Fun Things To Do In San Diego This Weekend – July 18, 2014


Continuing our series of weekly blog posts about fun things to do in San Diego this weekend, these are some of the special events we are sharing with our San Diego City Tour guests this week. Please feel free to add more unique activities for fellow readers in the comments section below or let us know what it was like to attend any of the San Diego area events. [Learn more about these weekly blog posts of things to do in San Diego this weekend.]

This Weekend in San Diego

Pride of Hillcrest Block Party – $25
Friday, July 18: 5pm-11pm – Concerts, carnival, dancers, and speakers to kick-off LGBT Pride weekend Pride of Hillcrest info.

LGBT Pride Parade – Free
Sunday, July 20: 11am – 300,000 are anticipated for this year’s parade along University Avenue and 6th Avenue, ending with the Music Festival (11am-8pm – $20) and other events near the west entrance to Balboa Park at Laurel Street. The Music Festival and additional events take place on Saturday as well. See Pride Parade & Festival info.

Festival of the Bells at Mission San Diego de Alcala – Free event
Saturday, July 19: 10am – 9:30pm and Sunday, July 20: 10am-5pm – I mentioned in last weekend’s event list that California’s original mission was established on the hillside above Old Town in 1769. Five years later, the Mission was moved to its present location six miles east along the San Diego River (just east of Qualcomm Stadium, about a block and a half walk from the Mission San Diego trolley stop). The Mission in San Diego is a Minor Basilica and is celebrating the 245th anniversary of the original mission built above Old Town. Festival of Bells info.

Jewel Concert Cancelled (Sunday, July 20) / Doobie Brothers (Tuesday, July 22) / Lyle Lovett (Wednesday, July 23 / Tori Amos (Thursday, July 24))
Jewel is out because of a back injury. Tickets are still available for all of the other concerts through Ticketmaster. Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay website.

ABBA at the Symphony Pops (Fri/Sat, July 18/19 $32+)
Enjoy an outdoor symphony pops concert alongside the San Diego Bay, behind the convention center. Bring a light jacket for the cool bay breeze. Fireworks display after the concerts. Symphony Pops info.

Final weekend of play for the Over the Line Tournament on Fiesta Island – Free
Saturday and Sunday (July 19, 20): 7:30am-Dusk – This 3 player tournament is an adult oriented event that allow BYOB and includes teams names that can’t be published in the paper. However, all ages are welcome. 67th OTL info.

San Diego Padres vs New York Mets
Friday 7:10pm, Saturday 5:40pm, Sunday, 1:10pm; Out of town the remainder of the week. Padres info.

This Summer in San Diego

(There will be new suggestions in this section each week. Read last week’s ideas of things to do.)

Considering this is a big weekend in Hillcrest for the LGBT Pride events, here are a couple ongoing activities in the area this summer:

Friday’s on 5th
Fridays: 4pm-9pm – The shops, restaurants, and bars on 5th Avenue from Washington to Pennsylvania are offering special deals and a festive atmosphere on Friday evenings. Friday’s on 5th info.

Hillcrest Farmers Market
Sundays: 9am-2pm – Many argue this is the best Farmers Market in San Diego. It’s centered around the DMV in Hillcrest at the corner of Normal and Lincoln Hillcrest Farmers Market info.

Real Pirates exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum – Extra fee for entry
Daily through September 1: A National Geographic exhibition about a ship full of gold and silver that sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1717. Learn about life as a pirate and see artifacts recovered from the wreckage. If you see pirates walking around Balboa Park, say hello to them as they will share with you a discount code for use at the museum. Pirates Exhibition info.


  • The Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument is still closed for an earthquake retrofit project. Expects to reopen in late July. The Park’s lighthouse and trails are open.

Fun Things To Do In San Diego This Weekend – July 11, 2014


Here is the first of what will become weekly blog posts of fun things to do in San Diego this weekend. These are some of the special events we are sharing with our San Diego City Tour guests this week. Please feel free to add more unique activities for fellow readers in the comments section below or let us know what it was like to attend any of the San Diego area events. [Learn more about these weekly blog posts of things to do in San Diego this weekend.]

This Weekend in San Diego

Yoga on the Flight Deck of the USS Midway Museum with Scripps Health – Free event
Saturday, July 12: Registration and 7am and class begins at 8am. Yoga info.

Ballast Point Beer Festival at the San Diego Maritime Museum – $40
Sunday, July 13: 1pm-5pm – Sample 50 Ballast Point beers aboard various historic ships. Includes live music. This is a fundraiser for the Maritime Museum. Beer Festival info.

86th Anniversary of the Junipero Serra Museum – Free event
Sunday, July 13: 4pm-6pm – California’s original mission and presidio (home for the spanish soldiers) was established on the hillside above Old Town in 1769, making this location the birthplace of California. City leader George Marston helped establish a museum on this site in 1928 to celebrate that beginning. This is a family friendly event with a variety of activities. Serra Anniversary info.

Ringo Star & His All Star Band (Friday, July 11) / Steely Dan (Sunday, July 13)
Tickets for these shows are sold out but available on StubHub – $138 and up for Ringo; $238 and up for Steely Dan. Humphrey’s on StubHub.

Boz Scaggs: The Memphis Tour (Fri/Sat, July 11-12 $27+) / A Night in Hungary (Sun, July 13 $22+)
Enjoy an outdoor symphony pops concert alongside the San Diego Bay, behind the convention center. Bring a light jacket for the cool bay breeze. Fireworks display after the Boz Scaggs concerts. Symphony Pops info.

First weekend of play for the Over the Line Tournament on Fiesta Island – Free
Saturday and Sunday (July 12, 13): 7:30am-Dusk – This 3 player tournament is an adult oriented event that allow BYOB and includes teams names that can’t be published in the paper. However, all ages are welcome. 67th OTL info.

This Summer in San Diego

(There will be new suggestions in this section each week.)

Sailor’s Days at the San Diego Maritime Museum – Regular admission
Mondays through August 11: 9am-2pm – Family events including scavenger hunts, knot tying, raising sails and more. Sailor’s Days info.

Shakespeare’s Othello at the Old Globe Theatre – $39+
8pm most evenings through July 27: Being performed by actors Blair Underwood (LA Law), Kristen Connolly (House of Cards) and Richard Thomas (Waltons). Production of Othello info.

Orphan Cars at the San Diego Auto Museum – Regular Admission
Daily through September 26: Fans of car brands whose companies have gone out of business can relive the life of these ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ cars like Packard, Studebaker and more. Orphan Car info.


  • The Visitor Center at Cabrillo National Monument is currently closed for an earthquake retrofit project. Expects to reopen in late July. The Park’s lighthouse and trails are open.
  • No San Diego Padres baseball home games until after the All-Star Break ends Friday, July 18. If you need a baseball fix, how about trying a tour of Petco Park. Tours available three times a day when there are no home games. Tickets $8 – $12. Petco Park Tour info.

Fun Things To Do In San Diego This Weekend


Are you looking for fun things to do in San Diego this weekend? Let me help you out with a new series of blog posts I’ll start posting each Thursday. Since I started blogging in 2008 about things to do in San Diego and what makes San Diego such a great place to live or visit, I focused on all the great places to explore in San Diego. That led to the launch of my San Diego Things to Do and San Diego Attractions Travel Guide in 2009, and the launch of my San Diego tours in 2010.

Tour  Guide speaking to guests on ocean cliffs above Black's Beach in Torrey PinesThe tour business has kept me busy and I’ve been blogging a lot less than I would like. (Our Coastal San Diego Tour to La Jolla and Torrey Pines has earned the coveted ‘Certificate of Excellence Award’ from TripAdvisor for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.)

I’ve found a good excuse to start blogging again as I launch our new San Diego City Tour. For guests who take the ‘San Diego City Attractions and History Tour’, I prepare a handout that notes the various places we see during our tour as well as local San Diego events they may want to experience while they are in town. I pull the information from various events calendars and my knowledge from interacting with tour guests, hotel concierges, and San Diego attractions.

Since I’m already pulling together this information for my tour guests, I figured I could help you save time by sharing some of the unique events I find on this blog as well. So, check out our latest blog posts of things to do and to learn about unique aspects of San Diego County.

Please don’t consider this an all-encompassing list but rather a list of interesting or unique San Diego (generally weekend) events you may not have come across otherwise.

If you know of an event you would like to share, please add them to the comments section below each week’s post. If you end up trying any of the events, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section as well.

Enjoy all the fun things there are to do in San Diego!

Top 10 Reasons People Move to San Diego


relocate-best-placesA 2014 survey released by the American Planning Association reinforces something that those of us in the San Diego tourism business in particular and most San Diegans in general have always known…San Diego is the most desirable place to live in America. Sometimes locals get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget to appreciate how wonderful San Diego is as a place to live. Almost every day I’m reminded not to take it for granted because I get to hear it from my tour guests how they all want to move to San Diego. The cost of living deters most but some of them actually have moved after joining me for a tour.

San Diego came out #1 in the survey overall, #1 among the Boomer generation, and #3 among the Millennial generation behind New York and Los Angeles.

Based on my experience living in San Diego since relocating here in 1998 and based on what I hear from guests on my San Diego tours, here are my Top 10 Reasons to Relocate to San Diego. Add your thoughts below!

10. We get so little rain in San Diego that we don’t have to be pestered by flies, mosquitoes and gnats. Some guests notice there are homes that don’t have screens over their windows and then realize they haven’t been bothered by mosquitoes and flies while visiting America’s Finest City.

9. Despite the lack of rain, we are home to more varieties of trees and plants than any other place in the United States. I love being able to show guests beautiful flower blooms in February.

8. It’s easy to travel back home to visit with friends and family. Our small San Diego airport is less than a mile from downtown, rarely has delays, and offers direct flights as far away as London and Tokyo.

7. San Diego offers all of the cultural amenities of a big city (8th most populous in the U.S.) but it still feels like you live in a small town. The City of San Diego is spread out over a large area and is made up of over 50 communities with volunteer town councils, planning groups, and park and recreation councils so it’s easy to get involved in making your community a great place to live.

view of San Diego skyline across harbor from Coronado6. As a tourist attraction, it’s easy to enjoy an inexpensive ‘stay-cation’ right here in San Diego. The San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND California, the museums at Balboa Park all have annual passes that usually equal the cost of one or two visits so you can spend as little as two hours or until the kids get ornery and then had back to your favorite theme park the following weekend. Living in San Diego is the closest thing to a perpetual vacation.

5. No matter what your skills are, you can find a job in San Diego. If you need an entry-level job to work your way up, we have a large tourism industry that offers that and if you’re a rocket scientist or Nobel prize winner, you’ll probably find more of them working here than in any other city in the world. For the past few years, former President Bill Clinton has spent so much of his time to persuade other cities to do what San Diego has done to attract these bright minds that he jokes he should be on the city payroll.

4. The local landscape stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the local mountains and desert creates one of the most beautiful natural environments surrounding any city in the world. Downtown San Diego and Mission Bay may be flat but guests who join me on the Coastal San Diego Tour that takes us up to a hilltop overlooking the entire San Diego region and beyond quickly realize the rest of San Diego is made up of canyons, mountains, and seaside cliffs.

3. San Diego is rated near the top of all cities for best park systems that are accessible within a 10 minute walk of one’s home. Better yet, San Diego County is home to massive State and National Parks, 4,600 acre aquatic park, 53 miles of city beaches, 6,000 acre underwater park, and wildlife corridors that extend from our ocean to the mountains and desert that contribute to the thousands of miles of hiking trails in San Diego County.

coastal view atop mount soledad2. One of the most common unsolicited comments I get from my tour guests is how friendly everyone is in San Diego and how helpful they are. It’s one of the unexpected benefits I noticed when I relocated to San Diego making it easy to find new friends and falling head over heals for my new hometown.

1. The number one reason to relocate to San Diego is also the main reason that makes the other 9 reasons for relocating to San Diego possible…..the WEATHER! Average highs in the summer are mid to upper 70s and the average highs during the winter are mid to upper 60s. To top it off, San Diego only averages 10 inches of rain a year. Great weather puts people in a good mood. People with good moods are friendly to one another. Good weather means no weather delays at the airport, plenty of outdoor fun at the local attractions and parks, lack of mosquitoes and on and on!

Bonus Tidbit: More than half of San Diegans relocated here from outside the State of California.

If you want to learn interesting tidbits about San Diego, follow this blog or one of the Social Media links I’ve posted in the sidebar.

CrossFit San Diego


CrossFit round 5 thrusters and burpees
I recently learned about ‘CrossFit’ training from some friends I’ve made at my local gym. They receive their workout regimen the night before from CrossFit and carry it out the following day at the gym. Just last week I learned there is a worldwide CrossFit competition where the winners receive $275,000 from Reebok!

It turns out a team from San Diego (Invictus in Point Loma) is currently ranked #1 in the world after the 4th week of competition. Competitors from around the world meet at their local gyms to perform a routine announced the previous night by CrossFit and they are ranked by how quickly they carry out their routine. Apparently, Invictus is home to 3 of the world’s top 10 individuals but even if you were to remove their scores, Invictus would still rank 3rd in the world.

I checked out what I’ll call their 5th and final regular season competition on Friday night. They had to perform 7 sets of thrusters and burpees for a total of 84 reps. Men had to use 95 lb and women 65 lb weights. It blew me away to see what these people can do. And, you can’t just judge a book by its cover because some of the smaller people totally outperformed the ones with huge muscles.

To help you get better grasp of how the competition works, here’s a glimpse of the competition I attended where there are heats of competitors racing against the clock.

The next event will be a regional final at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on May 25, 2014. I’m told tickets sell out quickly. If you want to learn more, visit the Crossfit Games website.

One of the top women’s performers on Friday night is a lady who runs Haunted San Diego Tours. (She’s the one in the foreground of the video.) You’ll see her in the photo below that Victor and I took as we plan some joint advertising of our tours.

Buses for City, Coast, and Ghost Tours

Finding Meditation in San Diego


My guest blogger today is Carli Leavitt, the editor of Carli is a San Diego native with a wealth of knowledge about local attractions, hotels, beaches and nightlife venues in Southern California. Enjoy reading her article about finding meditation in San Diego:

Gold domes along California Highway 101 signifying Self Realization TempleTravelers who vacation in San Diego may get caught up in the hustle and bustle of downtown or the sometimes crowded beach scene. San Diego can seem like a big beautiful city packed with tons of people and no true solace – but that’s only if you don’t know where to look. With over three million residents, San Diego definitely isn’t lacking when it comes to a social scene, but for visitors looking to get away from it all in America’s Finest City, the best place for relaxing meditation is the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas.

San Diego County happens to be home to one of the most amazing meditation grounds in the world. The Self-Realization Fellowship (or SRF as it’s often called) is home to an incredible meditation garden high atop a sea bluff above the gorgeous and famous surf spot, Swami’s. Located in the quaint coastal community of Encinitas in north county San Diego, SRF is just 30 minutes from downtown San Diego, but makes visitors feel like they’re a world away.

Landscaped stairwell to see ocean views at the Self Realization Fellowship Gardens in EncinitasThe north county coastal region of San Diego attracts yogis and yoga enthusiasts from all over the globe because of its laid-back vibe and health conscious culture. You’ll find restaurants catering to a healthy, yoga-infused lifestyle such as the Lotus Café focusing on healthy cuisine with vegetarian and vegan options, just a few blocks down Highway 101 from the meditation gardens. It seems there is a yoga studio on every block of this beach community, scattered in between countless local surf and skate shops just steps away from some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth.

Encinitas is an interesting area with a large population of people who love surfing and yoga. One morning they’re in their wetsuits at famous surf spot, Cardiff Reef, rubbing elbows with local surf celebrity Rob Machado, and the next their perfecting the crane pose at a local yoga studio. Of course, you don’t have to be a yoga aficionado to enjoy meditation and take advantage of the relaxation this area has to offer. The Self-Realization Fellowship is the best place for meditation in San Diego County with a gorgeous tropical meditation garden overlooking Swami’s beach. The gardens have flowing streams, koi ponds, waterfalls and lush green foliage with winding footpaths creating a serene environment for meditation. It’s open to the public so visitors can sit and get lost in the sounds of the ocean, resident birds and breezes blowing through the ferns in this beautiful coastal garden.

Ocean views from the gardens at the Encinitas place for yoga and meditationThe timeless spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi was written at the Self-Realization Fellowship Ashram Center in Encinitas by founder and renowned yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda. Its overwhelming beauty and serene location make it a popular destination for visitors from all over the world, looking to meditate in these inspiring coastal gardens just 25 miles north of San Diego.

For guests staying in one of the downtown hotels in San Diego, SRF is an easy drive up Interstate 5 or a relaxing drive up Highway 101 along the coast. It usually takes between 30 minutes and an hour to get to the meditation gardens from downtown depending on traffic, but it’s definitely worth the trip. For those traveling to San Diego without a car, the NCTD Coaster also runs from downtown to Encinitas for an easy and stress-free public transportation option.

The convenient location and stunning coastal setting make the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas the best place to find solace and meditate in peace in San Diego County. Get away from it all on your next San Diego vacation by making time to meditate or take a stroll through these unique oceanfront gardens.

Elephant mural on the Meditation Center gift shop in EncinitasThe SRF meditation gardens are located at:

215 ‘K’ Street
Encinitas, CA 92024

Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Closed Mondays

I hope you will follow up on Carli’s recommendation to visit the SLF gardens in Encinitas. My wife and I visited for the first time this past weekend and really enjoyed the visit. The gardens are in full bloom, the birds are chirping away, the babbling brook is full of koi, and the views of the Pacific Ocean, where the garden reaches the seaside cliffs, are spectacular.

Although we were lured to the Pacific Highway side of the Meditation Center by the gold domed structures you’ll see along the roadway, the entrance is actually a one block walk down K Street. Quite a few people were enjoying the meditation gardens on the day of our visit but there are a number of nooks and crannies where we found secluded benches and a grassy knoll next to the pool, which used to be used used by Swami Yogananda, to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of the gardens and watch the surfers on Swami’s Beach below.

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