San Diego

Weekend roundup

July 27-30


Chicken Wing & Spirits Fest

July 29. Calling all lovers of the almighty chicken wing! In celebration of National Chicken Wing Day (who knew?), Elite Events San Diego presents the National Chicken Wing Day and Spirits Fest at Waterfront Park. Sample the area’s best chicken wings, showcased in a variety of signature competition flavors; as well as spirits sampling from myriad distilleries and liquor brands, DJs and live entertainment, sauces and rubs available for purchase, giveaways, games and more. 2-6 p.m. (VIP entry at 1 p.m.). See website for ticket pricing. 1600 Pacific Highway, downtown. More Info

Oppenheimer Screenings in the “Dome”

July 29-30. Experience one of summer’s biggest films in the “Dome.” Tickets are selling fast for Fleet Science Center’s screenings of Oppenheimer at its Heikoff Giant Dome Theater—SoCal’s only IMAX dome theater. Its tilted-dome seating allows for an extra depth and peripheral viewing experience of the IMAX-shot (read: large format film stock) film. The plot centers on J. Robert Oppenheimer, aka the “father of the atomic bomb”—starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and Florence Pugh. Sa 6:30 p.m.; Su 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $19.95 per person. 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park.

Balboa Park Twilight Concerts

Through Aug. 24. Music is in the air this summer at one of our favorite alfresco venues. An annual tradition of 40-plus years, Balboa Park Twilight Concerts comprise live music at the iconic Spreckels Organ Pavilion—taking place most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 24. The concert lineup includes the Rockin’ Jazz Band on July 27; Summer Winds Orchestra on Aug. 1; Santaways on Aug. 2; Jimmy’s Buffet on Aug. 3; and the Stoney B Blues Band on Aug. 17. See website for full schedule. 6:30 p.m. All concerts are free. Balboa Park.

Food + Drink

Beginners Diner

Now Open. North Park’s landmark LaFayette Hotel has undergone a $31 million facelift by CH Projects—returning it to its 1940s-era glory and then some. The colossal renovation comprises an overhaul of its 139 guest rooms and pool; plus a bowling alley and eight new bars and restaurants—five of which are now open. Among them: the retro-cool Beginners Diner. Indulge in boozy milkshakes, deluxe sandwiches, patty melts, wagyu meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, matzo ball soup and classic apple pie; plus a full breakfast menu. Open 24 hours. 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park, 619.296.2101.

Mike Hess Tap House

Now Open. Mike Hess Brewing expands its Seaport Village presence with a new satellite taproom in the Lighthouse District. The bayfront space boasts a 1,200-square-foot sundeck—offering scenic water views and outfitted with bar-height seating and TVs. Head inside for additional seating and two dozen Mike Hess beers on tap; plus hard seltzers, sangrias, micheladas, spiked slushies and house-brewed root beer. And be on the lookout for biweekly trivia nights, weekly beer specials, discounts on beer flights of the month and more. Open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 879 W. Harbor Drive, Suite E4A, downtown.


Now Open. Another new venue at the LaFayette Hotel, Quixote is a low-lit Mexican restaurant and mezcaleria akin to a religious experience, literally. The entire space is an actual decommissioned Catholic church from Mexico—with baroque banquettes, stained-glass windows, and an altar as the bar’s backdrop. The Oaxacan-inspired menu offers whole grilled fish, crispy lamb belly, crab-corn doughnuts, chili-garlic shrimp tacos and ceviche tostadas. Highlights: the Oaxacan fondue, “Forcefully Crispy” chicken tacos, and the Sudden Death cocktail with agave and absinthe. 4230 Louisiana St., North Park, 619.261.2101. More Info

“Two Ducks” Fine-Dining Pop-Up

Now Open. Brothers Danny and Dante Romero—Calexico natives and formerly chefs at French bistro Wormwood—invite you to dine at their new underground fine-dining pop-up. Operating every Thursday and Friday with just 20 seats available, Two Ducks is billed as a roving dinner experience—with the San Diego location (most likely outdoors) of the dinner disclosed to reserved guests the evening prior. Diners can expect an approximately three-hour experience comprising around nine courses—with seasonal, locally sourced dishes influenced by Mexican/SoCal cuisine and classic French techniques. $185 person.

Summer Tasting Menu at Matsu 

Now Available. Chef William Eick’s intimate Japanese fine-dining restaurant is offering a special six-course summer tasting menu. An abbreviation of Matsu’s usual 10-course experience ($165 per person), the menu lets guests enjoy the same cuisine excellence for a little less ($95 per person); with wine and sake pairings available. The menu changes monthly (larger plates) and weekly (small changes), but recent/current dishes include Koji duck breast from Maple Leaf Farms with carrot dashi; and Japanese A5 wagyu with onions, wasabi and sukiyaki. See website for reservations. 626 S. Tremont St., Oceanside, 760.671.6152. Reservations

Arts + Culture

Passengers at The Old Globe

Closes July 30. “We all have somewhere to go.” All aboard for a one-of-a-kind train trip at The Old Globe, which presents Passengers on the Shiley Stage This spellbinding show (which closes Sunday!) by The 7 Fingers—a contemporary physical theater troupe based in Montreal—centers on strangers in transit, who share their stories and dreams via physical expression, combining theater, dance, music and acrobatics. Creator Shana Carroll also directs. The Mercury News raves, “You’ll wish the ride never ended!” See website for showtimes and tickets. 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, 619.234.5623.

S.D. Natural History Museum’s “Nat at Night”

Through Sept. 4. Kick off your weekend at “Nat at Night.” The San Diego Natural History Museum (aka “The NAT”) is open on Fridays until 10 p.m. through Sept. 4—with half-price admission after 5 p.m. The museum’s rooftop patio, with views overlooking the park, is open to all visitors—serving beer, wine, signature cocktails and other beverages; plus small plates from Wolf in the Woods. It’s your chance to explore the museum after hours; plus partake in fun activities like trivia and Sketch Party sessions (select dates). 1788 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.232.3821.

Photo credits: Quixote and Beginners Diner by Kimberly Motos. Passengers by Kevin Berne. 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