Halloween in the San Diego North County Coastal Area
Can you believe that it is almost Halloween? Whether you are in search of a huge monster bash or want to find something a bit more family-friendly to do with the kids, San Diego’s North County coastal area has a little something for everyone.
- The Haunted Hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. This is a great destination for a family with older teens. An ongoing attraction that is open from Sept. 21 to Oct. 31, this venue has the distinction of having been featured on the Travel Channel. All the horror genre’s greats are represented, which teens are sure to love. Hours of operation are Sundays through Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Fridays, the Haunted Hotel opens at 6 p.m. and closes at 1 a.m. The attraction is located at 424 Market Street.
- The Scream Zone in Del Mar. Open Thursdays through Sundays for the early part of October and Wednesday to Wednesday starting Oct. 24, the Scream Zone is located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This is a fun activity for families with younger and older teens. Three attractions beckon. There are a haunted hayride, a chamber of horrors and a house of horror. Hours of operation are 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. On the other days, the attractions close at 11 p.m.
- Old Town’s Most Haunted Tour in San Diego. Choose this tour is you are looking for an impromptu activity that does not require reservations and is suitable even for younger children. This walking tour departs every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9 p.m. from 2754 Calhoun Street. Just like the spirit hunters on television, your guide uses meters to ferret out paranormal activity. Tours last two hours. There is no fake blood or scary actors. Instead, your host takes you to San Diego venues that are famous for paranormal events.
With so much fun all around, why not visit all these Halloween attractions? See you there!
Sunny Southern California communities prepare to give a last nod to summer. A wide variety of Labor Day events and festivities highlight the fact that there is always something to do in the cities that make up the north county coastal area.
Oceanside: Labor Day Pier Swim
Join the Oceanside Swim Club, which will hold its 83rd annual pier swim event on Monday. Head over to the Oceanside Municipal Pier near the corner of Mission Avenue and North Pacific Street. There you may test your mettle against hobbyists and diehards. The course measures one mile. Sign in starts early at 7:30 a.m. The first swimmers hit the ocean waves less than an hour later. Please note that no one wearing a wetsuit will be kept in the running for a medal. Lifeguards ensure safety along the course. After the swim, enjoy the offerings of food and drink vendors, participate in raffles and listen to live music.
Del Mar: Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals Finals for the San Diego Qualifier
Adorable dachshunds compete on Labor Day at the Del Mar racetrack. Located on 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard in Del Mar, the venue will host the 16th installment of the annual fun event. Not surprisingly, this contest focuses on dachshund speed and 16 wiener dogs, which previously left other competitors in the dust, now compete to become San Diego’s qualifying hound for the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals on December 27. Come early and enjoy the horse races; stay for the wiener dog races after the horses’ third, fifth and seventh competing runs.
San Diego: SoCAL Music Festival
This event takes place on Saturday, September 1. From 2 p.m. until 12 a.m., San Diego’s 9th, 10th and 11th Streets – between G Street and Market – transform into a party zone. The adults-only event features a $40 ticket cost. Attendees enjoy music acts performing on four stages as well as daring skate ramp antics. San Diego’s East Village anticipates that a major draw to the event will be the interactive art exhibits, which highlight Southern California artists. Keep your eyes open for a 25-foot tall psychedelic flower crafted from surfboards and bike parts; it will be hard to miss.
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Visit Solana Beach on June 2nd and 3rd for an unforgettable repeat of the annual Fiesta del Sol. This family-friendly event offers live music, display opportunities for local artisans, plenty of good food, and many activities youngsters of all ages will enjoy. Festivities take place next to Fletcher Cove at 111 South Sierra Avenue. The Fiesta del Sol runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both days.
Locals, fellow Southern California residents and tourists flock to Solana Beach’s Fiesta del Sol for the international look and feel. The food will be decidedly intercontinental. This is a great opportunity to try something new. Musical performances include reggae beats, Latin tunes, traditional jazz, blues and rock.
Parking used to be complicated, but 2012 promises a change sure to appeal to attendees. Event organizers succeeded in securing seven parking lots that allow Fiesta del Sol visitors to park free and take a double-decker shuttle bus. Fit pedi-cab operators offer rides to the venue at very low fares. An estimated 50,000 festivalgoers may attend on this weekend. It is a good idea to get an early start, especially if you are hoping to buy unique crafts or jewelry pieces.
After you are done enjoying food, fun and music, take a bit of time to walk along the streets of Solana Beach. The close proximity to the Pacific Ocean provides brisk ocean air that is refreshing to breathe. Enjoy the historic significance of Eden Gardens, a neighborhood that dates back to the 1920s. Marvel at the stunning flowers that grow in the gardens; the Mediterranean climate makes growing even the most exotic blooms quite possible.
I hope to see you at the Fiesta del Sol!
Cultural arts are a big deal in Carlsbad. While most visitors to this coastal resort city cannot stop talking about the impressive flower fields and the balmy Mediterranean climate, those in search of music know that Carlsbad is also home to great jazz music.
“This is Jazz!” is a continuing series that will kick off on Saturday, February 18. Come to the Ruby G. Schulman Auditorium at the Carlsbad City Library complex. It is located at 1775 Dove Lane and offers up ample free parking; even the entry price is made to please: It is free!
The February 18th guest performer is Janis Mann; the accompanying guitar player is Bruce Forman. In addition to the music, the jazz event also includes audio-visual lectures on some greats of the genre. Become familiar with Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Wynton Marsalis and other famous jazz musicians. Author Dirk Sutro does the honors of lecturing and presenting on the topic of great jazz vocalists.
Since one weekend afternoon is not possibly enough to get a full appreciation of all things jazz, plan to come back on March 24, when the Gilbert Castellanos Quartet kicks off an afternoon of West Coast jazz. On April 21, Peter Sprague regales with offerings from the jazz guitar. Last but not least, on May 19 it will be the Lynn Willard Quartet’s turn to introduce a rapt audience to electric jazz.
Let’s meet me at the library’s auditorium. Doors open at 3:45 p.m., although seating tickets will be distributed as early as 3 p.m. Since this event is bound to be popular, be sure to come early and meet some great jazz fans in the process.
Situated at 2710 Manchester Avenue in picturesque Cardiff by the Sea, the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve offers naturalist-guided walks along the coastal wetlands. Take this wonderful opportunity to learn new facts and figures related to indigenous flora and fauna. Bring along the children to make it a fun-filled family event.
Every Saturday morning, docents and walkers leave at 10 a.m. sharp from the nature center. The walk takes until about 11:30 a.m. During these outings, walkers learn about saltwater- and fresh water marshes. They recognize the importance of chaparral preservation and why coastal sage shrubs are instrumental in providing habitats for various species of animals.
Birders in particular should come prepared with binoculars and photography equipment. Migratory species are frequent guests at the nature reserve. This particular nature walk has the distinction of being ADA-accessible.
For the more adventurous souls, there is a nature walk that extends to the southern portion of the reserve. It departs on every second Saturday of the month and goes from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The route takes walkers to the Rios Avenue Trailhead and also along the Solana Beach Trail. The accompanying naturalist carries a telescope to let walkers get up close and personal with nesting birds, while at the same time maintaining a respectful physical distance.
Do not forget to also take a closer look at the visitor center itself. It is a certified green building that showcases recycled materials, solar energy generation and irrigated roof plants. A veritable showpiece of eco-friendly design, it underscores North County’s commitment to environmentally friendly building practices.
See you on the trails!