Discover Summer in San Diego

From new exhibitions and museum openings to must-visit festivals and enticing restaurant launches, here’s what’s to expect in the SoCal city.

Americas, Culture & History, Gastronomy

This summer is set to be a scorcher in San Diego. From new exhibitions and museum openings to must-visit festivals and enticing restaurant launches, here’s what’s to expect in the SoCal city.

New and Renovated Attractions

The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park reopened this month following an extensive, two-year renovation. The project includes redesigned galleries, a new air filtration system to ensure the health of its visitors, and two new pieces of art; Salome by Ella Ferris Pell and Bust of Eve by sculptor Thomas Ball. Timken Museum of Art is known locally as the ‘jewel box’ of Balboa Park due to the European and American artistic treasures it’s home to.

San Diego Balboa Park
San Diego Balboa Park

In July, Comic-Con Museum will debut Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing, a new exhibition in celebration of the Marvel superhero’s 60th anniversary. Spider-Man will be brought to life through interactive installations, original artwork and movie props that showcase his legacy over the last six decades. Visitors will be able to learn about the many creators who have contributed to Spider-Man over the years and discover how he’s become the iconic character known today.

Next month, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla will open Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins, a new habitat for the world’s smallest penguin species. Families will be able to learn all about the penguins and safely observe the seven birds in their rocky and sandy shore habitat. Birch Aquarium is dedicated to marine conservation and has a number of programmes in place to protect vulnerable or threatened species.

Festivals and Events

Comic-Con Museum San Diego
Comic-Con Museum San Diego

For the first time since 2019, Comic-Con returns to the San Diego Convention Center, 21-24 July. The event attracts pop culture fans from around the world with its extensive programming that includes panel events, celebrity meet-and-greets, animation exhibits and more. San Diego is the birthplace of Comic-Con and last year unveiled the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park, so visitors can connect with the magic of Comic-Con all year round.

Following a successful launch last year, DAY MVS XL returns 6-7 August to San Diego’s Waterfront Park. The house and techno festival will be headlined by DJ legend Eric Prydz, whilst other notable artists set to perform include Ajunabeats’ Stephen Brown, Purple Disco Machine, and Ben Böhmer. Festival-goers can also expect street food stalls and craft beer, all enjoyed beneath California’s blazing sunshine.

Where to Wine and Dine

June marks the 10 year anniversary of Hillcrest Brewing Company, the first gay brewery in the world. Located in the Hillcrest neighbourhood, the centre of San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community, the brewery serves craft beers with tongue-in-cheek names such as Banana Hammock Scotch Ale and Crotch Rocket Irish Style Red Ale. Hillcrest Brewing Company is popular with locals and visitors alike for its weekend brunch menu and daily ‘hoppy hour’.

Downtown Little Italy Trolley -Courtesy Joanne DiBona
Downtown Little Italy Trolley -Courtesy Joanne DiBona

This month saw the opening of LAVO San Diego, a new Italian restaurant in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Diners can expect signature dishes seen across LAVO’s worldwide restaurants including wagyu meatballs, brick oven pizza and homemade pasta. The menu is complemented with cocktails, Californian and European wines, and local craft beers, all served in the beautifully designed restaurant and bar.

Chick & Hawk, the hotly anticipated restaurant from professional skateboarder and San Diego native, Tony Hawk, is set to open this summer in collaboration with celebrated local chef Andrew Bachelier. The ‘fast-fine’ restaurant will combine 1990’s skate and surf culture with fine dining to serve sustainable plates made using locally-sourced poultry. Along with spicy fried chicken, the restaurant will serve a range of seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Coronado Bridge Skyine Dusk Aerial_200dpi
Sunset at Coronado Bridge

Getting There

British Airways flies direct from London Heathrow to San Diego International Airport from £560 return in the summer. For more information on San Diego’s offerings, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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