What’s the best time to visit San Diego?

Jennifer Kester
©iStock/gimletup

With a year-round average daily temperature of 70.5 F, there really is no bad time to visit San Diego — it boasts the best weather in the country, making it a vacationer’s paradise. With day after day of continuous sunshine, locals often joke about San Diego meteorologists having the most boring job in the world, as the weather is either perfect or nearly perfect. Though you may want to avoid what locals call "May gray" and "June gloom," when the skies are more overcast than the city’s other sun-drenched 10 months of the year. If you want a beach vacation, the water is at its warmest from June through early September; the rest of the time, you'll likely need a wetsuit if you want to surf or do stand-up paddleboarding. You’ll notice cool temperatures in late spring and early summer in America's Finest City, but if you’re coming from a humid climate, a trip to San Diego during this time might be just what you were dreaming of.

  • On August 21
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    Which San Diego resorts have the best pools for adults?

    If you’re looking to relax and unwind in a quiet poolside setting then set your sights on The Grand Del Mar.  The adults-only pool at this Forbes Travel Guide’s 5-Star Rated resort is located adjacent to the spa and offers a welcoming retreat complete with cushioned lounge chairs perfect for soaking up the San Diego sunshine.   Pool attendants are on hand to assist with set up, refresh towels and position umbrellas if you desire shade.  To enhance the experience further, they make frequent rounds delivering complimentary chilled fruit, cold Fiji water and smoothies.   When you’re ready for a dip in the heated pool prepare to be surprised.  A state-of-the art underwater stereo system will provide a mellow soundtrack for a truly serene swim. 

    On the opposite spectrum, if you’re looking to make a splash party-style then head to Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort for Adult Swim Saturdays.  Every Saturday from 11am to 7pm through September, the stylishly revamped, hip new pool area is transformed to a 21-and up Vegas-style pool party complete with DJ tunes, exciting entertainment and VIP bottle service.  Guests can get their groove on around the expanded main pool that includes a 400-foot lazy river and Southern California’s only swim-up bar.  Other amenities include 9 sparkling hot tubs, luxe daybeds and private cabanas available by reservation.
  • On August 2, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    Which San Diego resorts have the best pools for adults?

    If you’re looking to relax and unwind in a quiet poolside setting then set your sights on The Grand Del Mar.  The adults-only pool at this Forbes Travel Guide’s 5-Star Rated resort is located adjacent to the spa and offers a welcoming retreat complete with cushioned lounge chairs perfect for soaking up the San Diego sunshine.   Pool attendants are on hand to assist with set up, refresh towels and position umbrellas if you desire shade.  To enhance the experience further, they make frequent rounds delivering complimentary chilled fruit, cold Fiji water and smoothies.   When you’re ready for a dip in the heated pool prepare to be surprised.  A state-of-the art underwater stereo system will provide a mellow soundtrack for a truly serene swim. 

    On the opposite spectrum, if you’re looking to make a splash party-style then head to Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort for Adult Swim Saturdays.  Every Saturday from noon to 7pm through September, the stylishly revamped, hip new pool area is transformed to a 21-and up Vegas-style pool party complete with DJ tunes, exciting entertainment and VIP bottle service.  Guests can get their groove on around the expanded main pool that includes a 400-foot lazy river and Southern California’s only swim-up bar.  Other amenities include 9 sparkling hot tubs, luxe daybeds and private cabanas available by reservation.
  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    Which San Diego resorts have the best pools for adults?

    If you’re looking to relax and unwind in a quiet poolside setting then set your sights on The Grand Del Mar.  The adults-only pool at this Forbes Travel Guide’s 5-Star Rated resort is located adjacent to the spa and offers a welcoming retreat complete with cushioned lounge chairs perfect for soaking up the San Diego sunshine.   Pool attendants are on hand to assist with set up, refresh towels and position umbrellas if you desire shade.  To enhance the experience further, they make frequent rounds delivering complimentary chilled fruit, cold Fiji water and smoothies.   When you’re ready for a dip in the heated pool prepare to be surprised.  A state-of-the art underwater stereo system will provide a mellow soundtrack for a truly serene swim. 

    On the opposite spectrum, if you’re looking to make a splash party-style then head to Harrah’s Rincosorn Casino & Resort for Adult Swim Saturdays.  Every Saturday from noon to 7pm through September, the stylishly revamped, hip new pool area is transformed to a 21-and up Vegas-style pool party complete with DJ tunes, exciting entertainment and VIP bottle service.  Guests can get their groove on around the expanded main pool that includes a 400-foot lazy river and Southern California’s only swim-up bar.  Other amenities include 9 sparkling hot tubs, luxe daybeds and private cabanas available by reservation.
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  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What is the best new restaurant in San Diego?

    After several months of plywood, nails and hardhats, the construction is complete, the dust has cleared and Rancho’s Bernardo Inn’s new restaurant Avant is open for business.  The fresh 6,500-square-foot eatery features a variety of indoor and outdoor dining areas.  Belly up to the large central bar and savor house-infused cocktails, craft drafts and wines paired with custom charcuterie plates sliced to order and served with artisan mustards on tap. 

    In the semi-formal dining room, or out on the spacious patio enjoy Executive Chef Nicolas Bour’s seasonal menu boasting farm-fresh produce like the Chef’s Daily Preparation, a plate of 12 different vegetables grown on property.  Other light fare standouts include a red quinoa and avocado salad mingled with stone fruit in elderflower vinaigrette.  Heartier highlights include vintage sirloin steak, seared big eye tuna and Sonoma duck breast.

    In addition to wining and dining, the restaurant offers a series of unique, hands-on culinary experiences in the Avant Kitchen.  The intimate space holds up to 12 guests and serves as the restaurant’s private demonstration kitchen where lessons on wine pairings, mixology course and cooking classes are taught.  Events are held every Thursday evening throughout the month of October and include a garden tour with three-course meal on August 22nd, a mixology class with food pairings on August 29th and chef-led lesson on preparing whole roasted suckling pig on September 26th.

    For more information on restaurant hours and special events visit:
    http://www.ranchobernardoinn.com/avant/
  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best neighborhood restaurants in San Diego?

    San Diego has some amazing little neighborhoods, and Barrio Logan is one that I only recently discovered.  The area, which sits under the shadow of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, is home to Chicano Park, which contains the country’s largest collection of outdoor murals.   The Park’s vibrant artwork pays homage to the predominantly Mexican American and Mexican immigrant community and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in San Diego County.

    With nearly 8-acres of hand-painted murals, unique sculptures, earthworks and architectural features it’s a hidden gem worth discovering.  You’ll want to fuel up for the morning’s art-bound adventure with a proper cup of fair-trade coffee from Café Virtuoso.  When you’re ready for a lunch break later in the day, The Blueprint Café is the perfect spot to get your fill.  Located at 1805 Newton Avenue, the bright and cozy shop serves up tasty comfort food created with fresh, local and sustainably harvested ingredients prepared by Chef/Owner Gayle Covner. 

    For a hearty bite try Gayle’s massive, and much lauded burger featuring a half-pound of grilled Meyer Ranch Angus beef piled high with cheddar, bacon, avocado and tomato with spicy chipotle sauce.  Be sure to save room for a side of sweet potato fries and a pint of Ballast Point Pale Ale.  If lighter fare is what you crave then the signature salad is sure to please.  The tender grilled chicken has just a hint of spice that tastes so nice when mixed with the sweet red onions, tangy cranberries, toasted piñons and crisp romaine tossed in chili lime dressing.

    Lunch is served at The Blueprint Café from 11am to 3pm Mondays through 11am – 3pm.

    *****

    Some of the best breaks can be found in Oceanside, and after a day of surfing I love to refuel at The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen just a few blocks from the waves.  Run by husband and wife team, Roddy and Aaron Browning, the power couple is no stranger to fine farm-to-fork cuisine.  They've brought the slow food movement to the Pig where their fresh, locally sourced gourmet fare is presented in a truly friendly, not at all pretentious, and totally soulful way that I find refreshing.

    The place has a rustic, quirky art gallery vibe with brightly painted mismatched walls adorned by vintage kitsch and rummage sale funk.  Menus are pasted inside old album covers and none of the dishes or silverware are of the same pattern.  It’s the kind of place that I feel comfortable coming to with salty tresses and jeans paired with flip-flops.  On at least two occasions I have spotted well-known celebrities at the Pig who were dressed much the same.  It’s that kind of relaxed yet hip place, and clearly the word has made it as far north as LA.

    Perhaps what makes the Pig so popular is the friendly service.  Roddy makes a point of getting to know his patrons and often greets them by name.  Then again it could be the amazing cuisine, which – as the name would suggest – has a heavy emphasis on pork.  The bacon mac-n-cheese is just such a dish.  Served in a mini-skillet the top is golden brown and slightly crisp with creamy bacon-loaded goodness beneath it.  I also dig the molasses glazed brussels and bacon, the fresh ground pork burger with tempura onion, molten cheddar, spicy ‘626’ sauce, and (oh, yes) a fried farmers egg.

    Being a pub, the Pig has plenty of San Diego craft drafts on tap to pair with all that pork.  The selections of suds are ever changing and always delightfully diverse.  Those who prefer lighter fare complemented by fine wine will be pleased with the wide of array of creative field-fresh salads and the impressive wine cellar.  Vinos vary day to day and are served by the glass or by the bottle.

    If you plan to visit the Pig be sure to arrive early (pub opens at 4:30 pm, kitchen at 5pm) or call ahead for a reservation.  This fun neighborhood eatery is quite the hot spot and fills up rather quickly.  It's not unusual for there to be up a 45-minute wait for a table, even on a slow Monday night.  If you see Roddy while your there, please tell him I said hello.  Oh, and eat some vinegar fries for me, too.  You'll be glad you did. 

    The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen
    626 South Tremont St
    Oceanside, CA 92054
    Tel: 760 453 2940
  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best steakhouses in San Diego?

    For great steak in North County look no further than West Steak and Seafood in the coastal town of Carlsbad.  A favorite among locals in the know, the restaurant serves high-end cuts of pedigreed beef and savory seafood in both its hip lounge and its elegant dining room.  Helmed by Executive Chef Eugenio Martignago, the menu features a wide array of steaks and chops enhanced by gourmet sides such as cremini mushroom trifolati.

    Standouts from the dinner menu include the Greg Norman Signature Wagyu New York Steak, available in 6 or 12oz portions.  Prized for its intense marbling and creamy texture, this particular cut is considered a delicacy and Chef Martignago cooks it up right.  The meat is expertly seared over low temps, which locks in the juices to deliver a rich, succulent steak that melts in the mouth.  Other highlights include Duroc pork chops and grass-fed free-range cuts of beef, venison and bison.  

    In the lounge, Seafood reigns supreme.  Come for happy hour (4:30 – 6:30 daily) and snack on seared jumbo sea scallops served over crispy potato cakes with sweet corn or ahi tartare intertwined with pickled ginger, chives and Tobiko caviar.  Pair your frutti de mare with handcrafted cocktails like the blood orange cosmo or the lavender gin Collins muddled with fruits, herbs and spices plucked from Chef Martignago’s very own organic farm.  Be sure to save room for dessert, the white chocolate crème brûlée does not disappoint.
  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    Which San Diego microbreweries have the best tasting rooms?

    San Diegans are spoiled when it comes to sampling craft drafts.  Nearly all the local brewers have tasting rooms and there’s not a bad one in the bunch.  While you really can’t go wrong, there are a few that stand out, and Stone Brewing Co. is among the tops.  One of my favorite places to sip their suds is at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens - Escondido.  A merry mix of brewery, restaurant and beer gardens, the sprawling property provides a truly sublime Stone experience.

    Begin with a guided tour of the microbrewery then pick a perch in the hip dining room.  Better yet, head to the garden and enjoy the lush landscape dotted by rugged boulders and soothing water features.  In either location you can enjoy tasty micro-brews pulled fresh from the taps.  Pair a pint of Stone Cali-Belgique IPA with the comedic but aptly named stinky cheese plate, or try the crisp romaine and fried caper Stone Caesar Salad with a glass of Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.   Heartier plates, like grilled rib eye steak with roasted mashed potatoes partners well with the bold flavors of Stone Smoked Porter. 

    Be sure to check out Stone Brewing Co.’s calendar of events.   Between their flagship brick and mortar, four Stone Company Stores ranging from South Park to Oceanside, and their newest Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens - Liberty Station in Point Loma, there’s always something special going on at Stone.
  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    Where can I go for a unique Sunday brunch experience?

    For a taste of Italy without the hassle of international travel, take a quick trip to Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad and enjoy Pranzo, a relaxed Italian-style brunch served at Vivace.  Begin with a peachy Bellini, crisp Negroni or refreshing spritz as you peruse the entree and contorni (side dishes) choices.  The Wagyu flat iron steak with horseradish mostarda is an excellent pick, especially when paired with peewee potatoes enhanced by garlic and rosemary.  The caper and grilled Meyer Lemon-enhanced branzino alongside caramelized cauliflower with anchovy, currants and pine nuts is another standout.  Be sure to select different dishes than your dining partner as they are served family-style for sharing.

    Before the main event enjoy simple edible pleasures from the trio of antipasti bars.  The crudo bar is a treasure trove of tender seafood delicacies.  Try the poached Caledonian prawns with a splash of salsa rosa, or the Skuna Bay salmon with a pinch of sea salt flakes, a squeeze of lemon and a paper-thin slice of jalapeño.  Move on to the artisan salumi bar for fresh cuts of house cured meats such as coppa and soppressata paired with creamy-centered burrata and orbs of mozzarella made fresh at the station.  Be sure to leave room on your plate for delicate baby beets, grilled asparagus, and a salad of fennel and oranges.  Candied pecans, honeycomb and an array of crusty Italian breads accent the spread.

    As you linger over the first course, mains and sides arrive. Share, savor and spend your time lingering over the flavors. The antipasti stations will still be there should you desire more.  Afterwards, enjoy a sweet finale over dolce, the elaborate dessert course.  Visit the self-serve dessert bar and take your choice of classic Italian desserts such as tiramisu, torta al limone, budino al caramello and cannoli. 

    Pranzo is served every Sunday from 11:30am to 3pm in Vivace’s elegant Mediterranean- inspired dining room, or outside on the breezy ocean-view terrace.  Phone 760-448-1234 for reservations.

    *****

    When I’m looking for a healthier alternative to the standard champagne brunch, I head to Veladora at the Forbes Travel Guide Four Star-rated  Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa.  The lavish resort is located in the pastoral Rancho Santa Fe community, and is nestled on 45 lush acres dotted by verdant foliage, blooming shrubs, citrus trees, and olive groves.  The drive out there puts me in a mellow mood, and by the time I arrive I feel as serene as the setting itself.

    The relaxed yet elegant ambiance at Veladora reminds me of a modern hacienda.  Plush banquettes (complete with fluffy throw pillows), soaring open-beamed ceilings, a flickering fireplace, and huge windows overlooking the bucolic landscape perfects the scene.  As for the cuisine, Executive Chef Eric Bauer incorporates much of what I see in the gardens around me into his menu.  He uses locally grown, freshly picked ingredients including herbs, olive oil, and honey sourced directly onsite at Rancho Valencia.

    Inspired by the setting, I'll often begin my meal with sense-based slow juices such as Wellness Journey.  This slightly sweet juice is a refreshing combination of apples, kale, and celery that makes me feel as good as it tastes.  I love to pair this with the Acai Breakfast Bowl, which includes bananas, house-made granola and nutrient-rich bee pollen.  For my main I choose the Mediterranean Spinach & Roasted Chicken Salad intertwined with herbed couscous, kalamata olives, pickled onion, cucumber and marinated feta.

    My husband enjoys heartier meals such as the San Danielle Prosciutto & Egg Breakfast Flat Bread made with truffle chive cream cheese, shaved asparagus, and eggs served sunny side up.  For a sweet finish he selects the pillowy Belgian Beer Waffle complemented by farm-fresh berries, creamy apple butter, and a light dusting of powdered sugar.  He likes to pair this with a Valencia Protein Smoothie that combines chocolate, bananas, and peanut butter with a protein boost for a rich and creamy shake that keeps him fueled up and feeling great for the rest of the day.

    Veladora is located within Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa at:
    5921 Valencia Cir 
    Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
    Ph: (858) 756-1123
  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    What are the best places to hear live music in San Diego?

    If you happen to be in San Diego during The Grand Del Mar's Summer Concerts at The Grand be sure to get in the action.  The Forbes Travel Guide Five Star-Rated resort has one of the most intimate concert venues in the county.  Held in the Grand Ballroom, guests are treated to a close-up show in style.

    Every Sunday through September 1st, the series puts the spotlight on an array of musical talent.  Upcoming acts include legendary American blues-rockers The Fabulous Thunderbirds on August 4th, a Jagger-esque performance by The Ultimate Stones cover band on August 11th and the swoon-worthy Italian crooner Patrizio Buanne on September 1st.

    For reservations, please call, toll-free, 1-877-814-8472; or book online at www.TheGrandDelMar.com

    *****

    Get down and groove this summer at the bayside San Diego Symphonies Ashford University Summer Pops concert series.  Each year a stage is constructed at the beautiful Embarcadero Marina Park South where musical performances are enjoyed in an alfresco setting.  Grab a general admission ticket and enjoy a cozy spot on the lawn, or upgrade to a grandstand voucher and perch on fold-down style chairs.  For the ultimate concert experience snag a cabaret table and be seated in style.

    The Summer Pops series kicks off their 10 weeks of concerts in late June and features an exciting lineup of musical acts.  Standouts include a star-spangled 4th of July extravaganza lead by principle Pops conductor, Bill Conti who will lead a musical mélange of American hits from Broadway to Main Street.  The show will also feature a military salute, and front row seats to the Big Bay Boom fireworks spectacular. 

    The season continues with performances from musicians like En Vogue, Amy Grant and Michael Bolton as well as cover tributes to bands such as The Bee Gees of Saturday Night Fever fame.  Summer Pops concerts are held on Friday and Saturday nights with occasional shows on Thursdays and Sundays.  Gates open at 6pm and acts kick off around 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted.  This is an outdoor venue by the Bay so be sure to dress in layers and bring something warm for after the sun goes down.
  • On August 1, 2013
    Julia Weiler answered the question: Julia Weiler

    Which San Diego spas offer treatments for teens?

    This summer at The Spa at Paradise Point, teen girls can indulge in a fun-filled range of treatments including the “Mom and Me” ritual featuring side-by-side, 50-minute Swedish massages followed by ice cream pedicures for mother and daughter.  Other summertime indulgences include the “Girls’ Night In”, a Saturday evening in at the spa with mock-tinis and choice of 20-minute mini-treatments such as scalp massage, nail polish change, or facial.   During the event spa estheticians offer one-on-one skin analysis, share tips and tricks for caring for teen skin and provide take-home SkinCeuticals product samples.

    With more than a mile of private beachfront on calm Mission bay, several sparkling pools and a protected island setting, this teen-friendly resort and spa is ideal for vacationing families. For more information on Paradise Point activities at the spa and beyond visit: www.paradisepoint.com.
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