The Flowers Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Flowers Field at Carlsbad
Possibly San Diego’s most beloved springtime tradition, The Flowers Fields at Carlsbad Ranch continues its seasonal run through May 12 (Mother’s Day). As usual, visitors can enjoy displays of colorful Giant Tecolote Ranunculus spanning the 50-acre site. The beautiful bursts of blooms are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; tickets cost $18 for adults, $16 for seniors 60+, and $9 for children ages 3 to 10. If you plan on visiting a few times this season, you may want to spring for a season pass ($39 for adults, $20 for kids). Keep an eye on the Flower Fields website, too, as the venue hosts lots of family-friendly, fun events throughout its run, usually on the weekends.
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. Read all about the site’s rich history here.
North Park Thursday Market
3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., North Park Way & Granada Avenue (North Park)
North Park is known for its interesting small businesses and, on Thursdays year-round, local vendors and artisans are showcased at this popular farmers market located on the corner of North Park Way and 29th Street. On the shopping list: farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, sauces, bread and even handcrafted gifts from local, small businesses. The free event also features live music.
Oceanside Sunset Market
5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Main Street Oceanside
Each Thursday, the Oceanside Sunset Market brings about 200 local merchants together for this sunset marketplace spanning four blocks in downtown Oceanside. Shoppers can expect vendors showcasing homemade goods and tasty grub, plus live music and, of course, an incredible ocean view. The free market is located on Pier View Way; rain may cancel the event, so check the weather before making your plans.
Macrame Plant Hanger Craft Workshop
6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Rip Current Brewing (North Park)
The crafting pros at Patchwork lead this workshop at Rip Current Brewing in North Park Thursday night where attendees will learn to make a macramé plant holder. A $35 ticket gets you step-by-step instructions, all of the materials, and a 6-inch pot for your plant.
Cirque du Soleil: Volta
8 p.m., Del Mar Fairgrounds
Cirque du Soleil brings its high-flying, captivating acrobatics show, “Volta,” to the big top at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, where the show runs through May 5. Set to a melodic score, the show is about finding yourself and cultivating your personal powers. Thursday’s show is at 8 p.m.; tickets start at $65. Parking at the main lot at the fairgrounds costs $17.
8 p.m., The Old Globe Theatre
Based on the book, music and lyrics by playwright Britta Johnson comes “Life After,” a musical centered on a 16-year-old girl grieving the loss of her famous father. The production runs at the Balboa Park venue through April 28. The Old Globe’s Barry Edelstein will direct the American premiere, with choreography by Ann Yee, and music supervisions, arrangements, and orchestrations by Lynne Shankel. For Thursday’s performance, tickets range from $34 to $102 per person. Read more about Johnson’s inspiration for the play here.
Friday, April 12
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 we’re in mid-April, 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 8 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 8 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.
Friday Night Fish Fry
6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 10 Barrel Brewing Co.
East Village brewpub, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., will host a fish fry Friday night, helmed by local fishmonger Tommy Gomes, who will break down a yellowtail live, which will then be prepared by 10 Barrel’s executive chef, Tommy Fraioli. After the demo, attendees can enjoy a golden spotted bass fry and shellfish spread and all-you-can-drink brews. Tickets cost $65, and a portion of sales will be donated to Collaboration Kitchen, a cooking and education event that gives back to food-focused organizations across San Diego County.
Film & Float: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows
The Lafayette’s “Film & Float” series – a free outdoor movie screening at the hotel’s pool – returns, this time with the Audrey Hepburn classic, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Attendees are invited to wear their Little Black Dress as they channel Hepburn’s iconic socialite, Holly Golightly. To keep in theme, the event will include fashionable $5 hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails, glamorous games and more. Entry is free, but you should really RSVP ahead of time, darling.
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.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band & Beth Hart Band
7:30 p.m., Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
Blues, rock, guitars: two talents – the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Beth Hart Band – take the stage at Humphreys for this Friday night show. Tickets start at $73.
8 p.m., Cinema Under the Stars
Clint Eastwood’s 2018 film, “The Mule,” follows the story of a destitute octogenarian drug courier as he attempts to re-enter the lives of his daughter and ex-wife. The movie plays on the big screen this Friday and Saturday at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills. 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.
Club ’90s Presents: Backstreet Boys vs. ‘NSYNC Night
9 p.m., House of Blues San Diego
This may be the most difficult decision you’ll have to make Friday night: Backstreet Boys or ‘NSYNC? DJs at the House of Blues in downtown San Diego bust out the boy band hits from each group all night long at this Club ‘90s event. Take it back to the TRL-era of pop and party like it’s 1999. Tickets start at $15; the event is for those age 18+.
Saturday, April 13
Warbird Expo & Militaria Swap Meet
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gillespie Field
Get an up-close look at warbirds, classic aircraft, classic cars and WWII memorabilia at the Warbirds Expo & Militaria Swap Meet this Saturday at Gillespie Field in El Cajon. The swap meet will feature WWII collectibles like books, photos, uniforms, toys and more. Meanwhile, on the expo floor, attendees will have a chance to go inside a real WWII aircraft and can even join in on a 1940s reenactment cosplay contest. If you want to enter the contest, arrive in costume by 10 a.m.; judging goes down an hour later. Admission to the expo costs $5 for adults and $ 3 for youth ages 10 to 17; kids age 10 and under get in free.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Friday through Sunday), The San Diego Museum of Art
Spring is in the air – and on full display – at The San Diego Museum of Art. The museum’s annual “Art Alive” exhibition takes over the venue all weekend, showcasing nearly 100 floral interpretations of the works of art on view. The rotunda will also be transformed into a magnificent floral installation, setting the tone for the unique exhibition. The museum will offer kid-friendly interactive activities on Saturday and Sunday for families to do together, too. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $5 for children ages 7 to 17.
ArtFest at San Diego Botanic Garden
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., San Diego Botanic Garden
The San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas will host ArtFest this Saturday and Sunday, a festival highlighting more than 30 local and regional artists displaying their works, including paintings, sculptures and jewelry. The fest will also celebrate the art of Asian horticulture, with demos by the Ohara School of Ikebana, La Jolla Chapter and Bonsai and Beyond. Food trucks and live music round-out the affair, including a live performance by the San Diego Taiko Drummers on Saturday morning. The festival is free with paid admission into the Botanic Garden, which costs $18 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for children ages 3 to 10.
Cook With an Italian Chef & Market Tour
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Little Italy
This weekly event in Little Italy gives you a chance to cook alongside a trained chef while discovering the community’s charming open-air farmers “mercato.” Here’s how the tour works: a chef-guide will walk with you through the market, pointing out local vendors specializing in fresh ingredients. Together, you’ll taste-test items and buy what you need to create your meal before heading to the guide’s home to partake in a cooking lesson. You’ll cook three dishes – an appetizer and two main dishes – and also enjoy a glass of wine and pannacotta for dessert. This cooking tour costs $79 per person, and is usually available every Saturday.
Legendary Tour: Hotel Del Coronado
10 a.m., Hotel Del Coronado
San Diego history buffs, this one’s for you. The iconic Hotel Del Coronado is currently offering a daily tour at 10 a.m. dubbed the “Legendary Tour,” which explores the landmark’s rich 130-year-old heritage. Learn about the celebrities, royalty and beach-loving families who have gravitated toward The Del over the decades, and the hotel’s most notorious guest, Kate Morgan, who checked into the hotel in 1892 whom some believe never really checked out. The 90-minute tour costs $40 for adults; kids 5 and under can join for free. You must register ahead of time. By the way, The Del is currently undergoing the first phase of a $200 million revitalization project called the “Master Plan.” It includes the preservation of historic sites and a new History Gallery. Read all about that here.
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Societe Brewing
Partake in a one-hour, instructor-led yoga session followed by a pint at Society Brewing Saturday morning. The class will be set to bluegrass music, so expect everything from the classics of the genre and Americana, to contemporary. A $15 ticket includes the yoga class and a full pour of Societe beer. The event is 21+; bring your own mat.
Taste of Hillcrest
12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Hillcrest
More than 35 restaurants will serve samples at this 18th annual walking food tour of San Diego’s beloved Hillcrest community. Foodies will savor everything from Pad Thai to Italian antipasto; those over the age of 21 can also enjoy beer tastings along the way. Attendees can pick up a map of the participating eateries at the Taste of Hillcrest check-in stations at either the Rite-aid located at 535 Robinson Ave., or Rich’s located at 1051 University Ave. A free shuttle is also available for all attendees, which will be making frequent stops around the neighborhood. Tickets start at $30.
Green Flash’s Brewdown Beer Fest Competition
12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Green Flash Brewing in Mira Mesa
Green Flash hosts its first-ever Brewdown Beer Fest at its Mira Mesa location Saturday, inviting local brewers to showcase their standout suds. Attendees will enjoy unlimited beer tastings and vote for the “best in show” beer. The festival will also boast food available for purchase, games and lively music. A $35 ticket gets you access to the full fest, including all tastings and a commemorative glass.
Literary Tea with Whitney Scharer
2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., The Westgate Hotel
Downtown San Diego’s Westgate Hotel hosts a three-course afternoon tea (with champagne!) featuring author Whitney Scharer as she discusses her debut novel, “The Age of Light.” The novel is about a model-turned-photographer who forges a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. Tickets to this event cost $65; parking validation will be available for $3 at the hotel.
EvARTS Block Party
3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Quartyard
The East Village’s hip Quartyard venue (1301 Market St.) is celebrating its 4th birthday Saturday with its first-ever evARTS Block Party. The party – in collaboration with the East Village Association – will run along 13th Street, off Market Street, and aims to highlight the local arts culture. The event includes craft beer, live music, and pop-up tasting tents. Inside Quartyard, revelers can take part in a silent disco party helmed by back-to-back DJs. Tickets cost between $5 and $10; proceeds will go toward funding the creation of a 6,000-square-foot mural to be created on the Alpha Project wall directly behind Quartyard.
Barrio Logan Flea Market: Selena Edition
4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Por Vida Café
The Barrio Logan Flea Market will be dedicated to the late, beloved Tejano superstar, Selena Quintanilla, this Saturday with vendors selling unique goods inspired by the artist, whose 48th birthday would’ve been on April 16. Visit the marketplace from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Por Vida Café located at 2146 Logan Ave. Another Selena-themed round of the Barrio Logan Flea Market is planned for April 27 at Mercado del Barrio, located at 1900 Main Street.
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, funnyman Michael Kosta – a correspondent for “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” – takes the mic at The American Comedy Co., with a 21+ show at 7:30 p.m.; tickets start at $9. Over at The Comedy Store, you’ll get a 2-for-1-type deal when Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher co-headline shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Those tickets cost $25.
Sunday, April 14
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Santee Lakes
Celebrate spring and Easter at Santee Lakes this Sunday. The outdoor event – which goes down at the North Lake 5 events area – will feature continuous egg hunts all day for little one age 8 and younger, plus craft booths, carnival rides, pony rides, food vendors, photos with the Easter Bunny, and other activities. The event itself is free to enter, but if you park at the lake, it’ll cost you $10 per carload. Tickets for rides and activities cost $1 each, and activities will run you between one to 10 tickets apiece. You can also purchase a VIP package here, which includes parking, activity tickets and other perks for $60.
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: Backstage Pass
1 p.m., Liberty Public Market
Local band Backstage Pass covers hits from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s at this free lunchtime concert on the patio at Liberty Public Market. 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.
Joshua Bell Plays Max Bruch
2 p.m., Copley Symphony Hall
Violin superstar Joshua Bell brings his artistry to San Diego Symphony audiences at Copley Symphony Hall, performing Max Bruch’s hallmark concerto alongside conductor laureate Jahja King. Tickets range from $26 to $65.
6th Annual Mariachi Festival
3 p.m., California Center for the Arts Escondido
This annual mariachi festival, sponsored by the Route 78 Rotary Club, features lively mariachi music by several ensembles: The First Ladies of Mariachi, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles; Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez; Ballet Folklorico Tierra Caliente. Before the 3-hour concert, VIP ticketholders can enjoy a “Tacos & Tequila” reception outdoors. Concert tickets range from $25 to $50; VIP tickets costs $100. The festival usually sells out, so snag your passes ahead of time. Proceeds support college scholarships, literacy programs and leadership opportunities for youth in San Diego’s North County.
Selena’s Birthday Bash with The Como La Flor Band
8 p.m., House of Blues San Diego
Tex-Mex icon Selena Quintanilla would’ve celebrated her 48th birthday on April 16, so the House of Blues downtown San Diego will throw a party in her honor this Sunday featuring a performance by The Como La Flor Band. The doors open at 7 p.m.; tickets start at $15.