TGI Weekend! With ice rinks, winter villages, winter shopping and more, arriving in this weekend, it's beginning to feel a bit like the holidays in San Diego County. If you're still in the summer mood, though, we've got you covered. For you there are your typically San Diego movie nights, beer tastings and wine festivals. Get up. Get out. Play!
Thursday, November 15
Viejas Outlet Center Ice Rink
Times vary, Viejas Casino and Resort
Bring on the winter cheer! Viejas Casino & Resort has decked the halls and opened their outdoor ice rink for the holiday season. Guests can take a spin on one of Southern California’s largest outdoor skating rinks for 90 minutes with the purchase of a $16 for adults and $14 ticket for kids 12 and under. Season passes are available for those who want to enjoy the rink time and time again. The ice rink is open from 3 to 10 p.m. on the weekends and 5 to 10 p.m. during the week through November but hours vary on Thanksgiving. Check the schedule here before you go.
Movie Nights: ‘Spaceballs’
6:30 p.m., Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
Grab a blanket and cuddle up for a movie at Stone Brewing’s sprawling Escondido garden. Each Thursday this November, Stone has selected a different throwback comedy film for your enjoyment. Guests can bring chairs, pillows or blankets and grab a spot on the Escondido location’s top deck to watch these classic films, like this week’s pick, Mel Brooks’ parody “Spaceballs.” While there, grab a pint of Stone’s famous IPAs or a glass of Modern Times Beer, who will be hosting a mini-tap takeover alongside the show. The screening is free but space is limited on a first come, first serve basis.
Culture & Cocktails: Reflect
7 p.m., San Diego Museum of Art
The Museum of Art’s seasonal Culture & Cocktails event brings together the biggest art enthusiasts to enjoy the museum’s latest exhibits. Join them this month for a private viewing of the new Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason exhibit. With the purchase of a $50 ticket, guests will enjoy three innovative cocktails and delicious dishes, including a cotton candy booth for your sweet tooth, while exploring the exhibit. The Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason exhibit runs through Feb. 24, 2019.
San Diego Asian Film Festival Opening Night
7 p.m., San Diego Natural History Museum
Films created by Asian artists will be on full display during this year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival. The 10-day festival returned last week for its 19th year to present an array of films centered around Asian experiences and culture. Dozens of films will screen at various locations, the majority at UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley, through Nov. 17 starting at $12. Multi-day ticket options are available. Click here to see the full film schedule and here for other San Diego Asian Film Festival events.
Seany Movie Night ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’
7 p.m., UltraStar Mission Valley
Enjoy a spell-tacular time at the movies this Thursday in support of a good cause. The Seany Foundation is hosting an early screening of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” and the proceeds will go to their charity, which funds projects and programs for kids, teens and young adults with cancer. A $40 ticket to Seany Movie Night comes with an admission ticket to the film screening at UltraStar theater in Mission Valley (7510 Hazard Center Drive), a bucket of popcorn and any candy or beverage you choose. For $25 more, upgrade your seat and kick off your night in an exclusive lounge and bar. The movie starts at 7 p.m. but there will be plenty for movie-goers to do ahead of the screening so arrive up to an hour early.
Friday, November 16
Escape the Nat
12 to 5 p.m. (Tuesday through Sunday), San Diego Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum in Balboa Park needs your help to find the cure to a deadly viral outbreak. This escape room game on the lower level of the museum asks guests to comb through the museum archives and solve a combination of clues and puzzles in order to save the world. Groups of two to six players can join the game, and ticket prices vary depending on the number of people participating, starting at $80. The ticket price includes admission to the museum. Guests must make reservations in advance for a slotted time Tuesday through Friday from 12 to 5 p.m.
Del Mar Fall Racing Festival
12:30 to 5 p.m., Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
And they’re off! For the second time this year, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is opening its racetracks. Del Mar Fall Racing season kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Friday and will, on most days, have a first post time of 12:30 p.m. during its four-week run through Dec. 2. Admission to the seaside tracks start at $6. This season, the tracks are hosting plenty of special events to coincide with the races, like an Uncorked Derby Days Wine Fest on Nov. 17, a Craft Beer Fest on Dec. 1 and much more. The reggae band Pepper will hold a post-race concert to ticket holders who enter before the last race starts. Non-race attendees can purchase a ticket separately for $30.
Salsa Under the Stars
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Headquarters at Seaport
Hit the courtyard at The Headquarters at Seaport for this Friday night salsa dancing session under the stars. Manny Cepeda and his orchestra will provide the toe-tapping tunes; no partner or experience necessary to join this fun, free event.
Balloon Glow Concert & Swing Dance
7 p.m., The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa
About a dozen hot air balloons will take to the sky above the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa as guests down below swing the night away to the jazzy sounds of The Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The Balloon Glow Concert and Swing Dance, part of the Grooves at Westin concert series, kicks off with a dance lesson at 7 p.m. At the same time, hot air balloons will make their first ascent, offering rides to guests on site. Proceeds from each $40 general admission ticket benefit the American Heart Association. There will be food and drinks available for purchase.
The Secret Society of Adultologists
7 p.m., San Diego Natural History Museum
Shine bright like a diamond at this after-hours event in celebration of the Nat’s newest exhibit, Hidden Gems. The Secret Society of Adultologists invites guests 21-and-up to partake in a variety of hands-on activities, like fossil prep in the Paleontology Lab and a birthstone matching game, all while sipping on cocktails and enjoying live music throughout the museum. Guests with a $15 ticket to this special event should dress in their shiniest, most gemstone-like attire. The Secret Society of Adultologists hosts several similar events throughout the year, all meant to recall the feeling of your first trip to a museum.
Dr. Seuss's 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'
7 p.m., The Old Globe
The Grinch can't stop Christmas from coming this year but he can bring his shenanigans to The Old Globe once again for the 21st year of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" The classic musical will delight guests through the holiday season with classic songs like, "You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and "Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze)." See the show on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage with a ticket starting at $54. Times vary by date so be sure to check the calendar.
Saturday, November 17
Yoga in the City
9 a.m., 1 Columbia Place
Stretch it out with an hour of free yoga courtesy of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. Grab a mat and head to 1 Columbia Place (401 W. A St.) for this teacher-led yoga sesh, which recurs every Saturday at various locations. All ages and levels are invited.
Holidays at Legoland
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Legoland California
The Legoland California Resort gets a dusting of holiday magic from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31 this year. The theme park will be decked out in festive decor, including a 30-foot Lego brick Christmas tree equipped with twinking Lego ornaments. Each night during the park’s holiday season, the tree will come to life with music and light. Guests will be able to meet their favorite Lego characters in seasonal attire, plus Santa Claus himself, and enjoy live entertainment throughout the park, including a new-this-year holiday light show. The park will also be dishing out exclusive seasonal treats, like peppermint shakes and Nutella and peppermint crepes, to name a few. Guests with a regular admission ticket to Legoland, which start at $75 for ages three and up, will be treated to the holiday layover.
Star of India Companion Sail
9 a.m. (Saturday and Sunday), Maritime Museum of San Diego
The famous 1863 tall ship will set sail for the first time in five years to commemorate the Maritime Museum of San Diego's 155 years. The Star of India is a the world’s oldest active sailing ship. Guests have the opportunity to join The Star of India aboard one of three legendary sailing vessels, who will travel alongside her as she voyages through San Diego Bay and out off the coast of Point Loma. Sailors can choose between tall ships Californian, San Salvador or America. Tickets cost $250 and include a catered breakfast and lunch, plus drinks and celebratory champagne. Check-in is at 9 a.m. at the Maritime Museum of San Diego (1492 North Harbor Drive) and the sail is expected to last until 5 p.m.
SoCal Etsy Guild Market
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Horton Plaza Park
You know you love to shop Etsy, the online craft market. Well, here’s your chance to meet the local artists behind the products you see online while shopping their artisan products in person, at the one day only at the SoCal Etsy Guild Market. Booths will be set up at the Amphitheater of Horton Plaza Park downtown and music will accompany as you browse handmade goods from local artists.
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival: Grand Tasting
11 to 3 p.m., Embarcadero Marina Park North
The Grand Tasting at the Embarcadero is the culmination of a weeks worth of food- and wine-themed events across San Diego. Guests attending the Grand Tasting will be treated to bites from more than 60 celebrity chefs and pours of hundreds of local and international wines, craft beers and spirits. General admission tickets cost $145 and give guests three hours of tasting. VIP tickets and group packages are also available. The event is part of this year’s annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, which runs through Sunday with dozens of indulgent experiences for foodies and winos, like celebrity chef dinners, cooking classes and wine tasting experiences.
Cans & Jams
2 to 5 p.m., Searsucker (Downtown)
Searsucker in the Gaslamp Quarter features a different local brewery on the third Saturday of each month for Cans and Jams. This week, the restaurant has invited Mission Brewery to delight guests in sips of their suds at $6 a can. There will also be special happy hour grub available, like fish tacos for $7 and spicy tuna poke for $10. Searsucker also partners with a different charity each month; $1 of each can sold during the event will be donated to the Seany Foundation to aid kids and young adults battling cancer.
Sunday, November 18
Encinitas Holiday Street Fair
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Coast Highway 101 (Encinitas)\
One of North County’s largest free street fairs returns this weekend to bring some holiday cheer to the coastal city of Encinitas. The Encinitas Holiday Street Fair will span six blocks and feature more than 450 booths filled with local and brand-name vendors, making it the perfect stop for some early holiday shopping. The event features five live music stages and a beer garden with suds from Stone Brewing Company and other hop-crafters for those 21 and up. A kids zone will offer activities geared towards little ones and a brand new dog park to entertain furry children.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fleet Science Center
Explore the nature of electricity through several interactive exhibits at the Fleet Science Center. The museum’s newest exhibit, It’s Electric, uses 16 fun activities to teach about fundamental properties, like magnetic fields and batteries. The exhibit is free with the purchase of a general admission ticket, which is $22 for adults and $19 for kids up to 12.
Nason's Doggy Draft
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nason’s Beer Hall
It’s time for the annual draft. No, not the football draft, the pet adoption draft. It is all part of a partnership between Nason’s Beer Hall and the San Diego Humane Society. Not looking to adopt just yet? No problem! Stop by for a pint and enjoy the cuteness while you’re there. You can make a reservation here in advance.
Mother Goose Parade
1 p.m., El Cajon Boulevard and W. Main Street
Mother Goose is ready to usher in the holiday season in El Cajon. The annual parade marches down Main Street, from El Cajon Boulevard to First Street, with an array of whimsical balloons, from Humpty Dumpty to turkeys, and of course Mother Goose herself. You may even spot the NBC 7 and Telemund0 20 team in the parade. Guests can bring folding chairs or blankets to line the block for this free parade, which features about 100 floats, several celebrity guests, local leaders and more. This year’s grand marshal is Tom Rice, a World War II paratrooper veteran who now teaches high schoolers in Chula Vista.
98° at Christmas
7:30 p.m., Balboa Theatre
This 90s boy band is heating up the holiday season. 98° stops by the Balboa Theatre to perform some of their chart-topping hits -- possibly “Thank God I Found You” or “True to Your Heart” -- as well as some holiday favorites from their Christmas album, "Let it Snow." The hardest thing you’ll ever have to do is deciding where to sit. Tickets start at $50.
Free or Cheap Things to Do in San Diego
Times and locations vary
Looking to save some cash, but still enjoy the city? In San Diego, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy for free or on the cheap. Go for a hike at Torrey Pines State Park or Cowles Mountain, stroll Balboa Park, try a new craft brewery, admire the murals of Chicano Park or read a book at a downtown park. Get out there and explore America’s Finest City.