Everything You Need to Do in San Diego on Your Next Visit

Updated On 01/31/2018 at 06:16PM EST Updated On 01/31/2018 at 06:16PM EST
San Diego Mardi Gras
San Diego Mardi Gras | Flickr/Nathan Rupert
Balboa Park
Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock
Thursday - Wednesday
Feb 1-28
Various locations
Beginning February 1, head to any Macy's store in San Diego, Temecula, or Imperial Valley and pick up a free Museum Month Pass, which is good for half-price admission at more than 40 museums during the month of February. Each pass admits up to four people for half price at participating venues, including the USS Midway, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Price: Museum Month Pass is free, but museum entrance fees vary depending on the venue and exhibits
Feb 9
San Diego Natural History Museum
Enter the world of courtship, love, and sex in the natural world at this exclusive 21+ after-hours museum event. Enjoy craft beer and cocktails, music, storytelling, food, crafts, and art, as well as museum scientists sharing treasures from their collection of more than 8 million specimens. There’s also a Valentine-making station, a special natural history-inspired “prom photo” station, slow jam music, special access to the rooftop bar, live animal encounters, and games that test your love IQ.
Price: $15 for members; $25 for non-members. Admission includes access to all activities, but food and beverages will be available for purchase at happy hour prices.
Friday - Sunday
Feb 9-11
SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm Stadium)
Celebrate the Year of the Dog at the Lunar New Year Tet Festival, the premier pan-Asian New Year Festival in San Diego, featuring a carnival with a mix of spectacular adult thrill rides, family rides and children’s rides, lion dances, a beer garden, food booths serving dishes from all across Asia, and a pho-eating contest.
Price: $4 for children (aged 3-12), $6 for adults
Friday - Saturday
Feb 9-10
Gaslamp Quarter
Whatever your relationship status, grab your best buds and commemorate Galentine’s Day in the Gaslamp Quarter! Starting with an opening party at Vin de Syrah, your all-inclusive ticket gets you free admission to 20 of the hottest restaurants, nightclubs, and bars along 5th Avenue, with welcome libations, extended happy hours, aphrodisiac menu specials, Champagne toasts, and more.
Price: $22.50-$60
Feb 10
Head to North County for the ninth annual Brewbies Festival: a beer tasting event supporting breast cancer awareness. Held at Bagby Beer Company in Oceanside, this event raises money for Keep a Breast Foundation (KABF) to support its Check Yourself! Program, and 100% of the proceeds from Brewbies go directly to the charity. You'll get to taste test beers from 40+ partnering breweries, such as Oakland United Beer Works, Thorn Brewing, and Societe Brewing, including pink-hued selections, many of which you can only experience at the event. Bagby Beer will be serving up a pink beer called Faint of Tart (4.2% ABV), a fruited blonde ale brewed with traditional ale yeast and 100 pounds of tart cherry, pomegranate, raspberry, and cranberry.
Price: General admission is $45 advance, $60 day of; VIP with early entrance is $60
Feb 10
Indulge your sweetie and your sweet tooth at the annual “For the Love of Chocolate” Escondido Chocolate Festival. Stroll through downtown Escondido to each of the 20+ tasting locations to sample chocolate or a chocolate dish paired with either wine, beer, or Champagne. Your ticket price includes a tasting glass, a swag bag with goodies and coupons to local businesses, a map to each tasting location, a long-stemmed rose, horse drawn carriage rides, and a sweet raffle drawing. And, since it’s also the second Saturday of the month, the Escondido Arts and Culture Experience events will be a part of the festivities.
Price:  $35 advance, $45 day of; designated drivers (no alcohol) $25 advance, $35 day of
Sunday - Monday
Feb 11-13
If a trip to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras isn’t in the cards, The Wine Vault & Bistro’s twist on an authentic, New Orleans-style, 10-course feast (paired with five different libations) will make you feel like you’re sitting in a fancy French Quarter eatery. Dinner starts with an IPA from Abita (one of the only breweries in New Orleans), followed by two Spanish wines especially paired for the intense flavors of Creole and Cajun cooking, a Botanical Garden Cocktail (a refreshing play on the iconic Corpse Reviver created by the bartenders at Panama 66), and finally, a Bourbon Milk Punch, just like the one served at the famous Commander's Palace. Reservations are highly recommended and must be made by phone.
Price:  $62.50, not including tax and gratuity
Feb 13
Gaslamp Quarter
Throw down for Mardi Gras in style at the 24th Gaslamp Quarter Mardi Gras Block Party, Parade & Celebration! Your general admission ticket includes in and out privileges to the block party (Fifth Avenue from E Street to Market) and access to the 9pm parade and all stages -- or, upgrade to a Club Pass for no cover charges and welcome shots at 10+ venues, priority admission to the kickoff party at The Commons, plus discounts on food, drinks, and UBER rides home.
Price: $25 for general admission, $70 for VIP admission, $55 for GA Club Pass, and $100 for VIP Club Pass
Thursday - Sunday
Feb 15-25
Various locations
You won’t score tickets to Hamilton, but during San Diego Theatre Week, more than 30 San Diego organizations will come together for a celebration of performing arts including music, comedy, theater, dance and musical theater. Participating venues include the San Diego Ballet, the Diversionary Theatre, The Old Globe, the National Comedy Theatre, and many more, all of which will be offering a variety of special promotions during the week.  
Price:  $15, $30, and $45
Feb 19
Valley View Casino Center
San Diego-based reggae band Tribal Seeds and Northern California’s Stick Figure will co-headline the first-ever Boomshaka 2018 Music Festival, along with other featured acts including The Original Wailers, Don Carlos, HIRIE, The Expanders, and Aloha Radio. Libations range from craft beers to cocktails, along with local dining options including Rockin’ Baja Lobster, Mess Royale, and Pizza Port.
Price: $52 for general admission, $89 for Gold Circle, $179 for VIP Experience
Feb 24
Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park
The (21+ only) San Diego Winter Brew Fest gives you the opportunity to sample even more amazing beers from over 30 breweries and listen to some great live music too. Cheese aficionados can choose the VIP option to get early entry and a special Venissimo cheese and beer pairing. As an added bonus, a new Fleet Science Center exhibit -- MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition -- begins the same day, though there's an additional charge to visit the exhibit.
Price: General admission (7pm-10 pm) $40-$50, VIP (6pm-10pm) $50-60
Feb 27
Valley View Casino Center
OK, so the Chargers are gone and the Padres won’t be playing for another couple of months, but you can still scream for the home team when our own American League hockey team, the San Diego Gulls, squares off against the rival San Antonio Rampage. Take advantage of the Gulls Bud Light Hockey Night out package, including two terrace level tickets, two Bud Lights, and two hot dogs, for just $49. Arrive early and you can nosh your way around the concourse, which has everything from poutine to ice cream, plenty of craft beer, and cocktails.
Price: $49 for the Hockey Night package; regular seats are $23-$116
San Diego Homebrew Festival and Competition
San Diego Homebrew Festival and Competition
Mar 3
Mission Bay Park to De Anza Cove
A fun twist on a serious topic, the San Diego Undy Run/Walk is a family-friendly underwear-themed 5K run/walk and 1-mile fun run created by the Colon Cancer Alliance. The event is designed to spark vital conversations about colon cancer -- the second leading cause of cancer death in the US -- and raises funds and awareness to knock this cancer out. And if that’s not enough, you can even stroll through a larger-than-life inflatable colon on site! (How many chances do you get to do that in your life?) The Undy Run/Walk team honors colon cancer warriors by providing free registration to all colorectal cancer patients and survivors. All participants receive a pair of Undy Run/Walk boxer shorts.
Price: Prices vary by race and whether you buy in advance or on race day
Saturday - Sunday
Mar 3-4
Waterfront Park
Dance till you drop at CRSSD Fest SPRING '18, now in its third year at Waterfront Park. Combining dynamic live acts like RÜFÜS DU SOL, Chromeo, Richie Hawtin, Dixon and Hot Since 82, alongside a strong roundup of DJs such as Snakehips, Skream, Lane 8, Ame, and Lost Frequencies, CRSSD Fest has become San Diego’s premier dance/electronic music festival. Advance tickets went on sale December 26.
Price: $115-$155
Saturday - Sunday
Mar 3-4
SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm)
Think you have what it takes? You’ve seen the show, now test your skills on an authentic American Ninja Warrior course and watch the very best American Ninja Warriors compete live before your very eyes. There’s a special youth competition for kids 7-13, as well as an adult course for 14+, and even an amateur qualifying event to try for the finals in the Main Event against your favorite Ninjas from the show.
Price: Spectator tickets are $30, $49 for youths, $89 for adults, $120 for an amateur qualifier. Tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday
Mar 10
North Park
Enjoy unlimited tastes of beer from San Diego homebrewers, as well as some local breweries, while supporting North Park's public school, Jefferson Elementary IB STEAM Magnet, with all proceeds going to enrichment programs, scholarships, and other necessities. Festival attendees can vote for their favorite beer and enjoy street-side chats with beer professionals, vendors, food, and more. Prizes will be awarded for People’s Choice, as well as for the top three beers selected by a group of certified beer judges.
Price:  $35; designated drivers are $10