San Diego

Weekend roundup

September 23-26

Outdoor Fun

Sunset Pier Walks at Birch Aquarium

Opens Sept. 24. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps is relaunching its Outdoor Adventures program, offering private, naturalist-guided walking tours of the Ellen Browning Scripps Pier—which is generally closed to the public. Learn more about the research conducted at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography via interactive activities, such as plankton investigations and squid dissections. The series runs select dates through Nov. 19; see website for advance registration (required). Tours are priced per group (up to six people): $135 for members; $150 for the public. 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, 858.534.3474.

Ruocco Park Market

Sept. 25. Enjoy creative street food, coffee, artwork and music at this outdoor market by the bay—nestled between Tuna Harbor Dockside Market and the USS Midway naval aircraft carrier on the south embarcadero. Presented by San Diego Food Markets, the event includes culinary offerings such as made-to-order vegan dishes, barbecue, paella, waffles, kettle corn and desserts. Shop for crafts, jewelry, homewares and more made by local artisans—all while enjoying live tunes by local musicians and relaxing under large umbrellas offering shade. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Free entry. 585 Harbor Lane, downtown.

La Jolla Zip Zoom

Reopened. Get your heart pounding with a one-of-a-kind zip line experience. La Jolla Zip Zoom takes guests down four zip lines that, totaled together, are more than 6,000 feet long—making it the longest zip line in California. Located on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, the family-friendly experience offers scenic views of Palomar Mountain and Pauma Valley—while reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour. We suggest the 90-minute guided tour that takes you along three thrilling courses. See website for safety measures. From $107 per person. 22000 CA-76, Pauma Valley, 760.742.3776. 

Food + Drink

Secret Sister

Now Open. The secret’s out! The owners of The Rose wine bar and bottle shop have transformed their onsite event space into an adorable bakery and teahouse—offering scratch-made, seasonal baked goods, teas, coffee drinks and outdoor dining. Items sell out quickly and change often, but recent treats available at the walk-up counter have included citrus-avocado-oil coffeecake, sourdough scones with rhubarb and mint, and coconut macarons. Guests can also expect a daily quiche, seasonal fruit pies, breads, baguettes, and house-made ice cream. Th-Su 8 a.m.-3 p.m. 2215 30th St., South Park.

Copa Vida

Reopened. After a long, pandemic-induced shut down, Copa Vida has reopened its location in San Marcos’ North City development district. The coffeehouse is known for its artisanal coffee drinks, teas and breakfast and lunch dishes—from hearty breakfast burritos to “brekkie” sandwiches to chicken-tortilla soup. Just in time for autumn, enjoy festive offerings such as the fall cappuccino, pumpkin-spice latte and the famous Jubilation—with house-made black-plum syrup, oat milk infused with Madagascar vanilla, and orange-blossom water. M-F 7 a.m.-3 p.m. 250 N. City Drive, Suite 1, San Marcos, 760.415.0193.

Hidden Fish

Reopened. With just 12 seats, the Convoy District’s intimate dining den is the city’s first traditional omakase sushi bar. This means the chef decides your meal of strictly nigiri (and maybe a few hand rolls)—featuring rotating catches flown in from the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan. Centered on a “timed dining” concept that is popular in Japan and NYC, the 90-minute experience includes 18 pieces of sushi; with a separate a la carte menu available. See website for hours and reservations. $135 per person. 4764 Convoy St., Suite A, Kearny Mesa, 858.210.5056.

Carnitas Snack Shack

Open. Burgers, beers and bay views equal the perfect trifecta. Nestled along the embarcadero, the outdoor bar and grill boasts spacious seating with views of San Diego Bay—serving cocktails, beer and a pork-centric menu of hearty sandwiches, burgers, tacos, burritos, soft-serve ice cream and more. Try the Triple Threat sandwich if you dare; it’s loaded with pork-loin schnitzel, pulled pork and bacon. And the signature carnitas tacos with corn tortillas are divine. No reservations needed. Open daily beginning at 11:30 a.m. 1004 N. Harbor Drive, downtown, 619.696.7675.

Solomon Bagel & Donut Company

Open. It’s OK to cozy up to chocolate croissants and other carbs this fall—and Solomon insists. The artisanal bakery serves daily fresh-baked bagels and doughnuts to-go. Bagel connoisseurs will love the New York-style, water-boiled, perfectly chewy creations—from tomato-basil to poppyseed to pumpernickel—accompanied by homemade spreads such as olive-pimento and garden-veggie cream cheese. Or choose from gourmet doughnuts, apple fritters, bialys, cupcakes and other pastries; plus vegan sandwiches, salads and drip coffee. Su-Th 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; F-Sa 6 a.m.-8 p.m. 4152 30th St., North Park, 619.326.8248.

Arts + Culture

Seeing the Invisible at S.D. Botanic Garden

Premieres Sept. 24. An ambitious art exhibition—created with augmented reality (AR) technology—will premiere in 12 outdoor gardens across six countries simultaneously … and San Diego Botanic Garden is one of them! Seeing the Invisible places the same collection of AR works by 12 international artists in each setting—from Edinburgh to Jerusalem to San Diego—revealing their parallels and contrasts with the help of a special smartphone app. (Pictured: “Gilded Cage” by Ai Weiwei, shot at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens). See website for details and tickets. 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, 760.632.0917.

The Garden at La Jolla Playhouse

Through Oct. 17. Live theater returns to La Jolla Playhouse with the first of three world premieres. Written by Tony Award-nominee Charlayne Woodard (pictured), The Garden explores the complex mother-daughter relationship between two “alpha” women who have not spoken in three years. Cassandra shows up at her mother Claire Rose’s garden gate to make amends, and the two women begin to work through past conflicts in a moving and thoughtful play. Patricia McGregor and Delicia Turner Sonnberg codirect. See website for safety info and tickets. 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla, 858.550.1010.

Photo credits: Secret Sister courtesy of @southparksandiego on Instagram. All other images are courtesy of the venues and businesses featured.

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