TGI Weekend! San Diego is embracing its "America's Finest City" title this weekend. The unofficial craft beer capital of the world has several brew fests to chose from. There are surfing events along the coast. There is even a half-marathon titled after the America's-Finest-City slogan. There's no better place to, Get up. Get out. Play!
Thursday, August 16 San Diego Padres v. Arizona Diamondbacks Times vary (through Sunday), Petco Park Baseball season is in full swing in downtown San Diego. Root, root, root for the San Diego Padres as they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. The four-day series features fan giveaways celebrating the team’s newest Hall of Fame inductee, former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman. This week’s giveaways include a Hoffman replica jersey, a “Hoffy” table book filled with photos of the pitcher, a replica Cooperstown plaque and a replica Hoffman statue. Each game’s giveaway is included with the purchase of an admission ticket while supplies last. Tickets start at $15. While at the ballpark, sip on an array of craft brew and munch on some of this year’s new local grub -- like Seafood Tacos from Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill or a Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog from Carnitas' Snack Shack.
Wonderspaces: With Creative License 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., B Street Pier (San Diego) A unique type of art gallery has moved into an inconspicuous building on the waterfront. It’s the second year the traveling art exhibit called Wonderspaces has stopped in San Diego. This time, Wonderspaces has curated 15 installations from different artists for an immersive experience that takes guests inside the art. With a $24 ticket ($14 for children over three) guests will experience a short virtual reality thriller, walk through thousands of light points, leave their mark on the art, and more as they wander through the rooms of wonder. Tickets for August are available and but guests will need to reserve a spot in advance to attend.
Paint Night 6 p.m., Legacy Brewing Co. (Oceanside) Learn to paint while sipping on some suds from Legacy Brewing Co. Every third Thursday of the month, the North County brewery located at 363 Airport Road in Oceanside hosts a Paint Night. Guests of any skill level can take a painting lesson from artist Timothy Cunningham for $30 while enjoying drafts of Legacy Brewing’s Hellfire IPA, Iron Wharf Lager, Hellacious Guava IPA, among more than a dozen other craft brews.
California Dreaming 6 to 9 p.m., Bahia Resort Hotel The Bahia Resort Hotel thinks warm, summer nights on Mission Bay are a cause for celebration so they are inviting guests to a party on the beach every Thursday through August 30. Guests with a $52 ticket to the California Dreaming party will be treated to a buffet of summer-time staples, including a barbecue grill station and a clambake. Then, guests can dance the night away on the beach as a playlist of summer hits are played by local band, The Fabulous Mar Dels.
Bayside Summer Nights: The Who 7:30 p.m., Embarcadero Marina Park South The San Diego Symphony’s annual summer concert series along the waterfront returns for the 2018 season, this week with The Who. Founding member Roger Daltrey will lead The Who’s current touring band members -- Simon Townshend, Jon Button, Scott Devours, Loren Gold and Frank Simes -- through the iconic British invasion band’s hits. Daltrey will also perform songs from his new album during this special appearance at Bayside Summer Nights’ outdoor concert. Catch the show with a $45 through the San Diego Symphony’s website.
Friday, August 17
Food Truck Fridays 4 to 8:30 p.m., Balboa Park Delectable treats will once again flood historic Balboa Park every Friday night this summer for the popular Food Truck Fridays series. A lineup of about a dozen food trucks will rotate each week through September 28 at Plaza de Panama ready to feed hungry guests as a variety of live music, like Mariachi and orchestral sounds, waft through the air. Some of the dining possibilities include Bosnian Grill, Monster Crafts, Pierogi Truck, Super Q and Yo Yo Bento, Beachin’ Boba, Devil Dogs BBQ, Sushi Uno and more. Visitors are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit in front of the Botanical Building as they eat, or enjoy craft beer, wine and cocktails inside nearby restaurants. Booths will be set up with activities for kids and Balboa Park will introduce a "living room" area filled with giant lawn games. Surrounding museums will extend hours to accommodate guests and the San Diego Museum of Art will offer $5 admission after 5 p.m.
Summer Movies in the Park
Times Vary, Locations Vary
Across the county this summer, cities are taking part in movie screenings at their local outdoor parks. Almost every day of the week, San Diegans can find a different free outdoor movie screening thanks to the county-wide initiative. 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.
Nat at Night 5 to 10 p.m., San Diego Natural History Museum As the nights grow longer in the summer, so do the hours at San Diego Natural History Museum. Through August 31, the museum is extending hours until 10 p.m. on Fridays. and offering half-price admission to visitors after 5 p.m. Guests with a $20 ticket will get to see the Nat’s immersive exhibits, like “Unshelved: Cool Stuff From Storage” and “The Backyard,” watch 3D films and take in panoramic views of Balboa Park at the museum’s rooftop bar. Take in a natural history-themed trivia game (that will also include more popular trivia categories like pop culture and science) starting at 7 p.m. each week.
TGIF Concerts in the Park 6 to 8 p.m., Alga Norte Community Park It’s the last weekend to enjoy Carlsbad’s TGIF Concerts in the Park series and to round things out, Alga Norte Community Park will get some Latin flair with the music of Poncho Sanchez. Arrive to the free concert up to two hours early to experience TGIF’s family open studios featuring hands-on art projects, select food vendors like Red Oven Pizza and Menchie’s frozen yogurt, and for a chance to win prizes.
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.
Spirits at Sunset Cocktail Cruise 6 to 8 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays through September), Flagship Cruises & Events Watching the sun dip past the Pacific Ocean’s horizon is made all the more spectacular with the perspective offered from one of Flagship Cruise’s luxury yachts. During this sunset cruise, guests will sip on signature cocktails perfectly named for a night at sea, like A Little Dinghy and Maritime Martini, and nibble on a sampling of Hors d’Oeuvres, which includes: a spinach artichoke crab dip served with sliced sourdough bread, chicken and waffles with a maple chili brown butter glaze and mini beef empanadas served with a cilantro lime sour cream. The sunset cruise boards at 5:30 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 $42.50 for adults and $37.50 for children ages 4 to 12; kids 3 and under are free. Reservations are recommended.
2018 Best of San Diego Party 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Liberty Station Each year, San Diego Magazine features the top local restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries in their Best of San Diego issue; and each year, those featured gather for a Best of San Diego party in their honor. Guests with an $85 ticket can indulge in unlimited sips and bites from more than 100 of the city’s top vendors. On tops of suds and nibbles, the event will feature live bands and entertainment, art installations, fire performers, dancers and more.
Beach House Concert Series 7 to 11 p.m., Beach House Grill (Mission Bay) Every other week, Belmont Park in Mission Beach is hosting an all-ages concert from their boardwalk-adjacent restaurant, Beach House Grill. This week, Coachella star Grace Mitchell headlines with performances by Stray Monroe and Pinky Pinky. There is no cover for this weekend's concert and happy hour all night.
Saturday, August 18
Stretch Yourself Yoga 9 a.m., Horton Plaza Park Yogis, bring your mat to Horton Plaza Park this Saturday for a free teacher-led yoga session presented by the Downtown San Diego Partnership. All levels and ages are welcome but participants are asked to register in advance here.
Clear the Shelters
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Shelters across San Diego County
NBC and Telemundo are teaming up to find hundreds of shelter animals their forever homes this Saturday during their annual Clear the Shelters event. For one day only, nearly 700 shelters, including 10 in San Diego County, will waive adoption fees for the nationwide pet adoption drive. To find a shelter near you, visit here. And, to stay tuned into all of NBC 7’s coverage of the event, visit here.
Chula Vista HarborFest 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Bayside Park The annual Chula Vista HarborFest returns to the city’s waterfront this weekend for an even larger food- and music-filled extravaganza. The free event will have three stages of live musical performances throughout HarborFest’s run. Kids can explore the Discovery Zone, featuring the Living Coast Discovery Center and more, while adults enjoy unlimited tastings of tacos, spirits and craft beer festival with a separate, $25 admission ticket. HarborFest will also feature a free wrestling viewing, a classic car expo, a rock climbing wall and more.
Latin Food Fest 12 to 3 p.m., Embarcadero Marina Park North Spice up your life with San Diego’s 6th annual Latin Food Fest at the Embarcadero. The two-day celebration begins Friday with Chefs Night Out, where guests that purchase a $25 ticket will be treated to tapas and spirits as a DJ spins. On Saturday the main event, the Gran Tasting, kicks off. The Gran Tasting will give guests with a $35 ticket unlimited samples of food wine, spirits and brew plus access to wine demonstrations all while enjoying the Latin sounds of La Junta Sound System and Sol e Mar. Those seeking more can purchase a $149 VIP ticket, which gains access to an exclusive tent with crafted creations by local chefs, massages a gift bag and more.
Del Mar Beer Fest 2 to 6 p.m., Del Mar Fairgrounds Beer enthusiasts will want to head to Del Mar this weekend, where more than 100 local and international brew makers will be showing off their craft. The Craft Beer Festival at the fairgrounds’ Seaside Concert Area will give visitors with a $42 ticket unlimited one-ounce sips of award-winning, specialty and up-and-coming breweries. Ticketholders also get admission to Del Mar Racing.
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 Thorn Brewing to delight guests in sips of their brew at $6 a can. Meanwhile, the band Blais Gold will perform covers of hit songs. $1 of each can sold during the event will be donated to the Shasta County Fire Relief Fund to aid victims of the Carr Fire in Northern California, the state’s largest and deadliest wildfire of the year.
California Clambake 6 p.m., Hotel Del Coronado Chef Tim Hollingsworth, the owner of Otium in Los Angeles, is putting his own spin on an east coast tradition, the clambake. Guests are invited to enjoy seafood staples with the 13-year chef’s world-traveling take at the beach alongside the Hotel Del Coronado. For example, the California Clambake’s menu features grilled king crab with a yuzu koshu vinaigrette, river potatoes with shrimp and sweet peppers and ceviche negra with burnt tortillas, cucumber and red onion. Beer and wine is included with a $125 ticket purchase for guests over 21.
World Bodysurfing Championships 6:30 a.m. (Saturday and Sunday), Oceanside Pier Hundreds of body surfers are hoping to catch the perfect wave in Oceanside this weekend for the annual World Bodysurfing Championships. The competition gets underway at 6:30 a.m. each day and will continue through the early afternoon.
Stone Anniversary Celebration & Beer Festival 1 to 8 p.m., Cal State San Marcos One of San Diego’s most famous craft breweries is celebrating their 22nd Anniversary by throwing a craft beer festival at Cal State San Marcos. Stone Brewing has invited more than 55 breweries from around the world to hand out two-ounce pours of some of their creations for guests with a $65 ticket. Ticketholders can also enjoy tasty bites of delicious food, listen to live music and relax in a cigar lounge. Stone Brewing says the proceeds from the event will be donated to local charities. Guests can choose from two four-hour tasting sessions.
Sunday, August 19
America’s Finest City Half Marathon
6 a.m. to 12 p.m., Balboa Park
Run past landmarks from the Cabrillo National Monument to the Star of India and historic Balboa Park in this half-marathon that can only be named after San Diego. Registration is still open for both the 13.1-mile race and the 5K starting at $50. Races begin at 6:15 a.m.
25th Annual Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Scripps La Jolla Pier For a quarter-century, the Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational has competed with the goal of finding a cure for cancer. The competition is less about surfing ability and more about participation and support for the cause. The surf event benefits UC San Diego Health’s Moores Cancer Center and over the last 24 years, has raised more than $8 million for the center. After the surf competition, a Luau featuring traditional Polynesian dancing, live music, and a tropical buffet will commence.
Tall Ship Adventure Aboard Californian 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., San Diego Maritime Museum Take a trip back in time aboard a replica of the ships used during the California Gold Rush. The Californian, a replica cutter and the state’s official tall ship, will take passengers on a 3-hour voyage for $44 to $62. The ship’s crew will show guests how set and furl the sails and haul a line. The journey will end with a cannon salute.
Del Mar Racing 11:30 a.m. (through September 3), Del Mar Racetracks It’s time for big hats and bright colors -- Del Mar Racing season is upon us. Gates at the Del Mar Racetrack open at 11:30 a.m. with a first post time of 2 p.m. most days during the summer racing season, which runs from July 18 to September 3 "where the turf meets the surf." This season, the tracks are hosting plenty of special events to coincide with the races, like a day filled with Burgers and Brew, a Gourmet Food Truck Festival, and a Craft Beer Festival. Check out the full schedule of events at Del Mar Racing here. The races’ Summer Concert Series returns this year with a lineup that includes Matisyahu this Friday. The concerts are free with an admission ticket to the races, which start at $6, and begin after the last race ends.
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.