000 acres and stretching some 7 miles. Los Peñasquitos Canyon and its tributary, Lopez Canyon, are characterized by perennial streams and steep slopes rising from flat, densely vegetated canyon bottoms. The scenery ranges from woodland to open grassland that rises abruptly onto brush-covered slopes. Midway in Los Peñasquitos Canyon is a boulder-studded waterfall set against an untouched backdrop of rolling hills. The area has 130 different birds, 26 species of mammals, 22 kinds of amphibians and 90 kinds of plants. Some of the bigger mammals include mule deer, bobcats, and even mountain lions. Miles of trails provide a haven for hiking and bike riding. - www.sandiego.gov

Mission Bay Park is a 4,300-acre aquatic park with 27 miles of shoreline and 19 miles of sandy beaches. It was originally named False Bay by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who came upon it in 1542. In those days, it was a vast tidal marsh that could confuse mariners into believing it was San Diego Bay, the larger bay just to the south. It was dredged in the 1960's to form a monumental man-made bay with vast stretches of beaches, lawns, marinas and resort hotels. Mission Bay is used by motorboaters, sailboaters, rowers, waterskiers, picnickers, joggers and swimmers. It is also home to many species of birds, fish and other animals and has a nature reserve at it's northern end near Crown Point. A paved path around the entire park is a great way to spend the day exploring this San Diego attraction. - www.sandiego.gov

Mission Trails Regional Park encompasses nearly 5,800 acres of rugged hills, valleys and natural open space that represent the way San Diego looked in the early days. Only eight miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park provides a quick, natural escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Established in 1974, it's one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. Originally used by the Kumeyaay Indians, the park is the site of the Old Mission Dam, built to store water for the Mission San Diego de Alcala. With over 40 miles of trails, boating on Lake Murray, camping at Kumeyaay Lake, numerous informative hikes and a Visitor & Interpretive Center, Mission Trails Regional Park has something to offer everyone. One of the top San Diego attractions. - www.mtrp.org

Rose Canyon Open Space Park is located in the University City neighborhood of San Diego. Named after San Diego entrepreneur Louis Rose, it's approximately 4 miles long and is very narrow, averaging less than 1/4 mile wide. Yet, here you'll find riparian, oak woodland and field habitats and a great variety of plants and animals. Rose Canyon Open Space Park is a welcome respite from the growing urban environment, with hiking trails, wildlife viewing and a place to relax. 858-597-0220 - www.mtrp.org

San Dieguito Park is a beautiful place to spend the afternoon with friends and family. This 125-acre park at the east end of Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach, is operated by the County of San Diego. Only minutes from the ocean, it's cooled by sea breezes during the warm summer months. The four reservable picnic areas are set among towering eucalyptus groves that characterize this part of the county. A ball field, basketball court, play areas and hiking trails are nearby for visitors to enjoy. The lower area of the 125-park has a large open grassy area that's devoted to picnics. Other highlights include a duck pond and gazebo. - www.co.san-diego.ca.us

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a 68-acre resource-based park dedicated in 1983. It stretches along the Pacific Ocean bordering the western edge of Point Loma. 18 acres lie to the west of Sunset Cliffs Blvd. between Adair and Ladera Streets. The 50-acre hillside section is a designated multiple species conservation area. The Park's topography includes intricately carved coastal bluffs, arches and sea caves. It affords inspiring panoramic ocean views. From the cliffs, the California Gray Whale can be seen migrating annually from the Bering Sea to Baja California. - www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks

Tecolote Canyon Natural Park offers visitors educational and recreational opportunities with scenic vistas, varied terrain and an 18-hole golf course nestled in the middle. Located just minutes from the city center near Mission Bay, the park's 900 acres include over six miles of trails for hiking and biking, plus a Nature Center with exhibits on the animal and plant life of the Canyon. Tecolote means "owl" in Spanish. Centuries ago, the Kumeyaay Indians found food and shelter in Tecolote Canyon, a place that today is rich with history. It was dedicated as a natural park in 1978 - www.sandiego.gov

Torrey Pines State Reserve, one of San Diego's greatest treasures is located on the coast between La Jolla and Del Mar. It remains one of wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast. 2000 acres of land have been preserved with native plants including chaparral and the rare and elegant Torrey Pine trees. Enjoy miles of unspoiled beaches, a lagoon that's vital to migrating seabirds, eight miles of trails, a visitor center and guided nature walks on weekends and holidays. Torrey Pines visitors rest at the stunning overlooks, walk the peaceful trails or exercise in a clean, beautiful environment. One of the favorite San Diego attractions. - www.torreypine.org


OPERA
Lyric Opera San Diego, formerly known as San Diego Comic Opera, has been bringing accessible, affordable opera and musical theatre productions to San Diego since 1979. The company proudly performs operas and musicals from the European and American tradition, in English, presenting the finest young musical talent available with full orchestra and chorus accompaniment. Performances are at the Stephen and Mary Birch North Park Theatre in North Park. 619-239-8836 - www.lyricoperasandiego.com

San Diego Opera is ranked by OPERA AMERICA as one of the top 10 opera companies in the United States. It's a widely respected member of the international opera community and an fine cultural resource to the San Diego community. San Diego Opera was founded in 1950 and became a producing company in its own right in 1965 with its first staging of La bohème. San Diego Opera's acclaimed productions regularly bring internationally renowned artists to perform throughout the five month season. Civic Theatre in downtown San Diego. 619-533-7000 - www.sdopera.com/


PERFORMING CENTERS
California Center for The Arts is situated on a 12-acre campus in downtown Escondido, The campus is comprised of a 1,523-seat Concert Hall, a 406-seat Center Theater, a visual arts Museum, art and dance studios and a Conference Center containing meeting and banquet facilities. Since its opening in 1994, the California Center for The Arts has attracted more than one-million visitors through its performing and visual arts presentations, events in the Conference Center, and education programs. Home of fine San Diego concerts. 340 North Escondido Blvd. in Escondido. 800-988-4253 - www.artcenter.org

Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre is San Diego's finest outdoor performing arts theater. This world-class venue has 10,000 reserved seats and 10,000 lawn seats. The Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre is the area's first major concert facility designed specifically for music and it hosts the biggest names in entertainment. The Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre is located just 17 minutes from downtown San Diego in Chula Vista. 671-3600 - www.hob.com/venues/concerts/coors

Cox Arena on the SDSU campus, is a premiere entertainment venue for sporting events, stage shows, concerts, family entertainment, exhibitions, conferences and more. The 12,000 seat arena is also home to the SDSU Aztecs men's and women's basketball teams. Cox Arena treats guests with impeccable acoustics and sight lines, making every seat in the house a great one. Home of fine San Diego concerts. 619-594-0429 - www.cox-arena.com

East County Performing Arts Center presents a variety of entertainers and concerts in a 1,142-seat facility. The Center is operated by a strategic partnership between the City of El Cajon and the Arts Center Foundation. 210 E. Main St in El Cajon. 619-440-2277 - www.ecpac.com

San Diego Sports Arena is a popular regional facility providing a wide range of concerts, family shows, sporting events and other special events to over 800,000 people each year. The Sports Arena prides itself for being a leader in the entertainment business and is considered one of the top venues in the county. The Sports Arena is centrally located off the I-8 West Freeway and the 5 South Freeway. Kobey's Swap Meet at the Sports Arena is San Diego's largest outdoor market and the third largest on the West Coast, drawing 30,000 shoppers and more than 1,000 sellers weekly. 619-224-4171 - www.sandiegoarena.com

Poway Center For The Performing Arts is a non-profit organization that's a special partnership with the City of Poway and the Poway Unified School District. The Foundation presents a variety of performing arts events including concerts, dance performances, theater productions and a children's theatre series. 14598 Espola Road in Poway. Home of fine San Diego concerts. 858-748-0505 - www.powayarts.org

San Diego Civic Theatre is the largest, most prestigious and best equipped performing arts theatre in San Diego. Elegant and plush, the 2,967-seat facility is home to the San Diego Opera, California Ballet and La Jolla Chamber Music Society. 3rd and B Street in downtown San Diego.

Sherwood Auditorium is nestled inside the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. It's a simple, sophisticated 500-seat venue that hosts every imaginable sort of artistic or intellectual pursuit from lectures, chamber music and poetry readings to the San Diego Ballet, jazz performances and the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest. Features include teak-lined walls, excellent sightlines, comfortable seats and outstanding acoustics. 700 Prospect Street in La Jolla. Home of fine San Diego concerts. 858-454-3541 - www.mcasd.org

Spreckels Theatre was built for sugar heir John D. Spreckels, who wanted nothing but the best for his adopted city of San Diego. A relic of the great era of downtown theater-palaces, the Spreckels opened in 1912 as the first modern commercial playhouse west of the Mississippi. With it's baroque moldings, ceiling frescoes, ornate box seats and a stunning marble lobby, it was - and is - one of the most handsome theaters in America. Its stage was one of the largest: 82 feet by 58 feet. The 1,466-seat theater was converted for film use in 1922 and back to live shows in the 1970s, thereby escaping the urban "renewal" that leveled so many smaller movie houses. Recent improvements provide crystal-clear acoustics and warm golden lighting, but the spirit of her founding era has been carefully maintained. - www.sandiegohistory.org


PROFESSIONAL SPORTS
San Diego Chargers play their National Football League games at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. The Charger's history began in 1960, when eight teams formed the AFL including what was then the Los Angeles Chargers. The team moved to San Diego a year later. Since the AFL/NFL merger, the Chargers have made seven trips to the playoff's and three appearances in the AFC Championship game. At the end of the 1994 season, the Chargers faced the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX and fell 49-26. 619-280-2121 - www.chargers.com

San Diego Gulls, our ECHL team, play their professional ice hockey games at the San Diego Sports Arena. The ECHL is the leading professional developmental league for the American Hockey and the National Hockey League. It was created in 2003, when the East Coast Hockey League changed its name to simply ECHL, to better reflect the nationwide presence. 619-224-4625 - www.sandiegogulls.com

San Diego Padres play their Major League Baseball games at PETCO Park in downtown San Diego. San Diego was awarded a National League franchise in 1968 and played their first season in 1969 at San Diego Stadium (later named Jack Murphy Stadium and now Qualcomm Stadium). In their inaugural season at the architecturally magnificent PETCO Park in 2004, the Padres enjoyed a 23-game turnaround to make a run at the playoff's. 877-374-2784 - www.padres.com


RUNS & TRIATHLONS
America's Finest City Half Marathon is held every year in August. The race begins at historic Cabrillo National Monument, follows scenic San Diego Bay and Harbor Island along the Embarcadero to The Star of India, winds through downtown San Diego and ends in beautiful Balboa Park. Includes a 5K run/walk. 760-692-2900 - www.afchalf.com

California Half Ironman Triathlon starts and ends at the Oceanside Pier. Drawing entrants from all over, the athletes compete in the race by swimming 1.2 miles in the Oceanside Harbor, bike the 56 miles on Camp Pendleton and run half-marathon along the coast. The event is held in March. - www.ironmancalifornia.com

Carlsbad 5000 is the world's fastest 5K Run with a $70,000 prize purse and 15 world records. Flat, fast and fun! This scenic course features two miles along the cool Pacific with an exciting finish in the heart of Carlsbad. The course is USATF sanctioned and certified. 858-450-6510 - www.eliteracing.com

Carlsbad Marathon is a winter marathon/half marathon unlike any other. From the ideal January weather conditions to the spectacular coastal course, this award winning San Diego running event will wow you! The 26 fully staffed support stations, continuous entertainment and unsurpassed volunteer support are just a few of the outstanding features that make this a runners favorite. - www.citysportsmag.com

Coca-Cola Zero Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is a 26.2 mile foot-race with 26 bands playing live music along the course. Held in June, it starts in historic Balboa Park, runs through Hillcrest, goes through the downtown Gaslamp District, travels up Highway 163, races by Sea World, sprints around San Diego beach and bay communities and finishes at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Point Loma. 858-450-6510 - www.rnrmarathon.com

La Jolla Half Marathon is another picturesque and challenging San Diego running event. Held in late April, it begins at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, follows a scenic route along the coast, reaches the challenging climb up to Torrey Pines State Park, continues through beautiful La Jolla Shores and finishes in the park at La Jolla Cove. Also has a 5K and a 5-mile stride. 858-454-1262. - www.lajollahalfmarathon.com

Mission Bay Triathlon is held each October on beautiful Mission Bay. As the first triathlon in history, this event was first sponsored by the San Diego Track Club in 1974 as a Run-Bike-Swim-Run-Swim event on Fiesta Island. Costing all of $1, the race consisted of over 5 miles of running, 5 miles of cycling and 600 yards of swimming. Now, over 1600 competitors from around the country return to Mission Bay every year for this celebrated triathlon. 858-268-1250 - www.kozenterprises.com

San Diego International Triathlon is the premiere triathlon event in San Diego with competitors from all over the world. The course takes you through beautiful Mission Bay, starting at Spanish Landing Park and finishing at the Embarcadero. The race features a sprint distance as well as the international distance triathlon. 858-268-1250 - www.kozenterprises.com

San Dieguito Half Marathon starts and ends at San Dieguito County Park at the end of Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. This February San Diego running event follows a beautiful and scenic course that goes through Rancho Santa Fe. Includes a 5K run/walk - www.kathyloperevents.com

Silver Strand Half Marathon where runners of all abilities participate in an annual November event covering 13.1 miles of San Diego's most beautiful southernmost beaches. Starts in Coronado and ends at the Imperial Beach Pier. The event also features challenged athletes as they compete in the National Leg Amputee Championships. - www.kozenterprises.com

Solana Beach Triathlon starts and finishes at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach. The swim is in the open ocean at Fletcher Cove in a U-shaped course. There will be waves and the water temperature is approximately 66 - 70 degrees. Wet suits are optional. Duathletes complete an out-and-back 1 mile run on Hwy 101 and Dahlia Dr. All athletes will bike a 9 mile flat double-looped course on Hwy 101. The final run is a double looped flat course on Hwy 101. Held in July - www.kozenterprises.com


SCENIC TOURS
Gray Line San Diego sightseeing tours are fully narrated with professional experienced driver guides. They have the most frequent service to Mexico, San Diego Zoo and Sea World. Complimentary pick ups and returns is provided from over 250 hotels in and around San Diego. Gray Line is known in San Diego and throughout the world for quality sightseeing experiences. 619-266-7365 - sandiegograyline.com

Hornblower Cruises is a great way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the magnificent San Diego Bay. San Diego Bay boasts some of America's most historic warships such as the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and the U.S.S. Midway as well as playing host to the scenic sights of the Coronado Bay Bridge and Seaport Village to name just a few! Choose from one of Hornblower's harbor cruises, dining cruises or a San Diego whale watching adventure! An exciting San Diego attraction. 619-686-8700 - www.hornblower.com

Old Town Trolley Tours is the best way to learn the history and see the highlights of San Diego. The tours in colorful buses are entertaining and educational. See Old Town State Park, Seaport Village, Horton Plaza, Coronado Island, Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego Zoo, Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego Museum of Art, Natural History Museum, Aerospace Museum, Lindbergh Field, Naval Station San Diego, Balboa Park, El Prado, Heritage Park, Star of India, Whaley House, and much more! Tour at your own pace by getting off at any of the convenient stops. Reboard the Old Town Trolley when you're ready. 619-298-8687 - www.trolleytours.com

San Diego Scenic Tours offers informative tours that cover the highlights of San Diego landmarks and Tijuana. All sightseeing tours are professionally narrated with air-conditioned minibuses and motor coaches. Pick-up is free from most local hotels and guests are advised to call in advance for reservations. This attraction is a great way to start your San Diego visit. 858-272-8687 - www.sandiegoscenictours.com

The Grapeline, Temecula Valley's wine country shuttle, offers a view of Southern California's premier wine region aboard spacious deluxe shuttle coaches. Hop aboard at convenient locations at most Temecula area hotels, or schedule a departure from San Diego, Escondido, or Fallbrook. Have a fun-filled day visiting a variety of wineries, each with a character as rich and individual as the wines they produce. 909-693-5463 - www.gogrape.com


SCIENCE
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is the public exploration center for Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD in La Jolla. Because it's smaller than some of its better-known cousins, the Birch Aquarium allows you to get close to the animals and take your time enjoying them. Colorful fish and anemones of all descriptions adorn the exhibits. The most popular exhibit is the sea horses, featuring many species, from tiny miniature sea horses less than an inch tall to other-worldly leafy sea dragons. Interactive exhibits teach the history of oceanography. 858-534-3474 - www.aquarium.ucsd.edu

Mount Laguna Observatory, operated by SDSU is open to the public most Fridays and Saturdays at the Mount Laguna Forest Service Visitor Center on the Sunrise Highway. 619-473-8547 or 619-594-6182 - mintaka.sdsu.edu

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center brings the world's largest motion pictures to the giant tilted dome Omnimax screen. Enjoy thrilling visions while 152 speakers deliver state-of-the-art sound. The Exhibit Galleries feature more than 100 hands-on science exhibits. Find unique gifts at the Science Store. One of the favorite San Diego attractions in historic Balboa Park. 619-238-1233 - www.rhfleet.org

Whale Watching brings the experience of the annual migration of California gray whales to the warm breeding grounds off the coast of Baja California. Glimpse these peaceful giants of the sea from Cabrillo National Monument or on special whale-watching cruises. Best time to see is January through March. An exciting San Diego attraction. 619-557-5450 - www.sdhe.com


SKATE PARKS
Carlsbad Skate Park is a 15,000 square-foot park offering a good mix of street and small transition skate boarding. The flow of the park is decent and offers some good lines. This is a good skate park for the beginner and for those looking for a mellow place to skate. 2560 Orion Way near the Carlsbad Safety Center. 760-434-2824 - www.socalskateparks.com

Coronado Skate Park opened in 2001 with approximately 16,000 square feet of concrete ramps, bowls, grinds and jumps. The park is an artistic sculpture that caters to all levels of skill. The Street Plaza is a 2' to 3' deep spacious crater intended for beginners. The Clover Bowl is 5' to 7' deep and offers challenges and surprises to the experienced skater. The last and most challenging bowl shaped like a keyhole reaches 8 feet in depth and poses a challenge to Newton's law of gravity. 2000 Mullinix Drive in Coronado. 619-708-8341 - www.ci.escondido.ca.us

Escondido Sports Center is newly renovated, taking it from 20,000 square feet to more than 22,000 square feet. It incorporates a unique design, featuring hips, ledges, boxes, handrails, stairs, step-ups, spines, roll-ins, fly box, fun box and much more. The park provides endless runs and innumerable challenges, and will meet the needs of all ability levels. The ramps are made from Ramp Armor® for grip, yet allow for plenty of speed. The park is open seven days per week and has lighting for night sessions. 3315 Bear Valley parkway in Escondido. 760-839-5425 - www.ci.escondido.ca.us

Magdalena Ecke YMCA Skate Park is a 37,000 square foot skate park which includes: 25,000 square foot street course with quarter pipes, bank ramps, roll-in ramps, pyramids, hips, handrail stations, slider boxes 12' vertical wall and a "tot lot" for the little folks. 80' wide, 13' tall vertical ramp with a 19' roll-in, 15' extensions and a 15' floating platform. This ramp was designed by Tony Hawk himself. Double hipped 80' wide keyhole pool with a 10' vertical deep end and a 7' shallow end. 6', 4', 3' and 2' mini-ramps with spines. 200 Saxony Road in Encinitas. 760-942-9622 ext. 1434 - www.skateboardparks.com

Memorial Skate Park offers 22,000 square feet of skate-able surface, including elements such as railings, stairs, a ten-foot key hole and a ninety-foot long snake run. There is also a beginner's bowl for young skaters to develop their skills. The skate park opened in 2004 after two years of planning and construction using approximately $1.4 million in funds from the City, matching grant funds and private industry. 702 South 30th Street. 619-527-3596 - www.sandiego.gov

Mission Valley YMCA Skate Park is a blast to skate and bike with new rails, jump boxes, gaps and quarter pipes. The parks provides a fun and positive environment for children and adults to enjoy their need for extreme sports. Many professional athletes practice here almost daily, but this park is open and available for people of all ages and skills to enjoy. The facilities include a concrete pool, beginner course, mini-ramp, intermediate course, advanced BMX course and a vert ramp - all on a 50,000 square-foot lot. 3401 Clairemont Drive. 619-298-3576 - www.sandiego.gov

Poway Slate Park opened in 2003 with great flow and transition skate boarding. It's about 10,000 square-feet with features that include a fun reservoir section and a snake run leading into a 6' square bowl with a 6' wide 3' extension. Overall the snake run is a blast to skate - the concrete is fast and smooth with perfect transitions. For those who hit the hips, the snake run will offer you a great time and it even has a channel to blast over. 13090 Civic Center Drive behind the Poway Public Library - www.socalskateparks.com

Robb Field Skate Park is the first skate board park constructed and operated by the City of San Diego. Designed with input from top local skate boarders, Robb Field Skate Park opened in 2000. With 40,000 square feet of concrete, it has something for everyone including a "street course" design which features a combination bowl, along with numerous handrails, ledges, blocks, a pump bump and an octagon volcano. 2525 Bacon Street in San Diego. 619-525-8486 - www.sandiego.gov

Vista Skate Park is a smaller park of 9,000 square feet that opened in 1999. It's an outdoor park that is gated and staffed. Users rate it as good for beginners with some nice banks and hips, weak bowl. Next to Vista City Hall at 600 Eucalytus Avenue. 760-258-4100 - www.socalskateparks.com

Washington Street Skate Park is under the Washington Street bridge has been designed and built by skate boarders. A work in progress. No charge but donations requested. - www.skateboarding.com


SPECIALTY SHOPPING
Carlsbad Premium Outlets was formerly know as the Carlsbad Company Stores. This popular, high-end factory outlet center with 90 stores offers the finest brands and impressive savings for you and your home. Stores include Banana Republic, Barney New York, Bose, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Crate & Barrel and others. Casual and formal dining plus special events for the whole family. 5620 Paseo del Norte in Carlsbad, near Legoland. 760- 804-9000 - www.premiumoutlets.com

Cedros Design District has evolved from a collection of woodworking shops and tourist traps into a fun and fashionable place to dine, shop and be entertained. Here you'll find some of the top furniture shops, art galleries, antique stores plus the venerable Belly Up tavern, the center of North County musical entertainment. There are even a couple of specialty garden shops - not to mention fashionable and unusual ladies boutiques. A great place to spend a lazy afternoon. Don't miss the Zinc Cafe. Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach. - www.cedrosdesigndistrict.com

Del Mar Plaza offers an upscale shopping and dining experience you'll really enjoy. Visitors marvel at the breathtaking ocean views, award-winning restaurants and trend-setting selection of shops and boutiques. Also includes services such as a salon, spa, dry cleaners and market. The large central patio offers a relaxing place to hang out and enjoy wide views of the Pacific Ocean. Camino Del Mar and 15th Street in the charming village of Old Del Mar. - www.delmarplaza.com

Ferry Landing Marketplace is a fun way to spend a few hours on beautiful Coronado Island. Take the ferry from downtown across San Diego Bay or drive over the sweeping Coronado Bridge. Here you'll find a charming collection of shops, art galleries, fine restaurants and fun eateries surrounded by tree lined walkways, swaying palms and sparkling ponds. Enjoy beautiful views of San Diego Bay - gothere.com/coronado

The Forum is a collection of stylish shops, stores and restaurants in south Carlsbad. Most popular ladies clothing stores are represented as well as a Border's Bookstore, Bed Bath & Beyond and my favorite local market, Jimbos. There's even a Cold Stone Creamery. Many of the national family restaurants also have a presence. This beautiful center is on Calle Barcelona off El Camino Real.

The Gaslamp Quarter is a premier dining, shopping and entertainment center in one of San Diego's most historic districts. Stroll past the Gaslamp's charming Victorian commercial buildings; browse the art galleries, boutiques and speciality stores; sample busy happy hours at local pubs and dine at over 90 restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Sip tea and coffee at the late-night coffee shops; enjoy live theater performances or dance the night away at the many nightclubs. Special events throughout the year. An exciting San Diego attraction. - www.gaslamp.org

Seaport Village is San Diego's landmark for waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment offering 57 shops and galleries, 4 restaurants and 13 sidewalk eateries. Enjoy regular events and entertainment at the East Plaza Gazebo. A quarter-mile boardwalk connects with the Hyatt, Marriott Hotel & Marina and the Convention Center. 849 W. Harbor Drive. One of the favorite San Diego attractions. 619-234-9583 - www.seaportvillage.com


SUMMER CONCERTS
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Green Flash Concerts is a Wednesday evening summer concert series on the aquarium's plaza overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Live bands, delicious food and drinks and the setting sun combine to provide a unique backdrop to this cultural music series. Singer/songwriters and local bands perform outdoors while the aquarium-museum's exhibits are open for viewing. Keep an eye out for the famed green flash during the live performance! 858-534-4109 - aquarium.ucsd.edu

Carlsbad TGIF Jazz in the Parks presents an ambitious summer concert series on Friday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. at Carlsbad's premier Community parks: Stagecoach Park, Poinsettia Park and Calaveras Hills Park. You'll enjoy the best jazz around, in all it's forms, plus lots of dancing in front of the bandstand. Come early, bring a picnic and a lawn chair or blanket. 760-434-2904 - www.ci.carlsbad.ca.us

Encinitas Summer Concerts by the Sea is a four concert series held on Sunday afternoons in July and August from 3 to 5 p.m. right on Moonlight Beach. Bring your beach blankets and chairs to enjoy great music of different styles and dancing under the sun - www.ci.encinitas.ca.us

Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay is a San Diego summer tradition, presenting a wide variety of major performances since 1982. Running from May through October, Humphrey's Concerts covers the total spectrum of entertainment from rock and jazz to comedy, blues, folk and international music. The beautiful 1,350-seat outdoor theatre is perfectly located on San Diego Bay at 2241 Shelter Island Drive. One of the favorite San Diego Attractions. 619-523-1010 - www.humphreysconcerts.com

La Jolla Concerts by the Sea is where thousands have come over the years to beautiful La Jolla Cove to have an old-fashioned picnic and enjoy a variety of live bands. Music includes Rock and Roll, Big Band, Latin, Jazz, Oldies and Mariachi. Hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream and soda are available. Concerts are on Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. - www.ljconcertsbythesea.org

Jazz on the Green concerts at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort is the most exclusive summer concert series in San Diego. This series of Friday evening Sunset Jazz Concerts is held at sunset adjacent to the Tennis & Recreation Center. Also available is a six-station dinner option with your choice of a Ceviche Martini bar or Shrimp Tempura, Carved Braised Veal Leg, Marinated Lamb Chop and Pacific Halibut Fish Taco stations. Make your reservations in advance. A classy San Diego attraction. 760-603-3773 - jazzconcerts.com

Poway Summer Concerts in the Park Series provides an opportunity for families and friends to enjoy a variety of musical styles in an outdoor setting. Everyone is invited to bring a blanket or chair, a picnic dinner or snack, and head out to the park for some great summer fun. Concerts are held at Lake Poway and at Old Poway Park beginning at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. 858-668-4576 - www.ci.poway.ca.us

Summer Concert Series at Quail Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite summer concert series. Cool off in the Gardens' beautiful outdoor setting while listening to some of San Diego's best musicians. Includes a light supper, dessert and coffee with the ticket price. 5 to 8 p.m. at 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas. 760-436-3036 - www.qbgardens.com

Summer Jazz at the Moonlight offers summer jazz concerts with some of San Diego's biggest jazz greats. Presented at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Brengle Terrace Park in Vista. 760-724-2110 - www.moonlightstage

Twilight in the Park is a popular free summer concert series performed on stage at the grand 90-year-old Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Programs range from military bands and Dixieland jazz to big band swing and Latin salsa. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. - www.balboapark.org

Thornton Winery Champagne Jazz series presents a stellar lineup of nationally renowned contemporary jazz artists in the acoustically superb Mediterranean fountain terrace, overlooking the beautiful Temecula wine country. This memorable experience offers an optional three-course gourmet supper package, prepared by the award-winning Café Champagne. A classy San Diego attraction. 3275 Rancho California Road in Temecula. 951-699-0099 - www.thorntonwine.com

Valley View Casino Summer Concerts brings well-known performers to the beautiful outdoor Ultra Star Lounge at the Valley View Casino. 16300 Nyemii Pass Road in Valley Center - www.valleyviewcasino.com

Viejas Concerts in the Park brings top-ranked musical entertainment to the Viejas Casino in Alpine. All seats at the 1,500 seat outdoor facility are reserved. - viejas.com


THEATER
Broadway San Diego is professional San Diego theater at it's best. Their award-winning, Broadway-style live theater presentations are produced by The Nederlander Organization and presented at the San Diego Civic Theatre. 3rd and B Street in Downtown San Diego. 619-231-8995 - www.broadwaysd.com

Coronado Playhouse is the oldest community theatre in San Diego County. More than two hundred productions have been produced since it was first organized as the Coronado Players in 1946. The Playhouse is operated by a Board of Directors, who are elected by the membership. Performers, stage and technical crew are all dedicated volunteers. The Playhouse is self-supporting through box office revenues, season tickets, memberships, donations, grants and the generosity of volunteers. 1435 Strand Way in Coronado. 619-435-4856 - www.coronadoplayhouse.com

Lamb's Players Theatre is a leading performing arts organization offering a variety of drama, comedy and musicals. The annual 5-play season runs from January through November, with December filled with a variety of Christmas productions. The Lamb's Players Resident Theatre is a beautiful 350-seat facility in Coronado's historic Spreckels Building, at 1142 Orange Avenue in Coronado - just two blocks north of the Hotel del Coronado. 619-437-0600 - www.lambsplayers.org

La Jolla Playhouse is a professional theatre in residence founded in 1947. It operates the Mandell Weiss Center for the Performing Arts on the UCSD campus in La Jolla. La Jolla Playhouse has earned its place in the international theatre with brilliant and innovative productions of classics and new plays and musicals that have including many world premieres. It enjoys more than 300 major honors including the 1993 Tony® Award as America's Outstanding Regional Theatre. The Playhouse season runs from April to December, and normally includes 6 productions. A favorite San Diego theater attraction. 858-550-1035 - www.lajollaplayhouse.com

Lawrence Welk Theatre presents live Broadway-style musicals in the intimate 339-seat Broadway style theater at the Welk Resort San Diego in Escondido. Includes a museum with memorabilia highlighting the life and career of legendary band leader Lawrence Welk. A sumptuous buffet is also available before each performance at Mr. W's Restaurant. A popular San Diego theater attraction. 760-749-3448 - www.welkresort.com

Moonlight Stage Productions brings critically acclaimed live theater to the City of Vista through the Moonlight Cultural Foundation, a non-profit organization. For over 20 years the summer productions have been at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Brengle Terrace Park. The open air venue offers 899 permanent seats with lawn seating for about 1200. The winter season is presented at the Avo Playhouse at 303 Main Street. Built in 1948 as a neighborhood movie house, the Avo Playhouse was purchased by the City of Vista and elegantly restored to accommodate live performances in 1995. 760-724-2110 - www.moonlightstage.com

Mystery Cafe Dinner Theater performs a comedic murder mystery in four hilarious acts. Between acts you are served a delicious four-course meal by the suspects themselves - the actors. Toward the end of the evening you try to guess whodunit! Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. Imperial House Restaurant at 505 Kalmia Street near Balboa Park. 619-544-1600 - www.mysterycafe.net

National Comedy Theater is San Diego's acclaimed improvisational comedy group, where the performers create the show entirely upon audience suggestions. Appropriate for all ages. Friday and Saturday evenings, at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. National Comedy Theater at 3717 India Street in Mission Hills. 619-295-4999 - www.nationalcomedy.com

New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad, has become known for outstanding ensemble work and intensely thrilling productions. Founded by graduates of the Actors Studio Drama School, New Village celebrates the power and passion of the artist in an intimate indoor space, and then brings the show outdoors for the Free Shakespeare in the Park in August. New Village Arts Theatre opened their new performance space in June of 2007 at 2787 B State Street in the Carlsbad Village. 760-433-3245 - newvillagearts.org

North Coast Repertory Theatre has evolved from its modest beginning 22 years ago, into one of the area's leading performing arts organizations. The theatre boasts an award-winning main stage season, with year-round performances to over 35,000 people in its intimate 194-seat setting. In addition, the theatre involves thousands of young people each year in the Theatre School. 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. 858-481-1055 - www.northcoastrep.org

Palomar College Performing Arts offers a variety of live music, dance and theater productions performed by the students putting their talent and training to work in a live, real-world setting. Ticket prices make quality, live performances available to people of all ages and incomes. Howard Brubeck Theatre on the San Marcos Campus -1140 W. Mission Road. 760-744-1150 ext. 2453 - www.palomar.edu

Patio Playhouse was incorporated in 1967 as a theatre group for theatrical arts education and presentation. They've been building a community of playgoers and participants by providing affordable, quality entertainment and opportunities for people to take part in award-winning shows. Patio Playhouse provides a venue where people from school age to seniors can participate in live drama, learn new skills, and enrich the quality of life in the community. 201 East Grand Avenue in Escondido. 760-746-6669 - www.patioplayhouse.com

Poway Performing Arts Company is a non-profit, community theatre located upstairs in the Lively Center at 13250 Poway Road in Poway. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Auditions are open to anyone wishing to share in the joy of theatre and behind the scenes individuals are always welcome. 858-679-8085 - powpac.tripod.com

San Diego Repertory Theatre is a prominent downtown San Diego theatre. It's the third-largest professional theatre in San Diego, employing over 800 artists, craftspeople, collaborators and consultants a year. An audience of 150,000 people are treated to a six-play season. The REP has earned unprecedented critical acclaim by amassing more than 100 DramaLogue Awards and San Diego's Critics Circle Awards. The mission at the REP is to produce adventurous programming that explores key spiritual, political and cultural values that are vital to the community. The Lyceum Theatre Complex at 79 Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego. A top-ranked San Diego theater attraction. 619-544-1000 - www.sandiegorep.com

Starlight Theatre is operated by the San Diego Civic Light Opera Association, one of the oldest continuously producing musical theatre companies in the United States. Since it's first season in 1946, Starlight has presented 54 seasons of musical theatre productions for more than four million San Diegans and visitors. These seasons have encompassed nearly 1000 productions of 120 different musicals. Beginning in 1992 Starlight became a year-round producer of quality theatre both at the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park and at indoor venues including the Civic Theatre and the Spreckels Theatre. 619-544-7827 - www.starlighttheatre.org

The Old Globe is one of the most renowned regional theaters in the country and has stood as San Diego's flagship arts institution for over 68 years. The Globe produces a year-round season of 12-14 plays and musicals on its three stages, including the highly-regarded Shakespeare festival. It's become a gathering place for leading theater artists from around the world and is at the forefront of the nation's leading performing arts organizations. The Old Globe complex is in Balboa Park. A top-ranked San Diego theater attraction. 619-239-2255 - www.oldglobe.org

The Theatre in Old Town is an innovative production company that brings award-winning, long-running musicals and comedies to San Diego audiences. The Theatre is operated under a concession contract with California State Parks. 4040 Twiggs Street in the heart of the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. 619-688-2494 - www.theatreinoldtown.com


THEME PARKS
Belmont Park at Mission Bay, is San Diego's premiere beachfront amusement center. Here you'll find rides and arcade, shops and oceanfront restaurants. The park's most distinctive attraction is the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, one of two original oceanfront roller coasters still operating on the west coast. Originally built in 1925, it's been restored for all to experience the excitement. Other attractions include a simulated wave attraction (FlowRide), a carousel and a 175-foot indoor swimming pool, know as The Plunge. 619-656-1500 - www.belmontpark.com

San Diego Wild Animal Park is a favorite San Diego attraction for visitors of all ages. Located 30 miles north east of San Diego, this 1,800-acre wildlife preserve allows people to view exotic animals as they appear in their native Asia and Africa. Established in 1969, the park has over 3,500 animals representing 260 species. It's also an accredited botanical garden filled with thousands of beautiful plants and flowers. 760-747-8702 - www.sandiegozoo.com/wap

Knott's Soak City Water Park is San Diego County's wildest water adventure park! Thirty-two water-logged acres packed with 23 of the most intense water rides imaginable, all themed to the surf woodies and longboards of the 1950s San Diego coast! New is Pacific Spin, where a giant six-story funnel drops riders from 75 feet in the air, then into a 132-foot-long tunnel before toppling into a pool below. Located in Chula Vista. - www.knotts.com/soakcity

Legoland California features kid-powered rides, cool building challenges, a unique mix of interactive attractions, shows that pull the audience into the action and much more. It's a land of surprise, lively music, whimsical and astonishingly accurate LEGO® brick models and a chance to let everyone's imagination run free. Legoland California has over 50 rides and attractions and many special year around events. East of Interstate 5 off Cannon Road in Carlsbad. 760-918-5346 - www.lego.com

San Diego Zoo is home to over 4,000 exotic, rare, and endangered animals representing 800 species. Animals include giant pandas from China, koalas from Australia, pygmy chimpanzees from central Africa, Indochinese tigers, a variety of hornbills from Asia, and Andean condors from South America. Unique exhibits include Ituri Forest, Polar Bear Plunge, Rainforest Aviary, Gorilla Tropics, Tiger River, the African Kopje, and Sun Bear Forest. Other highlights are guided double-deck bus tours, the Skyfari aerial tram and the Children's Zoo. The luxuriously planted 100-acre Zoo is also an accredited botanical garden. One of the most popular San Diego attractions in magnificent Balboa Park. 619-234-3153 - www.sandiegozoo.org

Sea World, one of San Diego's top tourist attractions, has hosted more than 100 million guests since it opened in 1964. At Sea World San Diego you can go below the surface and above the waves, count the teeth on a shark, meet Shamu® and go inside R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse 4-D. A new adventure is "Journey To Atlantis," an exciting water coaster. Sea World is a very popular San Diego attraction. 1-800-257-4268 - www.seaworld.com


Sign up for the free San Diego event calendar!

A printable San Diego Event Calendar is created every month for you and your friends and family to enjoy all the exciting and unusual San Diego activities. It includes a schedule of the best San Diego concerts, theater, arts and entertainment plus many local community events. Join the thousands who receive this free San Diego Event Calendar every month via e-mail.


 Yes - send me the monthly calendar of things to do in San Diego via e-mail.
E-mail address:
Zip Code:

Reference:




San Diego event calendar  Daily calendar of San Diego events
San Diego attractions  Guide to top San Diego attractions
San Diego activities  Fun and free things to do in San Diego
San Diego activities  Free San Diego Summer Concerts
 
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | California Properties

Office: 760-476-0700    Cell: 760-822-8690    E-mail: 

San Diego MLS refers to data distributed by Sandicor, Inc., the Regional San Diego Multiple Listing Service.
© Copyright 1997-2014, Neal Hribar. All rights reserved. CA Real Estate License 00871930