San Diego

Weekend roundup

July 20-23


Comic-Con International

July 20-23. The world’s largest comic book and popular arts convention returns to the San Diego Convention Center. Badges for the sold-out event are hard to come by (keep an eye out on social media for “badge auctions”). For those lucky enough to score one, expect four days filled with dynamic exhibits, anime, movie stars, film panels, an art show, an independent film festival and more. For those who didn’t nab a pass, grab a seat on the sidewalk patio of a restaurant downtown for some memorable people-watching, celeb-sighting and Comic-Con-themed cocktails. 111 W. Harbor Drive, downtown.

Del Mar Races Opening Day

July 21. “And … away they go!” The Del Mar Racetrack hosts the first leg of its 2023 dual season of thoroughbred horseracing, beginning with Opening Day on Friday. Thousands of attendees will place their bets and be dressed to impress (complete with fancy hats). Season highlights include Taste of the Turf Club and Turf Club Fridays; myriad food, beer and wine festivals; the $1 million Pacific Classic on Sept. 2; and Closing Day on Sept. 10. (The second leg of the season launches in November.) Giddy up! 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.

Rancho Valencia’s “After Pony Party”

July 21. The fun at Opening Day at the Del Mar Races continues at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa—host of the official after-party of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Glam it up for an evening of dancing, dining and drinks in celebration of race season. Admission includes a welcome cocktail, an endless food buffet, a cash bar and tunes by DJ Irie. (The resort is also offering a “Perfecta Package” that includes a table at the racetrack’s Turf Club, available July 22-Sept. 10). 6-10 p.m. $325 per person. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.756.1123.

Lane Field Park Market

July 22-23. This popular weekend market by the waterfront across from Broadway Pier features live music, gourmet street food, artwork and pop-up installations, handmade jewelry, crafts, San Diego Bay views and more. Sample cuisine from a dozen vendors, including waffles, crepes, empanadas, burgers, Vietnamese bao, Thai food, wood-fired pizza, hot mini doughnuts and smoothies; along with Columbian craft coffee by Yipao Coffee San Diego. Bring your own blanket (and sunscreen) for a picnic on the grass. Lawn umbrellas are provided for shade. Sa-Su 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free entry. 1009 N. Harbor Drive, downtown. More Info

Little Blue Penguins at Birch Aquarium

Ongoing. Happy anniversary to the little blue penguins! Their new home at Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography opened one year ago. The Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins exhibit houses the world’s smallest penguin species. Standing less than a foot tall and weighing 2-3 pounds, little blue penguins are tiny in size but huge in personality. The 2,900-square-foot habitat features an 18,000-gallon pool and a small amphitheater—where visitors can watch the penguins as they build nests, interact and play. See website for hours and admission info. 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, 858.534.3474.

Food + Drink

Madhatter Twisted Tea Party at Mavericks

July 20. Who doesn’t love a fun party for a worthy cause? Shoreline Community Services (SCS)—a local organization dedicated to helping unsheltered individuals and their families in San Diego’s Central Beach Area—hosts its Madhatter Twisted Tea Party fundraiser at Mavericks Beach Club. The festivities include plenty of food and drinks; raffles and games; an SCS T-shirt and custom hat by Rad Hatter for each ticketed guest; live music by Stampede; and more. 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person, and proceeds benefit SCS’ medical services. 860 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. More Info

Barbie-Themed Menu at Grant Grill Lounge

Available Through July 23. Inspired by the new Barbie movie and Comic-Con International, the Grant Grill Lounge is offering an exclusive menu of themed sips, snacks and sweets. Highlights include the “Live Your Dreams” cocktail with Patron Silver; the “Hi Barbie, Hi Ken” sliders with fried shrimp and Pinkglow pineapple slaw; the Malibu Barbie Milkshake with orange-scented frozen custard; and “Skipper’s Pool Party,” a selection of mini summer pastries served in a Barbie pool. Menu and seating are first come, first served. 3-11 p.m. US Grant Hotel, 326 Broadway, downtown, 619.744.2077.

“Superhero Tea” at The Westgate Hotel

Through July 23. In celebration of Comic-Con International this weekend, The Westgate Hotel is offering a special “Superhero Tea” service through Sunday in its Grand Lobby—which has been transformed into a festive setting fit for comic book heroes. Guests can enjoy premium teas, gourmet tea sandwiches, pastries and desserts; plus live music by a harpist; and a special Comic-Con-themed cocktail menu with offerings like the Hulk Smash, Black Widow and Krypton Margarita. 1-3:30 p.m. $59 adults; $35 kids. (Comic-Con badge holders get a 15% discount.) 1055 Second Ave., downtown, 619.238.1818.

Arts + Culture

Bottle Shock! The Musical

Closes July 23. Catch it before it closes! Making a splash at California Center for the Arts, Escondido (CCAE), the world premiere of Bottle Shock! The Musical is the latest production of CCAE’a new theater-producing arm: CCAE Theatricals. Based on the 2008 hit movie Bottle Shock, the musical tells the true story of the Judgment of Paris—a blind wine-tasting competition in 1976. An unknown Napa winemaker unexpectedly beat the French wines, putting California vineyards on the map and changing the world of wine forever. See website for showtimes and tickets. 340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, 800.988.4253.

TINA: The Tina Turner Musical

Upcoming | July 25-30. Known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Tina Turner was in a league of her own—with 12 Grammy Awards and more concert tickets sold than any other solo artist in history. Broadway San Diego presents this inspiring musical—written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall—telling Turner’s powerful comeback story of triumph and rise to superstardom. Expect some of her many popular songs, including No. 1 hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “(Simply) the Best,” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” 1100 Third Ave., downtown.

Photo credits: Birch Aquarium by Jordann Tomasek. TINA: The Turner Musical by Manuel Harlan. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

Let's Stay In Touch

with weekly roundups

Sign up for FREE to receive our exclusive Weekend Roundup!

Get the best things to do in our favorite SoCal spots delivered to your inbox every week

Los Angeles

Orange County

San Diego