$ – Under $10
$$ – $10-$15
$$$ – $15-$20
1. Free – $ – Hiking. Go to http://www.sandiegohikers.com or http://www.localhikes.com for trail maps, cost (if there is one), difficulty level, etc. Here’s what one person had to say about the Sunset Cliffs Hike: This place is a great place to take a first date or someone you love. Named for its sunset vistas, this hike is best done in the late afternoon. The rugged coastline and steep cliffs are breathtaking, don’t forget to take your camera. This area has been well preserved and retains it natural beauty. We saw lots of birds, sea life and lizards on hike. I would recommend doing this hiking during the week. The weekends can get a little busy.
2. Free – Meandering & Planning. If you’re planning on moving into a new place with a yard (whether big or small), you should visit the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College. It’s a lovely garden to browse around, be in nature, learn a little about water conservation and native plants. Plus, there are picnic benches where you can bring your lunch and have a little picnic while you’re there. Visit http://www.thegarden.org/.
3. $ – Be A Tourist for a Day. We live in a tourist city and yet with working everyday, being stuck in traffic and rushing from one place to the next, we often forget how lucky we are. Spend the day being a tourist. Go to Seaport Village and just wander around watching the performers, sitting on the grass, and if you’re in the mood for walking, take the walk that meanders along the bay all the way to the port. Stop at the Star of India’s outdoor café for some of the best Mama Ghio’s Chowder you’ve ever had. If you think you never liked the red chowder, this one will change your mind.
4. $-$$$ – Balboa Park/San Diego Zoo. This one has so many things you can do, it should be 4, 5, & 6, but I want to give you as many fun ideas as possible. Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park. Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo, the Park has an ever-changing calendar of museum exhibitions, plays, musicals, concerts, and classes—all in the beautiful and timeless setting of this must-see San Diego attraction. Granted, the Zoo is more than $20, but if you shell out the annual membership once and come back only 3 more times, it’s a date under $20 each time. And, did you know that you can bring your own food into the zoo? So long as you’re not bringing in giant coolers of food, you’re totally good to go. Zoo at night is an especially fun date night and the little known secret is that you can go to Albert’s Restaurant (in the Treehouse) and order a cocktail to go. Roam the zoo at night while sipping a yummy mai tai, now that’s my kind of fun.
5. $ – Rollerskating. C’mon, how long has it been, if ever, that you’ve shown off your dance moves with the help of wheels attached to your feet and groovy music (did I just use the word groovy?)? Well, now is the time to get out there and show your honey just how much you can trip the light fantastic. Visit www.sandiegoskateworld.com for location, schedule & prices.
6. $ – Outdoor Movie Night. First, choose a warm summer night. Second, set up a cozy tent in your backyard with even cozier sleeping bags (zipped together of course). Third, rent a few of your favorite movies, pop ‘em in your laptop, wait till it’s nice and dark and go to your outdoor abode to snuggle and watch chick flicks and man movies. Remember to…charge your laptop battery; make hot chocolate (or hot toddies); bring some good snackage and a flashlight.
7. Free – Volunteer. We love this one! Go to http://www.mygooddeed.org, http://www.volunteersandiego.org or http://www.volunteermatch.org and you can search for one time projects that fit your schedule, youth-friendly projects, family projects, or group projects. While I was pregnant, I wanted to do some volunteer work in remembrance of 9/11 through mygooddeed.org, but I was fairly restricted to what I could do physically. I found a charity where I didn’t even have to leave my house – a charity organization needed someone to bake cupcakes and came to pick them up when I was done.
8. Free-$$ – Street Fairs/County Fairs. These are always fun to meander around and get some good cardio while you bob and weave through people. If masses of people aren’t really your thing, you could always find a sunny spot in the beer garden and people watch. The San Diego County Fair will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds June 12 – July 5th and is only $13. Visit http://www.sdfair.com/fair.
9. $$ – Dance Class. How about Middle Eastern Drumming & Belly Dance Class? For those who don’t want to dance – drum. Doumbek drumming class for all levels taught by Frank Lazzaro (6-7 p.m.), followed by tribal belly-dance class taught by Sabrina Fox with live drumming (7-8 p.m.). $12 per class. 760-703-1487 at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park on Mondays. Visit http://www.worldbeatcenter.org/.
10. Free-$$$ – Check out a Local Concert. So, it looks like we may be partial to the Worldbeat Cultural Center, but they do have some great stuff going on there. For example, on June 15th from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Midnite was in Concert which is St. Croix Roots Reggae. And, tonight, SLY and ROBBIE & Taxi Gang w/ Heavyweight Dub Champion. So, visit http://www.worldbeatcenter.org for all sorts of fun events, classes, activities and more. For free local concerts, visit your local coffee shops & bars to find out who is playing.
11. $$$ – Open Mic Night/Stand Up Comedy. Go to www.sdreader.com to find open mic night venues or go to www.comedystorelajolla.com to buy tickets and see the schedule for Stand Up Comedy and Open Mic Night on Sunday nights. Tickets are only $8, but there is a 2 drink minimum.
12. $-$$$ – Pizza Party. You buy the dough and the sauce. Invite your friends over for a pizza making party and ask them to bring their favorite toppings and a never tried before bottle of wine under $5.00 (time to do some sleuthing at Trader Joe’s). Make small pizzas for everyone to share, pick favorites, play silly board games – whatever sounds fun at the moment.
13. $-$$$ – Go to Sunday Brunch. Churchgoers stumbled upon this brilliant idea long ago and now whether you’re the churchgoing type or not, you can still enjoy the smorgasbord of food at brunch locations around the County. We found one man, who has taken finding brunch locations in San Diego as his mission. You can visit his website at http://www.sandiegosundaybrunchmaster.com/brunches.html where he tells you about price, location and more. Of course, if you don’t want to trust your delicate palette to just one man, you can always find out what the yelpers at http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=brunch&find_loc=san+diego+ca&ns=1&rpp=40 have to say on the matter.
14. $ – Thrift or Flea Market Shopping Wedding Style. Okay, so here’s your mission, you must go to a fabulous thrift store (or two or three) or the swap meet and find one fabulously goofy item under $10 that can be incorporated into your wedding day. You each get to buy something and neither of you get to have any say on what the other chooses. If it’s too tacky, you can always hide it in a plant:) Visit http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=flea+market&find_loc=San+Diego%2C+CA to find some local thrift stores and information on Kobey’s swap meet.
15. $ – Bowling. While some places can be more in the $$ range, San Diego State’s bowling alley is a more refreshing one $ sign. You don’t have to be good, but you do have to be willing to wear rented bowling shoes (unless of course you own your own). Visit, http://arc.sdsu.edu/bowling/ for information on a casual, fun night.
16. $$$ – Biking & Beach. Take a nostalgic 15 minute ride across the bay to Coronado. Now departing from two San Diego locations; Broadway Pier and the Convention Center. Once across you’ll arrive at the Coronado Ferry Landing, a waterfront marketplace full of over 25 unique shops and restaurants. Visit http://www.sdhe.com/san-diego-bay-ferry.html for schedule and fee information (only $6.50 roundtrip/person). Once in Coronado, you can rent a cruiser ($7/hour) and cruise around the island. For an extra splurge (this will put you $5 over your $20 mark), you can rent a tandem bike for only $12/hour at Bikes & Beyond aka Holland’s Bicycles (http://hollandsbicycles.com/page.cfm?pageID=49). Learning to ride together on a tandem bike is akin to learning how to work together during your marriage:)
17. $$$ – Harbor Tour. Enjoy the best sightseeing on the bay with San Diego’s longest running harbor cruise company. A 1 hour professionally narrated tour of San Diego Bay is only $20/person. Tours run daily, year ‘round. Comfortable indoor and outdoor seating is available. Snacks, beer, wine and sodas are available for purchase. No reservations required. (http://www.sdhe.com/san-diego-harbor-tours.html). Extra splurge – for $5/person more, you can take the 2 hour tour.
18. $$$ – Watersports on Mission Bay. If family fun in the sun is what you are looking for in San Diego, Mission Bay Sportcenter has it all. With a 7,000 square foot facility, they are recognized as having the finest location in San Diego for water sport and beach activities. At the Sportcenter you will enjoy the sparkling water of Mission Bay, as well as a serene atmosphere highlighting the beauty of Southern California. Enjoy tandem kayaking, Catalina Sailboat and windsurfing for only $18/hour and pedal boats for only $17/hour. Visit, http://www.missionbaysportcenter.com/index.asp for more information.
19. $ – Go Watch A Parade. So, parades are free, but I added the $ sign for the drink(s) you will no doubt buy while watching. Most parades are enough to make you want to curl up and never get out of bed, but the Annual Gay Pride Parade is in a class all its own. The San Diego Pride Celebration is the 5th largest in the United States attracting 160,000 spectators to the Parade and 50,000 to the weekend Festival. The Pride Parade is the best attended and largest single day event in San Diego. Visit http://sandiegopride.org/ or http://www.sandiego.org/event/Visitors/61 for information on the parade coming in July 2009.
20. Free – Stargaze. Stargaze outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park on the first Wednesday of every month. The San Diego Astronomy Association sets up huge telescopes to offer guests a great view of all the stars in the night sky. Visit: http://www.rhfleet.org/site/astronomy/gazin.html for more information.