San Diego

Weekend roundup

April 13-16


Celebrate the Craft Culinary Festival

April 16. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Celebrate the Craft is a premier culinary festival, celebrating the best of SoCal’s chefs, growers, vintners and brewers. Unfolding on the lawn at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, the event will feature more than 20 celebrated chefs, including Brad Wise, JoJo Ruiz, Javier Plascencia, Tim Kolanko, Travis Swikard and Robert Alcocer; plus more than a dozen wineries from regions like Paso Robles, Napa and Sonoma. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Ecology Center. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. $250 per person (21+). 11480 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858.453.4420. More Info

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

Through May 14. Nothing says springtime in San Diego like The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch—where 70 million flowers are currently in bloom, including 55 acres filled with the ranch’s famous giant Tecolote ranunculus. The 2023 season features new offerings like the “Picnic & Flowers” experience, the “Meditation and Sound Healing” workshop, and sunset wine tasting on select dates; plus artist gardens, tractor wagon rides, flower design workshops, a sweet pea maze and the “American Flag of Flowers.” See website for hours and tickets.  5704 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad, 760.431.0352.

Spring Safari at S.D. Zoo Safari Park

Through May 14. Springtime is prime time to visit San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Spring Safari experience includes performances by juggler Bee Plus and dance crews The Bee Boyz (pictured) and The Ladybugs; “Spring Has Sprung” story time with Safari Parker; interactive songs and stories by African entertainers; blooming botanical gardens; and food offerings featuring spring strawberries. Upgraded experiences include the Butterfly Safari Jungle, a hidden aviary filled with butterflies. See website for hours and admission info. 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, 760.747.8702.

Carlsbad Strawberry Company

Now Open. Strawberry season is here! And the berries are ripe for the picking at this popular family-owned farm—home to 25 acres of “U-pick” strawberry fields. (Be warned: the fields are extremely muddy from recent rains; wear close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.) Later this spring, visitors can also explore the sunflower maze and lavender field, meet sheep and goats, and take tractor rides (check website for updates). Open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. $5 admission per person; $12 per single U-pick bucket. Walk-ins only (no reservations). 1050 Cannon Road, Carlsbad, 760.603.9608. More Info

Food + Drink

San Diego Vegan Festival

April 15. Head to Waterfront Park on Saturday for this inaugural, family-friendly festival showcasing SoCal’s vegan culinary scene. Sample eats from nearly 40 food and drink vendors, such as AVO Cafe, Casa de Luz, House of Bao, Flavors of East Africa, Leo’s Kitchen, Turkish Grill, Uprising Pizza, The Donuttery truck, Heartwork Coffee Bar and sponsor Maya’s Cookies; along with 20 goods vendors; local nonprofits on hand such as the Kind Heart Coalition, Sea Shepherd San Diego and Farm Animal Refuge; speaker panels; and music. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission. 1600 Pacific Highway, downtown. More Info

Garden-Themed Pop-Up at Top of the Hyatt

Through May 23. Imagine sipping a cocktail amid a lush garden; while enjoying bay and skyline views from 40 stories up. Top of the Hyatt presents a springtime pop-up, “Over the Top Grand Garden,” outfitting its lounge with huge botanical displays, giant mushrooms and floral-themed backdrops. There’s even a greenhouse to seat groups; plus a custom menu offering shareable bites and themed cocktails with names like Mint Duvet and Strawberry Fields. Reservations recommended for premier seating. Open daily 3 p.m.-midnight (21+). Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, downtown, 619.232.1234.

CooCoo’s Nest

Now Open. The latest collaboration by “Sam the Cooking Guy” (aka Sam Zien; pictured) and Grain & Grit Collective, CooCoo’s Nest is now open at Little Italy Food Hall. The casual eatery’s concept: fried chicken with a ‘70s flair. This means a fun retro menu devoted to crispy chicken—from tenders to salads to hearty sandwiches such as The Mac Daddy, Bad Birdie, Korean Fried Chicken, Hot Southern Sweetie and The Good Fella; with sides like house-made buttermilk biscuits and mac ‘n’ cheese. Su-Th 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; F-Sa 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 555 W. Date St., Little Italy, 619.269.6725.

The Kitchen @ MCASD

Now Open. The latest concept by Tracy Borkum and chef Tim Kolanko, The Kitchen @ MCASD is nestled on the La Jolla campus of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The alfresco cafe feels akin to a European garden, outfitted with large umbrellas that shade a quaint dining courtyard. Serving breakfast and lunch, the Mediterranean-inspired menu offers Spanish-style French toast, patatas bravas hash, mezze platters, salads, sandwiches, pastries and more; plus smoothies, wine, beer, cocktails, Paru teas and Dark Horse coffee. W-Su beginning at 8:30 a.m. 700 Prospect St., La Jolla, 619.880.8719. More Info

Arts + Culture

Ghosts by San Diego Opera

April 14-16. San Diego Opera presents a very special world premiere: Ghosts, comprising three, horror-inspired one-act operas in one evening. The production’s creator—beloved composer, pianist and arts educator Nicolas Reveles (pictured)—sadly passed away in early March. Reveles composed three mini operas—Eden, Dormir and House—the latter of which explores how trauma can haunt us like ghosts, lingering in our bodies. Ghosts stars opera singers Emily Fons, Michael Sokol, Ann McMahon Quintero and Andres Acosta. See website for showtimes and tickets. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., downtown.

WNDR Museum

Open First opened in Chicago, WNDR Museum is a departure from the traditional museum experience. It’s an immersive, multidimensional adventure, boasting more than 20 multisensory installations and exhibits by acclaimed designers, technologists and artists such as Yayoi Kusama. Visitors essentially become an extension of each creator through interaction. For example, the Brightlogic x WNDR Studios’ Lightfloor reacts to your every move as you dance across it. All ages are welcome, and no two museum visits—each lasting 75 to 90 minutes—are the same. 422 Market St., downtown.

Photo credits: The Kitchen @ MCASD by Bhadri. CooCoo’s Nest courtesy of Grain & Grit Collective. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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