1. Torrey Pines State Park
If you’ve been following Off the 56 for a while, you’ve probably
seen Torrey Pines State Park come up over
and over again. That’s because there’s tons of great stuff to do for kids and
parents alike! Besides the beach, there are several great trails in the reserve
that aren’t too difficult for young kids. A lot of it is pretty flat, plus you
can choose how far you go. And, it has the best view of any hiking trail in San
Check out our first visit to Torrey Pines State Park on Off
the 56 here.
2. Carlsbad Flower Fields
Located in North County San Diego, the Carlsbad Flower Fields are known
for their gorgeous giant ranunculus flowers. While the exact dates the Flower
Field is open changes every year depending on the flowers, usually you can see
the blooms between March and May.
Aside from the flowers, they have tractor rides through the
fields, a maze, food, and more. You do need tickets to get in, but tickets are
relatively reasonable. Plus you’ll have the opportunity to take beautiful
family photos amongst the flowers.
3. La Jolla Cove
While San Diego offers locals many great beaches with
stunning views, La Jolla Cove makes our list of the best things to do with kids
in San Diego in part because of the abundance of sea lions that hang out there!
No matter when you go or what the weather, you’re sure to find several dozen
sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks or splashing in the water. Kids absolutely
love watching the animals and listening to them bark!
Insider Tip: when the tide is out, you can actually walk
through the cave at the edge of the cove and explore the tide pools. Pretty
4. Birch Aquarium
While you’re in La Jolla checking out the sea lions, make a
stop at Birch Aquarium. Not only is it
extremely affordable for families, they have lots of great exhibits without it
being too overwhelming for your youngest kids. There are lots of hands-on
activities and special events throughout the year like their Green Flash
When you’re done exploring the aquarium, head to the patio
to check out one of the best views in all of San Diego! You’ll be able to look
out over the pier and take in all of La Jolla.
5. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
Of course the zoo made the list – it’s world famous after
At the San Diego Zoo,
we particularly love taking the double decker bus through the park and spending
time at the reptile house. But there’s something for everyone at a zoo this
size – there’s even a petting zoo near the front! And if you come at different
times of the day, you’ll see different animals as some are more active at dawn
and dusk than during the day.
The San Diego Safari
Park is a little smaller in size, but no less fun. Much like the zoo,
you’ll find creatures living in different habitats up near the front. But you
can take the tram around the whole thing and see some of the animals that are
living out in the large group enclosure. If you have older kids, you may want
to treat them to one of the “safaris” where you’ll actually be driven out into
the herd to meet the animals. You may even get to feed some giraffes! Plus, you
can even go zip lining at the Safari Park!
California isn’t as big as Disneyland or California Adventure, it’s much
more manageable for kids and more affordable for parents. With its location in
Carlsbad, it’s also much easier to get to.
Even if you’re not into LEGOs, there’s something for
everything there. They have Star Wars, Ninjago, a water park, aquarium, live
shows, and more. And if you’re looking for a staycation, you can stay at the
Insider tip: Visit Costco and buy their LEGOLAND pass for
7. San Diego Botanic Garden
One of San Diego’s best-kept secrets, the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas is
a wonderland for families. It’s scenic, walkable, and full of activities for
kids. They even have a giant tree house for the kids to go nuts with. Plus they
have different events throughout the year, like their Holiday Garden of Lights.
8. Belmont Park
If you’ve never been to Belmont Park, it’s like taking a trip
to an East Coast amusement park without hopping on a plane. Located right on
the boardwalk in Mission Beach, they have a giant wooden roller coaster, a
merry go round, pool, tons of fair games, food, and more.
9. New Children’s Museum
If you have younger kids, you’ll definitely want to check
out the New Children’s Museum in
Downtown San Diego. This is a great museum for kids between ages one to eight. It’s
a three-story hip and modern space with lots for kids to do. There’s plenty of
things to climb on, crawl under, and experiment with. They have rotating
exhibits as well so even if you’ve been before, you’ll want to come back again
and check out what’s new. Our kids always have a blast at this museum!
10. Whale Watching
December through April is whale-watching season in San Diego
as the whales migrate along the coast. It’s estimated that over 20,000 whales
pass through the waters of San Diego each year! There are different boat
companies that take you out to see the whales and you’ll usually spot at least
one if you go during this prime season.
Insider Tip: Check Groupon for ticket deals to help you save
some money on this family excursion.
11. Julian, CA
Last on our list is historic
Julian, CA! A great daytrip from San Diego, you’ll step back in time as you
visit this picturesque mining town. While Julian is known for their apple pie,
you can also browse the antique shops, go hiking, take a ride in a horse-drawn
carriage, take a tour of the old mines, and even visit the local cemetery. In
the fall, you can also go apple picking!
What’d you think of this list? Anything you’d add? Leave a
comment below and maybe we’ll check it out soon on Off the 56!
The Merge 56 project will begin grading this upcoming January of 2020. After numerous delays, the project finally looks to be moving forward. I spoke with the developers this past week and they confirmed grading will begin in January before the start of the bird nesting season. There are a few approvals still needed to begin the actual building but if the city is allowing them to grade the project it would seem to be close.
The project will consist of a retail village-style shopping
center with restaurants, movie theatre, & fitness center. It will also
consist of some office space as well as residential units including Single
Family homes, condos and townhomes. This project will also connect Torrey
Highlands to the Park Village neighborhood by extending Camino Del Sur through
The project has been met with mostly positive sentiment from the community, the detractors don’t want any more building into our beautiful preserve. If all goes well the project may open by the end of 2021 or early 2022. I will update again when I hear more information.
Pacific Village is a new master-planned community located in Rancho Penasquitos community in San Diego by the builder Lennar. The community will consist of 601 homes, from single-family homes as well as condos and townhomes. The Single Family homes are priced mostly in the low $800,000’s. The condos and townhomes start in the $600,000 range. The community is also set to include a swimming pool, park and BBQ area.
Pacific Village is located off of Carmel Mountain Road, at the northwest corner of Route 56 and Interstate 15, Pacific Village will feature 99 single-family homes, 105 triplex homes, 120 townhomes, and 277 apartments.
One of the biggest selling points of this community is that there won’t be any Mello-Roos which is rare for a new community here in San Diego. Unfortunately, it will come at the expense of the previous low-income housing development that was there previously and since been relocated. Lennar has promised 115 subsidized, low-rent units. Sixty of the apartments at Pacific Village will be subsidized for low-income households. The other 55 subsidized apartments will be offsite at other projects owned by the developers.
The Single Family homes will range in size from about 1,900 sqft to 2,220 sqft and lot size will be on the smaller size at about 4,000 sqft – give or take. The homes will not have driveways but will have a two-bay garage. The condos and townhomes will range in size from about 1,400sqft to 2,200 sqft.
Lennar states that the homes will have ‘Everything Included’ from the latest smart home technology to upgraded cabinets and countertops. They also say that would include Solar Panels. But the solar will be leased and not owned which can sometimes be troublesome when you go to sell the home.
If you have any questions about the community please free to reach out. For more Community news be sure to check out offthe56.com
Sorrento Mesa isn’t typically the first place that comes to mind when you think “cool beer spot” or “fun restaurant to enjoy with the whole family,” but the newly opened Gravity Heights is determined to change that. I recently dropped by to talk with General Manager Jon Broesel about the vision for Gravity Heights and of course, to sample some bites and brews.
The brainchild of Whisknladle Hospitality Inc.’s Arturo Kassel and the original Alesmith brewmaster, Skip Virgilio, Gravity Heights is a 12,000 square foot brewpub just a stone’s throw away from Qualcomm’s massive campus. Part restaurant, part bewery, and part event space, Gravity Heights is a feast for the eyes and the palette. Vibrant, California modern dining spaces flow seamlessly from outside to inside, with seating options allowing for everything from intimate conversation to casual gatherings to large celebrations.
Rather than restricting their clientele to the 21+ crowd, Gravity Heights has embraced families by filling their outdoor side yard with games and AstroTurf. As Jon Broesel explained, the vision for Gravity Heights was to create a space that families could enjoy as well. I’d say this vision has been well executed. On any given visit to the brewpub, you’re sure to find the crowd is representative of the diversity of people living in our Off the 56 community from young professionals to families to retirees.
But what really makes Gravity Heights stand out in my opinion is the quality of the food AND the beer. Like I said in the video, usually when you find a place with good beer, they don’t have good food and vice versa. But the team at Gravity Heights has really nailed it on both fronts. While I was meeting with Jon, I got to try a few of their beers and the Meat pizza. That pizza is honestly one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had in San Diego – I’m still looking for an excuse to go back and order it again! And the beers were outstanding. I particularly enjoyed the June Gloom Hazy IPA. Though if you’re not into IPAs, they have plenty of other beers on tap including some collaborations and guest beers, hard kombucha and cider, mixed drinks, and wine. To try the menu for yourself, make plans to join them for daily happy hour from 3-6pm in the bar and beer garden!
If you’re looking for a space to host your next event or celebration, look no further. Gravity Heights is equipped to handle parties of all shapes and sizes. They also have a private mezzanine you can book that overlooks the brewery and restaurant below. In addition to having its own bar and lounge, the mezzanine also has a pool table, shuffle board, and arcade games.
Gravity Heights is open every day except for select holidays. Click here to browse their dining menu and their current drink list. They do accept dining reservations, which I highly recommend as they have been quite popular since the brewpub opened at the end of January.
Have you checked out Gravity Heights yet? If so, let me know what you thought by leaving me a comment below. And if you’ve got a business Off the 56 I should hit up next, just post it below!
When I moved to Torrey Highlands three years ago, I discovered that it was really hard to find any information about what was going on in the community. So one day I had a flash of inspiration: why couldn’t I create a place to post about all the cool things going on in the area? I started with a community Facebook page and then about a year and a half ago I started working with Ollie Patterson to do video interviews with local businesses off the 56. It has grown tremendously in such a short time, from 100 followers to almost 1500 today!
Off the 56 is about the people and the businesses that make our community great so one of the things I’ve been very conscious of is not to make this a real estate blog. But I’ve never really come out from behind the curtain before to share about my own work. Until now.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the day in the life of a Realtor. Rather than make a boring Realtor video about why you should use me if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in San Diego, I decided to stick with the same format we always do here on Off the 56: an interview with the owner or manager that takes you behind the scenes of the business to learn about what makes them different.
I also wanted to say thank you for being part of the Off the 56 community – every time you take a moment to comment, share my content, or send me a message about what business I should highlight next, you help make this community space that much better. I truly believe we live in a very special part of San Diego that is typically overlooked, so it’s my pleasure to continue to make Off the 56 an invaluable resource for you.
And (shamless plug here) if you or someone you know IS looking to buy or sell a home in San Diego, please give me a call at (858) 900-1797. I’m always here to help!
We’re kicking off the New Year here on Off the 56 by taking you inside one of the newest craft brew tasting rooms in the Carmel Valley area, Mason Ale Works Tasting Room and Kitchen. They are located in the new Merge Carmel Valley shopping center, which is on the corner of Carmel County Road and Carmel Mountain Road. I stopped by recently and got the inside scoop from Brett Preston, the General Manager of Mason Ale Works.
Established in 2015, Mason Ale Works started as a brewery dedicated to creating truly artisan craft beer. Their research brewery is located in Oceanside at Urge Gastropub & Whiskey Bank while their production brewery is at Urge Gastropub & Common House in San Marcos. Their tasting room in Carmel Valley is their first satellite location. When searching for a spot for the new tasting room they felt that Carmel Valley was incredibly underserved as far as having a place like this.
The team at Mason Ale Works wanted to create a casual, family-friendly spot where families could go to enjoy a delicious meal while parents sampled some high-quality craft brews. It’s also a great casual spot to go to watch the game on TV or play foosball. They also have an outdoor patio, which makes it a great place to play some cornhole and enjoy the wonderful San Diego weather.
Mason Ale Works in Carmel Valley offers twenty beers on draft, an expansive whiskey selection including single barrel whiskey, beer for purchase, a full liquour selection, and a full food menu under The Barrel Room Carmel Valley. Their entrée menu includes things like pizza, sandwiches, and entrée salads. You can also order small bites, meat and cheese boards, and dessert. They also like to test new beer concepts and brew small batches so when you come to Mason Ale Works, you should be able to always try something new! Click here to check out their current food menu and draft list.
Brett told me their most popular beer on tap is their Jambi IPA and poured me a pint to try. I also got to sample a few of their most popular menu items from the kitchen, the Fried Chicken Sandwich and the Roasted Mushroom Pizza. Everything I tried was fantastic!
If you are a local business in the area, The Barrel Room also has the space to accommodate parties, happy hour events, business presentations, networking groups, and more. Click here to contact Mason Ale Works about hosting your next event in Carmel Valley.
Mason Ale Works Tasting Room and Kitchen in Carmel Valley is open 4-9pm Monday through Thursday and 11:30am-10pm Friday and Saturday. On Sunday they are open from 11:30am-9pm.
Got a tip on a new business opening Off the 56 or know a local business that would love to be featured? Click here to contact me!