What’s New In San Diego? A lot – check out some of the highlights below.
LEGOLAND® California Resort announced the addition of a new NINJAGO™ land coming in 2016 that will include a NINJAGO ride. Guests will enter through a giant archway behind Imagination Zone, leading into a courtyard where they will begin “ninja training.” The new land features LEGO® building stations, a game to test reflexes, spinners to test balance, Asian cuisine and a shopping venue. Interactive experiences test guests’ physical skills, balance and agility before they can prep for the ultimate training session: NINJAGO – The Ride. The ride features cutting-edge technology that enables guests to control the outcome of their adventure through 3D imagery, high-tech sensors and the use of hand movements. Up to four riders per car, representing the four main NINJAGO characters, can blast animated fireballs, lightning, shockwaves and ice as they head into battle.
In fall 2015, a sprawling food hall will open in Liberty Station, a historic collection of buildings that once housed the Naval Training Center and has been restored into a thriving arts, culture, dining and shopping area that includes schools, parks, housing and hotels. The Liberty Public Market follows a path paved by iconic markets such as Seattle’s Pike Place and the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The $3 million Point Loma project transforms a 1920s-era, warehouse-style building into an indoor-outdoor marketplace that will feature select purveyors of cheeses and salumi, butchered meats, baked goods, seasonal produce and locally caught seafood.
San Diego Beer Week returns Nov. 6-15 for a 10-day celebration of local craft beer and San Diego’s thriving brewing culture. The event serves as a showcase for San Diego’s breweries, restaurants and pubs. Festivities range from tap takeovers and gourmet beer pairing dinners to “beer for breakfast” tastings and beer trolley train tours.
During Nov. 15-22, the 12th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival takes over the Embarcadero Marina Park North and other venues throughout downtown San Diego. The region’s largest wine and culinary event features gourmet food, celebrity chefs, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and more.
In early 2016, two new hotels, a Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites will open in the downtown district of Little Italy, two blocks from the bay, and less than two miles from downtown San Diego, San Diego International Airport and the Gaslamp Quarter. The resort-style property features one shared entry and one check-in for both hotels, offering a total of 364 guest rooms and suites on the campus. Hilton Garden Inn San Diego Downtown/Bayside and Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Downtown/Bayside will feature a rooftop pool, meeting and event space, bayview rooms and an exterior courtyard for relaxing.
In February 2016, a new Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego Mission Valley/Zoo will open in Mission Valley. Centrally located near Hotel Circle, this Homewood Suites by Hilton will offer all-suite accommodations, contemporary furnishings and deluxe amenities. Spacious and well appointed, the 118 guest suites offer studio, one king or two queen beds, free Wi-Fi, a microwave and refrigerator. Of these rooms, the 75 one-bedroom suites offer the perfect choice for families on vacation, or business travelers on an extended stay looking for a home-like experience.
In September 2015, The Empress Hotel completed $1.9 million in top to bottom renovations on their property located one block from the beach in the village of La Jolla. Highlights of the work include new furniture, wallpaper, carpeting, window shutters and lighting in all guest rooms and suites as well as specialty in-room amenities to match the beach inspired décor. The property added 360 photos of La Jolla beaches taken by San Diego photographer Aaron Goulding. Infrastructure improvements include updated elevators with “smart control systems” as well as upgraded heating and air conditioning systems. Breakfast is available on a renovated second floor patio that now serves as additional outdoor event space. Meeting rooms also received an update with wall mounted big screen televisions and wireless HD connectivity as part of the renovation.
In September 2015, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines began an extensive meeting and event space renovation. More than 20,000 sq. ft., including the 12,000-sq-ft pillar-free Grande Ballroom, will be renovated with a coastal modern design reflecting the hotel’s location in La Jolla. Warm wood hues, bright floral accents with contemporary finishes will rejuvenate the walls and flooring with an anticipated completion date by the end of October 2015.
Scheduled to open in late October 2015, Duke’s La Jolla features two bars, two ocean view patios, a main dining room that seats 225 and a casual upstairs dining room with 125 seats. Celebrating the life and career of surf legend Duke Kahanamoku, the La Jolla restaurant is the sixth in the Duke’s chain. Located in the iconic space long-occupied by Top of the Cove restaurant, the modern facade features a sweeping roofline reminiscent of a wave and a cutout to accommodate a towering fig tree branch. Executive Chef Anthony Sinsay’s menu celebrates the melting pot of cultures and cooking techniques of Hawaii and California, featuring wood-grilled Tahitian octopus with smoked papaya, lime and coconut milk, passion fruit ceviche, roasted firecracker fish, and kalbi (Korean-style) short ribs.
The Town and Country Resort & Convention Center named Chef Paul McCabe (L’Auberge Del Mar, Delicias) as the resort’s food and beverage director to refresh its food offerings in conjunction with the resort’s new $80 million reinvention scheduled for completion in 2018. Newly appointed chef de cuisine, Matt Hobbs, has revamped Town and Country’s sports bar and eatery, Charlie’s, which reopened with a makeover and a new barbecue-based menu serving on-site wood-smoked, dry-rubbed chicken wings, baby back ribs, pulled pork and Texas-style brisket. However, Charlie’s will be razed at the end of 2016 when the Town and Country starts construction on three new restaurants planned for the property in 2017.
Visual Arts and Museums
Now through Jan. 4, 2016, the Reuben H Fleet Science Center welcomes a new exhibition that makes innovation accessible, replicable and fun. Imaginate is a 5,000-sq.-ft., multi-activity interactive exhibition exploring the skills and attitudes that can be developed to foster innovation and enhance creativity in anyone. Imaginate identifies five guiding pathways to innovation: Dream Big; Expect the Unexpected; Collaborate or Compete; Try, Try and Try Again, and Look to the World. Each theme is explored through a number of hands-on activities, 20 activities in total, that appeal to a wide range of interests and ages, encouraging participants to immerse themselves in the methods of innovative and critical thinking.
The San Diego Natural History Museum (the NAT) has broken ground on a brand-new project that will give visitors the ability to view treasures from the institution’s Research Library, including rare books, art, photographs, maps, historical documents and much more. What was once “back of house” and open by appointment only will now become a welcoming exhibition space accessible to all. The renovated space will open to the public in early summer 2016 and will feature a rotating display of original watercolors of native California plants painted by acclaimed local artist A.R. Valentien as well as a new exhibition titled, Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science.
The Old Globe theater in Balboa Park welcomes the 18th annual production of the holiday fable, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Nov. 7–Dec. 26, 2015. David Ives’ adaptation of The Metromanics, a West Coast Premiere comedy styled as a classic French farce and set in 18th century Paris, runs Jan. 20–Mar. 6, 2016.
San Diego’s Tony® Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse continues to offer groundbreaking theater. Running Nov. 13–Dec. 10, 2015, Indecent is a world-premiere play with music, inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1922 Broadway debut of God of Vengeance, a work considered by many to be a seminal work of Jewish culture and a work of traitorous libel by others. Alive with popular songs of the era, this deeply-moving piece charts the history of an incendiary work.
Tours and Transportation
In August 2015, Hornblower Cruises and Events added the historic yacht High Spirits to its group of vessels docked in San Diego. Built in 1929, the 112-foot yacht has an impressive pedigree of owners and luxurious features not common in yachts of the time. The exterior bright work is fashioned from solid teak and the interior salon panels are constructed of rare, bleached black walnut. Built during the Prohibition years, the ship had a secret liquor bar hidden behind a built-in chest and mirror. High Spirits can accommodate up to 150 guests in three luxurious staterooms, a main salon with a dance floor and stereo system and a charming upper deck dining area with space available for outdoor seating. Interior highlights include crystal light fixtures, an antique piano, rich mahogany paneling and a Chippendale mahogany dining table.
Bespoke Experiences is a new premier service specializing in custom, private luxury travel itineraries for groups of all sizes. Bespoke staff create and curate luxury travel experiences for international clientele designed to enhance private tours by delving deeper into the culture in order to tell a richly inspiring travel story personalized to the clients’ exacting needs and specific locale. Itineraries are individualized and can include themes such as history, architecture, authentic culture, natural scenery or unforgettable adventure.
The American Planning Association (APA) released its annual list of Great Places in America and San Diego’s Balboa Park earned recognition on this exclusive list. Since 2007, the Great Places in America list recognizes unique and extraordinary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces. The locations that top the list incorporate forward-thinking planning while showcasing unique architecture, community engagement and accessibility and economic opportunity.
In October 2015, San Diego breweries took home 19 medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. San Diego County brewers brought home six gold medals, two silvers and 11 bronze, with 10 of the awards going to breweries located within the City of San Diego while the other nine medals were awarded to breweries located within San Diego County.