San Diego

Weekend roundup

September 14-17


“Casino di Piazza” in Little Italy

Sept. 15. The Little Italy Association presents its second annual “Casino di Piazza,” an Italian garden casino experience under the stars at the Piazza della Famiglia. Feel free to dress to impress (i.e., cocktail or black-tie attire) as you’re transported to the elegant gardens of Milan—complete with Italian statues; walls lined with lush greenery; gaming tables hosting blackjack, craps and roulette; craft cocktails and light bites; and live entertainment. Proceeds benefit ongoing maintenance and beautification of the piazza. 7-11 p.m. $65 general admission; $125 VIP. 523 W. Date St., Little Italy.

“Amps & Ales” Festival in Chula Vista

Sept. 16. The Downtown Chula Vista Association brings us “Amps & Ales,” where craft beer lovers can sample brews from nearly 40 breweries. Participating brewers include Alesmith Brewing Company, Ballast Point, Bay City Brewing Co., Belching Beaver, Chula Vista Brewery, Fall Brewing Company, Kings & Convicts, Mike Hess Brewing, Pizza Port Brewing Co., Pure Project, Societe and more. Guests can also enjoy local food vendors and live music by Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, Sandollar and The Sleepwalkers. 1-4 p.m. $35 general admission; $45 VIP (including early admission at noon). Memorial Park, Chula Vista. More Info

FanCon at Parkway Plaza

Sept. 16-17. Your inner geek is safe at FanCon! Parkway Plaza’s inaugural event transports you to the realm of gaming, comics, anime, streaming, tabletop games and trading cards. The fun includes a cosplay contest, gaming tournaments, tabletop battles, live Q&A panels with top streamers, trading card extravaganzas, an artist alley and a merchandise market. Go VIP for early entry; premium photo booth access; meet-and greets with gamers and voice actors; entry to the Smash Heaven Video Game Lounge; and a VIP swag bag. See website for hours and tickets. 415 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon. More Info

Shipwrecks House Music Fest

Sept. 16-17. A pirate-themed music experience devoted to house music? Count us in! Quartyard SD and Shipwreck Events present two evenings of electronic house music—featuring artists such as GUZ, Chuwe, Piero Pirupa and BRANTHEDON (pictured). Quartyard’s alfresco venue will transform into a pirate-themed oasis—boasting an outdoor dance floor, elevated food vendors and professionally staffed bars. Wear your dancing shoes and feel free to dress the part. See website for more details. 4-9 p.m. Daily general admission passes are $40 per person; two-day passes are $50 (21+). 1301 Market St., East Village. More Info

Food + Drink

“Boozy Garden Tea Time” at Estancia

Sept. 17. Dress up in your high-tea finest on Sunday and be transported to a whimsical wonderland—where you’ll enjoy gourmet tea, libations, savory bites and sweet treats. Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa welcomes you to its lush secret garden for “Boozy Garden Tea Time.” Tickets include two libations of your choice, such as bubbly and specialty cocktails like the Y&Y Gin & Tonic, Aviation, French 75 and Etoile; plus petite pastries and finger sandwiches; and gourmet Smith Tea selections. Reservations required. Noon-3 p.m. $80 per person. 9700 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 855.430.7503. More Info

New Menus at JRDN

Now Available. Tower23 Hotel’s oceanfront restaurant JRDN has two new talents in the kitchen, executive chef Jerry Ranson and pastry chef Justin Sazon, and the duo has dreamt up some new menus. Savory new offerings include the lobster tartine; the Tuna, Tuna Tuna sushi roll with ahi, albacore and spicy tuna; oxtail bucatini (pictured); and the Burning Up menu where you choose your meat and sauce. New desserts include the Citrus Tour, Island Cruise and The Protégé. And check out JRDN’s new SoCal Supper Club experience every Tuesday. See website for hours. 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach, 858.270.5736.

New Menu (and Team!) at Seneca 

Now Available. Seneca, CH Projects’ stylish Roman trattoria (located 19 floors up at the InterContinental Hotel), debuts new leadership and a menu refresh. The new team comprises executive chef Christopher Gerwig, GM Bosko Milenkovic, assistant GM Courtney Mullarkey-Finley and service manager Lucas Ketir. On the menu: whipped ricotta with pistachio pesto, Castelvetrano olives, lemon and grilled bread; wood-fired eggplant with whipped mascarpone and garlic confit; and 30-layer oxtail lasagna with fried parsley. L, D daily beginning at 11 a.m. 901 Bayfront Court, level 19, downtown, 619.877.8642.

Arts + Culture

Sunset Pier Walks at Birch Aquarium

Sept. 15-Dec. 10. The Birch Aquarium is offering 90-minute, naturalist-guided walking tours of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier—which is generally closed to the public. Learn about the research conducted at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography via interactive activities such as plankton investigations and squid dissections; while watching surfers and autumn’s extraordinary sunsets. And keep an eye out for marine life sightings: dolphins, sea lions and leopard sharks. See website for required advance registration and tour times (which vary with sunset times). 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, 858.534.3474.

San Diego Dance Theater’s Trolley Dances

Sept. 16-17. In partnership with the Metropolitan Transit System and UCSD Extension, San Diego Dance Theater presents its 25th Trolley Dances anniversary event. The annual series—aimed at transforming public spaces into joyful, culture-rich stages—comprises inspiring dance acts performed across three trolley sites. The route spans Old Town, Little Italy and UCSD’s Park and Market. Riders can enjoy performances that celebrate San Diego’s diversity and culture; think: the history of hip-hop, Ballet Folklorico and the essence of Old Town. See website for full details, tour times and tickets. More Info

SACRA/PROFANA’s Season Opener

Sept. 17. Interested in an afternoon of truly heartfelt music? SACRA/PROFANA—San Diego’s professional choral ensemble known for its musical diversity—opens its 15th season: A Love That Lifts Up. Sunday’s concert, titled “The End is the Beginning,” is dedicated to homeless San Diegans who have passed away in the past year. It’s the first of five concerts; each takes place at a different venue (the finale is June 1) and touches on a different social concern—inspired by contemporary composers and merging pop, classical and contemporary music. 3 p.m. Free. First Presbyterian Church, 320 Date St., downtown.

Photo credits: Seneca by Shannon Partrick. Birch Aquarium by Jordann Tomasek. 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