When it comes to tourist attractions, the big names often get all the attention. Even for locals, it's easy to settle on simply taking our relatives and visiting friends to the zoo or the beach. It's a safe bet for sure, but there are some fantastic hidden gems that often go unnoticed or unrecognized by even the most knowledgeable of locals.
Case in point: the Living Coast Discovery Center (1000 Gunpowder Point Drive) in Chula Vista. Nestled in the bayside Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge since 1987, the center is dedicated to education and sustainability and provides educational, hands-on experiences in aquatic, plant and bird life.
"A lot of people might not know it's here, but we have a lot of really great outdoor spaces that highlight San Diego Bay and the surrounding refuge," says Jessica LaFave, development manager at the center.
So why not discover it at the Farm to Bay tasting event on Saturday, August 6, from 4 to 7:30 p.m.? The seventh annual event includes dozens of restaurants, wineries, breweries and farms coming together for a night of snacks and sips. This year's event chair, Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro's Will Gustwiller, has tapped more than 40 food-and-beverage vendors for the event, including grub from Amore Cheesecakes, Big Front Door and Suzie's Farm, as well as drinks from Modern Times, Old Harbor Distilling and Westfall Winery.
And of course there will be plenty of animal encounters, including shark and ray feedings, birds of prey showcases, reptiles, snakes and more.
"There are a lot of people who come and this is their first time here. It's certainly a nice way to widen our audience,"says LaFave, who points out that the 21-and-over Farm to Bay event is a great way for adults to experience the center without worrying about the kids. "A lot of school trips come here, but they're not necessarily with their parents so a lot of them come for this event and then end up bringing their families after."
Tickets for Farm to Bay are $85 and are available at thelivingcoast.org.
Anybody who's seen or read High Fidelity knows there's a fine art to making a mixtape. Bringing a mixtape to life is an even bigger and potentially more rewarding challenge. Last year, San Diego Art Institute (1439 El Prado) held an event titled MIXTAPE Vol. 1 that brought together local, national and international bands for a live show that was eventually turned into—you guessed it—an actual cassette mixtape (a download link is naturally included). The second installment, MIXTAPE Vol. 2, happens on Saturday, August 6, at 7 p.m. and features performances from local punk weirdos Vaginals, Baltimore's Wet Brain and Swedish electro duo KITE. There will also be visuals from Xavier Vasquez and records spun by DJ Ana Brown. Tickets are $10 advance, or $12 at the door. sandiego-art.org
STATION TO STATION
Liberty Station has come a long way since its days as a Naval Training Station. Over the past two decades the area has evolved into a cultural hotspot, with an ample selection of galleries, theatres, restaurants and, most recently, a fine public market. One of the most exciting performance spaces is White Box (2590 Truxtun Road), a progressive dance studio run by the San Diego Dance Theater. The studio prides itself on curating a variety of performing artists, and for the month of August will be hosting White Box Live Jazz, a weekly music series featuring San Diego's top artists. The series kicks off on Sunday, August 7, with a performance by the group Derek Cannon Quintet with Rebecca Jade on vocals. The show starts at 5 p.m. and tickets range from $10 to $30. sandiegodancetheater.org