San Diego

Weekend roundup

October 27-31


San Diego Zombie Crawl

Oct. 27-29. Can you handle three full evenings of partying with the undead? Get ready for one hell of a weekend (pun intended) at this annual bonanza of booze, ghouls and graveyards in the Gaslamp Quarter. The chaos kicks off with the official Opening Party at American Junkie and also grants guests free entry to 21 other venues and over-the-top parties; along with “welcome potions,” live entertainment and DJs, dancing, “costume insanity” and more. See website for full details. Starting at 6 p.m. each night. $35-$100. 628 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. Tickets

Día De Los Muertos Celebration in Chula Vista

Oct. 29. The largest Día De Los Muertos celebration in South Bay, this second-annual, family-friendly event returns to downtown Chula’s Vista Memorial Park—which will be transformed into a place to honor deceased ancestors and welcome their return as memories. Festivities include an altar-building contest with cash prizes; a Catrín/Catrina ensemble competition; flower arrangements from Tallo and Pan de Muerto from Dulcet; a screening of Disney Pixar’s animated film Coco (7 p.m.); live music and dance performances; face painting; and food vendors. 3-8 p.m. Free entry. 373 Park Way, Chula Vista. More Info

Hard Rock Things” Halloween Bash

Oct. 29. The Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is going big with its Halloween bash—cheekily warning guests that “abnormal” and “strange things” are in store for them. The all-hotel party will span three floors and seven rooms—including the 10,000-square-foot Legends ballroom, which will transform into a Dungeons & Dragons-themed club; Float Pool Club, which will host the Gaslamp’s biggest rooftop party; VIP lounges throughout the property; and more than 15 DJs, including headliner Thomas Jack (pictured). 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $50-$150. 207 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. More Info

Nightmare on Normal Street

Oct. 29. Eat, drink and be scary with the return of Hillcrest’s infamous Halloween block party and costume competition. Highlights include libations and local food trucks; a main stage with DJs and dancers from Rich’s Nightclub; a massive outdoor dance floor; “Upside Down” selfie stations throughout the venue; and the evening’s signature cocktail: “Vampire Punch.” The famed costume contest promises more than $2,000 in prizes, complete with local celebrity guest judges. There’s even a pet costume competition! 5-11 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Pride Flag Plaza, 1500 University Ave., Hillcrest. More Info

Coronado Pumpkin Patch

Oct. 30. They had us at “slime station.” This Halloween extravaganza by the bay in Coronado features an actual slime station; plus games, face painting, balloon art, pumpkin-painting kits, cookie-decorating kits, Julian hot-apple cider, cotton candy, a candy wagon, and the Corn Box—where you can actually swim in a jumbo box of corn kernels. Oh, and there’s plenty of actual pumpkins in all shapes and sizes from which to choose. It’s the perfect place to make some family-friendly Halloween memories. See website for hours. Free entry. Coronado Ferry Landing, 1201 First St., Coronado. More Info

The Haunted Trail at Balboa Park

Through Oct. 31. Test your fears of the dark and unknown by experiencing two “haunts” at one location. The 3,500-square-foot eXperiment Maze turns your cherished childhood fairytales into adulthood “scarytales.” (You’ll never think of Pinocchio in the same way again!) And The Haunted Trail—named by CNN as one of the “Top 5 Best Haunted Attractions in America”—takes you on a mile-long path of terror through twisted pines, oaks and unpleasant surprises. Five words: zombie rodeo clowns wielding chainsaws. See website for hours, tickets and parking tips. Corner of Balboa Drive and Juniper, Balboa Park, 619.696.7227.

Food + Drink

“Fright Nights” at AleSmith

Oct. 28-30. Care for a craft beer with a side of fear? AleSmith Brewing Company invites you on a haunted tour through its brewery—from its shipping docks back to the Zien Family Farm. Learn firsthand what makes the company’s famous Evil Dead Red ale so intriguing; just beware of the “Red Harvest” as you stroll through the wheat fields. The faint of heart are welcome to wait for the rest of their party in the main tasting room (not recommended for young children). 7-11 p.m. Tickets start at $25. 9990 AleSmith Court, Miramar, 858.549.9888. More Info

Botanica Bar & Art Gallery

Now Open. Ever heard of a genever cocktail bar? Be Saha Hospitality Group (Tahona, Oculto 477, Wormwood) brings us San Diego’s first. Botanica is both a cocktail bar and gallery showcasing modern art and NFT digital art. Explore the history and flavors of genever—the precursor to gin and one of Europe’s oldest distilled spirits. Botanica serves it in flutes (traditionally sipped with your hands behind your back); and in the form of creative cocktails. Guests can also sample other gins and botanical spirits; plus gourmet plates by executive chef Tiffany Tran. See website for hours. 3139 University Ave., North Park, 619.310.6320.

Arts + Culture

S.D. Opera’s El último sueño de Frida y Diego

Oct. 29; Nov. 1, 4, 6. San Diego Opera presents the world premiere of El último sueño de Frida y Diego (The Last Dream of Frida and Diego). The new opera by Gabriela Frank was inspired by the lives and love story of Mexico’s most famous artists: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The fictional plot: Three years have passed since the death of Frida, and Diego grieves for his wife. On the Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), faced with his own impending demise, Diego prays for Frida’s return; and La Catrina, keeper of the underworld, grants his wish. But there’s a catch … Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., 619.533.7000.

Piñata Exhibit at Mingei International Museum

Opens Oct. 28. A treasure trove of folk art, craft and design, Mingei International Museum presents Piñatas – The High Art of Celebration. One of the first exhibits to showcase piñatas as both an established craft and a modern art form, the show comprises 80-plus works by Latinx artists from across the U.S.; plus pieces by traditional piñateros. Visitors can explore piñatas of all shapes and sizes, each reflecting subjects from politics to culture to daily life—some serious in nature; others humorous. Programming includes featured-artist lectures and piñata-making workshops. 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.239.0003.

Photo credits: Botanica by Megan Jane Burgess. Piñata / Mingei:Agarrate Papa” by artist Francisco Palomares. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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