Photo courtesy of California Travel & Tourism Commission.
San Diego continues to be a bustling city full of exciting and interesting things to do.
The tourism hotspot was ranked the No. 7 destination in America during TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards, ahead of prime destinations such as Seattle, Washington D.C. and Orlando and just behind Los Angeles.
Yes, San Diego was indeed the site of “Anchorman,” but Ron Burgundy didn't invite San Diego to "be" classy. He told the city to "stay" classy. And that's why we're bringing you the latest roundup of events, activities and excitement that are keeping San Diego classy.
If you haven’t been to San Diego yet or want to visit there again, here is your guide for the coming months.
The world-famous San Diego Zoo now offers a new tour called “Early Morning with Pandas,” which allows visitors to visit the giant panda viewing area two hours before it officially opens for the day.
Visitors will get a chance to see Xiao Liwu Bai Yun and Gao Gao, enjoy breakfast at the zoo and receive a tour around the complex in a VIP cart while enjoying sights of animals up close.
“Early Morning with Pandas” is not included with admission and is available Thursday through Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Love beer? Love San Diego? Then San Diego Beer Week is for you. The 10-day extravaganza from Nov. 7-16 celebrates San Diego’s local craft beer while serving as a showcase of San Diego’s breweries, restaurants and pubs. It starts off with the Brewers Guild Festival and finishes with the Chef Celebration of San Diego Beer, a gourmet beer and food-pairing event.
ART SAN DIEGO will also return for its sixth year on Nov. 6 at world-renowned Balboa Park. Running until Nov. 9, the art showcase features more than 60 galleries from the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, videos and cutting-edge multimedia artworks.
This year, ART SAN DIEGO will host ArtSpot International Art Fair, a stand-alone event that will feature contemporary galleries with a Latin American emphasis. Balboa Park was named the No. 7 park in America in TripAdvisor’s Traveler's Choice Attractions Awards in June.
Want to enjoy the beautiful San Diego Bay?
Then you might want to check out the new Patriot tour via Flagship Cruises.
The high-speed, 30-minute ride winds its way past the Coronado Bridge and around the Bay. The Patriot boasts two turbo-charged engines, each more than 1,400 horsepower. During the ride, 139 passengers will be thrilled by 360-degree hairpin turns. Of course, there will still be spots to simply sit and admire San Diego’s sparkling waters and sandy beaches.
The Bay Club Hotel & Marina, located on Shelter Island Dr. across from Shoreline Park, is set to complete a $1.2 million makeover. All the rooms will be remodeled to match the hotel's nautical theme. On top of that, the lobby, the hotel bar, the meeting and banquet areas, and the dining areas have all been upgraded. The hotel bar looks out on the water. A video can be found on the Bay Club Hotel's Facebook page.
Lane Field will unveil a dual-branded hotel in December 2015. The $130 million project will include a 253-room Springhill Suites and a 147-room Residence Inn, both courtesy of Marriott. Each hotel will have its own distinct lobby, but they will share a common elevator.
The development will feature approximately 27,000 square feet of retail space and above-ground parking for more than 400 vehicles. A 1.6-acre park will be also added to the San Diego Bay waterfront as part of the development.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Bijou French Bistro, which opened in June in scenic La Jolla, boasts an impressive culinary team. Award-winning chef William Bradley—the executive chef of the Five-Star, Five Diamond Addison at The Grand Del Mar—serves as culinary director. Shaun Gethin, former sous chef of Addison, takes charge as chef de cuisine.
The bistro has a casual and classic European style to it. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant includes a new wine bar, a main dining room and private dining room, a wine cellar room and a bar lounge. Bijou French Bistro serves French bistro fare for lunch and dinner daily.
A new nightlife hotspot is gearing up to open in the historic and vibrant Gaslamp Quarter this summer, too. It’s called AD, and it will feature the latest music, a variety of craft cocktails, bottle service and small bites. The 4,000-square-foot space will be available for private events while doubling as a restaurant during the daytime.
Visual Arts and Museums
From Sept. 13, 2014, to Jan. 4, 2015, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will premiere the largest traveling, full-career retrospective exhibition of “Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting.” The exhibition will boast 60 canvases. That includes close to one dozen works from each of the past five decades, from the 1960s to present day.
Whitten is perhaps best known for his collages combining paint tiles with canvas. The display will be accompanied by a richly illustrated publication, including a lead essay by artist and critic Robb Storr and new scholarly essays by exhibition curator Kathryn Kanjo.
The San Diego Natural History Museum will feature three major exhibitions during Balboa Park’s 2015 Centennial Celebration. From Oct. 11, 2014, to April 26, 2015, the museum will spotlight “The Discovery of King Tut” exhibition, which recreates Howard Carter’s historic finding of the lost tomb of Tutankhamun through more than 1,000 reproductions of the treasures unveiled inside the tomb.
“Coast to Cactus in Southern California” will debut on Jan. 17, 2015, an 8,000-square-foot permanent exhibition that will allow visitors to explore the unique habitats of the area. “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” will also run from June 12, 2015, to Jan. 3, 2016. The exhibit will reveal the captivating social, natural and spiritual realms of the ancient Mayan culture through the eyes of powerful kings and queens, as well as lesser-known individuals who proved to be mighty influential to the culture’s society.
San Diego was recently ranked fourth in the U.S. by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for concentration of museums, just behind New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. According to the Institute, San Diego County has 248 museums, including art museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens and more.
The Jean Issacs San Diego Dance Theater and the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) will present the 16th Annual Trolley Dances from Sept. 27-28 and from Oct. 4-5. At designated stops of the MTS Trolley lines, talented dancers will perform site-specific dances. Tickets to the experience include a free all-day Trolley Pass with advance purchase.
Beginning Sep. 13, 2014, The Old Globe will continue its 2014-2015 season with the world premiere of “Bright Star,” a new American musical with music by Edie Brickell and Steve Martin. On May 21, Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman makes her San Diego directing debut with an enchanting theatrical spectacle, “The White Snake.”
Other plays featured at the Old Globe in spring 2015 include: Jonathan Tolins's Off-Broadway hit “Buyer & Cellar,” “Twenty-Seventh Man,” “The Royale,” “Murder for Two” and “Arms and the Man.” The 17th annual production of Dr. Seuss' “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” will kick off on Nov. 15, 2014.
For more information on San Diego's offerings—including vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more—visit the San Diego Tourism Authority's website at www.sandiego.org.
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