It’s a weekend of romance, fun, indulgence and chocolate – lots of chocolate – as San Diego celebrates Valentine’s Day. Toast with a craft beer at one of many brew events, set sail with your sweetheart on the scenic San Diego Bay or take in a community festival or two. Either way, you’re going to love this weekend.
Thursday, Feb. 11
San Diego Improv Festival
6:30 p.m., Finest City Improv (4250 Louisiana St.)
The 3rd annual San Diego Improv Festival returns to Finest City Improv this weekend (Feb. 11 through Feb. 14) with tons of fun, impromptu performances from teams from all over the country. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. each night, and the shows start at 7 p.m. Each night includes several blocks of performances from three or four teams. Spectators can watch a block for $15 per person.
Jeff & the Showgram’s Wheel of Love Party
7 p.m. to 9 p.m., House of Blues Voodoo Room
Single and ready to mingle? The cast of KyXy’s morning radio show, Jeff & the Showgram, will host a party for singles just in time for Valentine’s Day where attendees can spin their way toa perfect match. The Showgram cast had a crew build them a “Wheel of Love” – a giant wheel where singles will sit while another single spins it. Whoever it lands on will be the spinner’s date for five minutes – and maybe even beyond. The event is free.
7:30 p.m., Del Mar Fairgrounds
Step right up, step right up – the traveling show, Circus Vargas, is headed to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, with shows on Feb. 11 through Feb. 14, and again the following weekend. Tickets range from $15 to $70, and parking is an extra $10. The production includes an all-new, high-energy iLUMINOUS stunt, plus other death-defying tricks, limber aerialists, acrobats and, of course, uproarious clowns under the big top. Before the circus begins, kids can learn circus skills at a free, interactive, 30-minute preshow. After the circus, stick around and take photos with the performers.
8:30 p.m., Soda Bar
Always referenced in write-ups as a Southern California band through and through, the Donkeys blow into Soda Bar on Thursday like a welcome warm breeze. San Diego's own '60s beach-soul troubadours have been humping across the country on tour after tour, writing all the time. So much, in fact, that they just couldn't wait to put out an LP, so they're releasing a "mini album" on Friday, Feb. 12. An insider knowledge bomb, for ya: They're already going to have the EP on hand at the show, so head to Soda Bar Thursday to be among the first to get the excellent new "Midnight Palms" on vinyl.
Friday, Feb. 12
Valentine’s Outdoor Movie Night
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Headquarters at Seaport (Main Courtyard)
Cozy up in the main courtyard at The Headquarters at Seaport for an outdoor screening of the 1939 love and crime classic, “Bonnie & Clyde.” Admission is free – just bring a blanket and chair, and perhaps your Valentine. Some Headquarters shops will offer food specials to go with the movie night, including Venissimo Cheese, which will offer $10 “Contraband Curds” cheese plates – a selection of once-banned cheeses, plus dried fruit, chocolate and crackers.
7 p.m., Valley View Casino Center
The lively, iconic Harlem Globetrotters take their touring basketball game to Valley View Casino, with all the ball-handling wizardry and laughs that have kept the ball rolling for decades as the team celebrates its 90th anniversary. The family-friendly basketball game includes a chance to meet players afterwards and take photos – and maybe even sneak in a high-five. Tickets start at $16. The Globetrotters also play at Valley View Casino Center on Feb. 19.
AleSmith Chocolate vs. Cheese Pairing
4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., AleSmith Brewing Company
In a tasty trifecta of treats, AleSmith Brewing Company (9990 AleSmith Ct.) will host this sampling event, which includes sips of craft brews and bites from So Rich Chocolates! and Brother’s Provisions. Patrons will learn which cheeses or chocolates pair best with AleSmith beers. The menu includes X-Extra Pale Ale with a Scorpion Honey Caramel and Bee Pollen chocolate or a sample of Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar, and District 6 Session Saison with a Cucumber Melon Truffle or Fleur de Maquis fromage. Tickets cost $25 per person, which includes four tastes of beer, four chocolate samples and four cheese samples.
11th Annual San Diego TET Festival
5 p.m., Mira Mesa Community Park
Celebrate the Lunar Year with the 11th annual San Diego TET Festival presented by the Vietnamese-American Youth Alliance. This free fest will be held at Mira Mesa Community Park throughout the weekend – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. The event highlights Vietnamese culture with fun, interactive games, prizes, food and live entertainment.
You Are Going to Hate This Fest with the Frights, SWMRS, Plague Vendor, Shady Francos, the Soaks, Bad Kids and more
4:30 p.m., SOMA
This whole festival is a lie. A LIE! Because you are going to love this. For the release of the Frights' fantastic new LP "You Are Going to Hate This" (think FIDLAR in the best ways with a little wah-wah doo-wop undertone), the San Diego boys are curating their own one-day festival at SOMA with both local and national acts, including Shady Francos, who just won accolades for Best Live Band in our 2015 SoundDiego Music Awards. Fun fact: The Frights were voted Breakout Act in 2016. Prove us wrong.
Saturday, Feb. 13
California Open Wildlife Art Festival
9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Liberty Station
Wildlife art lovers, rejoice – this event is your calling. The 43rd annual California Wildlife Art Festival brings more than 150 top carvers, wildlife artists and art enthusiasts from over the U.S. and world to Liberty Station (2875 Dewey Rd.) for this event, which includes a carving competition, art exhibits, auctions, antique wildlife decoys, a youth painting event and vendors. A $5 donation is encouraged for admission, and kids 12 and under are free. The show also runs on Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Winter Cactus and Succulent Show & Sale
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Casa del Prado at Balboa Park
The San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society will host this free annual winter plant show and sale in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado and Room 101 in the outdoor patio. Vendors will sell pottery and plants – small, big and exotic. Succulents are very drought-friendly plants, so San Diegans looking to add to their home gardens may find this event particularly interesting.
San Diego Pet Expo
10 a.m., Del Mar Fairgrounds
San Diego pet owners will be excited to attend this fun pet event, built as a go-to for all your pet needs and wants. Stop by many pet-friendly exhibitors and rescue groups and watch live demonstrations in obedience training, pet care and activism. Enter to win in various contests and find discounts on all your favorite pet products. Admission is free. The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
San Diego On Tap
12 p.m., Town and Country Resort and Convention Center
Stop by this huge festival for a chance to sip a sample from more than 100 releases from some of the nation’s best craft breweries. There will be live music, tasty treats for purchase and great vendors at this two session event, running 1 to 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A standard ticket costs $45.
12 p.m., Maritime Museum of San Diego
Celebrate Valentine’s Day a day earlier with your loved ones by stopping by the San Diego bay. Board one of the Maritime Museum’s tall ships and take a three hour tour of the bar, complete with marine wildlife and local attractions. Tickets start at $48 and include photos, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and other delicacies.
Brewbies 7th Annual Beer Festival
1 p.m., Bagby Beer Co. in Oceanside
Come out and sip some of SoCal’s finest brews, all for a good cause. The festival, now in its seventh year, benefits The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB), an organization that empowers young people with breast health education and support. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to charity. More than 40 breweries from across Southern California, including crowd favorites Stone and AleSmith, will attend. Tickets start at $48.24 and proceeds go to charity.
Sunday, Feb. 14
Bark-in-Balboa Park Concert and Pet Parade
2 p.m., Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park
Celebrate the furry love of your life this Sunday at this special pet event. Carol Williams, Civic Organist, will perform music on the loudest outdoor organ in the world, followed by a special pet parade. Admission is free, but the concert raises money for the San Diego Humane Society.
San Dieguito Half Marathon and 5K Run/Walk
8 a.m. San Dieguito County Park
Wake up early for this stunning run through the back country of Rancho Santa Fe. Both the half marathon and the 5K start and finish at San Dieguito County Park. At the end on your scenic run, you’ll be greeted by a beer garden. Prices start at $20 and proceeds benefit the San Diego County Parks Society.
Built to Spill
8:30 p.m., Casbah
Head out to the Casbah on Sunday for the first of a two-night stand with Built to Spill. The indie rockers have spent the better part of 25 years building a cult-like following, including a devoted fan base right here in SD. They've also built a solid (albeit it melancholy) discography over the years, with their most recent release, "Untethered Moon," dropping last year. And critics agree: They've still got it.