OB Pier. Because of its length, it puts you in the position to snag yellowtail, barracuda.
  • OB Pier. Because of its length, it puts you in the position to snag yellowtail, barracuda.
  • Image by Matthew Suárez
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

My cousin, who lives in Minnesota, said to me the other day, “It must be such a burden to live in a place where the weather is always beautiful. I can’t imagine you get as excited as we do when summer rolls around.” Here’s the thing; I think I do get just as excited. In San Diego, summer is a state of mind. Despite the fact that there isn’t much of a temperature change — actually, May is gray and June is gloomy — I always look forward to summer. I love seeing all the tourists on the Mission Beach Boardwalk strutting around with their farmer’s tans, and I love people watching on a completely packed beach at La Jolla Shores. There are summer concerts to go to, overeating to be done at the Del Mar Fair, ferry rides to Coronado, ducks to be fed at Lake Murray, tubing to be done at the La Jolla Indian Reservation, and loads of beach bonfires. There is nothing more exciting than a San Diego summer.

vadimrysev istock thinkstock

La Jolla Indian Campground

La Jolla Indian Campground

22000 Highway 76, Pala

Off Highway 76 in the valley just below Palomar Mountain sits the La Jolla Village Indian Reservation. Since the 1930s, San Diego locals have packed up their families on hot summer days to head out to the La Jolla Indian Reservation to camp and lazily tube down the San Luis Rey River. Camp spots go for $30 per vehicle, while a single day use pass is $20. Bring your own innertube or rent one for $10 a day. Visitors are allowed to launch their tubes from any location on the campground. The higher up you launch the longer and sweeter the ride. You can tie your tube to a rock and soak your feet while tossing back frosty beverages with your friends and family. The campground is also home to La Jolla Zip Zoom, the longest zipline in Southern California. For $99 per person or $299 for 4 people, you can zoom above the river and valley at speeds up to 55 mph.

Harrah's in Valley Center. The Rolls-Royce of pools.

Harrah's in Valley Center. The Rolls-Royce of pools.


Dive at Harrah’s Resort SoCal

Harrah's Resort Southern California

777 Harrah's Rincon Way, Valley Center

Harrah’s Casino, located in Valley Center and surrounded by a mountainous backdrop, offers the Rolls-Royce of pools. Dive, the resort’s main pool, is for guests ages 21 and up. It features a swim-up bar, hot tubs, cabanas, palapas, and firepits. Dive hosts events throughout the summer including Cowboy Boots and Swimsuits at which local country bands serenade swimmers poolside every Thursday through August 23. They have live reggae bands on Sundays beginning in June through August 2 starting at 8pm. If you are interested in a kid-friendly option, Harrah’s Lazy River is open to youngsters and includes two waterfalls. You must be a hotel guest to swim in pools.

Toby Keith at Del Mar Racetrack

Toby Keith at Del Mar Racetrack

La Mesa Farmer’s Market

  • 8200-8300 La Mesa Boulevard
  • La Mesa

Every Friday from 3pm-7pm, La Mesa hosts a farmer’s market. The market is newly situated in the heart of La Mesa’s downtown district, giving visitors the chance to purchase fresh produce, flower arrangements, and crafts from local artisans and to explore downtown La Mesa’s eclectic shops and eateries. Visitors can pop into Hoffer's for a cigar, head to Centifonti’s to drink a beer out of a boot, or play vintage arcade games at the Coin Haus. Antique lovers can score deals at The La Mesa Antique Mall, while music enthusiast can thumb through the record collection at Re-Animated. After all that shopping, head over to Sheldon’s Service Station to sit under their canopy, sip some tea, and do some serious people watching.

Dallmann Chocolates. Learn how to tell good chocolate from bad, how to infuse chocolate, and rolling and piping truffles.

Dallmann Chocolates. Learn how to tell good chocolate from bad, how to infuse chocolate, and rolling and piping truffles.

De Leon Dynamics

  • 12335 World Trade Drive
  • Carmel Mountain

This summer you can unleash your inner carnie, or ninja, if that’s what you’re into, by visiting De Leon Dynamics in Rancho Bernardo. De Leon Dynamics offers unique instruction in aerial and circus disciplines including, aerial silks, aerial hoop, trapeze, and aerial hammock. They offer American Ninja Warrior training through their Parkour and Urban Ninja classes.

Grotto Climbing. Newbies can take the Intro to Bouldering class.

Grotto Climbing. Newbies can take the Intro to Bouldering class.

Del Mar Racetrack

Del Mar Fairgrounds

2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar

The Del Mar Racetrack first opened its doors in 1937. It has been a San Diego summer staple ever since. Opening day for the Racetrack is July 18 and runs through September 3. Tickets to view the races range anywhere from a meager $6 for a reserved seat up to $350 for opening day trackside dining seat. Every Friday and on select Saturdays from July 20-August 31, the racetrack hosts free concerts with race admission. Concerts are for ages 18 and up and are standing room only. Concerts begin shortly after the last race, with this year's lineup to include the Psychedelic Furs, Steel Pulse, Ziggy Marley, Ice Cube, and more.

Deer Park. “Sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating, deep relaxation meditation, and sharing togetherness.”

Deer Park. “Sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating, deep relaxation meditation, and sharing togetherness.”

Mission Bay

Mission Bay Visitors' Center

2688 E. Mission Bay Drive, Pacific Beach

A summer in San Diego is not complete without a visit to Mission Bay. The Bay is a great spot to take out-of-town guests. Pack a picnic lunch or pick up a couple of California burritos to enjoy by the water. Mission Bay hosts dozens of shops were you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, lily pads for the kids, sailboats, or wave runners. Mission Bay Sports Center rents wave runners for $95 an hour. Paddleboards and kayaks go for $18 an hour. If you’re more into land sports, Radd Action Sports on Mission Bay Boulevard offers beach cruisers for $8 an hour, tandem beach cruisers for $10 per hour, and skateboards for $5 per hour.

Take a Fairy Princess photo, decorate a magic mushroom, create a fairy baby and cradle.

Take a Fairy Princess photo, decorate a magic mushroom, create a fairy baby and cradle.

Sculpture & Cocktails at San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art

1450 El Prado, Balboa Park

Art, music, cocktails, and summer evening air will be on tap at the June 21 event at the San Diego Museum of Art. Enjoy the exhibit “Epic Tales from Ancient India,” as well as performances of Bollywood dancing, tunes from DJ Gabe Vega, and eats from the Simply Fresh food truck. Ice cream lovers will enjoy the Ice Cream Lounge. Bring out your inner artist by creating bangles or be the canvas for Henna art. This event is for the over 21 set as admission includes two signature cocktails. $10 admission for members, $35 for non-members. The party starts at 6:00 pm.

Heritage of the Americas Museum. Ancient Kumeyaay ollas (pots), surviving from 900-1200 AD.

Heritage of the Americas Museum. Ancient Kumeyaay ollas (pots), surviving from 900-1200 AD.

Punk Rock Food Drive at Midnight Jack Brewing

Midnight Jack Brewing Company & Echo Room

3801 Oceanic Drive, Oceanside

On June 23 at 1:00 pm, eight bands will be playing at Midnight Jack Brewing for a food drive to support the San Diego Food Bank and North County Food Bank. Skipjack, Generator, Parade of Horribles, Dead on the Wire, the Dodges, Shake Before Us, Dead Frets, and Fistfights With Wolves will be playing at the event. Raffles and prizes. Admission is either $5 or three cans of food.

Parque Metropolitano Rosarito. 14-acre park with ocean views two miles inland from Rosarito beach.

Parque Metropolitano Rosarito. 14-acre park with ocean views two miles inland from Rosarito beach.

Summer Solstice 6.21 Mile

Starting June 21 and running through June 30, a virtual race will be happening at locations throughout the city to benefit Kids Alive International. Pick a loop: it’s a runner’s choice of course — either a 5K, 10K, half marathon, whatever your dogs are up for — and start running. Fifteen percent of each race registration goes to support the non-profit that rescues orphaned children in 14 different countries. Registration is $18 for racers from the US, $28 for those outside the US, and with it comes a bib and a medal shipped to you.

The Lorax at Old Globe was a big hit on London’s West End.

The Lorax at Old Globe was a big hit on London’s West End.

Movie Night aboard the USS Midway

USS Midway Museum

910 N. Harbor Drive, Downtown San Diego

Many parks around San Diego offer outdoor summer movies. On July 13, the aircraft carrier Midway will host a showing of the movie Hidden Figures. The film based on the NASA launch of John Glenn into orbit will be played at 6:30pm on the flight deck. Bring folding chairs or blankets for the viewing as seating is not available. The movie is free, but advance tickets are required.

Country Night — Town Center Community Park

Town Center Community Park

550 Park Center Drive, Santee

The music of the Clay Colton Band will be ringing through the park on June 21 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Along with the tunes, there will be a petting zoo, beer garden, lasso lessons, and food trucks. This concert is part of a 10-week long summer concert series on the lawn. Free admission.

Father-Daughter Day & Dance

  • 2129 Main Street
  • Julian

Dads can spoil their daughters with a day in the country on June 23, starting at 11:00 am and running until 4:00 pm. The day includes lunch in Julian, a corsage for the little ladies, an Olde Time photo shoot, fudge or truffles at Julian Candy Basket, a Malt at Miner’s Diner, and a dance at 2pm at the Town Hall. $95 for a pair of tickets, additional daughters are $30 a ticket. At the end of the day, take home an apple pie.

Pickleball at Barnes Tennis Center

Barnes Tennis Center

4490 W. Point Loma Boulevard, Point Loma

Pickleball is an easy-to-learn, fast-paced mashup of ping pong, tennis, and badminton, where players face off by whacking a wiffle ball with a solid paddle across a low net on a small court. Try it out at one of the three-hour open-play sessions at Barnes Tennis Center in Point Loma; a half-hour lesson on the basics starts you off, and loaner paddles are included in the $7 court fee. From there, a quick internet search will find you Pickleball games all over the county, from the beginner-friendly group at Barnes to the hotly competitive, advanced players at the Balboa Park Activity Center.

Make your own gourmet chocolates at Dallman Confections

  • 757 N. Twin Oaks Valley Road
  • San Marcos

Learn how to create your own handmade chocolate truffles at Dallmann Confections Chocolate Academy in San Marcos. Owner and chocolatier Isabella Knack will teach you how to tell good chocolate from bad, how to infuse chocolate, and the basics of rolling and piping truffles, or more advanced skills like how to temper, mold, and fill chocolates. Master classes include enrobing techniques, airbrushing, using transfer sheets, and making multi-level ganaches. Classes range from $70-$300, include all necessary supplies and are limited to eight students. Everyone takes home their freshly made chocolates.

Swim with sharks

La Jolla Shores

8200 Camino del Oro, La Jolla

The shallow waters of La Jolla Shores attracts scores of leopard sharks during the warmer weather, especially near The Marine Room Restaurant and off the La Jolla Tennis Club. During peak season, the sharks typically hang out in groups ranging from a few to hundreds in four to five feet of water. Seeing a five-foot-long shark can be intimidating, but despite being carnivorous, leopard sharks pose no danger as they don’t attack humans. And since these sharks draw snorkelers from all over the world, they are used to humans staring at them.

Ice skating

UTC Ice Sports Center

4545 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla

When the temperature spikes, lace up your skates and hit the ice at University Town Center Ice Sports Center, next to the food court inside the remodeled Westfield UTC Shopping Centre. Daily public skating sessions are the longest in San Diego, ranging from three to 12 hours, with in-and-out privileges so you can skate for a while, grab lunch or dinner, and come back for more. Rental skates and helmets are available.


Grotto Climbing

4460 Alvarado Canyon Road, Grantville

Grotto is a place to show off your climbing skills on the 7000 square feet of wall space featuring more than 13,000 handmade holds, a campus board, a peg board, an illuminated moon board, fingerboards, and a 60-degree training board. There’s a fitness area with a Rogue fitness rack, rings and weights, as well as a yoga studio teaching all-level Vinyasa, Acroyoga, Yin, Restorative and Budokon-inspired flow classes. Newbies can take the Intro to Bouldering class that includes shoe rental, 30 minutes of instruction, and a day pass, so you can hit the weights or stretch out any sore muscles in a yoga class afterwards.

WorldBeat Cultural Center

WorldBeat Cultural Center

2100 Park Boulevard, Balboa Park

Nearly 30 years ago, Makeda “Dread” Cheatom followed her vision that the world would be a better place if people took the time to learn about and respect other cultures. Taking a million-gallon ground-level water tank on the edge of Balboa Park, she and the WorldBeat Center team transformed it, using local artists to create the indoor and outdoor murals celebrating Egyptian, African, and Indigenous leaders and cultures. A LEED Certified and USGBC Green Building with a recycling and composting program, it contains galleries and shops serving healthy local foods, locally sourced goods, and a gallery of art and artifacts. Classes include taiko, dumbek, djembe and Afro-Cuban drumming, belly and West African dance, capoeira and yoga, and three children’s summer camp programs.

The Cat Cafe

The Cat Cafe

472 Third Avenue, Downtown San Diego

The first cat cafe opened in Taipei in 1998, where it became a popular stop for Japanese tourists, who brought the idea back home. Because many apartments in Japan forbid pets, the cafes became oases to relieve the stress of urban life. The Cat Cafe serves coffee drinks and pastries from local companies including West Coast Coffee Roasters, Cafe Virtuoso, Bread & Cie, The Cravory, and Adam’s Lunch Box. The stars of the show, about a dozen well-socialized foster cats, live in a room separate from the food service area. Pet and play to your heart’s content, and if you fall in love, the kitties are available for you to adopt.

Day of Mindfulness at the Deer Park Monastery

  • 2499 Melru Lane
  • Escondido

Most Sundays, the Deer Park Monastery opens up its gates for visitors to explore the grounds and have a chance to participate in the day’s practices of “sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating, deep relaxation meditation, and sharing togetherness.” This 400-acre center for monastic training and mindfulness practice sits nestled in the chaparral mountains. The day’s program starts with a guided meditation walk which sets the peaceful tone. Afterwards, a Dharma Talk is held in the Meditation Hall followed by small group teachings or discussions and a silent lunch. There is a children’s program for those ages 6 to 12. Free, but donations encouraged.

Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca

15027 Highway 79, Julian

About an hour northeast of downtown San Diego lies 110-acre Cuyamaca Lake where camping, fishing, hiking, boating, duck hunting, picnicking, and restaurant dining are available. Touted as the only San Diego lake that stocks trout year-round, fishing classes are offered every Saturday morning. They have a “kill-a-carp” program, rewarding free fishing and camping for those who succeed. Don’t have your own boat? There are kayaks, pontoons, row boats, motor boats, and paddle boats to rent. Although the trail around the lake is only around three miles, the surrounding state park provides other hiking options to view the birds and wildlife.

Tren Turistico

  • García Train Station
  • Blvd. Diaz Ordaz and Blvd. Simon Bolivar
  • Tijuana/Tecate

For less money than a one-way Amtrak ticket up to L.A., hop on the Tren Turistico (Tourist Train) for a round-trip ride from Tijuana to Tecate. Current price of around $30 (590 pesos) buys a seat on a two-level passenger car which travels through tunnels, mountains, and over bridges. It offers views of The Redondo Valley. On the itinerary is a stop at the Abelardo L. Rodríguez dam and some time to explore the town of Tecate. The party on board includes wine and tequila tastings, cheese samples, and a mariachi band providing the soundtrack for the two-hour return trip home.

Sweetwater Summit Regional Park

Sweetwater Regional Park

3218 Summit Meadow Road, Bonita

The 500-acres of Sweetwater Summit Regional Park offers 15 miles of trails for horses, hikers, and mountain bikers, and it’s one of the few spots for tent camping within a 15-mile radius of downtown San Diego. Its 112 sites are equipped with water and electricity with over half offering full-hookups for RVs and a few built with horse corrals. If you want to throw a party, a pavilion, a larger community building, and a few picnic areas are available for rent. With all of that — along with fishing at the adjacent reservoir, a 13-station exercise course, and a splash park ($3) – one may never leave. $3 parking.

San Diego River Pathway

  • Mission Valley/Ocean Beach

San Diego River Pathway is a fun and scenic way to get from Mission Valley to Ocean Beach's Dog Beach — either on bicycles or on foot. Although sections of the path can be accessed at points further east, these four miles offer a waterfront view along a secluded, paved trail — predominantly out of sight of cars and safe for the whole family. Expect to see loads of plants and animals and, if timed correctly, a front-row seat to Sea World’s fireworks show. In Mission Valley, drop in at the end of Hotel Circle Place where the uninterrupted pathway starts at Presidio Little League Field.

Ocean Beach Pier Fishing

Ocean Beach Pier

5091 Niagara Avenue, Ocean Beach

Want to fish for free with no license at 3 am? The 24-hour Ocean Beach Pier is your spot. Open since July 2, 1966 and stretching out 1971 feet into the ocean, the T-shaped OB Pier is the longest concrete pier on the West Coast. Because of its length, it puts you in the position to snag species such as yellowtail, barracuda, and bass while halibut, mackerel, shark, and a host of other species can be found closer to the shore. Along the pier you’ll find everything you need: a bait-and-tackle shop, fish cleaning station, cafe, mini-mart, restrooms, benches, and lights. Free parking at the adjacent lot, if you’re lucky, or if it’s 3 am.

Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park

1600 Pacific Highway, Downtown San Diego

On the edge of downtown San Diego and across the street from the Star of India docked on San Diego Bay lies a huge green oasis surrounding the County Administration Building. Here at Waterfront Park, you’ll find innovative playground equipment and picnic areas and interactive fountains to splash around in. Currently, the reflecting pools open at 10:30 am, although the jets that are overhead are not turned on until 11 am. Not to miss is Niki De Saint Phalle’s sculpture Serpent Tree glittering on the northeast end. Check for festivals before going, as half the park can be cordoned off; the playground area isn’t affected, but can get loud and busy.

Butterfly Farms

  • 441 Saxony Road
  • Encinitas

Let the butterfly come to you. That’s vivarium etiquette, along with watch your step — they might alight on the path. The fluttering beauties fly freely in this 3000 square-foot facility, the largest in Southern California, where staff study Western Monarchs and butterfly conservation. See metamorphosis in action and learn about plants that attract these flying pollinators. For butterfly buffs—you might spy a Cloudless Sulfur, a Cabbage White, a Painted Lady, or a Mourning Cloak—among others. Admission $5, kids two and under free.

Fairy Festival and Thursday Family Fun Nights

San Diego Botanic Garden

230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas

Flutes and fairies enchant the San Diego Botanic Garden this summer at the costumed Fairy Festival, June 23 (free admission, kids only in costume). Take a Fairy Princess photo, decorate a magic mushroom, create a fairy baby and cradle, and other frills (small fee for crafts). On Thursday nights (May 31-August 30) the garden stays open until 8, with live entertainment from 6-7. Bring chairs for the show, then explore the garden’s delights as twilight falls. Adults $14, kids $8.

Living Coast Discovery Center

Living Coast Discovery Center

1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista

Living Coast is the place to see eye to eye with sea turtles, interact with sharks, and admire the claws of an eagle. Take a pair of binoculars and go on a guided Sweetwater Safari in the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, Saturdays at 12:45. Wildlife Tours Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays 2:45. For animal encounters of the closer kind—touch a turtle, feed a shark or ray, meet and greet an owl—pay $50 plus admission for a group of up to 6 (with reservation). Adults $16, children $11.

Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens

Myrtle Creek Nursery

2940 Reche Road, Fallbrook

Free admission and parking make this sweet spot even sweeter, close to I-15 yet nestled in the hills around Myrtle Creek. Descendants of Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman built a charming house here in the late 1800s (tour with reservation). The Sherman family still owns the property, where visitors can wander gentle backcountry trails, see the 1895 Fallbrook Barn (with animals!), peer at miniature vignettes in the garden, and gaze in awe at giant live oaks. A café on site is the perfect setting for a piece of pie and a chat.

Heritage of Americas Museum

Heritage of the Americas Museum

12110 Cuyamaca College Drive West, Rancho San Diego

A six-billion-year-old meteorite chunk from Canyon Diablo in Arizona is among the eclectic artifacts in this kid-friendly museum, along with a 100-million-year-old T-Rex tooth found in Montana. A collection of cavernous ancient Kumeyaay ollas (pots) fills a corner, surviving from 900-1200 AD. Artfully arranged arrowheads hail from around the Americas, some 12,000 years old. Cases of candy-colored seashells and beaded jewelry delight. $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, under 17 and students free. Guided tours available, call ahead.

Map and Atlas Museum

Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla

7825 Fay Avenue, courtyard level, Suite LLA, La Jolla

Find a second edition of the first woodcut map of the world, dated 1486, in this unusual collection of cartography. Another woodcut from 1778 Japan shows Dutch and Chinese trade ships and factories in Nagasaki. For a look to the local past, there’s a 1912 map of the planned park that would host the 1914 Panama-California Exposition. Check out the 1769 map of New York City and a rare 1593 round Leo Belgicus, a lion that symbolized the low countries in early European map-making. Free admission, check hours.

Parque Metropolitano Rosarito

  • Lomas de Coronado
  • Tijuana

Only two miles inland from Rosarito Beach, hidden inside a neighborhood and over some light off-road terrain lies a 14-acre park with ocean views. It features a half-dozen picnic kiosks with grills, bike paths, four sand playgrounds with plastic and metal recreational equipment of Mexican engineering (read: not entirely safe), and 38 acres more of rolling hills for easy family hikes. Parque Metropolitano was inaugurated in 2013. It’s free to the public from 7 am to 7 pm. With Baja’s great need for more public green spaces, the park receives hundreds of families every weekend despite being hard to find.

Mini City inside Plaza Río

  • #95 Paseo de Los Heroes,
  • Zona Río, Tijuana

Ser bombero (to be a fireman)!” That is my four-year-old nephew’s favorite job at Mini City. Kids can be anything from doctor/nurse, professional soccer players, car wash/gas attendants, pizza makers, news reporters, car salesmen, milkmen, scientists, stylists/barbers, radio DJs, and much more, all sponsored by real local companies to give it an authentic city feel. Parents can also participate in the fun. Or you can hire one of the young employees for a couple of hours while you scurry away and enjoy the rest of Tijuana’s biggest mall (plenty of shopping, two movie theaters, food garden, bars, and more).

Flyers Tijuana

  • 1857 Calle Erasmo Castellanos
  • Zona Río, Tijuana

“I like the special non-skid socks and the big boy trampolines.” My nephew is not the only one obsessed with Flyers, Tijuana’s biggest trampoline and obstacle park. Though my nephew likes to pretend he is an adult, there are separate playpens for kids and grown-ups. Floors and walls covered with trampolines, featuring basketball, dodgeball, flyerobics (fitness classes), obstacle courses, foam-and-ball pit, and much more. $6 dollar per hour for adults ($4 for kids) + the cost of the special socks my nephew is fond of (must pay $2.50 for them).

Laser Show

  • at CECUT (Tijuana Cultural Center)

Centro Cultural Tijuana

Paseo de los Héroes and Mina Street, Baja

La Bola, what Tijuanenses call the IMAX dome outside CECUT and the icon of the city’s oldest museum. Tickets go for $3 per adult or $2 for kids showcasing nature films, music documentaries, and other educational material. But the true magic is the laser show. As a friend put it, “There’s something fascinating about watching a laser show next to a Mexican abuelita who is thoroughly enjoying it.” La Bola is currently featuring Netflix’s Stranger Things, past shows include The Beatles, MGMT, and Monsters of Rock.

Off-Roading in Los Arenales

  • Exit Cantamar y Puerto (Mexico 1D)
  • Primo Tapia

Just under a 20-minute drive south of Rosarito, you’ll find Los Arenales, a giant sand playground next to the ocean for off-roading fun. If you have your own sand buggy, motocross, Baja Bug, Jeep, or other 4x4 vehicles, it’s only $5 to enter. There are plenty of llanteras (tire repair shops) nearby. Quad bikes and other ATVs rent for $35 an hour. Hundreds of families drive down on Sundays to an all-Mexican party of blasting music, fresh ceviche, carne asada, clamatos, and plenty of Tecates. It’s a good time whether you’re riding or simply watching the anarchy of the open dunes. (Either way, exercise extreme caution).

Baja Paintball

  • 419 Ligada del Vértice
  • Santa Fe

Situated in Santa Fe, near the end of Tijuana and the beginning of Rosarito, there are eight paintball battlefields for team matches of 7 vs. 7 up to 30 vs. 30 (referee included). The playing field resembles maps like those of Call of Duty or other video games with capture the flag strategies in the middle and spawning from the ends. Rent a low-impact gun with 100 paintballs for $9 (includes mask and chest protection). Birthday specials, or VIP packages are available. There’s a playground for little kids, BBQ and rest areas, and a paintball shooting range.

House Of Air

  • 6133 Innovation Way, Ste. 102
  • Carlsbad

This indoor trampoline park is a fun way to spend a few hours. There are a variety of trampolines, including a room with trampolines on the walls and a place where you can drop 15 feet onto a giant cushion. The bouncing is a blast, but it is a workout. You will get tired one way or another: either from jumping yourself or being nagged by your kids to take yet another slo-mo video of them somersaulting onto one of the mats.

Julian Gold Mine Tour

Eagle Mining Co.

2320 C Street, Julian

The Eagle Mining Company in Julian offers tours 1,000 feet into a mine nearly 150 years old. The guides paint a picture of the rigorous world of gold mining back in the day. Before and after the tour, you can try panning for gold in a trough, though you can’t keep what you find —except the memories. One thing: The mine seems to have been built for short people so be prepared to duck in spots.

SeaWorld Fireworks


500 Sea World Drive, Mission Beach

Fireworks are traditional for the Fourth of July, but SeaWorld keeps the fire working throughout the summer. In the past, the park had nightly fireworks. This summer, they will be on select dates: June 30, July 1, July 4, July 7, July 8, and Sept. 1, 2 and 3. Though the best view is in the park, the fireworks can be seen all over the Mission Bay area from Ocean Beach to the south part of La Jolla.

Coronado gazebo concerts

Spreckels Park

601 Orange Avenue, Coronado

The gazebo at Spreckels Park hosts free concerts every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. The bands tend to be tribute bands and cover bands ­— musicians who understand the job at hand is to provide fun and danceable music for the hordes who wait for the music to begin at 6 p.m. Highlights on this year’s roster include Another Journey (Journey tribute band) on June 17; Tainted Love (80s tribute band) on July 8; and yacht rock tribute band Mustache Harbor on August 12.

The Lorax at The Old Globe Theater

The Old Globe Theatre

1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park

The Old Globe had success doing its stage version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and now it hopes to make lightning strike twice with a musical version of The Lorax. Running July 2-August 12, this musical version of Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s tale was a big hit on London’s West End and features puppets and original music by acclaimed indie artist Charlie Fink.

Sunset Cliffs hike

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset Cliffs Boulevard at Ladera Street, Point Loma

Start walking south from the Ocean Beach pier and don’t stop until you can’t walk anymore. The Sunset Cliffs hike is one of the best coastal walks in the county, taking you past wannabe hippies carving their initials into the sandstone and isolated beaches and coves before ending at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. If the tide is low enough, you can walk even further south and explore some caves. If the tide is high, you can see some people attempt to cliff dive and police officers yelling at them not to do it.

Kayaking caves Off La Jolla Shores

  • 2261 Avenida De La Playa
  • La Jolla

The La Jolla Ecological Reserve, which encompasses parts of La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove, has one of the highest concentrations of sea life in the state — and it’s best seen by kayak. Everyday California hosts five tours a day that take you to caves, the Rose Canyon fault line, and, if you’re lucky, up close with leopard sharks — don’t worry, they’re tame. The tours are suitable for everyone over the age of six.

Steiber Summer Gallery

  • 1943 India Street
  • Little Italy

This summer, from June 30th to August 26th, artist Sarah Stieber takes over the Mee Shim Fine Arts Gallery. The gallery will be filled with installations, a photo booth, and Stieber’s vibrant “Electric Realism” paintings. In addition to regular hours (noon to 9pm daily), several events are on the schedule. The grand opening bash on July 7 features cocktails by Pomp and Whiskey, food by Beaming Organic, and personal bedazzling by glitter artist Jennifer Segura. Other events include a comic-themed party during Comic-Con weekend, an ACLU NextGen fundraiser on August 2, and a closing reception on August 24.

Wine and Jeep Tour

  • 31939 Rancho California Road (meeting place only)
  • Temecula

Temecula is not in San Diego County, but a wine and jeep tour makes for a worthy daytrip. Soak in the views of Temecula wine country from the back of an open-air jeep while learning about the region’s winemaking history. Each Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tour features a visit to three local wineries and their tasting rooms, crush pads, and barrel rooms plus bottled water and a picnic lunch. Internet specials are available online ($115 per person for a weekday tour, $120 per person for a weekend tour, and $599 per couple for a private tour), and each tour includes free hotel pickup and return.

Hot Tub Cruisin

  • 1010 Santa Clara Place
  • Mission Bay

Grab nine of your favorite people and some snacks and drinks, and spend one to four hours partying or just relaxing out in the middle of Mission Bay. At the Mission Bay Sports Center, the Hot Tub Cruisin boats feature a hot tub, sound system, coolers, deck seating, dry storage, and an optional propane grill. The water in the hot tub can be cold or hot. The hot tub has room for eight people, and the boat has seating for ten. Special accommodations can be made for parties of up to 30 people. Rental options include self-captained, anchored, or captained cruises and run from $215 an hour to $800 for four hours. Optional add-ons include a propane grill, cooler preparation (stocked with ice), towel service, or a water slide.


  • 1140 North Harbor Drive
  • Embarcadero

Immerse yourself in installation art by artists from around the globe. Wonderspaces is back in San Diego for its second year (new location at the Cruise Ship Terminal) from June 8-30. This year’s lineup includes a walk through a “whimsical and graphical forest” (Caroline Wanitzek), a four-walled film project inspired by Stanley Kubrik (Toby Dye), and a hall-of-mirrors light installation (Nonotak Studios). Tickets are available for specific entry times at 15 minute intervals from 10am to 8:30 pm. The show closes at 10pm daily. Allow for approximately 80 minutes to walk through the whole exhibit. All ages welcome. Children under 16 must be supervised. $16-$24.

Insect and Ladybug Festival

San Diego Botanic Garden

230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas

Anyone who loves bugs or who loves someone who loves bugs will be happy to know that the San Diego Botanic Garden has an Insect and Ladybug Festival dedicated to the creepy crawlies. On July 21-22, expect to see thousands of insects, snakes, lizards, and other creatures, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Etymologists will be on hand to answer questions and entertain bug lovers. The event features bug-centric crafts for children, bugs-holding experiences, and mealworm larvae snacks. Yum! Free for members and children 12 and under. Non-members free with paid admission.

Sunset Paddle Yoga

  • 4000 Fanuel Street
  • Mission Bay

On Thursday evenings, from 5:30 to 7:00, wind down from the workday with a sunset paddleboard yoga class in Mission Bay. Staying balanced on your paddleboard requires the use of your core muscles, giving your workout an extra boost and refining your technique. The water and natural environment can help to sooth, calm, and relax you. Keep an eye on the Bliss Paddle Yoga schedule for additional summer classes. Each class is $35 and includes all equipment. Class packages and private lessons also available. There is a chance you’ll fall into the water, but so what? You can always get back up on your board. It’s a beautiful way to spend a summer evening in San Diego.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader