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San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

Life in San Diego can feel like an endless summer, but the real high season is upon us. The Zonies are coming, the cruise ships are docking, and we're about to share our city with a few million new friends. Doing summer right in San Diego takes a bit of planning. Here's our guide to buying the right tickets, getting the good seats, eating the best tacos, drinking the best cocktails, and more, from A to Z.

By Archana Ram | Photography by Jen&Bec




Tennis, anyone? After a first-place finish in last season’s Western Division, San Diego’s pro tennis team swings back for seven matches at the Omni La Costa Resort in the Mylan World Team Tennis’ 40th season.

July 12–28  |


San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z


Best of San Diego Magazine party

The annual San Diego Magazine soirée brings together the city’s top restaurants, wineries, and breweries for a night of sipping and sampling at Liberty Station. We may be partial, but it’s the party of the century.

$60–$80 | August 21 |




If Island Prime and C Level are your go-to summer spots, it’s time to add a third eatery to the list. The Cohn Restaurant Group’s new stunner, a $10-million-dollar project that stretches 24,000 square feet, offers a modern Mexican menu, lounge, event space, and Instagram-worthy Harbor Island views.



Doggie Street Festival

The annual celebration of our four-legged friends comes back to Liberty Station with adoptable pets, music, food, veterinarian tips, pet products, a children’s art area, and more. BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog), too.

August 22 |

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

D is also for Del Beach, Hotel Del Coronado’s luxe oceanfront cabana service

D is also for Del Beach, Hotel Del Coronado’s luxe oceanfront cabana service



Encinitas Classic Car Nights

It’s time to bust out that Beach Boys record. Hot rods, woodies, and other vintage wheels are on display along the 101 in downtown Encinitas, with live music by The Retro Rocketts.

July 16, August 20 |



Fringe Festival

Artists from around the country join forces with local talent for the annual weeklong festival of cabaret, dance, spoken word, puppetry, and more. This year, the award-winning nonprofit project also crosses the border to offer shows in Tijuana.

July 23–August 2 |



Green Flash Quiz Night

Get your drinking, er, thinking caps on! The brewery hosts a monthly ode to random facts and pop culture minutia.

July 15, August 19 |



Heroes Brew Fest Craft Beer Festival

Craft beer meets the lovable insanity of Comic-Con at this annual event, where partygoers don their finest pop culture-inspired outfits for a day of drinking, dining, and costume contests. Proceeds benefit the veterans-minded Warrior Foundation.

Starting at $39 | July 11 |



Insect Festival

Kids who love creepy-crawlies will thrive at the Botanic Garden’s two-day event, featuring insects, lizards, snakes, and the famous Madagascar hissing cockroach. There’s plenty of hands-on fun, from bug collecting and art and crafts, to tasting cooked mealworm larva. We suggest the barbecue flavor.

Free with admission ($8–$14) | July 25–26 |


San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z



This summer, San Diego gets jazzed up. The Westgate Hotel brings back its Sunset Poolside Jazz Series, which includes performances by famed local trumpet master Gilbert Castellanos, while Cusp at Hotel La Jolla hosts intimate concerts during dinner.

Third Thursdays at Westgate, last Thursdays at Cusp |,



Kitchen 4140’s BBQ Block Party

The Bay Park restaurant celebrates Independence Day with a block party atop a canyon, where chef Kurt Metzger will prepare pulled pork, beer-smoked ribs, and coconut bread pudding among other fare. Bitter Brothers Brewing will be on hand to keep the beer flowing.

$65 | July 4 |



LGBT Pride

The annual toast to diversity, personality, and individuality takes over Hillcrest with a concert, parade, rally, and 5K.

July 18–19 |


San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z


Movies Outdoors

The San Diego Museum of Art screens free flicks in its Sculpture Garden, the Pearl Hotel hosts a free poolside Dive-In Theatre every Wednesday, Normal Heights plays free movies at Ward Canyon Park, and Cinema Under the Stars ($14–$15) offers the comforts of an indoor theater—like recliners and heat lamps—under the starry night.,,,



New Children’s Museum Summer Camps

These aren’t your average keep-your-kids-occupied kind of camps. The weeklong adventures for children ages four to 15 range from Dr. Seuss-inspired arts and crafts, baking, and breakdancing to music video production.

Starts at $160 per week | Through August 28 |



Opening Day

It’s time for betting, drinking, concerts, and hats. The Del Mar races are back! The opening day celebrations include a beer garden, food trucks, private wagering, photo booths, and the time-honored Hats Contest.

$30 | July 16 |


San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z


Pool Parties

Beaches are a summer staple, but pools are all about glamour. Soak in skyline views at the Andaz Hotel’s Rooftop600 pool, which hosts July 4th and Memorial Day splash bashes. At Hotel Palomar’s SummerSalt Lounge, try the newly launched weekend brunch. In Mission Beach, Cannonball’s rooftop restaurant has a pool-inspired design (i.e. lifeguard signs) without the need to towel off.,,



Bolt to the Q

It’s one of the last chances to celebrate the Chargers before they ditch us for L.A. The race, which includes a 5K, 10K, and kids fun run, starts at Qualcomm Stadium, loops through Mission Valley, and ends at the Chargers 50-yard line.

Registration starts at $20 | July 19 |



Rubio’s Coastfest

Love the beach? Then do your part to protect it at the annual Oceanside beach cleanup hosted by the sustainably minded seafood eatery. Complimentary food and drinks, music, activities, and a VIP beer garden are your reward.

July 18 |



Summer Pops

The San Diego Symphony’s annual outdoor concert series welcomes LeAnn Rimes, Ben Folds, and Esperanza Spalding, with musical tributes to Frank Sinatra, Star Trek, James Bond, and even Bugs Bunny.

Tickets start at $22 |




A mix of new and old take stage this summer. The Old Globe presents Kiss Me, Kate July 1–August 2, while Shrek the Musical runs August 12–29 at Moonlight  Amphitheatre, and the Oscar-winning duo behind Frozen is back with the witty, more adult musical Up Here at the La Jolla Playhouse, July 28–September 6.,,


San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z


Under the Stars

Whether you love astronomy or just want to get your stargazing on, Julian StarFest offers both in this educational, three-day camping retreat under the skies at Menghini Winery.

$15–$30 per person | August 13–15 |



Valle de Guadalupe Bicycle Ride & Wine Festival

This inaugural cycling event combines a 20- or 40-mile paved loop through the famous Baja wine route. After the finish line, refuel with wine, beer, and local food, and receive an engraved wine glass and free tasting.

$55–$60 |  July 18 |




Add some vino to your hot dog and Cracker Jack repertoire at this annual Petco Park event. Before the Padres take on the St. Louis Cardinals, head to the stadium for pre-game wine-tasting, gratis for anyone with a game ticket.

August 21 |



Xplore Offshore

The company specializes in offering every sort of H20 excursion,from few-hour “mini adventures” and half-day snorkeling and caving expeditions to summer whale-watching safaris and multi-day Catalina Island trips.

Starting at $75 per person,



Yappy Hour at Hotel Del Coronado

Bring your pooch to the Coronado resort’s Sun Deck Bar & Grill every Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the dog-friendly Yappy Hour. Dogs get complimentary Evian water and organic treats, while their owners can sip on pet-inspired drinks, like Hair of the Dog.


San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z


Zymology 21’s Boozy Popsicles

For those sweltering days, try the downtown bar’s new, alcohol-infused frozen treats, including sangria Popsicles served in Champagne or cream ale. Teetotaler? Opt for the spicy sriracha guava or grilled pineapple flavors.

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San Diego Summer Guide 2015: From A to Z

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