San Diego

Weekend roundup

September 2-6

Outdoor Fun

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Open. It’s the largest desert state park in the U.S.—spanning 640,000 acres of hiking/biking trails, 500 miles of dirt roads, historical landmarks, natural preserves, paleontological sites, 4,500 cultural sites, campgrounds, canyons and caves. History buffs will have a field day here, literally—with five locales on the National Register of Historic Places, and rocks that are more than 470 million years old. Incredible views abound every turn—from the stark Borrego Badlands to Font’s Point to stellar stargazing at nighttime. See website for entry points at Borrego Springs. More Info

Belmont Park

Open. A beachside landmark since 1925, Belmont Park is the embodiment of San Diego outdoor fun—home to amusement-park rides, attractions, arcades, restaurants and activities for small kids. Highlights include the historical Giant Dipper roller coaster, Plunge pool, Liberty carousel and Sky Ropes climbing course. We love to stroll along the boardwalk; sip craft beer on the beachfront patio at Draft; and finish the day with sushi on the ocean deck at Cannonball (try the Tuna Sensation roll). Open daily (see website for hours). 3146 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach, 858.488.1549.

Labor Day Weekend

Weekend Concerts at The Shell

Sept. 3-5. The inaugural season is underway at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park—San Diego Symphony’s new $85 million bayside venue. The weekend lineup includes a screening of the Elton John-inspired film, Rocketman, on Friday; and Steven Spielberg’s ‘80s cult classic, The Goonies, on Saturday. The scores of each movie will be performed live by the symphony orchestra. On Sunday, enjoy a special symphony concert: “The Finest Hour: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Music that Ended WWII.” 7:30 p.m. See website for pricing. 222 Marina Park Way, downtown, 619.235.0804.

Summer Luau at Kona Kai

Sept. 4. Kona Kai Resort & Spa transforms its bayfront property on Shelter Island into the Hawaiian Islands with its first luau-themed celebration. The fun includes a pineapple-rum welcome cocktail, fresh leis, fire dancers, Hula-Hoops for kids and live music. Guests can also enjoy a buffet dinner of traditional Hawaiian dishes—including Kalua pig, barbecue pork, pineapple chicken, mahi-mahi with mango glaze and Spam musubis; plus an ice cream bar, pineapple-upside-down cake and coconut cake for dessert. 5-8 p.m. $90 adults; $40 children ages 5-12. 1551 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619.452.3138. Tickets

Closing Day at Del Mar Racetrack

Sept. 6. “And … away they go!” Place your bets on Monday—the summer season finale of thoroughbred horseracing—at Del Mar Racetrack. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s annual tradition offers 10 races on which guests can bet; plus limited general admission, grandstand seating, trackside tables and dining; as well as reservations available for the Turf Club. And feel free to dress up a little (wide-brimmed hats for the ladies and suits for the gentlemen.) First race begins at 1:30 p.m. See website for admission pricing. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, 858.792.4242.

Labor Day Pier Swim

Sept. 6. Dive in if you dare! Presented by the Oceanside Swim Club—a nonprofit and competitive swim team for children ages 5-18—this 92nd annual event returns. Started in 1929, the tradition entails a one-mile swim around the landmark Oceanside Pier—first built in 1888 and standing at 1,954 feet long—with swimmers racing toward the finish line in the sand. Register online in advance (must be at least 13 years old). Check-ins begin at 7 a.m; start times (which are staggered) begin at 8:30 a.m. $70 entry fee. The Strand, Oceanside.

Grilling Essentials from Ranch 45

Now Available. Have plans to grill at home this holiday weekend? This Solana Beach butchery/eatery has you covered. From rib-eye steaks to New York strips to classic hotdogs, Ranch 45 offers custom meat boxes ideal for large groups and gatherings—including the Ultimate Grill Box, BBQ Box, Marinate Your Night Box and Ranch Breakfast Box. Packages come with seasonings and sauces, and all meats are sourced from humanely raised animals and are free of antibiotics and hormones. Order online while offerings last. $40-$275. 512 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach, 858.461.0092.

Food + Drink

Summer Anniversary Bash at Corner Chicken

Sept. 3. What pairs better with a fried-chicken sandwich than a pint? But not just any pint … Celebrating its one-year anniversary, Corner Chicken has partnered with Nova Kombucha for a “tap takeover” on Friday night. Guests can enjoy $4 pints of Nova’s mango IPA, Sexy piña colada and mint-watermelon hard kombucha. Soak it all up with the popular Nashville-style, Hot Chicken Sando with kale slaw and pickles. Festivities include a live DJ, giveaways and a San Diego Padres ticket raffle. 5-9 p.m. 721 Ninth Ave., Suite 1, East Village, 619.432.1171.

Weekend Brunch at STK San Diego

Sept. 4-6. The swanky steakhouse is offering brunch all holiday weekend long (book a table on the patio), and the dishes are as decadent as the dinner menu. Feast on smoked-pork-belly Benedict with maple-glazed bacon; cinnamon-brioche French toast with fresh berries and cream-cheese icing; buttermilk waffles with spicy fried chicken, pickles, coleslaw and maple-barbecue sauce; and much more. To wash it all down, bubbly lovers can order specially priced magnums of Veuve Clicquot and Moet Chandon. Reservations recommended. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 600 F St., Gaslamp Quarter, 619.354.5988.

Nick The Greek

Now Open. The fast-casual Mediterranean chain has arrived in San Diego with its newest outpost located downtown. The eatery is known for its pita sandwiches and bowls—filled with your choice of chicken gyro, pork souvlaki, falafel, grilled veggies and more—topped with items such as tzatziki sauce and feta cheese. We love the Greek fries and famous lemon soup with orzo pasta, eggs and chicken. For dessert, try the baklava with house-made syrup, Greek frozen yogurt and loukoumades (Greek doughnuts). Open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 927 J St., East Village, 619.782.9444.

Arts + Culture

Mingei International Museum

Reopens Sept. 3. Showcasing historical and contemporary folk art, craft and design, the museum reopens after a three-year, $55 million remodel. Designed by LUCE et Studio, the renovation encompasses a 10,000-square-foot expansion—including new civic space, an education center for K-12 students, a theater (pictured), library, courtyard, galleries, shopping and dining. Exhibits include Global Spirit: Folk Art from the Ted Cohen Collection; and Humble Spirit / Priceless Art, with works made from modest materials. And say hello again to beloved mosaic alligator “Nikigator” at the entrance. 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.239.0003.

“Musical Migrations” by Art of Elan

Sept. 5. Joining the lineup of festivities celebrating Mingei International Museum’s reopening, Art of Elan (the city’s premier chamber music collective) presents a special multisensory production. Performers will “activate” the museum’s new spaces with “musical encounters” throughout the building—with a finale performance in the new theater, boasting state-of-the-art acoustics. The music ranges from classical to impressionist, infused with tangos and colorful folk music throughout. Reservations are required (see website), as finale seating is limited. 3-5 p.m. Free. 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park.

Art Scavenger Hunt at Liberty Station

Ongoing. Head to the Arts District Liberty Station to discover and explore 15 public art installations across the 100-acre campus—all at your own pace. Simply scan the QR code at any of the installations, or visit the web link below to start at the mural by James Armenta located behind the Moniker General building. Works include Transcending Perception (pictured) by The AjA Project, Facetime by Miki Iwasaki and Sky Mosaic by David Krimmel. Finish your hunt and collect prizes and discounts from local businesses, including a glass of wine from Solare Ristorante. Free. 2820 Roosevelt Road, Liberty Station. More Info

Photo credits: Ranch 45 by Maraelia Romaine. STK San Diego by Max Milla. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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