South Bay's Best Events in February
Attention REI lifers: Time to explore the tucked-away gem that is the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, the Chula Vista Nature Center offers guided tours with paid admission. Itching to have your Jaws moment? They host daily “interactions” with sharks, rays, turtles and eagles. $11. www.chulavistanaturecenter.org.
Catch Visions of Coronado—a juried show of all mediums by local artists at the Coronado Museum of History and Art. $4. http://coronadohistory.org.
Brimming with retro appeal and boasting a snack bar that serves carne asada nachos and churros, the South Bay Drive-In is the place to put it in park, crank up the stereo, and take in an al-fresco double feature. The Imperial Beach landmark shows new releases every week on three screens for the bargain basement price of $7 per passenger. www.southbaydrivein.com.
To become an Olympian, all you need is a sport, a dream, and a world-class training facility. Take a guided Saturday tour of the Olympic Training Center in Eastlake to see world-class athletes (maybe even those controversial rowers, the Winkelvoss twins) prepare for the world stage this summer. Free. www.teamusa.org.
Forget Taco Tuesday. Walk the Lebowski way with a little lane action at Eastlake Tavern and Bowl. South Bay’s installation of the popular San Diego spot (same as East Village Tavern & Bowl in downtown) has karaoke every Tuesday at 8 p.m. and food and drink specials all night. http://bowlelt.com.
Admit it. You’ve always wanted one of those miniature train sets that takes up your entire garage. Indulge the dream at National City Depot, the historic Santa Fe railroad station dating back to the late-1800s. The second Saturday of the month, S.D.’s Electric Railway Association invites the public to its general meeting and dinner at The Barbecue Pit Restaurant to talk life on the rails, history and their ties to the community. www.sdera.org.
Mother Nature laid down some serious tracks in South Bay. One weekend a month, S.D.’s Audubon Society takes bird voyeurs on Salt Pond Nature Tours through the closed-to-the-public salt ponds of San Diego Salt Works. It’s teeming with local and migrating birds in their natural habitat. Free. www.sandiegoaudubon.org.
Looking to go beyond the chocolate box to woo the loved one this V-Day? Enlist the professional serenaders of The Gondola Company, who channel the charm of Venice in the waters of Coronado. www.gondolacompany.com.
In today’s farmer-stalking foodie culture, every neighborhood has its farmers market. Wednesday afternoons, head to A Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets in National City or the Bonita Valley Community Church in Bonita to get your fill of heirloom produce.
For the healthy happy-hour alternative on Thursdays, the Chula Vista Farmers’ Market and Open Air Bazaar takes over Center Street and Third Avenue from 3 to 6 p.m.
Appreciating South Bay also means appreciating its neighbor over the fence. And Valle de Guadalupe, just north of Ensenada, is producing some top-notch vino. Think of it as Napa with less price-gouging, more Ruby Cabernets. For a guided trek, try the Baja Wine Tour. The one-day excursion includes tastings at two wineries (Domeq and L.A. Cetto) and free time in Ensenada. $93. More info »
Tuesdays are Open Mic Night at the Beach Club Grille in I.B. Watch the locals sink or swim... or try out your latest song, poem, or (family friendly!) comedy.
Thursdays at The Brew House at Eastlake features live salsa music (and, whoa, can the regulars dance) to go with hand-crafted beers. www.brewhouseeastlake.com.
Coronado is a city best seen by foot. Taste your way through the island on the Coronado Culinary and Nutrition Walking Tour, a three-hour jaunt that combines history with foodie culture. $49. http://socalfoodtours.com.
Suds ’n’ sounds! Every Saturday, guzzle hand-crafted beers and catch live music at The Brew House at Eastlake (DJs on Fridays).
In Coronado, take the Nature Walk at Silver Strand State Beach (1:30-2:30). Get your exercise and learn a little somethin’ about your local habitat, why don’t cha.
The Sports Park Recreation Center in Imperial Beach offers a seniors softball league game every Tuesday, as well as Academia Fit classes for adults, gym time, and more.
Calling all kids! Every Wednesday, the South Chula Vista branch of the Chula Vista Public Library hosts story-telling and sing-alongs.