I love living in Downtown San Diego. It’s convenient, you can walk just about everywhere, you have access to the bay and lots of outdoor activities, great restaraunts, shops, farmer’s markets…it’s hard to leave our downtown bubble. Plus, more often than not, getting in the car is the LAST thing I want to do. This lifestyle makes driving (for me) a burden at times. But, I am not going to lie. There are times when escaping the East Village is the most appealing thing out there. Sometimes I just want a change of scenery and San Diego sure does offer a lot of options in that department.
So when I read an article (again) about the beauty of the wildflowers to bloom in Anza-Berrego Desert I thought this just might be the perfect day trip. You know, the kind where you dust off your steering wheel (some of us downtown folk just don’t drive a lot), take a nice drive, see nature at it’s finest, enjoy the outdoors, eat some lunch then hop back in the car to head home. That kind of day trip. Sometimes it’s just what you need to get out of the Downtown San Diego funk. This is not a dig on the city in which I live because I would feel the same if I was living in Coronado or Point Loma. Sometimes it’s just nice to leave home for the day only to return feeling refreshed and appreciative.
Anza-Borrego is about a 2 hour drive from downtown and if you time it right, hiking the trails and seeing the gorgeous wildflowers in bloom will certainly be a breath of fresh air. Regardless of whether or not you feel the need to escape from home like I do, it’s always good to know what adventure lies just outside of this beautiful city we live in. A visit to Anza-Borrego won’t disappoint and either will returning home to Downtown San Diego.
Have you heard the news?! The 32.5 million dollars that the library still needed has been funded. Isn’t that amazing?! I could not be more excited since I live in the East Village just blocks away from this beauty. Downtown’s Central Library has been boasted, criticized and questioned for awhile now so when I heard this interview on NPR with Mel Katz, Chair of the San Diego Library Foundation, a renewed sense of hope and anticipation came over me (and other Downtown San Diego residents, I’m sure).
Downtown San Diego’s Central Library is scheduled to open in the summer of 2013-that’s next year, folks! With this funding secured, by a private entity who has not yet been revealed (though it’s safe to say their name will be all over that library), construction will be completed. With that being declared, Mel Katz focused on where the library is at now. Fascinating stuff, I tell ya. Here are some hightlights:
- Hard hat tours of the library are available (at Park and J in the East Village)
- Fundraising for capital, endowment and special programming will be put into place
- Naming opportunities are still available
- Technology such as an app that serves as a GPS of the library, tablets, and interactive panels are in the making
- 40,000 people a week are expected to visit this library
- A school will occupy the 6th and 7th floors with 500 students
- 50 different reading nooks
- 6 conference rooms
- 22 study rooms
- Consoles with Wii’s and Playstations will be found in the library
- 1/3 of the first floor will be a children’s library
- 2nd floor will be a Teen Center
- 57 schools are within 2 1/2 miles of the library, hence the focus on youth areas
- Construction is now working on the 9th floor, the top floor
- The dome will be next which is a 3 story glass reading room and will take 4 months to complete
What an amazing center this will be and the enthusiasm of Mel Katz is contagious. I highly recommend listening to his interview because if you have doubts about this library, he will change your mind.
The annual shamROCK that takes place in Downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp District is about to take place once again. This will be the 17th annual block party that will be celebrated on March 17th from 2pm all the way to midnight.
They say that this will be the greenest party so far as the celebration falls on the 17th and is the lucky number 17…the same as the birth of shamROCK. If you are in the mood for an Irish party…with food, drinks and music…this is the place to be.
For more information about the event visit shamROCK 2012 and to read 92101 Urban Living’s former blogs about past parties click on Coming up – St. Patrick’s Day Festival “ShamROCK”! In the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego! and Stay Green – St. Patricks Day in the Gaslamp District. Check out the video below for some action from last year’s event!
Walking through the East Village, I have noticed these tiny white and blue electric cars lining our streets. They are intriguing because they are everywhere-I’ve even seen people driving them all around Downtown San Diego too and couldn’t help but be curious by their presence. I decided it was finally time to stop wondering and actually learn more about these little vehicles.
Car2Go is an effort, in collaboration with the City of San Diego, to be an integral part of the city’s green mobility strategy. Car sharing equates to less emissions and traffic congestions on our busy, and ever growing, urban roads. Plus, Downtown San Diego residents know just how challenging it can be to own a car, or cars, when your unit comes with only one, if any, parking spots. Dealing with parking on the streets is a game with the meter maid of avoiding expired meters and parking tickets. As our city becomes more densely populated, the mobility concept of Car2Go becomes much more appealing. You avoid the hassels of finding parking or “storing” a car you hardly use or let alone want to use. The ease of using a Car2Go makes urban living sans a car very appealing and the environmental impact should not be ignored.
Car2Go sounds so darn easy. You begin by becoming a member for $35. With that, a membership card is sent to you and wah-la, you have access to Car2Go. What I find so fascinating is the simplicity of picking up a car (any one you see parked or use their car locator service) and then return it (anywhere within their large operating area). At $.35 a mile, you cannot beat this deal for a quick trip out of downtown to Trader Joes and even better, you DO NOT have to pay the meter when you park. That is right, no dropping coins in meters to park! What a feeling to not be on the clock avoiding a ticket on the windshield.
There is so much more to Car2Go that you must check out for yourself. It’s an innovative program and could honestly mean living car free in Downtown San Diego. It’s the beginning efforts to protect and preserve our urban environment and I applaud the efforts of Car2Go and our city in doing so!
The Hilton Bayfront Hotel located right by the waterfront in the East Village/Ballpark District in Downtown San Diego is one of the largest hotels in the region if you count by room. A plan to extend the hotel that currently have 1,190 rooms with an additional 500 rooms will for sure make the Hilton climb up to #1.
The extension has only reached its early stages and a few things are to consider such as financing, entitlements and amendments to the hotels lease with the Port of San Diego. Should this project be down for ground breaking…it will at least take about 5 years for completion.
To read 92101 Urban Living’s former blog about the Hilton Hotel click on Hilton San Diego Bayfront: Out with the Old and Polluted and in with the New and Profitable.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, located in La Jolla and Downtown San Diego’s Little Italy, offers free admission on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 5-7pm. Did you know that? I myself did not. You learn something new everyday living in this city of ours!
I also learned that all folks 25 and under (with proper ID of course) are free-now tell me that is not an amazing deal. For those of us older than 25, ahem, we cost $10 but if you want to get in for free, head over on the third Thursday of the month for free admission during the evening. There is an exhibit right now called Phenomenal: Califormia Light, Space & Surface that is supposed to be, well, phenomenal. It’s only here until February 5th and is worth a visit from what I have been told and my sources are pretty spot on when it comes to good art.
So, since today happens to be the third Thursday of the month why don’t you head on over to the MOCA for a free visit and then have a late dinner out in Little Italy? Sounds like a good, spontaneous night out if I do say so myself.
Last year, over 5,000 San Diegans ventured to the Port Pavilion Broadway Pier in the Embarcadero to celebrate the 13,000 mile migration of the Califormia Gray Whale at Big Bay Whale Days. This year will be its 4th annual appearance to celebrate this exciting time off the coast of San Diego.
With whale watching tours galore to choose from, this event showcases the reason for these tours. A family friendly event filled with games, live music, face painting, and entertainment for kiddos (and adults too) that celebrates the beauty of this whale that graces our coast and offers us a look into a world far beyond our comprehension. Vendors, exhibitors and discounts to Downtown San Diego’s waterfront museums will also be available for all to enjoy.
The Whale Days Festival will be held on Saturday, January 21st from 11-3pm.
Downtown San Diego is known for its Seaport Village with its perfect waterfront location and Spanish & Victorian feel. Many come here to have a good time mixed with shopping, dining and entertainment. Seaport Village located in the Marina District might change the way we see it today as big plans has been up for discussion for some time now. The Port of San Diego held a couple of workshops last year where all Downtown San Diego Condo and Downtown San Diego Loft owners, residents and business owner were invited to get the chance to have their voices heard. Some say the wanted more restaurants, more of a view, a park, more parking, a hotel and the list go on.
Included in the plan for Seaport Village is also;
- Restoration and reuse of the old Police Headquarters
- The old Fishmarket
- Embarcadero Marina Park North
- Ruocco Park (already celebrated groundbreaking)
To read 92101 Urban Living’s former blog about Seaport Village visit “Seaport Village Photos with Santa” and to read more about the changes that might happen at Seaport Village visit the Port of San Diego.
The art scene in Downtown San Diego is alive and well in Little Italy with Kettner Nights. Every other month, on the 2nd Friday of the month, this event takes place in Little Italy from 6-9pm. Are you an art and/or design enthusiast? Then this is the event for you.
Modeled after the trendy neighborhoods of Soho and Chelsea in New York City, Little Italy North offers an art and design scene that opens its doors for an evening of creative expression and appreciation. Live music, flamenco dancers and artists at work have been showcased at past events so there is always something to wow and intrigue the crowds, not to mention the design and antiques asthetic. If you’ve never been, this Friday, January 13th is the first Kettner Nights of 2012 and what a great way to kick off a new year than with a new Downtown San Diego experience.
You’ll find Kettner Nights on Kettner and India Streets from Grape to Laurel in Little Italy.
Twice annually, restaraunts all over San Diego open their doors (and menus) to San Diego Restaurant Week and folks, it’s here again. But, this time around they’ve added a little something different to the line-up: Lunch!
That’s right, lunch! I love it. Of the 180 restaurants participating this year a chunk of them have created a prix-fixe, two course menu for lunch time visitors. These menus range in price from $10, $15, or $20 depending on the restaurant. I’ve perused some of the lunch offerings of some of our very own Downtown San Diego eateries and let me say, they look quite tasty.
Be sure to check out the participating restaurants list for some of our local downtown eateries in Little Itlay, the Gaslamp, and Bankers Hill-there are some fabulous restaurants participating with some darn good looking prix-fixe menus! Bon Appetite.