50 Things to do this Summer

Where to party, picnic, and parade in SD


knott's soak city

Knott's Soak City

Get Soaked

Snorkel with Sharks
Explore the La Jolla coast with Birch Aquarium guides and spot creatures like leopard sharks, guitarfish, and rays. Don’t worry, they won’t bite. July 14, 22. $30 per person; bring your own gear. aquarium.ucsd.edu

Lafayette Pool Parties
The newly renovated Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows in North Park now shows poolside movies every Thursday at 8 (bevvies in the pool okay!), plus free entertainment on Friday nights. lafayettehotelsd.com

The Pearl
Head to The Pearl for some poolside cocktails and a swim on Saturdays, or a prix-fixe, DJ’d brunch on Sunday, where you get a bottomless mimosa and entrée for $23, plus free movies at the “Dive-In Theatre” on Wednesdays. thepearlsd.com

36th Annual World Bodysurfing Championships
Cruise the beach as hundreds of athletes bodysurf the waves in Oceanside. Final heats are on day two, followed by the grand championship round and crowning of the victors. August 18–19, free to watch, $50 to enter. worldbodysurfing.org

Knott’s Soak City
Feeling charitable? Chula Vista’s fun-filled water park is teaming up with the U.S. Marine Corps to collect toys for children in need. Get a discount on admission when you bring a toy to donate. July 20-22, regular admission: $23-33. soakcitysd.com


Roar with the Crowd

Del Mar Horse Racing
One of the longest-standing summer events returns for its 75th season. Don’t miss: opening day and hat contest (July 18), summer concert series (every Friday night), chili cook-off (August 4), Beer Fest (August 18, September 1), Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals and jockey photo day (September 3). July 18–September 5, $10+. dmtc.com

San Diego Padres
Support the Pads! Cool game days are: Wine and Food Festival (July 6), kids run the bases (July 8), play catch on the field (August 5), and kids batting clinic (Aug. 19). Just want the free stuff? Get a Padres beach towel on July 7 or Padres sunglasses on July 19, $11.50+. sandiego.padres.mlb.com

Polo Season
Polo may be “the sport of kings,” but you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom to attend matches at the San Diego Polo Club. Pack a picnic basket and sit fieldside for some tailgating, or do it up proper with bottle service in the VIP tent. Matches take place on Sundays in July and the last two Sundays in August. $10–$30 for tickets, $25/car for tailgating. sandiegopolo.com

Mercury Insurance Open
The best tennis pros in the world face off at La Costa Resort. New this year: a more fan-friendly tourney with plenty of off-court activities for kids and adults. July 14–22, $20+. mercuryinsuranceopen.com


Bring Fido

Dog Days at Petco
Catch a Padres game with your pooch! Don’t miss the “tail” gate party and costume parade around the track. Pick up an application at your local Petco store or online. July 17, $8+, plus registration fee. petco.com/petcopark

Snow Zone
The Petco Unleashed store in Chula Vista will be transformed into a winter wonderland where dogs can frolic in 20 tons of snow while owners cool their heels with refreshments. Plus, there’s doggy ice cream for the pups. July 21, free. unleashedby.petco.com

Bark for Life
Pair up with your pooch and raise funds for the American Cancer Society with a fun 1–mile walk followed by games, food, and contests. July 21 in Carmel Valley, August 18 at Seaport Village. relayforlife.org

Canine Cocktails
Hotel Indigo hosts a regular dog-friendly “yappy hour.” Dogs roam around the rooftop patio while pet parents sip cocktails. July 26, August 23, free. hotelsandiegodowntown.com

Dog Days of Summer
It’s the biggest doggie event of the year in Cardiff, with more than 150 vendors, animal adoptions, and contests, including cutest puppy and best kisser. August 11, free. cardiffdogdaysofsummer.com


Where to Catch Fireworks on July 4

Stay for an extended fireworks show at 9:30 p.m., or get the second–best seats around Mission Bay (for free).

Pyrotechnics and patriotic music light up at 8:30 p.m.

San Diego County Fair
The fair’s 2012 season ends in style at 9:30 p.m.

Big Bay Boom
SD’s largest fireworks display starts at 9 p.m. with great views all around the bay.

La Jolla
Take in a free concert at Ellen Browning Scripps Park and stick around for the fireworks over the water at 9 p.m.

Ocean Beach
The OB pier lights up at 9 p.m.

Festivities kick off early with a Fourth of July parade down Orange Avenue at 10 a.m., followed by a concert at Spreckels Park at 4 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.

Mira Mesa
Fourth of July fun—including a parade in Mira Mesa Community Park—all goes down before fireworks light up the sky at 9 p.m.

Old Poway Park hosts activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with fireworks at 9 p.m.

San Diego Bay
Skip the crowds! Hop aboard the Inspiration Hornblower for a 3–hour cruise with a full buffet, boarding cocktail, and DJ’d tunes, then watch the Big Bay Boom from the sky deck. $119 for adults, $72 for children, hornblower.com


Entertain the Kids

junior lifeguards

Junior Lifeguards
A little open water swim, anyone? Your kids will get their exercise when you enroll them in this program—it sells out fast, so sign up early. Various dates and beaches, $175. sandiego.gov/lifeguards

Camps at the New Children’s Museum
Whether it’s printmaking, hula hoop dance, or building aluminum robots, there’s a camp at the New Children’s Museum that will unleash your kiddo’s creativity. All programs are led by professional artists and designed for a specific age group, from preschool to teens. June 18–August 17, Members: $150–$170; Non-members: $175–$190. thinkplaycreate.org

Animal Adventure Camp
Critter-loving kids will relish the opportunity to spend a week with dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, and more at the San Diego Humane Society’s Animal Adventure Camp. Each session will be filled with games, crafts, and hands-on animal activities for ages 5-13. June 25-July 30, $210. sdhumane.org

The Wiggles
The world’s biggest preschool band comes to the Valley View Casino Center for one night only. You can do this, parents! July 12, $35–$75. ticketmaster.com

Kids can climb aboard a pirate ship, blast water cannons, and plunge down Pirate Reef, Legoland’s newest water ride. Next door at the Sea Life Aquarium? Massive arthropods, including 40-pound Japanese spider crabs, at “Claws.” Resort Hopper pass, $85–$95. california.legoland.com

Equine Extravaganza at The Nat
Learn about the bond between humans and horses at the West Coast premiere of The Horse. The exhibit celebrating all things equine includes a virtual, life-sized horse, ancient bones, and an exhibition by Robert Vavra, the world’s foremost equine photographer. $9 for children, $15 for adults. sdnhm.org

Coronado Water Carnival
Bring the whole family to the Coronado Aquatics Center for the 24th annual carnival which includes a bounce house, crafts, food and beverages, and carnival games. Oh, and don't forget the belly flop contest. Ouch! July 7, $4 for children, $5 for adults. coronado.ca.us

SEA Days at Birch Aquarium
Science, exploration, and adventure come together for SEA Days Birch Aquarium every third Saturday. Kids take part in hands-on exploration and activities and meet Scripps Oceanography scientists. July 21, August 18, free with admission. ucsd.edu

Manta at SeaWorld
Youngsters over 65 inches tall can move like a manta ray as they swoop, dip, and glide on SeaWorld’s newest coaster. There’s also a new 100,000–gallon habitat filled with hundreds of creatures, including bat rays and guitarfish. Season pass: $65–$73. seaworld.com

Comedy Camp
Got a clown in your crew? Sign them up for improv or sketch writing camp at The National Comedy Theatre. The two–week program culminates with a live performance. July 30–August 10, $350–$600. nationalcomedy.com

Aviation Summer Camp
Got aspiring pilots on your hands? Sign up the kids to become Future Eagles at the McClellan-Palomar Airport. They’ll fly state-of-the-art simulators, learn from jet pilots, and tour cool aircrafts. Weekly through August 17, $249. futureeaglesaviation.com


Break a Sweat

Over the Line
Bats, babes, and beer are back at Fiesta Island for the 59th year, along with plenty of short skirts, sexual innuendoes, and upwards of 50,000 attendees over two weekends of play. July 14–15, 21–22, $90/team, free to watch. ombac.org

Tour of Buoys
Follow the buoys around the La Jolla Ecological Reserve. There’s a 5-mile course for hardcore swimmers, or a more relaxed 1.5-mile swim for newbies. August 12, $10. lajollacoveswimclub.com

Bike the Bay
This 25-mile ride is more about the scenery than bragging rights, and your only chance to bike the Coronado Bridge. Cruise from the Embarcadero through Coronado, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and National City. At the finish line, there’s plenty of beer and cheer. August 26, $45+. bikethebay.net

Kokoro Camp
Too many beach days got you feeling lazy? Test your endurance, strength, and mental toughness at Kokoro Camp. Warning: you’ll be enduring 50 hours of intense physical and mental training modeled after the famous Navy SEAL Hell Week. Good luck! June 29-July 1, July 27-29, or August 17-19, $1,295. sealfit.com


Prime Patios: Six spots to situate yourself this season

Best for: Late night
What to get: Starlite Mule, ice cream sandwich, mac and cheese
3175 India Street, Mission Hills

The Cosmopolitan
Best for: Happy hour
What to get: House margaritas, churros with chocolate sauce
2660 Calhoun Street, Old Town,

Brickyard Coffee & Tea
Best for:Some alone time
What to get: Bagel melt, latte
675 West G Street, Downtown, 619-696-7220

C Level
Best for: Getting a jump on happy hour
What to get:Calamari with Vietnamese dipping sauce, Desi Arnaz cocktail
880 Harbor Island Dr.,

Urban Solace
Best for: Sunday brunch
What to get: Buttermilk cinnamon roll, pork belly benny
3823 30th Street, North Park,

Davanti Enoteca
Best for: A dog day afternoon
What to get: Burger and a beer
1655 India Street, Little Italy,


yoga on a paddleboard

SUP Yoga

Learn a New Skill

SUP Yoga
Ditch your yoga mat for a stand up paddleboard on the calm waters of Mission Bay. Classes are available daily. $39–$99. mbaquaticcenter.com

Synchronized Swimming
Learn some snazzy aquatic choreography at the Mission Valley YMCA. Practice with a coach on Tuesday mornings and participate in group-led sessions on Friday mornings. You'll be a water ballerina in no time. Ongoing, free for members. missionvalley.ymca.org

Polo Lessons
Got coordination? Love to ride horses? Saddle up and learn polo fundamentals, hitting techniques, and game rules at San Diego Polo Club’s Polo School on El Camino Real in Rancho Santa Fe. Get your first lesson (and an excellent workout) free. Wednesdays at 5 p.m., Sundays at 9 a.m. sandiegopolo.com

BBQ Class Series
Chef Eric Wick of Twenty/20 Bar & Grill in Carlsbad leads hands-on classes every other Wednesday night. Beef up your BBQ chops with courses ranging from Asian and Hawaiian BBQ (July 25) to The Perfect Steak (August 8). $30/class, $149 for the series. twenty20grill.com

Sailing Classes
Mission Bay Aquatic Center’s newest program teaches wannabe sailors how to charter a boat. The keelboat and cruising certificate includes four different classes over 12 days of instruction. Classes available throughout the summer. $999 ($799 for UCSD students). Rowing lessons also offered, $149. mbaquaticcenter.com

Hipcooks Cooking Classes
This new school in North Park makes cooking approachable and fun at any skill level. Hands-on classes are held on evenings and weekends. Our picks: Thai One On (July 12), Dim Sum and Then Some (August 19), Un Noche en España (August 22), $55. sandiego.hipcooks.com


Get Festive

Hillcrest CityFest
Celebrate Hillcrest's big day out with live music, a beer garden, and more than 250 vendors, followed by a lantern parade at dusk and relighting of the iconic neighborhood sign. August 12, free. fabuloushillcrest.com

San Diego Brew Festival
Liberty Station hosts a full day of local and international brews, bites, and tunes. July 21, $40–$50. sandiegobeerfest.com

Best of San Diego
Sample food from SD’s top restaurants at this San Diego Magazine event. Shameless self-promotion aside, we think it’s one of the best parties of the year. August 17, $35–$55. sdmag.us/bestofsd

Stone Brewing Co. Beer Festival
Stone celebrates its 16th anniversary with a beer blowout—100 brews on tap from more than 40 craft breweries. August 18, $40+. stonebrew.com

Spirits Festival
Get shaken and stirred at this two-day event celebrating cocktails and culinary culture with chef demonstrations, tastings, and competitions. August 25–26, $50–$150. sandiegospiritsfestival.com

Gam3r Con
Missed out on Comic–Con tickets? Geek out at the 10th Avenue Theatre during Gam3r Con and get your gaming fix, or watch a performance of Gam3rs: The Play. July 11–15, $10+. gam3rcon.com

America’s Pride
Bust out your rainbow gear for America’s Pride, the 38th annual pride parade and festival. Headliners include former Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland and pop singer Natasha Bedingfield. July 20–22, free–$25. sdpride.org

Latin American Festival
Shop for Mexican folk art, jewelry, clothing, and collectibles, including Mata Ortiz pottery, at Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town and enjoy nonstop music and authentic Mexican cuisine. August 3–5, free. bazaardelmundo.com

Oceanside International Film Festival
Film fanatics get their fill as Oceanside hosts four days of screenings, including features, documentaries, shorts, and animated films. August 16–19, $10–$50. ocaf.info

Festival of Sail
More than 20 tall ships and vessels from around the world dock at the Embarcadero. Watch the parade of ships, take a pirate-themed cruise, and see tall ship cannon battles. August 30–September 3, $10–$15. msdmaritime.org


Sit in the Front Row

Summer Pops
The SD Symphony takes over Embarcadero Marina Park South for a season of outdoor entertainment, including the Peking Acrobats (July 20–21), Burt Bacharach (August 5), and a tribute to Michael Jackson (August 23). June 23–September 2, $18+, sandiegosymphony.org

Shakespeare Festival
This year’s Bard fest features three plays: Inherit the Wind, and Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Richard III, performed under the stars at the Old Globe Theatre. June 3–September 30, $29+, theoldglobe.org

The Nightingale
The classic Hans Christian Andersen tale gets retold with a poetic pop sensibility. The play features music by renowned composer/musician Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening). July 10–August 5, $40, lajollaplayhouse.org

Moonlight Amphitheatre’s season
Moonlight’s summer season includes the regional premiere of Legally Blonde: The Musical (through July 14), Fiddler on the Roof (July 25–August 11), and Anything Goes (August 22–September 8). Arrive early and dine al fresco at the new Artisan Cafe, or bring your own picnic. $22–$47, moonlightstage.com

Humphreys Concerts By the Bay
The 2012 summer season is packed with big laughs and hot musical acts. Highlights: Sheryl Crow (July 26–27), Seal (Aug. 6), and Joan Rivers (Aug. 16), $39+, humphreysconcerts.com

Coronado Summer Concert Series
Catch family-friendly tunes, from jazz to classic rock. Sunday nights through September 9, free, coronadoconcert.com

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