10 Things You Should Do In San Diego 4LMag July 3, 2014 Lifestyle By Sam Greenwich Living in perpetual vacationland means that a few of us have the tendency to take San Diego for granted from time to time. It helps to have friends or family visit on occasion, which forces us to revisit all the fantastic adventures this town has to offer. What if your family lives here and you have no friends? Well, not sure what to tell you then. Kinda, sad actually. Not the family part, more the you-have-no-friends part … but let’s move on and not dwell. Luckily, we here at 4L Magazine have you covered like Eric Weddle, and we’re itching to send a few ideas your way so that you can truly begin to reacquaint yourself with America’s Finest City. GO FISH San Diego is home to the largest long range fishing fleet in the world. Jump on a half-, three-quarter- or overnight trip from one of the local landings. There are also several excellent private charter boats available if a big crowd isn’t your thing. (Or if you want to target a specific species.) Although good fishing is available year round, summer is our favorite time of year for the swabbies at 4L Magazine. During July through October, yellowtail, dorado, tuna and marlin are available to catch in the deep sea, but there is also excellent inshore fishing. Anglers believe we may be in store for an El Niño, which in the past has created epic fishing seasons. But, let’s be honest, fishing is not just about catching Flipper. It’s about being out on the open sea, salt air and sea spray in your face and an ice-cold one in your holster. It’s about the camaraderie that comes from hanging out with friends and family. And it’s about the shit talking and bragging rights that come along with catching the biggest fish of the trip. Yep, fishing is one of the best ways to spend a day with the fellas or your family, and there is no better place to do it in than San Diego. Or the waters right off it, if you want to be technical. Most boats in the San Diego fleet have refrigerated fish holds, excellent food, comfortable accommodations and top-notch crews. In Point Loma, you’ll find Fisherman’s Landing, H&M Landing and Point Loma Sportfishing. Over at Mission Bay, it’s Seaforth Sportfishing and Islandia Sportfishing, and in Oceanside check out Helgren’s Landing. All are excellent choices. GO KAYAK No, not the search engine. Get off your backside and head down to the water. Kayaking is an excellent way to spend a morning or afternoon. One of the fantastic facts about kayaking is that you can do it alone, with family, with a group of friends or even on a date. A sunset kayak tour in La Jolla is pretty romantic, at least that’s what they tell me. Kayaks are portable, which means you can hit the beach, the bay or any of the local lakes. They are great for camping trips as well. All you need is roof rack and you’re set. We use ours to fish, surf, cruise or even see a concert. (See Humphrey’s.) Kayaking is also an excellent workout for your arms, shoulders, back and core. While you’re fishing, cruising or on that special date, you’re also burning some calories and building some muscle. That’s good, because we like to multi-task. It’s also good because the crew at 4L can always stand to drop a couple lbs. There are two basic types of kayaks, one that you pedal with your feet or ones that you paddle. You can rent or purchase a high quality vessel at several different spots throughout the county. If you’ve never tried it before, we recommend renting first to test it out. Try both styles, and if you get all wet, don’t worry, so did we. LISTEN LIVE You can see a show any time of year, right? Why is summer so special? In case you haven’t noticed, the days are longer and the sun is warmer. We’re not talking about an every-day show; we’re talking about an outdoor show. San Diego is home to several excellent outdoor venues. The Fair, Humphrey’s and the Del Mar race track, just to name a few. Who doesn’t love watching the ponies then wrapping it up by seeing an amazing band without having to move? I know I do … Although you won’t catch me in a giant hat.. (Well, not in public …) One of our favorite places to hit an outdoor concert is Humphrey’s. If you’ve ever been, you know what I’m talking about. Seeing a show at that venue is as much about the experience as it is the music. Let me tell you why: You can watch the show from the water; all you need is something that will float you. In all our years of seeing concerts there, we’ve seen it all. From surfboards to kayaks, rafts to dinghies, and some vessels that flat out just should not be on the water. Ever. But that’s what make is so special and unique. One big floating raft up, or should I say party. There is no shortage of good times at Humphrey’s. Please check our “Hotwire” section in the back of the magazine each month for a full listing of upcoming shows. And remember, rock on! GO PADRES Unless you are fortunate enough to live near Petco Park, one of the great traditions is to join the Friar Faithful and take the Coaster downtown to watch the Padres. I know that some of you folks are terrified about the prospect of not having constant and immediate access to your car. Alas, there is ample proof that San Diego has public transportation on any given night or day. Take a breath and hold my hand … I’ll help you through this. Pricing varies from $11 for your Park at the Park experience up to $105 for the premier Field Box VIP seats, with various fantastic seating in between. I think going to a baseball game during the summer is just a rite of passage for most people, young and old and regardless of gender. I can very vividly recall my parents packing my brother and I into the Suburban and heading out on the 8 West to Jack Murphy Stadium. My brother Chris and I would get about two innings under our belt before we’d get restless and have to sprint, full speed, down the spiral walkway, which is never recommended on a belly full of nachos and ballpark hot dogs. Bring your family or your buddies down and make an entire day of baseball, beers, and the Ballpark Experience. BACKYARD BASHING Having friends and family over for a barbecue is just a summer tradition. Whether it’s actual family, the work pals or the neighbors who have become like family over the years, a day spent in front of the grill with an adult libation is never a wasted day. (Pun intended.) I’ve always believed the important first step in hosting a successful backyard soiree is always buying the finest products to throw on the grill. Buy finer cuts of meat, put it on the grill and then leave it alone. Overdoing it with complicated marinades is just a recipe for disaster. Don’t overcook it and when it gets pink in the middle, take it off and leave it alone. Let it sit for a little while and then enjoy it. If a certain person asks for it well done, escort them out. That being said, you absolutely cannot forget about those who have forgone animal goodness. Always have some fresh veggies and guacamole to go along with the more carnivorous fare. Grazers are becoming ever popular and we can all dine with omnivore peace. It almost goes without saying that a BBQ would be remiss without suds and cocktails. Since most of us aren’t rocking red solo cups anymore, and our days of lugging kegs have whispered a long goodbye, you might want to offer a variety of beer and cocktails for your guests. There’s no hard and fast rule and I can very vividly remember enjoying anything from Guinness to Coronas and was a huge fan of made-to-order margaritas with a nice smokey reposado to enjoy when we’re sitting in the backyard, soaking up the sun and ever lengthening tall tales. GET FESTIVE San Diego is a fantastic place to explore, evidenced by U.S. News & World Report naming it the No. 6 most popular tourist destination in the United States. While most people think of the beaches, San Diego Zoo and Petco Park, you can’t dismiss the social attractions and festivals as well. The Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off Festival is always a fun environment and fantastic for people watching. If you can stop by, I highly recommend it. The Festival of Sail on San Diego Bay is a ripping way to enjoy the tall ships in San Diego Bay and appreciate just how much nautical majesty San Diego has to offer. There’s plenty of food and drink from restaurant booths and even a petting zoo for the kids. You’ll enjoy dozens of vendors as well. Being connoisseurs of the fine beer that San Diego has to offer, and with our little coastal hamlet being loosely known as the Mecca for Craft Brewing (keep your angry emails to yourself), makes attending the Annual San Diego Festival of Beer an obvious choice. More than 75 breweries offer tasters of their finest brews (bring your I.D.) with music and food served as well. CityFest is another great event for people watching that’s hosted in Hillcrest. Enjoy music, art, food and beer. Bring your carabiner key ring, steampunk top hat, jean shorts and combat boots because otherwise you might stand out. The Summersun Fest in Oceanside is a fun mix of reggae, DJ’s and probably a bunch of people with guitars slung over their backs and more than a few dreadlocks swaying in the ocean breeze. I’m guessing you’ll also see some engaging art pieces and you’ll get an opportunity to thank and shake hands with a few of our local Marines. COASTER CRAWL No, this is not a reference to your mode of transportation after sampling too many of San Diego’s craft beers and cocktails. It’s our commuter train that allows riders to sit back and relax while others suffer road rage. An all day pass on the coaster costs $12 dollars which includes the Coaster, Sprinter, Breeze, Flex (except Flex 372), Trolley & Regular & Premium Express Bus. You can bring your own booze and drink on the way down, but be careful: It’s going to be a long day and you don’t want to be wasted before anything even starts! Avoid Padre game days so it’s easier to get a four person table facing one another. Bring a deck of cards or download a drinking game on your cell phone because WiFi is free. Pack a few light beers so that you can have a couple sessionable drinks while having fun on the way down. Departure // Arrival 11:07 a.m. Carlsbad Village (Coaster) // 12:10 p.m. Santa Fe Depot 12:17 p.m. Santa Fe Depot (Trolley) // 12:24 p.m. Gaslamp Quarter 2:53 p.m. Gaslamp Quarter (Trolley) // 2:59 p.m. Santa Fe Depot 3:18 p.m. Santa Fe Depot (Coaster) // 3:25 p.m. Old Town 5:06 p.m. Old Town (Coaster) // 5:37 p.m. Solana Beach 7:46 p.m. Solana Beach (Coaster) // 7:53 p.m. Encinitas 9:48 p.m. Encinitas (Coaster) // 9:58 p.m. Carlsbad Village Gaslamp Quarter Searsucker 611 5th Ave. Made famous by Brian Malarkey barleymash 600 5th Ave. Gaslamp’s best bar by far The Union 333 5th Ave. One of the newer, hipper spots Old Town Rockin’ Baja 3890 Twiggs St. Just like Mexico El Agave 2304 San Diego Ave. Thousands of bottles of tequila Old Town Saloon 2495 San Diego Ave. Old school neighborhood bar Solana Beach Tide Water 221 N. Coast Hwy. 101 Newly remodeled but casual Pizza Port 135 N. Coast Hwy. 101 Famous SD pizza and beer joint Saddle Bar 123 W. Plaza St. Clint Eastwood’s son is an investor Encinitas Lumberyard Tavern 967 S. Coast Hwy. 101 Good food, good drinks, good times 1st Street 656 S. Coast Hwy. 101 Great staff and happy hour prices D Street 485 S. Coast Hwy. 101 Great vibe and atmosphere Carlsbad Village Hennessey’s2777 Roosevelt St. The staff will make you want to stay The Compass 300 Carlsbad Village Dr. Hip atmosphere and unique food Senior Grubby’s 377 Carlsbad Village Dr. Best late night eatery SURFING San Diego arguably has one of the best breaks in all of the continental United States. It rarely rains, so it seems as if it’s always sunny and warm. The water only gets cold enough for a full suit a couple of months out of the year. We have world famous surf spots like Swami’s and Black’s Beach. There are point breaks, beach breaks and plenty of reefs. In short, a surfers paradise. No wonder it seems as if everyone surfs here. If you don’t surf, get yourself a larger board so that it’s easier for you to paddle and get acclimated. Also, go to un-crowded areas. Don’t sit in the lineup getting in everyone’s way. There is no such thing as pride when you’re learning so if you don’t know how to surf yet, there is no need to try and get the best waves. Go with a friend who is also a beginner or someone who wants to teach you and doesn’t mind going to less popular areas. Lastly, do yourself a favor and look up surfing etiquette, it will go a long way. SKATING Although we live in a surfing town, it still does go flat. What do you do then? How about grabbing a skateboard and working on your balance? There are all different shapes and sizes, just as there is with surfboards. Also just like surfboards, the longer skateboards are easier to ride. Harder wheels go faster and softer wheels grip more. The standard smaller “popsicle” board is made to do tricks. There is nothing wrong with just cruising around; not everyone has to look cool by doing a 360 kickflip. There are several free skate parks all over San Diego with everything from ditch-like transitions to bowls 15 feet deep. Just as in surfing, find out the etiquette as well as what times the parks are less crowded. Lastly, don’t be embarrassed by wearing safety gear. You may not look cool, but it’s better than spending time in the hospital. PONY UP When does the surf meet the turf? On July 17! Opening day at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is one of the most anticipated days in all of San Diego. It’s filled with pretty ladies wearing floppy hats and sexy outfits to match. Don’t miss this event, especially if you’ve never been. It’s the most crowded day for the races, so be prepared with transportation to and from the event. Either get there super early or plan on taking one of the multiple busses or shuttles. If you miss this day, don’t worry: There are plenty of other race days available. If you buy a ticket to get into the races, it also transfers over to the concert at night, so you should plan an entire day of it. Nothing like betting on the ponies, having cocktails, listening to a great live music and maybe meeting the girl of your dreams. Gotta love those fillies! These are only a smattering of the fantastic events and options that San Diego has to offer. Make it a point every month to venture out and explore … I promise you will love what you discover about yourself and the city you call home.