Memorial Day means so much more than an extra day off. It is a time to remember all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice serving the United States. From events on the historic USS Midway to a remembrance ceremony at MCAS Miramar, take a moment to remember those lost this weekend.
Thursday, May 24
9 a.m. (Thursday through Monday), USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway Museum is commemorating U.S. servicemembers who lost their lives serving the country with four days of tributes, ceremonies and exhibits. Legacy Week begins Thursday with a wreath laying ceremony at 9 a.m. aboard the historic vessel’s flight deck and a benefit concert at 6 p.m. featuring the musical group Gin Blossoms. Throughout the four-day event, guests can explore USS Midway and pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice at a Remembrance Wall. On Memorial Day, the Midway will join the nation in a moment of silence and will host a blood drive. Can’t make it to the event? USS Midway will be broadcasting the weekend’s ceremonies on their Facebook page.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., San Diego Botanical Garden The putrid-smelling Corpse Flower is expected to be fully bloomed either Thursday or Friday at the San Diego Botanical Garden, officials say, although no guarantees can be made. The Amorphophallus titanum, also known as Titan Arum, emits a foul odor when it blooms but it has become a wonder that attracts an audience. When fully bloomed, Titan Arum stands four feet tall Guests can get a peek of the flower during garden hours with the purchase of a $14 admission ticket for adults or $8 for children.
$5 After 5 p.m.
5 p.m., Belmont Park
For the month of May, Belmont Park is offering different 2$5 deals each week for attractions at their beachside amusement park. This week, thrill-seekers can get a ride wristband for $5 with the purchase of a full price wristband. The rock wall, sky ropes and jungle gyms are each $5. Food vendors are also offering special rates -- from $5 burgers at the restaurants Beach House Grill and Belmonty’s to $5 pours at the bar, Draft.
Oceanside Sunset Market 5 to 9 p.m., Main Street Oceanside As if anyone needed another excuse to head to the beach for an evening sunset over the Pacific Ocean, the Main Street Oceanside Business Association is giving you one anyway. The Oceanside Sunset Market is taking over four city blocks of the downtown area so that about 200 local merchants can feature homemade crafts and tasty grub as live music wafts through the sea breeze-driven air. The free market is located on Pier View Way between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ocean every Thursday.
Violinist Michael Pellegrino 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Plaza Della Famiglia (Little Italy) As you stroll through the Little Italy neighborhood, stop to listen to the melodic sound of violinist Michael Pellegrino who will fill the Plaza Della Famiglia with live music this Thursday. Guests can stop by the boutiques, art galleries and restaurants that surround the plaza before or after listening to both modern and classical tunes from this musician.
Trivia Night 7 p.m., Black Plague Brewing (Oceanside) Bring some friends to Trivia Night at Oceanside’s Black Plague Brewing (2550 Jason Court) for a chance to test your knowledge while sipping on craft brews. Black Plague promises their free trivia night won’t be like others -- their questions may not pick the most important knowledge in your brain but will instead focus on fun and current events. The food truck, Moon Age Food Co., typically serves up street tacos, dumplings and tortas on Black Plague Brewing's trivia nights. Local food truck vendors frequent the establishment on other nights as well. The taproom features a stage for live musical performances, a large theater screen for film showings and video game nights. And, every once in a while, professional skaters like Tony Hawk stop by.
Cinema Under the Stars: Casablanca 8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), Cinema Under the Stars Cinema Under the Stars’ summer screening season kicks off this week with a classic -- Casablanca. Playing at 8 p.m. at this outdoor theater on Goldfinch Street in Mission Hills is the story about a nightclub owner who helps a woman and her husband escape the Nazi regime in Morocco. The summer season screens a different film each week, Thursday through Sunday through September 2, at the theater under the stars. Admission is $18 at the box office, or you can reserve your seat in advance for $20.
Dana Carvey 8 p.m. (Thursday through Saturday), American Comedy Co. We’re not worthy! "Saturday Night Live" alum Dana Carvey is bringing his comedic talent to San Diego for three nights of stand up performance. The comedian is known for portraying Garth, President George W. Bush, and one-half of Hans and Franz during his seven-year stint on SNL. Carvey has performed stand up comedy for decades and recently released a Netflix special, "Straight White Male, 60." Tickets for all performances are sold out but there’s a chance to win tickets through the comedy club’s website.
Friday, May 25
Times Vary (Daily), San Diego Museum of Man
Would you share your secrets with a stranger? That’s the question this new exhibit coming to Balboa Park’s Museum of Man asks. Frank Warren has been gathering secrets submitted on postcards for over a decade. Each postcard was submitted anonymously with a unique work of art made by people who needed to share a secret. Now, Warren is displaying them in the two-year art installation at the Museum of Man called PostSecret. Access to the exhibit is free with a $13 adult ticket or a $10 youth ticket to the Museum of Man.
Summer Movies in the Park Times Vary (Friday through Sunday), Locations Vary Across the county, cities are taking part in the movie screenings at local outdoor parks. Almost every day of the week this summer, San Diegans can find a free outdoor movie screening thanks to a county-wide initiative. This weekend, animated Disney tales take over screens across the county, from “Coco” at Waterfront Park (1600 Pacific Highway) on Friday, to “Toy Story” at Horton Plaza Park (225 Broadway) and “Moana” at Agua Caliente County Park in Julian on Saturday. The full calendar of screenings for the summer can be found here. Bring a picnic, chairs and a blanket to enjoy the movie of your choice starting at sunset.
Brews on the Roof 6 to 9 p.m., Kimpton Solamar Hotel (Gaslamp) Upper East Bar, a rooftop lounge atop Kimpton Solamar Hotel (616 J St.) in the historic Gaslamp, is inviting guests to meet the people behind some of their favorite local craft brews once a month. This month, guests can meet the brewers behind Mother Earth Brewery and enjoy $5 pints and discounted bites. The 2018 Summer Series runs through September.
El Cajon’s Dinner and a Concert Series 6 to 8 p.m., Prescott Promenade The El Cajon Business Association is again hosting its summer-time, weekly Dinner and a Concert Series. The idea is for visitors to enjoy dinner at one of the many participating restaurants that surround Prescott Promenade, like Main Tap Tavern and the Palms Restaurant, before or after taking in a free concert at the park. This week, rockers can soak in the sounds of 1960s and 70s band Creedence Clearwater Revival with the CCR tribute band, Fortunate Son. After dinner, guests can turn in their receipts for a chance to win a Taylor-brand guitar. The raffle will be held in October, at the end of the Dinner and a Concert Series season.
Hops on the Harbor 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Flagship Cruises & Events The ever-growing local beer maker Mike Hess Brewing joins Hops on the Harbor this month with a selection of four 6-ounce samples to accompany a dinner menu and cruise around San Diego Bay. This month, Hops on the Harbor will feature: a ceviche bar and citrus marinated local white fish with a topping of your choosing -- from pico de gallo to avocado and mango salsa -- paired with Mike Hess' "Steel Beach" lager; and a blood orange, barbecue-grilled chicken plated with an arugula and feta raspberry vinaigrette salad paired with "Blood Orange IPA," to name a few. The dinner cruise boards at 7 p.m. from 990 North Harbor Dr. and sails past the San Diego skyline, USS Midway, Star of India and other Maritime Museum ships and the Coronado Bay Bridge. Tickets cost $69.50 for adults and $41.70 for children ages 4 to 12; kids 3 and under are free. Reservations are recommended.
A Taste of Tango 7 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), Papas Agentine Grill Add some Argentine flair to your evening with a live Tango Show at Pampas Argentine Grill (8690 Aero Dr.). "A Taste of Tango" will transport you to the streets of Buenos Aires, where the romantic dance originated. A show is held at 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night. It is free to attend the show but the restaurant asks guests to purchase a minimum $25 worth of authentic Argentine menu items -- like grilled skirt steak topped with chimichurri or a variety of empanadas -- to sit in the Tango Room. Or, a VIP Prix Fixe three-course dinner is available for $60. Reservations are recommended.
'A Thousand Splendid Suns' 8 p.m. (through June 17), Old Globe Theatre Set in war-torn Kabul during the 1990s, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" tells the story of three generations of Afghan women who work together to seek a better future for themselves in a tyrannical society. The play, which runs through June 17 at the Old Globe Theatre, is adapted by playwright Ursula Rani from the best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini, author of "The Kite Runner," and features music composed by David Coulter. Tickets start at $39.
Saturday, May 26
Little Italy Mercato
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Little Italy
Every Saturday, more than 200 tents line the streets of Little Italy, spanning five blocks and showcasing an array of farm fresh produce, meats, flowers and artisan craft goods from local vendors. The Mercato has moved back to its original location along W. Date Street from Front Street to Kettner Boulevard. Grab a crepe as you stroll, or sit in the Piazza Famiglia while enjoying music from local artists. This has been a neighborhood tradition for years and has become one of the biggest farmers markets in San Diego.
Yoga in the Rotunda 8:30 a.m., San Diego Museum of Man Before the doors open to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, guests can gather in the museum’s domed hall for a quiet teacher-led yoga session. The class allows students to go at their own pace, making it a great pick for both beginners and more advanced yogis. The $10 yoga sessions ($5 for members) are held every second and fourth Saturday of the month.
Fiesta Botanica 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Balboa Park This Saturday marks 150 years to the day of Balboa Park’s founding -- when the city of San Diego passed a resolution to set aside 1,400 acres for a park. To celebrate the nature preserve, the city is hosting a free festival that will include a floral wagon parade through the park, tours showcasing the park’s history, live jazz music and more than a dozen food trucks.
Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Santee Lakes Join thousands of guests this Saturday at the Santee Street Fair & Craft Beer Festival at Santee Lakes. Hundreds of food and retail vendors, plus live entertainment and a kid zone, will fill the park for the Free Santee Street Fair. Guests who wish to join the beer festival can do so with a $25 ticket. The ticket comes with 10 four-ounce tastes of craft brew plus a ticket for a food item, from bacon-wrapped hot dogs to pupusas.
Whale Watching Aboard America 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Maritime Museum of San Diego Experience San Diego’s whale watching season aboard America, a 138-foot sailing yacht that launches from the Maritime Museum. This 4-hour tour cruises the coastline on a quest to view the sea creatures. Light snacks and beverages are included in the ticket price, plus admission to the Maritime Museum of San Diego before or after the cruise. Tickets range from $42.50 to $85, with discounts for active duty and retired military. Check-in is 30 minutes before your departure time at the booth in front of the Berkeley Steam Ferry.
Sunday, May 27
2018 Vista Strawberry Festival 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Downtown Vista Vista, once the strawberry capital of the world, celebrates the sweet berry every year in downtown Vista. This year, the free Strawberry Festival returns with multiple music stages, a kids carnival area and a craft brew beer garden. Guests can get their fill of strawberry-themed foods and baskets filled with the fruit to take home. The event kicks off with a 5K or 10K run through Brengle Terrace Park that ends with a fresh fruit gift.
Miramar National Cemetery Veterans Memorial Service 1 to 2 p.m., Miramar National Cemetery Honor those who died while serving the country this Memorial Day with a service at Miramar National Cemetery. Servicemembers and the general public are encouraged to attend. The service will be conducted in the Memorial Circle cemetery. For other suggestions on how to honor servicemembers killed in action this Memorial Day, visit here.
Bite San Diego Walking Tours
Times vary, Locations vary
This one's for foodies: Bite San Diego takes guests on a 3-hour+ walking tour through a select neighborhood, offering samples of the culinary scene from at least five restaurants while showcasing the neighborhood’s history. Tours make an average of five stops at some of the most mouthwatering restaurants in San Diego County. Participants can choose from tours in North Park, Liberty Station, Downtown San Diego, Coronado, La Jolla and Encinitas. Tours are offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (depending on the location); hours vary. For more customization, Bite San Diego offers private tours.
Sunday Organ Concert 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Spreckels Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park Enjoy a free, hour-long organ concert Sunday at Balboa Park’s famed Spreckels Organ Pavilion. At the keys, the audience will find Raul Prieto Ramirez, the city’s newest San Diego Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society. Prieto Ramirez hails from Spain and, as he told NBC 7, hopes to keep the program interesting – from Bach to Queen – at the historic Spreckels Organ.
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.