20 Ways to Play in America’s Finest City

While we operate all over Southern California, San Diego has been The Event Team’s beloved home base for 20 years! It’s safe to say that we know this city better than the back of our hand. More than just a gorgeous city with incredible weather, our experience has shown that there is something for everybody in this pacific paradise. From the beach to the mountains, from downtown to North County, San Diego’s activity offerings are vast and diverse. Let’s check out 20 Ways to Play in America’s Finest City!

1. America’s Finest Nautical Excursions:  A scenic water ride by yacht, kayak, sailboat, or jet ski around beautiful San Diego Bay is the quintessential San Diego experience. Adventurous buccaneers. can even opt for a Pirate Ship excursion! For those looking for the best in both land and sea exploration, a tour aboard an amphibious Hydra-Terra bus-boat might be the ideal trip. Fishing or whale watching activities can also add excitement to a seafaring journey.

2.  America’s Finest Aural Pleasures: 
San Diego has a thriving live music scene.  Every genre of music is represented in the lively bar and club scene from downtown to Del Mar.  Popular venues such as House of Blues, Anthology or Belly Up Tavern host local and well-known musical acts. Cricket Wireless Amphitheater is the place for today’s hottest music stars, but it is Humphrey’s concerts by the bay that are a true San Diego tradition. For the classically minded, the historic Copley Symphony Hall, built in 1929, is home to the San Diego Symphony.

3.  America’s Finest Creatures of the Sea:  The original Sea World park is found here and it is a true San Diego institution. While it has certainly evolved since its founding in 1964, Sea World honors traditions of marine life conservation and education while also providing thrill rides, animal interaction experiences, and fantastic shows. You can dine with the famous orca, Shamu, before watching him perform flips and soak the crowd with his killer whale friends in an inspiring tribute to our planet. For a more low-key glimpse into the mysteries of the sea, Birch Aquarium at Scripps is a beautiful education center set atop a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

4.  America’s Finest Creatures of the Land:  Synonymous with the city, the World Famous San Diego Zoo is a cherished leader of the community. This historic research center offers guests the chance to see some of the world’s most magnificent creatures in lush animal enclosures. The zoo’s sister park, the massive 1800 acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park located in the San Pasqual Valley, provides a different kind of animal experience with expansive free-range enclosures for wild and endangered species. A tram ride through the Africa exhibit, hot air balloon ride, and zip line are popular recent additions to the park.

5.  America’s Finest Military Tributes:  We are proud of San Diego’s legacy as a military city! The USS Midway Museum, a massive aircraft carrier that served in the U.S. Navy for 47 years, is a fascinating floating museum honoring military tradition. Many of the museum’s docents actually served aboard the ship! Real jets and aircraft sit atop its flight deck, which can also double as a one-of-a-kind special event venue! Marine Corp Command Museum and Flying Leatherneck Museum are also excellent places to be immersed in military history. The famous Blue Angels dazzle at the MCAS Miramar Air Show during the Fleet Festival in the fall, and admission is free!

6.  America’s Finest Beaches: 
Some of the country’s finest beaches are found along the San Diego coastline. Surf, swim, sunbath, read a book, build a sandcastle, play volleyball, walk on the beach, have a bonfire, or just watch the sunset, the activities here are endless. Once you are water-logged, you can venture in to one of San Diego’s funky beach towns to be immersed in local surf culture. Tide pools are located in Point Loma and Carlsbad where visitors can observe small sea creatures in their natural habitat.  A visit here would not be complete without a trip to the beach!

7.  America’s Finest Resort Living:  We know what leisure means in San Diego! A plethora of beachside or metropolitan resorts transport guests to the ultimate relaxation paradise. Spas, fine dining, and golf courses await eager leisure seekers. 

8. America’s Finest Nature Trails:  From beach side bluffs to dense forests and lakes, miles of hiking and biking trails traverse San Diego County’s diverse natural environment. Torrey Pines State Reserve is one of the area’s best examples of the native ecosystem maintaining miles of pristine California coastal landscape. Mt. Woodson in Poway is a popular hike that offers spectacular views of the ocean and Mexico. Cowles Mountain, Elfin Forest, and Los Penasquitos Canyon are also popular recreation areas.

9. America’s Finest Beer Tasting:  San Diego just might be the craft beer capital of the world!  Over 30 craft breweries are located here and the city recently hosted the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Cup. Stone Brewing Co., Karl Strauss, Alpine Beer Company, and Ballast Point are just a few of the microbreweries serving San Diegans that malty, frothy goodness!  Beer nerds mark your calendars, the Gaslamp Quarter will play host to Beer-Con 2012 on August 24-25.

10.  America’s Finest History: 
Before San Diego was an international vacation destination it had a rich history of Native Americans, explorer, missionary, and ranchero traditions. There are many historic sights and landmarks to visit including Mission San Diego de Alcala, the oldest of Junipero Serra’s famous California missions, and the “Star of India”, the oldest sailing vessel that still sails. Old Town State Historic Park houses some of the city’s oldest structures as well as exhibits, boutique shops, Mexican restaurants, and locally famous happy hours. You can pay your respects to San Diego’s discoverer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, at the majestic Cabrillo National Monument on the tip of Point Loma.

11. America’s Finest Horse Racing:   Standing as an icon of San Diego’s relationship with old Hollywood, the historic Del Mar Racetrack was built by a partnership including Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien, Jimmy Durante, Charles S. Howard and Oliver Hardy.  Today it remains as one of the west coast’s most popular racing venues and San Diego’s fairgrounds for a variety of expos and events.  There is a smile on every face and a winner in each race where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar.”

image from http://www.dmtc.com/

12.  America’s Finest Lego Building: 
In 1999, the first Legoland park outside of Europe opened in Carlsbad, California. Imagination reigns supreme in this beautifully landscaped park’s over 60 rides and attractions. While it is certainly geared toward younger children, anyone can marvel at the park’s many structures and models made entirely of Legos. The once modest park is now a full family resort complex featuring a water park, aquarium, and brand new hotel.

13. America’s Finest Sports (Fans):  While San Diego sports teams may be cursed with the inability to win any modern major league professional championships, that does not mean that sports fandom here is any less fervent. Qualcomm Stadium is home to the San Diego “Super” Chargers, San Diego State University Aztecs, and the Holiday Bowl. The uniquely-designed home of the Padres, Petco Park, offers state-of-the-art fan amenities and spectacular views of San Diego Bay, the San Diego skyline, and Balboa Park.  Win or lose, it is always a great time tailgating and enjoying a game!

Private events at PetCo Park are the ultimate way to get into the game! Contact The Event Team about hosting yours today!

14. America’s Finest Museum Hopping: 
The wealth of museums in San Diego County is unbelievable, but several of them are located in the beautiful Balboa Park. This U.S. National Historic Landmark District was placed on reserve in 1835, which makes it one of the oldest public recreation sites in the country. Nestled among the rare trees, groves, and gardens of the park you will find El Prado, a boulevard of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture that contains many cultural attractions. San Diego Museum of Man, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego History Center, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the Timken Museum of Art are all found along El Prado.

15.  America’s Finest Theatre:  San Diego has a flourishing theater community.  Historic venues such as the Balboa Theatre and the Old Globe Theatre have been entertaining audiences since the city’s early days. The San Diego Civic Theatre hosts the latest Broadway mega-hits. Many of New York’s most critically acclaimed shows get their start at the world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse, which is constantly at the forefront of the American theatre scene.

image from http://www.sandiegotheatres.org/

16. America’s Finest Gaming:  Who needs Vegas?  Slots, table games, and buffet heaven are waiting right here in San Diego!  Competition among Indian casinos is fierce and many of them offer a gaming experience that is just as grand as Sin City. Viejas Casino, with an upscale shopping outlet and big-name concert series, and the magnificent ranch-style fantasy that is Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino are at the top of the casino list. Pechanga Resort and Casino, the largest in California, is another popular gaming destination with a first-rate luxury resort complex attached.

17. America’s Finest Dancing, Drinking, and Singing:  From bumpin’ nightclubs to dive bar karaoke, San Diego can fulfill your every nightlife desire. The Gaslamp District’s nightclubs, such as FLUXX and Stingaree, are the city’s center for drinking and dancing the night away. For a taste of the local bar scene, the neighborhoods of Hillcrest, North Park, and Pacific Beach are the places to explore. Good times are guaranteed at the award-winning The Lamplighter in Mission Hills, San Diego’s favorite karaoke joint.   Pacific Beach Bar and Grill, Shakespeare Pub & Grille, and Prospect Bar & Lounge are other popular choices for relaxing with friends.

18. America’s Finest Retail Therapy:  Nobody leaves San Diego empty handed! Boutique shops, art galleries, outlets, and everything in between are found throughout the city. Stop by Seaport Village for old-timey seaside souvenir store hopping or check out La Jolla Village for upscale window shopping. Amazing deals are discovered at Carlsbad Premium Outlets and Viejas Outlets. Premiere retail centers include Westfield Horton Plaza, Fashion Valley, and Grossmont Center.

19.  America’s Finest Face Stuffing:  The dining options and flavors of San Diego are bountiful and irresistible! Addison, Bertrand at Mister A’s, and George’s California Modern contend with the finest dining experiences the world has to offer. Celebrity chef Brian Malarky’s five inventive restaurants are the new hipness and include Searsucker, ranked #2 hottest restaurant in the country by Time Magazine. Classic San Diego eateries include Hodad’s for burgers, Harbor Fish Café for fish tacos, and Old Town’s Casa Guadalajara for a true Mexican fiesta experience. The food truck movement has definitely made a mark here, but North Park’s Carnitas Snack Shack is the place to go for gourmet street food. 

20. America’s Finest Festivals and Events:  America’s finest city is also home to America’s finest weather, which makes it the perfect place for festivals and events all year long. From arts, to culinary, to film and music festivals, there is always something special going on every week. San Diego’s Pride Festival is one of the country’s largest LGBT celebrations.  Balboa Park’s Shakespeare Festival at The Old Globe Theatre is a summer tradition. Don’t forget that this city knows how to celebrate the holidays too with seasonal events for Christmas, Halloween, Cinco De Mayo, and many more.  With so many things to see and do, there is no better place to plan your next event than beautiful San Diego!