Grab the kids and get ready to go – summer travel season is right around the corner. Whether you’re flying direct or hitting the open road, set your GPS to sunny San Diego, California’s premier coastal city boasting eternally perfect weather, postcard-worthy beaches and plenty of culinary adventures to keep the family’s itinerary full! Explore San Diego’s rich naval history at the fully restored Liberty Station, embrace the island lifestyle on Coronado Island and indulge in San Diego’s growing kid-friendly gastronome culture at CUCINA enoteca.
CUCINA ENOTECA | WHERE KIDS CAN PLAY WITH THEIR PIZZA2730 Via De La Valle, Del Mar
Offering a kids menu, a casually elevated ambience and an upstairs patio where a little noise isn’t a big deal, Italian inspired California kitchen gives the little ones plenty to play with during their meal. From approachable pizzas and pastas made from scratch to hand-crafted farm-to-table favorites, CUCINA enoteca is conveniently located near the Del Mar Racetrack, with plenty of easy parking to boot. While parents make their way through a selection of house-made cheeses and charcuteries, polenta boards and fresh salads, the kiddos have their very own “bambini” menu, which offers littles the opportunity to build their own pizza pie. Kids can mold and shape their very own ball of dough, add tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni before CUCINA’s staff whisks it away to bake in the oven.
LIBERTY STATION | HISTORY, ADVENTURE AND A WHOLE LOT OF FUN
How do you find a dose of history, amazing food, and enough entertainment to keep even the pickiest tween satisfied? Simply head down to San Diego’s newest burgeoning hub for dining and entertainment, (with a side of history), Liberty Station. Previously the U.S. Naval Training Center, Liberty Station was originally built in the early 1920s, and features Spanish Colonial Revival-style barracks, gardens and more. Today, Liberty Station has transformed into a bonafide neighborhood, nestled along 361-waterfront acres in heart of the city. Spend a day exploring the myriad of public parks and gardens, the boat channel, the arts and culture district that houses over 100 unique and local galleries and shops and the countless eateries nestled inside winding arched walkways and well-appointed plazas. Savor your well-earned summer vacation at these family-friendly Liberty Station attractions:
Liberty Public Market | 2820 Historic Decatur Road
San Diego’s First Food Hall
Shop the best of San Diego under one roof at the newly opened Liberty Public Market. Reminiscent of food halls such as Pike’s Place in Seattle and The Ferry Building in San Francisco, San Diego’s first daily public market brings together a mix of experienced San Diego-based retailers, farmers market vendors, food truck operators and home-grown kitchen concepts, all representative of the diverse collection of culinary tenants that represent the city’s growing gastro-centric scene. For the kids, drool over freshly baked cookies at Crafted Baked Goods, get up-close-and-personal with freshly caught snappers at FishBone Kitchen and see first-hand how the European pastas are made fresh daily at Pasta Design. Parents can grab a seat at Grape Smuggler, where wine aficionado Greg Majors has curated daily tasting flights from his inventory of nearly 5,000 bottles.
1950s-Style Diner with Gamer’s Garage to Keep Kiddos Entertained for Hours
Consistently a leading national pick for “Top Family-Friendly Travel Destinations” the iconic ’50s-style diner has been the go-to hangout for families across San Diego for over a quarter century. Disc Jockeys, balloon artists, magicians and live entertainment frequent the diner on a weekly basis but the main entertainment draw for kids and grownups alike is the 5,000 square-foot Gamers Garage. Not your typical “arcade”, the Gamers Garage has over 50 games including everything from the latest high-tech simulators to interactive pinball throwbacks. Servers line the restaurant corridors every hour on the hour with their infamous song & dance encouraging kids and adults to get up and shake their “tail feather” to the music creating a memorable and interactive experience.
Meatballs and Fooseball Collide (with Top-Notch Cocktails for Mom & Dad)
Meatballs and apple pies are the name of the game at Soda & Swine, helmed by a Michelin-starred chef whose passion is serving up the best classic American bites this side of the Mississippi. With two locations, this newest stunner at Liberty Station encourages you to play while you eat, with aglass-topped foosball table clocking in at nearly 20-feet long, so you chow down without ever missing a serve. While the kiddos are making friends at the foosball table, parents can sip their way through a cocktail menu featuring playful variations of Negronies, champagne slushies and beer cocktails. Grab a classic old fashioned pie as a dessert to share, served a la mode with your choice of caramel sauce or soft serve ice cream.
Feel the Force at San Diego’s Premier Comic Book Gallery
Comic books and San Diego go together like Tevas and tourists. And comic books reign supreme at San Diego Comic Art Gallery. For Marvel and DC fans alike, this newly opened gallery features original works by some of comic-industry greats such as Jack Kirby, Walter Simonsson, Mike Mignola, Dave Gibbons and more. For those without a ticket to ComicCon this summer, check out the Eastman Studio, the artistic haven of Kevin Eastman, who co-created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an exhibit The New York Times called, “one of the most striking parts of the [San Diego Comic Art] gallery space.”
Run, play, and let loose at Kid Ventures, Liberty Station’s premier boutique-style indoor play centers. After an afternoon of gallery hopping and munching on burgers and apple pie, Kid Ventures offers the perfect rest bit for kids and parents – allowing for some quality downtime while the little runs explore and expand their imagination and talent with the certified staff of Kid Venture counselors. This one-of-kind family experience promotes learning and fun, so make it an afternoon destination not-to-be-missed while out-and-about at Liberty Station
Sink a Hole-In-A-One at Loma Club’s Historic Golf Course
Tee-up at San Diego’s historic 9-hole golf course, originally used as the physical fitness and recruit training grounds during Liberty Station’s tenure as a Naval Training Center. These days, The Loma Club offers put-fulls of fun, with a state of the art fairway, putting greens and a clubhouse with an outdoor deck and bar attached. For your putting green-protegies, The Loma Club offers various summer camps and one-day instructionals to teach tots the ropes of the course, and of course, the secrets to sinking a hole-in-one.
Sip, Stroll and Discover all that Liberty Station has to Offer
Celebrate Summer with Liberty Station during their first annual Summer Block Party. Taste, sip and see like a local at this community-driven event highlighting all eateries, shops, galleries and activities that make this burgeoning neighborhood great. This free walkabout-style event features complimentary tastings from the various eateries, live music, entertainment, activities and more.
Coronado Island has a relaxed vibe that inspires even the most unenthused eye-rollers to embrace the Crown City’s laid-back lifestyle. Teenagers who have the slightest interest in things natural and nautical will like exploring the postcard-worthy beaches and biking down Orange Avenue, where coffee shops, ice cream parlors and shops are nestled together in ornate Victorian-style buildings. Just over the bridge from downtown San Diego, Coronado’s seven miles of coastline include one of the best beaches for families, as named by the Travel Channel. More than just surf and sand, chomp-worthy standouts on Coronado Island include:
MooTime Creamery | 1025 Orange Avenue, Coronado
Nostalgic Frozen Treats and Ice Cream
Give Elvis a high-five on your way inside this nostalgic ice cream joint, located in the heart of downtown Coronado. Scooping up the best hand-crafted ice creams with a selections of delectable toppings and cone choices, MooTime is a chance for the littles to indulge and explore their inner sweat treat gourmand. Bonus points: this local fav has been named by The Travel Channel as one of the “Best Ice Cream Parlors to Visit” and featured on Rachael Ray’s “40 Dollars a Day”.
Kids Eat Free at this Classic New York-Style Pizzeria
Classic New York-style pies collide with unparalleled bayside views of the San Diego skyline at Village Pizzeria, a relaxed Big Apple eatery that caters to the kids and parents alike. For those budget-friendly travelers, nab a table overlooking the water on Wednesday evenings starting at 4 p.m., for the best wallet-friendly price of all: FREE! Kiddos eat for free until closing, which gives families plenty of incentive to dive into a variety of thin crust combinations, appetizers, calzones and more. Adults can kick back and relax with 11 craft beers on tap and toast to a vacation well earned.
Kiddos Eat Free at this Tennessee-Inspired BBQ Joint
Bringing all the down-home flavors of Memphis, Tennessee to sunny San Diego, Lil’ Piggy’s BBQ boasts a passion for “true Q,” and a menu to match. If you find yourself hankering for some Southern-style noshing, grab the kids for some all-inclusive grubbing – for FREE! Wednesday nights cater pit masters 12 and under, serving up complimentary BBQ Pulled Pork or Chicken Plate, BBQ Brisket Plate or a good old fashioned burger. Parents, get comfy: alongside an impressive selection of finger-licking favorites, Lil’ Piggy’s BBQ stocks over 100 varieties of bottled beer to keep you in a holiday state of mind long after the sun sets.