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The Ultimate San Diego Summer Guide 2017

Take this season to the next level with our annual roundup of the top beach barbecues, pool parties, concerts, outdoor movies, and more


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We may be blessed with an enviable climate year-round, but summer is when San Diegans really get to brag. It’s the season when all our warm-weather adventures go next-level—pool parties, outdoor movies, tiki soirees, clambakes on the beach, dog surfing, and more. We’ve rounded up everything you need for the best summer ever.

Show us how you summer! Tweet, post, and tag #SDMsummer.

 

CATEGORIES
Pool Parties | Sports | Fitness | Food + Drink | Kids | Pets | Outdoor Movies | Arts + Culture

 

The Pool House at the Pendry

 

Dive After Dark at Harrah’s

Starting at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through September, head to Dive at Harrah’s Resort SoCal to grab a drink and enjoy live entertainment and video DJing at Southern California’s only swim-up bar. There’s also a lazy river!
$10 or free with Total Rewards Card | 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center

 

Level Four Pool Deck and Lounge

Head to Hotel Palomar! The weekly party starts on Friday at Level Four and continues through the weekend with food and drink specials, live DJs and bands, and tiki-style cocktails.
Free | 1047 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp

 

Pride at The Lafayette Hotel

Party poolside during Pride weekend, July 14–16, at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club and Bungalows, complete with costumes, cocktails, live music, and the pool accessory du jour, fun floaties.
From $152223 El Cajon Boulevard, North Park

 

Tiki Saturday at Hiatus Pool Lounge

Listen to island beats, sip classic South Pacific–inspired cocktails, and snack on poolside bites every Saturday this summer at Hotel La Jolla.
Free7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla

 

The Pool House at the Pendry

Two Pool House event series will lure you to the chic Pendry Hotel this summer: Rooftop Social starts nightly at 5 p.m. with food and drink specials like $1 oysters. Pool House Sundays happen weekly at 1 p.m. with delicious dining and dipping.
550 J Street, Gaslamp

My Summer Tradition

Finding a Pool

Where I grew up—in Stockholm, Sweden—sunny days are so few and far between that when the weather is nice, you go outside and enjoy it. Despite having lived in Southern California for many years, the Scandinavian mindset is still ingrained in me. So while my friends who are San Diego natives might prefer heading to the movie theater for air-conditioned bliss on a hot day, I cannot in good conscience sit inside when it’s nice out. Instead, I make it my mission to find a pool to cool off in, preferably with an ice-cold beer.

Living in an older North Park house with thin walls and no AC, my quickest refuge is The Lafayette Hotel. It can get packed on summer weekends, and especially when the hotel is throwing one of its poolside parties, so I get there early and prepare to share. Years ago, when I was a freelancer working mostly from home, I would send my mom there when she was visiting from Sweden. I’d get a few hours of work in, and she’d experience that SoCal lifestyle we pay the big bucks for.

When my boyfriend and I are looking to get farther away without leaving San Diego County, Harrah’s Resort in Valley Center is our go-to staycation. My ideal summer day consists of floating on a tube in Harrah’s adults-only pool, drink in hand. Next day? Rinse and repeat.

Sanna Boman Coates, Digital Production Manager & Editor

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Petco Park

 

USA Rugby

USA Men’s Eagles will face Canada on July 1 in the hopes of securing their spot in the 2019 Rugby World Cup with a victory from the qualifier match.
From $51 | 5998 Alcala Park, Morena

 

Over-the-Line Tournament

The Old Mission Beach Athletic Club hosts the 64th Annual World Championship Over-the-Line Tournament at Fiesta Island. The event—alcohol will be on hand!—is free to enter and attend.
July 8–9 and 15–16, free to watch, BeerFest $30 | Fiesta Island, Mission Bay Park

 

San Diego Aviators

San Diego’s pro tennis team is back to serve! They play regularly at Carlsbad’s Omni La Costa Resort, and these aren’t your grandma’s stuffy tennis matches. Expect male and female players competing together and even a DJ.
July 16–August 5, from $25 | 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad

 

World Bodysurfing Championships

Break out your beach chair and head to Oceanside to watch more than 350 bodysurfers from around the world compete for championship titles in various age divisions.
Free | Oceanside Pier, Oceanside

 

San Diego Padres

Batter up! Special game day promotions include BeerFest (July 14) and the Padres baseball hat giveaway (July 29).
From $15 | 100 Park Boulevard, East Village

 

Concacaf Gold Cup

Every two years, the top men’s national soccer teams in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean compete for the championship title, and this year Qualcomm Stadium is hosting two back-to-back games on July 9: Curacao vs. Jamaica and Mexico vs. El Salvador.
From $47 | 9449 Friars Road, Mission Valley

 

Del Mar Racing

Dust off that fascinator—the Del Mar races are back starting July 19 with their inaugural opening day hat contest. Other themed events include the food truck festival (July 29), $1 million Pacific Classic (August 19), BBQ state championship (August 20), pizza & beer best (August 26), and Tacotopia at the track (September 3).
Admission from $6 | 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar

My Summer Tradition

The Races

The biggest thrill I’ve ever given my stepson Russell was when a horse he liked went from last place to first in the final stretch. It passed 10 other horses in a matter of seconds. (I didn’t tell him how much we could’ve won if I’d placed it to win.)

I always go to the races with my husband, stepson, sister, brother-in-law, and dad. We avoid the crowds and higher prices on Opening Day. We get the general admission tickets ($6–$10) and reserve a table ($50–$150 for four, except special occasion days) at either the Stretch Run Grill or the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant. It’s typical pub food. My sister and I drink the Del Margaritas, which will help run your bill into the couple hundos, but that’s why we invite Dad. (Kidding!)

I’m not an expert gambler and I don’t mind paying to play. Sometimes I sit out a race. The important thing is to always pick a horse to root for, because then you stay in the moment, rather than just watching a pack of thoroughbreds galloping.

Unless there’s a horse whose name really speaks to me (My Prince Harry, Corps de Ballet, Boozer), I check the front of the program for expert picks from Paddock Host John Lies. I often go with him, and win at least one race in the day. When you place a bet, say it in this order: the track, race number, dollar amount, type of bet, and the number of the horse from the program (don’t use its name). So, “Del Mar, race 8, $5 to win on 7.” I never bet a lot. Even if I just bet the minimum $2, it’s always a good adrenaline rush. Russell would agree.

—Erin Meanley Glenny, Editor in Chief

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Beach Spin at The Del

 

bRUNch at Night with Snooze Hillcrest

Not a morning runner? Then this race is for you. Gear up and head to Snooze in Hillcrest on July 13 for a 5K or 10K evening run, and after crossing the finish line you’ll receive an all-you-can-eat breakfast or dinner, two drinks, and a commemorative glass. Breakfast of champions!
$65 | 3940 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest

 

San Diego Surf School

All skill levels and ages can shred the gnar during one-, three-, or five-day surf camps. The school also offers private and group lessons as well as adult retreats. camps run Weekly through August 28, from $110.
4850 Cass Street, Pacific Beach

 

Craft Classic Half Marathon & 5K

Revel in two of San Diego’s favorite things—running and craft beer. The half marathon and 5K event takes participants along the 56 Bike Path and finishes at Green Flash Brewing Co., where free craft beer awaits. Participants receive a finisher’s medal, shirt, and beer glass.
From $75 | 6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Sorrento Valley

 

Beach Spin at The Del

If you have to work out, at least give yourself an epic view. This class overlooks the ocean from Hotel Del’s Paseo Lawn. San Diego’s top spin instructors lead the daily 50-minute classes via Beats by Dre headphones.
$10 members, $25 nonmembers | 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

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Tower23 Summer Wine Series

The hotel’s annual summer wine series is back, giving attendees a chance to savor the sunset from the seaside deck.
Wednesdays through September 13, $25 | 723 Felspar Street, Pacific Beach

 

Liberty Public Farmers’ Market

Another month, another opening at Liberty Station. Their new every-Thursday farmers’ market is an extension of Liberty Public Market that includes food from its vendors as well as local produce and live music.
Free | 2820 Historic Decatur Road

 

Bleu Bohème’s 10th Anniversary

Executive Chef Ken Irvine prepares a three-course Bastille Day feast paired with French cocktails and Champagne to celebrate the restaurant’s 10th anniversary. Bon anniversaire and bon appétit!
$60 | 4090 Adams Avenue, Kensington

 

California Dreaming Beach Party

Enjoy a clambake, barbecue, and live music at this celebration on the shore at the Bahia Resort Hotel every Thursday through August 31.
$49, $26 for kids 5–12 | 998 Mission Bay Drive, Mission Bay

 

Pasta Class at Cucina Sorella

Taught by pasta prophet Chef Daniel Wolinsky, the hands-on class tackles classic techniques of homemade pasta and includes lunch, a glass of vino, and a take-home recipe card.
July 23 and August 26; $82 | 4055 Adams Avenue, Kensington

 

Sol Sundays at The Rooftop by STK

Spice up your Sunday brunch routine at the Andaz Hotel’s rooftop bar with live DJs, all-day menus, and summer-themed surprises every Sunday in July and August.
600 F Street, Downtown

 

Hornblower Cruises

Pick your cruise: Sights & Sips, a two-hour spin across the bay with a glass of bubbly and snacks (Fridays and Saturdays through October); Rock the Yacht, a party with a DJ (Fridays and Saturdays through September); or the Sunday Barefoot Music Cruise, with tunes by a local band (Sundays through August). Feeling fancy? Charter your own ride. Cruises meet downtown on North Harbor Drive.
Prices vary

 

Summer Luau at the Catamaran

On Tuesdays and Fridays, this food fest celebrates Polynesian culture with mai tais, hula dancing, and traditional island music.
$69, $32 for kids 5–12 | 3999 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach

 

Best of San Diego

Dine like a champ at NTC Park in Liberty Station during San Diego Magazine’s annual fete on August 18 that brings together winners from the Best Restaurants and Best of San Diego issues. Plus local brews, wines, and spirits. It’s the best party of the year—not that we’re biased.
From $70

 

California Clambake

Gather for a sunset feast of local catch steamed, boiled, or grilled fresh on the beach in front of Hotel del Coronado—plus bocce ball and drink pairings.
July 28, August 18, and September 15, $125 | 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

 

BBQ State Championship

More than $15,000 in cash prizes is on the line as the nation’s top professional BBQ Pitmasters, along with local restaurants and chefs, compete for the state championship. For $10, you can snack on four samples and cast your ballot.
August 20, free with $6 racetrack admission | 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar

 

Shuck-A-Thon

Ironside Fish & Oyster’s charity-driven event celebrates its fourth anniversary this year and honors National Oyster Day by bringing together industry masters from around the country to compete in an hour-long oyster shucking competition.
August 8, $1 oysters | 1654 India Street, Little Italy

 

Pizza & Beer Fest

Following a day at the races, sample more than 100 craft beers, specialty brews, and top-rated favorites at the Del Mar Fairgrounds’ Seaside Stage. Can’t decide on a full-size beer? Try five tastings for $20.
August 26, free with $6 racetrack admission | 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar

 

Monello Cheese Wheel Nights

Save the summer body for the weekends. On weeknights, the Little Italy restaurant breaks out its 40-pound cheese wheel for Tuesday pasta and Wednesday risotto dinners. The entrées cook in the wheel, promising a melty, creamy sauce.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, From $25 | 750 West Fir Street, Little Italy

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Sea Days at Birch Aquarium

On the third Saturday of each month, kids can meet local researchers and learn about current topics in oceanography at these events focused on science, exploration, and adventure. Included with admission (from $14).
2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla

 

Lux Art Institute

Aspiring Picassos and Kahlos can learn and create contemporary art during weeklong themed camps that include team games and challenges, nontraditional art methods, and studies of contemporary styles.
Through August 11, from $220 | 1550 South El Camino Real, Encinitas

 

Wildlife Camps

Kids can learn about wildlife, conservation, and science at Living Coast Discovery Center’s summer camps through hands-on arts and crafts, animal encounters, games, and exploration.
July 5–21, from $52 | 1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista

 

La Jolla Playhouse Workshops

Paging all future Tony winners: Young theater lovers can enroll in the Playhouse’s Young Performers’ Workshop (four weeks, grades 3–12), Academy (two weeks, grades 5–12), or Conservatory (five weeks, grades 10–12) to improve onstage and production skills.
From $275 | 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla

 

ID Tech

Focused on cultivating creativity and critical thinking, this family-owned company offers STEM day and overnight camps for kids ages 6–18 at UC San Diego, USD, and CSU San Marcos. Small, eight-person classes involve coding, engineering, game design, programming, robotics, and more that give campers hands-on, project-based learning opportunities.
Prices vary | Multiple locations

 

Lakehouse Hotel & Resort

There may not be any fireworks—darn safety rules!—but on July 4, the San Marcos resort is throwing a family-friendly celebration with live music from children’s band Hullabaloo, a watermelon-eating contest, a patriotic dog show, and the annual boat parade.
$10, $5 for kids | 1025 La Bonita Drive, San Marcos

 

Legoland

Legoland was a little surprised how many folks love water parks. Due to demand, they’ve doubled down with Surfers’ Cove, a beach-themed expansion opening in June with six new waterslides where riders can compete for times, plus new Lego models (a surfing dog) and multiple water jets. Ready, set, soak.
From $95 | One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad

 

US Sand Sculpting Challenge

The annual Labor Day fest includes a giant sandbox for kids, live entertainment, food trucks, a wine and beer garden, and a chance to vote for your favorite sculpture.
September 1-4 | Broadway Pier and Pavilion, Core-Columbia

 

Insect and Ladybug Festival

This annual event presents a weekend full of lizards, snakes, cockroaches, and other insects—plus arts and crafts, and cooked mealworm larva tastings. Yum! Entomologists will also be on hand to offer their expertise.
July 22–23, free for members and children under 12, from $10 for nonmembers | 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas

 

Watersports Camps

At Mission Bay Aquatic Center, full- and half-day camps get kids ages 6–17 wakeboarding, waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and learning marine science.
Weekly through August 25, from $250 | 1001 Santa Clara Point, Mission Bay

 

San Diego Zoo Camps

Pre-K kids and 12th graders alike can take a walk on the wild side this summer with five-day camps that feature animal encounters, behind-the-scenes visits, bus rides, games, and edible crafts.
Through August 25, from $149 | 2920 Zoo Drive, Balboa Park

 

Summer C.A.M.P.

The Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual program focuses on artistic expression, art appreciation, and imagination through weeklong camps for children 6–14. On this year’s agenda? Exploring public art and site-specific installations.
July 31–August 18, from $99 | 1100 Kettner Boulevard, Downtown

For more camps, view our kids guide.

My Summer Tradition

Sailing

Boating can seem like a luxurious endeavor. And it can be. My family and I spend a lot of time on our small fishing boat in between some very fancy boats at San Diego Yacht Club during the summer—and all year, really. But it doesn’t have to be like that, especially in San Diego.

I grew up sailing on Mission Bay in a fiberglass Hobie Holder 14. There was no cabin, no inside. Just a cubby in the front barely big enough to store the sails. My parents bought it for $1,250 in the 1990s. We’d tow it behind the minivan down to West Mission Bay, launch it on the ramp behind Mission Bay Aquatic Center, rig it up, and take turns sailing, practicing tacks and jibes, then beaching it on the sand in front of our picnic and barbecue setup.

My uncles shared a Catamaran for a time, too, and would tow it down sometimes. We took lessons on sabots—like little floating bathtubs with sails—at Mission Bay Aquatic Center, staffed mostly by San Diego State students, so we halfway knew what we were doing. The older cousins would line up the little ones on the canvas bottom and tell us to hang on while they keeled and raced. We’d squeal and get splashed and yell for them to take us back in. I’m sure my parents went through the trouble of all this because they loved it, too. And it was, and still is, hours and hours and a lifetime of fun for very little money.

As students at USD, my mom and dad’s dates were less dinner and a movie and more all-day sailing and sunning at the bay. They did it together, then brought us along, and now—nearing retirement—they have a larger boat, one that’s big enough for the grandkids, too.

—Erin Chambers Smith, Chief Content Officer

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PAWmicon Convention

The week before Comic-Con, Helen Woodward Animal Center hosts a canine spin on the event. Check out carnival games and snacks, and don’t forget to arrive dressed as a superhero duo with your pup for the PAWSplay Contest.
July 15, $10 to enter contest | 7610 Hazard Center Drive, Mission Valley

 

Doggies on the Deck

Canines and their companions can head to Landini’s Pizzeria for monthly themed yappy hours, with free doggie treats, $2 pizza slices, and drinks at happy hour prices on the first Tuesday of every month.
1827 India Street, Little Italy

 

Dog Days of Summer

Party with your pup at the annual festival in Encinitas Community Park, where you can explore dog-related vendors, rescue groups, and local artisans; and enjoy live music, food trucks, and a beer garden.
August 13, free | 425 Santa Fe Drive, Cardiff-by-the-Sea

 

PAWS of Coronado

Bring yourself and your furry friend to the monthly “yappy hour” at McP’s Irish Pub in Coronado to enjoy happy hour pricing and complimentary chips and salsa. McP’s will donate 10 percent of every tab to PAWS, a nonprofit animal welfare organization.
Last Wednesday of every month | 1107 Orange Avenue, Coronado

 

Dog Surfing Competition

It may sound like a meme, but dogs on surfboards will be the cutest thing you’ll see all summer. At the annual event, dogs in various classes (from small to extra large) attempt to ride the Imperial Beach waves for the glory of a shiny medal. We think they’re in it for the belly rubs.
Free to watch, July 29

My Summer Tradition

Coronado Dog Beach

When my apartment turns into a hotbox in the summer, I have to find a cool refuge for not just me, but my golden retriever, Teddy, too. Our eyesore of an AC unit—the mini-fridge-size appliance with a giant hose funneling out the window—just won’t cut it. Enter: Coronado’s Dog Beach.

Unlike the off-leash areas in Ocean Beach and Del Mar, Coronado has a washing station so pups don’t bring back the beach with them in the car. It’s also just a really beautiful beach, with the mica-dotted sand and Hotel del Coronado as our backdrop. It’s times like those that I pinch myself, a former New Yorker living in SoCal paradise. My Manhattan friends are rightfully jealous.

Our beach-day gear includes chairs, towels, water for human and canine, a floatable Frisbee, and a Chuckit, the ubiquitous dog toy that hurls a tennis ball farther than my arm ever could. Once Teddy is off leash, before we can even plunk down our belongings, he makes a mad dash for the water for a quick splish-splash, then joins my boyfriend and me on the sand. In other seasons, we toss the ball into the ocean for a seemingly endless game of fetch, but when the temperature is really boiling, we join Teddy in the water.

That’s when the real beach fun kicks in. My boyfriend waits until I’m about to catch a wave while bodyboarding and then chucks the ball into the water for Teddy. The game is for me to ride the wave just as he catches the ball, and then we cruise onto the shore together. Other dogs often run over to sniff out what just happened—I consider that a bonus point.

—Archana Ram, Editor

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Screen on the Green

The San Diego Museum of Art’s annual outdoor series, which moved last year to the Botanical Lawn, shows an artsy movie at sundown every Monday in August. This summer, mark your calendars for, in order, Goya’s Ghosts, The Picture of Dorian Gray, How to Steal a Million, Séraphine, and Midnight in Paris. And yes, booze is allowed in Balboa Park after 8 p.m.
Free | 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park

 

Movies on Del Beach

Watch classic and current favorites on the sand of Del Beach. Warm up and cook s’mores around a private bonfire or snuggle up inside a Del Beach cabana to enjoy the show with the whole family.
$250 for the Family Movie Package | 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

 

Little Italy Summer Film Festival

Head to Amici Park Amphitheater for subtitled Italian flicks every Saturday night, like the 1974 comedy Pane e Cioccolato. Films begin at 8 p.m.
$5 donation | Amici Park Amphitheater, Little Italy

 

Flicks at the Fountain

Bust out your lawn chairs and pack some snacks to enjoy family-friendly movies offered every Thursday night in July and August in Carlsbad Village. Free.
Corner of State Street and Grand Avenue, Carlsbad

 

Stone Brewing at Liberty Station

Set up a chair and sip some craft beer as you watch a movie on the outdoor patio. All films are family friendly and begin 15 minutes after sunset.
Free | 2816 Historic Decatur Road, Liberty Station

 

Dive-In Movies

On Saturdays through September 2, head to the main pool at Paradise Point Resort & Spa for dive-in movies, all of which are family friendly.
Free for Hotel guests, $25 for public | 1404 Vacation Road, Mission Bay

 

South Bay Drive-In

San Diego’s old school, three-screen theater operates seven days a week, giving local cinema lovers a fun and unique movie experience. Tickets allow admission for two back-to-back movies on the same screen.
Ongoing, $9 adults, $1 kids 5–9 | 2170 Coronado Avenue, Otay Mesa

 

Second Saturday Cinema

Settle in for a movie at Liberty Station’s North Promenade, where this summer’s theme is “Heroes of the Arts on Film,” a collection of movies curated by Liberty Station tenants like the San Diego Comic Art Gallery and Malashock Dance. Look for The Lego Batman Movie on July 8 and Sing on August 12, plus indie documentary shorts before each film.
Free | 2848 Dewey Road, Liberty Station

 

Cinema Under the Stars at The Headquarters

It’s not just about Puesto at this downtown complex that was once home to the San Diego Police Department. Their outdoor Cinema Under the Stars events are back this summer with an “I Love SD” movie series featuring Almost Famous (July 26) and Anchorman (August 30).
Free | 789 West Harbor Drive, Seaport Village

 

Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills

Catch a flick at this rainproof outdoor theater, complete with a 20-foot HD screen, surround sound, blankets, space heaters, and $2 snacks. Films screen Thursday–Sunday and feature classics like Pulp Fiction (July 6–7) and Pretty Woman (August 12–13).
$16 members, $17 nonmembers | 4040 Goldfinch Street, Mission Hills

My Summer Tradition

Beach Bonfires

Much like camping, bonfires requires a certain level of planning and schlepping. Picture minivans stuffed to the brim with gear: beach chairs, easy-ups, wood pallets, towels, blankets, coolers, tools, foldable tables, flashlights, condiments, you name it.

When we were kids, our family friends, the McCarthys, were typically the masterminds behind this affair. They were the ones with the minivans, who would get to OB at dawn to claim our ring. And sure enough, it was always Mr. McCarthy who remembered to bring that military-grade headlamp, which would come in handy in the end as we sifted through the sand for a lost set of car keys.

We kids spent the day playing in the ocean and running on the shore, just waiting for the sun to set so we could light the fire.

Those summer nights were some of the best of my childhood: the sticky s’mores fingers, the melted chocolate in the corners of my lips, burying my toes in the warm sand around the fire pit, cozying up under a blanket and listening to the grown-ups tell stories.

Once we’d burned all the wood, we’d pack everything up and begin the long, cold trek back to the minivans. Out came the headlamp. Lost items were recovered. Sometimes. And soon all traces of our coastal feast were gone, save for a few smoldering embers and the smell of campfire on our sweatshirts.

Tip: Check your city’s website to make sure your beach allows bonfires.

—Kimberly Cunningham, Senior Editor

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The Old Globe

All the world’s a stage when one of San Diego’s most highbrow summer traditions returns. The Old Globe’s 2017 Shakespeare Festival will mount productions of King Richard II (through July 15), with Robert Sean Leonard in the title role, and the most famous tragedy of all time, Hamlet (August 6–September 10). Grab a blanket and enjoy some iambic pentameter under the stars in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. For those who prefer their performances indoors, the Globe’s summer season also includes Guys and Dolls (July 2–August 13), and Robin Hood! (July 22–August 27). That exclamation point is everything.
1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park

 

Latin American Festival and Mata Ortiz Pottery Market

Experience a weekend full of folk art, food, entertainment, shopping, and San Diego’s largest authentic Mata Ortiz pottery collection at Bazaar del Mundo’s annual festival.
August 4–6, free | 4133 Taylor Street, Old Town

 

Comic-Con

Put on your Wonder Woman and Superman costumes—or just head downtown for epic people-watching—during the iconic international comics and pop culture event.
July 20–23, prices vary | 111 West Harbor Drive, Downtown

 

Moonlight Amphitheatre

Pack a picnic and a low-backed lawn chair or reserve a seat and order some wine for an outdoor musical experience at one of San Diego’s most beloved amphitheaters. The summer lineup includes The Little Mermaid (July 19–August 5) and Sunset Boulevard (August 16–September 2).
From $10 | 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista

 

San Diego Pride

Wave that rainbow flag! The annual celebration of equality includes a block party, concert, 5K, rally, and the always-fabulous parade through Hillcrest.
July 14–16, prices vary

 

Palate to Palette at Hello Betty Fish House

The Oceanside restaurant has partnered with local artist Margaret Chiaro to offer aspiring artists monthly paint-and-dine art classes on the rooftop. If you need to get the artistic juices flowing, each ticket comes with a complimentary glass of house wine or beer. $45.
211 Mission Avenue, Oceanside

 

ArtWalk at Liberty Station

Artists and attendees can enjoy this annual outdoor festival that brings together all facets of local fine art. A shaded wine and beer pavilion as well as a street food area will also be on-site.
August 12–13, free | 2751 Dewey Road, Liberty Station

 

The Pancakes & Booze Art Show

San Diego’s largest underground art show features artwork from more than 50 emerging artists, body painting, live performances, booze, and a free pancake bar at 57 Degrees.
August 26, $7–$10 | 1735 Hancock Street, Middletown

My Summer Tradition

Road Trips

I’ve been everywhere, man—at least, everywhere within a few hundred yards of the interstate. While my college peers were getting their travel fixes abroad, I started a summer tradition of hitting the road, checking off 48 states in just a few short years. And while that kind of whirlwind tour isn’t enough to claim authority on everything from coast to coast, neither do you drive 35,000 miles without picking up a few tips and insights.

Don’t leave without companionship and cruise control. Podcasts pass the time and can lead to deep conversations, but beware: Hell is other people’s taste in music. The Beatles and other classic rock make for inoffensively neutral ground.

If you’re young and reckless enough to abandon the carefully managed itinerary for “we’ll stay wherever we end up,” you’ll also get used to sleeping like a farmer—up at dawn and retired by twilight—because nothing’s less fun than a lone “Next Services 70 Miles” sign in a yawning black void.

Also, learn to love the bonafide paper road atlas. Lewis and Clark scowl at your surprise with the lack of GPS reception. Practice mindfulness with the thought that each passing sign corresponding to a dot on the map hints at a whole world of people living, loving, and dying in a place you’ll likely never see again.

Brace yourself for restaurants whose idea of vegetarian food is “all the produce we could find, piled together.” And granted, McDonaldization guarantees that the amount of unique character you’ll see in between the main highlights is inversely related to how far from the offramp you travel. But if you want to see a country for yourself, you’ve gotta start somewhere.

—Dan Letchworth, Copy Chief

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The Ultimate San Diego Summer Guide 2017

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    Take this season to the next level with our annual roundup of the top beach barbecues, pool parties, concerts, outdoor movies, and more
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