Springtime in San Diego makes a colorful entrance every year as warm weather sweeps through the County and brilliant flowers bloom. There are also spring celebrations at the region’s major attractions, popular sporting events, cultural festivals and St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo festivities to keep visitors entertained throughout the season.
- A spectacular display occurs annually between February and April in the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego’s East County as colorful wildflowers bejewel the sun-scorched desert landscape. Since the phenomenon depends upon the timing and quantity of winter rains, the blossoms are at their peak for just two weeks. Guests are advised to call the Park’s 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760-767-4684 before planning a tour of the desert flora.
- At the Flower Fields of Carlsbad, California, a vibrant sea of giant ranunculus flowers transforms 50 acres of hills into rows of brilliant color. During March through May, guests can stroll past oceans of flowers and through beautiful gardens, including a miniature rose garden, fragrant sweet pea maze, a garden featuring more than 50 All American Rose Selection winners and a spectacular display of red, white and blue flowers planted in the shape of a giant American flag.
- Balboa Park's Offshoot Tours provides free, one-hour tours that highlight the park’s lush botanical offerings; the tours begin at 10 a.m. on Saturdays in front of the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Must-sees are the beautiful Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, displaying approximately 2,500 roses of nearly 200 varieties, and the award-winning Alcazar Garden, with a floral design patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain.
- On March 8 the Village Garden Club of La Jolla sponsors Meet the Masters, featuring well known personalities from the world of flowers including London floral designer Shane Connolly who provided the trees in Westminster Abbey for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
- On April 21–22, the City of Coronado presents the 87th Annual Coronado Flower Show in Spreckels Park. Flower exhibits are displayed under tents surrounding a central gazebo, creating one of the largest flower shows on the U.S. West Coast. Guests also enjoy flower sales, live entertainment, food and an awards ceremony.
- On April 12–15, the San Diego Museum of Art blossoms during Art Alive 2012, an enchanting spring exhibition. Transforming the museum into a colorful display of art and flowers, more than 100 floral designers take inspiration from the museum’s renowned art collection and create floral renditions of famous paintings and sculptures.
- Guests can celebrate spring with Shamu and friends during Spring into Night at SeaWorld San Diego. During weekends in spring, exact dates TBA, visitors can laugh with sea lions Clyde and Seamore at the Sea Lions Tonite! nighttime show and be amazed at the visually stunning evening performance of Shamu Rocks before looking to the sky for a fantastic fireworks show. The park also stays open until 9 p.m. on select weekends.
- The San Diego Zoo Safari Park presents Butterfly Jungle, March 24–April 15. During this four-week celebration, guests can walk through the Park’s Hidden Jungle, an African aviary, and surround themselves with thousands of butterflies of every shape, size and color. A variety of butterfly species flutter freely throughout the Hidden Jungle along with more than 100 birds, creating a realistic rainforest environment.
- Guests celebrate Discovery Days at the San Diego Zoo, and learn more about a particular animal species. During February 17 – 20, the zoo presents Discovery Days: Absolutely Apes, featuring endangered primates such as gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees. Visitors can attend animal meet and greets, educational shows and a special birthday surprise for one of the zoo’s oldest primate residents. The zoo will host a second Discovery Days during May 10–13, theme TBA.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY FESTIVITIES
- Lads and lassies celebrate all things Irish at the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, held March 17 at the corner of 6th Avenue and Juniper Street near Balboa Park. The day includes a 10:30 a.m. parade, an all-day Irish festival featuring food, beer gardens, musical entertainment and more.
- With 30,000 sq. ft. of Astroturf, downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter turns into the rolling hills of Ireland from noon to midnight on March 17 at ShamROCK 2012. This St. Patrick’s Day party includes Irish rock bands and pints of green beer; guests must be 21 years or older to attend the ticketed event.
CINCO DE MAYO CELEBRATIONS
- On May 5–6, the 29th Annual Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo is held in Old Town State Historic Park along the area’s main thoroughfare, San Diego Avenue. The free festival features Mexican dancers, musicians, food and historical reenactments.
- In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the Bazaar del Mundo Shops and Casa Guadalajara Mexican restaurant in Old Town showcase authentic Mexican food, folklore and fun, May 5–6. Festivities include mariachi and folkloric dance performances, craft displays and demonstrations, a margarita garden serving “Cincoritas” (a margarita in the colors of the Mexican flag), nonalcoholic fruit concoctions and a carne asada BBQ.
- The Third Avenue Village’s Cinco de Mayo & Quinceanera Extravaganza in downtown Chula Vista, in San Diego’s South Bay, includes over 200 vendors, live entertainment, authentic Mexican food and beverages, arts and crafts, a kid’s zone, rides, fashion shows and salsa dancing contests. The festival takes place at 11:00 a.m. on May 8.
FESTIVALS, FAIRS AND EVENTS
- Celebrating films and videos about the Latino experience, the 19th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival presents over 140 movie screenings, March 8 – 18. Audiences enjoy short and feature-length films, workshops, meet and greets with cast members and more at the UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center in Mission Valley.
- Seaport Village comes alive with a celebration of street performers during the Spring Busker Festival, March 24–25. In a battle of entertainment, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind performers including jugglers, sword swallowers, comedic stuntmen and Didgeridoo players take to Seaport Village’s cobblestone streets for a weekend of outdoor family amusement.
- The La Jolla Concours d'Elegance (formerly La Jolla Motor Car Classic), sponsored by the La Jolla Historical Society, takes place April 1 in Scripps Park near La Jolla Cove and draws droves of classic car enthusiasts.
- The city of Fallbrook in San Diego’s North County celebrates its designation as “the avocado capital of the world” during the Annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival on April 15. Highlights include arts and crafts, games and creative foods featuring the delicious, green fruit.
- On April 22, EarthFair in Balboa Park celebrates a range of eco-friendly practices and environmental causes. Offerings include earth-friendly and organic foods, wildlife preservation education, displays of alternative energy vehicles, pet adoption services and more.
- Art takes over the streets of downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood during the Mission Federal ArtWalk, April 28–29. The free event showcases fine art in many mediums alongside live musical performances, food and beverage booths and activities for kids and families.
- The Carlsbad Spring Village Faire, one of the largest one-day street fairs in California, takes place on May 6 in downtown Carlsbad and features hundreds of exhibitors, international food booths and children’s rides.
- The Escondido Street Faire features live entertainment and hundreds of booths showcasing arts and crafts, international foods and a farmers market. The Street Faire is held May 20 in downtown Escondido.
- The music, dance, culture and cuisine of Sicily come to the streets of downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood during the Sicilian Festival on May 20. Guests enjoy four performance stages, art vendors, a parade of costumed dancers, musicians and more.
- During the California Half-Ironman Triathlon on March 31, athletes swim 1.2 miles in Oceanside Harbor, bike 56 miles through scenic Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base and run 13.1 miles along San Diego’s North County coast. The competition starts and finishes at the Oceanside Pier.
- Collegiate, junior and master rowers from the United States compete in over 100 races during the 39th Annual San Diego Crew Classic, held March 31–April 1 along Crown Point on Mission Bay. Spectators can cheer on participants from the shoreline and enjoy concession stands, a beer garden, sponsor booths and a jumbotron screen showcasing the races.
- Every April, the San Diego Padres step up to the plate and begin another exciting, six-month season of Major League Baseball. Visitors can catch all the action at the “Pads” home turf, the state-of-the-art downtown PETCO Ballpark. The Padres 2012 home opener on April 5 is against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- One of the most prestigious equestrian events in the United States, the 2012 Del Mar National Horse Show, takes place in spring, exact dates TBA. The event offers more than $300,000 in prize money and attracts more than 3,000 of the finest horses in the U.S. to the equestrian complex at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in coastal Del Mar.
- Giddy up! On April 20–22, the Annual Lakeside Rodeo & Parade features major rodeo events, arts and craft and food at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds in San Diego’s East County.
- SeaWorld San Diego presents some of the nation’s hottest Latin entertainment this spring with Viva La Música at SeaWorld, May 5–6, May 12–13, and May 19–20. The concert series features live performances from award-winning Latin artists who bring the pulsating sounds of norteño, Latin pop, rock, salsa, reggaeton, flamenco and mariachi music to the park. The cost of Viva La Música is included with park admission.
- From March through October, Humphreys Concerts by the Bay presents a spectrum of musical and special performances, including rock, jazz, comedy, blues and folk, while guests relax in a 1,400-seat outdoor theatre under the setting sun on Shelter Island.
- Beginning in March, Viejas Casino presents springtime Concerts in the Park in its private outdoor arena at the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine. Performances include a wide range of talent and musical genres; past performances include LeAnn Rimes, Kenny G. and Seal.
- On March 30–31, the 8th Annual San Diego Indie Music Fest takes the stage in the uptown neighborhood of North Park. The event celebrates contemporary independent music and features more than 65 musical acts across six stages.
- On April 21–22, the Annual San Diego Adams Avenue Roots Festival features vintage blues, folk, Appalachian, country, bluegrass and Celtic music performed by roots artists on seven outdoor stages set in Adams Park in University Heights. The free event also includes beer gardens, ethnic cuisine and hundreds of vendor and craft booths.
- Knee-slapping good times abound during May 11–13 at the San Diego Annual Gator by the Bay Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival, held at Spanish Landing on Harbor Island. The event features 25 bands on five stages along with dance lessons, food and Cajun cooking demonstrations.
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable copons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau's Web site at www.sandiego.org or call 619-236-1212.
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