San Diego

Weekend roundup

July 29-August 1

Outdoor Fun

#PawtyInThePark DOGust Celebration

July 31. Did you know DOGust (technically on Aug. 1) is the universal birthday of shelter dogs? Grab your pup and friends and head to Amici Park (Little Italy’s dog park) for this prelude celebration hosted by the TrustedHousesitters pet care group. Attendees can meet adoptable dogs from local canine rescue The Animal Pad; get complimentary dog caricatures and face paintings by local artists; nab frozen treats from Paw Pleasers; and be entered to win prizes and gift cards. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free. 254 W. Date St., Little Italy.

Everyday California Surfing Lessons

Open. Catch a wave with Everyday California’s daily surfing lessons—taking place in the calm waters of La Jolla Shores and open to all skill levels. The La Jolla-based ocean adventure company offers private and group lessons for up to 25 people, with each lasting 90 minutes. All equipment is provided. (See website for stringent cleaning procedures and safety precautions.) The company also offers standup-paddleboard lessons; plus kayak, surfboard and snorkel rentals. Open to ages 5 and older. Lessons start at $79 per person. 2261 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla Shores, 858.454.6195.

Exploring Old Town San Diego

Open. The city’s historical heart and California’s very first settlement (circa 1769), Old Town welcomes locals and visitors alike this summer—from sightseeing to shopping to outdoor dining. Stroll its quaint streets; shop at Diane Powers’ Bazaar del Mundo for authentic folk art, artisan jewelry, clothing and home decor; tour Old Town San Diego State Historic Park; sip a margarita on the expansive patio at Cafe Coyote; and much more. See website for full list of open businesses, addresses and hours. San Diego Avenue (between Old Town Avenue and Taylor Street), Old Town.

Lions, Tigers & Bears Animal Sanctuary

Open. Meet rescued big cats, bears and more at this 93-acre East County sanctuary, which welcomes the public and members to visit this summer. From its “Feed with a Keeper” and “Member for a Day” experiences, to exclusive behind-the-scenes tours, guests have a chance to learn the heartwarming stories of its 60-plus animals spanning 19 species. (All were born into captivity and later rescued and relocated to the sanctuary due to such reasons as illegal ownership and insufficient care.) Visits must be booked in advance. Call for hours and pricing. 24402 Martin Way, Alpine, 619.659.8078.

Food + Drink


Now Open. Go on a Roman holiday 19 stories up with CH Projects’ newest stunner. Designed by New York-based firm AvroKO, the trattoria channels a nostalgic, urban-nautical vibe—featuring metal-paneled walls with exposed rivets, high-gloss wood floors, and jaw-dropping bay and city views. The Roman menu—created by chefs Jason McLeod, Kat Humphus and Russell Rummer—features antipasti, pizzas, pastas and whole branzino; plus a roaming cheese cart and an Italian cocktail menu curated by Anthony Schmidt and Andrew Cordero. Open daily 5-11 p.m. 901 Bayfront Court, 19th floor, downtown, 619.877.8642.

International Smoke Del Mar

Open. It’s a true smoke show at this One Paseo outpost. A collaboration between chef Michael Mina and cookbook author Ayesha Curry, International Smoke is known for its wood-fired meats, seafood and even smoked cocktails. The restaurant welcomes new executive chef James Montejano (pictured)—a Mina protégé in his early career who has helmed kitchens across California. Menu musts include the smoked shellfish platter; Korean-style prime brisket; smoked pork-belly bao buns; and charbroiled-miso Chilean sea bass. L, D Tu-Su (see website for hours). 3387 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar, 619.331.4528.

Phõ Ca Dao Vietnamese Kitchen 

Open. The fantastic pho is here is just the beginning. From its spacious dining patio to colorful cocktails to authentic cuisine, this neighborhood-style eatery promises a fun Vietnamese culinary experience. We love the surf ‘n’ turf spring rolls with shrimp and lemongrass beef; Saigon steamed pork buns; softshell-crab-omelet soup; the signature Waterfall Crispy Chicken; and the oxtail pho with braised oxtail, rare steak and Vietnamese meatballs. Added bonus: a full bar with drinks such as the dragon-fruit mojito. Open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 2647 Fenton Pkwy., Mission Valley, 619.684.5129.


Open. There’s just something magical about sitting on the dining deck at Tidal, especially at sunset. Outfitted in ample seating, a fire pit and a “private beach house” vibe, the deck boasts 180-degree views of Mission Bay. To dine, expect family-style dishes that change often and spotlight locally sourced seafood and produce. Chef Andrew Reyes’ menu includes wood-roasted bay scallops, local squid-ink risotto and roasted-root-vegetable pot pie. Don’t miss Sunday brunch and live music on Wednesday nights. W-Sa 5-10 p.m.; Su 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Paradise Point Resort, 1404 Vacation Road, Mission Bay, 858.490.6363.

Arts + Culture

Balboa Park Botanical Building

Reopened. Stop and smell the flowers here once again. Fronted by its famous lily pond, the conservatory is one of the park’s most photographed spots. The historical structure—originally built for the 1915-16 Exposition—is one of the world’s largest lath buildings. Its rows of thin, reed-like shingles make for a striking cage-like exterior. Inside, walk among more than 2,100 permanent plants, including palms, orchids, ferns, cycads and tropical flora; plus seasonal flower displays and a “touch and smell me” herb garden. F-W 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. El Prado Walkway, Balboa Park.

Marston House Museum

Reopened. Getting to visit this historical landmark again is our kind of house call. Built in 1904 and named for George W. Marston (the “Father of Balboa Park”), the Marston House is the embodiment of the Arts and Crafts architectural movement. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house—nestled among tranquil landscaped gardens—was designed by renowned architects William Hebbard and Irving Gill. Tours start every half hour and last 40-45 minutes. Sa-Su 10 a.m.-4 p.m. See website for pricing. 3525 Seventh Ave., Balboa Park.

Photo credits: Seneca courtesy of CH Projects. Marston House by Paul Body. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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