The Pacific Highlands Ranch Pump Track is hoping bikers and skaters can enjoy their new concrete playground in harmony.
- Drew Keltz
Discs, balls, and hidden gems
- Pacific Highlands Ranch Pump Track
- 5992 Village Center Loop Road
- Carmel Valley
- 1970s-era concrete skateparks often included snake-runs. These were, basically, winding trenches with smooth walls that riders could navigate like a long ditch. Pump tracks are a bit of a play on the snake-run concept, except they operate as a loop with riders maintaining speed by “pumping” through sections. Dirt pump tracks originated in the BMX scene in the early 2000s, and now the Pacific Highlands Ranch Pump Track is hoping bikers and skaters can enjoy their new concrete playground in harmony. The track opened in April.
- Morley Field Disc Golf Course
- 3090 Pershing Drive
- Balboa Park
- Drive by the Morley Field Disc Golf Course any day of the week and you will notice a crowded parking lot and filled greens with discs-a-flying. The course was designed by Snapper Pierson way back in 1978, and the Disc Golf Hall of Famer still runs the show there. He constructed a technical course, so don’t expect to hit par the first time out. It’s a tight space for a disc golf course, so there isn’t much room to “air out” drives. While playing, make sure to yell “FORE!!!” when necessary and be on the lookout for incoming discs courtesy of those who forget to yell “FORE!!!”
Cedar Creek Falls is a five-mile roundtrip hike from the Ramona trailhead and requires a permit for visitation.
Photograph by Natalie Andrews
- Cedar Creek Falls
- 15519 Thornbush Rd
- In the late ‘90s, some friends and I drove east into the mountains to track down a swimming hole known as the Devil’s Punchbowl. This was pre-satellite GPS, and we had little knowledge of the area, but we somehow found this hidden gem. A trickle of a waterfall fed into a pond of vibrant green water that was deep enough to cushion a 30-foot cliff jump. These days, most refer to this spot as Cedar Creek Falls. The area now requires a day permit for visitation, cliff-jumping is prohibited, and hikers are cautioned to plan for extreme heat conditions. It’s a five-mile roundtrip from the Ramona trailhead, and the all-uphill exit requires ample hydration.
The lack of hills makes Mission Bay the superior course for footgolf newbies.
- Mission Bay Footgolf
- 2702 N. Mission Bay Drive
- Pacific Beach
- When my sister’s family visited San Diego last fall, we all went out and enjoyed a game of footgolf at Balboa Park. It was the nearest option, but a little tougher for the novice player than what was offered at Mission Bay Golf Course. The lack of hills is what makes Mission Bay the superior course for newbies. Footgolf is regular golf with kicking replacing clubs, and soccer balls instead of the traditional golf balls. The sport is a blast until you’re watching your ball picking up speed down a hill you were trying to avoid. For first-timers, the sport is about a quarter as frustrating as traditional golf, at about half the cost.
- Cowles Mountain
- Golfcrest Drive and Navajo Road
- Mission Trails Regional Park
- It’s no surprise that Cowles Mountain remains one of the most popular hiking destinations in the region. Since its peak elevation is 1592 feet, a trip to the summit gives visitors a view from the highest point within city limits. The main trail up starts at Golfcrest Drive and climbs 950 feet in 1.5 miles. It’s a steep, often rocky journey that requires intermediate hiking skills. The trail is known for drawing crowds, so if you want more nature and fewer humans, there are two less travelled routes. The first starts at Big Rock Park in Santee and the second begins at Barker Way in San Carlos.
- Dave Good
Cats, rats, and koi
- It’s about good shoes and a sense of adventure. Geocaching is a treasure hunt that utilizes Global Positioning System (GPS) devices or GPS-enabled devices and the Internet. A geocache is a hidden container. Inside the container could be anything. Participants navigate to a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find whatever was hidden there. In 2000, there were 75 such geocaches. Now, there are three million geocaches hidden outdoors all around the planet. Create an account on the Geocaching app, navigate to the site, find the cache, and then go look for another one.
All of Cat Café’s felines are adoptable and content to lounge around alongside coffee drinkers.
- Cat Café
- 472 Third Avenue
- No one really knows why cats purr, but some health experts say that cuddling a cat is a form of stress relief for humans. Consider a room filled with happy cats who are content to lounge around alongside coffee drinkers, and you’ve got the Cat Café experience. Cat Cafés have been around since the late 1990s, after the first of them opened in Taipei. The concept was a hit among the high-stressed and cat lovers alike. Cat Cafés are all over the world now. The fifth such in North America opened in downtown San Diego five years ago. By the way — all of Cat Café’s felines are adoptable.
Gilbert C. Castellanos performs at the Wednesday night jazz jam at Panama 66 in Balboa Park.
Photograph by Ivan S. Harris
- Jazz at Panama 66
- 1450 El Prado
- Balboa Park
- A “cutting session” is what jazz musicians called it when they gathered on nightclub stages and held improvisation contests. Cutting wasn’t about jealousy or ego as much as it was about a chance to show off one’s jazz chops to peers and public alike. An old tradition, cutting sessions started sometime during the 1920s. From the cutting session came the jazz jam, and that’s what you’re in for on Wednesday nights at Panama 66. This jam starts with a select few young jazz students, followed later by round after round of seasoned pros who take on jazz heavyweights like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and render their music fresh and alive again.
- Cruisin’ Grand
- Grand Avenue from Orange to Ivy Streets
- You hear them long before you see them: the thunderous sounds of muscle cars running hot and heavy alongside traditional raked-and-rolled custom gassers of old. Cruisin’ Grand is a tribute in slow and continual motion to the hot rod culture that began right here on California’s dry lake beds decades ago. It’s a parade of burnished chrome and sparkle-tone paint jobs in every hue splashed on stripped-down rat rods and dragsters and street rods and resto rods burning racing fuel in high-performance big fat hot-rodded power plants. Earplugs optional. Friday nights, 5 pm to 9 pm, April through September.
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- 2215 Pan American Road East
- Balboa Park
- It’s almost as if the fish trained us to look at them. The social aspect of the koi/human interaction is like no other. Bred selectively to live in a state of perpetual display, bearing witness to a school of koi is an experience both mysterious and soothing. As they glide weightlessly and ever so slowly through a shallow cold bath of crystal water with zero effort, koi in turn encounter us with impassive eyes that seem to be taking their own measure. In colors of black or gold, white or orange, or any combination of the four, the Japanese Friendship Garden’s pools are home to a remarkable collection.
- Mary Beth Abate
Under the stars
- South Bay Drive-In Theatre
- 2170 Coronado Avenue
- Chula Vista
- See a current double-feature every day, year round at South Bay Drive-In Theatre. Boasting three fully digital 100-foot screens with the brightest picture quality available at any drive-in in the area and powerful FM stereo transmitters for sound clarity, each screen shows a different pair of flicks so there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. It’s a bargain at $9 for adults and just $1 for kids 5-9 years old, and they even have online coupons for food discounts at the snack bar.
- Salk Institute
- 10010 North Torrey Pines Road
- La Jolla
- The developer of the first safe, effective polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, established the Salk Institute in La Jolla in 1960. Designed by world-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn, the spacious, unobstructed laboratory spaces were designed to be adaptable to ever-changing scientific needs. The first two stories of the mirror-image buildings are underground, per local zoning codes, but a series of 40-foot long and 25-foot wide light wells are cleverly fashioned to bring natural light into even the lowest levels. Self-guided tours are available Monday through Friday from 8 am - 5:30 pm for $7.50 per adult, or docent-led tours can be arranged for groups of 1-44 people. All visits require online reservations.
- Taylor Guitar factory
- 1980 Gillespie Way
- El Cajon
- Taylor Guitars has been building some of the world’s finest acoustic and semi-hollow electric guitars at their factory in El Cajon for over 45 years. They offer a free guided tour every Monday through Friday at 1 pm, except holidays. You’ll see the entire process of guitar construction, from wood selection through final assembly. Groups under 10 people can just show up at the reception desk at least 10 minutes before the tour starts. If your group is 10 or more, call in advance to make a reservation. Visit the TaylorWare store afterwards for everything from t-shirts and other swag to gifts and replacement guitar parts.
- Salsa Under the Stars
- The Headquarters at Seaport Village
- 789 West Harbor Drive
- Friday, June 21, 2019, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
789 West Harbor Drive,
- Join local musician Manny Cepeda and his orchestra every third Friday from 6 pm–9 pm in the beautiful outdoor courtyard at the Headquarters at Seaport Village for a summertime dance party under the stars. Groove to the best in classic salsa, merengue, cumbia, bachata, and Cuban music while the daylight slowly fades and the evening turns to night. Don’t worry if you have two left feet — no experience (or partner) is necessary. Free.
- Friday Night Liberty at the Arts District
- 2640 Historic Decatur Road
- Liberty Station
- The Liberty Station Arts District stays open late on the first Friday of each month from 5 pm - 9 pm for San Diego’s biggest free monthly art walk. Pick up a program and District map first at the Dick Laub Command Center, then stroll through and meet working artists, enjoy music and dance performances, and visit galleries and museums. Check out the latest exhibits at the Women’s Museum of California, Visions Art Museum or the San Diego Comic Art Gallery, or chat with artists over a glass of wine at dozens of painting, textile, jewelry, photography, woodworking, and graphic arts studios.
- Elizabeth salaam
Singalongs, shenanigans, and free popcorn
- Stieber Summer Gallery
- 1943 India Street
- Little Italy
- For a second year contemporary artist Sarah Stieber will take over Mee Shim Gallery with her bright, bejeweled palette, saturated colors, and electric realism paintings. The exhibit will premiere new works from her mixed media series, FACE IT, created in response to what she calls “the rampant depiction of faceless women portrayed in contemporary art and culture.” This year, gallery visitors can expect an experience that includes paintings and video content. The pop-up gallery runs June 11 to June 30 (open daily from 2 pm to 9 pm). Opening and closing receptions on June 15 and June 29 promise fun and shenanigans. RSVP required.
- Kayak Lower Otay Reservoir
- 2167 Wueste Road
- For a quiet day on the lake with your own kayak or a rental, head to Lower Otay Reservoir in East Chula Vista. The calm water of the lake’s 1100 surface acres and 25 shoreline miles make it a spot for beginners and those looking for a change of pace from the more popular lakes and bays around the county. Lower Otay is open for fishing and boating on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. Kayak rentals are first-come, first-served. Single kayaks rent for $12 for the first hour, $8 for each additional hour. Doubles rent for $15 for the first hour, $10 for each additional hour. A small fee is required for launching your own kayak.
- Rooftop Cinema Club
- 1 Market Place
- Snuggle up with a beer and your favorite person to watch iconic and newer movies outside under the stars. Rooftop Cinema Club San Diego features one film every day at 8:30 pm on the 4th floor rooftop of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. No need to bring your own chairs or food. Your ticket purchase includes a comfy deck chair, a blanket, wireless headphones, and 15 percent off food and drink at Brew30, Sally’s Fish House, or Top of the Hyatt (before or after the movie). June movies include: The Matrix (June 10), The Godfather (June 16), Blackkklansman (June 25), and Bohemian Rhapsody (a sing-along, June 29). Single deck chair: $17 or $20 (includes bottomless popcorn). Double deck chair + bottomless popcorn: $24.
Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center offers cooking and gardening classes on their 6.85-acre property in National City.
- Gardening and Cooking Classes
- 2525 N Avenue
- National City
- The Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center offers cooking and gardening classes on their 6.85-acre property in National City. Monthly gardening classes cost $20 for the general public, free for residents of National City. This summer’s topics include: vegetative and seed propagation (June 22), growing succulents (July 27), growing beautiful floral bouquets (August 24). For those interested in tasting the garden’s bounty, the non-profit will host a healthy summer grilling class on July 13. For a $50 fee, participants will harvest produce from the garden, grill up healthy summer recipes, and dine in the garden. Other events include The Garden Dinner at Dusk ($75, June 29) and monthly open house guided tours.
Watch World Master Sand Sculptors in action at Broadway Pier during the US Sand Sculpting Challenge over Labor Day Weekend
- Sand Sculpture Expo
- 1000 North Harbor Drive
- Watch world master sand sculptors in action at Broadway Pier during the US Sand Sculpting Challenge over Labor Day Weekend. This year’s lineup includes sand sculptors from Canada, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands, Italy, Holland, Lativa, and all over the United States. On Saturday before 2 pm, visitors can see the sculptors work on their solo challenge masterpieces, as well as those participating in the IB Challenge team competition. Finished works will be on view Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday and Monday. The event will include musical entertainment, food trucks, and activities for kids. Saturday, August 31 and Sunday September 1, 10 am to 8 pm, and Monday, September 2 from 10 am to 7 pm. General admission tickets purchased between June 15 and August 10: $8-$12. After August 10: $10-$15.
- Leorah Gavidor
Too many activities to list
Stroll among the art and plants at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens
Photograph by Sydney Prather
- Alta Vista Botanical Gardens
- 1270 Vale Terrace Drive
- Discover Alice’s Hidden Tearoom, do Saturday morning yoga in the rose garden, or simply take in the Vista Valley view and stroll among the art and plants at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens. $5 for adults and $3 for kids 3-12, there are too many activities to list at this affordable North County wonderland. Of note: the fragrant Garden Labyrinth with ocean view; the Medicinal Herb Garden; and a pond with live turtles in the Ceremonial Garden. Visit July 4 for catered BBQ and fireworks ($60 adults, $25 kids, reservations required. altavistabotanicalgardens.org).
- The Lodge at Torrey Pines spa
- 11480 North Torrey Pines Road
- La Jolla
- A different view of Torrey Pines at the Lodge: 45 bucks grants day access to the hotel spa’s sauna/steam room, lounge area, and pool overlooking a healthy array of the area’s rare eponymous trees. Splurge for a treatment or laze about in an afternoon wine daze (remember to stay hydrated if you have a schvitz). Summer specials: Walking on Sunshine starts with a massage or facial and ends with a pedicure ($35 off); Sole Revival keeps you cool with a lemon coconut mani/pedi ($25 off). Book at www.lodgetorreypines.com/spa.
- Stonewall Peak Hike
- Paso Picacho picnic and campgrounds
- 13652 Highway 79
- Lake Cuyamaca
- Even tweens will appreciate the dramatically exposed rocky outcrop of Stonewall Peak — their reward for a steep but relatively short climb — and the views of Lake Cuyamaca and beyond. Across from the trailhead is a spacious picnic and campground, Paso Picacho. Rife with clever squirrels and wacky woodpeckers, the grounds ($10 day use, $30 camping) provide a convenient staging area for the climb and a perfect picnic spot for hungry hikers. Bring water, binoculars, and a sweatshirt — it gets chilly at the top.
- Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore author signings
- 5943 Balboa Avenue
- Clairemont Mesa
- At Mysterious Galaxy events, authors meet fans and sign books that customers have purchased from the bookstore. All events are free, some require ticket reservations. Check www.mystgalaxy.com. Coming this summer: meet James Ellroy of L.A. Confidential and Black Dahlia fame, local poet Chris Baron, essayist Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, and a host of writers — non-fiction, fiction, fantasy, young adult… something for every reader. The store stocks many signed editions for purchase. Go ahead, spend a sunny summer day indoors with your nose in a book.
See Heather Gwen Martin’s piece, Landing, in a guided tour of La Jolla’s murals
Photograph by Matthew Suárez
- Murals of La Jolla walking tour
- 1008 Wall Street
- La Jolla
- Next tours: June 26 and July 31, 5:30 pm. Meet at the Athenaeum for a free guided tour of La Jolla’s murals. 15 large-scale works grace the outdoor walls of La Jolla Village, especially for the public to enjoy. Each 90-minute tour includes more than half the murals. Keep an eye out for National City artist Raul Guerrero’s piece: it depicts the Whaling Bar at La Valencia and pays homage to Raymond Chandler’s novel Playback, set in a seaside town — Esmerelda — inspired by La Jolla. Reservations suggested.
- David Moye
Animals after work
- Coronado Sunday Concerts
- 601 Orange Avenue
- Lots of cities and neighborhoods throw concerts in the summer but not with the gusto of Coronado. Bands perform on the Spreckels Park gazebo every Sunday from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. The concerts start at 6 pm., but the park is often jam-packed with partying picnickers by 4 pm. Highlights this year include swing musician Lao Tizer on June 16; Bee Gees Gold (Bee Gees tribute band) on July 7; and Stone Soul, a Motown tribute band on July 27. The Navy band traditionally closes things out on the Sunday before Labor Day (Sept. 1).
- Lake Murray Fireworks
- 7001 Murray Park Drive
- San Carlos
- After a few years of darkness, Lake Murray started hosting Fourth of July fireworks again in 2017. The event is part of a daylong party at the Lake Murray playground that will feature live music, food vendors and, of course, lots of people walking, jogging or biking along the lake’s 3.5-mile path.
Cameron Crowe won an Oscar for the screenplay for his 2000 film, “Almost Famous,” and now he’s turning the autobiographical drama about a young San Diego rock critic into a stage musical at the Old Globe.
Courtesy of The Old Globe
- Almost Famous Musical
- Old Globe Theater
- 1363 Old Globe Way
- Balboa Park
- Cameron Crowe won an Oscar for the screenplay for his 2000 film Almost Famous, and now he’s turning the autobiographical drama about a young San Diego rock critic into a stage musical at the Old Globe. The musical will feature classic rock songs as well as original songs co-written by Crowe and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Tom Kitt. No word on who will be starring in the show, much less playing the pivotal role of rock critic Lester Bangs, played memorably by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the movie. Previews start September 13 for the world premiere musical, which runs through October 20.
- San Diego Zoo Late Nights
- 2920 Zoo Drive
- Balboa Park
- From June 16 to September 2, the San Diego Zoo expands its hours into the nighttime and also increases the attractions. Animals that are typically sleepy during the daytime come alive in the night. In addition, there are trampoline acts, science lessons from Dr. Zoolittle, African-themed entertainment, and musical performances. The Skyfari is a great place to take a sunset photo overlooking the park.
- 111 West Harbor Drive
- San Diego’s main reason for pop cultural relevance celebrates its 50th anniversary this year from July 18-21 at the Convention Center. Although it’s sold out, many cheapskates have a blast just taking in the fun on 5th Avenue from Market to Harbor Drive. Traditionally, local businesses have started holding free events at various places downtown after the Con shuts down for the evening. The complete schedule is still being worked out, but it’s safe to expect a lot of things dealing with Star Wars, as the final chapter of the movie saga debuts in theaters later this year.
- Bill Manson
Clowns, ukeleles, Pac-Man
- Sneaky Tiki
- Ukulele Jam & Social Club
- 3065 Clairemont Drive
- Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 7 p.m.
3065 Clairemont Drive,
- Who doesn’t have a uke gathering dust behind all those guitars? Haul it out! Ukulele music is happening. (“Somewhere, Over the Rainbow,” anybody?) With only four strings, the uke’s so much sweeter and less stressful to play. And if you’re a bit shy, the Sneaky Tiki Ukulele Jam & Social Club lets you hide in the crowd of part-time pluckers who turn up at Fast Times pub for a snack, a wine and a chance to be part of this new uke revolution. Club provides song and chord books, plus a group of lead players who make you sound great. No-one hears your mistakes. Suddenly, you’re part of, hey, an orchestra, and a chorus! You leave inspired. First and third Wednesdays, 7-9 pm Free.
Coronado’s Heather Nunnelly set up a company to bring you everything you need for an indulgent beach afternoon: tipi, carpets, table, cushions, a charcuterie plate to snack on.
- Crown Town Tipis
- Coronado’s Heather Nunnelly had this idea: summer’s coming, beach is calling. Problem? Now you’ve got to plan and haul everything down with you. Cushions, food, mats, tables, shelter from the sun and sand. “What if somebody did that for you?” she asked. So she has set up a company to bring you everything you need for an indulgent beach afternoon: tipi, carpets, table, cushions, a charcuterie plate to snack on with, yes, your wine. (You have to bring it. But she says this arrangement’s cool with the authorities.) She’ll set you and your gang up in your desert camp anywhere on the beach you want. Cost? Basic $125 for two-hour minimum, including the charcuterie.
Hike a mile of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail, then overnight at the Tiny House Block on Mount Laguna.
- Tiny House Block
- 9849 Sunrise Highway
- Mount Laguna
- Hike a mile of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail, then overnight in a Tiny House on Mount Laguna. You are 6000 feet up, and there’s a lot of wilderness, so always consult with Park Rangers. At the Laguna Mountain Visitor Center, get trail info and directions to the nearby Pacific Crest Trail Desert View Picnic Site. Soak in the spectacular vista way down to the Anza-Borrego desert floor. Then hike or drive 3/4 mile to Tiny House Block. Stay in Crystal Zen Tiny House for around $100 (it can handle maybe half a dozen). See spectacular stars, listen to tall whispering Jeffrey pine trees and wake up for breakfast at neighboring Pine House Café & Tavern.
- Coin Op Gaslamp Game Room
- 789 6th Avenue
- Have you ever wanted to play the video games your mom and pop played at the dawn of the Third Millennium? PacMan, Donkey Kong, The Munsters, Space Invaders, Star Wars, Pinball, Skee Ball, on and on. Coin Op downtown (it’s also in North Park) is set up to do exactly that. It’s quite civilized, has a good bar and food (quinoa burger’s excellent), and features a 1980s teen bedroom with a real 1980s “teen,” Yoyo Jojo. He’ll guide you through his collection of Rocky memorabilia, Mr. Potato Heads, Ghostbusters, Rubik’s Cubes, Star Wars posters, and yoyos (he’s pretty good). Don’t rush! Gamble big. Lose small. Make it a nostalgic evening, even with your maw and paw, why not?
- San Diego Circus Center
- 2050 Hancock Street
- So you want to run away to the circus? Be a clown? As it happens, you won’t have to run far. San Diego is all geared up to train you. Founder Jean-Luc Martin, who attended Montreal’s famed National Circus School and is a Cirque du Soleil alum, runs the San Diego Circus Center. You can start on the physical side, learning tumbling, dance, aerobatics. But an intensive clowning course runs July 22nd thru 26th, and a specific course to help you create your own clown act will be held July 29th – August 2nd. Each course costs $220. Which means you’ve got to be serious about learning to be funny. A youth clowning intensive runs August 5th-9th.
- Border X Brewing
- 2181 Logan Avenue
- Barrio Logan
- Ya gotta be there to feel just what a scene has developed at Border X. It’s trumpeter Bill Caballero’s weekly Latin Jazz jam, Thursday nights at the Mexican brew pub. And it’s a real jam. You never know who’s a player until they leave your table and produce their trombone or bongos and hit the high notes of songs like “Sonny,” or the Cuban classic, “El Cuarto de Tula.” What’s wonderful is both players and pub crowd are multi-generational, multicultural, and genuinely happy to be there. Tip: If you want to learn to dance the salsa, this is the place. Everybody’s doing it. Just get off your stool and join the wiggling.
- Rancho Guajome
- 2210 N. Santa Fe Avenue
- How to tap into our romantic old days? It’s probably easier in the still countrified Rancho Guajome than in Old Town itself. For a start, Guajome, they say, was where the fictional “Ramona” fell in love with the Indian shepherd Alessandro. Helen Hunt Jackson wrote the sensational bi-racial romance in 1884, set right where she was a guest, they say. This 20-room, 7000-square-foot hacienda was built old style, like a small town, with its outside kitchen, its own general store and even a jail, except with Anglo touches like a second story sewing room. It has been restored so well, you half expect Ramona and Alessandro to appear arm in arm in the courtyard. They wouldn’t be alone. In its day, Guajome was the social center for the whole county.
- Siobhan Braun
Forests, waterfalls, ghosts
- The Bayshore Bikeway
- The Bayshore Bikeway offers San Diego visitors and locals a biker’s eye view of the lazy island community of Coronado and adjacent South Bay communities. An 18.7-mile stretch, following State Route 75, loops all the way from the Coronado Yacht Club to the southern tip of the San Diego Bay. You’ll whip through Coronado with the Pacific Ocean to your west and the peaceful watery view of our city’s national wild-life refuge to the east. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the bright pink flamingo known to frequent the wild-life refuge waters along the route. An additional bonus: the well-maintained trail is flat enough that even novice bikers can tackle the route.
- Balboa Park after Dark
- Balboa Park
- Visiting Balboa Park just got easier. From now until the end of August, participating museums extend their Friday hours until 10 pm and offer discounted admission. That means no more driving around on Saturday and Sunday afternoons looking to score a parking space amongst the sea of other visitors. The Friday night hours offer a more laid-back version of our city’s favorite park. Fewer tourists and more locals. Along with longer museum hours Balboa Park also hosts Food Truck Friday. A dozen food trucks line Plaza de Panama and El Prado walkway from 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm every Friday now through September 27th.
Every Sunday The San Diego Fly Fishers Club hosts free fly fishing lessons from 9 am-1 pm at Lake Murray in La Mesa
- Fly Fishing Lessons
- 5540 Kiowa Drive
- Lake Murray
- Pretend to be Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It and try your hand at fly fishing. Every Sunday The San Diego Fly Fishers Club hosts free fly fishing lessons from 9 am-1 pm at Lake Murray in La Mesa. Don’t worry about purchasing expensive gear. Arrive early enough and you’ll receive a free equipment loan. For fly fishing enthusiasts The San Diego Fly Fishers host monthly meetings regarding local fly fishing, and club trips, and host guest speakers. Visit their website for more information: www.Sandiegoflyfishers.com.
The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve’s popular Botanical Loop trail offers visitors a lush and shaded walk along the Escondido Creek.
Photograph by Kevin Wentzel
- Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve
- 8833 Harmony Grove Road
- The Elfin Forest in Escondido overlooking Lake Hodges has something for everyone. It offers seven miles of moderate hiking trails. The Forest’s twisty and knotted trees, bubbling waterways, and rocky surroundings could pass for the set of a Lord of the Rings film. The Reserve’s popular Botanical Loop trail offers visitors a lush and shaded walk along the Escondido Creek. This hike is 1.1 miles. It passes through a breathtaking grove of coastal live oaks. The Elfin forest has long been rumored to be haunted, thanks mostly to the urban legend that a band of gypsies who resided inside the forest and practiced the occult. There have also been sightings of a beautiful ghost roaming the forest in a white flowy dress. The lady in white has been blamed for countless car crashes on nearby Quest Haven Road.
- Three Sisters Waterfall
- Boulder Creek Road
- Pine Valley
- Three Sisters Waterfall is a 4.5-mile moderate to strenuous round-trip hike that leads to a swimming hole and a trio of waterfalls. It is said to be the best spot in San Diego for a summer swim. The hike itself offers minimal shade. Copious amounts of water, sunscreen, a hat, and hiking attire are highly recommended. A word of caution: the heat intensifies this trail. The hike leading to the waterfalls is mostly downhill which means that the hike back is almost entirely uphill. Due to steep sections and some loose rocks, it is not recommend for small children or dogs.
(Editor; on June 12 we received a voice mail at the Reader asking us to tell people not to make this hike because it is deadly.)
- E. V. Hepworth
In Golden Hill, Cosmic Flow offers a free Kundalini Yoga Community Class every 2nd and 4th Saturday at 6 pm.
- Free yoga classes
- San Diego county
- A quick Google search shows dozens of donation-based yoga classes, indoor and out, to be found all over San Diego County. Below are a few standouts and a great place to start. In Golden Hill, Cosmic Flow offers a Kundalini Yoga Community Class every 2nd and 4th Saturday at 6 pm. Bring sunscreen and a mat to Lifeguard Tower 5 in Ocean Beach by 10:30 am for Yin Yoga on Saturdays and Hatha on Sundays with John Beck. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, Yoga One provides Flow classes with teachers-in-training and also a family-friendly Saturday class at various locations, in association with Downtown San Diego Partnership. Trilogy Sanctuary’s Saturday morning community class in La Jolla benefits charity.
Rent a canoe, pedal boat, or kayak and take in the 230 bird species known to visit Santee Lakes
Photograph by Matthew Suárez
- Santee Lakes
- 9310 Fanita Parkway
- A 194-acre gem about 20 minutes north-east of downtown, Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve offers myriad ways to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery. In addition to the seven recycled-water lakes, five miles of trails, and picnic areas, this privately-owned space offers six playgrounds and one “Sprayground” ($2 weekdays, $3 weekends). Rent a canoe, pedal boat, or kayak and take in the 230 bird species known to visit the area. Its lakes are stocked with fish year-round and offer Thursday night fishing on six dates from June to August. On June 21 & July 12, catch a Friday night movie on the lake with pre-film activities beginning at 6 pm. Overnight stays are available in cabins or at full hook-up campgrounds.
- Bike the boardwalk
- Mission Beach/Pacific Beach
- Named one of the best boardwalks by Travel + Leisure magazine, this three-mile stretch of concrete runs parallel to the ocean and connects Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. Sure it’s a nice stroll on foot, but its wide path is open to all sorts of wheels for a faster cruise. Don’t want to lug your own bicycle down to the beach or want to try out in-line skates? There are plenty of places up and down the boardwalk and on Mission Blvd that offer rentals. One store, in particular, stands out: Cheap Rentals (3689 Mission Boulevard), which also rents skateboards. One friend raves, “They were nice, let us test out gear, and gave us socks. Thumbs up!”
- Bird Park Summer Concerts
- 28th St between Upas & Redwood
- North Park
- The Bird Park Summer Concerts came to be in 2002. Seventeen years later, the North Park Community Association still produces this free family-friendly event that brings hundreds of adults, kids, dogs, babies, frisbees, camping chairs, picnics, and lawn games outside to enjoy the tunes and neighborly comaraderie. Happening every other Saturday in July and August, this years’ dates are: July 6, July 20, August 3 and August 17. No word on performance specifics just yet, but past concerts have run from from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
A monthly summer event in its 14th year, Green Flash Concert Series promises live music and panoramic ocean views at Birch Aquarium
- Green Flash Concert Series at Birch Aquarium
- 2300 Expedition Way
- La Jolla
- A monthly summer event in its 14th year, Green Flash Concert Series promises live music and panoramic ocean views while attendees savor purchased food, drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Held outdoors at Birch Aquarium, the Green Flash moniker is taken from the optical phenomenon seen shortly after sunset (not the local brewery). Leave the pets and the kids at home (this event is 21+) and prepare to stand. Spring for a VIP ticket ($150) if you want a seat upstairs, which also includes food and two beer or wine beverages. Doors open at 5:30 pm with the first band taking the stage at 6:30 pm, and the event wraps up around 9 pm. General admission runs $33–$44, which includes free parking and aquarium exhibit viewing.