Welcome to your weekend, San Diego. From live music and festivals to outdoor movies and more, it’s going to be a good time to get out and explore America’s Finest City as we also remember our brave U.S. military service members on Memorial Day.
Thursday, May 25
National Wine Day in San Diego
All Day, locations vary
Many of San Diego eateries will raise a glass Thursday in honor of National Wine Day. Some places to visit include Pappalecco Café, which boasts an organic wine selection imported straight from Tuscany, Italy (the home of Pappalecco’s owners), and Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant, toasting with a selection of wines available for $7 a glass on National Wine Day.
Park Hyatt Masters of Food & Wine
6 p.m., Park Hyatt Aviara
This gourmet dining event at the luxury Carlsbad resort, Park Hyatt Aviara, will showcase the talents of Whistle Pig Whiskey’s master distiller, Dave Pickerell, dropping knowledge and samples. Sips will be paired with tasty dishes like Whole Rotisserie Chipotle Maple Sucking Pig, roasted peaches, and House Smoked Salmon. Make reservations ahead of time by calling (760) 603-3606.
All Shook Up
7 p.m., California Center for the Arts Escondido
Classical Academy High School presents “All Shook Up,” a production at the California Center for the Arts Escondido inspired by the songs and life of Elvis Presley. The story takes place in 1955 when, into a square little town, rides in a guitar-playing cool cat who changes everything. The lip-curling musical features hits like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” Tickets range between $13-$15; the musical runs through Sunday.
8 p.m., The American Comedy Co.
You may recognize Brooks Wheelan from his stint on “Saturday Night Live” a few years ago and from his stand-up act on Comedy Central and “Conan.” This weekend, Wheelan takes the stage at San Diego’s American Comedy Co., with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday. His Thursday night show is only $8.
9 p.m., Harrah’s Resort Southern California
Enjoy live Latin music at Harrah’s Resort Southern California every Thursday night this month at this 21+ fiesta. The shows cost $10 and are available at the door.
Friday, May 26
Fermentation for Distillers
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., White Labs
White Labs (9495 Candida St.) will host a full-day workshop focused on yeast handling for distillers and science of it all. The class explores the basics of yeast, it’s metabolic process and how to create successful fermentations.
Balboa Park After Dark
5 p.m., Balboa Park
The late-night summer event – “Balboa Park After Dark” – makes its triumphant return, running May 26 through Labor Day weekend. Each Friday during the summer, visitors will enjoy extended evening hours at eight museums in Balboa Park, usually until 8 p.m., as well as food trucks and fun entertainment throughout the park. The event gives people a chance to stroll the landmark at a time when they usually may not visit.
Cruisin’ Grand Escondido
5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Downtown Escondido(235 East Grand Ave.)
Downtown Escondido’s free, weekly vintage car show is back. Running every Friday night through Sept. 29, Cruisin’ Grand Escondido takes over historic Grand Avenue, with more than 500 cool cars lining the streets. The event, now in its 18th year, draws thousands of attendees. Each Friday night, awards are given to the most impressive pre-1973 American-made cars. This Friday night, the musical entertainment includes: High Energy Sound Machine (performing on Broadway); Hoo Doo Blues (performing on Juniper Street); Nitro Express (performing at Maple Street Plaza); Rudy T Band (performing at Kalmia & Grand).
Summer Movies in the Park: ‘Moana‘
5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Waterfront Park
Every summer, the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation, along with the Cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon, La Mesa and more work together to host a series of free, outdoor movies, usually at local parks. This summer’s screening season just started, and on Friday, the show is at downtown’s Waterfront Park, which will play Disney’s “Moana” on the big screen. Bring a blanket and the family; the event is free.
Jahja Ling’s Finale
8 p.m., Copley Symphony Hall
San Diego Symphony’s music director, Jahja Ling, marks the end of his 13-year career with the Symphony with this very special concert Friday night at Copley Symphony Hall. Conductor Ling with be joined on stage by close colleague, Yefim Bronfman, on the piano. Together, they will tackle Johannes Brahms’ monumental Piano Concerto No. 2. The program closes with Ling leading the orchestra in a performance of Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. Tickets start at $25.
Saturday, May 27
Coronado’s Free Summer Shuttle Service Begins
8:57 a.m. to 9:42 p.m. (shuttle service times), Coronado
Coronado’s free summer shuttle service rides again, returning to the streets of the island on May 27 and running through Labor Day. The service aims to make it easier for locals and visitors to cruise around Coronado and catch a ride to popular spots during the busy summer months. Hop on!
Palm, Cycad, Bamboo and Tropical Plant Sale
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., San Diego Botanic Garden
Gardening gurus, this plant sale’s for you. The San Diego Botanic Garden will offer rare and exotic species of palms, cycads and other tropical plants provided by Southern California nurseries. Admission into the sale is free with a paid ticket into the San Diego Botanic Garden.
Belvedere Pool Party
12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Hotel Palomar’s Level Four Pool Deck + Lounge
The Level Four Pool Deck + Lounge at downtown San Diego’s Hotel Palomar kicks off pool party season with this party hosted by Belvedere. A DJ will spin tunes from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., with drinks, food and fun also on deck. There’s no cover; bring money for drinks.
Oasis Camel Dairy’s Open Farm and Show
1 p.m., Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona
Spend your Saturday socializing with camels at the well-known Oasis Camel Dairy’s open farm and show. Participants will get a chance to pet and ride the friendly animals. Later in the day, watch a birds show. Tickets start at $7.
1 p.m., Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor’s Center
Ever gone hiking and wondered, what is that bird? Wonder no more once you learn the basics of birding with this community class, aimed at teaching you how to identify birds at a glance. Experienced birder and trail guide Winona Sollock will lead the class, giving everyone tips and tricks. The group will meet in Classroom A at the Visitor’s Center. The class is free.
Rum & Tiki Fest
2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Hiatus Lounge
Hiatus Lounge in La Jolla will host its Rum & Tiki Fest Saturday afternoon, a celebration of rum and tiki cocktails as we ring in the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day weekend. A $15 ticket includes samples of rums across different brands, to be sipped poolside.
Valley Center Stampede Rodeo and Festival
4 p.m., 28246 Lilac Road in Valley Center
Saddle up, San Diegans! The rodeo is back in town! Head on up to Valley Center this weekend for the non-profit Valley Center Stampede Rodeo and Festival, brought to you by the Valley Center Optimist Club. Volunteers put on their annual event, attended by thousands each year looking to cheer on their favorite cowboys and cowgirls. The family friendly rodeo runs on Saturday and Sunday. All proceeds are donated back to the community.
Spirits at Sunset: Summer Cocktail Cruise
5:30 p.m., Flagship Cruises and Events
Treat yourself to a nice evening on the Bay this Saturday for the all-new Spirits at Sunset cruise. Board an 82-foot yacht for an evening for 360 views of the beautiful San Diego and bay and your favorite cocktails. Tickets start at $42.50.
Freedom Concert Featuring Lifehouse
7:30 p.m., USS Midway Flight Deck
The USS Midway Museum will host its 7th annual Freedom Concert this Memorial Day weekend aboard the flight deck against picture perfect vistas of the San Diego Bay. Multi-platinum alt-rockers Lifehouse are headlining the benefit concert; proceeds will be donated to three military-focused organizations: Support The Enlisted Project (STEP), United Through Reading and the Navy SEAL Foundation. Tickets start at $26.
Sunday, May 28
Vista Strawberry Festival
6:30 a.m., Historic Downtown Vista
It’s all about one of summer’s most beloved fruits at this Vista tradition! Come out to Vista and enjoy plenty of yummy food, multiple entertainment stages, live bands, carnival rides, local craft beer and, of course, strawberries. The festivities start early, with the traditional early morning strawberry runs – for kids and adults alike – as the sun rises. If running isn’t for you, there’s still plenty more to do: a Miss Strawberry Pageant, cooking contests, pie eating contests, Strawberry Idol (a singing competition), and more. Plus, more than 400 local vendors will come out to this popular, free annual event to showcase their strawberry-inspired products. The event is free to attend.
Picnic at Pine Park
12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Pine Avenue Community Park in Carlsbad
This Sunday picnic at Carlsbad’s Pine Avenue Community Park (3333 Harding St.) will include live music, food and family-friendly fun. The free event is hosted by the Carlsbad Community Church.
The Old Man and The Old Moon
2 p.m., Old Globe Theatre
Cinematic shadow puppetry meets exuberant folk music and fantastical fables in “The Old Man And The Old Moon.” PigPen Theatre Co. comes sailing into San Diego with this imaginative new production, fresh off award-winning runs in New York, Chicago and Boston. When The Old Man’s wife unexpectedly leaves home one day, The Old Man leaves his post refilling The Old Moon’s light that spills out each night and goes on a journey to find his love.
2 p.m., Diversionary Theatre
The world premiere production of Ballast continues this weekend at the Diversionary Theatre. The imaginative play, written by Georgette Kelly and directed by Matt M. Morrow, explores two relationships between trans and cisgender partners. The show runs through June 4. Tickets start at $15, though discounts are available for students, military, educations, seniors and groups.
Escape to Margaritaville
2 p.m., La Jolla Playhouse
The world premiere of “Escape to Margaritaville” continues its run at the Playhouse this weekend. The production features some of Jimmy Buffett’s best-known hits, in addition to new songs written especially for the musical. The story follows a part-time bartender, part-time singer on a Caribbean island who falls for a beautiful tourist, a woman who makes him question the life he thought he had figured out. Playwrights Greg Garcia (“My Name Is Earl”, “Raising Hope”) and Mike O’Malley (“My Name Is Earl”, “Justified”, “Glee”) blend a story in the works for years with Buffett classics, under the direction of award-winning director Christopher Ashley. The musical runs through July 9 at the Playhouse. Read more about how the cast and crew paid tribute to Buffett’s music here.
Family Discovery Walk
3 p.m., Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor’s Center
Bring the whole family out for this peaceful walk to take in some of spring’s most beautiful sights. A trail guide will lead visitors through fresh blooms and growing plants, right before it gets too hot before summer. The walk is free.
Maritime Museum: Operatic Explorations
4 p.m., Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Hausmann Quartet partners with the Maritime Museum for this unique concert experience: Operatic Explorations aboard a steamboat. The concert takes place aboard the historic steam ferryboat Berkeley. Every program includes informative commentary from musicologist Derek Katz. The program celebrates Haydn Voyages’ quartets, paired with Thomas Ades’ Arcadiana. Tickets start at $10.
Free or Cheap Things to Do in San Diego
Times and locations vary
Looking to save some, but still enjoy the city? In San Diego, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy for free or on the cheap. Go for a hike at Torrey Pines State Park or Cowles Mountain, stroll Balboa Park, try a new craft brewery, admire the murals of Chicano Park or read a book at a downtown park. Get out there and explore America’s Finest City.
Monday, May 29: Memorial Day
On Memorial Day, we remember our U.S. military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In San Diego, you can visit several sites Monday to pay your respects. This includes:
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Cabrillo Memorial Drive
Situated on the Fort Rosecrans Military reservation about 10 miles west of San Diego, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is typically closed on federal holidays – except for Memorial Day. At VA national cemeteries across the U.S. on Monday, the National Cemetery Administration will host special remembrance ceremonies with the help of communities, including at Fort Rosecrans. The ceremony is at 10 a.m. at the Rostrum. In addition to serving as the final resting place of many U.S. military service members, the site also houses several monuments and memorials. Fresh-cut flowers may be placed on graves and in the gravel areas around the Columbarium or on memorial walls and monuments at any time – not only on Memorial Day.
Miramar National Cemetery
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 5795 Nobel Dr.
This 313-acre national cemetery is located on Nobel Drive about 15 miles north of downtown San Diego, at the northwest corner of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. A special Memorial Day ceremony will be held here Sunday, May 28 in the flag pole assembly area at 1 p.m. Miramar National Cemetery is also typically closed on federal holidays, but will be open on Memorial Day. As at Fort Rosecrans, fresh-cut flowers may be placed on graves and gravel areas around the Columbarium or on memorial walls and monuments at any time.
Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial
7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive S.
On Memorial Day, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla will honor Gold Star families in San Diego at its Memorial Day ceremony. The Gold Star first made its appearance during World War I; it was placed over a service flag’s blue star when a service member was killed in combat, signifying a family’s pride in the sacrifice of their loved one. Captain Howard C. Warner III, current Commanding Officer of Naval Base Point Loma will give the keynote address at Monday’s ceremony. The event will include performances by Marine Band San Diego, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Color Guard and a “Fly By” across the memorial conducted by San Diego Performance Team Aircraft. Mt. Soledad is home to more than 4,800 veteran tributes embedded on granite plaques mounted onto walls. It’s open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.