San Diego

Weekend roundup

February 22-25


Oceanside International Film Festival

Through Feb. 24. More boutique and unique than the typical film festival, the 13th annual Oceanside International Film Festival (OIFF) showcases 40-50 independent films from around the world—tied in strongly to the community, with an assemblage of skate, surf and music-focused films; as well as documentaries, comedies and more. Festivities include screenings at The Brooks Theater, including The Buildout, Tasmania and Those Were the Good Days; a chance to meet filmmakers and composers; the OIFF Awards on Saturday; and visits to Oceanside’s cultural attractions. See website for full lineup, locales and tickets.

San Diego Chinese New Year Fair

Feb. 24-25. Celebrating the Lunar New Year, the 41st annual fair returns downtown. The two-day, family-friendly event features Chinese cuisine, live music and myriad cultural performances. The lineup includes Xing Jian Dance Studio, specializing in Chinese dance and ballet; White Dragon Martial Arts; an opening ceremony and lantern parade featuring the Lucky Lion Dancers; JING Institute of Chinese Martial Arts & Culture; Golden Rishi Qigong & Tai Chi; Asian Story Theater; and much more. See website for full schedule. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free entry. Third Avenue and J Street, Gaslamp Quarter. More Info

SeaWorld Mardi Gras

Through Feb. 25. “Laissez le bon temps rouler!” SeaWorld San Diego brings some big New Orleans energy to the park through Sunday. The carnival-style celebration includes special costumes, decorations channeling the French Quarter, and Creole and Cajun cuisine—from jambalaya to beignets. Mardi Gras-inspired entertainment includes live jazz, Dixieland music and DJ performances; family-friendly games and activities; a walk-through tunnel of 5,000 lights; the new Louisiana Bayou Laser Light Show; and much more. See website for hours and tickets. 500 Sea World Drive, Mission Bay, 619.222.4732.

Food + Drink


Now Open. Named for the Spanish word for “village,” Aldea has opened in the heart of La Jolla Village (in the former Mermaids and Cowboys space). The new restaurant by La Jolla native Steve Horowitz is a welcoming culinary and community hub that blends California cuisine with flavors and recipes from different regions of Mexico. The seafood-focused menu, architected by chef Alex Reznick, boasts ceviche, aguachile, local red snapper, birria bone-in short rib, line-caught mahi-mahi and crispy pork belly; plus craft cocktails. See website for hours. 1251 Prospect St., La Jolla, 858.999.0205.

Roman Wolves

Now Open. Find authentic Roman cuisine in the heart of Little Italy at Roman Wolves, now open in the former The Heights space. The 4,000-square-foot cucina—a meld of Rome’s historical-meets-modern charm—spotlights classic recipes with contemporary twists. Feast on oxtail meatballs, tripe stew, pizzas made with Roman-style pinsa, traditional Roman pasta dishes, and entrees like filetto di manzo and saltimbocca di pollo. To drink, try the Roman Empress cocktail with Empress gin, agave, lemon juice and egg white, and topped with Prosecco. See website for hours. 1980 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.539.7344.

The Whaling Bar at La Valencia Hotel

Now Open. First opened in 1949, La Valencia Hotel’s iconic cocktail lounge, The Whaling Bar, has reopened after a 10-year-hiatus. Operated by SDCM Restaurant Group (Kettner Exchange, Camino Riviera) and designed by Schoos Design, the updated space feels both nostalgic and new, outfitted in emerald-tufted booths, Moroccan-inspired entry doors, brass pendant lights, and the bar’s original Wing Howard “The Whale’s Last Stand” mural. On the menu: caviar, duck meatballs and liver ‘n’ onions; plus bubbly, wine and cocktails like the Bishop’s Daquiri and The Whaler nightcap. 1132 Prospect St., La Jolla, 855.476.6870.

Arts + Culture

English at The Old Globe

Closes Feb. 25. The multi-award-winning play (including the 2023 Pulitzer Prize) English runs through Sunday at The Old Globe. Iranian-American screenwriter and playwright Sanaz Toossi (known for Wish You Were Here) brings us an intricate, comic and contemplative story—centered on four adult students in a classroom near Tehran, Iran, who are prepping for an English proficiency exam. We get to know them as they bond over a shared desire for new opportunities. Arya Shahi directs. See website for showtimes and tickets. 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623.

Violinist Gil Shaham & San Diego Symphony 

Feb. 25. Some extraordinary music is in the air on Sunday, thanks to the San Diego Symphony and its Jacobs Masterworks programming. Grammy Award-winning violinist Gil Shaham performs with maestro Rafael Payare and the Symphony at the San Diego Civic Theatre in an exclusive matinee concert. The lineup includes the West Coast premiere of Mason Bates’ Nomad Concerto for Violin and Orchestra; Respighi’s tone poem Pini di Roma (Pines of Rom)e; and Ravel’s La valse, poème chorégraphique and Boléro. 2 p.m. See website for ticket pricing. 1100 Third Ave., downtown, 619.235.0804.

San Diego Museum Month

Through Feb. 29. Presented by the San Diego Museum Council and now in its 35th year, San Diego Museum Month is your chance to explore our local arts and culture destinations, through the end of February. The program lets you access more than 60 museums, cultural attractions, historical sites, aquariums, zoos and gardens—all for half-off admission. These include the California Surf Museum, myriad Balboa Park museums, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the floating USS Midway Museum, and many other venues. Passes are available at 80-plus local public libraries.

Korea in Color Exhibit at SDMA

Through March 3. Exploring the use of color in Korean painting—known as polychrome painting—and its role in Korean art and culture, Korea in Color: A Legacy of Auspicious Images is on view at The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) through March 3. The exhibit comprises 50 artworks—spanning paintings, videos, installations and other media forms—from contemporary works to masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. (Pictured: Beyond Time and Space, 2021, an eight-channel HD video by Kim Hyekyung.) See website for hours. 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.232.7931.

Photo credits: English / The Old Globe by Rich Soublet II. Gil Shaham by Chris Lee. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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