San Diego

Weekend roundup

December 3-6


Holiday in the Village

Dec. 5. The community of La Mesa comes alive with its fifth annual holiday craft market. The event has been modified this year for safety, but guests can still enjoy the usual (socially distanced) festivities. The fun includes holiday music; 40 craft vendors selling handmade homewares, jewelry and unique gifts; a food court serving themed treats; and a holiday photo station. Vendors include Chery’s Caramels, Ohana Hawaiian Jewelry, Reventia Sterling Designs and Woodsmoke Artistry. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. La Mesa Boulevard (between Palm Avenue and Fourth Street), downtown La Mesa, 619.343.2460.

Botanic Wonderland

Through Dec. 30. Stroll among San Diego Botanic Garden’s 37 acres of gardens—including the conservatory, Toni’s Treehouse, the rainforest and waterfall, the Lawn Garden and more—which will be decked out in holiday lights and decorations. Presented by Bitchin’ Sauce, the family-friendly event runs select evenings throughout the month (see website). See the garden’s plant collection illuminated in a way that guests have never seen before; plus live music with performers roaming the property, theatrical laser lighting and fire pits. Reservations required. 5-8:30 p.m. 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, 760.436.3036.

Del Mar Highlands Town Center Holiday Fun

Through Jan 1. Even the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge would perk up at all the holiday cheer to be found here. The center’s ‘Tis the Sea Sun decor includes a 36-foot-tall Christmas tree made of 44 surfboards and LED lights; and a 15-foot-tall surfing Santa, being pulled by four of his reindeer, on the Sky Deck. Guests can also chat with “Delmer” the talking penguin; tour a gigantic igloo; snap a selfie with festive starfish; send wish lists to the North Pole; drive through a candy-cane forest; and take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. 12925 El Camino Real, Del Mar.

Food + Drink

SideYard BBQ by HottMess

Now Open. The historical Fraser’s Boiler Service building is evolving into a dining and imbibing destination. New tenants include micro-distillery ReBru Spirits and outdoor restaurant SideYard BBQ by HottMess—serving craft cocktails and Texas-style barbecue. Drawing inspiration from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe and the Lone Star State, pit master David Kendall oversees a menu of smoky meats served as sandwiches and entrees—including smoked tri-tip and turkey. Enjoy seasonal drinks (try the Batched East Side Rickey) by beverage director Gareth Moore. 1735 National Ave., Barrio Logan, 619.818.0234.

Spill the Beans

Now Open. Who needs a caffeine fix? The Gaslamp Quarter’s popular coffee shop has opened its second location at the Seaport Village lighthouse. The casual outpost has partnered with Dark Horse Coffee Roasters to offer drip coffee, espresso drinks, cold brews, herbal teas, tea lattes and kombucha. To eat: California-style bagels (try the bacon-white-cheddar bagel) with spreads such as truffle-Parmesan cream cheese; plus breakfast sandwiches, protein bowls and oatmeal. Outdoor seating available. See website for hours. 813 W. Harbor Drive, Unit C, downtown, 619.230.5130.

Golden Hour at Mister A’s

Now Available. Enjoy that magical time of the day from 12 floors up overlooking the city. The iconic restaurant has launched Golden Hour, opening up eight coveted tables on its famed terrace—boasting views of the skyline, bay, Balboa Park and Lindbergh Field. Choose from a special menu of craft cocktails and wines by the bottle and glass; appetizers such as prime beef tartare and Osetra caviar from culinary director Stephane Voitzwinkler; and desserts by executive pastry chef John Brockaway. Tu-Su beginning at 4 p.m. (reservations required). 2550 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill, 619.239.1377.

Holiday Cocktails & Happy Hour at Lionfish

Now Available. Who doesn’t love a holiday craft cocktail? Hotspot Lionfish has unveiled a lineup of festive libations, along with a new happy hour. New cocktails include the Fallen Apple, served hot with Hennessey, Laird’s apple brandy, a dried-apple-crisp garnish and sugar-cinnamon rim; Figs in the Rye, with rye whiskey and fig puree; the Winter Negroni, made with locally distilled You & Yours gin; and A Pear in Time, made with Plymouth gin, pear puree and Chandon. Happy hour features $1 oysters and drink discounts. Tu-Th 5-7 p.m.; F-Sa 4-7 p.m. 435 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter, 619.738.7200.

Arts + Culture

Dr. Seuss Holiday Exhibition at EC Gallery

Through Dec. 31. Did you know that when Theodor “Ted” Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) was writing How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, he was expressing his own concerns about the holiday? Learn more about this and other fun facts at the limited-engagement holiday exhibition: The Art of Dr. Seuss: Merry Grinchmas. Guests can peruse a coveted collection of both known and unknown artwork (also available for acquisition) by Geisel; plus enjoy special live appearances by the Grinch, celebrity book readings and more. RSVP suggested (see website for hours). Admission is free. 212 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, 800.599.7111.

Pop-Up Art Gallery at Market Creek Plaza

Now Open. The art community in southeast San Diego is growing, thanks to efforts such as this. Presented in partnership by the Southeast Art Team (pictured from left: Raquel Rhone and Kim Phillips-Pea) and Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, the pop-up houses paintings, jewelry and other works by local artists. Open through February, the gallery will host a different series of artists every month; plus exhibits centered on youth art, antiques, beekeeping and nature, hip-hop, tribal masks and more; as well as art classes. By appointment only (see website). 342 Euclid Ave., Suite 406, Valencia Park. More Info

Panama 66 Ballet

Upcoming | Dec. 8. When art and the performing arts collide, the result is this dynamic online dance performance—part of a new virtual programming lineup by the San Diego Museum of Art. Inspired by the art and architecture of the museum’s Sculpture Garden and Panama 66 restaurant in Balboa Park, the San Diego Ballet will perform an ensemble dance excerpt from a new ballet titled Panama 66 in the garden—complete with original jazz compositions by Gilbert Castellanos. (Separately, the garden and its installations are still open to the public, as is Panama 66 for alfresco dining.) 6 p.m.

Photo credits: Botanic Wonderland by Rachel Cobb. Sideyard BBQ by Jeff Jones Photos. Market Creek Plaza Pop-Up Gallery courtesy of Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. All other images are courtesy of the businesses and venues featured.

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