Friday, April 5
Desert Bloom Season
Dawn to Dusk, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Spring wildflower season continues in San Diego’s desert region, as desert dandelions, sand verbena and other colorful species blanket Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Thanks to the consistent rain over the winter, this year’s bloom is robust and vibrant. If you’re planning a trip to the desert to see the flowers, you could start your trip at the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association or the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center, both located along Palm Canyon. Now that April has arrived, the desert bloom will look different than it did at its peak in mid-March, with cacti, desert agave, brittlebush and Ocotillo now taking center stage. Here’s an in-depth guide on where to see those blooms.
San Diego Whale Watching Tours
9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., Flagship Cruises & Events
Whale watching season in San Diego typically runs from December to April, when approximately 20,000 gray whales migrate along our coast. Flagship offers daily whale watching tours to catch a glimpse of the magnificent giants of the sea, led by marine experts from Birch Aquarium, who will explain the intricacies of the ocean ecosystem. The tours are aboard the two-story yacht, the Marietta, and last about three-and-a-half hours. Weekend prices cost $48 for adults and $24 for children ages 4 to 12. Check the Flagship website for departure times, depending on the day you choose to cruise.
Museum of What? Love Tour
10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Encinitas
This pop-up museum experience in Encinitas (220 North El Camino Real) has been gaining a lot of attention for its blissful exhibits inviting visitors to live, laugh and love. The “Love Tour” aims to delight the senses as visitors touch, smell, feel and listen their way through more than 21 exhibits inspired by love and happiness. The displays have also been deemed highly Instagram-worthy. General admission costs $24 for adults and $15 for children ages 4 to 15; kids 3 and under get in free. Hours vary by day; for this Friday, you can pick your time to visit between 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. when you buy your ticket online.
Shoes & Chews: Carla & Linda’s Walking Food Tour
1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., South Oceanside
Oceanside is experiencing a bit of a restaurant renaissance, and these “Shoes & Chews” walking food tours allow you to taste what’s cooking in the waterfront city in San Diego’s North County. Friday’s three-hour foodie tour – led by locals Carla and Linda – will span south Oceanside, with stops at PCH Bar & Grill, URGE, Privateer and Wrench & Rodent. Tickets cost $49 per person (foodies 16+ only) and include tastings of specially chosen items, plus a little history lesson on each restaurant, chef and the surrounding area. Shoes & Chews started in 2015; today, the tour hits the streets of Oceanside every weekend, usually Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
First Friday Art Walk Oceanside
5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Artist Alley in Oceanside
The First Friday Art Walk in Oceanside – at the Artist Alley in downtown Oceanside – will highlight dozens of artists and vendors that make the community unique. Attendees can enjoy pop-up art galleries, music, dance, poetry, activities, and food at this free, all-ages event presented by the Oceanside Friends of the Arts, an organization that raises funds for scholarships for kids who want attend local arts and culture schools.
Friday Night Liberty
5 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Arts District at Liberty Station
The Arts District at Liberty Station (2640 Decatur Rd.) hosts Friday Night Liberty, a free, monthly art walk showcasing the working artists, dance, music and theatre that are helping the district grow in its mission to highlight the arts culture in San Diego. This time around, the theme is “Shake Up Spring,” inviting locals to check out the arts blossoming at every corner of the district.
San Diego Gulls vs. Ontario Reign
7 p.m., Pechanga Arena San Diego
The San Diego Gulls hit the ice at Pechanga Arena as they take on the Ontario Reign in this showdown Friday night. Root for our hockey home team! Tickets start at $25; the puck drops at 7 p.m.
Hops on the Harbor: Booze Brothers Brewing Co.
7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Flagship Cruises & Events
Enjoy a cruise around the San Diego Bay featuring sights, bites, and craft brews. Every month, Hops on the Harbor highlights a local brewery and, this time, it’s the best from Booze Brothers Brewing Co. The menu will feature four 6-ounce Booze Brothers tastings expertly paired with four courses. For instance, the Penny Blonde will be pairs with Cioppino (penne pasta with Caesar salad and crusty garlic bread), while Good Guy Pale Ale is matched with Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb. The dinner cruise boards at 7 p.m. from 990 North Harbor Dr. and sails past the San Diego skyline, USS Midway, Star of India and other Maritime Museum ships and the Coronado Bay Bridge. Tickets cost $79.50 for adults and $47.70 for children ages 4 to 12; kids 3 and under are free. Reservations are recommended.
8 p.m., Cinema Under the Stars
Adam McKay’s 2018 satire flick, “Vice,” explores the story of Dick Cheney (played by Christian Bale, in his Golden Globe-winning performance) as he made his way to the White House. The movie – which also stars Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Tyler Perry – plays on the big screen this Friday and Saturday at Cinema Under the Stars. The outdoor theater on Goldfinch Street is amid its spring screening season and, since it can be a bit chilly out, the theater offers blankets, space heaters and other amenities to keep patrons warm and cozy. Admission is $18 at the box office, or you can reserve your seat in advance for $20.
Saturday, April 6
Race for Autism
7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Balboa Park
Calling all superheroes! The Race for Autism Superhero 5K and Family Walk takes over Balboa Park Saturday morning, kicking off the start of Autism Awareness Month. Proceeds from the race support San Diego autism programs, services and local classrooms. The event will also include a resource fair, activities for the kids, music, and medals.
Vista Gem & Mineral Society Show
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista
Vista rocks. The Vista Gem & Mineral Society hosts this three-day, outdoor Gem Show this weekend at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum (240 N. Santa Fe). Attendees can check out gems, rocks, minerals, jewelry, handcrafted items, tools, and more from about 80 sellers. Parking and admission is free; the show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Yoga + Beer
10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Eppig Brewing
Head to Eppig Brewing’s North Park location for a 60-minute Vinyasa flow, followed by a pint of Eppig craft beer. The class costs $20 and is limited in space, so reserve your mat ahead of time by emailing [email protected]
Jail Mini-Museum at The Headquarters
10 a.m. to 9 p.m., The Headquarters at Seaport (between Kitson and Madison San Diego)
The Headquarters at Seaport is a solid place to shop and eat but, if you’re a San Diego history buff, you may want to pop into a free mini-museum located at its core, between the Kitson and Madison San Diego stores. There, you’ll find a fully-restored, 8-cell jail block housing historic photos and San Diego Police Department memorabilia. You see, The Headquarters – built in 1939 – sits in the very complex that served for many decades as the SDPD’s headquarters. The site is listed on The National Register of Historic Places. It was restored and reopened as The Headquarters and Seaport shopping and dining complex in 2013.
South Bay Earth Day
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Memorial Park in Chula Vista
Celebrate Earth Day a little early at this outdoor celebration at Memorial Park (372 Park Way) in Chula Vista. The free festival will showcase local products and services to help you reduce your impact on the environment and live greener and healthier. There will also be a bicycle fix-it clinic, a tie-dying workshop, food trucks featuring organic fare, and other fun activities.
Vinyl Junkies Record Swap
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Casbah
Vinyl junkies, rejoice. The Casbah will bring together thousands of records, DJs, food and beer under one roof for another installment of its Vinyl Junkies Record Swap. Take some records home and talk tunes with fellow vinyl enthusiasts. The 21+ swap costs $5 to enter. The event will return to The Casbah a few more times throughout the year: June 8; Aug. 3; Oct. 5; Dec. 7.
MercyMe: Imagine Nation Tour
7 p.m., Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl at San Diego State University
American contemporary Christian band, MercyMe (“Best News Ever,” “Even If,” “Greater”) brings its “Imagine Nation Tour” to San Diego with a Saturday night stop at SDSU’s Viejas Arena. The show starts at 7 p.m.; tickets start at $20.
7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., American Comedy Co. and The Comedy Store
Looking for a good laugh? Try a stand-up comedy show at two prime San Diego venues: downtown’s American Comedy Co. or The Comedy Store in La Jolla. This Saturday night, viral sensation Kountry Wayne takes the mic at The American Comedy Co., with a 21+ show at 7:30 p.m.; tickets start at $22. Over at The Comedy Store, TV host and funnyman Michael Yo (“The Talk”) headlines with shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Those tickets cost $20.
Sunday, April 7
Guided Nature Walk
9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Mission Trails Regional Park
Start your Sunday with a little nature walk at Mission Trails Regional Park. A trail guide will take visitors through one of three trails — the Oak Grove Loop, the Visitor Center Loop or the Riverside Grinding Rocks — while talking about the plants, animals, geology, history, and ecology of the park. These weekly guided walks are free and open to the public and begin at the Visitor Center. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water, a hat, and sunscreen. Rain cancels the walk.
Lane Field Park Market
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lane Field Park (Downtown San Diego)
Every Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a group of vendors sets up shop at Lane Field Park in downtown San Diego for this open-air market focusing on our city’s creative food, drinks, art, and craft scene. The family-friendly market typically includes live music, lawn games, pop-up installations, and other lively entertainment. It is located at 1009 N. Harbor Dr., near West Broadway, opposite of the Broadway Pier.
Gaslamp Artisan Market
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gaslamp Quarter (Fifth Avenue)
Peruse more than 30 local artisans offering carefully-curated, handmade products at this weekly outdoor market in the Gaslamp Quarter. The Gaslamp Artisan Market sets up shop every Sunday on Fifth Avenue, between Market Street and Island Avenue.
Live Music: In Midlife Crisis
1 p.m., Liberty Public Market
In Midlife Crisis, a local rock band that covers classic hits from the 1960s and 1970s, performs this free lunchtime concert on the patio at Liberty Public Market Sunday. To make a day of it, grab a bite from one of the vendors inside Liberty Public Market, take your food to the patio and eat while enjoying the live music.
Sunday Spreckels Organ Concert
2 p.m., Spreckels Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park
Enjoy a free, hour-long organ concert Sunday at Balboa Park’s famed Spreckels Organ Pavilion. At the keys, the audience will typically find Raul Prieto Ramirez,the city’s San Diego Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society. Prieto Ramirez hails from Spain and, as he told NBC 7 last year, hopes to keep the program interesting – from Bach to Queen – at the historic Spreckels Organ. Pets are welcome, and so are picnics.
San Diego Sockers vs. Rio Grande Valley
5:05 p.m., Pechanga Arena San Diego
Watch soccer superstar Landon Donovan lead the San Diego Sockers in this home game against Rio Grande Valley. This Sunday match-up will celebrate alumni with a special retired number ceremony plenty of familiar faces filling the arena. Tickets range between $15 and $35.