BLOG 2017-12-26T21:07:49+00:00

Check-In San Diego

A lifestyle guide by the Sofia Hotel

Hamilton at the San Diego Civic Theatre: Make It Dinner & a Show with Accommodations at the Sofia!

Hamilton at the San Diego Civic Theatre: Make It Dinner & a Show With Accommodations at the Sofia! One of the most talked-about musicals in modern times is currently dazzling audiences at the San Diego Civic Theatre, a few easy blocks from the Sofia Hotel! We’re talking, of course, about Hamilton, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s much-decorated Broadway telling of American statesman Alexander Hamilton’s life. The Civic Theatre’s production, which runs through January 28th, is (unsurprisingly) sold out. If you’ve got tickets for this history-lesson-as-thrilling-live-entertainment, we invite you to enjoy accommodations at one of the most beautiful San Diego hotels—and combine the onstage spectacle with a sumptuous meal at our on-site partner restaurant, Currant American Brasserie! Hamilton: Meteor of a Musical Manuel-Miranda premiered Hamilton in early 2015 at New York City’s Public Theater, having been inspired to write the musical after reading Ron Chernow’s biography of the Founding Father, the USA’s first Secretary of the Treasury. It debuted on Broadway that summer and the rest is pretty much history: Hamilton quickly became an all-out cultural phenomenon. The infectious rapped and sung score tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s journey to the American colonies from his West Indian birthplace and his pivotal participation in the American Revolution and the formative days of the United States, as well as his fateful relationship with rival Aaron Burr. Lyrics and melodies alike astound in the vivacious numbers, which include “My Shot,” “Alexander Hamilton,” and “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”—the whole saga [...]

Whales on the Move: Experience an Epic Migration From the San Diego Coast

Whales on the Move: Experience an Epic Migration From the San Diego Coast This time of year, you can mix up the fine dining, theater- and concert- and museum-going, craft-beer tasting, historical sightseeing, and all the other cosmopolitan pleasures of San Diego with absolutely world-class ecotourism. Right now, huge gray whales—gentle giants of blotchy hide, knobby backs, and baleen grins—are cruising southward to calving and wintering grounds in Baja California, right past the San Diego coast. They’re coming from Alaskan waters: their summertime buffet table. This journey is no mere walk in the (watery) park: It’s a 12,000-mile-long (round-trip) odyssey, one of the greatest animal migrations known. And you can experience this natural wonder firsthand as a guest of ours at the Sofia Hotel: one of the most auspiciously situated (and all-out welcoming) downtown SanDiego hotels! Prime Time, Whale-Wise While you can spot gray whales off our local coast anytime between December and April (by late winter/early spring the leviathans are northbound again, but often farther offshore), January is just about prime time. At Cabrillo National Monument on the Point Loma Peninsula—one of the best vantages for whale-watching in the region—you’ve got an excellent chance of spotting a spout or two by staking out at the Whale Overlook or the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. “Field Marks” of the Gray Whale If whales are passing close enough, you can sometimes spot them with the naked eye, but binoculars are a real help; the Visitor Center at Cabrillo lends out a small [...]

Holiday Happenings Around San Diego

 Holiday Happenings Around San Diego Every year here at the Sofia Hotel—one of the best-loved San Diego hotels—we have the pleasure of hosting guests on holiday vacations in America’s Greatest City, which just so happens to be a wonderful (and warm) place to celebrate this time of year. In case you’re able to join us during this Yuletide/New Year’s stretch—and we hope you can!—here are just some of the festivities going on around town that you might consider taking in. Multiple Nutcrackers For many, it’s simply not the Christmas season without attending a performance of Tchaikovsky’s whimsical ballet, and you’ve got multiple productions to choose from during your San Diego holiday getaway: by the California Ballet at the San Diego Civic Theatre (Dec. 21 through 23); the 25th Anniversary Tour of the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at the Jacobs Music Center (two performances on Dec. 21); by City Ballet of San Diego at the Spreckels Theatre (through Dec. 24); and, after the New Year, Culture Shock San Diego’s outside-the-box version (Jan. 1 through 7). San Diego Symphony: Noel Noel On December 22 and 23, the San Diego Symphony presents a heartwarming slew of classic holiday tunes (including some sing-along caroling) at the Jacobs Music Center. A Christmas Carol at Cygnet Theatre Indulge in another defining holiday tradition by attending Sean Murray’s Cygnet Theatre adaptation of the Charles Dickens story (through Dec. 24), which of course sees old Ebenezer Scrooge reckon with the Christmas spirit through the [...]

December 19th, 2017|Tags: |

Finish Up Your Holiday Shopping in San Diego!

Finish Up Your Holiday Shopping in San Diego! Seaport Village Admit it: You’ve still got some holiday shopping to do. I mean, don’t we all? Well, treat yourself to a December escape at the Sofia Hotel, and you can combine premier hospitality at one of the finest hotels in SanDiego with outstanding access to some of the city’s most decked-out retail hotspots! Fashion Valley Mall Palm-studded Fashion Valley serves as San Diego’s largest outdoor mall, and with better than 200 stores to choose from here you’ll be pretty well covered for most (if not all) items on that holiday-shopping list of yours. Luxury designer brands (Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, etc.), heavyweight department stores (Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s), Nike and Apple and Disney outlets—Fashion Valley has you covered, and it’s quite easy to reach by car or public transport from the Sofia! The Gaslamp Quarter Or how about the shopping paradise right at our doorstep: San Diego’s historic and hopping Gaslamp Quarter? The neighborhood claims more than 80 different stores: Bubbles Boutique, Heavenly Coutoure, Costa Fashions, Urban Outfitters, the San Diego Trading Co., the Wine Bank, Boomshop of Comics, and Skechers, to name a small sample. You can easily strike out on foot from the Sofia for a Gaslamp Quarter shopping safari, and meantime you’ll have no end of cafes, bars, and restaurants at your fingertips for when you need a break. Seaport Village Another super-convenient destination from the Sofia—less than a mile away along the [...]

December 14th, 2017|Tags: |

Celebrate the Holidays With the 46th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Celebrate the Holidays With the 46th Annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights One of San Diego’s most beloved holiday traditions is nearly upon us: the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights! We hope you’ll consider joining us at the Sofia—one of the most beloved hotels in SanDiego—in order to experience, along with more than 100,000 other spectators from near and far, this bedazzling on-the-water display! The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights: A Holiday Spectacle to Cherish This year’s Parade of Lights takes place on two consecutive Sundays: December 10th and December 17th. Those evenings, you can feast on the sight of 80-plus luxuriantly lit and deliciously decorated boats as they are wending a merry course through the bay: from Shelter Island across the America’s Cup Harbor entrance to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and then to the “finish line” at Coronado Ferry Landing. USA Today recently chose the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights—motoring along for its 46th year—among the contenders for the “Best Holiday Parade” in the nation. Each year’s Parade of Lights comes with a theme, and 2017’s should surely delight any and all scalawags: It’s “Arrrgh! A Pirate’s Christmas.” Viewing the Parade Timing-wise, the piratical procession begins at 5 PM and takes roughly an hour to pass any given vantage. You can check out more viewing details at the official website, but as a rough guide the parade will reach Harbor Island at 5:30 PM, [...]

December 4th, 2017|Tags: |

From Us at the Sofia to Your Table: Eat, Drink, and Give Thanks!

From Us at the Sofia to Your Table: Eat, Drink, and Give Thanks! Each and every day of the year, we here at the Sofia Hotel give thanks for our wonderful guests, our invaluable staff, and all of our fantastic partners. In that sense, Thanksgiving is merely an opportunity to express that daily gratitude a little more formally. We truly are so very thankful for our extended Sofia family: from the guests, brand-new and regularly returning, who come to us from all across the country and all across the world to our incredibly hardworking employees who make daily operations at the hotel hum along without a hitch. We genuinely love giving people such an advantageously situated home-away-from-home in downtown San Diego, and in the process honoring the legacy of our historic building, established back in the 1920s as the Pickwick. We love this venerable (and revamped) hotel, we love our neighborhood here at the doorstep of the Gaslamp Quarter, and we love our city of San Diego—and there’s nothing like introducing the charms of all of the above to our guests. We also can’t say enough good things about our on-site restaurant partner Currant American Brasserie, which adds so much to the Sofia with its mouthwatering fare, lovely ambiance, and stellar service. Meanwhile, if you’re seeking San Diego hotels for a last-minute Turkey Day getaway, we certainly invite you to mark the holiday with us at the Sofia: We’d love to have you! Wherever and however you’re spending [...]

November 21st, 2017|Tags: |

Eat Well, Be Well at the 2017 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Eat Well, Be Well at the 2017 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Thanksgiving alone makes November a month to give in to one’s appetites, but in our neck of the woods there’s another exceptional epicurean excuse: the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival! This year’s gustatory gala, the 14th annual, is underway from November 12th through the 19th, when the climax of the whole affair, the Grand Tasting, goes down at Embarcadero Marine Park North. And listen up: Elegant accommodations at one of the most beautiful hotels in downtown SanDiego, the Sofia, put you within earshot of the festival’s figurative dinner bell. Big-name chefs, insightful food discussions, and of course an all-around feast to remember: Don’t miss the 2017 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, and take advantage of the Sofia Hotel’s proximity and fabulous hospitality while you do! Events & Celebrity Chefs The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival always draws quite the lineup of celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, and various other culinary movers-and-shakers, and the 14th go-round certainly lives up to the caliber of past years. You can take a gander at the full roster of the 2017 festival’s “personalities” right here. A sampler platter? How about Katsuya Fukushima, executive chef of and partner in Daikaya, Bantam King, and Haikan, three awesome eateries covering a whole lot of territory in that rarefied realm of Japanese cuisine; Mei Lin, Season 12 winner of the popular TV series Top Chef; Tommy Gomes, fishmonger [...]

November 13th, 2017|Tags: |

Take in Balboa Park’s Charms on a Guided Tour

Take in Balboa Park’s Charms on a Guided Tour One of San Diego’s crown jewels, Balboa Park sits comfortably among America’s great park-scapes: a showstopper for the quality of its specific attractions (the San Diego Zoo, the Museum of Man, the Japanese Friendship Garden, etc.) and its gorgeous overall architectural and botanical scenery. Last year the city celebrated the 100th anniversary of the modern park’s birth during the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition (although the ultimate origin of the greenspace dates to the 1860s). When you call the Sofia Hotel (one of the best-in-class hotels in SanDiego) your home-away-from-home here in Southern California, you’re just a short trip away from Balboa Park. And while of course you can entirely experience its appeal on your own freewheeling exploration, we thought we’d spotlight some of the organized tours you can take that shed some behind-the-scenes insight into one of San Diego’s most beloved public spaces. Ranger-Led Balboa Park Tours At 11 AM every Tuesday and Sunday, park rangers lead interpretive tours of Balboa Park out of the Visitors Center in the House of Hospitality (a lovely reconstruction of the original building built for the Panama-California Exposition). You’ll learn some fascinating nuggets of history on these forays as well as details on the park’s celebrated landscaping. Self-Guided Audio Tours Also at the Balboa Park Visitor’s Center, you can rent an audio tour covering everything from park history to landmarks. The tour lasts roughly an hour and a half, and the last ones [...]

October 31st, 2017|Tags: |

Embrace the Spooky at the Sofia Hotel This Halloween

Embrace the Spooky at the Sofia Hotel This Halloween Well, it’s that superbly spooky, grandly ghoulish, outstandingly otherworldly (we can keep going) time of year again, and here at the Sofia Hotel we’re happily getting into the Halloween “spirit.” With one of the very best San Diego hotels are your All Hallow’s Eve headquarters, you’ve got many, many ways to embrace the eerie—and have a bone-chilling blast doing it. (We’ll try to stop with the alliteration, but no promises…) Here are just a few of those options for Halloween fun within shouting—or perhaps we should say “shrieking”—distance from the Sofia! Spooktacular Halloween Run/Walk (October 22) Soak up the lovely October fresh air of San Diego, get some exercise (useful for combatting pumpkin-pie and Halloween candy overindulgences), and celebrate the haunting season all in one fell swoop at the Spooktacular 15k, 10k/5k Run/Walk at Hospitality Point Park! Open to adults and kids alike, the event features plenty of creatively garbed participants, so it makes sense a costume contest is also part of the proceedings… Monster Bash 2017 (October 28) This hugely popular Halloween soiree goes down from 6 PM to midnight right in our neighborhood of the Gaslamp Quarter. Thousands attend the demonic party, now in its 17th year, to rock out at five themed stages, from the Twisted Dream House to Clown Carnage. Live DJs supply scary-good beats, while the wildest, wackiest Halloween getups in San Diego compete during the Monster Bash Costume Contest on the charmingly [...]

October 21st, 2017|Tags: |

Turbocharged Sailing: Take in the Extreme Sailing Races at Harbor Island This October

Turbocharged Sailing: Take in the Extreme Sailing Races at Harbor Island This October Photo: Land Rover MENA (Flickr) With the year-round weather as lovely as ours, it’s no surprise that San Diego’s such a popular destination for sporting events—a healthy share of them taking place along our sun-swaddled Pacific coastline. […]

Catch Some Waves During the Peak of San Diego’s Surf Season!

Catch Some Waves During the Peak of San Diego's Surf Season! San Diego ranks among the epicenters of the global surfing scene, and it just about goes without saying that Southern California, in general, has helped shape modern surf culture. (Just pay a visit to the California Surf Museum to learn how.) Surfing is a year-round possibility here, but late summer through autumn generally brews up the finest all-around conditions. As a guest of ours at the Sofia Hotel—among the best-loved of San Diego hotels—you’re not only presented with the best that Downtown and the Gaslamp Quarter have to offer: You’re also just a short cruise from some of San Diego County’s most popular surfing hotspots. Prime Time to Hit Those Breaks Prevailing south swells, coupled with the periodic offshore punch of Santa Ana winds, make this time of year perfect for riding some Pacific waves along the San Diego County coast. A Plethora of Nearby Surf Spots From the legendary Trestles point break up north to the waters off Imperial Beach, you’ve got a rich variety of surfing destinations scattered all the way down San Diego County’s long and epically beautiful coastline. The San Diego Tourism Authority has an excellent roundup of countywide surf breaks, but here’s a brief list of some of the notable ones closest to the Sofia: Del Mar—Open to swells from multiple directions, Del Mar offers some of the most varied and reliable year-round surfing in the area. La Jolla—A global hub [...]

Super Boats at Mission Bay: The San Diego Bayfair Hydroplane Races

Super Boats at Mission Bay: The San Diego Bayfair Hydroplane Races A hop, skip, and a jump from the Sofia Hotel, the waters of Mission Bay makes one of San Diego’s favorite aquatic playgrounds. Coming up this month is one of the flashiest water sports events it hosts all year: the San Diego Bayfair! The centerpiece of this waterfront festival is as dramatic a competition as you can clap eyes on: an H1 Unlimited hydroplane race. The high-speed action gets underway September 15 through the 17th, so join us at the Sofia—your first choice among downtown San Diego hotels—and mark the end of summer with a world-class spectacle at Mission Bay Park! The San Diego Bayfair World Series of Powerboat Racing The San Diego Bayfair has been delighting crowds for better than four decades. The first hydroplane race went down here at Mission Bay in 1964—the vision of a legendary H1 Unlimited racer, Bill Muncey. The 2.5-mile race course he established—and which now bears his name in tribute—is both the longest and the fastest one on the H1 Unlimited circuit. Introducing the Hydroplane So…what exactly is a hydroplane? Well, it’s only the swiftest racing powerboat around: a sleek and high-riding vessel capable of reaching speeds beyond 200 miles per hour. The hydroplane’s astounding zippiness comes from immensely powerful turbine engines (adopted from helicopters) and an aerodynamic (and hydrodynamic) “three-point” design: At speed, only three parts of the boat—parts of the two sponsons (specialized extensions of the hull) [...]

September 8th, 2017|Tags: , , , |

Daytripping From the Sofia: Exploring San Diego County’s Coast

Daytripping From the Sofia: Exploring San Diego County's Coast The beach at Torrey Pines Downtown, the Gaslamp Quarter, Old Town, Balboa Park, Coronado Island—a whole feast of nearby San Diego delights beckon to you from the doorstep of the historic Sofia Hotel. And you can happily spend your entire stay with us wining, dining, shopping, and sightseeing entirely in our greater neighborhood, which encompasses some of the best-known attractions in America’s Greatest City. But for those keen on venturing just a little farther afield, it’s all the more amazing what fabulous scenery and destinations await you on a daytrip from the Sofia, one of the premier hotels in SanDiego. Here are a few easy-to-reach highlights of our gorgeous backyard of the Southern California coast! Cabrillo National Monument Here on the Point Loma Peninsula, a European—Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, to be exact—first stepped foot on West Coast soil. Cabrillo National Monument dazzles not only because of that history (and vintage landmarks such as the Old Point Loma Lighthouse), but also on account of breathtaking Pacific vistas, some of the region’s best seasonal land-based whale-watching, and the enchanting microuniverse of the Point Loma tidepools. La Jolla This fabled seashore comes steeped in Southern Californian ambience and splendor. Doze on the beach, go surfing or standup paddleboarding, snorkel with snazzy leopard sharks, or admire La Jolla’s famous sunbathing seals and sea lions. And don’t forget a sidetrip up to the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial, which affords one of the finest [...]

Stand on a San Diego Icon: The Hike to Potato Chip Rock

Stand on a San Diego Icon: The Hike to Potato Chip Rock From desert walkabouts to seaside moseys, a fabulous wealth of hiking opportunities lies within our diverse hinterland here at the Sofia Hotel. Easily one of the most popular hikes of all is that up to the aptly named Potato Chip Rock. It’s only about 30 miles or so to the best-known Potato Chip Rock trailhead from the Sofia, one of very best San Diego hotels, so consider making the day trip: You will soak up some lovely Southern California scenery and try out one of our region’s primo photo ops firsthand! The Hike Potato Chip Rock is a wafer-like prong of granodiorite near the summit of 2,881-foot Mount Woodson, a boulder-strewn peak that looms east of Lake Poway. That body of water harbors the western trailhead for climbing the mountain along an 8-mile round-trip route. (There’s an $8 fee for parking at Lake Poway, by the way.) It is a steep hike, and much of it has little in the way of shade, so be sure to bring along sun protection and plenty of water (this time of year especially). We recommend an early start as well to avoid the afternoon heat. Nonetheless, it’s all worth it as you pass in wonderment through the natural chaparral rock gardens of Mount Woodson. Exposed at the surface, granodiorite weathers in dramatic fashion: You will see lots of interesting joints, pockmarks, and alcoves on the countless boulders and [...]

Bike the Bay: San Diego Cycling at its Best

Bike the Bay: San Diego Cycling at its Best The weather that San Diego’s privileged to experience year-round is meant to be enjoyed from the seat of a bicycle. (Or out on a paddleboard. Or from a kayak. Or a sailboat. Or a top-down convertible…well, you get the gist.) Just about any day is a good day for a bike ride around America’s Greatest City—especially when you have got the Sofia, one of the great hotels in downtown SanDiego, as your home-away-from-home. However, one of the absolute best opportunities to get out and about on two muscle-driven wheels is coming up later this month: Bike the Bay! 2017 Bike the Bay Bike the Bay is a non-competitive 25-mile community bicycle ride tracing the fabulous water-front course of the Bayshore Bikeway, which makes a neat oval around our watery doorstep of San Diego Bay. Proceeds go to the nonprofit group San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, which focuses on generally promoting pedaling and bike safety in the region. Bike the Bay kicks off and ends up at the Embarcadero Marina Park South just a few blocks from the Sofia Hotel. In between, it traverses the Bayshore Bikeway, which we’ve celebrated here at the Check In San Diego blog before. Pedaling through Coronado, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and National City put a genuinely gorgeous slice of the greater San Diego water-front on a platter for you, all along a level bikeway meant to be covered in as leisurely (remember: non-competitive!) [...]

Surf San Diego: A Tidal Wave of Fun

Surf San Diego: A Tidal Wave of Fun Surfing is part of San Diego’s DNA, of course, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some world-class surfing competitions go down along our sun-burnished shores. This weekend a jaunt from the Sofia (one of the leading downtown SanDiego hotels) up to Oceanside will take you to the biggest women-only board-riding contest on the globe: Supergirl Surf Pro! Elite Wave-Riding Action at Supergirl Surf Pro This 10th annual running of the awesome affair sees hundreds of some of the most adept surfboarders anywhere—from Carissa Moore (three-time Women’s World Tour Champion) to Malia Manuel (who claimed the U.S. Open of Surfing as a 14-year-old in 2008)—take the breaks off Oceanside Pier. The action begins today and runs through Sunday evening. More Than Just Surf Breaks The top-of-the-line surfing itself obviously takes center stage at Supergirl Surf Pro, but the event’s three days come chockablock with other goings-on: from yoga and Zumba classes to super-impressive all-female skateboarding and DJ matchups. Besides those talented DJs, tune-age will come in ready supply thanks to a well-trodden main stage: The 2017 Supergirl Surf Pro concert series will feature Bea Miller, Aaron Carter, Mittens, Katelyn Turner, and many other performers. Throw in loads of food trucks, a boisterous wine and beer garden, and assorted vendors, and you’ve got an action-packed celebration of phenomenal athleticism and summertime fun-in-the-sun, San Diego County-style. More than 150,000 spectators beeline for Oceanside to watch the Supergirl Surf [...]

July 31st, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Comic-Con 2017: Bigger & Better Than Ever

Comic-Con 2017: Bigger & Better Than Ever This weekend marks the 48th running of San Diego’s iconic Comic-Con International, by far the biggest convention in America’s Greatest City and one of the great celebrations of pop culture anywhere. […]

Beach Bat-&-Ball: Catch the 64th Annual Over-the-Line Tournament This Weekend!

Beach Bat-&-Ball: Catch the 64th Annual Over-the-Line Tournament This Weekend! Coming at you this weekend: one of the most distinctive tried-and-true expressions of San Diego beach culture! The second round of Old Mission Beach Athletic Club’s famous Over-the-Line (OTL) World Championship is going down July 15 and 16 at Mission Bay Park on Fiesta Island. When you are a guest of ours at the Sofia—among the finest hotels in downtown SanDiego—you are just a few miles from the bayside bat-and-ball action! The Game of Over-the-Line OTL is a homegrown Mission Beach sport, and it’s been around for more than a half-century. This year’s World Championship, which as always brings registered teams from near and far, is the 64th annual: an impressive run, to say the least. What are the basics of the game, you ask? Well, we’ll direct you to the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club’s handy-dandy breakdown of the rules. OTL has some parallels with baseball or softball, but it’s got some crucial differences—not least the sandy “ballfield.” The surfside gameplay goes down in an open-ended rectangle with a triangle at its head, the tip of the triangle marking “Home.” The base of the triangle—i.e., where it adjoins the rectangle—is called “the Line.” Standing anywhere in front of the Line and outside the triangle, the pitcher tosses the ball to the batter, who’s on the same team and stands at Home. The object is to hit the ball beyond the Line—aka over the Line, right?—and anywhere within [...]

Happy 4th of July From the Sofia Hotel!

Happy 4th of July From the Sofia Hotel! Here’s wishing the whole Check In San Diego family a very happy 4th of July from all of us here at the Sofia Hotel! If you find yourself (and we hope you do) marking the nation’s birthday with us at the Sofia—one of the cream-of-the-crop San Diego hotels—here are just a few of your options in the celebration department. The Big Bay Boom If you’ve never had the privilege of enjoying the Big Bay Boom in the flesh, you’re missing out! This fireworks extravaganza—said to be the biggest on the West Coast—draws as many as 500,000 people with its fabulous waterfront pyrotechnics backed by music. Getting underway at 9 PM on the 4th, the Big Bay Boom fireworks blast from a quartet of barges stationed around San Diego Bay, with prime viewing from Seaport Village or the North and South Embarcadero just blocks from our hotel, not to mention other bayside vantages such as Shelter Island and Harbor Island. Coronado Island Fireworks Another flurry of fireworks will go off at 9 PM over Glorietta Bay on Coronado, the climax to a day’s worth of patriotic pride that’ll also include an Orange Avenue parade at 10 AM and a Spreckels Park concert at 4 PM. San Diego County Fair Fireworks We recently spotlighted the San Diego County Fair here at the blog, and the 4th of July marks its final bash. At 9 PM, the Del Mar racetrack will glitter [...]

See You at the Fair!

See You at the Fair! Nothing says summer like a county fair, right? Did you know we are right in the middle of San Diego’s very own first-class version? The San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds runs through the Fourth of July, so you’ve still got plenty of time to join the pie-eating, foot-stomping, coaster-riding, pig-racing fun! Mark summertime in America’s Finest City with a stay at one of the very best Hotels San Diego has to offer, the Sofia, and pay a visit or two to the San Diego County Fair while you’re at it! The Fair’s Menagerie Animals are at the heart of any proper county fair, of course, and you’ll see plenty at the Del Mar Fairgrounds—from dairy goats and show horses to plush alpacas. Swing by for a cow-milking or sheep-shearing demos, and absolutely do not miss the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs: stubby-nosed, short-legged sprinters vying for an Oreo cookie reward. Concerts & Other Live Entertainment This year’s San Diego County Fair delivers some top notch onstage talent. Music of all kinds supplies a constant soundtrack: Some upcoming highlights include Los Tucanes de Tijuana (June 23), the Gospel Festival (June 24), and LeAnn Rimes (June 29). Some funny people will also be stepping into the spotlight, including The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah (June 27), standup veteran Jeff Foxworthy (July 1), and former MADtv actress/comedian Anjelah Johnson (July 4). Throw in dance performances and other acts, and you’ve got mighty rich [...]

The Gaslamp Quarter’s 150th Anniversary: Celebrate at the Sofia Hotel!

The Gaslamp Quarter's 150th Anniversary: Celebrate at the Sofia Hotel! San Diego has been marking plenty of notable anniversaries lately. Last year, for instance, saw the centennial of the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park (at least in its modern form). Well, 2017’s got its own milestones, and among them is the sesquicentennial of the historic neighborhood we sit alongside here at the Sofia Hotel! We’re talking here about the Gaslamp Quarter, established 150 years ago when developer Alonzo Horton purchased some waterfront acreage along San Diego Bay. While staying at the Sofia—the standout among San Diego Hotels near Gaslamp attractions—you’ve got this gorgeous and vital district at your beck and call! 150 Years of the Gaslamp Horton’s holding became known as “New Town” to distinguish it from the original Spanish-founded core of San Diego, which came to be called (you guessed it!) Old Town. It was the addition of elegant gas lamps to New Town that led to the moniker we use today. Speaking of monikers, this 16.5-block quarter had a nickname before New Town: Rabbitville, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the preponderance of big-eared residents in the area back in the day. As part of the 150th celebrations, the Gaslamp Quarter Association has installed 15 fiberglass rabbit statues throughout the neighborhood, each to be painted by a different artist. New Town grew rapidly, but not always in directions the city fathers approved of. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Gaslamp Quarter included the gambling and [...]

San Diego Summer: Take in the Show at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay

We’re going to go ahead and make the bold argument that there’s no better place to be on a summer evening than the shores of San Diego Bay. There, we said it! Moreover, staying at one of the great Hotels in downtown San Diego—the Sofia, of course—you’re just blocks from one of America’s most stunning natural harbors. A stroll or sit down along the waterfront’s lovely all on its own, but you can upgrade your experience with some fabulous outdoor music over on Shelter Island, site of the hugely popular Humphreys Concerts by the Bay series. This long-running summer music festival always draws big names, and the 2017 lineup is definitely no exception. Already the venue has welcomed such living legends as Steely Dan, David Crosby, Willie Nelson, and Melissa Etheridge. However, fear not: There are some mighty enticing shows still coming down the tap at Humphreys, which runs through October. You definitely should peruse the full schedule here, but let’s survey some of the highlights! The Finest in the Biz, Gracing the Humphreys Stage Two iconic and restlessly creative modern-day bluesmen, Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’, take the stage together on Sunday, June 11, supporting their first-ever full-on collaborative release, the aptly named TajMo. On June 23, Canadian national treasure Gordon Lightfoot, who penned such classics as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Early Morning Rain,” will show he has still got it after a half-century in the singer-songwriter business. On July 13, get ready for an unbelievable [...]

Marking Memorial Day In San Diego With Legacy Week at the USS Midway Museum

Memorial Day—when we honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who lost their lives in the service of their country—is right around the corner, and a visitor to San Diego has an excellent and unique opportunity to mark the holiday. The core of San Diego’s Memorial Day celebration takes place onboard a genuine landmark—or shall we say “seamark”—of American military history: the USS Midway, which in its modern incarnation as the USS Midway Museum hosts Legacy Week from May 27 through 29 this year. As a guest at one of the standout San Diego Hotels, the Sofia, you’re but a few blocks from the downtown waterfront where the Midway’s permanently moored—and thus within shouting distance of the mighty ship’s Memorial Day happenings! Legacy Week Legacy Week kicks off at 9 AM on Saturday the 27th with its traditional free opener: the Wreath Remembrance Ceremony, which includes a stirring flyover and the tossing of biodegradable wreaths overboard in tribute to veterans. That evening, the alt-rock group Lifehouse takes to the sunset flight deck to headline the charity Freedom Concert, which raises money for a trio of local military non-profits. (You can get tickets right here.) Each day of Legacy Week from 10 AM to 4 PM, the USS Midway Museum will present interactive family-friendly activities themed around the Armed Forces at the Adventure Discovery Zone. On Sunday, May 28 and Memorial Day, meanwhile, you can learn the ins-and-outs of the military aircraft displayed on the U.S.S. Midway [...]

May 17th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Got Rhythm? Got Beer? Check Out San Diego Rhythm & Brews!

Greater San Diego’s famous around the country for its craft-beer scene, which can definitely hold its own with any in the world. Staying at the Sofia—a top-caliber San Diego Hotel and Spa*—you’re strategically positioned to enjoy this hoppy and sudsy galaxy, what with all the downtown-area breweries and pubs at your fingertips. If you’re willing to travel just a little farther afield, meanwhile, there’s a fabulous celebration of both regional and national microbrews of the finest kind about to go down up in the charming North County city of Vista Village. It’s San Diego Rhythm & Brews, the San Diego Brewers Guild’s annual springtime beer-full bonanza, underway Saturday, May 6 from 1 to 4 PM. (VIP ticket-holders enjoy special noon entry.) The festival benefits the San Diego Brewers Guild, dedicated to promoting and supporting the beer-makers of San Diego County, plus the Brazilian Institute for Arts & Culture, which (among other things) holds the West Coast’s biggest Brazilian festival. Parade of Outstanding Beer In additional words, you can feel good about participating in the proceedings. Moreover, what exactly are the proceedings? Well, let’s tackle the “Brews” first off. In that department, you’ve got more than 100 varieties of beer hailing from better than 50 of the greatest craft breweries in the United States—all of them Golden State outfits. Among those, naturally, will be loads of highly regarded Southern California craft breweries, among them Stone Brewing, Coronado Brewing, Burning Beard, and Prohibition Brewing (based right there in Vista). Rest assured there’ll [...]

Signs of Spring in San Diego: Art Alive

Just because San Diego has the luxury of mighty pleasant weather year-round doesn’t mean we don’t know how to celebrate springtime. Not long ago we wrote here at Check In San Diego about the super bloom that recently turned the Anza-Borrego desert into a once-in-a-decade kaleidoscope of color: a wild send-up of the season. Well, a different sort of blossomy burst is shortly going to get underway right here in the city itself: Art Alive over at the San Diego Museum of Art in beautiful Balboa Park! Art Alive has been a major fundraising event for the museum for a whopping 36 years, and by now it’s a fixture of the San Diego spring. The 2017 run-through takes place Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30. You can buy tickets for the shindig, which is free for members, right here. Staying at the Sofia, among the standout Hotels in downtown San Diego, you’re only a stone’s throw from the Art Alive action! Art Alive: Works of Art Evoked in Flower Form Here’s the unique premise: Designers create floral compositions depicting artwork from the museum’s collection. Then these beautiful, bright accompaniments are displayed alongside the pieces throughout Art Alive; more than 100 such arrangements will be part of this year’s proceedings. The Museum Rotunda Flower-fied Meanwhile, on the John M. and Sally B. Thornton Rotunda on the second floor, you’ll get to enjoy the fourth Art Alive installation by designer Carlos Franco: FloraMorphic: A Sky of Colors. Franco’s elaborate [...]

April 22nd, 2017|Tags: , , , |